Memorial / Obituary / Personal History
Contributor: ashlin2008 Created: 3 years ago Updated: 3 years ago
Mother started writing this about 1928, soon after Joel returned from his mission……….
Lydia A. Johnson Wilson born 13th September 1868 at Toquerville, Washington County, Utah. I was the fourth child of Seth Johnson and Lydia Ann Smith Johnson. We left Dixie when I was four years old. I can’t remember when we moved form Dixie with the old ox team, Buck and Berry. We were about a week coming home. Well I remember when we crossed the Sevier River how frightened I was of such a big stream of water and when we got in the middle of the stream the oxen stopped to drink. I looked over the side of the wagon and saw the swift water. I thought we were going to drown, but we got safely over to the little town on the East Side of the river. The town was named after my grandfather Joel H. Johnson — Hillsdale. He had built a sawmill there and there were a few families, mostly Johnson’s living there. The mill was run by water so there was a big mill race run close by, which was always an eyesore as we were told if we fell in the water it would take us down into the great deep penstock where the water came out the bottom on the big wheel that ran the mill. I have stood by holding to Mothers hand watching Father run the mill. It was quite a sight to see the big logs stripped up into lumber but I was always so afraid of water that I dared not walk around to examine things lest I fall in a little water.
Probably when I was six years old the Indians were doing all kinds of devilment around, so that little town came in for its share. They would come into town and steal things. They would come in the daytime and locate things then come at night and take them. One night they stole our clothes off the clothesline. A night or two after this they stole a saddle that hung on the end of the house. Then we were frightened. We kids thought they would be after us next. Not long after that they got braver still. The cattle were all in our corral and they came in the night and drove them off. So the next morning the men all went to follow the Indians with the cattle. The men all went but one lame man. His name was Clarence Jackson. One of grandfather’s wives, Aunt Janet still lived there. Grandfather had gone with part of his family to start another place. The lame man lived at Aunt Janet’s so all the women and children gathered there, huddled together in one little log room. When night came on and the men hadn’t come back they were all sure frightened. They all huddled together, perfectly quiet, listening for any sound outside. The room was nearly dark so the children did not know when the lame man had gone out to look around and see if he could hear or see anything. When he came in we all thought sure the Indians were coming and every kid scampered for the bed and crawled under. I remember I was one of the first under so was last to come out. They sure laughed at me but I didn’t regret the trip under there as I had plenty of company.
The next year after the Indians quit bothering, something else had to come. They raised pretty good crops but winter came long before they were ready for it. They had grain but very little of it was ground into flour so we lived mostly on boiled wheat. We would have a little piece of bread, then a cup of grain with milk on it.
When I was eight or nine years old father was put in as Bishop when a ward was organized at Hillsdale. Up until this time it had been a Branch of Panguitch Ward. Father thought it too small a place, as more people were moving in so they decided to move the town up on the hill two miles above the mill. So Grandfather Wilson bought the mill and the land around it and they still own it. The town on the hill grew to be quite a town. They built log houses. Father built his in a row, six in number, and there is where we lived while I grew to womanhood. My oldest sister Julia was married about the time the town was moved. Mother’s part of the family lived on a ranch in the canyon where Father had a farm. We milked cows there, made butter and cheese for winter; always some to sell for clothes. So Mother and one of the boys would go to Dixie in the fall to sell the butter and cheese and bring cloth from the Washington factory to make our clothes. When I got my red and black flannel dress made I was sure fixed up.
When I was eighteen years old I began going out with J. W. Wilson. We were married 12 June 1889 in the Manti Temple. He built a sawed log house, two rooms, at old Hillsdale by the mill. When we had two children William Alma, and Levina, he was called on a mission to the Southern States. Alma was little less than three years old and Vina was ten months. He was gone two years and four months. He returned 12 January 1895. He left 25 September 1892. Our next baby was born nine months after he got home, Lydia Eva, born 20 October 1895. He built another room on our house when our family began to grow so fast. Martha Anna, the next born August 3, 1897, Mary Myrtle, July 7, 1899, George Junius, August 26, 1901, Joel Arthur, September 4, 1903, and Joseph Hyrum born February 25, 1907. My Father and Mother and most of my family lived at Georgetown, a little town near Cannonville. We lived in our little log house at Hillsdale for eighteen years. We never had much of this world’s goods but we had as much as any of the others. We were happy till death came in. My husband took sick April and died July 30, 1907.
Another excerpt from W. A. Wilson’s writing: “During a lifetime of nearly ninety years of love and service she found no time to be idle. Her hobby was people, she loved them all, and was never more happy than when fixing a meal or making a bed for one to a dozen extra. As a boy I never knew her to miss taking a nice dish of food to a sick neighbor, spending a little time to tidy up the house, wash a few dishes, give a new baby a bath, or do what ever needed doing.”
This is written by Myrtle, her daughter—another incident to show Mother’s great faith: “Lydia J. Wilson, born to Seth Johnson and Lydia Ann Smith, was truly a blessed daughter of our Heavenly Father. Throughout her life she exercised great faith in the Lord, particularly so when it came to the healing of those who were sick or afflicted. She herself, was healed through faith, fasting and prayers after having undergone surgery and diagnostic testing which indicated the presence of cancer in her stomach.
Lydia believed that the Lord loved his children and would bless them if prayers were accompanied by implicit faith. One of Lydia’s grandsons, William H. (Bill) Baldwin, met with an accident when he was only one and a half years of age. Bill’s mother, Myrtle Wilson Baldwin, had placed him in an “old, poor, rickety” high chair, pushed the chair up to the table and gave Bill his lunch. As Bill was eating he pushed his feet against the tale, the high chair tipped over and the teaspoon he had in his mouth injured him. He began to bleed profusely, with every beat of his heart the blood would spurt out of his mouth. Myrtle grabbed him and ran to her mother’s place some two and one half blocks away. As she entered the home she handed the baby to her mother (Lydia) and said: “Do something quick.” Lydia took the infant in her arms and sat in a chair, requesting Myrtle to kneel in front of her. Then she began to pray saying: “Father in Heaven, help us quick, we are alone and we need the bleeding of this infant to stop” . . . Almost immediately after the prayer ended the bleeding ceased and except for a minor injury, Bill was all right. This certainly was an example of the faith of this wonderful woman.”
A tribute taken from the Johnson Bulletin, written by Leona Jolley:
(This is a true picture of Mother Lydia Annie)
TRIBUTE TO LYDIA ANNIE JOHNSON WILSON
Who was it that befriended everyone?
Always had an extra bed and meal?
Who had open house from sun to sun?
Whose hospitality was so real?
“It was Aunt Lill.”
Who was it looked after the sick and the sad?
Who comforted those in distress?
Who always had a home for the homeless?
Well, all Southern Utah can guess - -
“It was Aunt Lill.”
Her love knew no bounds, her charity was limitless,
The world was her neighbor, whom she served
Dear Aunt Lill.
Mother’s home was always open to relatives and friends. I remember hearing many coming from Southern Utah to Conference or Conventions or whatever, say, “I will meet you at Aunt Lydia’s or Aunt Lill’s, as many called her.” Her home would often be overflowing with friends and acquaintances, a wholesome place to associate and visit with friend and neighbor.
I recall when we lived in Reno in 1937 Mother wrote and said: “The Johnson brothers and sisters are all getting together for a reunion. My home will be their headquarters. Will you come and help me?” This is an occasion I shall never forget. My mother’s eight brothers (one not present) and seven sisters were there.
Eva W. Heaton
Additional Information About the life of Lydia Ann Wilson
By Jerry King Shirts
Hillsdale was a cold town in which it was hard to keep a supply of water. At the time Grandma lived there, the only well was close by their place.
Her father was Grandma’s teacher. A James B. Williams was also her teacher in Hillsdale.
Grandma’s father was always Bishop of the wards where they lived. He was Bishop in Hillsdale and later when they moved to Georgetown, he became Bishop there. He also operated a store for many years.
As Bishop, Grandma’s father opened his house to all the visiting authorities who came to preach. He and Grandma’s mother would give up their bed to the visitors. One time President John Taylor and his wife came to stay wit them, and when he left he gave Grandma’s mother a five-dollar bill, quite a sum in her eyes.
Grandma’s father used to tell many times of a period in his life when he was very sick. While he was laying on his bed, too sick to get up, he ordained James William Wilson and Joseph Deliverance Wilson and his own two sons, Alvin and George, Elders so they could administer to him.
During her childhood Grandma’s family moved to Georgetown, about six miles from Cannonville. Grandma lived there until she married and went back to Hillsdale. Grandmother’s mother helped to support the family. She began to make and embroider buckskin shirts for them. They would bring her the two skins it took for a shirt. She would have the Indians tan the skins; then she would smoke it herself, this to keep it from shrinking when it got wet. She would use a special wood which was put in a trench with a smokehouse on top. The fire was kept burning for a certain length of time so that the smoke could go up through the stretched buckskin. Following this process she would cut out and sew the shirts and do her fancywork on them. She later began to put beaver fur on the wrists of the buckskin gloves. She was often up until one an two o’clock in the morning sewing. George and the older brother would always get up and get breakfast for the family and Grandma would do the dishes. If she was in school she always came home at recess and did them.
Grandma did some crocheting. At one time she learned a pattern for a chair tidy, a horse. Several wanted one and she made eight or ten of them.
Memorial / Obituary / Personal History
Contributor: ashlin2008 Created: 3 years ago Updated: 3 years ago
A SKETCHOF LYDIA ANNIE (JOHNSON) WILSON
(Written by Herself)
I, Lydia Annie Johnson Wilson, was born September 13, 1868, at Toquerville, Utah (Washington County.) I was the fourth child of Seth Johnson and Lydia Ann Smith.
When I was about four years of age, my father with his family moved from Dixie (with ox teams) to a little town on the headwaters of the Sevier River. This little town was called Hillsdale, having been named after my grandfather, Joel Hills Johnson. It was at this little town that I spent the earlier part of my life.
For several years after we moved to Hillsdale, we lived near an old sawmill. My father operated this mill – this was in reality, his means of gaining a livelihood for his family. Waterpower was the only power that was available and could be used to run the mill; the water came to the mill through a large water race. A lasting fear of water was instilled into my being as I would watch the great stream of water run through the flume into the pen stop to give the mill power. I was always afraid that I would fall into the flume and be carried over the power wheel and be drowned.
About this time of my life, when I was very young, the Indians were very troublesome and my fear of them was a growing one. They would visit town in the daytime, locate different articles, which they would like to have, and then return at night, and steal these things. One night they stole a saddle that was hanging on the corner of our house, and at another time they even stole some of our clothes that were hanging on the line. They became so bold that at one time they drove off all the stock from the public corral. The next morning after this had happened all the men of the town, except one who was crippled and whose name was Clarence Jackson, left for the purpose of trying to catch the Indians and bring back the stolen cattle. All the women and children with one man, Clarence Jackson, gathered at the home of my grandfather, Joel H. Johnson, to await the return of the men folks. When night came all of us sat very quiet around the fireplace. Mr. Jackson often left the house, going to a certain spot where he would signal the return of the men or the return of the Indians. We children did not see him when he left the house the first time so when we heard his footsteps outside, feared that the Indians were returning and scrambled under the bed. This furnished a great deal of amusement to our elders as Mr. Jackson came into the house. This incident shows the fear which people naturally held for the Indians in those days.
Sometimes during the winter, food became so scarce, and very often I and my brothers and sisters were forced to live on cooked wheat and milk, with sometimes a piece of bread.
A short time after my father moved the town “upon the hill” he built a row of log houses with a large fireplace in the end of each room. This was the families’ new home, and also a new town, which later grew into quite a thriving village. He also built a log schoolhouse, which answered the purpose of a museum and hall, church, and theatre all combined. It was in this building where I received my education.
When I was thirteen years of age, I began courtship with James W. Wilson, whom I married seven years later, on June 12, 1889 at the Manti Temple. Very shortly after we were married, my husband built a two-room log house and it was our first home – a happy home too it was.
On September 25, 1892, my husband left to fill a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He spent about twenty-eight months in the Southern States Mission, arriving home on January 18, 1895. All the while he was on his mission I had the whole responsibility of caring for two babies and looking after the household affairs. After his return – in fact, during the next twelve years, six more children were born to us.
When my youngest child was about five months old, my husband died leaving me with eight children to raise. He had been dead only about two and one half years when I was taken ill. For the next two years I suffered from an unknown malady, but with the assistance of my two older children I was able to maintain a home. It was discovered that I had cancer of the stomach and at the end of two years my condition became so serious that it was necessary for me to undergo an operation. Even then there was no hope for my recovery and it was predicted that I would not last long. It was then that I exercised my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, asking him to spare me that I might rear my family until they were able to care for themselves. This was twenty odd years ago and the Lord did pour out his blessings upon me for I have lived many years of health and happiness and my family is grown and able to care for themselves, so when He calls again I’m ready to go.
The last years of my life until now (1933) have been spent in working for the dead. I have done work in the Salt Lake Temple for over a thousand souls. In this work I hope to continue while I still live.
Lydia Annie Johnson and James William Wilson are the parent’s of 8 children.