Ada Flavilla Emeline Weeden
Contributor: dandrew Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
There is nothing spectacular to record in the story of my life, but since you have asked for that story, here it is.
I, Ada Flavilla Emeline Weeden, was born January 8, 1859 in the township of Mayfield, DeKalb County, Illinois to Charles Weeden and Jane Parsons. I am the seventh child. I have two brothers, Francis and William, and four sisters, Mary, Emily, Louissa and Maria. My parents were of good stock, neither very wealthy nor very poor. My ancestors were pioneers and soldiers. They built homes in the new country, fought for independence and the liberties of nations. Two generations back on both sides were natives of New York State. The generations before, I believe, came from England. Mother’s grandfather fought in the Revolutionary War.
My parents moved to Illinois where I was born the youngest of seven children, the three oldest of whom died in childhood. The tragic death of the boy, Francis, you already know. Francis was killed by a bear, belonging to a neighbor. Four of us children lived to marry and raise families. My brother, William, fought in the War of the Rebellion.
We lived in the northern part of the state about 50 miles west of Chicago. Father owned a farm in DeKalb County. The township of Mayfield was a couple of miles west of the city of Sycamore. There was a forest a little ways east through which ran the old Kish-wah-ki River, (named for an Indian Chief) and a wide gap in the woods directly in front of our home gave a very pretty view of the city.
I remember the Chicago fire. The air was thick with smoke and stories of the terrible suffering not only of those who lost their lives, but also of the survivors who suffered for food. The whole county was sending in cooked food. I helped Mother prepare sandwiches of bread, butter, meat, cheese and almost anything edible for the thousands of refugees camped with absolutely nothing but the clothes they had on. The world still remembers that tragic event.
My schooling was limited during my childhood. There was a District School near our home, which I proudly marched off to the week after my sixth birthday. My first lesson was the alphabet, the second day spelling and pronunciation. In a month, I was in the first reader at the head of my class. It was customary to pay the Schoolmaster in produce of vegetables, eggs, meat, flour or fruit. My father was a shoemaker and he sent with me a silver dollar to pay the Schoolmaster. I handed it to him and he put it from hand to hand looking at it carefully. He was astonished to receive pay in silver coin.
Then came the sickness that was a handicap to me the rest of the years of my childhood. I contacted Typhoid Fever, had a relapse, double pneumonia set in with the second run of the fever and I lay for six weeks either unconscious or delirious. When the crisis came, I was too weak to rally. Father called in young Dr. Mayo (father of the famous Mayo brother), who I believe saved my life. Several weeks later, I had not spoken or tried to walk; I did not know how. I had to be taught to speak and walk again. I had even forgotten my letters. My nervous system was shattered and I did not go back to school for a year and then only occasionally. I had a year in the graded school in town. I managed to get some schooling the next summer and following winter.
Though so young, I went to parties and dances when well enough to go, having begun the winter I was twelve. My sister, Louissa and her husband, William Price Jones, had joined us in Iowa and took me with them. I also went to dancing school one winter where the dancing master (a gray-haired man) taught us polite ballroom dancing. We had a lot of fun that winter. The same set of young folks went to dances, had parties, sleighing suppers and all. It made the happiest year of my life.
We came west the next fall when Father and Mother decided to sell the farm. We spent nearly two years visiting relatives in Iowa before going on to Utah. We stayed six weeks in Salt Lake City, where Father and Mother had their work done in the Endowment House and where I was baptized in the font, September 1873, by Samuel Smith and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by Joseph F. Smith. I was fourteen the following January.
We went south and settled in Minersville, Beaver County, Utah, where we had already bought a home from Alonzo Colton. That desert country was a great trial to all of us, everything so different from our eastern home. Even the manners and customs of the people were different. But having invested several hundred dollars on Brother Colton’s representations, we were obliged to stay. The trip from Salt Lake City, nearly three hundred miles in covered wagons, was another new experience for me and a very trying one. Although everything was strange and different to me and I could not conform to the ways of the people there, I made the acquaintances of the young people and went to all the dances that winter. The eastern families gave parties for us so we felt a little more at home in our new surroundings. I managed to get some schooling the next summer and the following winter taught school, assistant to Brother George Roberts, a finely educated man and church member.
In a little less than two years after coming to Utah, I was married – think of it – a school girl only sixteen and six months old! I married Nathaniel Goodman on the 2nd of June 1875. My husband was English, having been born in London where he lived until his brother, William, was converted by the Mormon missionaries and immigrated to America. He brought Nathaniel with him. His family was English back as far as we know, from Cornwall from which Shire William the Conqueror chose many of his Nobles because of their powers in battle and general appearance.
I have seen three Coats of Arms that belong today to different branches of the Goodman’s. At one time, some of them must have been attaches of the Court, for your father’s parents lived within a stone throw (as he expressed it) of Buckingham Palace. Your father grew up to be a man of violent temper. This I soon found out after marriage. Your Aunt Margaret Goodman told me years after she wanted to tell about that before I married him, for I was afraid of violence in any form being timid and quiet by disposition. The unspeakable things I suffered no one will ever know; if I should tell them no one would believe me. These things went on until I obtained a divorce.
To Nathaniel and I were born ten children, all of whom were born in Minersville, Utah. Five lived to maturity to raise families. Our eldest, Amy Maria was born November 6, 1876; Charles Albert, born October 3, 1878; Emeline Elizabeth, born June 7, 1880; Thomas Arthur born May 10, 1882, Nathaniel William, born April 25, 1884; Mary Grace born August 2, 1886; George Francis born February 26, 1891; twins Evered Claude and Everett Clyde born April 10, 1895; and our youngest Fay born October 30, 1897. We lost three of our children, Charles Albert July 10, 1885, Thomas Arthur July 12, 1885 and Emeline Elizabeth July 24, 1885, all within two weeks of diphtheria fever. Evered Claude lived only three months, he died July 25, 1895 and his twin brother, Everett Clyde was thirteen months old when he died May 8, 1896.
My life in Minersville was busy and active. Earning my living, I taught school, ran a small grocery store (store was opened with an inheritance of Nathaniel’s from England. The English courts did not recognize our marriage performed by a Mormon bishop, so there was no inheritance for our children. However, in 1940, our living children each received a penny to settle all claims), did dressmaking and was a midwife for several babies. Church offered me many opportunities. I was a charter member and secretary of the YLMIA’s first organization in Minersville. I taught in Relief Society and was first counselor in Primary, President of YLMIA and a Sunday School teacher. During my married life, I was an active member for about eight years of the Home Dramatic Club. We put on plays for the community of Minersville. In civic affairs, I was president of a unit of the Women’s Suffrage Organization of Utah; also, Vice President of a local Literary Club.
In the late spring of 1897, my husband took our son, William, to Beaver and later to Lyman, Wyoming. That was the last William lived with me as a child. His father was to have sent him home, as he went only to drive a team for his father. About this same time, Mary was teaching school in Stateline, Nevada. Our daughter, Fay, was born after my husband left. I moved to Beaver in 1898 with my three children left at home; Grace, George and Fay.
I did dressmaking and anything I could to make a living for myself and my children. I obtained my divorce on May 20, 1899. We stayed in Beaver for two years and then moved to Tilden, Idaho. The mosquitoes were very bad. I had to wrap Fay’s legs with newspaper and then pull her stockings over that to keep the mosquitoes from biting her. In 1900, Francis (George) went to live with Amy and her husband, Orson. We stayed in Tilden a very short time and then went on to Pocatello, Idaho. Here I ran a rooming and boarding house. One night, a prowler was trying to get in through the window; I took a shot at him with my revolver; that scared him. To make my living here, I worked in a beauty parlor, sold carpet sweepers and canvassed for books door to door and finally went into practical nursing. I worked long hours and had to walk many miles to care for my patients. I worked on many quarantine cases. During our stay in Pocatello, William came to visit from Lyman, Wyoming. That was the first time he had seen his youngest sister, Fay.
In 1907, we moved to Capitola, California; Amy and Orson and my son, Francis (George) was there. In 1908, I moved to Santa Cruz with Grace and Fay. Here I kept house for Francis and did practical nursing. Grace went to Monterey; she met and married Al Browne there.
I moved to San Jose in 1911 to be with Amy when her twin girls were born. I stayed and did practical nursing and helped lots of young people in working in ethics. I did book reviews, genealogy work and taught the Gospel Doctrine class in Sunday School, teaching the Book of Mormon of which I had become an authority on. In charity work, I have fed the hungry, clothed the naked, sheltered the homeless and visited and nursed the sick, have given my time, strength, talents and substance to those whom I thought worse off than myself. I do not say these things in a spirit of boasting. I am glad I have done what little I have. I have known hard work, sickness, death and trouble, but through it all, I have kept my faith in the gospel and would not exchange my knowledge of its principles for the wealth of the world. I finish this story on the 7th day of the month of March 1941 at 470 South 6th Street, San Jose, California
Ada Flavilla Emeline Weeden Goodman
My mother lived in San Jose until her death September 26, 1950. She is buried in Santa Clara City Cemetery, Santa Clara, California. She was sealed to her parents June 23, 1941 in the Logan Temple. On June 18, 1970, she was sealed to her husband, Nathaniel Goodman in the Idaho Falls Temple, proxies were myself, George Francis Goodman and my wife, Celia Leotta Randall Goodman. I received special permission from church authorities to have this work done for my mother and father. All ten of their children were sealed to them at this time.
During the 39 years my mother lived in San Jose, she visited me and my brother, William, three times while we lived in Idaho; twice she visited me in Murtaugh and once in Albion, Idaho. William and I wanted to build her a home in Murtaugh, but she wanted to live near her daughters in California.
She was very proud and carried herself straighter than any person I have ever known. She loved and lived the gospel of Jesus Christ and made many wonderful friends throughout her life. While I lived in San Jose from 1954 to 1962, I met some of her old friends, people who had known and loved her.
In 1917, at Thanksgiving time, while she lived in San Jose, was the only time Mother and her five living children were ever together. This is a most memorable occasion for each of us. She lived to be 91 years 6 months old; she out lived all of her children except myself.
George Francis Goodman
November 21, 1977
More notes from a story told by George Goodman at the Goodman Family Reunion Friday, July 31, 1964 in the mountains at Rock Creek Canyon, around a campfire.
In 1897, when their parents separated, there were four children in the family. Mother was left with three children and was very hard-up. George remembers they ate lots of homemade bread with lard spread on it and this was very often all they had to eat.
William’s father was a carpenter. He made William a pair of ice skates from wood with steel runners. They had a screw that fastened into the heel of the shoe and a strap to go over the shoe to hold t hem on the foot. This was when he was about 9 or 10 years of age. He always loved to skate and play ball. His father made George a cross gun from wood.
Mother, Ada Emeline Weeden, Goodman, made George a “Lord Fauntleroy” suit, black velvet with white ruffles. He was so proud of that suit.