Written by her daughters Della H. Barker and Florence Jensen–March 1, 1961
Note: This was written in 1961 before we had more accurate information. I have simply corrected a few dates and places and provided full names without further comment. JBO
Medora Blanchard Hickenlooper was born in Springville, Utah County, Utah, 23 February 1866, oldest daughter of Emma Bocock and Alma Moroni Blanchard.
The Bocock family lived in Yorkshire, England. Emma’s father, William Bocock, was born 29 February 1796 at Rasen, Lincolnshire, England and was a tollgate keeper. He died 13 May 1847 leaving his widow and three daughters, Emma being four years old. Her mother, Sarah Brough Bocock was born 5 April 1799 and lived in Sheffield, England; she was the daughter of Jane Bowskill and James Brough. Sarah Brough Bocock died 8 March 1852, leaving three orphan daughters; Hannah – 21 years, Elizabeth – 14 years, and Emma – 8 years old. The daughters continued to operate the tollgate for their livelihood. All people, vehicles, sheep, swine and cattle were charged a fee to use this road, or bridge or bar.
One day a young man, Charles Law, came to their door as a salesman. He had joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and he taught them the Gospel. All three girls were baptized 26 March 1857. Two days later, they sailed with Mr. Law for America from Liverpool, England with 817 Saints under the direction of Elder James Park on the ship George Washington – arriving in Boston, Massachusetts, 23 April 1857, a very speedy voyage for those days. They reached Salt Lake City 26 September 1857.
Emma married Charles Law, as a polygamous wife, and bore him two children – a boy Francis Joseph and a daughter who died in infancy. Mr. Law died 20 September 1862. On 13 May 1864 she married Alma Moroni Blanchard. Their children were Isorah born 5 February 1865 and died in infancy; Medora, the subject of this sketch; Lenora born 25 September 1867 and died in infancy; Alma Moroni Jr. Born 15 October 1868; Sarah Elizabeth born 3 September 1870; and Byron born 3 February 1872.
Medora’s father, Alma Moroni Blanchard, was born 5 April 1842 near Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan. His father Aseph was born 3 October 1800 in Hamilton, Madison County, New York and had become a member of the L.D.S Church in 1836. While serving as a missionary in Michigan in 1839, he met and later married a young schoolteacher Eunice Elizabeth Thompson in 1841. She was born 15 January 1824. Her father, Thomas A. Thompson, was born 15 June 1772 at Bethel, Michigan and died in LaHarpe, Illinois, 11 September 1845. Her mother, Charlotte Rice Thompson, was born 5 February 1776 in Lanesborough, Massachusetts and died in Springville, Utah, 16 October 1868. She joined the Church in February 1832 and continued with her daughter and son-in-law and arrived in Utah in September 1852 when she was 74 years old.
The Blanchards crossed the plains with one wagon, three cows and one horse. The cows furnished milk and butter and had their turns being hitched with the horse to pull the wagon. Young Alma Moroni, 10 years old, helped with the chores along the way and drove the team much of the time. They remained in Salt Lake a short time and then went to Springville to make their home. They endured hardships and privations like other pioneers in early Utah.
When Medora was seven years old, her mother died, leaving her and three younger children. Her older brother Francis (Frank) and she helped the father keep house and look after five year old Alma Jr. and Sarah. Her Grandmother Blanchard lived near by and kept baby Byron; and she also helped oversee the motherless children in their home. It was hard to cook dried beans all day on a sage brush fire and not let them scorch and yet get them done; and the father was very exacting on how the beans were cooked. Sometimes Medora would forget to put enough water on them as they swelled, and she would burn the beans which was very upsetting to her father.
Springville was quite a rendezvous for Indians and many times the children were very frightened as their father would be away from home when the Indians came to beg for food. Very often the children were left at home alone in the evenings when their father was away.
As time passed, Grandfather Alma Moroni Blanchard took another wife, Emily Pierce. It was not a happy marriage and caused conflicts in the home. Medora had taken charge for some years and the new woman in the home had different ideas than the girl. When Great-grandfather Aseph Blanchard died 23 September 1878 in Springville, his daughter Jane Blanchard Ellis made the trip from the west end of North Ogden to attend her father’s funeral. Seeing the conditions in the Blanchard home, she asked to take Medora, then thirteen years old, to her home to get her in a better environment. As Jane was a midwife and away from home a great deal, it would also help her. Medora’s brother Frank agreed to take care of her clothing and schooling, and she would work at Aunt Jane’s home for her board and lodging. She helped with the housework, washing, ironing, tending chickens, drying fruit, making butter and all the things that pertained to living on a farm in those days in Utah. She was very happy to go to her Aunt Jane’s and enjoyed it very much as it was a well-organized home where there was understanding and love and the high ideals of the Church were adhered to.
Medora had been in the Ellis home about five months when in February Ann Ham Hickenlooper and her children came to the same community from Salt Lake City. Medora was helping as assistant teacher for the small children and Charles came to school for a few weeks. The teacher was his nephew, Edward W. Wade [son of Belinda Hickenlooper Wade].
Pleasant View was separated from North Ogden and became a ward 9 July 1882 and Medora became the first secretary of the Primary organization of the new ward with Reuben T. Rhees as her assistant.
After a two-year courtship, she was married to Charles A. Hickenlooper in the Endowment House by Daniel H. Wells, 13 December 1883. Nine children were born to them. They all lived to adulthood except Lottie Emma who died 7 December 1910, when ten years old, from complications following scarlet fever. William Alma died 30 November 1922 of peritonitis, following a ruptured appendix, leaving a wife, Clara Charlesworth Hickenlooper, and a year-old son Roland LeRoy.
From the time of their marriage, Charles and Medora lived with Charles’ mother, Ann Ham Hickenlooper. This arrangement gave them a home, and at the same time, it helped Grandmother Hickenlooper who was in very poor health. Someone had to be with her at all times. She was a great student of the scriptures and the Gospel and gave Charles and Medora precious training in the fundamentals of their religion. She passed away 17 February 1888.
In the summer following, Mother received a legacy from her mother’s half-brother’s estate in England. [William Winks Bocock had been a prosperous glass manufacturer, had no children, and so left his estate to his half sisters in America, or since Emma had died, her share went to her children.] This money helped to buy material for a brick house for Father and Mother. Uncle Orson Hickenlooper and Father did the masonry work and helped Bishop Wade with the carpentry work. Altogether it was possible for them to have a new home. By the time, this house was built, they already had three children. Florence was the first child born in this new home in Pleasant View.
In 1895, Father was called on a mission to the Southern States, to labor in Tennessee. It was a hard thing for Mother to consent for him to go, leaving her with five children and Merl was born four one-half months after Father left. But both of them believed that members of the Church should do whatever was asked of them by the authorities, and he went and filled an honorable mission. Our brother Will was ten years old and he milked the cows. Mother made butter, sometimes getting as little as ten cents a pound for it. She raised pigs and chickens, sold eggs, picked berries, dried fruit and kept us well. It was surely a happy reunion when Father returned home. He always said that Mother had the hard part of the mission and he received the glory.
While he was still on a mission, Father was called to be counselor to Edward W. Wade in the Pleasant View Bishopric 9 May 1897. Four years later, 24 February 1901, he became bishop of the ward. In those days, sacrament meetings were held on Sunday afternoon, and when Stake visitors came to the ward, Father would often bring them home to have dinner and feed their horses, because horse and buggy was the mode of transportation at that time.
David O. McKay was Bishop of Huntsville at the same time as Charles Hickenlooper was Bishop of Pleasant View. One time David O. McKay was heading home to Huntsville in a storm. The lightning got so bad he stopped his horse and buggy at the Hickenlooper home. The family had eaten but Brother McKay said that was all right. He would eat leftovers. Medora told him there were no leftovers, but asked him if he liked bread and milk. He said he did and so Medora put the cooling pan, the big flat pan of milk on the table and he helped himself.
She always tried to do her part and make people welcome, but owing to her heart condition that developed before her third child was born, she was limited in her physical activities. She desired to do many things in the home and in public and in church that she was not well enough to do. As she advanced in years, her activities were gradually curtailed. She was never homebound and her intellect was always alert. She was studious and enjoyed reading and could converse on most any subject. She was very precise in pronunciation and used the dictionary often. She was a good cook and took great pride in having her bottled fruit look perfect. She gave good advice and was a sincere Latter-Day Saint. She had a good alto voice and enjoyed singing. Her husband was State Fruit Tree inspector, on the Horticulture Boards, took Utah exhibits to the Sacramento Fair, and was gone a lot of the time. He was manager of about 30 men who worked at the Model Farm at Corrinne. A bank had foreclosed on this farm and was running it. They hired about three cooks and at one time Medora’s daughter Luella worked there as a cook. Charles also did some farming of his own on the side.
The family moved to Salt Lake City in May of 1913. On 13 December 1933, Father and Mother celebrated their Golden Wedding Day. We arranged a family gathering in Pleasant View at the home of Henry L. And Florence Jensen, son-in-law and daughter. It consisted of turkey dinner and program. There were 32 present and each one participated on the program. Father and Mother sang a duet, “She Taught Me First to Pray,” the words having been composed by mother’s father. Father recited one of his favorite recitations, “The Golden Wedding Day.” Besides our parents, our special guests were Thomas Budge, first counselor to Father in the Bishopric and his wife Cora Rushton Budge – mother’s longtime friend who accompanied them to Salt Lake City when they were married. Henry and Florence dressed Venna, Ray’s daughter in Mother’s wedding dress. She came into the living room and modeled it, showing it off from every angle so everyone could see. This seemed to be the highlight of the day. Mother had made this beautiful dress and had treasured it all those fifty years. This helped everyone to visualize the event that was being commemorated.
The Second Ward of the [Salt Lake City] Liberty Stake honored them in their ward chapel in the evening. Bishop Elgren had them come up to the front of the chapel and together they formed a receiving line where everyone could shake their hands and give them greetings. The people returned to their seats and a fine program was given.
Mother enjoyed traveling and shortly before her death, she made a trip to California and visited her son Merl and family – also her sister, Sarah Blanchard Ferrin, and other relatives. She died at her home in Salt Lake City 28 June 1936 at the age of seventy. She was buried in the North Ogden Cemetery 1 July 1936.
Her funeral was held in the Second Ward Meetinghouse in Salt Lake City [700 South 500 East]. A very impressive service. The speakers were Brother George Seamon, who had known her from early girlhood, and President David O. McKay, a very special friend who gave an inspiring sermon giving comfort and peace.
Mother labored faithfully in various organizations of the Church. She was secretary in the Relief Society and served for many years as a visiting teacher in that organization in the Pleasant View Ward. She was also a visiting teacher in the Relief Society in the Second Ward, Liberty Stake, in Salt Lake City, and was a member of the quilting committee. She joined the Daughter of the Utah Pioneers 14 May 1928 and belonged to Camp Two. She was an officer in this organization at the time of her death.
Surviving were her seven children:
- Luella married William J. Packham.
- Della married Frederick Barker
- Florence married Henry L. Jensen
- Ray Charles married Vera Jensen.
- Merl Horace married Evelyn Workman
- Glen Andrew married Mabel Ransom
- Melva did not marry.
At this writing, 1 March 1961, her living posterity consists of seven children, thirty-six grandchildren, one hundred eighteen great grandchildren, and ten great-great grandchildren.
Nine grandsons and one granddaughter have served on foreign missions for the Church. One great grandson is on a mission at this time, and one great granddaughter leaves on a mission in April.