My Memories of Henriette Ellingford Davidson
Contributor: cheriepatterson Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
MY MEMORIES of HENRIETTE ELLINGFORD DAVIDSON
by Anne (Davidson) Pendley with a few additions by HLD
It is a well established fact that most people tend to remember the bad times, the hurts, the dark side of their lives. It is also true that two negatives do not necessarily make a positive memory. In spite of that, I hereby present my version of my Mother’s life.
Mother was the thirteenth child born to John Ellingford and Emily Susan Clark. They had left London, England, and moved to Utah expecting Paradise - or death at the hands of the Indians. Samuel, a brother of John, had migrated to the United States five years earlier and settled in Morgan, Utah. John had helped Samuel with funds to emigrate to the U.S., so in return Samuel was to help John. There was a difference of opinion as to what that help was to be.
Prospects in the new country seemed very promising, so John, his wife Emily, and six children left their native land on the White Star Line ship “Nevada.” The ship arrived in New York on 24 April 1882. From New York, the family proceeded to Ogden and Salt Lake, arriving 1 May 1882. (History of John Ellingford – revised by Alta Hollingshead.)
When they arrived with their children, they found things were not as anticipated. His brother had changed his mind and was moving to Idaho. The thoroughly disillusioned family settled down in Round Valley, to raise their family and make a new life of their own. Their home was a little log cabin with a leaky roof. John and his family later moved to south Morgan. The remainder of the children, including Mother, were born there.
Bad luck seemed to follow the family. Several of the children died in infancy. Everyone had to work hard to keep the family going. Grandfather Ellingford was a carpenter by trade, which training he passed on to his sons.
One brother, Alfred, whom mother adored, was killed in an accident while working on the Echo ****. She used to tell us how her sister lifted her up to kiss him “Goodbye” at the funeral, and how all the neighbors were shocked.
Mother’s favorite sister was Emma. Emma was 12 years older than Henriette, and was a second mother to her – curling her hair and generally taking over her “bringing up.” One day a young man stopped to call on Emma. Emma did not care for the fellow, and during the course of his visit, decided to ride his horse—side saddle of course. The horse shied, throwing her to the ground. Her foot caught in the stirrup and she was dragged as the horse ran away. (Note: Mom in one version wrote: “This fellow hit the rump of the horse with his hat causing the horse to bolt.” She also wrote: Grandfather Ellingford saw the horse running down the street dragging the girl. He shot the horse to stop it, not realizing it was his daughter that was being dragged.) As a result of her death, Grandmother would never let her other two daughters near a horse. All her life Mother remembered. She liked horses, but only from a distance.
Her father was a “cantankerous soul,” or so she remembered. The family used to go through long periods when neither parent would speak to the other. One of her favorite quotes from her father was, “Heneretter, tell you mother she put too much salt in the potatoes.”
He had quite a temper. One day he told his oldest son George to go and “never darken my door again.” He never saw George from that day on, except maybe at a distance. Uncle George and Uncle Tom went homesteading to Lyman, Wyoming. Uncle George as an old man told many stories of early life including how Grandfather would lock everyone out of the house during one of his tantrums. George would stick by his step-mother and when all was quiet, he would crawl in through a window and let them in for the night.
One brother, Uncle Del, was born with club feet. They took him to a doctor, who tried to fix them by cutting the tendons. As a result, instead of straightening, his feet just flopped. He went to school (because he was no use as a carpenter) and took up clerical work. He became an accountant and later moved to Wisconsin.
Mother’s parents were very strict. From what she told us it was, “Children should be seen and not heard” and “Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop;” and they made certain there were no idle hands.
She used to plague her brothers by following them while other boys were around. One day she was pretending to be a boy with her skirt tucked into her bloomers. (I shudder to think what would have happened if her Mother had seen her.) As she skipped down the path, she suddenly bumped into Sam and his friends. I guess he gave chase. Anyway he never let her forget it the rest of her life. Her father died, leaving the family to struggle the best they could. After her father died, the family sold the place in Morgan and moved to Henefer. Mother used to tell of the family council when they sold. She did not want to sell. This was home and here she wanted to stay. Uncle Sam convinced her by telling her all the rest were going to sell. They would leave her there with her share, which would be in the far corner with no way to get in or out. She finally agreed to sell.
Grandmother loved stories – mainly love stories, but since she could not read very well, the girls had the job of reading to her. Mother did not care for the type of story, but her sister being a little older, liked them – besides it was a wonderful way to get out of doing the housework. She would interest her mother in a story and little sister did the chores.
Alice lived in Storybook land. One of her favorite heroines was named Mignone. She adopted that name as her own with minor variations. I can only remember her as Aunt Nona.
In later years they later moved to Logan. (note: Mom wrote in one version… so the girls and Del could go to school while their mother ran a boarding house for some other students. Years later Mother wanted to do the same thing so her own children could go to school. But this was never done.) I believe it was here that they lived near the “tithing yard” where people would bring cattle and other livestock to donate to the Church. One day on the way home from school, a big steer tried to break through the fence and frightened Mother. In later years, she milked, worked with both cattle and horses. She did not trust the animals, but she always had a healthy respect for them.
Her mother loved music and a lively piece by a marching band would send her “step-dancing” even in the middle of the street, much to Mother’s embarrassment. Mother did have a bicycle for awhile. It must have been pawned, as she told of seeing it in the window of the store, and it was no longer hers. (I last saw Mother riding a bicycle when she lived in Sandy, about 1946.)
One of her dolls had a kid body and china face and was very special to her. As I recall, some relatives came to visit. Their daughter who was about the same age as Mother fell in love with the doll. The cousin was very sick, and when they were leaving, the cousin cried to have the doll. Mother’s parents gave her the doll and Mother never forgot about it. Her young cousin died, and the family put the doll away in a trunk. Many years later, when contact was re-established, they finally gave the doll back to the rightful owner. I think Hazel may have that doll today.
When Mother was older and interested in boys, her Mother would let her walk home from Church with a boy, but her mother would walk a few steps behind them and give a poke with her umbrella if they lagged or walked too closely.
Mother attended school at Logan. One day she noticed a young “greenie” in the train station in Ogden coming in on the train as she was leaving. Highly amused by his attire, she called out, “Hello Aggie,” much against her training and principles. Years later she met him again. This time she married him.
She taught school for the large sum of $40 a month. Half of this she sent home to her mother. The other half she squandered on room, board, and clothes. She particularly wanted a new blouse, the latest fashion. She asked her mother if she might keep the money to buy the blouse, but was told it was impossible. Her Mother needed all the money. But when summer vacation came and Mother went home, her sister who was not working that winter and had stayed at home with her mother, had the exact blouse Mother had wanted. Mother never forgot.
I believe Mother taught at Echo, Utah, in 1910. I cannot verify or disprove it, but she did hold Utah teaching credentials for that year.
The next year she went to Milbourne, Wyoming, to teach. She boarded with the Hans Davidson family. One day a young man came to visit his Aunt and Uncle and cousin Elsie, and met the new school marm. As I recall Mother’s remembering, he had come to see Molly Lindstrom, but met Mother instead. Molly and her sister had taught school the previous year and had boarded with Uncle Hans. Dad had met them and had taken Molly out. (When Mother was feeling low, she would say that Dad felt she had gotten in the way of his seeing the girl he wanted. But that was not the way Dad told it.)
Mother and Dad were married in Malad, Idaho, on 4 Jun 1912. After school was over for the year, they had gone to visit her Mother and Uncle Sam, who was homesteading in Idaho (west of Holbrook, Idaho). Dad worked with Uncle Sam. Their wedding night was spent in a hotel in Malad, with a bunch of bananas for a wedding supper. Mother did not care for bananas, but Dad thought he was buying her a special treat. (Note: in one version Mom added…“In the morning Dad found himself in hot water with the hotel manager because he had not registered Mother. He placated the manager by telling him he had not done so to avoid being chivareed by some local friends, and by showing him the …the rest of this page is missing.)
They spent the first summer in Idaho with Uncle Sam and Mampsy, as Dad called his mother-in-law. That fall, they went back to Wyoming where Dad taught school at Lone Tree. Life was rough for them, living in cabins with little heat, little food, and few prospects. Mother stayed at Grandfather’s ranch part of the time, but she was living at Uncle Hans’ when Arlin was born. I guess so she would be near help if needed.
Dad taught school at Lone Tree, Burnt Fork, Urie, Ham’s Fork, Robertson, Lyman and Fort Bridger at various times. In between he helped his father with the farm anytime he was needed. When they no longer needed him or one of the other sons needed a place, Dad moved on. In the meantime, mother was busy with everything that pioneer women of that time had to do. Several summers, Dad would go to summer school, or go to Washington D.C. or out hunting for gold. Mother kept the home fires burning, taking care of the children and the livestock. Her children were closely spaced, but she used to say she never had two of them in diapers at the same time.
Mother and Dad were sealed in the Logan Temple on 19 May 1915. They had taken the train, but missed connections in Ogden. They had to hire a car to get to Logan in time to make the session. The car would not go, and Dad spent most of the trip pushing it. Mother had the two small sons with her. Aunt Vennes went with them to care for the babies. Grandmother Ellingford attended the Temple with them and Dad stood in proxy for John Ellingford.
The summer of 1920, when Arthur was run over by the car, Dad went with him to the hospital in Salt Lake and took care of him for six weeks. Mother had nothing to do but worry about Arthur and Dad, while she kept herself busy with the garden, milking, taking care of the other four children ranging from one to seven year old, and expecting me in four months. What a woman!
Dad found work for the railroad – building tunnels. The family moved to Evanston. My first recollections are of the Evanston era. There was a brewery across the street from our house. Chinese men used to walk past the place, carrying baskets of vegetables balanced on long poles across their shoulders. I was afraid of them.
Then, back to Grandpa’s farm, to take over when Grandma moved back to Utah. I remember going to visit them at the farm, and getting a special treat of boiled chicken feet to eat. That was supposed to keep us busy and quiet, until the older folks could get through with their meal and their talking. Iona was born while we stayed there, but soon we were on our way to northern Wyoming, where Dad was to teach school. The roads were dirt trails, and the car had trouble in getting over the hills. So, everyone out! Dad would try to drive. Mother would walk behind with rocks, etc., to place behind the wheels to keep the car from rolling backwards. Either Arlin or Arthur carried the new baby and the rest of us trudged to the top. I can remember waking up one morning, and seeing a Big Indian, complete with headdress standing over us.
While we lived in Clearmont, they started a community fair. Just to make sure there were some entries, Mother entered her vegetables and her canned foods. She took first place in most of the categories.
The year I started school, I got the measles. I know I was sick. I can remember Mother staying with me in the dark, or dancing around the room. She had a toothache, and was using toothache medicine to ease the pain. I mentioned it, and she left, thinking it was bothering me. I did not want her to go. Dad and the two boys stayed at the school. The rest of the family was quarantined and had to stay at home.
The family then moved to Ucross. It was a two story house, and the upper floor was filled with drying tobacco plants. The house took a lot of cleaning. As I remembered, we stayed mainly in the downstairs part. Again, it was work and more work for the woman of the family. Dad carried drinking water from the school pump, but other water was pumped or dipped from the canal that went past the place.
Raymond was born that year. Mother had high blood pressure, and the doctor put her on a very strict diet. The only thing on her diet that was available from the local store was lemons. She lived on a lemon a day. I know I did not make it any easier for her, because I can remember hinting to her that I liked lemons and would be very happy to help her eat them.
Aunt Nona had been stranded in Salt Lake, and in order to help out, Mother and Dad agreed to let her and the children come stay with us. Uncle Vea was with them when they arrived. The Church had furnished transportation. It was hard on Mother to have the extra family living with us.
One summer the train started a fire in the field in front of our house. It burned towards us. Men from the town were fighting the fire with wet brooms and gunny sacks. Mother and the older children carried buckets of water to them to keep the sacks wet. The house was saved.
Our family moved to Sheridan, and we stayed in the house next to the church. It had the first indoor plumbing I had ever seen. Mother took the missionaries under her wing, and from then on, we always seemed to have extra sons. Mrs. Roush left her new husband and came back home, so we moved again. Mother wanted to rent the place on the corner of Park Avenue and Sheridan Avenue, but Dad said it was too much money. They rented a house – 372 Wyoming Avenue. There mother continued her busy schedule of caring for the family, teaching Sunday School, working in Relief Society, coping with schools, and was finally able to go shopping if she so desired. Not much money, but fun anyway.
In the spring of 1932, the family moved out of town to the Weltner Ranch. No more running water, no electricity. Just more hard work and with another baby on the way. I do not remember her complaining, all I remember is that she was never quiet, always working. About the only time she sat down was when she was taking care of the baby or eating. She did stay active in church work, and I can remember the Christmas programs that she produced at church. Our parents kept the whole branch in food from what we raised. She would send eggs to the market to purchase what she did not raise.
After three years working the Weltner Ranch, we moved on the Heron place. There life was a little easier – at least we had running water, an indoor bathroom, and electricity from the gasoline powered engine-run generator. The electricity was stored in storage batteries in the basement. Not too reliable, but a lot better than the kerosene lamps. But along with the modern convenience came the heartbreak of losing our cows to the Bangs Disease test, the continuation of the grasshopper and cricket invasion, and losing the ranch because we were unable to pay the rent of $100 a month. During this time, Mother hosted the Mission Presidents and their wives when they would visit Sheridan. I remember especially President and Sister Joseph J. Daynes. Then there were the Segmillers. They both wore ill-fitting wigs.
We moved to town for almost a year. We had to share the house with another family, plus “Jack for Short.”
We had been planning a silver wedding anniversary party for Mother and Dad for about six months. But when the important day came, Dad was gone again – this time to Salmon. We went ahead with the party. Baked a wedding cake complete with little tokens for luck. People from the Branch came, and a good (?) time was had by all. We pooled our money (Edna furnished most) and bought a silver bowl. The Relief Society gave them a silver plate.
Salmon was our next stop, and back to primitive times. We lived in a tar paper shack by the Lemhi River. Mother, as usual, was busy gardening, and generally keeping the family going. Dad and the boys were sawing wood for sale. That summer Howard had his head split open when the horse ran him into a tree. It was infected, but there was no doctor available, and no money to pay for it if there had been medical help available. Mother would clean out the infection, and try to keep it bandaged. I think he lived. That was another of Mother’s jobs – nursing. Everything from a little TLC, to major things like toes chopped off, broken ribs, pneumonia, broken collar bones, and rheumatic fever. There never was a Christmas that someone in the family was not down in bed.
It was while we were living here that Jessie and Kenneth were married, and Edna and Laurence were married. Mother was not able to attend either wedding. Then Jessie and Kenneth split up, and Jessie went into deep depression. Mother had to watch her night and day.
We moved to the house across the street from the chapel. Things were a little easier; Dad was working more, and Mother continued working as usual. Jessie and I were working in the café, and we were able to purchase a bedroom set and a couch and rocking chair. This was the first new furniture Mother ever had, other than the kitchen range from the turkey money at the Weltner Ranch. I always wondered how Mother knew when I came in at night. But she always greeted me with, “Is that you, Annie?” I blamed it on the squeaking stairs.
When Laurie was born, Laurence called Mother. She went outside and asked Arlin to driver her to Chipman’s. He said he would, but he had a hard time getting the car started, and mother took off down the road. Her daughter needed her, and there was no time to wait for a balky car. Howard got the car started and caught up with her about two blocks down the road.
The WAR started, and Dad and the boys went looking for work. Dad finally settled in Utah and moved the family there in a house on Kensington Avenue. Here Mother had the most luxury of her life – electric stove, refrigerator, a furnace, no big garden, and a bus to ride if she wanted. But it was also here that she slipped and broke her arm on a newly waxed floor. It had to be painful but I do not remember her complaining or crying.
She never learned to drive, and so was dependent on others when she needed to go someplace. She enjoyed being in Salt Lake where she could catch a bus and go without waiting for someone to take her.
It was here also where she had her thyroid operation. The goiter had bothered her for years, but she was determined not to have the operation until her children were old enough to cope without her. She was aware of the danger involved in that surgery. The doctor convinced her that the surgery was absolutely necessary then. She almost died of the complications. President Daynes, who had been Mission President in Wyoming, administered to her, and she recovered. Her health was never good after that.
They bought the house – the first house that Mother could call her own. However that did not last long, and Dad started looking for his “farm.” When Arlin bought the horses in Tennessee and sent them home, that settled it. They purchased the place in Sandy.
Life in Sandy was rough. She was not well. She had three sons involved in the fighting in Europe. She had two daughters living at home, both expecting babies. Jessie, while not living at home, needed assistance. Raymond and Hazel were still in school. And Dad was wanting to sell out and move on to a dryland farm in Idaho, with none of the modern conveniences. I did not think it fair to move Mother away from civilization and told him so.
The war ended and the men came home. I moved out of the house. Life went on. Mother was not well, her blood pressure was soaring. She would have splitting headaches and nosebleeds that she could not stop. The nosebleeds helped prolong her life by lowering her blood pressure.
She renewed her work in genealogy. She took her family line as far as she could, and then she started to work on the Davidson line. In fact, she and Dad would work together on the papers. She would fill the forms out, Dad would type them, and then they would proofread them together. One night they had been working together, proof-reading. Mother stood up and said she was done. She walked into the bedroom, and had the stroke that ended her life.
Mother gave up teaching formally, but she was a teacher all her life. She taught us to value work, music and literature. She helped all of us with school work, and helped us learn and value music. She would quote some of the best poetry – “Thou too sail on oh ship of state” -- or “The quality of mercy is not strained,”…“So live that when thy summons come to join that innumerable caravan.” I can still remember her reciting them.
She was always singing and was a very good whistler. Dad and Mother used to have whistling duets with each other. She taught herself, and all of us to play the piano. She exhibited a tremendous amount of patience when Arthur, Edna, Jessie, Howard and I were all trying to learn to play the piano, and claiming practice time. But she always encouraged us, and gave us a sense of accomplishment.
She loved genealogy. A few times I was able to go to the Genealogy Society with her to go through the records. It was here that I finally understood the meaning of the word *******. Wow, was my education lacking.
I remember her sitting in the rocking chair, usually rocking the new baby, and letting me comb out her beautiful, long hair.
--Her working, cooking, etc., with one foot on the baby buggy as she rocked and soothed the baby, so the work could go on.
--Her Sunday-go-to-meeting dress. It was usually dark. I remember one especially of black satin. In the summer she would make her dresses from a flowered print. She loved beautiful clothes, but she saved most of the pretty material for her growing brood of girls.
Every Saturday night, when all else was done, Mother would sit darning socks. She taught us all to darn, so the stocking would be wearable. She was a “seamstress” and when she finished, it was well done.
She made QUILTS, some were patchwork, some appliqué, and a few crazy quilts. She would make tops from discarded woolen clothing. She carded wool for some of the quilts, but most that I remember were from the cotton batts. It was a family activity to tie the quilts. All done in assembly line manner. Someone, usually Mother or Dad, would stitch, someone would cut the yarn, and others tied. Children too small to help, stayed under the quilt, and watched the stitches. I soon learned the difference between a square knot and a granny.
It seemed that Mother was always busy. Her gardens always fed the family, and were works of art. She would be out at day-break weeding and hoeing. Yes, we learned to help plant, weed, water and harvest. Then after the harvest, came the canning. Again it was family work, and we all had a hand in it. If we were going to enjoy eating it, we should enjoy canning it. At first she canned vegetables in the copper boiler. It would hold a lot of jars, but it had to boil for three hours. It was so much better when she finally got a pressure cooker. I do not remember canning much fruit as we grew very little. But she did make delicious chokecherry and bulberry jam. I can still taste them.