My Life Story - Lettie Jones Anderson
Contributor: Conyngham Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
I was born December 26, 1892 in Cedar City, Utah, daughter of Isaac Jones and Lette Selena Dalley Jones. My father, Isaac Jones had been married before to Elizabeth Melling and had two small children, Margaret and Joseph, when he married my mother. Aunt Elizabeth had died when Joseph was born.
My mother, Lette Selena Dalley was a school teacher. She and Sam Jones, my father's brother, were very good friends but Uncle Sam told when he was about 80 years old that he would have liked to have had her for his wife, but he realized how desperately father needed her so he stepped aside and let father court her. Father's brothers always seemed to think a lot of my mother.
Father and mother were married when Joseph was a year old and Mother took the two children and gave them the very same love and consideration that she gave her own. They lived in Cedar City, Utah and Father worked for Henry Lay. Within a year of their first child, Georgia (a boy) was born. They were on Cedar Mountain at the time and through the neglect of the woman who cared for Mother, the baby only lived a few hours.
Their next child was also a boy, Isaac Alfred. We always called him Fred. I was the next child in the family. Then in about two years another son, Lehi, was born. When he was between eight and nine months old, he contracted whooping cough and died. We all had it and in those days it was terrible. We coughed until our eyes and ears bled and my eyes are still weak from it. I was three when Lehi died and seeing him in his casket is one of the first things I can remember. It was about this time that we moved to a house on the lot next to Grandma Dalley in Summit.
A brother, Rulon, was born next and while he was a baby father was called on a mission and labored mostly in Missouri and surrounding states where the people were still very bitter against the Church. He was mobbed several times but never harmed.
Father left enough hay in the barn to feed mother's milk cows all the time he would be gone. One day Grandpa John Lee Jones came and asked mother to trade him the hay for straw, saying that she could feed the straw to her cows but his horses needed the hay. She said, "Isaac put that hay there for me and it's going to stay there till I feed it."
All the light we had while father was gone was the light from the fireplace. I remember the older ones studying by it. The boys tried to raise a little grain while father was gone and it was such hard work for them that they would go to bed and lay and groan and mother would say, "They're so tired." They were only little boys.
Having enough water was a real problem so before father left for his mission he built a tank up by the ditch for storage and would fill it on his and Grandma Dalley's watering day, then he piped the water to his home and Grandma Dalley's so the women wouldn't have to carry water while he was gone.
Mother was Stake President of Young Ladies and she was expecting visitors one day so she bought fifty cents worth of sugar--the only sugar we had in the house while father was gone--I was about six then and I got into the sugar and ate nearly all of it and vomited straight sugar. I never lived that down.
Mother earned money taking care of bees and selling honey and we always had our own honey. We also used to go to the mountain with the cows in the summer and make cheese and butter--then in the fall she would go down to Toker in Dixie and can fruit.
Mother and father were very friendly with the Indians and they would come every fall and camp about a quarter of a mile from the house and would water their horses at father's watering tank and mother would sew clothes for the squaws to wear in the winter.
When father came home from his mission his parents met him at Milford, the closest R.R. station and there was a dance in Summit that night and the young people brought him on home. I ran a whole block to meet them and they didn't even see me and I had to follow the buggy back to the house.
Father's brothers had been running his saw mill and shingle mill, but when he came back he worked it again.
A daughter, Linnie, was born the year after father came home from his mission on October 17.
Because of the water shortage father was considering moving to Oregon, but Uncle Lehi Thorley had been to Wyoming and convinced him that was the place to go. So when I was nine years old my folks shipped their honey bees, machinery, cattle, horses, household goods and all their belongings to Wyoming. The railroad only went as far as Cody so we unloaded at Garland, Wyoming. We had to go by wagon from Garland to Otto. In Otto we moved into a house where people had lived who had recently had smallpox. Both Thorleys and us were living in the house and in a short time all of us came down with smallpox. However, we all recovered as it wasn't as severe as some epidemics had been.
Father bought 160 acres of land about a mile west of where Otto now stands. There was a good two room log house on it and good out buildings. The next June another daughter, Elna, was born.
Some folks named Gynup wanted to move to Canada so father bought their 160 acres which joined his on the north and we moved onto that place. It was also a two room log house and had good out buildings. Father had moved this house up on the hill and it was still on the logs used to move it and the chickens were down at the old place, so one day when mother was trying to slip away from Elna, who was just a little girl, so that she could go down and feed the chickens--she stepped out of the door and onto a log and slipped and fell shattering the bone in her hip. There were no doctors around that she dared to go to so she just let it go. An abscess formed on her hip from the effects of the fall and it was very painful. She must have been pregnant at the time of the fall because a daughter, Delsa, was born before the abscess matured. Mother was in such pain the last six weeks before Delsa was born that she would just scream when she would move. She couldn't even walk and would scream if the children would walk across the floor. Her legs were swollen until they just shown like glass and the first thing she said to me when I went in to see her after Delsa was born, "Lettie, look at my legs." They had gone down and were just skin and bone. She couldn't stand to have the baby on her lap, so I had to take complete care of her and the baby. I even had to hold the baby while she nursed. I was thirteen years old at this time.
There were many other things for me to do also, even though I was only thirteen. I had to mix all the bread, do all the sewing, housekeeping for 9 people, do the washing on the board, cook for threshers, do all the ironing, besides caring for mother and the baby.
Linnie and Elna were just little girls and had pretty long hair and they were in all the programs at church and I always tried to have them dressed nice and their hair fixed real nice.
When Delsa was two or three months old the abscess on mother's hip broke and I wanted to go for help but Mother said,"No, Lettie, we've been through all the rest together, we can take care of this." Over a quart of pus came out of the abscess and pieces of shattered bone began working out which would cause a great deal of pain. After this mother had to learn to walk all over again. Each day the men would get one on each side of her and help her to walk a little bit. One day after she had learned to walk a little bit again, I was outside washing clothes and she came past me and waved her cane in the air and just yelled, "Whoopee!" Her hip drained for over a year.
Mother improved quite a little then and her hip seemed healed for about ten years. A son, Delbert, was born when Delsa as about three years old.
The only two times I heard mother laugh while she was so bad was once while I was taking ashes out of the stove, I had stood the stove cleaner up against the stove and she was sitting close enough that she reached out and got it and moved it slowly across in front of my face and in the dusk I thought it was a big bug. Another time she tripped me with her cane and laughed.
I never felt that it was a burden to take care of mother and I remember her saying many times, "She is so tired." She never voiced her appreciation to me but in talking to the younger girls one of them asked her if she thought more of any of her children than the others and she said, "Yes, she believed she did. She said she loved me because I had proved myself and just how much I would do for her."
Father never thought I should have any leisure time to go to dances. He always thought I had too much work to do to leave, but my brothers, Joseph and Freddy, would coax and wouldn't go without me so he would let me go. We used to have the best dances ever. They used to sell numbers and 1 to 50 would dance and 50-100. We didn't dance with just young folks either. Young folks and older ones mingled together and danced together and had a good time. But I finally decided that there was only one young man for me, a certain young fellow named Maurice Anderson.