Matilda Adelaide Sperry Atkinson
Contributor: BarbaraLeishman Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
Matilda Adelaide Sperry Atkinson-1856-1949
written by Mabel L. Atkinson (daughter-in-law)
Many will remember this loved old lady, who for years was the oldest person in Dayton.
She passed away Aug. 27 1949 at the age of 93.
Grandma Atkinson, as she was lovingly called, lived to a ripe old age, beloved by all who knew her. She saw prophecy fulfilled and history made. She lived through three wars.
She lived in the days of the spinning wheel and loom, of soap and lye making, of white—top buggies and wagons, of meager schooling, and also in the days of cars, great manufacturing houses in the west, fine schools, and educational advantages, beautiful homes, churches, etc. But she ever loved to recall the days of neighborliness and wholesome, joyous leisurely living of the horse and buggy age.
She loved to tell of the races women would have in doing a washing. Men used to bet their wives could not be outdone in different things, and see who won the bet by having their wives contest against each other. Grandma Atkinson entered these contests herself when she was young. She used to tell how she beat a certain woman in a washing race and how proud Fred was of her; of how he patted her on the back and said, ‘I knew you could do it, Add.” ( Adelaide) One woman would divide the clothes to be washed, in two piles. The other would take her choice of the two piles. The other would take her choice of the two. Each would be given a boiler of hot water and the soap needed and a tub and washboard. At a given signal both would start and work as fast as possible with the husbands urging them on to even greater speed. The one who got all her clothes on the line first, won, providing her clothes were the whitest also.
When she was 76, this attractive old mother told her story to certain of her grandchildren who wanted the interesting facts of her life to record in their “books of remembrance,.” Her daughter-in-law wrote down word for word as she told it, and part of this story is Quoted here:
“My grandfather, Ransom Van Luven, was a friend of the Prophet Joseph. He knew him real well. He said the prophet talked to him of his revelations and of how he came by them. The prophet used to come to his place, he said.
“Grandfather wanted to come to Utah • He dreamed that his brother Fred, would give him $20.00 to go on, but that he would have to keep it from his wife. Grandfather had firm faith that he would get the $20. but no more. The next morning he went to his brother ‘s place a short. distance away and his dream came exactly true. This, with what he could make other ways, enabled him to come to Zion with his family. My father and mother and others came with ox teams. Grandmother Van Luven got a sunstroke while crossing the plains when she was baking bread out in the sun. Her eyes swelled badly and when the swelling went down, she was blind and never saw again. She never saw. her last three children. Father and mother settled in Ogden.
“When I was four, we moved to Providence, Utah • While we were there the Civil War broke out . I remember that several families used to gather at Pot Bowen’s place to read the newspaper to find out about the war that was about to take place. The prophet Joseph Smith had said that the first gun would be fired in South Carolina. I shall never forget how one night a large crowd at Brother Bowen’s read in he paper that the first gun had been fired. All were eager to find out where. How thrilled we were to find the prophet ‘s words were true. Pot Bowen was the only one taking a newspaper at that time.
“It was at Providence that the Indians used to bother quite a bit. I was living at Providence when war broke out between the whites and the Indians. I remember seeing the soldiers march
right under the mountain over the low hills east of Providence. I almost see them now, marching by, and hear the Indians swearing at them. Yes, they knew how to swear and used white men’s swear words. My mot her doctored three old squaws’ wounds • One old squaw had seven
bullet holes in her body. Mother melted mutton tallow and poured in the wounds. She doctored them for quite a while and when they left they said she was “Wino sikus ‘ meaning she was a good woman.
“When I was eight or nine, we moved to Paradise, Utah. I remember we used to make our own soap and even make our own lye out of ashes. At Paradise mother would spin yarn and old man Oldham had a loom and would the weaving.
“When I was 13, we moved to Clifton. I drove an ox team all the way. My father drove a team just in head of me. He was considered one of the best oxen trainers in the country. The names of the oxen I drove were Ellick and Brandy. This was in 1869..
“When I was 17, I met Frederick H. Atkinson. I first saw. him at grandfather Van Luven’s place. I saw him often after that and we soon fell in love. I had many fellows, as we called them in those days, but after I met Fred no other boy looked good to me. Of course I still went with some of them, but it was mostly to tease Fred and make him jealous. Fred was a handsome, clean, industrious young man. It was almost a case of love at first sight with us. We were married on New Year’s day in 1874, in father’s log house by Judge Edwin Hooker. We moved in Franklin after our marriage and lived there for five years, then came to Dayton which has been our home ever since.
“I have had 11 children and been glad for each one. We had five boys before we got a girl, but Fred always smiled and said ‘I’m glad this one is a boy’.When the sixth was a girl someone said, “I guess you wanted this one to be a boy too?” ‘No, said Fred, “I wanted this one to be a girl.” .
One of our greatest sorrows came when our Willie had to have his leg amputated. ‘Twice it had to be operated on and more taken off. He tried to be cheerful about it and got so he could get around quite well with a crutch. God took him Home to Him when he was twelve years old.
When Dora, our first girl, was 16 she didn’t seem to feel to good but was not sick. She fell one day while walking across the floor. When we picked her up she was dead. We all missed her very much but Fred seemed to take her death the hardest of all. This in February. The following September he contracted typhoid and left us too. Then I knew real loneliness, but had to keep on.
“1 have always been blessed with good nerves, and they saw me through my hard years. I was never afraid, not even when lightning struck me down when I was fixing fence in a thunder storm. It hit me on top of my head, and I went down as though struck by a heavy hammer. My small son who was with me was so frightened that it was years before he got over his fear of lightning.
“I remember the first time I rode a train. Fred and I, and my brother, John Sperry, and his wife went together. We took our food in baskets on our arns and went to Salt Lake City• to the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple.”
On 26 Jan l893, Frederick and Matilda went to the Logan Temple and were sealed and had their children sealed to them........
Atkinson, Frederick Henry born 10 Nov 15l at Stanground, Hunts, Eng.
Sperry, Matilda Adelaide born l Feb 156 at North Ogden, Weber, Utah
1. Frederick Henry 19
2. William Charles -deceased
3. James Alvin-15
L. John Richard-deceased
5. Samuel Hyrum -11
6. Dora Matilda-9
7. Nora Ann-8
8. Frank Walter-3
Other Children were born after this sealing and they would be born in the Covenant.
Frederick Henry Atkinson and Matilda Adelaide Sperry were sealed as Husband
and Wife the same day as these children were sealed to them. This is found
in Book A “Living Sealings” Page 329. . .