History of Jane Moss Forsyth Allred
Contributor: dbknox Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
Born 21 Aug.1883
Died 16 Sept. 1949
Written by her daughter, Mildred A. Mercer 1984
“And thy life shall be written down for thy sake, and for the sake of thy children, and
their children’s sake.” —Anonymous.
Jane Moss Forsyth was born 2I August 1883, in E.T. City (Now Lakepoint), Tooele County, Utah. She was the fifth child of Andrew Barker Forsyth and Emily Elizabeth Moss. Her brothers and sisters were: Mary Elizabeth, Sara Eliza, Emi1y, John Andrew, Margaret Grace, Grover Cleveland, Claude DuVal, Stanley Moss, and Barker (stillborn).
Jane lived in E. T. City until she was six years old. She started school there. Her parents and grandparents had been called by Brigham Young to settle in E. T. City to install and maintain machinery in the Grantsville Woolen Factory. When the factory closed, her parents moved to Provo, where they bought the Shadrack Holdaway farm in Grandview, located in northwest Provo. This house was a two story log house of “salt box” type architecture. Downstairs was a front room which doubled as a bedroom along with a large kitchen with a pantry and a sma1l bedroom where the boys s1ept. Upstairs was one large bedroom with no partitions. From the wood stove in the downstairs bedroom the stovepipe ran up through the upstairs, which furnished a small amount of heat where the girls slept upstairs.
The farm was very diversified, having fruits and berries of all kinds: wheat, corn, and garden stuff, plus pasture for livestock and poultry. I remember the dirt cellar which stored bottled fruit and winter vegetables. There was a corn crib, a chicken coop and an outhouse which were whitewashed with lime once a year. Across the creek were pigeons, a barn, and a machine shed. The farm had an irrigation ditch running close to the house where they got the culinary water for household needs. Down over the hill and quite close to the creek was an excellent spring for drinking water and refrigerator. Butter, milk, and cream were sometimes cooled here. In the wintertime the large pantry held round pans of milk and other 'perishables'. A lone window on the east wall could be raised or lowered to adjust the temperature. This log house sat about 75 feet back from the road. Black walnut and cottonwood trees surrounded the house itself. The whole front yard was lawn which was mowed by staking the horse on it and letting him eat until the
grass was short. Along the front of the yard near the street grew purple lilacs which made play houses and hiding places for the 1ittle children. On the sides of the walk from the road to the house were shrubs, one of which Jane called "the Johnny Peck". It was a flowering Almond which Johnny had given her when they were courting. She almost married this young man.
Her very best friend during those years was Edna Jones Johnson, a daughter of Stephen and Annette Jones, who lived across the road from the Forsyth’s. They used to play house in the wooded pasture. Jane said she would sneak some pickled onions from the 5 gallon crock in the pantry and the preserved pears which were in crocks at the head of the stairs for their playhouse lunch. These woods were stiI1 there when she grew up. The creek that ran through the pasture provided several special swimming ho1es. Their favorite spot for meditation and “telling secrets” was where the Allred house later stood, the land which my father bought from Grandpa Forsyth. Edna and Jane frequently complained about having to take Grace and Mabel, their sisters, nearly everywhere they went. Whenever they could sneak away from the little girls they found mischievous things to do. Jane’s auburn hair and freckles added to her brother Grover’s opinion that she was a "real Tom Boy". They once put cockleburs on the seat of the Doctor’s buggy and then turned the horse loose to go out on the Bench (where Orem is). Steve Jones was so mad he made them return it to the Doctor and walk back from the Bench. Another time, a Mr. Davis had a cutter (sleigh) and said, “Do you want me to pu1l your sleighs up the hill?” He took them up the Dugway and out on the Bench where he left them. They tried to get back by 9:00 pm and pulled their sleighs until they were nearly exhausted. Jane didn’t tell me what her punishment was, but Edna had to stay home for two weeks, not to go out to the road nor over to Forsyth’s.
Edna and Jane exchanged clothes frequently although Edna was a larger gir1. The Forsyths were a proud family and the English manners were important. Jane told of a dance she and her sister May (Mary) went to when there was only one pair of gloves, so each of them wore one. She was taught that "a lady always wears a hat and gloves."
She went through six grades in the Grandview (Lincoln) School which was part of the Provo Public School System. All grades were held in the same large room. Her teachers were: M. I. Bushman, S. R. Brown, and J. L, Fairbanks. In the 7th grade she dropped out of school because she would have had to walk over three miles to the Proctor school on the Provo canyon road. She was an average student and received several 1ittIe awards for being excellent in Deportment.
Going to church regularly was a big part of her life. She was Grandview Branch organist when they were part of the Provo Third Ward. As soon as she started to earn money she paid an honest tithe. One of her first jobs was as hired girl for Mrs. Clift in Salt Lake City. She was paid one do11ar a week, plus board and room. All during her married life when my father never paid tithing, she tithed every cent she earned and taught her children that the Lord would always take care of them if they paid an honest tithe. During the years while we were young, Dad was part of the Grandview Sunday School Superintendence; Mother would stay home to cook Sunday dinner. Afterwards, the whole family would go to Sacrament meeting in the early evening.
I know very little about her courtship except that she kept company with Ferdinand Olson and Johnny Peck. It was at this time that her friend Edna married Johnny Johnson and moved to Lake View or Vineyard. When she met Coleman Allred she was attracted to his black hair and good looks. He was determined that she would keep company with him and would not leave her a1one. She told me they didn’t get along too well during their courtship. He was working for his Uncle Silas with whom he had lived since coming to Provo from Spring City when he was 1l years old. Later he worked on the railroad in Rexburg and Pocatello, Idaho. He first dated her sister May for a few times but May found Roland Brown and was quite serious about him; however, her parents didn’t approve of Roland and succeeded in breaking them up. They didn’t 1ike Coleman either because he was “wild and drank too much.”
Jane was working at the State Infirmary on the Springville Road before she married. It was a running joke that he “married her out of the Poor House.” She was twenty-one years o1d, and Coleman was six months younger when they married on 7 September 1904 at the home of Uncle Silas and Aunt “Lide” (Sarah Louisa Turner) Allred in Provo. Her parents did not approve of the marriage and were not present at the wedding. They moved into the back two rooms of Mrs. Meldrum’s house on East Center, up towards the State Mental Hospita1. She was not allowed to go home or see her mother until her brother Claude died of meningitis on 25 January 1907. She and Dad had their Temple Endowments in the Manti Temple on 7 February 1906, but her father still had not forgiven her. She said her mother used to drive the horse and buggy past Mrs. Meldrum’s house to see if she could catch a glimpse of her daughter. In those days, a wife did not go against the wishes of her husband, and Grandpa Forsyth was a stubborn man. Many of the fami1y problems could have been solved if he had been more understanding and forgiving. In 1ater life, he liked my father very much and often sought his advice on things.
Coleman Al1red was a fine blacksmith and worked very hard to support his family. He always provided a good home and plenty to eat. They bought their first home at 446 South Third East, Provo, when he was earning $1.50 a day working for Tom (Thomas Leonard) Evans until he served his apprenticeship and became a Certified Blacksmith--I have his certificate. At this time my mother tended two little boys belonging to Marsha Pratt. Their names were Elwin and Truman Pratt.
Jane had six children born in this house. Her first child was a stillborn boy born 11 February 1908. His death was caused by a prolonged, difficult instrument delivery. This was a great blow to my parents. She said he had lots of “black hair like his father”. I, Mildred, was born 15 March 1910;Merle was born 19 April, 1912; Leah was born 8 March 1914; Lydia was born 5 October l916; John Forsyth was born 3 February 1919; Lester “C” was born 21 February 1921; and Ruth was born 16 August 1923. All of her babies were delivered by Dr. David Westwood. All were instrument babies except Leah, who weighed only four pounds at birth.
When there were only three children, Dad bought "Ted" a roan (reddish-brown) horse and a one-seated buggy. Mother would hold Leah on her 1ap and Merle and I sat on the floor next to the dashboard. On the Springville road Dad raced “Ted” and nearly always won over the other racers. This was great fun for all of us.
My parents had much sorrow when their litt1e Lydia contracted infantile paralysis or Polio when she was eighteen months old. She was desperately i1l and became paralyzed on her entire right side, making her a dependent baby again. Aunt Armina Allred was living with us at this time while she was in nurses training at the Aird Hospita1. By the time John was born a few months 1ater, she had two babies to care for. They slept four in a bed while she was nursing John and Lydia. By February when John was due the "flu" was racing all over the country. Some entire families died, and nearly every family was afflicted. Mother engaged Mariah Strong as nurse for the confinement but there was so much sickness around that "Aunt Rie" came for the delivery. She took care of her and the baby for ten days then went home to a houseful of sick fami1y. The hired girl was Tirza Brimhall. Our other "hired girls" were Lydia Allen (Elkins) when Lydia was born, and EI1a Smith when Lester and Ruth were born. Grandma Forsyth was there when Leah was born, but I don’t remember the hired girl.
About 1917 my father bought a piano for Mother. He paid a hundred dollars for it. Merle and I took lessons from S.W. (Samuel) Williams, who continued to teach us after we moved to the farm. Mother loved to play the Mormon Hymns. Other favorites were “Over There’, a war song, “Silver Threads among the Gold”, “Farewell to Thee”, and “I’11 Take You Home Again, Kathleen”.
In 1918 my father leased the Forsyth farm in Grandview from Grandpa and in April 1919 the family moved to the 1og house where Mother grew up. Dad rode an Ivor Johnson bicycle to the blacksmith shop every day except Sunday. By this time he had moved from Ahlander’s on 4th South and University Avenue to his “tin shop”, 81 North 1st West, where the Excelsior Hotel now stands. He farmed on shares with Grandpa.
These were hard years for my mother. Lester was born in the 1og house. Aurelia Clyde Snyder was the nurse. She was the wife of Mother’s cousin Bert Snyder. Mother lived the life of a farmer’s wife while her husband was gone all day at the shop. She kept a 1arge garden and bottled hundreds of quarts of fruit. She churned butter and sold it to customers in Provo. She fed pigs and fattened them until they were killed in the fal1. She fed chickens, geese, and ducks. She had lots of honey which bees deposited in between the first and second floors of the house. When Dad had to work late she milked 2 or 3 cows when she couldn’t get Elwin Snyder to do it. At threshing time, Grandma Forsyth and Aunt May came out to help with the huge meal for the men. She scrubbed the kitchen floor every night after we had gone to bed. She was an excellent cook and loved a clean house.
When Lester was one year o1d Dad bought five acres from Grandpa and started to clear the land for a new house to be bui1t. Until late at night we could see his lantern light where he was working. He hauled the wood over to the house where he stacked it in huge round piles for firewood. He wanted to build the house on the hill so Lydia could be taken to the Lincoln School, but the contractor struck water and had to build down by the creek. His brick bungalow was built by Mother’s cousin Ed Snyder. As usual, Mother had practically nothing to say about the plans. The men did the planning. The cupboards and counters were too high and shelves too far apart. She was 5 feet 5 inches tal1 but had to stand on a stool to reach the top shelf. The French doors between the dining room and parlor were boarded halfway up from the bottom so the kids “wouldn’t kick the glass in". She never really liked this house, although it had two bedrooms and a large front porch where they could sit in the evening.
Ruth was born in the back bedroom of this house. This was another hard birth. She was so weak she could not raise her hands. It was the following day before they told her the baby had a club foot. I remember she turned her head to the side and cried silently. It was later decided that when the surrey turned over and threw Mother out when she was about four months pregnant, the baby had positioned and the foot never turned. So far as we knew, this had never occurred to anyone in either the Forsyth or Al1red families. This was the beginning of much pain for Mother and Ruth, as plaster of Paris casts were applied often in an effort to straighten the foot. The baby would have to be held and comforted for several days after this ordeal.
When Lydia reached six years of age and would be going to school the problem of how to get her up the Dugway to the Lincoln school caused much anxiety. Mother solidly refused to let us pull her up the hill in a wagon, and she couldn’t walk. She wasn’t using crutches at this time but got around in a “walker.” My Mother’s pride finally won out and Dad sold the place to William Nuttall and bought another brick bungalow at 245 N. 3rd West in Provo. The Schools were nearby and Lydia learned to ride a tricycle and use crutches. With the help of other children she got along fine. We also had “Tiger,” an o1d Bulldog who became very possessive and guarded her well. I was attending the BYU at this time, and had no responsibility in getting her to school.
My Mother seldom had money of her own except what she earned. Dad provided good housing and food but expected her to ask for whatever else she needed. We always charged a grocery bill, which Dad paid once a month. At the farm we charged at Sutton’s, then Sutherlands, and Hansen’s whatever else she needed. We always charged a grocery bill, which Dad paid once a month. At the farm we charged at Sutton’s, then Sutherlands, and Hansen’s ( 3 rd North, 1st West). He checked every item on the bill to see that nothing frivolous had been bought. Ruth remembers one year when she was small that for Lester’s and Washington’s Birthday she put a little red candy hatchet on their lunch places. Another time she put some green gumdrops for St. Patrick’s Day on their plates. She hated this dependence but many women of her day accepted the husband as head of the house, and taxes, etc. always came first. She made many quilts for people, charging $3.00 to quilt a pieced top. I remember that she once took some wheat from the bin, hauled it to Upton Hoover’s Flour Mill and sold it. With the money she paid $1.50 for her food grinder. She took in washings and ironings to pay for our music lessons. She washed and ironed the fine cutwork embroidered table linens of the BYU Home Economics Department. We picked up and delivered this linen at night so no one would see us pulling the wagon, either coming or going. In returning the large rolls they had to be carried in the arms in an extended position. Professor Effie Warnick was kind enough to give her this work. Some of the tablecloths were so large they had to be ironed on a padded dining room table, then rolled on large paper rollers so there would be no creases.
At this time she had no transportation because they had sold the horse and buggy when they moved into town. She took one of the girls and the baby buggy to pick up and return the laundry to her customers. She rented the garage to Grace Hoover for $3.00 a month, but didn’t always get paid. Besides taking care of seven children she always looked for an opportunity to earn a few extra dollars. As the children grew older and had jobs they bought things for the house that would make her life more comfortable. Mildred bought the ice box which required 25 cents-worth of ice every other day. She also bought a mattress. John bought the radio. Lydia bought curtains, two large rugs and clothes for her. Lester and Lydia bought the Day Bed which made out into a bed when company came and a sofa in the daytime. Ruth bought a coolerator—a modern ice box, and then her first electric refrigerator.
As a family we were always disappointed at Christmas time. Mother never had money to go shopping and she never knew what kind of dolls we would get so she couldn’t sew for them. Dad waited until Christmas Eve, then went to Steve Bee’s store and bought the gifts that had been marked down half price. Our dolls arrived naked from Santa Claus, while all our friends had beautiful clothes for their dolls. I never remember having a Christmas tree while we lived on the farm. When I was about ten years old I received the “Swiss Family Robinson” and years later learned that Grandpa Forsyth had bought it for me. Aunt May bought “The Birds, Christmas Carol” for Mildred, Mer1e, and Leah. As the years passed by, our Christmases were better but were always marked by great disappointment. Dad thought if we always had a good Christmas dinner it was enough.
In contrast to Christmas, our Thanksgivings were always happier. When we lived on the farm we loved to go to Grandma and Grandpa Forsyth’s home in Provo. As we rode in the surrey we literally went “over the river and through the woods”, as we sang the song. Many of our cousins were there and it was a time of joyful reunion with roasted goose from our farm, plum pudding and all the goodies the families brought. After dinner, Grandpa would play the Edison Gramophone with its cylinder records and Morning G1ory horn. We weren’t allowed to touch it but the miracle of the invention never ceased to amaze us.
My father was proud to provide plenty of food and loved to get us altogether for Thanksgiving, which remained a tradition as long as Mother 1ived. He was generous with other people. One widow in our Ward received a beef roast every Saturday for many years. During the Depression he worried about whether his married children had enough to eat. When farmers had no money to pay their blacksmith bi1ls, he took produce which he gave to us.
Mother had a talent for making and keeping friends who visited her often. After she moved to town some of her friends were Minnie Dalton Snow, wife of Harry (Harrison) Snow; Cora Frisby, wife of William; Carrie Scott, wife of Robert; Mertis Hoover Russell, wife of John L., and Rose Kartchner.
She was a Relief Society teacher, head of the quilting committee, and member of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers. She loved to go to the movies with Lydia and Ruth. When Aunt Elsie Clyde came to Provo from Price, they would go to town and buy a banana split for 35 cents. They were intimate friends, telling their secrets they would not share with anyone else.
On 25 August 1928 her daughter Merle married Martin Von Diamond, and in September Mildred went into nurses training at St. Marks Hospital in Salt Lake City. In 1934 she married Raymond Mercer and moved to Tooele. Leah married Wayne Holman in 1938. John married Betty Scoville in 1940. Lester married LaVonna Joyner in 1941. Lydia married Steve Johnson in 1944, and Ruth married Jack Fetterman in 1946.
Her two sons served in World War II, John in the Seabees and Lester in the Army. During this war period, she was given a Citation for Meritorious Service (1944) for making a National United War Fund flag with her friends Carrie Scott and Olive Thorn. It was hoisted on the flagpole of the Provo City building. The War fund was to provide the 300 Utah boys who were prisoners of war with some of the necessary equipment for recreational, educational and leisure time activities as well as food, clothing, medicines, and comfort articles. There were many months when she did not hear from the boys and could only agonize as to whether they were alive or dead.
About 1942 Dad went to work as a Security Guard at the Hanford Washington Atomic p1ant. He sent his money home, keeping only enough for bare necessities, and Mother had a checking account which she enjoyed but never abused. It was the first time in her married life she had paid the bills, etc.; and had a little money in her purse. This job enabled Dad to get out of debt and to buy the Hoover place next door. Leah would come over from Pleasant Grove every Wednesday to take her shopping. Lydia and Steve would pick her up and take her for a ride which she really enjoyed. Ruth lived at home with baby Laura while Jack was in Korea, then later they moved to California but kept close touch by letters. We are including a letter or two in this history so her descendants can feel the sensitivity of her love for her children and to see her handwriting.
While Dad was in Hanford, she went to California to visit her brother Grover and family. She had never been out of Utah before. Her health had begun to fail when Ruth was still living there, and without complaining, she felt the need to see her brother. When Dad finished his job he met her in California and they stayed in a motel for the first time before they came home together by bus.
In the fall of 1949 she was so ill she was hospitalized. Her kidneys failed and she had to have intravenous fluids going most of the time. The Red Cross brought Les home from Belgium. Her first words were whether he had something to eat. She said she would be well enough in a few days to cook for him. She seemed a little better so Les went back to Belgium, but she died on 16 Sept. 1949 of myocardial infarction before he arrived at his post. Most of the girls took turns at her bedside so she was never alone. Dad stayed with her until she was in the mortuary. He was devastated at her death for he truly loved her all during their 45 years of married life. She was 66 years old.
Her funeral was held in the Provo Third Ward. She was buried on the 19th of September in the Provo City Cemetery beside the grave of her firstborn son.
Nov. 22, 1901
It is with pleasure that I take time to write you a few lines. I am well and have received two letters from Jannie. All is well. I wish you would let me know soon when you are going home. I might just as well go down with you. I just received a letter from home they wrote to Jannie and found where I was. I will answer it tonight. I don’t have any news. But think I shall go and see your sister and talk with your folks. I don’t know of any more for this time so will close for this time. Hoping to hear and see you soon.
I remain as ever,