Thomas Williams 1821-1875 / Harriet Davies 1834-1908
Thomas Williams 16-page, well-documented history by Laurie Williams, e-mail me
Ezra Thomas Williams
Emma Sophia Williams
Thomas Williams and Harries Davis or Davies
[Thomas Williams and Harriet Davis (or Davies) apparently had no history written about them. Maureen Bryson compiled this history based on part of the Anders Peterson history which told about the Williams side of the family, and from reminiscences of Hazel, Pearl, and Victor Williams.]
The birthplace of Thomas Williams was a little town in Wales, called Carno, in Montgomeryshire. He was the son of Thomas Williams and Susannah Hughes and was born on 13 November 1821 according to family records. However, the parish register records his christening on 25 November 1822, indicating he may have actually been born in 1822. The place name of "Bwlch" appears in the parish register and may have been the name of the farm where his parents lived. He was the third of seven children. We have been unable to determine the parents of his father Thomas Williams. There are several Thomas Williamses born about the right time, and it is not possible at this time to ascertain which is the correct one.
Susannah Hughes Williams was the mother of Thomas Williams. She was christened 24 November 1793 at Carno, Montgomery, Wales, daughter of David and Hannah Jones Hughes. David Hughes was the parish clerk and a weaver by trade. Susannah later inherited her father's fine oak loom.
Susannah and Thomas Williams were married 12 November 1814 at Carno. He was a Welsh farmer and he and Susannah worked hard to make a living from their "hill" farm. They raised their own wheat and oats from which they baked bread and made oatmeal "mush." They made their own butter and cheese and were entirely self-supporting. Their fuel was peat and wood from the mountains.
There were seven children in the family; Thomas Williams, being the third child. Thomas Williams [Sr.] died at age 60 of "liver complaint" and left his widow to carry on. He had been ill for years.
Susannah was a remarkable personality, a very talented, hard worker. She continued to manage the farm with the help of her children. She used her fine oak loom to weave beautiful Welsh flannel which she sold to the neighboring farmers. She would arise at 3 a.m. to weave as there was always a demand for flannel.
She would walk ten miles over the mountains to the nearest market town, Newtown, with her young granddaughter, Mary Peters. (This information on Thomas Williams's parents is taken from a letter Aunt Pearl received many years ago from relatives who still lived in Wales.)
Harriet Davis (the Americanized spelling) or Davies (the Welsh spelling) was born 6 April 1834 in Tredegar, Monmouthshire. This is a county that while politically was a part of England, was by tradition of the people who live there part of Wales. She was the daughter of Evan Davies and Martha Williams. She was the last of her parents' ten children, although three had died as very young children. Evan Davies was a mechanic. There is a family tradition that the family may have been Methodists, but five of their first six children were christened in the Church of England. Harriet's mother was devoutly religious, but her father would rather stay home and look after Harriet, who was their baby daughter.
Harriet's mother was very strict. As soon as she would leave for church, the father would tell Harriet to run out and find her little friends and bring them in and all them could play with her toys. When it was time for church to let out, the father would tell them all to put the toys away and run home as it was time to go home now.
When her mother returned home from church, everything was in order. Evan Davies, had beautiful curly dark hair--of which he was very proud. In those times they used candles to light their homes at night. Evan Davies one evening became quite drowsy, the candle was lighted, and he put his head down on his arms, on the table, and went to sleep. His wife turned around just in time to see that the man's hair was on fire because he was too close to the candle. The woman lost no time in putting the fire out.
Harriet and her brother, Thomas, often used to go just around the corner to visit their grandmother, Mary Lewis Jones. She wore a "stovepipe" hat, and a little shawl around her shoulders. This was the custom in those long-ago times.
Evan Davies, died 10 January 1849, when he was 54 years old. Shortly after that, they were introduced to the gospel by LDS missionaries. Harriet and her mother, Martha Davies, heard the preaching of the missionaries, were converted, baptized, and joined the LDS Church. Harriet was baptized 13 December 1851, but we do not have a baptism date for Martha. Then Harriet met Thomas Williams, who had been baptized on 8 May 1847. They were married 8 Mary 1853 in Tredegar, Monmouthshire, and became the parents of three daughters.
Thomas became a coal miner. He was very badly injured in an explosion in one of the mines and never fully recovered his health. After he became converted to the LDS Church he left his native land and came to America. There is no matching record on the LDS Immigration CD to indicate when Thomas came to America. [A Thomas Williams, age 36 (born 1824) sailed on the "William Tapscott" on 11 May 1860. The record says Thomas Williams and family, but no family is listed.] Here he worked and prepared to send for his family, consisting at this time of his wife, Harriet Davis Williams, his son named William by a former marriage to Ann Thomas, and his three little daughters. However, before Harriet could leave Wales with the children, some of the relatives who were bitterly opposed to the Church enticed William to stay in Wales and not come over among the despised "Mormons."
In old records of the British Mission, Emigration Book 1047, p. 165 (information also found on the LDS Immigration CD) we learn that Harriet Williams, age 29, Hannah 7, Martha 5, and Susannah age 3 sailed on the ship "Manchester." They left 6 May 1862 sailed from Liverpool for New York City with 376 other members of the church going to Salt Lake City. They arrived in New York on 12 June. Of this group of saints it was written: "It was a cheering sight to look upon the joyful countenances of the Saints radiant with happiness and bright anticipation, while they appeared to have a fair idea of the trying circumstances they would be called to pass through on their homeward journey. Peace, unanimity, and goodwill prevailed among them, and the Spirit of God was richly enjoyed by them. A neater and more respectable looking company of emigrants has rarely, if ever, left these shores."
Harriet and her daughters crossed the plains with immigrants who came in wagons. At Winter Quarters, Harriet became very sick and almost died. The two tiny daughters, Martha and Susannah, died on the plains, so only Harriet and her oldest daughter, Hannah, arrived in Utah where Thomas Williams was waiting for them. What a bittersweet reunion that must have been. Thomas must surely have been devastated to learn of the deaths of his two young daughters.
They settled on 48th South about halfway between Murray and Redwood Road. They lived in poverty, Thomas Williams having such failing health, yet so proud he resented help. His wife testified, "There was not a lazy bone in that man's body."
As the years passed, four sons were born to them. Ezra Thomas, 21 April 1864; Joseph, 20 June 1866; Parley, 4 December 1868; and David Zachariah, nicknamed "Dack," born 21 April 1871. Zachariah David lived only four years, then died 2 January 1877 during an epidemic of diphtheria. Hannah died 12 June 1869 of a heart ailment when she was only fourteen years of age, leaving only the three boys.
Thomas Williams received his patriarchal blessing from John Smith on 20 May 1872. Harriet did not receive her patriarchal blessing until 26 October 1902 from Israel Bennion.
Thomas Williams took up a tract of land to farm. He moved to a place about half a mile north of 48th South. He built an adobe house in which they lived for several years, but he died 10 May 1875 at the age of fifty-five, leaving his widow with their sons to raise. He was a true Latter-day Saint. His grave is in Salt Lake City Cemetery, a wonderful monument to him, his wife, and two infant children.
Harriet Williams was very strict in raising her little sons. She taught them to be scrupulously honest, and did her best to make upright men of them. Grandpa died when the oldest son was 10 years old. They were very poor. Harriet took in washing for a while to provide for her boys. The oldest of the boys herded cattle for the people in Taylorsville.
When she made trousers for them, she made them so large "to allow for growth" that they were almost worn out before they would fit. Her sons soon began herding cattle for the people of the community to help with expenses.
After the death of Thomas Williams, his wife, Harriet, continued to live in the adobe house he had built, for a number of years. Before 1880 she married a good man by the name of John J. Williams, who was no relation to Thomas. The 1880 Census lists the family living in "North Jordan." John Williams age 50, Harriet Williams age 45, Ezra T. Williams age 18, Joseph Williams age 15, and Parley Williams age 10. It will be noted that the ages are not very accurate. [The boys were actually 16, 14, and 11.]
This is an interesting census entry. In fact Harriet Williams's birthplace is given as New York, and the boys' parents birthplaces are both given as New York!! There is a note on the census entry, dated 25 June 1880 by the enumerator Louis S. Kelsey. "Parties not at home and did not get any more information." All he had written were their names and ages, and obviously was guessing at these. Then in another person's handwriting, "EB," the birthplaces have been added, New York also given as the birthplace for John Williams. Even though the census takers were to list only people in the residence on a certain date, they appear to have fudged on this one a little!
Harriet's three sons later had a cozy brick cottage built for her on Redwood Road. Harriet and John were very congenial and happy. Efforts to find more information about John have not yielded any more information than his name.
Her granddaughter, Pearl, recalled several memories of her grandmother:
"Grandma was very strict with her children as her mother had been with her. She raised them the very best she could. When the boys grew up they built their mother a brick cottage near Redwood Road in Taylorsville. This is the cottage I remember when I was a little girl. Never a day passed but I would be 'over to Grandma's.'
"Grandma Harriet Williams was less than five feet tall. She was 'chubby.' She had beautiful curly hair, very curly brown hair, and black eyes. She was a very devout Latter-day Saint. She was a strong little lady. I remember riding 'piggy back' on her back through the lucerne [alfalfa] patch, from our house to her house. She didn't walk--she galloped. Grandma loved to paint and was always changing the color of the woodwork in their house.
"Just east of her house, Grandma had a cellar, the temperature in which was very cold, where she kept milk, eggs, and butter, etc. She kept the inside of this cellar always whitewashed. She always kept the trunks of our trees whitewashed.
"In those days, everyone was 'patriotic.' We were proud to be Americans, and citizens of this land, which is choice above all other lands. On the 4th of July (Independence Day) each little town or hamlet had its own patriotic celebration and Taylorsville was no exception. In Taylorsville, we had a fine program; songs and orations, etc. and there was a carnival. I remember the crowds that came. Usually the carnival was held where the Taylorsville recreation hall now stands. The crowd was very thick and I became 'lost' on the occasion. I couldn't have been more than five years old at the time. I was pushing my way through the crowd. It seemed that I was crowding through 'a bunch of legs,' as I couldn't have reached up to any of the people's waists, but I finally crowded through the 'mob of legs' and out of the crowd--and there I saw Grandma. She was seated on a chair beside a table where another woman was selling bags of candy for the carnival. Was I ever glad to see anyone in my family! I stayed with Grandma. Later I went home with her. In those days there were no automobiles, but Grandma put me in her little buggy which was drawn by 'Queen' and we went home together."
And Aunt Ede shared a wonderful story about Harriet: "For the grandchildren who may not have heard it, I would like to tell a story. One summer morning, your great, great grandmother Harriet Davis Williams, was cooking pancakes in her little adobe home. As they were browned, she placed them on a plate on the window sill. This never seemed to get filled, so she watched and from outside a big brown hand silently reached up to slip off some pancakes. Your great, great grandmother, who was a short, ambitious Welshwoman with snappy black eyes and a very independent spirit, caught the big brown Indian and put him to work chopping wood for his breakfast!"
Her grandson, Victor Ezra Williams made these statements concerning his grandmother: "When John J. Williams died in May 1902, grandmother became nervous about living alone, so I slept at her place for a period of several months or maybe years, I cannot recall, exactly.
"She liked to drink tea, but would not serve it to me. Instead she served me a little hot water with a little cream and sugar. She showed me how to make 'poor man's broth' of hot water, salt, pepper, and a speck of butter. I used to enjoy this thin broth with dry bread, and I still make it occasionally as a late evening snack.
"She also taught me a beggar's chant which she had heard in childhood on the streets of Tredegar, Monmouthshire, Wales. I still remember the words and tune.
"Harriet was noted for independence. If she needed help, she might ask once, and if it was not promptly given, she would 'pitch in' and do the task herself. Sometimes when she wanted to go to Salt Lake, she would be walking halfway to the street car line before the horse had been harnessed and hitched to the buggy.
"Father began teaching me violin, and I used to practice at Grandma's. No doubt the noise bothered her, but she never complained.
"Suitors for her hand used to come out from Salt Lake occasionally. I remember one named Plant, who came on foot on a hot day when I was helping with the hay crop. Nothing came of these romances.
"One day when Elmer and I returned from a horseback ride we saw Grandma just sitting in the grainery doorway, with her hands in her lap. This was unusual, as she was a very busy sort of person. We said, 'hello,' but she did not reply. We were puzzled and were about to go by, but then we noticed tears in her eyes and realized she was sick and could not answer us. We called for help and got her into the house. She had suffered a stroke. When she had partially recovered, she lived alternately with Aunt Freda (Uncle Joe's wife) and with us. Her memory had been affected.
"I used to ride my bicycle daily to Fourteenth South and State Street and then take the street car to the U. of U. prep school in Salt Lake. When I returned in the evening and came into the kitchen, Grandma was likely to say, 'Why Victor, how tall you are! You are growing right out of the Davis family.' Next evening, same remark.
"In her last illness she was bothered by a recurrent dream of an 'underground kitchen' which she told again and again. Old people are trying, but I hope I am never more burden than she was to her family."
Harriet Davis Williams died 10 May 1908 at the home of her son, Ezra Thomas Williams. She was a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the last. She had been a sturdy, plump, little lady, about 4 ft 10 inches tall, with beautiful curly hair and snappy black eyes. Her grave is in the Salt Lake City Cemetery beside the grave of Thomas Williams. In the same lot are the graves of Zachariah David and Hannah.
When the three Williams brothers, Ezra, Joseph, and Parley, were in their teens, they were employed on the ranch of Andrew Olson in Beaver County. Of course, this was years before the death of their mother, Harriet Williams, who stayed at her home was in Taylorsville. They worked on the ranch for several years.
The wife of Andrew Olson mentioned several times as she spoke to her lovely sister, Hilda, of a fine young man who was working for her husband. This young employee was Ezra Thomas Williams. Mrs. Olson finally brought these two young folks together. They fell in love and finally made the trip to the St. George Temple, where they were married for time and eternity. This was 4 September 1885. On the way back to Beaver City from St. George, they camped for the night in the light wagon, or "white top" in which they were riding. In the night, they were awakened by a strange swishing noise. In the morning they discovered that the noise had been made by a bombardment of ripe fruit against the side of their wagon. It was many years before they found that a group of mischievous friends from Taylorsville had greeted them in this way. Their history is found on their page.
Joseph Williams, was born in Taylorsville 20 June 1866. Joe married Alfreda Charlotte Anderson 9 September 1891 in the St. George Temple. For a while he and his wife Freda, who was a niece of Hilda Sophia Peterson, wife of Joe's brother Ezra, lived with the Ezra Williams family at the Pine Creek ranch. Freda's father, Carl Anderson, lived a half mile away. He had an accordion. Uncle Joe had a banjo. Then about 1896 or 1897 Joe moved his family back to Taylorsville, and Ezra and his family followed about a year later. Joe and Freda were the parents of seven children: Joseph Elmer born 11 October 1892 in Beaver; Jennie born 19 February 1894 in Pine Creek; Carl Leslie born 19 March 1897 in Taylorsville (who died on his birthday in 1979); Delpha Lavern born 22 June 1899; Lawrence Alden born 18 March 1902 in Taylorsville; Mildred; and Warren Ferris born 31 July 1908 in Taylorsville.
About 1905 Joe went on a mission to Georgia, with headquarters at Macon. On his return he used to entertain his son Elmer and nephew Victor with impersonations of an old-fashioned Southern Baptist preacher.
Joe became discouraged by a new insect pest, the alfalfa weevil, that was spoiling the lucerne crop at Taylorsville. He moved his family to Idaho about 1910. Victor helped him put the last hay rack load of belongings into a box car at Murray. He rode to Idaho in a box car, where he could feed and water the family cow and drove the team and hay rack back to the Taylorsville farm. His family had gone ahead by passenger train. Joe's wife, Freda, died in 1913 and Joe remarried on 9 August 1922 in Logan.
His second wife was Julia Ellen Van Orden. Her first husband was Angus Sproul. They had been married in the St. George Temple on 27 December 1899. They had six or seven children, only two who died as infants. She and Joe had one child, Laura Dorothy Williams, born 3 August 1923 in Moreland. Laura died 15 September 1940. So they had quite a family between the two of them, a real "Yours, Mine, and Ours" family. Julia died 17 February 1964, in Thomas, Bingham, Idaho.
Joe had died 30 January 1930, at Moreland, Bingham County, Idaho, leaving Julia with their seven-year old daughter to raise. Most of the other children were married, or old enough to be on their own by that time.
Their second son, Ezra Thomas Williams, is our ancestor.
Parley Williams was born in Taylorsville on December 4, 1868. Since his father died when Parley was only seven, his brothers took special care of him. He was the only Williams brother to receive education above the Taylorsville grade school. His brothers sent him to Brigham Young Academy in Provo, where he studied business. This was for the purpose of him being able to keep the books for the Williams Brothers sheep business.
Parley was first to go on an LDS mission. His mission headquarters were at Burlington, Iowa, and he was away for about two years about 1900.
He took up a grazing homestead of 640 acres in the vicinity of Moreland, Idaho. After a disastrous cold winter in Idaho, his brother Ezra left the sheep grazing partnership. Parley's homestead had become the headquarters. The big homestead was eventually divided among the relatives.
Parley never married. According to family tradition, a girl whom he liked considered herself too tall for him and married someone else. Uncle Parley was inconsolable and lived for many years in his sheep wagon in the general area of Moreland. He died 14 September 1955, at the age of 86, having lived longer than either of his brothers.
Ezra Thomas Williams & Hilda Sophia Peterson
Ezra Thomas Williams was born to Thomas Williams and Harriet Davis Williams in Taylorsville, Utah, 21 April 1864. He was blessed on 24 May 1864 by Samuel Bennion. He was the fourth child of seven.
Thomas Williams, had been caught in a coal mine explosion in Wales and had received a disabling back injury. Some Taylorsville farmers, perhaps Robert Pixton and Hyrum Bennion Sr., helped pay his immigration expenses in return for choice acreage from the 160-acre homestead which Thomas took up in Taylorsville. In later years, Plymouth School was built on the southwest corner of the Thomas Williams homestead.
Farming was too hard for Thomas Williams, with his injured back; and he died in 1875, at the early age of 54. His son Joe was 9 years old; Ezra was 11; Parley was only 7. The boys tried to operate the farm, and were eventually aided by their mother's second husband, John J. Williams, who was no relation to Thomas Williams.
The Williams boys were industrious; they were honest; they were devoted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, because their parents had left their homes, and they were imbued with the Gospel, and their desires were to live it. Then Ezra left home and became sheepherder for a man named Andrew Olson, of Beaver, Utah, about two hundred miles from Taylorsville. The other boys followed, and soon began to take their wages in the form of lambs from Andrew Olson's flocks.
Thus they entered the sheep business as "Williams Brothers." They were thrifty and had only one suit of "fine" clothes among them. Each partner took turns wearing this suit when he had business to transact in Beaver.
Hilda Sophia Peterson Williams was the youngest of ten children born to Anders Peterson and Ingelof or Ingelov Swenson Peterson, at Augrum, Blekinge, Sweden, 21 May 1863. Anders Peterson and his two daughters, Emma and Hilda, had been converted to the LDS Church, having been baptized in 1871 and 1874.
An Elder John Olsen came to serve in their branch. This John Olson had been asked by his brother, Andrew, to find a nice young Swedish convert girl to agree to come to America and Andrew would pay her steamship passage and then marry her. Andrew Olson was well-to-do financially. He had a nice home and a ranch, and he employed men to work on his property, but he had a hump on his back. Grandpa Peterson's daughter, Emma, decided to take the chance. She came over to America, and married Andrew Olson in the St. George Temple. They were very happy. They had a fine, lovely home and he always lavished clothes and jewels and whatever a young girl would like, on his wife.
It was to the Olson home that Grandpa Anders Peterson and his daughter, Hilda, came when they emigrated to America. This was in Beaver City, Beaver County, Utah. Grandpa Peterson lived with them the rest of his life. Aunt Emma kept telling Hilda about a fine young man who was working on the ranch. His name was Ezra Williams and he had curly auburn hair. [Pearl described him as a "red-haired, freckle-faced ranch hand."] Hilda had dark brown hair, clear blue eyes, and beautiful, classic features. Her skin was fair and flawless, even in her later years. Aunt Emma finally brought these two people together to become acquainted with each other. They fell in love and made plans for marriage, traveling from Beaver to St. George, Utah, where they were married for time and all eternity in the temple on 4 September 1885.
The return trip was made in a light wagon called a "white top." They camped for the night and about midnight were awakened by a strange "swishing" sound. In the morning they discovered the noise had been made by a bombardment of ripe fruit against the sides of the wagon. Many years later they learned that a group of mischievous friends from Taylorsville had "chivareed" them in this manner. They went to live on his ranch at Pine Creek, headquarters for the Williams Brothers sheep business.
Ezra, in partnership with his brothers, Joe and Parley, had established a sheep business, selling wool and lambs. He was often away from his ranch home at Pine Creek, because he had to take his turn at sheep-camp, tending the flocks. It was while doing this that Ezra was caught in a bad snow storm at Pine Creek and his toes became frozen and had to be amputated. The toes of his shoes always curled up into "elf" shoes because of this. He once received a mission call to New Zealand and he was overjoyed. He was all prepared to leave but then the authorities found out he had lost his toes, making it hard for him to tract. It was hard for him to walk long distances. Though he protested, they asked him to stay at home and do missionary work here. He was a missionary all of his life. He loved the Gospel and always wanted to share it.
On 12 September 1886 Ezra received his patriarchal blessing in Beaver under the hands of Daniel Tyler. Hilda received her patriarchal blessing in Taylorsville on 19 March 1916 under the hands of Archibald Frame.
Their first four children were born in Beaver or Pine Creek. [Ward records and family records list both places on different records as the birthplace for these children.] Lily (or Lilly or Lillie) May was born 27 September 1888. She was blessed 27 December 1888. Emma was born 7 April 1890, Victor Ezra on 29 March 1892, and Conrad Lynn on 13 May 1896.
There was a pastel "enlargement" portrait of Lily on the front room wall at Taylorsville, and Hilda would tell the other children of Lily's beautiful golden ringlets and her sunny disposition. Medical assistance was hard to get in Beaver County, and when Lily caught a cold in the early winter of 1894, she did not recover. She died on December 23, two days before Christmas. She was six years old. The headstone in the Beaver City Cemetery reads:
Of all the little loved ones
In that land of purest day
There surely are none fairer
Than our bright eyed Lillie May.
Victor was not yet three, but thought he remembered being in Beaver for Lily's funeral. They stayed at Andrew Olson's place. Someone there gave him a piece of wintergreen-flavored cream candy, the first he had ever tasted. So wintergreen-flavored creams always brought dim recollections of Beaver City in 1894 for him
Conrad Lynn was born when Victor was a little more than two years old. Victor remembered lying beside him on the bare wood floor of the Pine Creek house. They would laugh as they kicked their heels on the floor with as much noise as possible. Of course, they were lucky to have a wood floor to kick. Some ranch houses used dirt floors, especially in the kitchen.
Although Victor remembered Lynn's illness being only ten months after Lily's death, family records give his death date as almost 3 years later. At any rate, Lynn became sick with "summer complaint," which may have been polio. As he grew worse, Emma and Victor went to stay at Sadie Riley's home (or maybe Bradshaws). There Victor remembered admiring the beautiful painted doors; as the doors at their house were unpainted.
When Emma and Victor returned home, Lynn's body had been formally laid out. Two coins were on his face, one on each eyelid. Victor asked why. His father explained they were to keep Lynn's eyes closed.
So again there was a sad wagon ride of nineteen miles to Beaver, through Wildcat Canyon. This was in September of 1897. There is no headstone for Conrad Lynn in the Beaver Cemetery. The directory has his name listed, but with his burial site listed as "unknown."
After Conrad Lynn's death, but before Pearl was born in March 1898, the family moved back to Taylorsville. The Taylorsville Ward Record notes that they were "received" from Beaver on 8 May 1898, possibly this is the date their records were received, as Pearl was born in Taylorsville before this date. They located there and improved their farm.
Ezra and his brothers maintained their sheep business but moved the business to Moreland, Idaho, where Parley had homesteaded 640 acres of grazing land. In Taylorsville their remaining five children were born: Pearl 5 March 1898, Ray 2 June 1900, Verna Lynette 11 July 1902, Edith 19 November 1905, and Hazel 11 April 1909. Emma and Victor, as the oldest children, were a big help to their mother in raising the younger children, as their mother was alone for long periods of time, because Ezra was away from home, up in Idaho taking care of his sheep, although they did have a hired man and part of the time a hired girl.
Pearl remembered Emma and Victor teaching her many things. They sang cute little songs which they had learned at school. Two of the favorites were: "Mousie, you should watch your children" and "Twenty froggies went to school." They taught her that Santa Claus comes down the chimney on Christmas night. They had a long slim (6 inch) stovepipe fastened on to a very small heating stove in their bedroom. It never dawned on Pearl that such a thing as Santa coming down that chimney would be impossible. Her older brother and sister had said Santa came that way, and that was enough for her. She believed Emma and Victor implicitly.
On Christmas Grandma Harriet Williams always contributed a present to each child along with the presents from Santa Claus. She lived next door to Ezra and his family.
Victor remembered once his father coming from sheep camp about Christmas time with money in his pocket. Probably he'd just sold the spring lambs. On Christmas Eve he slyly placed a five-dollar gold coin in the stocking toe of his mother Harriet and another shining five dollars in the sock of John J. Williams, his stepfather. These old people were still living in an adobe house, called "The Old Place," three or four hundred yards east of Ezra's new brick house. Ezra was as pleased as a boy when he told his children of his parents' surprise on Christmas morning at discovering the gold coins. Five dollars was quite a lot of money in the early 1900s.
Ezra did not believe in toys, but liked "practical" gifts. From him Victor once received a wooden pencil box for Christmas, while his mother gave him a wind-up donkey and cart, which she had bought from a peddler. Ezra disapproved and said Victor would soon tire of the toy. Of course, he was right; and for a long while afterward whenever Victor asked for anything "unnecessary" his father would remind him of the "donkey cart."
Emma that year got a "fascinator," as Victor recalled. This was a cozy knit or crocheted woolen scarf which was supposedly named for its fascinating effect on boys. The fascinator also had been bought from a peddler, whose visits and display of goodies in the "front room" were eagerly awaited by Emma and Victor.
Verna also remembered Christmas at home in Taylorsville when she was young as an exciting and very special time. Money was always scarce, but the love for each other was real. There was much creating, hoarding and hiding of small gifts such as the girls could make; aprons, dust caps, pincushions, etc.
Some of the cherished joys of Christmas were the ward Christmas programs; New Year's dances; going caroling in sleighs; family prayers and being seated on the long bench behind the table which we all surrounded for the good dinners of roast chickens, plum pudding and other goodies; Ezra's humor; all the good Gospel discussions; Hilda's gentle and kind solicitude; the pretty dresses Emma made for Christmas; children playing fox and geese in the newly fallen snow; checkers, and many fun games inside; sliding on the ice on the canal, and envying the boys skating along; and visits with relatives and friends.
Edith remembered the days of the past when Santa came to the old family home. In those days they didn't have much in the way of worldly goods, but their stockings were filled. The sisters in the wee hours of the night, would quietly sneak their odd-shaped stockings to bed and spend the remainder of the night trying to determine what the contents might be. No one could be happier than they were.
For weeks their home was filled with mystery and anticipation as each child tried to hide the gifts they were making for each other. Regardless of how many pin cushions their mother received or armlets for their father, they always expressed their appreciation. Ezra was a well-built man with a muscular neck. The shirts to fit his neck were too long in the sleeves, so he used arm bands to shorten them. One year he received four pairs, but as he opened each carefully-wrapped gift, he exclaimed so happily that each daughter felt hers was the only pair he had received. Their mother was such a refined quiet lady as she graciously accepted her daughters' "gifts."
Hazel's memories of Christmas as a child also included the preparations that went on before Christmas such as: her father bringing home from a trip to town some choice records for their much used, and appreciated, phonograph; her mother making a fruit cake in a milk pan, and sometimes plum puddings, which she boiled in cloth bags, or pies occasionally came out of the coal stove oven, smelling so good; Emma, making delicious rolls of divinity with nuts in it, to be sent away, probably to Victor on his mission; the girls' big dolls disappearing, for what seemed a long time, to be outfitted afresh by their mother and Emma, which was such a happy surprise; and the sisters, Pearl, Verna, and Edith, hiding their hand sewing as best they could. The hidden gifts were pretty dust caps, crocheted bags, and pin cushions.
On holidays they usually had roast stuffed chicken which had been feather-picked and dressed by Hilda. She cleaned and prepared pork heads, then ground them up and made delicious head cheese, which the children sometimes had on their school sandwiches.
One Christmas, after happily emptying their stockings, which nearly always contained nuts and candy, and sometimes an orange, the children noticed their plates turned upside-down on the table. Lifting them up, they each found a silver dollar. In those days a dollar was worth much more than it is today and the children certainly appreciated them.
Hazel was also greatly puzzled when she was very young at Christmas time, how it was Santa Claus could possibly come down through the stove pipe of their small heater without getting badly burned. This worried her, and she was so glad to find the evidence of their filled stockings that he'd come and gone safely one more time.
One of the best parts of Christmas morning for Hazel, as with her sisters, was to see the sincere appreciation of her father and mother as they opened their gifts. She often wondered how her father could be so surprised and pleased with her yearly pair of armlets, when he had already received some that day from other members of the family.
Once when Ezra was home from sheep camp at Christmas time, the ward rehearsed a Christmas operetta, based on the recent McKinley-Bryan political campaign. Emma and Victor sang with the chorus and felt deep wonder at singing gay operetta with solemn old bearded men like Archibald Frame, Sr., who was Ivan Frame's grandfather.
They sang the praise of Bryan and "Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah for McKinley!" Late in his life, Victor still recalled the melodies, the operetta's political convention finally decided to nominate Santa Claus for president. "Santa is the man!" they sang, "Santa is the man! He will be immensely popular with the young American." ":A splendid nomination and we'll second that right quick. Dad, dad de-dad . . . for jolly old Saint Nick!"
Ezra played fiddle in the orchestra accompanying the singers. Victor remembered the rehearsals but not the performance. Maybe the show had to be given up because of some vile epidemic like scarlet fever, as there was no immunization in those days.
Best remembered holiday gifts were the book prizes awarded by the Sunday School on New Year's Day for best attendance. Victor was a faithful Sunday scholar and won book after book as the years passed. He read every word of Franklin's "Autobiography." Of course, it was an abridged edition. He also enjoyed Laurence Sterne's "A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy." He didn't understand the abrupt ending of the story; but his mother was much amused by it and smilingly assured him he'd understand better when he grew up.
Another Sunday School book had selections from John Ruskin, entitled "The True and the Beautiful." And there was a red-edged New Testament printed in large type.
When Pearl was just over two years old, Ray was born. In those days little boys used to wear dresses until they became two years of age or older.
With Ezra being away from home so much, Grandpa Williams (Ezra's stepfather) would many times come over and help milk the cows. Ray in his little dress, would run to meet Grandpa as he came in with the milk. Grandpa would stop, and let Ray take a drink from the bucket of warm unstrained milk. Grandpa thought it looked so cute to see Ray drink from the bucket of warm milk. The children adored their "Grandpa" Williams.
In contrast to our warm, comfortable cars, in those bygone days they rode with in a surrey with lap robes tucked around their legs. Studying was done by lamplight, water pumped by hand, wood chopped and butter churned and washing machine turned, all by arm power. Ezra and Hilda provided a good substantial home for their family. They enjoyed good music and books and provided them for their children.
They were all so happy whenever Ezra came home from the sheep for a while. He would sing songs and tell stories, such as when he was seated at the foot of a cliff, playing his violin, and watching his sheep, and two pebbles from the top of the cliff rolled and landed at his feet. He spied two coyotes watching him from the top of the cliff. He reached for his gun. Or the time when he was traveling and it became too dark to be able to see, so he decided to bed down for the night, using a lump, or bump, on the ground for his pillow. Came morning, and he found he was in an old cemetery and his pillow of the night was a little grave. Or the time he, having slept out for the night, and hurriedly put on his trousers, he discovered something alive, and warm in one leg. He seized that something and squeezed with all his might, holding on until he heard the bones of that "something" crunch, then gingerly releasing his grip, out fell a "timber rat."
The first school their children attended was on the north side of "17th South" which is now known as 48th South. It was a half mile east of Redwood Road, and was called the 38th District School of Salt Lake County. In 1905, the 38th District School moved to the new Plymouth School at Redwood Road north of 48th South. Land for this school was bought from Robert Pixton. The Pixtons had bought it earlier from the 160-acre homestead of Thomas Williams. The three-room 38th District School was torn down afterwards, and a home was built on the site.
As the children grew old enough to go to school, Pearl used to beg Emma and Victor to help with her arithmetic. When Emma would help, she would solve the problems for Pearl. She would then take the problems to school and get 100% on her arithmetic. When Victor helped, he would reason things out until Pearl could work her own problems. Victor was a natural-born teacher, he later taught school for many years.
Ray Williams was the sixth child in the family of nine children. As he was two years older than Verna, they worked, played, and associated together. She recalled many a frosty morning they chopped mangel beets out in the barn to feed the cows, and shared other chores, shocking grain, weeding, etc. Ray had a lot of ambition and liked to learn and do things. He enjoyed physical activities, playing baseball, ice skating, and games of all kinds, when he had good health. He was a good-looking and fun-loving boy and teenager. He went quite steady with one of the neighbor girls. Ray took a business course and got a job in the office of a machinery firm in Salt Lake, where he was well liked by the office people. He was kind and generous many a time gave Verna some much appreciated coins when she was attending high school and most always broke.
Many winter nights Pearl would read stories to the children, and Ray would practically roll on the floor in mirth at some of the adventures.
Ray desired to be a farmer when he grew up, but he fell off the roof of their home, landing on his back. He was critically injured and had to give up the dream of becoming a farmer. He enrolled as L.D.S. Business College. One day a business firm sent over to the college, asking if they had a student who was qualified to handle their bookkeeping. Ray was recommended to them and so for the rest of his short life worked for Consolidated Wagon and Machine Company.
It was a shock to all the family when on 1 December 1919, Ray died suddenly while awaiting a tonsillectomy in the LDS Hospital. Although his health had been poor for some time because of a heart ailment, his death was unexpected. His obituary in the Deseret News of Tuesday, 2 December said:
Raymond Williams - At a local hospital Dec 1 1919, Raymond Williams of Taylors-ville, Utah, died of heart trouble. Deceased was the son of Edgar [sic] T. and Hilda Williams and was 19 years of age. He was an employee of the Consolidated Wagon and Machine Co. Surviving him are his parents one brother, Victor, an instructor at the Huntington high school and the following sisters: Emma, Pearl, Verna, Edith, and Hazel, all of Taylorsville. The funeral will be at the Taylorsville ward chapel. Interment will be in the Taylorsville Cemetery.
That was a very sad December for all the family, especially the parents. Ezra did the temple endowments for Ray 21 January 1920.
Ezra served in the Seventies Quorum, in various capacities over the years. He had been set apart as a Seventy in the Taylorsville Ward on 21 June 1890 by B. H. Roberts. Among Hazel's earliest recollections of her father was going with him to Seventies meetings. As the men stood up to sing, towering above her like tall trees, their voices were so powerful and pleasing that she never forgot them. Whatever they were singing and talking about for so long, she thought must be true and good and later realized for herself that it surely was! Looking back, she wasn't so much fascinated by the peppermints they slipped to her during the long meetings, as the sincerity and power of their singing.
Another early memory was her father patiently teaching her a verse for a Sunday School recitation. It was:
It isn't the number of joys we have
That make us happy and gay.
But the number we share with our little friends
Ah! That is the secret, they say.
Hazel remembered frequently, long before daylight, hearing her mother setting out Father's breakfast and tucking in his temple suitcase the preparations of the day before, for a temple session or two. There was a good influence about those activities which was felt by all the children.
Quite often, in early morning, they would hear the warm crackling of fire in the stove, and soon, beautiful strains of violin music to wake them up coming from their father's talented fingers. He also had learned enough Swedish when Hilda came to this country to converse with her so that at times, (especially just before Christmas!), changing to Swedish was convenient for them.
Starting home from school when Hazel was in the first grade, a very lively blizzard arose, making visibility impossible beyond a few feet. From somewhere on a horse came her father, and they rode safely home. How he could see her, she could not tell.
When Ede and Hazel were at the age of teasing they would pinch each other, or pull hair or just anything to torment the other. Their father was reading his paper as this was going on one night. He got up from his chair and sat between the two girls. Still they would reach around him, and continue to torment. He got up very quietly, folded his paper and put it away. He went into the bedroom and returned with a blanket. As he opened the door to leave the house, he turned to the girls and said, quietly, "I'd much rather go to the barn and sleep with the cows and listen to them chew their cud all night than listen to this jangling." He did sleep in the barn much to the sorrow of the tormenting girls. It cured them of further fighting.
Ezra was a man who really controlled his huge temper. "Uncle" Les (Leslie Williams, Emma's cousin) told Lloyd about the time the farmers were having trouble with their water turns. A Brother Olson would always steal water when it was not his turn. The farmers asked Ezra if he would speak to Bro. Olson about it. So he went up to where they switched the water to each farm, and sure enough, there was Bro. Olson adjusting the water gate so the water would go onto his farm. Ezra told him very nicely, "Now, Bro. Olson, it isn't nice to take the water from someone else. Please don't do it again." Bro. Olson said, "You're right, Bro. Ezra, I'll never do it again."
A few days later, one of the farmers complained because the water had been stopped as he was irrigating his crops. Ezra went up to the water-gate and sure enough, there was Bro. Olson. Ezra told him, "Now, Bro. Olson, you promised you wouldn't take the water until it was your turn. Now I'm asking you again to leave it alone." Bro. Olson said, quite convincingly, "Oh, Bro. Ezra, I'll never do it again, I'm sorry."
The third time it happened Ezra went to the water-gate and there was Bro. Olson. He took a good hold of Bro. Olson's nose and said, "Now, Bro. Olson, I have told you three times now. It isn't nice to take the water turns from the farmers." As he spoke, he pinched Bro. Olson's nose harder and harder, until Bro. Olson said, with tears rolling down his face, "Bro. Ezra, if you'll just let go of my nose. I'll never do it again." That was the last time they had trouble with their water. Ezra had a grip of steel, a very strong man, yet very gentle.
He was serving as the President of the Seventies Quorum when it was discovered one of his counselors was an alcoholic. The Stake President wanted to release the man, but Ezra didn't want to see him hurt, so he asked to be released also to spare the man's feelings. He was so concerned about everyone else, and didn't worry about himself.
The old family home was purchased in about 1968 by building contractors who planned to tear it down, but found it so well-constructed that it was remodeled to house students who attended the Utah Technical College, located nearby.
This would have met with Ezra's approval because he was a learned man. Ezra and Hilda were both students; they enjoyed reading, not only the scriptures, but good literature from the world's great authors. No one would suppose that their formal education consisted of a few weeks of schooling. The home library was filled with books of the best literature, science, history, etc. Their old phonograph was used to play choice records; consequently, the children became familiar with and learned to appreciate good music. Their father taught them that all truth, wherever found, is part of the Gospel and truth is eternal.
He was a man devoted to the Gospel to the extent that he would sacrifice everything for it. He was a good student. He studied the Gospel; he was a man who not only studied and gained a knowledge of its truthfulness, but was practical in his desires and ambition to live it. He became a truly devoted father and husband in the home.
He had a most wonderful family of children, a devoted wife who had embraced the Gospel in her native land and had come here with the desire in her soul to magnify the position in life of a real Latter-day Saint. She devoted herself to her family and her home, and in connection with her husband, they truly had a most wonderful love. In that home the greatest respect and love was paid to each other, to their neighbors and also to the officials of the ward who entered their home. There was laid that foundation which enabled them to accomplish the things they accomplished in life.
Not only was Ezra charitable in giving sustenance to people, but charitable in building their character. Never did his children hear him speak of others unless he had a good thing to say of them. At his funeral, the very appropriate hymn, "Nay Speak No Ill" was sung.
Many people came to their home to ask advice and counsel from Ezra for their problems. He lived the teachings of the gospel so well that he had a pure love for all people and his advice and counsel were much sought after. Not only did he love his neighbors, but he loved his animals. Several of them won prizes at the fair because they were so well cared for. The children were always glad to see him descend from the high windmill which he climbed to see the whereabouts of any straying animals.
On 22 September 1929, a Sunday, Ezra was on his way to church when he saw a fellow choir member fixing his flat tire on his car. He stopped to help him which made both of them almost late for the meeting. They rushed up to the choir seats as the meeting was just beginning.
During the meeting the Bishop announced, "We will now hear the choir sing, 'High on a Mountain Top.'" The choir stood to sing, but Ezra couldn't get up. He handed his music to his friend, Samuel Smith (tenor section), and told him "You'll have to sing for me today." He then peacefully died. The meeting was dismissed. The theme of the meeting had been on genealogy and Ezra was to have taken charge of it after the choir sang, but he didn't get a chance to. He was faithful to the end.
Although she was only 3½ years old, Jean recalled standing in the driveway with Lloyd, Vaughn, and a couple of cousins, watching the old cars file into the Taylorsville Cemetery and then seeing the group of people standing at his graveside as it was dedicated.
Hilda was a quiet, kind, frail, little Swedish woman. Jean could not ever remember knowing her as being completely healthy. But, she was a strong woman spiritually. Many were the times the whole family would gather at Grandma's for a delightful, yummy meal. Her daughters would each furnish their share of the meal. When we had eaten all our small stomachs would hold, the grandchildren, Lloyd, Vaughn, June, Dale and Jean, would go outdoors and play games such as "Run, Sheep, Run," "No Bears Are Out Tonight," and "I Have a Frying Pan with an Egg in the Middle."
Sometimes they would climb the windmill and Hilda would come "running" out of the house, shaking the coal stove poker at them, and would yell "Shillins come down, come down!" They wondered why she would get so upset, but that windmill was high and unsteady. ["It's funny how you see things differently as you grow older. It makes you wonder how in the world you lived through all of those years. It's a miracle!" Jean] Hilda was an accomplished milliner, and made many, many hats for the family.
When she was pregnant with her children, Hilda couldn't stand to see the color gray. It made her sick to her stomach. And she could sniff out an odor five miles away (almost)! Jean would walk through her back door and she'd say "Fee! Spearmint gum!" Yes, Jean was chewing spearmint gum. If Jean painted or polished her fingernails Hilda would cringe and tell Jean her fingers looked like they were bleeding. She didn't like to see polished fingernails.
The Williams children were taught by ideal example by their parents the very special significance of Sunday. The house was cleaned, the food was prepared, and clothing was made ready on Saturday with their mother's direction. Sunday was a day of peace and spiritual uplift, led by their father who taught the Gospel Doctrine class as well as teaching his children at home. Their parents were models of compatibility and consideration for each other.
Two of Hilda's most outstanding qualities were kindness and unselfishness to which many more could be added. She was always doing things for others. She always had a supply of socks on hand for Ezra which were knitted by her. the children's clothes were always patched and mended. She made fine rugs from rags; she baked six and eight loaves of bread at a time regularly, churned butter, made various cakes and buns, and all in all, was an excellent cook.
Hilda, as was Ezra, was very alert to the needs of the people less fortunate than they. Milk was plentiful for them and she made certain that even the fairly distant neighbors with children who needed milk and were unable to pay for it received a daily supply.
One or two "Swedish midsummers," days around June 24th, Hilda enjoyed visiting her Swedish sister-in-law who lived in Murray to reminisce about their life in Sweden. One Swedish dish Hilda cooked frequently was Swedish dumplings, called "croococka" [Jean's spelling] or "crucrockers" [Hazel's spelling]. Jean felt that when they could have them for dinner, she and her brothers were the luckiest kids in the whole wide world. That was their very favorite food. They would each greedily save as many as they could, and the next morning Emma would fry them. They were delicious!
Recipe for Swedish Dumplings
Boil a pan of potatoes as you regularly would and whip or mash them. Add enough flour to make the potatoes like dough. Grind some bacon and fry grease out of it. Make patties out of the dough and put bacon in the center and fold in the edges and seal the bacon inside. Test a piece of the potato dough in boiling water. If it holds together good, place gently, the dumplings into slightly salted boiling water and boil for 45 minutes. Next morning, slice the dumplings and fry.
It was strange to Jean that on the 18th of March 1939, Emma and her family were eating fried croocockas and their neighbor Freda Baker came over and told Emma she was needed in Taylorsville because her mother was very sick. When they got there Hilda died.
Ezra and Hilda truly had "love unfeigned" for their neighbors and their greatest desire was to give "glory to God in the highest and on earth peace toward men." Their children, saw it in their lives. That same warm lovely spirit which Hazel felt when around her father while in the Seventy's class so long ago and many times since in other circumstances has grown into a priceless testimony of the gospel for which they were all very thankful. Better parents there never were!
During the course of their married life they had many trials and sorrows, which they faced with courage, through the power and comfort of the true gospel. They suffered much illness, lost loved children in death, and Ezra lost his toes by freezing during a blizzard. But through it all they acknowledged their many blessings and were true to the very end of life here upon this earth. We can be certain they are busily engaged in accomplishing the great work to be done in the spirit world. They were special people and we can all be very grateful to have them as our progenitors. May we always honor and bless their memory!
EMMA SOPHIA WILLIAMS
Emma Sophia Williams was born April 7, 1890 at Pine Creek, Beaver County, Utah the second of nine children of Ezra Thomas Williams and Hilda Sophia Peterson. Ezra and his brother Joseph were sheep owners and herded them on and around the ranch that Ezra had bought from W. H. Farnsworth on July 2, 1887 for $1500. She was the second of nine children.
Sometime between 1896 and 1898 the family moved to Taylorsville where Ezra had been born and where the Williams farm was located.
Since Emma was now the oldest, (her sister Lily May having died at the age of six in Beaver County) she had the responsibility of playing a major role in helping her mother raise the younger children and run the household.
At some time in her youth she must have had rheumatic fever, an illness which later resulted in a serious heart problem that ultimately was the cause of her death.
She baked bread and did the wash before going to school at the Plymouth School on Redwood Road and 48th South. She graduated from the 8th grade, but her formal education was stopped at this point, because of her responsibilities at home. She dressed, fed, and sewed beautiful dresses for her younger sisters.
Her brief formal education did not stop her from becoming quite well educated because of her diligent quest for knowledge. Her father, Ezra, was also a self-taught educated man and stressed the importance of education. One of her favorite pastimes was working the crossword puzzles in the Deseret News. Even though she didn't have a higher education, one of her friends who had graduated from the University of Utah, had to take a written test to become a school teacher, dared her to also take the test. She took the test and got an almost perfect score.
Emma received her patriarchal blessing on 8 December 1916 from Archibald Frame, who appears to be the same man who had built her parent's home in Taylorsville.
Emma took nursing training and in May 1919 received a certificate as a Practical Nurse "under the auspices of the Relief Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day [sic] Saints" signed by Emmeline B. Wells and Amy Brown Lyman. Throughout her adult life she gave freely of her nursing abilities and was always helping others.
At her funeral Bishop Hyrum Bennion Jr., recalled, "During that great epidemic which came to us after the last World War, the epidemic of the 'flu,' Sister Emma truly showed her greatness of character. It seems to me that it was providence that she should have taken a nursing course to prepare her for the duties which she felt inclined to follow, and through that course, she became qualified to assist her fellow members of the Ward, Church, and community. I well remember, we had a good portion of our Ward afflicted, and she would go with us as a Bishopric from house to house and administer to the wants and necessities of the people who were in dire need. She participated in those activities with those families as a nurse, and through her devotion and efficient labors, many of those souls were saved. And I can assure Sister Emma the Lord truly did reward her for her devotion."
MARRIAGE & FAMILY
After the death of her friend, Maud Berry Guest, Will Guest began coming out to Taylorsville to see Emma. Emma and Maud were both very intelligent women. They were very much alike. Both had reddish hair, or sandy colored hair. They were built about the same, and they got along beautifully. They had great respect for each other [Jean's Diary].
Emma married William James Guest December 10, 1919 in the Salt Lake Temple. Their first child was a stillborn male born October 28, 1920. The second child was Lloyd Williams Guest born February 11, 1922. Vaughn Wiliams Guest born August 2, 1924 and Jean Guest born February 1, 1926 completed the family.
On 6 July 1927 Emma wrote a letter to her sister, Verna, who lived in Idaho. It says:
Salt Lake City, Utah
July 6, 1927
Dear Folks, I have just gotten supper over with. Do you want to know what we had? Well, we had Swiss Chard, turnips, macaroni & cheese and one of those peach batter puddings like one we had when you were here once. You asked me for the recipe but as I didn't measure anything I couldn't give a sensible one then but tonight I measured the ingredients for your special benefit so here it is:
1 c flour measurements are level
2 t Baking Powder
a few shakes of salt
1 tb[sp] shortening
1 egg (can be omitted)
Enough milk to make a soft dough
Roll out and put over the fruit (any kind can be used) which should be boiling in a kettle. Put the lid on and let boil 20 or 30 minutes. I use one quart of fruit with this amount of batter.
What did you do on the 4th? We went over to Taylorsville and had some ice cream and soda water and tried to get Pearl, Nina and Victor to go to a show with us but Victor wouldn't go and Nina wouldn't go without him so we just took the kids out to see the fireworks at Saltair. We watched from the highway. There were thousands of cars out there.
Did you get your dishes up there without breaking any? And your cedar chest - was it all banged to pieces? Don't let the mice drag away your fancy work or the skunks perfume your bedding, etc.
There was a weasel by our well the other day when I was getting some water and I squirted some water on it and it ran over by the garage. When Will came home he wanted to know why I hadn't shot it. Of course I didn't have time to run in and round up a gun & shells but I felt sort of guilty or responsible when Mr. Schneider said a weasel had killed 10 of his Rhode Island Reds today. They are good sized chickens too. I guess they would weigh about 2 lb. apiece. If we could prove that it was a different weasel I wouldn't feel so guilty.
Jennie was over a little over a week ago and I helped her cut out some of her sewing. She said Sister Frame acted kind of jealous because you were entertained more than Minnie was. But don't say anything about it. Maybe she didn't want me to tell but I just thought it would be something to laugh at. I never would have thought of such a thing, would you?
Lloyd just came and asked if I was writing to you and said to tell you the tire came off his trike. Jean has learned to go down the steps now without falling and is learning to say something new nearly every day.
Well, if I can give you any more recipes or other information I will be glad to do so if you but make your wishes known. Love and best wishes. Tell Ora "Hello." Write soon.
from Emma & family
CHURCH AND HOBBIES
Emma was an excellent seamstress and spent countless hours sewing for her daughter Jean and others. Through the depression years she mended clothing, sewed patches on coveralls, and darned holes in stockings to keep the Guest family from looking tattered. She also did crocheting and quilting.
Emma was always very active in church affairs and held many positions. While in the Miller Ward she was a Gleaner teacher in the MIA, a member of the presidency of the YWMIA, a Relief Society teacher, and a long time member of the Ward Choir. She also did genealogy work.
From Jean's Diary - When I was 9, Mother was my Sunday School teacher. Mother was a real teacher. Nobody that I know, had a better teacher. One of the boys in our class was a noisy, smart alec. Mother took a good hold of his arms and sat him down with that look in her eyes that I was so acquainted with. She told him, "Now, sit there!"
From that time on, he loved my mother. He would send her birthday cards, Christmas, Easter cards, valentines. Today he is an active member of the Church. He coaches church ball games, and is a fine family man.
When I have spoken to her former students, they remark that of all the teachers they had, they remember my Mother as the most outstanding. Some of them have even told me one or two lessons they remember. They can still remember stories she told. Parties are remembered.
The Stake Sunday School officers held mother up (so to speak) as an ideal teacher. They took her class scrapbook to the other wards in the stake to show the teachers. The subject of our lessons in her class was Church history, so her scrapbook was filled with pictures and articles on that subject.
One winter day, I remember walking to Sunday School with Mother. When we were in front of "Andy Richman's Auto Shop," Mother slipped and fell. The sidewalk was very icy. I can remember how funny she looked sitting on the ice, after I found she was alright. I think of it now, and I could cry for her. Oh, how the way you think, changes as you get older. I wish we could be born as smart as you are when you die.
In the middle 1930s she had uterine cancer and received radium treatments at the LDS hospital. Following hospitalization she spent a week or so resting at the home of Willís sister, Dessie Peck.
While radiation apparently cured the cancer, Emmaís health started to deteriorate in the late 1930s. She had her goiter removed in 1930. The doctor bill from Drs. A. L. Brown and J. A. Phipps, is dated the first of September, for a total of $200, with a $50 discount if paid in full in 30 days. It is marked paid on the first of October. Did Will get his discount? Her heart problem also continued to be more troublesome. By the early 1940s the heart condition worsened and she was always short of breath. The heart problem was diagnosed to be a result of her having rheumatic fever earlier in her life.
THE LAST FEW YEARS
One of Emma's good friends was Freda D. Baker. In some notes she gave the family after Emma's death, she said, "Emma was one of those special people who forget self in the service of others. Many times she excused others from a duty because she felt they were tired, then she did the extra work, even though she was ready to drop herself. . . . She was one of those very special Sunday School teachers that made Sunday School a great experience for the young people. She helped them see the truth and build a testimony. . . . Emma, during the years of her service in the Relief Society was a person who could make the uncomfortable and ill feel all refreshed. She quietly, cheerfully gave compassionate service whenever needed."
There are also excerpts from her diary (1942-1945) relating to Emma. In February 1942 Emma was first counselor to Annie Spencer in the Relief Society, Freda Baker was the second counselor. On 28 June 1942 the Relief Society was reorganized and Emma was released because of her health "although she did not ask for a release." Emma was quite ill in the months following her release. Sister Baker taught her Sunday School class two weeks, and on 27 September she had her appendix removed.
From Jean's diary:
I remember when Mother was so very sick. Her heart wasn't pumping the blood like it should, so her kidneys were like prunes, all shriveled up. Her liver had blood clots all through it, etc. So-she was in a great deal of pain. So much so, the Drs., all but one, thought she had cancer.
One night she was in such terrible pain, she asked Dad and Bishop Solomon to administer to her. I sat watching her face, as they gave her a blessing. It changed from a terrible pained and tense look, to a serene, calm, peaceful look. Free from pain. Until she died, she never again had any pain. The power of the Priesthood is a marvelous thing to watch. How powerful it is!
The next June, 1944, Emma helped Sister Baker quilt a baby quilt. Yet in October, Emma was in the hospital again. She was still (or possibly again) in the hospital on 5 November when Sister Baker went to visit her, "but they wouldn't let me in." On 13 November she went and gave Emma a rubdown and fixed her bed, saying, "she is doing quite well." On 5 December, "Emma has the hiccoughs," and by 7 December, "Emma isn't doing very well, she sees double most of the time." She again went to give Emma a backrub on 13 December, but on 6 January, one week before Emma's death, she wrote, "Emma isn't a bit good."
Shortly before her death she called Jean to her bedside. She said "I will not be with you very long. Remember the teachings of your Church, and I shall work on the other side while you are working on this side." [From Bishop Solomon's remarks at her funeral.]
From Jean's diary:
She called me into her bedroom two weeks before she died, and asked me to forgive her for all the times she had to reprimand me. She said, "but, it was for your own good." She told me to remember the things she taught me and she added with a twinkle in her eye, "Now, don't 'spoon'." (Necking or making out.)
She told me, "I can't do anything here, but where I'm going, I'll be able to be busy again." That was very hard to hear, and I told her "Mama, you'll get better, don't talk like that." I wish I had been a little older and more understanding, and talked with her about it.
A week later, she called me in again and repeated what she had told me the week before. Soon after that, she went into a coma and didn't come out of it.
I was sitting at the foot of her bed on the night of Jan 12, 1945. It was warm in the house, but I was shivering and my teeth were chattering. Sis. Freda Baker, our neighbor was helping with Mother, and a Sis. Phillips, in Miller Ward, was there, and Aunt Hazel and Uncle Fred and Dale were in the front room. Aunt Pearl was in the bedroom with me and Sis. Baker and Dad. Someone put a blanket around me because I was shivering so hard, and they turned the furnace higher.
Mother's breathing was so loud, it could be heard by Aunt Hazel in the front room, and Dad heard it when he went downstairs to stir up the coal in the furnace. Sis. Baker (a nurse) kept checking Mother's fingernails, which were starting to turn blue. At 12:45 a.m., Jan 13, 1945, Mother gave one big breath and then it was quiet.
Emma died of heart failure at home early in the morning on Saturday, January 13, 1945. Sister Baker watched the autopsy and said "There was no cancer or tumors of any kind. Her heart just gave out." The autopsy report said she died about 2 a.m., but her obituary says she died at 12:45 a.m. The complete obituary transcript is as follows:
Emma S. Williams Guest [Deseret News, 13 Jan 1945]
Emma S. Williams Guest, 54, wife of William J. Guest, 3549 S. West Temple, died at her home Saturday at 12:45 a.m. following a short illness.
Born in Pine Creek, Beaver county, April 7, 1890, a daughter of Ezra T. and Hilda S. Peterson Williams. Mrs. Guest was an active member of the LDS church. She was secretary of South Salt Lake stake YWMIA and a member of the presidency of Miller LDS ward YWMIA. She was a member of Miller ward choir and active in the Relief society and as a genealogical worker.
She is survived by her husband, two sons, Pvt. Lloyd W. Guest, Camp Crowder, Mo., and Cpl. Vaughn W. Guest, with the armed forces in Europe: a daughter, Jean Guest, Salt Lake City, and five brothers and sisters, Victor E. Williams, Price; Mrs. Verna L. Lindsay, Moreland, Ida.; Pearl Williams, Mrs. Edith W. Pendleton and Hazel W. Johnson, Taylorsville.
As mentioned in the obituary, neither of Emma's sons were in town when she passed away. The telegram which Lloyd had received was among Jean's papers. Emma's funeral was held Wednesday, 17 January 1945 in the Miller Ward. Sister Vetta Thurston transcribed the full funeral service. Lloyd had been able to come home for the funeral, but Vaughn was serving in Europe and was not able to return.
Emma was buried at the Elysian Gardens in Salt Lake City. The bill from Jenkins Mortuary, at 4760 South State Street, signed by "W. J. Guest" was for $325 plus $3.25 tax, for a total of $328 "to be paid on or before September 45 days from this date, together with a carrying charge of 8% if said total sum is not paid within 15 days from the date hereof." Payment included "Embalming, Personal Services, Use of Rest Rooms, Mortuary Chapel, and Funeral Coach." [The ink on this was very blurred and smeared, so a copy is not included.]
Emma always had a very pleasant disposition and was kind and considerate and displayed an inordinate amount of empathy for others.
Memories of Emma by Aunt Ede [Edith Williams Pendleton] Williams Christmas letter, 1969
I always remember Emma as a sort of second mother. Mother did not have the best of health, and Emma was often in charge of us children. Emma was born the second child of my parents on 7 April 1890 at Beaver, Utah. She was over 15 years my senior. I remember her as a most capable, efficient older sister who was so helpful to mother and all us children.
The beautiful clothing she sewed for us inspired an interest for sewing in me and I remember watching her sew by the hour, often late into the night until she sent me to bed. I was fascinated by her talent and consequently ventured sewing my own clothing when I was eleven years of age and have continued doing this.
Emma was an excellent cook and many times we feasted upon her culinary concoctions. I am certain she was chagrined at time by our ravenous appetites, especially when we had "company" for dinner.
The ability to care for and nurse those who were ill seemed to come so naturally to Emma. She always knew when and how to do the right thing in any emergency, consequently she was in great demand and people leaned heavily upon her at times for help and comfort. During the severe "flu" epidemic of 1918 she was an angel of mercy to many families, who later attested to the fact that she was instrumental in saving several lives. I remember she would return home after nursing one family through this dread epidemic, sleep soundly for 24 hours, and then be off again to aid another family. Through all this, Emma never contracted this disease. She seemed to be blessed with a certain stamina which enabled her to ward off illness at that time.
Emma had many talents, but was supposed to have a quick temper also. As her younger sister, however, I can't remember her temper. Whatever reprimand I received from her I well deserved. I remember her as an unselfish, merciful person who was always concerned about the welfare of others.
Emma and William James Guest were married 10 December 1919. They raised three fine children; two sons and a daughter. Emma died 13 January 1945.
SUSANNAH HUGHES WILLIAMS
Susannah was the wife of the Thomas Williams for whose parents we have made such a wide search. She was born 24 November 1793 at Carno to David and Hannah Jones Hughes.
Her father was the parish clerk and a weaver by trade. Susannah subsequently inherited her father's fine oak loom.
She was married to Thomas Williams on 12 November 1814 at Carno. They became the parents of seven children. Her husband died in 1845 at age 60 of "liver complaint." Susannah managed the farm with the help of the children who were still at home. She would arise at 3 a.m. to work at her loom before going out to do farm chores. She had a market for all the fine Welsh flannel which she could produce. The family was self-sustaining; making butter, cheese, and raising grain for bread.
One of her granddaughters, Mary Peters, lived with her in Susannah's later years. She said her grandmother was a very remarkable woman. She recalled how the two of them would walk ten miles through the mountainous region between Carno and Newtown to buy goods from the market.
We have been unsuccessful in finding her death date, but she lived many years following her husband's death.