Charlotte Nelson Davis
Contributor: finnsh Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
By Howard W. Davis
(Edited by John Davis)
She was born in Ballyshannon, Donegal county, Ireland the 23 day of November 1873.
Her father was a carpenter and furniture maker (his was the only mill in the town at the time) where they did carpentry. It was with the hand tools that they worked.
Her mother (Jane Patterson) was the daughter of one of the big land owners (John Patterson), who disowned his daughter when she married the poor village carpenter. Wherein lies another story. (This is only partially true as John Patterson died in 1849)
She was the only daughter born of this union. There were two brothers and two half brothers and five half sisters. When sixteen years old she came to New York with her cousin who was a Presbyterian minister ( Her cousin Frances Patterson was married to Thomas Howard - he is the minister. It is believed that she (grandma) was sponsored by her cousin as there is no record of them coming together. She is shown coming alone from Londonderry on the ship Devonia, 11 March 1892 wherein she is listed as 16 but is actually 18). She told me many times about the storms and the crossing of the Atlantic. During the height of the worst storm with all the hatches fastened down and the ship adrift, that all the people knelt in prayer that their lives would be spared and that they would reach land safely. After nearly six weeks they reached New York harbor.
Soon after her arrival she got employment in a rich man’s home as the upstairs maid at 50 cents per week and meals. She shared a room with another maid of the house. She was real homesick in New York as three of her older brothers were there1. They had married and she went to visit them often.
After living in New York for three years she left for Florida with this same cousin that she came from Ireland with. She helped to take care of their children.2
It was in Jacksonville that they stopped. Her cousin was the minister there for nearly 2 years. His wife was sickly so they asked for a transfer from the low climate. During her stay in Jacksonville she met a young blacksmith who asked her to marry him but she said no.
Their next move was to Utah. Reverend Howard, her cousin, had his hands full with a sick wife so Charlotte took care of the three children on the long journey from Florida to Salt Lake City. It was in the spring of 1896 that they arrived there.
Reverend Howard was and assistant to the regular minister in the church in SLC nearly two years, then they sent him to the little town of Payson, seventy miles South of Salt Lake. There his wife got better and could take care of the children so my mother found a job doing house work for a Mrs. Wm Ferre who operated a millinary store in the town. Mr. Ferre operated a grocery store and also owned the saloon in town.
While in Salt Lake Charlotte had met another blacksmith who proposed to her but again, she said no.
She had always been a lively Irish girl full of fun. When she got married to my father (Henry William Davis Jr.) she was 5’ 2” and weighed 110 lbs. she had big blue eyes and long black hair and was a very pretty girl. So during her stay in Payson she enjoyed dances at the church and had lots of beaus.
One Sunday on her return from church she saw a strange horse and buggy tied to the fence in front of the Ferre home. It was a beautiful horse only he looked like he was asleep. She thrilled at the sight of him and walked up and patted his nose. She found out later that his name was Sleepy Dick. She went into the back door and prepared the dinner fro the Ferre family and their guest at the conclusion of the dinner she brought in the dessert and Mrs. Ferre introduced her to her brother. She curtsied, blushed, and fled. But Dad, the brother, followed her into the kitchen. It was love at first sight. Dad wasn’t as handsome as some, but was nice looking with a mustache. He took her for a buggy ride that afternoon. That’s where she got acquainted with Sleep Dick. That horse was known all over Utah County and other parts.
My Grandfather, Henry William Davis Sr., was a horse trainer and owned some of the best horses in Utah. Sleepy Dick was one of the family favorites.
In a little over a month after their first meeting they were married. My father was a blacksmith, the third one to propose to her and this time she said “Yes!”. So on July 30, 1900 they were married in the home of my Grandmother.
The Reverend Mr. Howard had been transferred again and my mother had planned to leave with him till she met my father.
To this marriage was born eleven children. The first two died at birth, both boys. Then came a boy diplomat, Lew. He with the loose tongue and a gift of gab that you find with the Irish. Then a girl was born but she died at three weeks; then another boy (that was me). I’ll write this in another book. Then three girls in a row: Rae, Mina, and Effie, 17 to 20 months apart. Then two boys with three years between them, Dick and Bill, and then two years later a final girl, Ollie.
So today eight of her children are here to remember and love her. She died April 30, 1945 at the age of 72 years. The years had been good to her, her children had been good to her. They had loved her and buoyed her up after the death of her husband 17 years before.
I remember her saying as short time before her death, when President Franklyn D. Roosevelt had died, “Why do good men have to be taken from this earth? Why couldn’t I die instead of President Roosevelt? He had a lot to do and I don’t have a thing to live for.”
My mother had made her life a service to others. She had been a very religious woman and was always going out of her way to help other people and all the years I remember her there was never a hungry tramp or a hungry boy that was turned away from her door.