The Life of Father and Mother
by LaRae Mathews
The Spirit of Christmas faded into the past and the dawn of a new day rose forth. That new day brought peace and good will to Thomas and Mary Ellen Mathews. A son was born to them on the 26th day of December 1892 in a middle-sized rock house at Beaver, Utah. He was given the name of Benjamin Lynn Mathews. That new-born son was my father. He has brought joy to his parents as well as his own children. I know that each member of his family would agree when I said, “He is the kind of father any person would enjoy.” He has sacrificed his life for us and has given us everything that a young person would want– education, encouragement, and the most important of all– being a real father. Whenever life seemed dull, it was he who made you realize the importance of it. If you made a mistake he would say, “That’s all right, we’ll find another way.”
At the age of three, he was privileged to wear the latest style, that was– short pants and a shirt with ruffles in front and along the top of the shirt. His mother put a big curl on top of his head and he felt as if he were grown up. He walked down the road very proud, until he heard the clamp, clamp of horses hooves. He looked up and in the distance he saw two horses pulling a wagon with a driver holding the reins. The driver looked familiar, but he couldn’t tell who it was. As the horse and wagon got closer he recognized the driver. It was his father. He became so frightened that he crawled beneath a nearby fence. What could he be frightened of? He must have been afraid to let his father see him in his new suit.
Years passed by, Dad grew from being a small boy to a young man of seven years old. One of his greatest hobbies was going to the Shepherd ranch just one mile distant, and ride horses with his cousin, Willard. One day they decided to see how fast their horse would run. To their surprise, the horse gave a quick jerk and they both tumbled off. The falling off wouldn’t have been so bad, if they had not cut themselves so.
His uncle had a liking for these two young boys. He would sit them on his knee and have spelling matches with them. It seems as if Dad became a very good speller and quick to catch on.
While in the third grade, his parents moved the sulphur beds, taking Dad with them. They let the eldest son, Mel, stay with their Aunt Elise Smith at Beaver. After being with his folks awhile Dad decided he ought to go back to school. He stayed in Beaver awhile, but he couldn’t bear it more than two weeks so off to the sulphur beds he went. The reason must have been that he was home sick.
One of his greatest prides and joys was when he was twelve years old. He was put in president of the second quorum of deacons. He enjoyed this work tremendously. He took great pride in seeing to it that all that was assigned him was completed. He and Willard enjoyed gathering fast offerings on their horse, Dick. Because of their interest in their work, they gathered great quantities of it.
While still a youngster in Primary he would always take part. He could never say no, because it was a thrill to see how proud his parents were of him. On one occasion he was called on to pray. It was a great shock, but he knew he could do it. After he had finished praying, the people congratulated him and told him if he would keep on trying he could be as good as Doc Shepherd.
Another thing he enjoyed were that dances that were held on Saturdays. These dances taught him that dancing was a lot of fun. All the girls liked to dance with him and he thought he was very popular which was the truth. As he grew older, he enjoyed going to the dances with the ideas of winning the prize for being the best dancer. Sometimes he would win and other times he wouldn’t even be recognized as a good dancer.
Another of his hobbies was music which began while he was in seventh grade. There was a band organized at school and Dad decided he must be in it. He wondered how he would get enough money to buy some instrument. A real good idea came into his mind. Anyway he thought so. Why couldn’t he sell his cow and calf? He did sell them and bought himself a trombone. He was so determined to be a success that he kept at it for six years. He spent much time practicing so he would be real good. He played in the high school band which was the most lot of fun. The band would play at rallies and have concerts in order to get enough money to build a new academy.
Another of his great moment in his life was graduating from the eighth grade. Every student in Beaver County in that grade were graduating. It was really a great thrill as these young students, consisting of more than one hundred and fifty, marched up the aisle at the Beaver Tabernacle. The program was an inspiration to these young boys and girls. It gave them strength, courage, and determination to face whatever the future held.
Dad’s favorite teacher was Jess Hansen. He was the kind of teacher that any young person would want. He was understanding, kind, and lots of fun.
During his high school days, he rode his horse three miles every morning, in order to get to school. He was attending the Murdock Academy. Every morning he would milk between ten and fifteen cows, get ready for school, then reach school by nine o’ clock. During the winter, it would be so cold that he would freeze the sides of his cheeks by the time he reached school.
As well as getting his lessons in school, he enjoyed playing baseball. There were many times that he sluffed school in order to go and play ball with his best pals. School wouldn’t be fun if you didn’t pull a few tricks. Besides playing ball, he enjoyed running. Different kind of sports became a favorite so he quit running. He could outrun the other runners. At the state track meet, his pal– that he had outrun– won the state.
Before the automobile Dad and his boy friends would go hay riding for their amusement. It really was a great sport. It was getting late one evening, but not too late to go hay riding. Dad and his friends got a few more boys so there would be just ten boys/ then they got ten girls. It was real dark with just a few stars shining overhead against a dark blue background. Once in awhile soft warm lights of home shown through the windows. They had their wagon and horses, but not the hay. They knew a good place to get it. They asked the owner if they could get a little hay. “Sure,” he said. They got the hay on the wagons and started on their joy ride. To their surprise the hay started to itch. They couldn’t figure out why. Finally with a little light showing on the wagon, they found they had foxtail instead of hay.
Another of his greatest thrills was seeing the first automobile. It was the year 1907. People thronged to main street to see one of the most thrilling sights in years. they even crowded, pushed and tried their best to be the first one to see itl. The streets were crowded on both sides and for five blocks down. Through all the excitement and noise an odd-shaped creeping object appeared. Questions were asked, could that be the automobile. It must be. It looked something like a buggy and was very hard to get into. When the people saw it, they became so frightened that they jumped over a ditch which was on both sides of the street, then crossed the fence. Dad was as scared as the rest. He climbed the fence and looked on.
Later, when he became better acquainted with the sight of the new automobile, he went to inspect it. He really got a thrill inspecting it. The wheels were like that of the wagon, except it was made of rubber. They would crank if from the middle. Some that came into town later didn’t even have a gop on it. The did not sound like the horn in the present day automobile. It had a long tube made of rubber. You would squeeze it together, and what a funny sound it would make.
It was even a thrill to ride in it. The owner would take students back and forth to the Murdock Academy– a distance of two and one-half miles. It would cost $2.50 from Beaver to the Murdock Academy.
In the spring of his senior year, it seemed as if life could not be better. The Senior class would go on many parties ranging from canyon parties to just common bonfire parties with a few wieners or marshmallows. The other students would usually get jealous because they were unable to have as much fun as the seniors. Being seniors meant they were big shots in the high school.
After graduating from high school, he began to work as a cattleman. He had to do some kind of work if he was to continue his schooling. He went to summer school then began to teach school that fall at Minersville. He taught school here two years and enjoyed it very much. It was quite a sport to take his students on parties and be a real teacher to them. During the summer time he attended summer school at the University of Utah. He completed two years of college this way. It seemed that by attending college a broader outlook on life was established as well as higher ideals.
He had other interests besides teaching school. He had been corresponding with a young lady that lived across the east mountain from his home. We’ll cross that mountain now and get better acquainted with her.
In a small town called Antimony this young lady was making her entrance into life. It began on a warm summer day. The date was June 15, 1894. The day seemed not at all unusual on the small ranch in north fork. The housework had to be done, meals cooked, and the cows nad horses taken care of. The house was being taken care of by Bertha, the only living daughter of George Blacks. He mother had been staying in town for two weeks.
Bertha had finished the work so she went outside to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. In the distance she saw a horse coming toward her rapidly. What could that mean? Maybe it was about her mother, but she hoped everything was all right. As the horse drew nearer she could tell the rider.
It was her brother, George. The question came into her mind, what does he want? He seemed very happy. As he came nearer, a big, broad smile came across his face. He looked at her and said, “We have the cutest baby sister.” Bertha was so happy that she walked twelve miles just to see the new-born baby. This eight pount baby girl was my mother, Esther Black Mathews.
At the age of two and one-half years, her mother and Dad took her to Kanosh for a visit. They traveled in an old slow-moving buggy. She told me that she can remember as plain as if it were yesterday of passing an Indian camp and watching the Indians jerking meat. The stopped and her father got the Indians to sell them some. It tasted real good, but she said the funniest thing of all was watching the squaws work.
There were very few people seen at this time, because the methods of travel were not easy. The only people you would see were the roaming cowboys, travelers, or maybe a few people who went to church. The cowboys lived around her father’s home. There were two things she learned from them– how to ride horses their style and talk their language. If you want to know their language get around them sometime and listen.
These men were not as important as her choicest pet, a medium-sized grey cat called Topsy. The little rhyme that describes them both, “Everywhere little Esther goes, that cat will be sure to go.”
There was another pet of the family, a New Foundland dog, named Guess. It was a dog to remember. It stood three feet high with spots black and white. It was a dog the whole family admired. One thing it would always do, whenever a stranger came around their place, it would go out to meet them, usually tearing their pants’ leg of biting them. One evening a stranger came to the door. As the door was opened, the dog saw the stranger and he began to growl, but they wouldn’t turn him loose. They knew something must be up, because he only barked at people he did not trust. The stranger asked many questions about the men folks and their whereabouts. He asked about the cattle, too. Being satisfied with the answers he received, he went away. During the night, mother’s father came home. Hours passed by. All was quiet and the dog slept peacefully. In the wee hours of the morning the dog became very restless and began to howl. This howling of the dog woke up the members of the family. They looked out of the window. To their surprise there were men driving the cattle out of the corral. Her father got out of bed, dressed and went out doors taking the dog with him. Out of the silence of the night, except for the mooing of the cattle, a voice was heard. “What are you doing?” There was no answer. He told them if they did not stop the dog would be turned loose on them. They just laughed and went on stealing the cattle. The dog was turned loose. Before the men could stop laughing, the dog had hold of one man– tearing his pants to pieces and biting the flesh. The other man became so frightened they promised they would leave if the dog was called back. The dog was called back. The cattle stealers ran their horses down the old dirt road as fast as possible.
During the summer time the family would always move onto the east mountain near the Clayton Ranger Station to milk cows and make cheese to sell. Mother became one of the chief milkers, by milking thirty-five cows both night and morning. Their daily schedule was to get up at sunrise and milk cows. Toward noon the task of making bricks of cheese began. As the sun began to go down in the western skies the cattle and dairy cows would be driven into the corrals and milked.
One evening as the stars began to twinkle in the far-off horizon, and the chores completed. They decided to rest awhile before retiring for the evening. The children were out doors playing. All of a sudden they began to scream and ran into the house, to cling to their mother’s apron strings. Through the open door, an old Indian named Mustache came walking slowly up to the house. He would always scare the women fold when the men were not around. There was only one thing to do– turn the dog, Guess, on him. As soon as Mustache saw the dog coming toward him very rapidly, he turned around and ran as fast as possible with dog right behind him. Mustache never returned again.
Guess would always follow his master’s command. When he was killed the family lost a true friend. They said it was as if a member of the family had died.
In the year 1900, a baby brother which brought much joy to the family. He did not live long because in 1901, the child, Richard., became very sick. Mother was very fond of her baby brother. When Mother would come from school Richard would be standing by the window waiting. Mother would take care of him, let him look at her school books, and scrap books. One morning at ten o’clock he passed away. From then on, Mother missed him very much, but she knew it was up to her and her younger, Susan, to make up for their lost brother.
Her mother was a of the school board of trustees. One afternoon they were discussing of the new kind of reading charts for the beginners. They would turn from chart to chart. Mother would read them, missing very few words. Finally one of the men asked her mother if she knew how to read. She couldn’t have because she was only four years old. The conclusion was reached that she was reading the pictures as she saw them.
At seventeen, she became her father’s right-hand man. She helped him cut hay, rake and haul it, milk cows, and other farm jobs. Besides that she would work in the home. During the warm summer months of that year a rain shot down from the sky, surprising everyone. It lasted for nearly two weeks. The Sevier River was raising rapidly. At night when they would sleep in their cabin at Black Canyon, Mother, John and Kathryn McGillvra could hear the water splashing over rocks in the nearby river. The water kept rising higher and higher. They decided they had better take a few of their household articles onto the hill. After reaching higher land, they noticed that the pigs and claves were in the thick of the flood. They decided they ought to give them a fair chance to live. Mother cut the pockets out of her overalls and began to wade. The water was running very swift, bringing large rolling rocks and logs. It became deeper and deeper. Finally it reached her neck. She held her hands high above her head, so as to keep the logs away. She turned the animals loose, then reached the hill safely. One by one the animals reached the shore. After spending a few hours on the hill, her father came and took them home.
Even though Mother did not get all the education she wanted, she tried to take advantage of what she had. It was impossible to get a higher education or go away to school, because it became very dangerous for young people to go alone. She took the eighth grade three times, trying to get better education. Finally they kicked her out, telling her she was a menace to the other children. Her greatest ambition was to go on the stage or be a writer, but that was impossible. At the age of sixteen, she was privileged to go to the Murdock Academy at Beaver, Utah. Her mother was told by friends and neighbors that she was a fool to let her daughter go away to school, because that was no place for a girl to go.
People believed that a girl’s place was in the home. She should learn how to keep house, cook, and sew. It was a struggle to get an education in a small town that was a long way from any college or high school town. In order to get to high school or have a higher education in Utah, you had to go another town. The L.D.S. Church established these educational schools in different parts of the state. The closest one to this town was the Murdock Academy at Beaver. Even Mother’s father objected to her going away to school because he had ideas like other people in the town. Before he died he said he was sorry he had not given his children a better education because that meant so much a person of today. Mother was luckier than most young people because she did meet the best people that came into town. Besides that her mother had a very good choice of books to read.
Her mother became an ideal of a person to her. She knew a person could not have a better mother. One day her mother became seriously ill. There was nothing a doctor could do. Medicine could not cure her. Mother and her sister, Susan, did not want to face the world alone until they were a little older. They went to the bed where she was laying and knelt down to pray. Their mother put her hand on their heads while they prayed. When they finished they went to their rooms and prayed many more times. They next morning when they went to their mother’s bed, they knew their prayers had been answered. Mother knew that the person that laid in bed so near death the night before would always be a guiding star in the years to come.
In the fall of 1910 she and Lois Riddle went to the Murdock Academy. The first Sunday, while attending Sunday School at Beaver, she met a nice- looking young man and his mother. She did not pay much attention to him, but she noticed he was very polite to be around. She remembered that his name was Lynn Mathews.
The next day Lois Riddle and Mother went to the Murdock Academy to begin a new career together. There were rooms fixed where out-of-town students could batch. They had two rooms on the second floor of one of the apartment houses. There were eight other girls that lived on the same floor. One of the rooms was a bedroom which was not very large. The other room was used as a kitchen. They had one corner fixed up so they could have a nice place to study. They furnished their own rooms.
Living away from home in this place was lots of fun and you learned to do things for yourself. There was at least one teacher that lived in every house. Lights were turned off at a certain time every night. Besides that there were certain hours you had to come in every night. If you did not obey, you were called to the principal’s office.
One thing they were privileged to do and that was bring friends to their rooms any time before ten o’clock at night. Everyone knew when you had a friend come see you in your rooms.
There were dances held one a week, usually on Friday nights. It seemed that Mother was always there, because dancing became a favorite with her. They were privileged to stay out until 12:30 on this night.
She attended the Murdock Academy for two years. The next winter her mother went to Arizona to stay with her eldest daughter, so Mother had to stay home to take care of her father. She would have preferred going back to school, but her mother’s health came first.
The following summer she went back to the Academy again to take a few classes. It was during this summer she became better acquainted with a young man known as Lynn Mathews. At the commencement dance, she danced with him, and to her surprise he was an excellent dancer. He was so smooth and easy to follow.
This young man had opinions about the young lady he was dancing with, too. He thought she was quite a nice young lady, but the company she went with did not appeal to him. She was quite pretty, too.
After the dance, he came to see her at her residence. She had one jog and that was sending the fellow she was with home before this other one came. They talked about different things. Finally her asked her to write him if she had time.
The following September she went to Manti to attend high school. During that year she received a letter from Lynn Mathews every month or maybe it was two. He received letters from her just about as often. He wrote friendly letters telling about teaching school and how he enjoyed it. His penmanship was very good. It seemed that she had quite a few pointers for him now. He had got hers counted out too, but one was not because she was a good writer.
She enjoyed her high school days very much. There were many dances held which really hit the spot. She kept on enjoying dancing more all the time. There was one fault she had with the school. It seemed that the students were not very friendly and you had to win your way in.
While Mother was enjoying school, Dad kept trying to teach his students something. His job as a school teacher was a regular routine. Once in awhile he would chance the monotony for the students and have a party. His students seemed to like Mr. Mathews for a teacher.
In August of 1914, Mother, her father and Eva Riddle went to Panguitch to attend an L.D.S. Conference. At Spry, they were to meet Lynn Mathews who had come over on the mail. Mother had invited him over, just as a friendly gesture. When they reached Spry, they saw that the mail had already come in. Mother’s heart pounded father than it had for a long time. She was to meet a young man she did not know very well. Her father stopped the buggy. Mother got out very bravely and hoped he was on it. She did not like disappointments. Mother had her hair braided and brought up from the sides. She had twelve yards of ribbon two inches wide tied in bows and placed in her hair. Her dress was flared and reached her ankles. In was a wonder she did not trip over her dress when she got off the wagon. She was probably used to that kind of dress.
She entered the post office and asked if a young man had come on the mail from Beaver. She was told, yes, and that he was around the house. She found him sitting on the granary steps. He had a straw hat on that made him look classy. His pants were nice looking and he had a light shirt on. She probably walked very timidly as she went around the house. When he saw her he jumped up, smiled, took her hand (maybe as a handshake) and said “hello”. Mother told him they were going to conference and asked him if he would like to go. “Of course”, was the reply. They returned to the buggy. After introducing him to her father and Eva they got in the back seat of the buggy. With a quick jerk, the horses began to pull the buggy over the dirt road.
They stayed at the home of Mr. And Mrs. Hatch who were very dear friends to the Blacks. The next day, Sunday, these two young people were found at both sessions of conference.
Sunday night when all was calm and quiet Mother and Dad went out doors to enjoy the wonders of nature. The wind blew gently through the trees and the beautiful full moon shown overhead. The stars kept twinkling and in the distance you could hear the frogs making their nightly noises. There were many pine trees that sent their sweet scent across the way. Beneath one tree was a small bench for two. They sat down and talked about things far and near. Unexpectedly, this young man kissed her gently on the cheek. It was getting late, so with a goodnight to each other they retired for early the next morning meant they would start on their journey to Antimony.
Early the next morning, the little band of four happy people started on their day-long trip. It was very interesting to Dad to see the new country and the wonders that nature provided. The road was very dusty and the ride bumpy, but they were all used to that.
There were many parties held for this new guest. It was so much fun to hitch the horses to the buggy and go up the canyon for parties or staying at home and have a real good get-together party. He enjoyed his one-week visit very much. Mother’s folks fell in love with him because he was such a kind and gentle young man. It seemed that Dad could get the parents to like him, but not the girl. Maybe sometime he would have some luck.
Many young girls of the time got jealous because Esther Black had a good-looking boy friend, but that was a common thing in small towns.
Dad returned to Minersville where he would resume teaching school. A few weeks later Mother went to Hatch, Utah to teach school. She taught the first, second, and third grades. She enjoyed teaching these young children and watch them make progress.
After Dad returned to Minersville, their letter-writing became more regular. September, October, and November of 1914 passed by, then came the month of December. Mother wrote to Dad, but this letter was special. She invited him to come and spend the Christmas holidays with her. He accepted that invitation because he had no other girl to see. John and Susan went to Hatch to get Mother. On their returning trip, they stopped at Spry to pick up Esther Black’s young gentleman friend. He had ridden a horse from his home to Spry. The ride was cold and long, but it seemed he did not give up. It could have been love that kept him warm. After he got on the buggy, it was not too cold. There were many quilts which they carried as well as rocks which had been heated to keep them warm. They buggy had canvas sides and top in order to keep some fo the cold out.
The holidays brought sleigh bells, joy and lots of fun. A party was held nearly every night. Usually they consisted of house parties where games were played, and good hot home-cooked meals served. Sleigh riding was fun, too. With blankets to wrap themselves in and hot rock sin the bottom to keep their feet warm, they were ready for a merry chase. It was not fun if there were less than ten in a sled, because the more the merrier. Their song was “Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh.” They would dasy through the snow with no worries except for the horse to guide them straight.
Besides having a good time there was an important question that cam up. The question “Will you marry me?” There was no objection from the bride-to-be. With the question answered the way it should have been, there was a happy couple on the way to matrimony. They decided to wait until the following spring. No definite date was set, except that as soon as Dad got his first crop of hay up, he would come over.
With a good-bye until spring Mother went to Hatch to teach school again, and Dad went by horse to Minersville.
On May 29, 1915, Dad came to Antimony to keep the promise he had made at Christmastime. On June 1, the owner of the first automobile in Antimony, Tommy Ricketts, took these two young people and Mother’s parents to Marysvale to catch the train to Manti. After reaching Manti, they went to Mother’s brother’s place to stay. The next afternoon, June 2, at 2:10 p.m., they were married in the Manti Temple. It brought much joy and happiness to themt o know that they were sealed for time and eternity. A great step had been taken toward a new and better life.
The newlyweds stayed in Manti one week to work in the Temple. On their return trip they came to Antimony to get Mother’s belongings, then they were going back to Minersville. The usual sport was to chivery a newly-wedded couple. They were serenaded, then a few nights later they had to give a dance at their own expense. Wasn’t that tough, though? Oh, well, you only get married once in a lifetime. Why not have a good time?
About ten days of the usual old-fashioned honeymoon, they boarded their white-topped buggy with two seats in it, and went to Minersville. I suppose they would sing, “Oh what fun it is to be -just a newlywed. After two days of traveling they came to their new home on the flats. Dad farmed and Mother kept house. Their little one-room house was not very big, but it served its purpose for the time being. It had an old , old stove that ought to be in the junk pile, a table, and a bed that did serve its purpose. Mother did have an easy life–keeping house in one room.
To tell you what kind of a farmer’s wife she was I will tell a little joke about it. One day Dad had gone into town and Mother stayed out on their farm. She thought she would be smart and get their two cows in for the night. The one cow was a Jersey and the other a red and white one. Mother didn’t know what Jersey it was but she got the Jersey she thought was it. After chasing the cow awhile, she finally got it in the corral, but she was given out. She was really proud of herself. The next day Dad came home. He asked her what the cow was doing in the corral. Mom said, “Isn’t that our cow?” Of course it wasn’t, it was Dad’s brother’s cow. What a farmer’s wife she was for a beginner. One good thing about this wife of Dad’s and that was she could cook, and real good, too.
As far as entertainment was concerned, there wasn’t much except they did go to a few shows, but mainly their entertainment consisted of sleepy-land.
In the early fall, school began, so Dad went to Moscow, Utah, to teach. As well as teaching school, they enjoyed the outside activities, especially during the winter. They enjoyed walking into the hill on some Saturday to gather pine-nuts. In the winter time they would go sleigh-riding. They would go up on a nearby hill and tobaggan down. Friends that lived in this mining town would go with them. One time, the women decided they would go down the hill without the aid of the men. At this particular time they were using a ladder. The women were unable to control it. It would go from one side to the other. The ladder was going lengthwise instead of the other way. The first thing they knew, they were falling off and it did not feel very good.
Dad spent his third year of teaching school in a one-room school house with just twenty-three students. He taught the first to eighth grades. Months passed by, then February, 1916 came with its cold breezes and plenty of snow. On the twentieth of that month and year in this one room tent-like house, their first born son, Gerald Lynn, was born. Gerald was a cherished youngster, plump and full of smiles for everyone.
When he got old enough to be mischievous, they really got a joy out of him. Gerald though a lot of his dad and always liked to be with him. Dad though he was so cute that every morning he would take him to the well for water. One morning Mother was washing, and forgot to keep an eye on her mischievous son, Gerald. He crossed a near-by wash which was a little, a very small distance, from the school house. He crawled all the way, too. A knock was sounded at the school door. Dad opened it and to his surprise there was Gerald. All the students thought this was real cute, even Dad thought so too.
During the summer of 1917, Mother’s mother became ill and mother wanted to come to Antimony to take care of her. Dad got a chance to teach school here, too. He wanted a change of schools anyway. Dad began to teach school here that summer and taught the next seven years.
On December 6 of that year another son was born to them. He was given the name of Thomas Alton. He was mischievous, also. While still a young child, he and Gerald were watching Mother make a cake. Alton decided it looked real good, so he proceeded to get some. Mother left the room for a few minutes. When she returned, he had pulled the cake dough onto his head. He got his share of the dough, but in the wrong place.
Soon after Alton was born, Grandmother Black became ill. Gerald though a great deal of his grandmother. One day he walked around in the room, then went to the bed. He pulled down the covers and said “Bomma, where is baby?” He thought she should have a baby because his mother did.
It was in 1919, when the plague of influenza swept the country. Thousands of people in the United States died with it. Dad and Alton became seriously ill, but Mother kept her faith that they would get well. Besides taking care of her own family, she helped others who were unable to help themselves. Later that year Dad decided he would like to farm. He bought one from Culbert Black. It contained forty acres.
The new year of 1920 came, the cold winds blew, and snow trickled down leaving heavy coats of snow on the ground. The warm fires kept the small log cabin warm. It was that second day of January that Dasil George was born. It was a few months before this that Mother received a great blessing from President Thompson of the Manti Temple. It said she would have many sons who would have to go to war, but if she lived right her sons would come to her alive and unharmed.
From this time on, Mother tried to live the best way she knew how. She began to work in the Church organizations more than ever before. She taught Sunday School ever since she was fifteen years of age, except for about five years. She was a secretary to the Primary and taught Junior Seminary for a number of years.
Mother started working in the Relief Society in 1917 as a visiting teacher. In 1918 she was chosen as a counselor to Delilah King Rowan in the ward Relief Society. In 1924 she was chosen as 1st counselor to Irene N. Rowan in the Garfield Stake Relief Society. Later she served as 1st counselor to Ida H. Steed. During the years she was in the presidency in the stake, she also worked in the ward Relief Society as visiting teacher and class leader.
On August 18, 1933, she was chosen president of the Garfield Stake Society. For the next ten years she worked hard and willingly for something she thought would help many of the members. It made her appreciate the finer things in life. On August 16, 1943, she was released . For awhile she missed this work very much, but as time passed by she was able to do others things she enjoyed.
Besides working in the Relief Society she worked in other auxiliaries in the church. Also, she served for nineteen years as the ward clerk under Bishops Daniel Day, Lawrence Gates, Herb Gleaves, Ward S. Savage, and Chester Allen.
On August 20, 1920, Hyrum M. Smith set Dad apart as the first stake clerk in the Garfield Stake, which was taken from the Panguitch Stake. While serving for thirst-five years as stake clerk, he also served in the Bishopric of the Antimony Ward, as Mutual President, on the town board from 1920 to 1963– also serving as clerk of the board except four years of this time. He served as secretary to two different ditch companies, one for twenty years, and the other for thirty years. In addition he has had other jobs to do.
It seemed that Mom and Dad were not satisfied with just three boys, so on April 9, 1922, a daughter was born to them. She was given the name of Naomi. She was cherished, but no wonder, she was a girl. They say she was so cute with such pretty blue eyes. Like all little sisters, they got picked on.
Mother decided that one girl could not handle three boys, so on January 9, 1924, another daughter was born to them. Being that she weighed only four pounds, and the littlest one yet, she was given the name of Celia. Being a Mathews girl she couldn’t help being cute. She had enough brothers to spoil her, and one sister to tend to her.
By this time Mother really had her hands full, with five kids to tend, but she says they were not very mean, and she liked every one of them. Three days after Christmas of that year their house burned down. Many valuable things were burned, but they were thankful to be alive. With a few belongings, they moved to a log house which was just north of the school house. It was very small, but it did serve its purpose until another home could be built. Finally on November 8, 1925, they moved into their present home (1944). It has six rooms which bri9ngs the family comfort. We have a lawn and through years of good care it has become a place of comfort for all of us. With a few flowers added, it makes the place look a lot better. You can always find a muddy door yard when it rains. It’s a regular farm home with a few animals running in the back yard.
Thanksgiving of that year was really a thankful one. December came, then a new year dawned. The year of 1926. As the day passed by, the boys were in hope that they next addition would be a boy, but eh morning of January 31, they were greeted by another baby sister. She was given the name of LaRae. I was that sixth child.
By 1927, Dad was retired from the school room. The summer passed by, Dad and the boys enjoyed working on the farm. Gerald, Alton, and Dasil thought they were getting to be big boys when Dad let them drive the team, pitch hay, etc. They were not very enthused when chore time came around and they cows had to be milked.
The following December 11, a boy was born. It was about time another boy came. Dasil was really happy because now he could give the job of getting the wood in to his new brother. His name was Wendell. As usual he was cute, and very luck y because he had naturally curly hair.
With seven children, and the oldest fourteen, Mom and Dad had their hands full. They had much responsibility now, but they seemed to handle it and be real parents too.
On January 29,1930, Kay was born. He was a swell kid. Kay made the eighth child, but it seemed they were not satisfied, so on December 7, 1932, a pari of twins were born, – a boy and a girl. They were given the names of Paul and Pauline. They were mean, but we thought they were cute, and being twins was really something. By now they decided they had had about their share, but it seemed that an odd number was the best to stop at, so on July 13, 1934, another son was born. He was given the name of Charles Stanford. Being that he is the youngest, he is spoiled more than the rest, but none of us can complain about the treatment we have had, because we have had a very good mother and father.
The day Stanford was born, Gerald left for Escalante where he worked during the summer with the C.C.C. The following September, he began a new career. That was going to college at the B.A.C. Even though times were hard and he had to work his way through school, he graduated with his B.S. degree from the Utah State Agricultural College in June 1938. That fall he began to teach school. He taught for three years, then he got a job working for the State Tax Commission. In May 1941, he married Melba Moosman in the Manti Temple.
In 1940 Alton graduated from the same college with his B.S. degree in Engineering. The following April he was married to Vanese Barker in the Salt Lake Temple.
During all this time, Mother and Dad worked hard to give their kids the things which they desired most. We were not raised in a real modern community., in some ways our town was still old fashioned. We do not have electric light, water in our house, or steam heat. Our light consists of gas lamps and a kerosene lamp which we call a “June Bug”. I can remember when we used to stay up until eleven or twelve at night studying by these lamps. Dad used to have stake reports to make, and mother had Relief Society, as well as Ward Reports. How our eyesight is as good as it is is a miracle to me. We have been real lucky.
It was the day before Christmas, 1940, that we got water piped to our house. Before that time we would drink ditch water. It really wasn’t very clean either. The cows, sheep, or whatever wanted a drink would still drink ditch water. During the winter time we would haul the water from a nearby wash. It was about 700 feet away from our house. We would pack it in five gallon cans. As we would pour the ice cold water into the cans, we would usually spill some, and it would freeze on the outside of the can. Another job was breaking the ice to get the water. Another problem was when it rained. It would always bring muddy water. You would see Mother or so9me of the kids bustling around filling the barrels, all the spare cans and buckets. When that was used up, we would fill the wooden barrel with the muddy water so it could settle. The muddy water would vary from yellow, red, black, or most any other color. When the water would settle we would drink it, use it for all cooking, bathing, etc. We would really have to save on the water. We’re used to coal stoves, which is not very convenient.
On December 7, 1941, the United States was plunged into a great world war. One month later Dasil left for California to work as an air tower controller. Mother and Dad knew that sooner or later their sons would have to go to war. In August of 1943, Alton joined the United States Naval Reserve. The following December 31, Gerald left for the United States Army. The following May, 1944, Dasil joined the United States Merchant Marine.
Thanksgiving of 1944 rolled around. It wasn’t like Thanksgiving because so many of the family were away from home. Alton was in Sampson, New York, teaching new recruits. Gerald and Dasil were somewhere in the South Pacific. I was at the U.S. A.C. attending school. Each of us dreamed of home and we all hoped that soon we could all get together again.
It is now March 23, 1945. This year seems to bring the war closer to home. Gerald is in Hollandia, New Guinea and will be moved to the Philippines. Dasil is on the West Coast and Alton is still in New York. Naomi is in the Milford.
They say at the present time our soldiers are bathing, cooking, eating and doing most everything else in their helmets. Bathing is their helmets is understandable because our bath tub is just a little larger, but we still manage to keep clean.
Up until about two years ago, Mother still washed by hand. That was rubbing clothes on a scrubbing board, boiling them in the boiler, then wringing them out by hand. I still don’t see how she used to do it, but I guess when you have to, you have to. Mother and Dad lived a rugged life, and it was not easy, but they did a good job of it.
It’s March 23, 1946, and one by one the Mathews family is congregating at Provo. We’re all together again, but not for long. It was fun listening to all the stories everyone had to tell, but soon we departed for work or school.
Dasil married Kathleen Stanton the following June 12, (1946) in Idaho Falls Temple. The following August 1st Wendell enlisted in the U.S. Army. After his basic training he was shipped to Korea. Then in 1948 he returned and was college bound.
In August 1948 water was piped into our house. Imagine, getting a drink right our of the kitchen tap! The best of all– the bathroom! The outside privy won’t have a waiting line now– and the flies, they’ll have to pester the cows now.
During July, 1965, the family came from far away places for a big family reunion at our house in Antimony. What a time we had getting acquainted with all the new off-spring– in laws– nieces and nephews– aunts, uncles, and of course, Grandmother Mathews. She was such a sweet little lady, and aging really fast.
On June 26, 1965 the family again congregated at Venice, Utah, to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Mother and Dad’s marriage. What excitement! The loveliest thing of all was the many friends and relatives that came to greet them. Kay and his family were the only ones missing.
In June, 1964, sorrow came into their lives when Lynn, their oldest grandson was drowned in Utah Lake. The following September Aunt Lucy died.
They sold their farm and home in Antimony, June 1963, and moved to Roy. It was difficult to leave old friends, but it didn’t take long to find new friends and interests.
In February 1966 Richard Baker died. He will be missed, too.
Mom still loves to attend Relief Society and Daughters of Utah Pioneers, and go to the temple. Dad usually enjoys sleeping and teasing, and he really likes his Primary class of ten-year old boys.