THE STORY OF MY LIFE
MARTHA ELNORA GIFFORD HUNTSMAN
I was born at Woodville, Idaho on the same farm I now live on, 5 Nov., 1893. My father is George Washington Gifford and my mother, Louisa Hale Gifford.
I suppose I was a welcomed little girl as my two oldest sisters had died. My sister Lucy was burned to death and a few months later my next sister died of Stomach Flu. My only living sister Helena, was six years old when I was born.
I had four brothers older than myself - George Alvin, Henry Elmer, James Alma, and Lester. I also had two brothers younger than myself, Moses and Milo.
My parents moved to Woodville from Hooper, Utah three or four years before I was born and homesteaded this farm. They were among the first of six families that came to this part of the valley. They were quite poor and of course went through a lot of hardships that we don't know anything about.
As I look back over my childhood I had a very happy childhood. My father and mother were very devoted to each other and to their children. My father was not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the time. He had left the church when just seventeen years of age through the misguidance of several older men, during the time that the United Order was formed.
My father never smoked or drank and taught us children honesty and to live right. I remember if he ever heard any of us saying things bad about anyone he would always say, "Now, now, if you can't say anything good about anyone, don't say anything bad." He provided us with the best he could obtain, but the thing he gave us that I appreciate most was a good name and a fine example in being honorable children. At least he did his best to teach us. Mother was very religious and took us to Church regularly. When I think of mother I can picture her in Church with we two younger children by her side.
When I was about a year old I contacted Pneumonia. I was sick for quite a while. Mother and Father had a doctor taking care of me, but I continued to grow worse until finally the doctor told my parents he could do no more for me and wouldn't be back. About this time, a man came to our home with a new kind of oil. It was to have come out of a rock. He told my father how good it was, so father bought some and rubbed it on me. At the same time my mother, with her sweet faith, called in the Elders, Brother Jasper Hammer and a Curtis Gallaway. They administered to me and I immediately began to improve fast. My father, not belonging to the Church, thought it was the oil, or said he did. But my mother knew without a doubt that it was the Power of the Priesthood that was healing me. This has always been a testimony to me and I feel I had a mission to perform on this earth and have tried in my weak way to live right and to pray the Lord will forgive me of all my mistakes and give me strength to try to live right the rest of my days.
After a few days the doctor, not hearing of my death, drove out to our home to see what had happened and was greatly shocked to see me so much improved and made the statement that he didn't know how I ever lived, but my dear mother knew. And I am very grateful for ny mother's faith and power of the Priesthood.
My father, mother and eight of us children lived in one large room. I remember we only had one bedstead. The beds were piled on it in the daytime and were put on the floor at night.
I must have been about four years old when my father built a lean-to on the west of the room. Perhaps you younger generation don't know what a lean-to is. Well, it was a room built on and the roof slanted from the other roof down toward the ground. I guess it was called a lean-to as it really looked like it was just leaning on the rest of the house. I remember when they were putting up the rafters one day. Mother was sitting out under it trying to comb my hair and watch too. I guess I was trying to watch too, as every once in a while she would crack me on the head with the comb to make me hold still. When it was finished, it was used as a bedroom with a bed in each end and a little wood stove in the center.
Mother made lots of rag rugs and although I was quite small, she bought me a thimble, a real small one, and I remember sitting behind the little stove lots of times trying to sew rags together.
When I was about six years old, my mother, brothers and my only sister and I went to Hooper, Utah in a covered wagon to visit my grandmother Hale and others of my mother's family. I think we were a week going. On the road back, we stopped at Oxford, Idaho to visit others of my mother's family. Uncle Nephi Clements was one we visited. On the way there I had taken Stomach Flu and was really in a bad way when we got there, so I spent most of my time out in the corral. I either didn't know where the outdoor toilet was or they didn't have one.
The corral was across the street from the house and once when I came out of the corral, I looked up and there went my mother, covered wagon and all, up the road toward home. I remember I sure did some howling until they discovered they had left me and came back.
Grandmother Hale came back home with us. She had a buggy without a top and a horse. Mother rode with her in the buggy. Her horse was so slow that my brothers kept a little hay on the back of the wagon so her horse would keep up with us.
When I was about that age (6), somehow I had some money and had five cents. I wanted to pay my tithing with, so mother said I could go down to the Bishop's. (It was Jasper Hammer, the first Bishop of Woodville Ward). I remember the Bishop was out in the field plowing and I walked way out in the field to pay him my tithing.
For some reason I remember the older folks of the Ward always made a fuss over me. I don't know if it was because I was quite small for my age - of could I have been a cute little girl? Anyway, I always enjoyed it.
My mother's brother, James Hale, and wife lived down on the farm our son Evon owns now. This farm is west of the Woodville Townsite along the bend of the Snake River. My Aunt and Uncle would come by our home and take me home with them for a few days. I was usually barefooted and dirty. Aunt May would make me new dresses and make something for my feet. I loved to be "kidnapped" by them.
School was held in a small school house just south of Leon Kelly's farm. We had to cross the canal on a rickety bridge. Several times the teacher would meet me at the bridge and carry me across. His name was C. P.Anderson. He was my first teacher. The older children made up a poem about him. They would say:
C.P. Anderson is a fine old man.
He tried to teach us all he can.
Reading, writing, arithmetic -
But he never forgets to use the stick.
The older members of the Ward used to have lots of dances and socials. I was the only little girl in our family so mother and dad would take me to the dances with them. Father and my older brothers would dance with me. I sure used to love to dance the Quadrilles with them.
A group of the boys and we girls would go for a May Walk on May Day. One time we went to the Lava Beds a couple of miles west of Woodville Townsite - where Claud Rhead now lives. We had to cross a big ditch or canal. We got across on the bridge going, but when we came back we couldn't find the bridge. We all walked up and down the ditch and couldn't find it. Finally Eva Mathews and I decided we would pray about it. The boys laughed at us, but we knelt down by a sage brush and prayed really earnestly to find the bridge. It was getting dark and we were really getting frightened. As soon as we finished praying she and I walked right to the bridge and to this day I still feel the Lord led us to that bridge.
I was about six or seven years old when my father built another lean-to on the north of the house. It was used for the kitchen. We would have to go out-of-doors to get to the kitchen. We really thought we had a big house now.
We didn't have mattresses and we used straw ticks. We children sure had fun on the straw ticks when they were first filled, trying to mash them down even, so we wouldn't fall out of bed. Also, my mother would sew rags and have the women who had weavers make her rag carpets, and we used straw under them and that was a lot of fun running around the room, mashing the straw down under the carpet.
Father and mother would go to Idaho Falls in the fall and buy our supply of clothes for the winter. Father made most of our living by going out to the Lavas and getting wood and selling it or trading it for flour and other things. It wasn't an easy job.
Up to the time I was six or seven years old I had never seen my Grandfather and Grandmother Gifford. They lived in Southern Utah. But at this time they moved to Idaho and lived across from us, only it was quite a way back in the field. They were quite old or seemed that way when they moved here, but I loved them and enjoyed going to their home. I remember when Grandfather died and Grandmother came to live with us. She was quite childish at this time. Father had taken the room we used for a kitchen and started a small store up in it. Grandmother Gifford would go in the store and take pins, needles, lace, thread, and other small articles and bring them in and put them in her trunk. I remember mother used to have to go through her trunk every once in a while and take the things all back to the store.
When I was about ten years old my mother took sick. I seldom ever left her bed. I would kneel by her bed and cry or talk to her. She was sick for some time and couldn't get better. A few days before she was taken to the hospital I was kneeling by her. We had an old organ. She asked me to play for her and she would sing. I couldn't play, but I thought I could, I guess, as I remember playing it and she lay in the bed and sang. I can't remember now what she sang.
She continued to get worse and was taken to the hospital. We didn't have good doctors or good hospitals then. Well do I remember the day father drove our white top buggy up to our front door and they carried my mother out and put her in the back on a bed they made for her. We children sure cried as they drove away with her. They kept her in the hospital twelve days before she died without giving her a drink of water or a thing to eat. No wonder she died! I remember visiting her once while she was there and she just begged us to give her just a piece of bread and a drink of water. It was surely hard to take her pleadings.
They operated on her for appendicitis for which she did not have. It was an abscess. The doctor was drinking when he operated and cut into the abscess and the puss scattered through her body and she soon passed away, 12 May 1904.
I will always remember too, when father came home that afternoon and took Mose, Milo and me in his arms and said, "Your mama is gone now and I will have to be both father and mother to you." How sad we all were as we truly loved our dear mother.
Well, life went on and I was a lonely little girl as I had been quite a mamma's girl. My only sister Helena was then sixteen and at that age she was going places with the young folks quite a bit and my father and brothers were in the field so much. I was pretty much alone. I tried to help with the work and look after my two younger brothers, Mose and Milo.
When I was twelve my sister got married so I was left to do all the work for my father and four brothers. I was small for my age, but tried very hard to keep the meals cooked and the housework done. Of course, we washed on the board and was so small I had to have a little stool to stand on to scrub the clothes. Father's underwear and the two older boys was so large I could hardly handle them to wash them. Although I did my best with the washing I know the clothes must have been more gray than white.
I had to mix large batches of bread. It was sure hard as I was so small, but as I remember it, my bread was pretty good. Anyway, I remember it didn't last long.
On Sunday mornings I would bathe Moses, or have him bathe, and bathe Milo and clean them up the best I could and send them ahead of me on their way to Sunday School, and I was really proud of my little brothers.
I don't know how clean I kept the house, but I do remember how hard I tried to keep it clean and I always enjoyed doing what I could to take the place of my dear mother. Father and my two older brothers were good to help, but I can remember some of the lonely hours I spent in the house when my two younger brothers got big enough to be outside most of the time.
I tried to attend school, but it was hard with the housework to do and lunches to make for all of us, but I loved school and think I got pretty good grades. But the winter before I would have graduated from the eight grade one of my aunts, Lucy Hale Butler, and her large family came to live with us and the big responsibility fell on me. There was such a big crowd of us and our house was small. There was so much to do and I became discouraged and quit school for which I have always been sorry. I didn't have the privilege of ever going to school again. I remember I used to go home from school, do the dinner dishes and make cookies or something for our lunches the next day. I used to make ginger cookies. I don't know if they were good or not, but they must have been as two of my girlfriends, Eva Mathews and Emeline Harmer, used to get in my lunch about every day and eat my cookies. I cried sometimes when I would get home about it as they had a mother and older sisters to do things for them and I had to do my own.
When I was about eleven we had moved down to the Woodville Townsite and my father ran a little store there, just across the street from where Eldon Thompson's store now stands. One evening some of my girlfriends came to buy something and father let me go out and wait on them. We had some boxes of popcorn with prizes in them. Some had quite nice prizes in them. The girls coaxed me to open the boxes so they could get what they wanted. Father was watching us. We didn't know it until he came in and sent the girls home and scolded me. His scoldings hurt much worse than a whipping. I couldn't go to sleep that night until I went into father's bedroom and knelt down by him and ask his forgiveness.
I was about that age when an old friend of father's, whom he hadn't seen for years, came to visit him. He was blind. He stayed several weeks. Someway in his travels he had picked up body lice and didn't know it and before we knew it our whole family had them too. My! what an awful time we had getting rid of them, but after much work and discouraging times we finally did.
I was happy when I got to be fourteen years old as that was the age we had to be to join Mutual then. I was chosen Assistant Secretary soon after I joined. Rebecca Risenmay Hurst was President and I surely loved her and will always be grateful to her for giving me my first opportunity to serve in the Church. I was later chosen as Secretary. It was in the MIA that I did my first quilting. We used to make quilts and sell them to get money for the MIA.
As a young girl I never felt free to go away on Sundays and leave my Dad and brothers to get their own dinner so usually was home. I usually had a lot of my friends there. Even if I did have a big responsibility for so young a girl I still had many happy times. I loved to dance and still do. I love friends and had a lot of them.
I was about twelve when a new family moved into our Ward by the name of Huntsman. I remember well the day they drove past our store in their covered wagon. The father and oldest son were walking behind the wagon. The father had whiskers and his hair was quite long. I thought he was really a homely man, but the next time I saw him he had his hair cut and was clean shaven and I realized he was a very nice looking man.
A few days later the oldest son Wesley, as his folks called him, came down to the store on a horse and he too was a very nice looking boy. And from then on I kept my eye on him until I finally got him for my husband.
The Huntsman family was a very nice family and was really a big help to our little Ward. They were very religious and the gospel meant a lot to them. The father played the banjo and the mother and father both sang. We really enjoyed their singing and had them on the programs a lot. They had bought a farm close to my father's farm.
Well, life went on about the same for a few years. I will always be grateful to my Heavenly Father for the still small voice that kept leading me on to try and live the Gospel. Although my mother died when I was ten and my father didn't belong to the Church I always loved to go to Church. I loved to go to Sacrament Meeting and hear people sing. And father always encouraged us to go to Church. I will always be grateful to my oldest brother, Alvin, who had a strong testimony of the Gospel and always helped me and encourage me in living the Gospel. And he was the one who taught me to lead in family prayer. His wife Florence also helped me.
After my sister Helen married, she usually lived away from us so I didn't even have the joy of being near her. I really missed her a lot. It would have meant a lot to me to have had a sister near.
This story so far may seem sad and at times it was kinda. But as I remember, I could see on the bright side and really enjoyed life.
I think I was about fifteen when I started going to dances. A lot of times I went with my brothers Jim and Lester. We held dances in the old hall on the townsite and really had good times there. We had to walk to the dances, only at that time there used to about always be one or two fights every dance and it seemed my brothers were usually in on them. And that worried me a lot. The floor would be full of people dancing and all at once everyone started running outside and you knew someone was fighting.
But as years went on that got better. We used to go to Shelley to dances and we enjoyed that too.
In the winter the boys would take turns taking their teams and sleigh and all the young folks that could pile in the sleigh would and it was really fun. We didn't care how cold it was. We always went sleigh riding a lot and really enjoyed it. Sometimes the sleigh would tip over. It was a wonder some of us didn't get hurt. The boys would switch the sleigh on Dad Huntsman's corner.... it was like glass. Some of them fell out and Frank Mathews was thrown out and hit a post on the corner of Vic Kotter's place. We sure thought he had broken his back, but it wasn't long until he was OK. I think sometimes that we had a lot more real fun than they have now days in their cars.
Our parents always knew we weren't very far from home. Along with our fun, we always enjoyed going to Church and taking care of our Mutual work and other church duties.
I can remember when there wasn't very many houses between our farm and Idaho Falls. We could go almost straight northeast from our farm into Idaho Falls. We would go to town in a wagon. Mother and father would sit in the spring seat and we children would sit in the back of the wagon. There used to be wild flowers growing along the way and father would stop and let us kids get out and pick them. Also there was a big canal (at least it sure seemed big to us) that we had to cross on our way to town. One bank was higher than the other one and it sure was fun to go across in water and see the horses climb the other side. Two of the horses was named Price and Dick. I can still remember father saying, "Come on Price and Dick" and hitting them to clime the other bank. I am sure we would laugh if we could see that place and see what a small canal it was.
I remember one day just before the last Christmas Mother was with us. She and father had been to Idaho Falls. They brought their bundles in and laid them down on chairs. I snooped in one and it was a doll for me. I will never forget how disappointed I was to find there wasn't any Santa Claus.
I remember one of the silly things Mose and I did when we were kids. Mother had raised some chickens during the summer and in the early fall dad sent Mose and I out one night to catch the young chickens and put them in the coop so they could be shut up so they could get them to lay eggs in the winter. We hadn't been out long until Mose stuck a chicken in my face. I went crying to Dad. He got after Mose and sent us back out. We hadn't caught many more until I struck a chicken in Mose's face and he went running crying to Dad. He came out and gave us both a spanking.
Father seldom ever spanked us, but when he did, WOW! what a spanking. He didn't hold his hand back. It came down full force. I guess that is why I can still remember that night.
On my tenth birthday my oldest brother, George Alvin, was married to Florence Ellen Chaffin in the Logan Temple. They tried to get mother to go with them and take out her Endowments, but she said, "No, that maybe some day father would go with her," but she never realized that wonderful privilege.
It must have been beautiful weather as it was the fifth of November, 1903 and I remember when they came back from Logan that Mother, with help, cooked a hot dinner for around a hundred. I never saw so many pies in my life that my mother had baked. Father and the boys put up a big tent in front of the house and they ate in it. Then my next brother, Henry Elmer, was married to Lilly May Chaffin, a sister of Florence, on 7 April 1904 in the Logan Temple. They too tried to get mother to go to the Temple with them, but received the same answer. After they returned from Logan they were also given a big dinner.
Mother died May 12th, 1904 and never had the privilege of seeing not one of her grandchildren. What a wonderful grandmother she would have been.
Soon after mother died, Mose and I were fooling around and I bumped my shin bone on my left leg and it gathered up, then broke and was a running sore for nearly a year. Father took the best care of me that he knew how, but the sore didn't heal for a year. I had to be packed everywhere for a year. I wasn't very big so I was easy to pack. I still have a deep scar on my leg after all these years. It was really a painful thing.
As far back as I can remember I had a strong desire to live a good life, but have made many mistakes along the way. But hope I can live a good enough life to the end to be forgiven of all my mistakes.
I was married to Evon Wesley Huntsman on 3 June, 1910. We were married in his father's and mother's home by Bishop M. Rider. His mother cooked a hot dinner for quite a number of people. At the time his father had rented the farm of Heber Mathew (now owned by Forrest Thompson) just across the street from their home and we moved into a two room house on the farm. I can assure you we didn't have much furniture. My Uncle Jim Hale gave us five dollars for our wedding present and we bought a new iron bed with it. His folks gave us some old springs and an old mattress and somehow we got enough money to buy a small table and a few chairs (still in our possession) (1975) and a small wood cook stove and we started housekeeping.
Our first little daughter, Delila was born on the 4th of August, 1910. We loved her very much, but realized she wasn't ours for time and eternity, so soon prepared ourselves to take her to the Logan Temple to be sealed to us for time and eternity on the 4th of October, 1911. Well do I remember that day. When they brought her into us to be sealed to us and us be sealed to each other! It was a glorious day to always be remembered.
Dad worked on the farm with his father. We didn't have much to live on, but was quite happy, although it was hard to think of my father being left without anyone to cook and do for him.
His farm joined the place where we were living so I went over often and cleaned his house and did some cooking for him and did his washings and ironings. The two youngest boys, Mose and Milo were still living with him.
On 20 Feb., 1912, our second little daughter, Bertha, came to our home to add more joy to us. When Bertha was just two weeks old Dad received a call to the Samoan Mission for three years. We were really surprised. We had never heard of Samoa and looked on the map for it. When we finally found it, it was just a small speck on the map and about nine thousand miles away. It sure gave me a sick feeling at first to think of Dad going that far away and leaving me with my two babies and no money or no home. And not even a mother to go to. But I realized it was a wonderful thing and would bring lots of joy and happiness to both of us as well as the good he could do there. With a heavy heart I gladly consented and he was on his way inside of a month. When Bertha was a little over two weeks old some of our friends had a party for Dad and I went and danced, but it didn't hurt me. It was sure hard for him and his father to get the clothes and money needed to go. It was only through their faith and the help of the Lord that he was able to go. Although it was hard in a way, but it turned out to be one of the greatest blessings we ever had.
Well do I remember the night he left. Several of our family and friends gathered at his folk's place and tried to cheer us up. But I sure had a hard time to smile. When it came time to go to the train he didn't want me to go to the train to see him off. He just wanted his father to take him over. My brother Alvin and wife went to our home and stayed all night with me, for which I was grateful. I cried most of the night.
Dad had to go over to his folks place to do chores and would always take a little bucket to bring milk back to us. The next morning after he left, Florence and I got breakfast about ready and we missed Delila. Alvin went to look for her and found her nearly over to her grandmas with that little bucket. She was only a year and a half old.
I lived alone with my two little girls in the house we were living in until his father built his new house, close to two years. Then I moved into their little two room house behind their new one. It was really lonely and I don't know how I could have stood it if it hadn't been for my two little babies. I really enjoyed them and was so grateful for them and my church work. And of course, with the help of the Lord.
Bertha was too young for me to go work that summer. His folks were poor and so were mine, but his folks were good to me and gave us most of our food that summer. My folks helped what they could too. That fall I helped his father and family get the potatoes and beets up.
I remember one day Oreta and I and the rest of the kids that were big enough were out topping beets. I got a letter from Dad and the little kids brought it out to me. It was stormy and cold and we were wading around in mud. When we read his letter Oreta and I laughed and said, "If he could only see us now."
Then I started going out doing washings and also went into the homes in confinement cases and took care of the family and the mother and baby, did all the washing and ironing and everything for four and five dollars a week. But the Lord blessed me with good health and I loved to work and was happy that I could help take care of myself and babies.
I got real lonesome at times while Dad was gone. Three years is a long time to be separated, but was happy and grateful for the gospel, and it meant enough to Dad and I that he could accept a call to go into the mission field. And we knew it was one of the greatest blessings that ever came to us.
And I was grateful for the Gospel because it gave me an opportunity to serve in the Church. I sure enjoyed my Mutual work and other things I was asked to do. I will always be grateful to Bishop Rider and Bishop Fugal considering me worthy to serve in our Ward when I was young.
I was truly grateful for my two little girls as they were surely a comfort to me. The girls and I kept well and I kept busy so the time went by quite fast. We only got letters from Dad once a month, but they were such nice letters, telling of his missionary experiences that they gave me new life and kept me going.
Well do I remember the day he came home. It was the 15th of March, 1915 on Monday morning. I was living with my father at the time. We wasn't expecting Dad home that soon. I had just started washing. I had my clothes in the tub and had just started scrubbing them when Vern came running over and said there was someone to his place and his mother wanted me to come and see them. I thought it was Uncle Jim Jones and Aunt Serilda. Vern and I picked up the babies and started out. Vern was so excited and I couldn't hardly keep up with him. When we got over there George Risenmay was just coming out the door. He never said anything about it being Dad there.
As we walked in I had Bertha in my arms and there Dad was across the room. I got so excited I just dropped Bertha and ran for Dad and threw my arms around him and really cried. I was so tickled to see him. It took quite a while to calm Bertha down after her bump. Of course the girls didn't remember their dad so it took them a while to get used to him living with us. Delila was four years old and she was sure shy around him. She would get into some corner or behind the stove to dress or undress.
Dad worked for my father that summer so we lived with him. That fall we moved into the small two room house behind his dad's big one. Mother Huntsman and I had saved rags and tore them and sewed them and we had a carpet made for our bedroom and I was really thrilled and happy to have a nice new carpet. We always put straw under our rag rugs and Delila, Bertha, Zalia and Lenard really had fun running around on the carpet, mashing the straw down.
We also had straw ticks on our bed and the kids loved to romp on them. We couldn't hardly stay on the beds when we first filled them. They were so bumpy. But they were kept clean. Every fall when we thrashed we would empty the straw out of the ticks and wash them and fill them with new straw. I can't remember when we bought our first mattress. But I know we had most of our family if not all of them before we bought one.
Dad farmed with his father and we were happy in our little home.
On 28th Dec., 1915 we had another little girl. Verona came to add happiness to our home. Bertha and Delila were surely happy to have a sister and loved her a lot as well as her Dad and I.
On the 15th April, 1917 our fourth little girl was born. When she was born we didn't think she would live for two days and surely was worried. She was born with a big swelling on her neck. It held her head way back and she was real dark. Of course, we prayed for her life and had the Bishopric and the family come over and held family prayer for her life. The swelling went right down and she was fine. When she was born we had Doctor Edwin Cutler's brother as doctor Edwin had an accident. When she was born the doctor just laid her on the foot of the bed and wasn't going to do anything about her, but dear Sister Hurst was with me and she picked her up and washed her and began working with her. Thanks to dear Sister Hurst, through our faith and prayers and the power of the Priesthood, our little girl was saved for which we have always been grateful for. We named her Alta LeReah.
Now I had four little girls to sew for and take care of and I was always happy to do it. I think it was that fall that Dad and his father built us a four room lumber house in the northwest corner of his father's farm. It was just four rooms, but to me it was a mansion and I am sure I was just as happy and thrilled with it, if not more than when I moved into my two lovely modern homes that we moved into, as much as I love them. It was our first home of our own and how we did enjoy it. However, we only lived in it about two or three years.
When we had been in this house about a year and a half the plaster fell off the ceiling and we moved into the brown house on the townsite while our house was being fixed. (This was what was later the house owned by the Speas family). This was during the first World War and the flu was really awful. People were dying all around, two and three in a family. It was while living on the townsite that we all got the flu but Dad. Thank goodness he stayed well and helped his father harvest the spuds. I had the four little girls down and was so sick myself I could hardly stay up, but had to. Alta Huntsman, one of Dad's cousins, came to stay with us and she got the flu so I really had my hands full, but we soon all got well again. It was while we were still living down on the townsite that peace was declared. What a happy day!
The bells were ringing and everyone that wasn't too sick was out in their yards rejoicing. We were really thrilled that the war was ended, but was real sad because on the 14th Dad's oldest sister, Oreta's husband, Austin Hammer had died with the Flu. Austin's sister had just died before but he didn't know it. Oreta was left with three little children, Leona, Bernice and Louis. Austin was a fine man. Soon after this we moved back into our own home. And on December 31st our first little son, Dean Gifford, was born. Oreta and kiddies lived with us that winter. We loved our little girls dearly, but was sure happy to have a son.
The next spring after Dean was born we traded Oreta our new home for what she had in the farm where they were living on the hill a mile north of us. We only lived up there a year, but that winter we was there was a real hard winter, cold and a lot of snow.
Delila and Bertha was just small girls and they walked from there to school which was a mile and a half. I sure worried about them. Sister Poulson lived about half way to school from where we lived and many times she would call the girls in and warm them up before they went. Thanks to Sister Poulson. She was a good neighbor. When it was too bad Dad would take them down in the sleigh and go after them at night. The Lord had blessed us that we were able to have nice warm clothes for them for which we were grateful.
It seemed like we were a long way from his and my folks. It seemed good though, to have just our children most of the time instead of a dozen extra most of the time. We only stayed there one year then rented part of my father's farm and moved into the four room house on the farm.
In the spring of 1919, my father came to live with us and stayed with us until he died, 23 years later. I have always been grateful that I was able to take care of him his last 23 years. My only regret is that I didn't do more for him. Dad and our children was all good to him and loved him. He was truly a kind fine father and was a pleasure to have him with us.
We finally bought 40 acres of my father's farm, then bought the rest of the hundred acres. In the spring of 1921, our second little boy was born 19 March. We named him Evon Vernard. We were happy to welcome another baby to our home.
A few months before Evon was born, Bertha came down with Typhoid Fever and was really a sick girl. We kept her in the home and I took care of her. I really had my hands full with five children and expecting my sixth and father. But father tried to help what he could and Dad did too only he didn't have much time with all his work. Many nights I didn't go to bed until one and two o'clock. She was sick for ten weeks and spent her ninth birthday in bed. I had to lift her in and out of bed for weeks, but again the Lord blessed me with good health and I was able to take care of my children and family. We were grateful that our prayers were answered and she was made well. She was in bed for six weeks. The day that the doctor said she could get up for a while, the next day Evon was born that evening. The next morning the children went into her bedroom to tell her she had a little brother. She was real weak and talked slow and all she said was, "Oh gosh, now a package of gum won't go around."
The day after Evon was born, Dean was a little over two years old. And he came into my bed riding a stick horse with another one in his hand. He came up to the bed and reached the stick horse up and said, "Here brover, is your little stick horsie". Lester and Elzada came and stayed with us while I was in bed and she took care of me and the family and I was grateful for their help.
And I was truly grateful for my wonderful friends as well as our families. They were really good to my babies and I and brought much joy and happiness to me while I was alone. The Relief Society (Sister Minnie Hurst was President) gave me a shower and I received a lot of much needed clothes and food, also enough money to finish paying for my sewing machine which we had bought when Delila was three months old. I made her short dresses on it. We used to dress our babies in long dresses until they were three months old then put them in short dresses.
I can still remember her first short dresses. I made several at once. I remember hanging them up and looking at them with pride. It was about the first sewing I had done.
How I got my new Singer sewing machine was that my sister Helena had bought it. Then they decided to move out to Carey, I think, and they hadn't paid very much on it so couldn't take it with them. So they told Dad and I if we wanted it we could have it for what they still owed on it, so we decided that somehow we could finish paying for it. As I remember it, Alvin had gave us a little pig and we sold it to make our first payment. As I said about the first things I made on it was Delila's short dresses.
I made all my clothes for our ten children on it and some sewing for most of our grandchildren as well as many, many sets of quilt blocks and sewing rags for dozen of rugs. So I really enjoyed it. We bought it in 1910 and I used it until 1940/50 when Dad bought me my first electric sewing machine. Reed and Velda took the old Singer machine and I suppose they still have it somewhere.
When Dean was a little over two he wasn't at all afraid of the animals. It would have been just the same to him to go under a horse or cow as go around it so I really worried about him when I was confined with Evon, but Lester took full care of him and it surely was a relief to me.
The girls was really happy to have another brother and Dean was too, to have a little brother to play with, only Dean thought he was big enough to play with as soon as he was born. When Evon was about a year and half we came home from Church and before I could get him in the house and his clothes changed, he went wading in a little pond of water that was in the yard. New shoes and clothes too -- so you know what he looked like when I got him out of the mud and water.
But anyway, we loved our six little ones and have always been grateful that the Lord sent them to us. It was a pleasure to work and provide for them. Evon always wanted to go with his daddy. He wouldn't hardly eat his meals for fear his dad would go without him. As soon as his dad would start leaving the table Evon would say, "Can I go wif you daddy?" When Dean got big enough to help his daddy with the chores a little, Evon always wanted to go help too. His Dad would tell him he didn't have to go out as it was too cold, but Evon would keep saying, "Mama, I think Daddy needs me." Finally I would put his coat and overshoes on him and let him go out. He and Dean both loved to be out doors and they still do. Evon and Dean was always real good to help their Dad on the farm, so was the rest of the boys as they got old enough. The girls also milked cows and helped on the farm until the boys were big enough.
Being farmers, our activities were about the same. We always had a large garden, a big raspberry patch, milked cows and sold milk and had chickens so we always had plenty of good nourishing food for our family. We had plenty of place for our children to play and enough work for our children to keep them out of mischief and healthy.
We have always been grateful for the church to help us raise our family. We have always been grateful for our fine friends and neighbors who had the same ideals we had. So our children had the kind of friends we wanted them to have.
On 13 Sept. 1922 another little boy was sent to add some more joy to our home, Max Odell. He had the darkest hair of any of our children and it was curly--wow we thought he was quite cute, too. We had been expecting him for about two weeks. Dad would say, "Mom, you can't be sick now as we have to get the hay up first." Then the hay was up and he said, "You can't get sick till we get the thrashing done." Well, finally the thrasher pulled out of our place about four o'clock on Sept 12th. Dad came in and said, "Now you can get sick." Believe it or not, in about an hour I started having pains and Max was born the next morning. Strange things do happen.
Again, not only Dad and Mama was happy but there was six brothers and sisters to be happy and enjoy another little brother. One day I was changing Max's diaper and Evon was standing by close, watching. He didn't smell very good. All at once Evon said, "Pu, hell, tink". I sure laughed.
Max was a cute curly headed boy. When he was about twelve he would soap his hair or do anything to keep it from looking curly. The girls was really put out with him as they wished it had been one of them that had the curly hair.
When Max was quite young he was always coming in to me and telling me some imaginary story. He usually had a smile on his face. When he was about four he came running into the kitchen where I was and said "Mama, do you know why I am always laughing?" I said, "No, why?" He said, "When I came down from heaven the Lord sent me down on a slippery board and I got to laughing and couldn't stop." He would play with "Jesus" and if I asked where he had been he would say, "Oh, Jesus and I did such and such". He was very tiny and would climb on the table and start to recite, "Here I stand all ragged and dirty. Come kiss my little lips "fore I run like a turkey," and then he would jump. When any of the family would hear him start that verse they would head for the table to catch him before he hit the floor.
I wish I had of wrote down a lot of the cute sayings all our children said through the years. We felt from the time Max was a little boy, he wouldn't be a farmer as he wasn't very interested in the animals like the others were. When he was four, one morning his dad and older brothers went down in the field to cut peas. I watched him till they got gone so he wouldn't follow them. Then I went out to pick raspberries and thought the little boys was alright as I was near enough to call to them often to see how they were. But later in the morning Dean came back to the house for some oil for the mower and didn't know that Max was following him back. Dad didn't see Max until he was so close to the knife on the mower that Max got one half of one of his feet almost entirely cut off. All that wasn't cut was his little toe and the tough skin on the bottom of his foot. Jay Brockbank was working for us. He and Dad unhitched one horse from the mower and Dad brought Max to the house. I was really frightened when he came in with Max. When I took his shoe off that part of his little foot just hung down. I didn't know if I was going to faint or not. It was just a month before Newell was born.
We rushed Max to the hospital. At first Dr. Cutler thought they would have to finish cutting that front part of the foot off, but thank heavens, he decided to try to sew it up and see if he could save it. The bones and cords and everything looked like it had been chopped with an axe. We had prayer circle with our family and others and having an L.D.S. doctor, we knew if it was the will of the Lord his foot would heal. Of course, we were real worried and really prayed that his foot would be saved. After about ten days the doctor removed the bandage and to our happy surprise the foot was healing and continued to heal. It was quite a few months before he could walk on his foot, but he managed to get around the house by sitting on the floor and putting his lame foot over the knee of the good leg and scootched across the floor or wherever he wanted to go. We will always be grateful to the Lord and Dr. Edwin Cutler for saving his foot. Again we new the Lord had given us a wonderful blessing in healing in healing Max's foot. It wasn't long before he was running and playing with the other children. His foot has always bothered him a little, but not much. He was able to participate in sports, enjoyed boxing in High School and dancing. He was kept out of the war on account of his foot.
That was our first bad accident in our family and we were sure grateful to our Heavenly Father for giving another one of our family a wonderful blessing. For we know that it was through the blessings of the Lord that his foot was saved. Doctor Cutler always called Max "the boy with the foot."
Just two years and one week after Max's birth, on 20 Sept., 1924, another little boy came to bring more joy to our home. We named him Reed Ames and as all the rest, there was a place in our home and in our hearts for him, too. Reed wasn't very healthy for some time and just before Donald was born he became quite sick. We took him to the doctor and were told he had pneumonia. He left him home for me to take care of. I had quite a lot of experience in sickness, but about two weeks later Donald was born, 14 May, 1926 so the doctor took Reed to the hospital.
After I was up and around they brought Reed home, but he got worse and was took back to the hospital and the doctor found he had puss on his lungs and had to operate on him and put a tube in his side to draw the puss off. He was only a year and a half old. He was brought home in about ten days. I really had my hands full with a tiny baby and a sick little boy. I was greatful for the help of our older children and my husband and grateful the Lord gave me strength to again take over my duties of wife and mother in our home. My father was living with us so now our family numbered eleven.
It seemed Reed was kinda unlucky as a child. He was always getting hurt some way, but thank goodness, it was never very serious. One day he was playing out to the corral with the other boys. He came running into the house with a tooth knocked out and his mouth bleeding. I asked him what happened and he said, "Oh, a pole jumped up and hit me in the mouth." He, too, was always saying such things and still is.
As stated above, on 14 May, 1926 we was blessed with another little boy that was named Donald Jay, and we have always been grateful for him. He as well as all the rest, was a welcome little boy in our home. He was always healthy and full of life and had his little special ways too that helped cheer up our home.
Then on 17 Oct., 1927 our sixth little boy was born to bless our home once more. Before he was born, after having five boys, we thought it would be nice to have a little girl, but when it was a boy we were just as happy and loved him as the rest. He weighed eight pounds and a half and was a cute chubby little butter ball. And Dad and I and his nine brothers and sisters loved him very much.
It is wonderful how the Lord puts so much love in parents hearts that no matter how many children we have there is just the same amount of love for each one.
So now there was twelve of us and we was so grateful that the Lord had blessed us with ten lovely healthy children and with means to provide the necessary food and clothing for them.
Being on a farm, we always had plenty of good food for them. And as I remember, we was always able to buy for them as good clothes as the most of the children they associated with, for which we was really grateful. I wasn't a very good seamstress, but anyway I made most of their clothes and I thought they looked pretty good.
And they could really eat. It was a real joy to cook and do things for my family. I used to can between seven and eight hundred quarts of fruit, vegetables and pickles each year. And the children always seemed to enjoy eating what I cooked and I really enjoyed cooking for them and still do.
And the washings wasn't small either. I remember when our four girls were small, many times after I got the washing on the line I would count forty articles of clothing for them - petticoats, dresses, bloomers and such.
When Dean was a baby my father came to live with us. He lived with us until he passed away which was over 23 years. It was a pleasure to have him in our home. He was so kind to the children and the children loved him and was good to him. I will always be grateful to my husband who accepted him into our home and was so good to him. We was so happy we could take care of him and he didn't have to go to a Rest Home. We never felt he was a burden to us. He would go visit my brothers and sisters some times, but our home was his home and where he stayed most of the time. We bought his farm that he had homesteaded on when he first came to Idaho, soon after he came to live with us and he seemed to feel more at home there and I was his baby girl. That could have made a difference too.
Then when Dean was in High School, Dad's sister, Oreta, and her husband Jack Child moved away from Woodville and their son Louis Hammer wanted to finish High School in Shelley, so we took him into our home for three years. We was happy to have him in our home too. He was a nice boy to have around. You can imagine what size table we had to have. Dad built a long bench that we placed behind the table and the boys sat on it and it was referred to as the "pig bench". Our two oldest girls were married.
With my father, Louis, my husband and six sons I nearly always had from twenty-five to twenty-nine shirts in the washing and ironing. Verona and LeReah was home. We had nine in school and I would have to bake from twelve to fourteen loaves of bread every other day and I loved to do it.
The Lord blessed me with such good health that it was always a pleasure to do for my family and others. However, while I had that many in school one fall, I broke my leg and had it in a cast for six weeks. Bertha happened to live near us at that time and she would come over and do my big washings. She was expecting her second child and it wasn't too easy for her. Then I would sit on a stool, put my leg with the cast on through the ironing board and iron all those shirts and the rest of the ironing, but I was happy to do it.
It was at this time that Dad bought me a large hand bread mixer and I would put the ingredients in the mixer and the children would stir it for me with the handle that fit on top of the disc that extended down into the mixer, much like an ice cream freezer. This helped me a great deal. Dad was always doing everything he could to make things as convenient for me as possible. He always gave me the best he could afford.
Verona and LeReah would get up early and get breakfast and put theirs and the three boys lunches up that was in High School. Then Dad would put the four little boys lunches up. They said they liked to have their daddy put their sandwiches up as he put more butter on them.
I did my washing by hand and we packed the water from the ditch in front of the house. Dad and the children helped pack the water. Later, Dad bought me a washer that had to be turned by hand and the children thought it was great sport to take turns and it was a great help to me. They loved to turn the hand wringer. Just before Donald was born, Dad bought me a new Maytag, the first one in Woodville. We didn't have electricity for a while, so had to have a gas motor on it. But I was really thrilled with it. Claude Rhead was the one who sold it to us. It really saved me a lot of hard work and I was grateful for it. Soon after that, we got electricity and oh, how happy we were when we could turn the electric lights on and do away with coal and gas lamps and have electric motor put on my new Maytag. The electric washing machine was more dangerous and one day LaReah was helping putting the clothes through the wringer and her hand got caught and went part way through the wringer before we could get it turned off. It peeled the skin off her right hand and she has a scar to show for it. We were grateful she wasn't more seriously injured.
When my father first came to live with us, we lived up on the hill in a three room house. It was a mile north of my father's farm. Dean was the baby. We lived there one year. Then we bought part of my father's farm and lived in a little four room house and we was sure crowded. The four roomed house was where the little cement block house now stands. The front part of that house is now the front part of Dewey Kelley's house across the street. Evon, Max and Reed was born in that little house. In a few years we bought the rest of my father's farm and moved into a seven room frame house which my brother Alvin had built. Two bedrooms were upstairs, so now we were more comfortable. But it was not a modern house either, so we still had to use the outside toilet and carry all our water for washing, bathing and everything else we needed water for. It was in this house we got our first electricity and telephone.
Saturday night was quite a night . As we had to carry water from the ditch and heat it on the coal stove for our large families to get their weekly baths. We would bring the "Number three" galvanized round tub in after supper and start in bathing. We would start with the smallest ones so they wouldn't get too sleepy. I remember we used to bathe two in the same water to save packing so much water in and heating it. We seldom ever got more than one bath a week. After the baths I would mop the floors in the water that the last two used, so it was always ten or eleven before I would get to bed. I sometimes wonder how we ever did all we had to do, but it was our way of life and we didn't think anything about it. We was just grateful for our health and strength to do it.
Up to now it may sound like our life was rather dull, but it was anything but dull. With a large family like that there was always something happening. When LaReah was old enough to go to dances she came in late from a dance. She was with Verona and a group. I heard Verona come in, but not LaReah. After some time we began getting worried and started looking for her. Verona said she had come home with her and got out of the car. We found LaReah in the outside toilet sound asleep and it was a cold, cold night. She could go to sleep anywhere.
When Dean, Louis and Evon were dating age they took the car to a dance and had car trouble. We worried all night. They were quite a way from home and they didn't want to leave one in the car and the other two come home or the one come home and leave the other two in the car, so they all sat it out together. Early the next morning they came home. We were really relieved. We had an appointment for a family group picture that morning, so we were grateful we were all together and no one harmed.
Of course, we had our ups and downs, but were really grateful that there were more ups than downs. As I have said before, we were grateful for our ten children and loved them and enjoyed them very much. Also we was grateful for our brothers and sisters and parents and got together with them quite often. We were grateful for the church and the privilege our Bishops gave us to serve in the different organizations. And we always held two or three positions in our ward at the same time and enjoyed it always.
We used to go up in the hills with our family in a covered wagon or white top buggy, that was when the older children was small. Mother and Dad Huntsman would go with us and we enjoyed those trips.
Dad would take the boys on Fathers and Sons Outings and I took the girls on Mothers and Daughters Outings and really enjoyed that. I will always be grateful for Dad's father and mother as they were fine folks and helped us a lot in many different ways, especially in living the gospel. And they were always jolly and was good to be with.
Mother Huntsman was always having big dinners and having all her family there. On Christmas for years, we used to go over to their place Christmas Eve and stay all night. We would take our mattresses and bedding to make beds all over the house. Oreta's, Vern's and Dee's families were always there and we really had nice times as a family. Dad,s father and mother would get up early on Christmas and fry steaks, make hot biscuits and get a real nice breakfast for that large group. They always made "Mormon Gravy" (milk gravy) to go on our hot biscuits.
When our family began to get married and have children we stopped spending our Christmases there. We then had our family come home and stay all night Christmas Eve and spend Christmas with us. And as our grandchildren came, we too had a large crowd there for many years and it was something our children and grandchildren and us will always remember as real happy times. We will always be grateful to our in-laws who was so fine to be willing to come and join us.
|Front row: Lto R: Marlyn Nelson, Ronald Nelson, Evon Huntsman Jr.,Sandra Huntsman, Rex Huntsman, Carol Ann Nelson|
|Second Row: Ruth Bragg, Brenda Huntsman, Billy Huntsman, Stephen Huntsman|
|Third Row: Kent Adamson, Zoy Adamson, Nola Adamson, Karon Bragg|
This is 1967 and it hasn't been many years since we had all or most of our family home for Christmas dinner. All helped with the dinner and it wasn't hard on any of us. And we really had good times and still do.
After cars came in and we felt we could afford a car we bought one, or I should say several through the years. Our groups that we was with most - the Risenmays, Nelson, Kotters, Everetts, and many others, we would take our families up to Yellowstone Park, which we really enjoyed and had some real good times together. And in the winter our group would have parties at one or the others home and also went to dances until we thought we was too old to dance.
In the winter, two or three couples would get together and take our cream and eggs to Idaho Falls to buy our groceries and clothes in a sleigh and that was fun, too.
So with our family, church and other activities we have had a wonderful life.
|Front Row sitting Left to Right: Regena Huntsman, Robert Huntsman, Mark Huntsman, Douglas Johnson|
|Second Row: Paul Huntsman, Martha Elnora Huntsman, Lei Lani Huntsman, Judy Huntsman, Farrel Huntsman, Evon Wesley Hunstman, Monte Huntsman, Craig Huntsman Dale Toronto|
|Third Row: Evona Toronto, Paula Toronto, Valene Nelson, Dena Huntsman, Katherine Johnson, Teresa Adamson, Kristine Huntsman, Vale Johnson|
|Fourth Row: Ruth Bragg, Brenda Huntsman, Wesley Toronto, Zoy Adamson Johnson, Lisa Miller, Carol Ann Nelson Miller, Ronald Nelson, Sandra Huntsman, Marlyn Nelson, Billy Huntsman, Stephen Huntsman, Gary Huntsman|
MARTHA ELNORA GIFFORD HUNTSMAN'S LAST TEN YEARS
Mothers last entry to her personal History was 1968. This was also about the last year Dad recorded in his. He died 3 years later, 16th of May, 1971. Mother lived just over 10 years after Dad's death, and died 30th of August, 1981. We, her family have felt we should fill in for Mother, her doings in those 10 years. She and Father never were apart but very little during their married life and always doing things together and we could see the loneliness in her heart. Being one never to let adversity stand in her way, missing Dad very much and this she would state daily, she made the best of it by keeping herself busy and occupied. Dean and Dorothy, Max and Hazel, and Reed and Velda all still living in Idaho Falls, kept close contact with her and saw that her needs were met. It was Mother's desire to live in her home the rest of her life rather than live with any of the family. With the help of her sons, daughters daughter-in-laws and Grandchildren, this was accomplished. All the family kept in close contact with her and visited her as much as they could. One of the first decisions that was made was to get someone in her basement apartment, that for 1\2 reduction in rent, would keep an eye on her and check on her daily. They were also to do the cutting of the grass and watering. This went real well and we had at least 3 young couples that were there, but the only problem, they would find homes to buy and were gone. The best care she got was when her Grandson, Ron Nelson and his wife Diane moved in and was there probably the longest. Even though mother liked the other couples, Ron and Diane became really close to her and they were also her family.
For about the first year, Mother kept working in the Temple but soon found this too much for her. She was anxious to go though, when some member of her family would come and go with her. When her Grandchildren were married in the Temple she was always there. One incident was when her Grandson, Monte was married in the Provo Temple in July of 1974. Because of the large usage now of the Temples, all white weddings were discouraged. Those having recommends and wanting to attend the wedding only, were asked not to change into their whites and go directly to the sealing room where the wedding was to take place. When Mother was told this at the reception desk, she said that she had never attended a wedding without her whites and she wasn't about to start. We tried to persuade her that this is the way they did things now and explained to her the reason why, but weren't making much headway in convincing her. Finally one of the matrons saw the dilemma and came and told mother that they had received this directive from the Prophet. Then Mother said " All right if it is from the Prophet I will do it but I still don't like it."
She nearly always had a quilt on and it was always a highlight when her friends and especially her daughters would come and help. She spent very little time watching T.V., but when Lawrence Welk and the Price is Right were on, she was glued to the T.V. She really enjoyed these two programs. She spent hours reading and kept a immaculate house and kept her daughters and daughter-in-laws exhausted when she would decide the walls needed cleaning. This ritual went on whether they needed cleaning or not and most of the time they did not. She still loved to cook for her family when they came and would always keep on hand plenty of Oatmeal Cookies and Applesauce Cake.
In January, 1973, Dean and Dorothy decided to move to Boise where Dean took Employment with the State Organization of County Commissioners and Clerks, as their Director. This was a real blow to Mother, but she agreed that it would be good for them. Max, Reed and their wives were still there and kept in close contact with her and helped out when needed. Evon and Florence came down from Montana quite often and would always stop by. When Dean would come to Idaho Falls on business, Dorothy would come and spend time with Mother and help where she could. Mother had, soon after Dad's death, given up her drivers license, but kept her car and would get one of the family to drive her where she wanted to go. This included by then, some of her Grandchildren. She said she felt much better knowing she had transportation. She took short trips visiting family members and I believe one of the highlights of her life, at that time, was when her daughters went with her to visit other members of her family, which included Donald and family in Washington State. She really loved to be with her daughters when she could. She even ventured out on her own once and flew to Washington by herself. Donald picked her up in Spokane and took her to their home, to spend a few days with them in Moses Lake.
Sometime in the late 70's, Ron and Diane found them a home to buy in Idaho Falls and this was really hard on Mother to see them go, but also realized it was an opportunity for them. Another young couple came to live in the basement and kept an eye on Mother. She enjoyed having this couple around and got along well with them. Mother had began to deteriorate and was not eating right and was confused about her medication. The family was quite concerned about her welfare, so Dean told her that she was going to have to come live with one of the family or let us get someone to live in with her. She didn't want to do either. Her daughter, LaReah got Breast Cancer and after a year of suffering, she died the 20th of December, 1978. Again, another blow to Mother. In the last months of 1979 and early 1980 she was going down hill noticeably and when she came to Boise to visit Dean and Dorothy in the spring of 1980, Dean told her that the next time he came over to Idaho Falls she needed to make a decision as to whether she wanted to live with one of the family or get some girl to live with her, that she couldn't stay alone anymore. Not long after she returned to her home, after this visit, she was found by the couple who were living in the basement, but who had been away for several hours, on the cold garage floor of her home, unable to get up. The couple called Reed and then the ambulance. As soon as Reed and Velda got there, Mother quickly responded to them that Dean was going to get some one to stay with her but wasn't going to leave her home. It scared her enough that she knew she needed to do something. How long she lay there, she couldn't remember, but her condition showed quite awhile. After an overnight in the hospital, they found no broken bones and no apparent reason for the fall. The family members in Idaho Falls area looked after her until Reed and Velda were able to hire someone to live with her. They found an older single girl, who had recently joined the church and wanted to earn a little money while she was waiting for a mission call for herself. They got along fine except a few times they locked horns, mostly because of Mother's determination to be her own boss and it upset her to have someone come in and supervise her domain. After several months, this girl received her mission call and a girl by the name of Wray, in her late 40's, was hired to move in and they got along really well. She also knew she needed help.
The last of 1979, Wray wanted to go visit relatives in Hawaii for several months and so Reed was calling around the family to find out what to do as Mother was needing even more help. When Donald and Esther were informed and after discussing the situation, decided that they could probably best of anyone, move up and take care of Mother. Down the road, they could see that the only alternative would be to put her in a nursing home to get the daily care she was now needing. Mother had really sacrificed to see that the year before her father died and until he died, he got the best of care and it became a 24 hour ordeal for her. She deserved the same, didn't she? Donald and Esther rented Esther's home and moved up to take care of Mother. Esther still had two kids at home, attending High School. One was near finishing, so he stayed with his sister and Nolan moved to Idaho and finished School there. When they got there Mother was still going to Church and getting her Relief Society teaching done. This only lasted a few months, as she soon came to the point where this was not possible. It was interesting to note that even at this time, she insisted that she had to make Applesauce Cake, so when her family came, they could have some. Esther had to take over, but Mother stood by and they really felt that Mother felt she was still doing it. About this time, Mother's care became a 24 hour ordeal and put a lot of strain and work on Esther, as it finally got to where Mother could not do anything for herself. We were grateful for the Home Care Nurse who came by once a week. Also Esther took classes on the best way for Home Care. We hired a young girl the last couple of months to move in and help Esther, as Mother could not even feed herself and the family had to get a swing cradle jack to be able to move Mother to her wheel chair and bathroom. This became extremely hard on Esther but survive she did. When it looked like Mother was going to die and the Doctor confirmed that it would only be a matter of days, the family was called and those out of town came over. The only thing she would say before they got there was, "where's my children". Even though she was really out of it, she seemed to sense when Bertha, Verona and Dean got there and that night, we all took turns keeping a watch on her. Sometime just before 7 A.M. Sunday, August 30th, 1981, under Verona's and Esther's watch, they woke Donald and said that they felt Mother was going and Donald called the rest and they reached her as she breathed her last. Donald states, as the Mortician wheeled Mother's body out the front door, he felt as if he heard Dad say " Well done, my family". It was both Mother and Dad's desires that Mother be able to remain in the home she dearly loved, overlooking the Idaho Falls Temple, until the day she died. Mission accomplished.
I believe we can best sum up Mother's life from a quote Dean put in his personal diary. " I could spend hours and write pages about the great service Mother gave to her family and friends over the past 87 years. I guess I can sum it up in a few words. Though Mother was not blessed with very much formal education and having to take over the responsibility of looking over her father and brothers at the age of 10, when her mother died, she learned how to work and manage a home. She knew what it was like to live a Christ like life, to share her life and material blessings that she had, with others. I can truly say without reservation that if there was ever an Angel Mother, it was my Mother".
She was never known to put herself first. Honesty was the name of the game. She loved Jesus Christ and showed it also by her action and service to others. It was never in her to gossip about others. She could only see the good in people.
She was buried by the side of her Eternal Companion ( whom she said, many times, that she dearly loved and it was shown over the years by their actions), on September 2nd, 1981, in the Shelley, Idaho, Cemetery.
Poem taken from mother's own handwriting and found in her personal possession.
YOUR MOTHER WILL BE PRAYING FOR YOU
Wherever your lot may be cast my dear boy;
There is one thing I wish you to know;
You must live a good life be clean and pure;
For we reap all the sorrows we sow;
And when you are gone from this home dear boy; Be honorable manly and true;
Though trouble besets you; They'll vanish again; For your mother will be praying for you;
You've a home sweet home so remember my lad; Tho your feet may oft wander afar;
Remember the counsel you got in your home;
And obey it wherever you are;
And whether your out where the billows may soar; Or seriously sick with the flue; Just keep up your courage; Tho dark seems the way;
For your mother is praying for you;
Every act of your life that is pure and true;
Will delight that dear mother at home;
The world is a net of deception and sin;
So be careful where ever you roam;
Be humble and prayerful yourself my dear boy;
And be guarded in all that you do;
And your sure to come back in honor my lad;
For your mother is praying for you.