LEORA LAMOREAUX ASHTON
Contributor: crex Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
LEORA LAMOREAUX ASHTON
By Self –June 1989
I was born 7 May 1911, at Paragonah, Iron County, Utah to Archie Messinger Lamoreaux and Lenora Huntsman. I was the third child and the first daughter in a family of nine children. They are:
Arvil Archie………………….Beatrice Carter
Leland Orson………………...Thelma Stratton
Leora…………………………Orvil Stubbs Ashton
Irene………………………….Chester Robb Robinson
Homer Albert…………………Rill Thornton
Mary Hulda………………..…James Samuel Robb
Orien Huntsman………………Hazel Mae Stembridge
Nina…………………………..James Leslie Hamilton
Florence………………………LaVerne Hugh Kite
In later years my mother wrote this poem for me concerning my birth:
You came to this earth in the springtime
When everything is fresh and green
The day I first held you in my arms
Is as happy a day as ever I’ve seen.
Daddy said, “We’ll call her Lenora,”
I said, “No, she’s too nice for such a name.”
So then, it had to be Leora
As that sounded almost the same
When you were just one day old
Your Daddy was very busy, you see,
But on his way home to dinner
He picked a lilac and brought home to me.
He took me in his arms and kissed me,
And then kissed your dear little face
And oh, how happy I was then
Without a care or sorrow to trace.
We’ll always think of you, dear one
As our first little girl, so grand
And we pray the Lord to bless you
And guide you with loving hand.
I was born in a two room log house, two blocks west of the LDS Chapel in Paragonah. My childhood days were happy days and as I had two older brothers, I guess I grew up to be quite a tom-boy. I could climb as high and run just as fast as any of them. One of my first recollections is the time the old buck sheep bunted me down and I went to the house crying and daddy said :never mind, we’ll fix that old sheep. We’ll kill him.” And that night they did kill him. Of course I had no way of knowing that Dad had been planning to kill it anyway. I can also remember Dad letting me drive the horses when we lived at Willow Canyon, five miles north of town, and making them go as fast as fast.
My sister Irene and I grew up together and became very close. Mother used to make all our clothes and would dress us alike. She and father taught us to sing, and I remember singing “Oh Hush Thee My Baby” at a Christmas program before I even started school.
The summer before I started school, a music teacher came to our little town from Cedar City, to give piano lessons. His name was Mr. Tolstrup. Dad and Mother started Arvil, Leland, and I taking lessons from him. He thought I showed some talent for music, so I got to take lessons two days a week. I really enjoyed my music lessons and would sit at the old organ for hours and practice. At the end of six weeks our music lessons were finished, but I just couldn’t quit. I still practiced and practiced. I learned to play many of the church hymns and have loved to play all my life. Although I know very little of the techniques of music, I love to play for my own enjoyment.
I can remember my first day at school, or at least going to school on my first day. Mother combed my hair all pretty and put a big blue ribbon in my hair. I had a brand new dress and new shoes that I remember brushing the dust off of all the way to school. My two older brothers, Arvil and Leland, each took hold of my hands and away we all went to school. I remember one day while learning our times tables, Miss Jones would hold up the numbers and have us give the answers. I was just too anxious to give the answers and, along with several others, could not wait to raise my hand, but would shout the answers out. She asked us not to do this and when we persisted, she said, “The next one to shout out without being called on would have to stand in the corner.” Well, I was the one to stand in the corner, and it nearly broke my heart, but it taught me a valuable lesson.
In Third Grade I remember several events. One was getting in my first fight. It was with Alma Edwards and was a really good one. At the end of the school day the teacher would have us all march out in an orderly fashion and stand in line until she said, “Break Rank.” This particular day, Alma kept pushing me out of line and the teacher would call me down for not holding a straight line. So when she finally said, “Break Rank”, I grabbed Alma and the fight was on! It ended with a bloody nose for Alma and the neighbor next to the school helping to apply cold pack to the back of her neck to get it stopped. After that I didn’t have any trouble with any of the kids at school and Alma was one of my best friends from then on. I also remember an operetta the school had and I played a “Wood-Nymph.” It was one of the best operetta’s our little school ever did. We even took it over to Parowan, about five miles south of Paragonah.
It was during my Fourth Grade year that we moved from the old school house on the public square in Paragonah, to our brand new school, up at the extreme east of town. That was a thrilling experience and we were all taught to love and respect this new building, and never put a mark on it in any way.
While in the Sixth Grade I was taken to the Iron County Hospital in Cedar City and operated on for appendicitis. While in the hospital all my classmates wrote letters to me and they were sent to me in a large envelop. I have kept these letters through all the years because they meant so much to be at that time.
My Seventh and Eighth Grade had quite an influence in my life. I think one of the most important things I learned, outside of my school work, was to sight read music and be able to “pitch” a song and sing it by reading the notes. We did many musical programs and operettas during these years that were outstanding, although I didn’t have any special parts other than chorus numbers, but the experience was wonderful. I graduated from the Paragonah Elementary School in the spring of 1925.
Before I go on with my school years, I would like to take time here to tell of a few of the things that happened during these years that do not pertain to school. I remember as a child, when it was March or April, our parents would load our belongings into the wagon and we would move to the farm called Willow Canyon, so we could take care of the cows and keep the water going on the hay and plant other crops. We children would have to come in each day for school until the end of the school year, which used to be the fore part of May. Sometimes we would ride horses in to town and other times Dad would bring us in. We would live on the farm until the middle of June, and by that time the rattlesnakes would be bad so we would move either to the Pine Grove Ranch on the Parowan Mountain or back to town.
I had many harrowing experiences with rattlesnakes and I was terribly afraid of them all my life. Even after we moved from there we would still have to go back at least once or twice during the summer to put up hay. As I was the oldest girl and also handy at handling the horses and helping out with the hay, and cooking and washing dishes, it often fell my lot to go with the men folks to help.
When I was about twelve years old. I had gone to the field in the afternoon to help load hay, and as Dad had broken the hay knife in the mower, he had sent my younger brother, Homer, down to the house to get some new knives and guards for the mower. When it began to get supper time, Dad said that I could go to the house and get supper, while Arvil and Homer took the horses to the well to water, and he would rake the hay on one piece, then he would come to the house for supper. We all climbed on the horses and rode from the field to the house, where I went to get supper ready while the boys unharnessed the horses, getting ready to take them to water. When I got to the house I found that the door had been left open about six inches, when Homer had come to get the hay knives, and I remember feeling a little afraid as I entered the house, but I went ahead to get a fire started and get things going. We had a very old fashioned stove—an old charter Oak range. I crumpled the paper and placed it in the fire box and went to the back of the stove where we kept the chips and went to reach down to pick them up, when a voice as plain as could be, said, “Don’t put your hands down.” I was startled, and looked around, but thought it just my being afraid and went to reach down again. This time the voice was very emphatic, and I even turned to see who had spoken to me, but found no one in the room. Then I obeyed the warning and got the broom and swept the chips into the center of the room, then picked them up and put them in the stove. I got the fire started and went to the back of the stove to put the damper down, when for some reason my attention was drawn to the floor, and there lying stretched along the wall, not more than a foot away from my toe, was a rattlesnake. To this day, I don’t know how I got out of that house, but I ran screaming, outside. Arvil jumped off the horse and came to my rescue, and took the shovel and went in to get the snake. When he got in, he found not one, but two snakes, one behind the stove and one under it. He was afraid to get two of them, so he put Homer on one side of the door with a big club and me on the other side, outside the door, and went to get Dad. When they came, they went in, and killed one snake, but the other one got away through a hole in the floor. None of us slept much that night and I was dreadfully sick all night and was so sick the next morning I couldn’t stay at the house, so Dad made a bed for me in the wagon and took me to the field with them. When we came back to the house for dinner, there, curled up at the south of the house in the sun, was the snake that had got away the night before. Dad killed it and life went on much the same as usual, but I have always felt that my guardian angel must have been close to me at that time. I’ll never know whose voice it was or where it came from, but someone surely spoke to me as plain as any voice has ever spoken to me.
I then went to Parowan High School for two years. In January of the second year I became very ill with mastoid trouble and was operated on in the hospital in Cedar City. I was one of their first mastoid patients and they knew very little about how to treat it. I was so sick that family and friends started staying with me all the time. One night as my father sat by my bed, not knowing whether I would live the night through, he said he received the impression that he should take me from the hospital and seek help from other sources. This impression was so strong and impelling that in the early hours of the next morning, he went to mother, who was staying with relatives in Cedar, and told her, and together they got the Dr. out of bed and told him what they were going to do. The Dr. told them that if they were to start for Salt Lake with me I’d never reach there alive, but never the less, that is what they did. A bed was made for me in the back of the model T Ford and my father carried me to it. I was taken as far as Paragonah that day and put to bed at my Grandmother Lamoreaux’s home because it was quiet. That night about 7:30, a man knocked at the door and when the door was opened he said he was a doctor and had been sent there to see if he could help. My father and mother talked to him and found that he was a faithful L.D.S. man and a chiropractor. My father had no faith in these kind of doctors, but felt impressed to let him examine me and see what he could do. After a quick examination he turned to my parents, looked them straight in the eye, and said, “Yes, I can help her, but first I will have to have all your faith and prayers. Now the rest is up to you.” After a word of prayer he began to work. I was in a very weakened condition and could not stand much, so he would work for a few minutes and then let me rest. I had been having as many as four nervous chills a day—chills that would shake everything in the room. Grandma even laid her China dolls down that were on the organ as she was afraid they would fall and break. This doctor worked with me until 2:30 in the morning. Each day after, he would come and work with me until at the end of a week I was eating four meals a day, no more chills, and for the first time in several weeks was able to sit up. I improved rapidly and by the middle of May was quite strong and healthy. I know that it was through the faith and prayers of my parents, and the power of the priesthood that I was made strong and healthy again. Dr. Sargent, a chiropractor, with the Lords help, saved my life.
I again entered school at Parowan in the fall and because I had missed a full half year the previous spring, and because I was an “A” student, my teachers were very considerate and let me register as a second year high school student which let me make up classes I had missed and stay up with my own age group. I also did work in the office, an hour or twe each night after school which gave me a little spending money.
In the Spring, two weeks before school was out, I was permitted to leave school without taking final exams, because I was still an “A” student. The reason for my leaving was because my father’s youngest sister, Nettie, had twins, a boy and a girl, and needed help . I was old enough to help, so as it was permissible with my teachers I left school and went to Beaver to help Aunt Nettie. I spent all summer in Beaver working for $3.00 a week. I enjoyed many good times. I had two lovely girl friends and was able to attend many dances and parties. I also had several boy friends, one in particular, Albert Gale. When I left in the fall to return home my parents and family were living at the ranch. Albert came over to the ranch to see me and I remember one afternoon, especially because Albert and I had been playing games on the kitchen table, just having fun. Suddenly Grandpa Lamoreaux came through the door, walked through to the door on the front and then turned and said, “What’s the use in having relations if you can’t use them. Albert will you come help me move this bunk?” I have never forgotten it or the look on my Grandfather’s face.
I would like to tell a little about our lives on the ranch, known as the Pine Grove Ranch, located on the Parowan Mountain just three miles west of the Panguitch Lake. It was a beautiful place and we loved to spend the summers there. We had from 20 to 50 head of cows that we milked, by hand, each night and morning. Everyone that was old enough had to help with the milking and I learned to milk by the time I was ten, and had my share of the cows to milk each day, most of the time five or six cows, but sometimes more. Then the milk was either run by hand through the separator, or on days when we made cheese it was poured into the big vat in the cheese house. We made butter out of the cream and fed the separated milk to the pigs that were always marketed in the fall. The butter was hauled to town each week and sold at the market in Parowan. The cheese was also marketed in the fall of the year. We also pastured buck sheep for other people, charging so much per head for the summer. These were happy days, even with all the work. After the chores were all done we were free to do whatever we felt like doing. There were horses to ride, hikes to be taken, pine gum to be gathered, or we could go fishing, either on the stream or go to Panguitch Lake. We even had a rodeo at times, when we would round up the bigger calves and ride them, but we were careful not to let Grandpa Lamoreaux catch us. Yes, I was a tomboy, but it was fun.
The summer of 1924, mother was expecting Florence, and knew that she would need to go to town the fore part of August, so during the summer she trained me, at age 12, to churn and print up the butter. Grandpa and Grandma Lamoreaux would be coming to stay on the ranch when she left and Mother knew that Grandma would have a hard time doing the butter. Mother took sick earlier than expected and had to be taken to town I the middle of the night, and the next morning Arvil took Irene and the three youngest children to town in the buggy, and I and Homer were left alone until Leland could come from Cedar Breaks where he was working. Grandpa and Grandma came a few days later. We churned butter twice a week and I would print up from 15 to 25 pounds of butter each time. Irene went to town to help Mother and I stayed on the ranch with Grandma. Florence didn’t arrive until 24 August 1924. We stayed on the ranch until the middle of September, then moved to town.
In the fall of 1927 Grandpa sold the ranch. So as a result my father and mother, after spending a lifetime of running the ranches for Grandpa, moved away from that area to St. George, where they could give Leland voice training, as he had a beautiful voice, and we other children could still go on with our schooling. So we spent the next two winters in St. George.
In the spring of 1929 my folks decided to move to the Provo area, where I spent my 18th birthday. This was a lonely time for me as I had just broken up with my boy friend in St. George and left all my wonderful friends to come here where I was a perfect stranger. For some time I didn’t even try to make friends, but finally decided life was too lonely to not get acquainted with someone. I started going to church and before too long I had friends again and became very happy and carefree. Our first home in Provo was on the east bench, on the hill just east of the Riverside Country Club, which was not there at that time, and the house no longer exists. It was while living there that I met my future husband in August 1929.
In October we moved to downtown Provo, and while living there father and mother were called to Paragonah as my Grandmother Lamoreaux was dying with cancer. They left a while before Christmas, so it was left for me, with the help of Leland and Thelma and my boy friend Orvil Ashton, to see that Santa Claus came to the younger brothers and sisters. I was working at Montgomery Wards store and it was quite an experience for us to take the responsibility of Christmas. Grandmother passed away on the 28 December 1929.
In April we moved to a farm in Lindon and it was here I spent the summer before I was married, picking strawberries, raspberries and doing everything I could to earn a little money.
I haven’t told too much about dating or the good times I have had. I was never real popular, but I didn’t lack for boy friends. I had girlhood “crushes” off and on from the time I was nine years old and when I was 12 and 13 years old the boys in the little town of Paragonah use to come and get us girls on a Sunday afternoon with a team and buggy and we would go buggy riding. We were always in a crowd and had a good time together. I didn’t really start “dating” until the winter I was 14, and then not with anyone in particular, just a date for a dance or party. Winter time was always a fun time for we young people. My brother Lee and I were very close and whenever there was a dance or party to go to, he would always ask if I had a date. If I said, “Yes”, he’d say “All right. I’ll get a date too!” But if I said “No”, he’d say, “Oh yes you have. We’ll go together!” I always had as much fun with him as with any other boy. All through the years I had many boy friends and always had fun, but when the“right one” came along, I knew it was for “keeps.”
Orvil Stubbs Ashton and I were married on 10 September 1930 in the Salt Lake Temple by Apostle George F. Richards.
The first years of our married life were really hard, struggling years, as the big depression started in 1930 and it was almost impossible to find work of any kind. Orvil’s father had given us a building lot and we had used all our money in building our home. We finished two rooms—kitchen and bedroom, and had gone in debt 250 dollars to finish it enough to live in. We moved into these two rooms the middle of June and our son, Kenneth was born in that home on 31 July 1931.
Our daughter, Donna, was born 11 Apr 1933, and we were so happy, even though times were hard. Then on 30 June 1935 our little Charlene came to us. She was a delicate little child, but such a sweet, loving spirit. We were only privileged to keep her for 16 months, when she was taken ill on Tuesday and died on Wednesday 14 October 1936 at 11 A.M. Sometimes we didn’t know where the next dollar was coming from, and went without lots of the necessities many times, but we struggled through somehow, helping his father on the farm, raising enough to eat, and as his father had given us a cow, we had milk and a few chickens to give us eggs. Orvil finally got work through the WPA—Works Progress Administration—and aid set up by the government to help those who needed it, and that was about the only work could be obtained during those years. Orvil would work all day, 8 hours, on these jobs, which paid $44.00 a month, then would come home and work on the farm until all hours of the night, and I would work at his side whenever it was possible to do so and still take care of my babies. We struggled through those hard years, with sickness, operations, burying our baby girl and all the other problems of life.
In April 1937 I had major surgery, after which three doctors told me that we would not be able to have more children, only one chance in 1000. But through prayers and pleading with Heavenly Father we were granted our desires and on 23 March 1938 our son Darrel, was born, and I almost lost my life at that time. But I had made promise to my Father in Heaven that if he would give me another baby I’d have as many as he wanted to send us and I was ready to keep that promise, so on 14 July 1939 our daughter Marie came to us, two months premature and weighting only 3 ½ lbs. We had a hard time keeping her, contacted every little sickness, but she grew and matured and now has a lovely family. On 16 April 1943 Linda was born and then on 7 April 1944 Karyl Lee came to us—so we have a lovely family and are real happy with all of them.
Orvil finally was able to find work with the State Road Commission as a truck driver working out of Vivian Park station in Provo Canyon. Then when Geneva Steel Plant was built he had real good work and it was then that we were able to finish our home. When the plant was sold and became U. S. Steel, Orvil could not pass the physical exam, so had to look other places for work. He followed the carpenter trade for sever years, sometimes having to leave home for long periods of time.
Then in the fall of 1948 he went to work at the Brigham Young University as a custodian and night watchman on the lower campus. During these years our family grew up and in 1951 we sent our son Kenneth on a mission for our church. At this time Orvil asked for extra work to increase our income and was given four hours work as a repairman on the upper campus.
In October 1956 he suffered a heart attack. The Dr. gave us very little hope for his recovery. For months we struggled and prayed and finally in the spring he began to show improvement, but was never able to return to work or do anything strenuous.
From January 1962, Orvil’s health seemed to wane, day by day, and in May he contracted a very bad virus infection, which was too much for his heart. On 25 May 1962 he passed away at the Utah Valley Hospital and was buried in the Provo Cemetery.
At this time I had to find a job, and was hired by JC Penny to work in the stock room during the Christmas shopping season, but was laid off after the first of the year. I then went to work at the Pfaff Sewing Center as a receptionist, working there until June of 1963 when I was hired by the Utah Valley Hospital as a telephone operator. From there I worked in all departments of the office, Admitting Clerk, in the Collection department, billing insurances, assistant Cashier, and Cashier. I loved the work at the hospital and worked there for 14 years, retiring from there in 1976. I was head Cashier for more than six years.
I have neglected to tell about our move from Provo to Orem. In 1957 and 58 the Brigham Young University, in the process of their big expansion program, bought all the homes and property in the vicinity from 1300 North to 1700 North and east to 9th East in Provo. This included all of the Ashton property. We traded our home and one and one fourth acres of ground for a home and lot, located at 86 N. 800 W. in Orem, had enough extra money to pay off the mortgage we owed, paid all our doctor bills, and had enough extra to buy a little new furniture, namely, a new bedroom and kitchen set and an automatic washer and dryer. We moved to this home on the 10 March 1958.
I have maintained my home here in Orem and kept very busy in other fields. I have been able to travel some, going back to the Hill Cumorah Pageant twice and touring much of the east, such as Niagara Falls, New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, Gettysburg, Sharon Vermont, and Nauvoo and vicinity. I have also been to California many times both Los Angeles area and San Francisco area. I have been fishing with Darrel and RaNae at Gold Beach, Oregon and many other places. Have been many interesting places with Donna and Ray, in fact we have just returned from a tour with Leland’s family to Florida, Georgia and Tennessee, visiting the Epcot Center, Kennedy Space Center, St. Augustine, Atlanta Temple grounds, Stone Mountain, and Look-Out Mountain. Many interesting sights and places.
For many years my parents lived in their mobile home at my place. Orvil fixed things so they could park their trailer to the side of our home and for many years he and dad enjoyed each others company in fishing and hunting and sometimes just sitting and talking. Since Orvil’s death I have tried to look after them, and they have looked after me, and we have had a very close relationship. With the help and concern of all my brothers and sisters we have tried to make life easier for Dad and Mother and have become a very close family. We’ve had many hard times and struggled but have done the best we could.
My Father passed away 16 Jun 1979 at the age of 94, and at that time Mother lived with me. During the summer of 1985 Mother went to Montana to stay with Nina for awhile, and it seemed we all had problems, Nina had to start teaching school, Florence had major surgery, I had been ill all summer with a blood condition and was not able to do anything, Mary had heart problems all summer, and so it became necessary to put Mother in a rest home. This was one of the hardest things we have ever had to do, but we found a real good home in American Fork, and with our constant visiting and concern, she was fairly happy at times, but never quite contended. I visited with her every day and Florence came at least every week, and many times came and stayed when needed. In January 1989 she got pneumonia and after a week in the American Fork Hospital, she passed away 17 January 1989 at the ate of 102 years.
I need to tell about my children. Kenneth married Nevagene Field 1 June 1955; Donna married John Ray Hamblin 15 August 1952; Darrel married RaNae Houston 6 August 1956; Marie married Karel Gelissen 5 October 1957; Linda married Glade LeEarl Burr 8 August 1963 and after 23 years of marriage he left her and her divorce was final in 1988; Karyl Lee married Harry Ward Rodabough 8 March 1962. They are such fine, good children and I love them very much. I have 24 grandchildren, and 43 great grandchildren, and they are all very precious to me.