HISTORY OF EVA HOUSEHOLDER BRAY HARRIS
Contributor: dbknox Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
(Mother wrote this for the Daughters of the Pioneers Organization, July 24, 1968)
I was born July 28, 1892, to my parents, Caroline Matilda Larsen and Father Johnston Householder, in Mammoth, Utah -- a small mining town near Eureka, Utah, Juab County. I was the fourth child in a family of eight. My sister -- just two years younger than myself -- named Aneta, died of what at that time was known as “quinsy.” She was the first to leave the family, and my mother was heartbroken. She was a kind and loving mother, who loved her children dearly. In fact, she was known to love all the children everywhere. My mother was born inside the fort that was built in Mt. Pleasant, Utah, sometime after my grandparents arrived there in April of 1860. (The fort encircled the whole town.)
My mother was one of the first white babies born inside the fort. Her mother, Helsiena Hjetting Larsen, my grandmother, and grandfather's third wife, was appointed by the leaders of the L.D.S. Church to help the mothers with sick babies, and small children to anoint them with consecrated oil and bless them.
Grandfather's first wife died in St. Louis and three of their children were buried there. Grandfather, with a daughter, my Aunt Savina Caroline Larsen, and a son, Andrew Lewis Larsen, came across the plains to Salt Lake City, October 5, 1854. In 1856, Grandfather married my grandmother who was a widow with seven children.
So many ill ones died in those days, with no doctors to speak of. Then, after my grandmother died, my mother was asked to take over and continue on in this work, which she did, and with much success. When I was real small, I remember women coming to our house with babies for mother to bless, and she would say, “Now, children, run out and play. Mother's going to be busy, and we must have quiet.” One woman brought a little girl my age along with her baby sister who was to be blessed. She was a neighbor of a few blocks away. Her name was Gertrude Rolfson. So we went up into the apple orchard where the clover grew thick under the trees, and Gertrude said to me, “I have a grandmother,” and “you don't have any,” which was the truth and I wondered about that. So the next time Grandma Ralston came over to see mother, -- they used to talk Danish and Norwegian together -- I went to see her, and said, “I don't have a grandma, will you be my grandma?” She put me on her lap, and hugged me and said, “Ya, ya, I vill be your grandma. You tell Gertie.” And when I told Gertie, she got mad and stomped her feet and said, “She is not your grandma,” but I said “She said she would be my grandma, and she will -- so there.” Gertrude and I made up, and were good friends for years until at the age of eighteen she died of meningitis.
My oldest brother was born October 14, 1885 in Alta, Little Cottonwood Canyon, Salt Lake County, Utah. He died March 1, 1954 in Ogden, Utah, and was buried in Mt. Pleasant, Utah.
When I was five years old, mother sent me to a kindergarten. It was owned by the Methodist Church -- a school in Mt. Pleasant known as the “Wasatch Academy,” which is still there, after all these years. They had sent young women teachers from New York and other Eastern cities to teach the young children. They were wonderful, and very dedicated to their work. And, this was the only kindergarten in Mt. Pleasant at that time. They taught us small girls: How to sit and walk with a book on our heads and gave us finger exercises so we would use our hands gracefully. The exercise was pretending we were stretching honey taffy. They found I could sing fairly good for a little girl, as my mother had taught me. So they taught us to sing this little song entitled, “The Violet:” It went like this:
Down in a green and lovely vale
A modest violet grew.
Its stalk was bent. It hung its head,
As if to hide from view.
And there it was content to bloom
In a modesty arrayed, and there it shed
Its sweet perfume within the silent shade.
Oh let me to this valley go
This lovely flower to see.
That I may also learn to grow
In sweet humility.
I still sing this song whenever I think about that time of my life, and I am now seventy-six years old. My teacher's name was Miss Clawson, and I thought she was wonderful, next to my mother.
Mother, when a young girl, was tall and slender. My uncle, James Larsen, Mother's only brother (she had many half brothers and sisters), my Uncle James used to tell me about her. He said, “She was as tall and straight as a Norwegian pine, her hair was dark brown and so long she could sit on it. Her eyes were green and her skin was like the Norwegians pink and rosy cheeks, -- a beautiful girl, -- and she had a natural high soprano voice, as clear as a bell, and she sang from morning until night at her work.” When she was eighteen, she sang “The Star Spangled Banner,” at a Fourth of July gathering, and she received much praise. She was raised to mind her parents, who were Mormon converts and who really lived their religion, the way God intended they should. They never missed Sunday School, afternoon meeting, or evening meeting. They knelt by their beds at night and morning to pray; always to ask a blessing on the food. They paid their tithing and God blessed them. My grandfather Sven Larsen was called on many missions in Norway and Denmark. That was his work in the Church.
In the year 1900, we had moved to Eureka where my father was working in the mines. Here my brother James was born on October 4, 1900. He was the seventh child in our family. At this time there were my brothers Will, Reuben, and Stanley, and my sister Katie. My little sister Aneta had died, as I mentioned in the first part of this story or biography. We lived in Eureka a short time, then moved to Knightsville, where we lived neighbors to a family named Boyle. Their second son was named Clarence, and he later became professor at the B.Y.U. College.
Bishop John Roundy baptized my brother, Ruben and I in the old Pump House in Knightsville. I was eight years old and he was ten, and large for his age.
Many years before my Uncle James H. Larsen, who was a prospector, staked out a claim not very far away from the claims of Jessie Knight, later known as the “Iron Blossom Mines No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3,” my uncle's claim was named by him called “The May Day.” He earned nearly a million dollars working his mine and then sold shares. In fact, he sold too many shares and lost the controlling interest, then sold out to a group of men who named it “The Silver King.” He lived in Salt Lake City for ten years or more. He had married a girl from the East whose name was Dale White, and her mother lived with my aunt and uncle. They were the parents of a girl they named Ruth. When his money gave out, Dale and her mother took the little girl and moved to a city back East and my uncle never saw them again. He moved back to North Tintic, built a large cabin with his brother Joe Bonney, lived out there by a natural spring, and filed on another claim which he called 'The Little Comstock.” He found a vein of ore that was high in silver and some gold. He sold stock and tried to follow the vein which seemed to go straight down, so he built a shaft and then came the first flu epidemic. He just about died, however, he lived and took a trip to California. He was never well after, and came back to Salt Lake where he died, and his body was shipped to Mt. Pleasant and he was buried there by his mother and father. Later his claim was sold to a man from the East named Walter Fitch. I don't know whether the mine produced or not, however, about that time, “The Standard Mine” came into the picture, and it was a great producer. And, we, here in Utah have lost track of Ruth Larsen, who would be in her sixties now. We received word years ago that Dale had married again, and then died after having two children, and her mother, Mrs. White, also died about the same time.
Our family moved to American Fork as my father had gone up the American Fork Canyon to work for a man named “Charley Ting.” This man owned a mine up there, and loved the canyon so much he built a house up there where he and his family lived in the summer. Mr. Ting used to stay up there with his man cook and his dogs and books. He loved the place. However, he had been warned about the snow slides, and had seen one or two, but not near his home. Then one winter that was more severe and stormy than the other years had been, he decided to stay against his family's wishes and he was buried up there in a snow slide and died. My father was among the group of men who went up on snow shoes and brought his body out. At this time I was eleven years old.
At this time, my youngest brother, Harold was born, January 5, 1904, in American Fork. He married Elbirta Stewart in Salt Lake Temple October 14, 1935, had a family of seven (5 daughters and 2 sons).
Then when spring came, our family moved back to Eureka, and my brother Ruben left home, when he was fourteen years old, and very large for his age. He drifted down working his way to the desert country and later to California. He went to the “20 Mule Team” Company and got a job, stayed with them a year or so until he grew up a bit. Then, he went to San Francisco at the age of seventeen, having lied about his age, joined the U.S. Navy. When he wrote and told us, Mother felt real bad because he was so young; however, she always prayed for all of us, and there was no war on at that time. After serving his time in the Navy, he went to work in the mines at Butte, Montana.
There he met a young lady named Nina Lee. They started going together and were married. I have no record as to the date. To them were born a daughter named Nina and a son they called Robert. About 1934, my brother Bob accepted a job from the Utah Smelting and Refining Company to go to Jakoradi, British West Africa. He was to teach the natives our methods of gold mining. On the Steamer S.S. Kebor sailing south on Friday, April 13, 1934, Captain Dwight A. Smith, Commander, gave a birthday party for my brother. I still have the menu and on it, Captain D. A. Smith wrote:“We are pleased to have met you, sorry to part, and hope that we will all meet again.”
Bob died July 29, 1937 at the age of forty-seven.
My only living sister, Kate, who at this time is eighty-two years old, lives in Provo, Utah. She married Victor Dodd, son of Dr. William Dodd, country doctor of Tooele County for many years. They were the parents of four children -- ¬oldest son Jack, Helen, and twin boys born on their mother's birthday, June 20, and were named Philip and Victor. They are both living in California, and their father died, some ten years ago. My sister, Katie Householder Dodd died just recently, October 15, 1969, at the age of 82 years. She was buried October 18, in the Provo City Cemetery.
Our family lived in American Fork from the time I was eleven years old until I became a young lady. We lived on the Summit, and I went to school, as did my brothers. My sister Kate lived in Salt Lake, and I used to go and visit her. She married a young man originally from Tooele, by the name of Victor Dodd. They had a family of four (3 boys and a girl). Two of the boys were twins. Phillip was light-haired with blue eyes like his mother. Their sister Helen was blond and blue-eyed. She was such a happy little girl, always laughing and smiling. In fact, they were a healthy fine-looking group. Their father, Victor, worked as an accountant in Hemingway and Moser Cigar Store in Salt Lake City. They had a nice home, and were a fine family.
About this time, I met and married a fine looking young man whose family also live on the Summit in Eureka. His name was Israel Barlow Bray. We were married on July 27, 1910. His folks came to Utah from Mississippi as converts to the Mormon Church, settling in Provo, later coming to Eureka so the father could work in the mines. We lived in Eureka where both of our sons were born -- first Vern Bohne Bray, and Herman Barlow, who was soon called Bud, the same as his father. We went to Idaho on our honeymoon and stayed with his sister, Mrs. Icy Lena Woodhouse at Blackfoot. Our marriage did not last because my husband turned out to be a gambler and we separated, later divorced. And I and my mother moved back to Mother's old home in Mt. Pleasant, Sanpete County. By this time, my brothers, Ruben, Stan and Will were on their own, working and living in different places. Will, the oldest, stayed in Eureka. Reuben went to Montana, and Stan to California. And my father left and went away, no one knew where. He was gone for eighteen years. Mother, who did not believe in divorce, lived and helped me with my two boys, my brothers James and Harold.
I found work at the Wasatch Academy, cooking and waiting tables and staying with my mother. I also worked on the John H. Seeley Ranch as cook for a while, riding a small Indian pony to work early each morning, and home again in the evening. Mother and my brothers raised a fine vegetable garden, and we had an orchard of apple trees. Mother owned two city lots and raised hay. We had a cow, raised a pig each year, and had chickens and rabbits. At this time, I received a letter from my sister and her husband, asking me if I would come and help them as Kate was the mother of twin boys and needed someone to help her. They sent my fare, and I took my son, Bud, my youngest, and left Vern with my mother. When I arrived, Kate had been very ill, and was hemorrhaging. We had a hard time to save her; however, she finally pulled through. But, it took her many weeks to recover fully, and when I finally went back home to my mother and Vern, he didn't hardly know me and went and hid back of Mother. I was so sorry for him. But that's the way life is -- we do the best we know how, and I was always taught to do for others, if I wanted to be happy.
When my sister's twin boys were six months old, she wrote me another letter asking me to come once more and help her, as she was getting a divorce from Victor because he had met one of his old girl friends from Montpellier, Idaho, and wanted to marry her. I went again to help her; however, in a situation like this, there is so little one can do or say. My brother Ruben came down from Montana, and took Kate home with him. Victor hired a woman to look after the children, and I went back to Mt. Pleasant. It turned out later, the woman he hired was his new love, and she came and took over. My sister was not able to come back because she had become worse and finally had a nervous breakdown.
Then, a letter came from my brother Will asking me if I would come to Knightsville and cook for him and my Uncle James Larsen. They would pay me well, and I could help Mother more that way. I went, and it was up there I met a young man who had come up from Provo to work in the mines. He worked in the same mine as my brother -- The Iron Blossom No. 3. We lived in an old company house -- large with plenty of room and my new friend, Lloyd Harris wanted to board and -- also live in an empty room at the end of the company house. My brother Bill and my Uncle James gave their consent, as he came and lived in the company house. Then his brother, George, came up from Provo, and roomed with Lloyd, and we were quite a happy group. My uncle worked at the Standard Mine and while there, he contracted the flu, and was very ill; however, he recovered and left Utah for California for his health.
Lloyd asked me to marry him as he really needed a home. His mother had died and his father died when he was six years old, and they were living on a ranch in Oxford, Idaho. So, he was without a home. I told him I had two sons living with my mother and I was also two years older than he. But he said, “My father married a widow with one son, and they got along fine. If he could do it, so can I.” So, we went to Nephi in Juab County, and were married on September 16, 1916. I had been a widow for four years. I was 22 years old and Lloyd was 20. His brother and my brother left about the same time, and Lloyd and I lived in the same place until spring. Then, we decided to move to Mt. Pleasant, and visited with Mother and brought Vern and Bud back to Spy Hollow and the Company House. That winter, we would get up in the morning and sweep the snow out of our kitchen which blew in at night. There were so many cracks under the door and around the windows.
So, come spring, we moved to Mt. Pleasant, and leased a ranch from Rass Anderson with a herd of milk cows, pigs, some cattle and a span of large black and white horses, and a few sheep. There was a three-roomed house, kitchen and dining room and two bedrooms and two porches, a swimming pool, bath house, and three ponds stocked with trout.
I took care of the cream, ran the separator and made butter. The skim milk was fed to the pigs and young calves. We really had a fine living, and word came to us that a week after Lloyd quit his job in the mine, two miners were killed in a cave-in, in a place the miners called “The Old Glory Hole.” So we felt that God was looking after us. We also saw the miners raise the Stars and Stripes over the shaft of the Iron Blossom Mine No. 3 at the beginning of World War I. Lloyd was exempt from the Army because of two stiff fingers on his right hand, caused by an accident when he worked at the age of sixteen in the Cement Plant at Devils Slide, Utah. However, he never let that hand bother him. He learned the paint and wallpaper hanging trade from the Bean brothers of Provo when he was real young. He could also milk cows and do anything he set his mind to. So, we were real happy at the ranch. In those days, it was very beautiful with ocean willow trees and grassy places between the ponds, and the young children from Mt. Pleasant and students from Wasatch Academy came down and were allowed to swim for ten cents apiece and furnish their own swim suits.
On July 23, 1918, a little dark-haired girl was born. We named her Vivian Glade. Having two boys already, she was our first girl, and we sure made a fuss over her. She weighed seven pounds. Lloyd worked hard that summer, and one day while hauling hay in the hot sun, he had a slight sun stroke, and he fell off the hayrack. He came to and crawled over to a cattle shed and lay in the shade until he had recovered enough to walk home. We talked things over that evening, and he decided to leave the ranch and go to work as a painter in Mt. Pleasant. This he did, rented a house, and lived near my mother. Lloyd worked at his trade for a while, and then got a job at Seeley Hinkley Garage. Then, on October 13, 1920, another little girl was born in a house just north of the old Flour and Grist Mill. She was like her sister, dark hair and a lovely little girl and their brothers thought the world of them. And my husband was so pleased. He was such a good father to them all.
A year or so passed, and we received a letter from Lloyd's twin brother, Loring. He said if Lloyd wanted to follow up his paint trade in a place where he could make more money, there was an opening at Utah State Hospital in Provo. So Lloyd went to Provo and got a job as house painter up there with patients to help, and he got along fine with them. We lived in Pleasant View and the boys went to school at the old Page School. Then, in February 25, 1923, a fine baby boy was born weighing eight pounds, five ounces. This was Lloyd's first son, and he was so proud of him. He went to town and brought the most beautiful wicker baby carriage he could find. It lasted for two of Kenneth's brothers and then I gave it to a neighbor of mine and it lasted for years after that. In fact, my oldest grandson had a ride in it before it was gone.
Then, we moved from Pleasant View down to First West Street in Provo -- just through the block west-of the Lower Campus buildings of the B.Y.U., and there on August 18, 1925, my fourth son was born. He was smaller than his brothers at birth, weighing six pounds. He had dark hair and as pretty as any girl, good natured and sweet. I had a little harder time raising him. He looked more like Lloyd than any of the rest, so I named him Lloyd, Jr.
Then, several years later, we moved to 391 South 400 East, Provo, and started buying this large old home, built by the Johnson brothers. Here our fifth and last son was born, March 10, 1928. He was a large, husky baby, weighing almost nine pounds like his brother, Bud. The nurse said he was so active he kicked a dish of warm oil off the table where she was bathing him, and she knew he was going to be a football player, and she was right. He played football and basketball, but won his laurels in basketball.
My family grew up in this old two-story house. Lloyd and I worked hard. He painted the house several times, planted rose bushes and shrubs, and kept the large lawns in perfect condition. The boys helped, also the girls and myself. We worked keeping this nine-room house clean. We have three porches. Many times Lloyd was complimented on the beautiful lawns. We owned two building lots north of us, and one that had a large garden, also flowers and a strawberry patch, until we sold a lot and later the other one to pay for some doctor bills we owed. Like all large families, we had our sickness times and went through the periods of depression.
All of my children were born in the home, which was the custom at that time. We always sent for the elders when the children became ill or any of us, and God heard and answered our prayers. We are all alive today except my husband who passed away, April 11, 1962, at the age of sixty-seven from lung and heart trouble.
The years went by almost too fast. The children grew up healthy and strong. We ate our meals every day on time. I have always baked my own bread and still do. I am a true daughter of the Mormon pioneers, and have patterned my life after my mother and grandmother. I honor them and love them as I love God with all my heart and soul. The Ten Commandments have always found a place on my walls, so the children could see them and remember.
My two oldest sons grew up and like many other sons wanted to see the world -- just sort of outgrew the nest. So, Vern joined the Army and went to Panama and Bud joined the Navy and went on a destroyer around the world. And it was good that they did, because it wasn't long until World War II started. They came back from their service, men, with lots of knowledge about man and the world. Then, Vern met a nice neighbor girl by the name of Myrl Hall. They were married and moved to Nevada where the government was building the Hoover Dam. Here, their first son was born, named Lawrence Bray. My son Bud stayed home, met a Provo girl, and was married to Jo Maudie Haliday. They lived here in Provo until World War II started, then Bud joined the Navy again. And, also my young sons Kenneth and Lloyd enlisted in the Navy. In the meantime, my two daughters had married. Vivian to Calvin Woodward and Lillian to Carl Mehl. They too went to serve their country. So, during the years of World War II, there was a small red, white, and blue flag in my front room window with five white stars on it, and I was very proud of all of them. And the flag remained there until the war was won, and they all returned home safely again thanks to our Heavenly Father.
Turning back the pages of time, 1954 (or 1957), Lloyd and I were home alone with our son Ray. He was going to Provo High and was one of the fine athletes of his school, playing foot¬ball and basketball. Lloyd and I drove to all the games outside of town to see him. He met a young girl named Joyce Reid. They became engaged, then Ray joined the Army, and went to do his stretch for his country. He was sent to Japan. On his return, Joyce and Ray were married, and settled here in Provo where they still live with their son Robert and daughter Kathy.
Now Lloyd and I were alone. He had worked at Utah State Hospital for twenty-two years or more and had also worked as a paint contractor. We had been hunting and fishing for many years on weekends and holidays, and now we could travel to California where our daughter Lillian and our son Lloyd lived with their families. We have hunted deer in these beautiful mountains and caught rainbow trout in the lakes and streams all over Utah, and God has been good to us. I will stop writing now for a while and listen to the B.Y.U. Devotional coming over the radio. Elder LeGrande Richards, one of the twelve apostles of our L.D.S. Church will do the talking.
I can't understand why God loved me so, and blessed me more than another, but I think he did when he sent me to Utah to live, and gave me my wonderful mother, Caroline M. Larsen Householder.
NOTE: The following are special poems Eva Householder Bray Harris has collected.