Contributor: MargieW Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
Eleda Alberta Eastman was born March 7, 1902 in Woodruff, Rich Co., Utah to Alberto Lincoln Eastman and Mary Train McDonald Eastman. She was the 5th girl in a family of two brothers and 6 sisters.
Our house was neat having 7 rooms and a well room attached to a breeze way and coal room. The plan of it was a typical state of Maine style – as far as I know we had the only fire place. Every fall our bedroom was thoroughly cleaned after the grain was thrashed and we had clean sweet smelling straw. After a year of use it was almost dust. Our beds were taken out on the lawn and cleaned and the ticks were filled with new straw. Our home made carpet was also removed and hung on the clothesline. We would beat the dust from it with brooms. The old straw was removed from the floor, the floor scrubbed and new straw was put down. Then the cleaned carpet was put over the new straw and tacked down. Then our ticks filled with new straw and a feather tick on top. Besse and I would have to be boosted up on our beds until the straw settled down some. Everything smelled and felt so clean and warm. When we moved to Randoph our straw and feather ticks disappeared. We now had cotton filled mattresses that were not as good.
My sister Audrey, just older than me, died before I was born. We five girls had a large bedroom with 2 full beds and a single bed. I slept with Crystal. Bessie slept with Lessie. Ava had the single bed.
Later after Lessie got married, the living room or parlor was divided and Crystal and Ava had that room. Dad bought a folding bed for them. We sure liked this pretty piece of furniture. I wish I had a picture of it. When folded up it had a full length mirror on the top a small mirror in the center and we kept pictures of our family.
I was quite a tom-boy. My dad called me just Leda but later nick-named me Lee. I rode horses and calves with the neighbor boys.
One summer I drove in the buggy to Lake Town, Utah – by Bear Lake. We went in the store owned by a Mr. Robinson. Dad asked me what I wanted. I said a pair of overalls with white stars like Mr. Robinson was wearing. Oh, I had the best summer wearing these overalls – but Mama didn’t approve; they disappeared before the next summer. But by that time I didn’t want to ride calves and get my legs skinned when the calves got too close to the corral bars.
I loved to go to Aunt Net’s (Janet Dean) house. She always had time for me. When the older kids were playing hide the thimble they said I wasn’t big enough to play as I couldn’t hide the thimble, but she always talked them into it and she hid the thimble then sat down and started knitting, so they never knew. Aunt Net let us slide down the banister. We didn’t have an upstairs at our house. When she took hot bread out of the oven she would break it in pieces hot and put on butter. We’d sit on the stair steps and eat it. My dear mother was very proper and our bread had to be cool enough to cut or slice. This reminds me of how hungry I got after school. We’d get a thick slice of bread and dip it in the thick cream on the milk pans in a shelved screen cupboard in our cool well room. Oh, yes – we sprinkled sugar on the cream.
One year Dad brought home some wine red velvet and Mama made Bess and I dresses trimmed in gold braid and buttons. Dad liked blue and I didn’t so I had asked him not to bring blue.
Mama was a very good seamstress. There were no patterns in those days and we would find in a catalog what we wanted and she just cut it out.
I had a best friend, Vera McKinnon who lived on the top corner of our block. Her father was Bishop Peter McKinnon and her dear sweet mother, Louie Call. We were 10 years old. Vera was the oldest with 4 or maybe 5 younger – so she and I would take care of them when her parents went to conference in Salt Lake. Of course my mama was close. It was always fun, but Vera said she was going to be an old maid school teacher, which she almost was. But she did marry Eddie Kennedy and had Louise. I wanted a dozen kids, but I only got 6 of the most wonderful kids in the world.
I remember when Grandpa John Wilson McDonald came from Smithfield to Woodruff. My sister Lessie was married and lived in a house on the same block. She fixed up an outside room for Grandpa. I remember he was cross most of the time and if we got noisy he hit us on the head with his cane.
I was 12 when we moved to Randolph. I went in buggy rides with LeRoy Tingey and Boyd Cornia. Crystal was in nurses training at the Dee Hospital in Ogden and Ava was married. I liked Randolph and the people. My dear little mama didn’t like it for some reason. We moved to Evanston after 2 years.
I first saw Howard in Randolph but he was 4 years older and couldn’t see me the first year. But when we moved to Evanston he drove us in his car. Then he would come and see us once in a while. He had not started to work at the railroad and he stayed at his sister Blanche Smith’s home. He went to Logan to school. World War I came, they turned the school into barracks and he trained for the army there. He was discharged fall of 1918. He moved to Ogden with his mother, sister, Ruth, and brother, Jim. They went to school. Howard went to work in Ogden Railroad shops. I went to Ogden a few times to see them.
Crystal had graduated from Thomas Dee Hospital in Ogden as an R.N. and was in the service as a Red Cross nurse during World War I.
I met new friends in Evanston. It seems like it was always easy for me to make friends. Four of us girls were always together. On the same street and block was (Toots) Olivie Blackham. One time after school we took her white laced shoes to have the heels repaired. As we were going out the door I said, “He is new and doesn’t know you.” So she shouted her name – Blackham – and when we went to get the shoes, he had blackened them. Another girl was Thelma Murray. She wrote the neatest. I can still see her beautiful handwriting. Another was Clara Horrocks, whose mother was always ready and willing to chaperone we four girls to dances. One time I went to a dance but hadn’t told my parents. Mother had Dad go and check on me. I saw him standing by the entrance and waved at him as I went by. He waved and smiled. When he went home he told Mama he couldn’t bring me home as I was having too good of a time.
Toot’s family was great friendly people, including her oldest redheaded sister, Lydia, who worked at a millinery and women’s clothes store for a Mrs. Code. I worked here after school and Saturdays. I addressed the envelopes when the bills were mailed out, but only a few months. A woman there made hats. Everyone wore hats. She made me a hat. Oh, I sure thought that was something. She made wire frames and covered them with different materials and flowers and ribbons.
I had a date to the Prom with Frank Brown, but no dress. Mama was going to make me one, but one day after school Toots and I went to a store and tried on formals. Her sister helped Toots choose one and I tried on several, but one I really liked – yellow chiffon. They told me I could take it home on approval. My bedroom was on the front of the house so I came in and slid it under the bed. At dinner I told them about Toots getting a formal, then hurried and said I had brought one home on approval. Dad said, “Try it on and let us see.” He approved but Mama was upset at the price. I did keep the dress and had it on for my 16 year old picture.
I dated other boys that winter as Howard was in the Army at Logan. Fred Baden, and once a Myers that married Mary Foux, but it was his brother Henry I wanted to date but never did.
We had a new teacher who was mean. If one of the boys talked, he would sneak up behind him and pull him out of his seat on to the floor. One time I was sitting on one leg with my foot out to the aisle. He came by with a big ruler and hit the sole of my shoe very hard. Oh, it made me so mad. I may be able to remember his name.
I went to Bear Lake one summer with Mother Spencer, Howard and Ruth. Some young people were there from Logan – a girl Rene Lewis and Leland Stockdale. This was the summer that Howard and Leland (Lee) went to AC at Logan to school. I wrote to both of them, not realizing all mail was together so both saw my letters.
Howard was discharged and went to Ogden with Mother Spencer, Ruth, and Jim. They were in school and Howard went to work in the railroad shops. He moved back to Evanston. We dated steady. June 5, 1919 we eloped to Kemmerer, Wyoming and were married by a man named Christmas. We came back to Evanston and got an apartment. My parents were very upset at me eloping.
From her life sketch: She saw her first automobile in her Dad’s blacksmith shop having a broken axle fixed. They were told to stay away from it but of course we had to investigate it. She saw the railroad spread its tentacles into every rural area of the nation and then witnessed its withdrawal from these same rural areas. She witnessed the coming of the airplane and the landing on the moon. She shared the home experiences of two World Wars and waited anxiously for her sons to return safely home from the second one.
Her life span covered the industrial age. Electricity and its many uses were part of her experience. She saw the media progress from the crystal radio set to the modern miracles of telephone, telegraph, television, and computer – email and internet.
On June 5, 1919 she married Howard Harris Spencer in Kemmerer, Wyoming. That marriage was solemnized by ordinances in the Logan Temple. Four boys and two girls were born to this union. Frank was born May 29, 1920, John Bert born November 20, 1922 and died July 30, 1923. Earl (Bud) was born May 15, 1924. Her fourth son, Dale Ray was born October 21, 1925. Elizabeth Lucille (Betty Lou) was born June 5, 1927 and Joan was born November 14, 1929 right after the stock market crash. In 1923 they moved to Pocatello, Idaho where Howard was employed with the Union Pacific Railroad as a machinist.
Eleda was a life-long member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and was faithful to her church to the time of her passing. She was a Visiting Teacher for 75 years and served in Primary and Relief Society in Ward and Stake. She was a member of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Desert Rose Camp, Pocatello, Idaho, and in recent years has been numbered among the last true daughters of a pioneer.
In April 1953, her marriage to Howard ended in divorce. He passed away in 1955. On September 18, 1954, she married Morris Stacy. Her family was most important to her and with this marriage she felt she had gained two more daughters. His family had gained a second mother and a grandmother for his grandchildren. The two families were very accepting of each other and have been additionally blessed through that association. She often described her life with Morris as wonderful. With him she had many varied experiences that I often wondered how she adapted so well to trips to the cattle ranch, round ups in Copper Basin. Upon reading her Life Story I realized that it was in large part due to the experiences she had in rural Utah with her Dad. She was part “tom-boy” and seemed happy when she was with her dad in his blacksmith shop and in the rural experiences of her youth.
She went to the cattle round-up for several years and helped cook for some 30-50 cowboys three meals each day for a week. In talking with the women she worked with they said she was friendly and hard-working. She taught them much about cooking on the old black cook stove and how to make pie crust. They still use her pie crust recipe today. She was pressured to ride one of the horse’s part way home and got dumped. She was a good sport and respected for her contribution of help and friendship. She was a grandmother to all the children of the ranch families. Morris Stacy died January 15, 1965.
She leaves a fabulous heritage for her descendants. She was the last surviving member of her family.
Eleda was preceded in death by her two husbands; two sons, John Bert and Dale Ray Spencer; a daughter-in-law Elizabeth Robb Spencer (Betsey) and a son-in-law Lynn Stoddard. She is survived by two sons, Frank Spencer of Reno, Nevada; Earl (Bud) Eastman Spencer (spouse – Norma Richards) of Bountiful, Utah; a daughter-in-law- Joy Hodkins Spencer Johnson of Columbia, Mo; two daughters: Betty Lu Stoddard of Hampton, Va; JoAn (Gene) Bryan of American Fork, Utah; two step-daughters, Arlene Stacy (Werner) Erickson and Nancy Roskelley both of Pocatello, Idaho; 23 grandchildren; 66-79 great-grandchildren; and 23 great-great grandchildren.
Services were held July 31, 2001 at 11:00 am at Anderson & Sons Mortuary.