Mary Ann Johnson Probert
Contributor: SouthPawPhilly Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
by her daughter, Eva Probert Wood
Mary Ann was born on May 3rd, 1847, to Richard Johnson and Husseler (or Ursula) Bevans. They were married on the 25th of August, 1844. She was a second child her older brother, Richard, was born on October 29th, 1845, but he only lived a short time, and died on the 5th of November, 1845. Both Mary Ann and Richard were born in St. Louis, Missouri.
From here the family moved to Council Point, Iowa, where another little girl was born on November 1st, 1849. She was named Elizabeth Husseler.
After they reached Utah, the Church called them to help settle Battle Creek, which was later to be known as Pleasant Grove, Here, another brother, William John, was born on January 19th, 1852.
The family was very poor and just barely getting settled in their new home when President Brigham Young called them to help settle Fillmore, which later became the capitol of Utah. This was the birthplace of another brother, Willard Richard, who was born December 31st, 1854. After Willard's birth, they moved to Pioneer Creek, about six miles north of Fillmore.
President Young again called them to settle Cedar Springs, which was later known as Holden. This location was named after a man named Holden, so the legend goes, who was returning home with his young son and some cattle when a bad storm came up. They lost their way and froze to death at this point.
There were two children born at Cedar Springs. Hyrum was born June 5th, 1856 and Harriet Ellen on April 2nd, 1859. Harriet was only a little girl when she passed away on June 8th 1862.
Cedar Springs was an appropriate name for their home. for numerous springs around the foothills and cedar trees growing almost everywhere made this a beautiful spot. The hills and valleys were covered with grass, which served as feed for the animals. Some of the grass was cut and stacked for winter use as well. Sagebrush also grew throughout the region.
It was here that grandmother said to grandfather, "You can follow Brigham Young if you want to, but I am staying right here." They had moved so much in the past eight months(?) that she had grown tired of it. They lived in a one roomed house in the fort which had been constructed for safety against the unfriendly Indians who roamed the area. They used a buffalo hide for a door. The children had only one pair of underwear, so grandmother would wash them out at night and hang them in front of the fireplace so they would be dry by morning.
One night a pig came into the house while they were sleeping and rooted the underwear into the fireplace, and this was the end of the underwear. So grandmother had to make some out of a blanket. She did all her sewing by hand. My mother was eight or nine years old at this time.
Buffalo chips as well as wood and sagebrush were burned to keep the house warm, and also for cooking. The children helped gather them. Sego lily roots were also gathered as they were a part of their regular diet. Mother learned to cook in a large black iron kettle which hung in the fireplace.
Holden had been settled for nine years, and with the community growing, a new school was badly needed. The old one was a converted guardhouse. The new school was built of adobes, south of the fort. It was 18 feet wide and 26 feet long, with a door in the north, two windows on each side, a fireplace in the south end, and long home made tables with planks for seats. Slates were used to write on as books were very, very scarce. Mother was one of the pupils and remembers also that this building was used for church, dances, and amusements of all kinds. Many pleasant hours were spent here by the townspeople. A bowery was built on the public square nearby, where church was held in the summer months. The 4th and 24th of July celebrations were also held here.
Mother was good in school, especially in spelling. A contest of skill in spelling was a regular activity. Sides were chosen and the teacher would give a word to first one side and then the other. If the word was mis spelled, the person had to take his seat and the other side would have the opportunity to try it. Mother was always the last one still standing, as she was never "spelt" down.
Mother milked cows most of her life until her last few years. She loved to dance, and was very good at it. Her father raised sheep, and as she grew older, she helped shear them. She was taught how to wash the wool and card it, and how to spin it into yarn on the spinning wheel. She also learned how to weave it into cloth, and how to make the clothing from the material she had woven.
She developed into a young woman of 5 feet 5 1/2inches tall, of medium build, with medium brown hair which darkened as she grew older. She didn't go grey until her late 60s. Her eyes were grey flecked with brown.
One day a young man by the name of William Probert Jr. and one of his friends were walking down the street (there were no sidewalks) and noticed three girls walking ahead of them. Billie (as William was called) turned to his friend and said, "I'm going to marry one of those girls." Mother was one of those girls. She and Billie were married on December 23rd, 1864 at her parents' home in Holden (Cedar Springs). Mother was 17 1/2 years of age.
Father was ready for his bride, as he had built a home in Scipio, a little town near Holden. There were no nails and very little lumber in those days, so poles were used on the roof with cedar bark covering that, and then the whole thing was plastered with mud. This was then covered with dirt. Wooden pegs were used for nails. The lumber for the floor was hauled a distance of 60 miles by ox team. When it was finished, it was as good a home as any around.
Neighbors depended on neighbors in those days, and many articles were borrowed from each other. Matches were 50 cents a box, so fire would be borrowed from the person who started his fire first, or from one who had banked his fire overnight so the coals would last until morning.
Everything was expensive. Tea was $6.00 per lb., sugar was $1.25 per lb. When sheeting could be bought it was $1.25 per yd.
Mother made all the clothes. Sometimes she made Father's pants out of buckskin, which was fine until the pants got wet. Then they would bulge at the knees and at the seat, until you couldn't tell if they were coming or going.
When mother could get wool, it made much better clothing. She dyed the woven cloth, and even made her own wedding dress.
In the year 1865 or early 1866, a good crop of grain was raised, but during the winter a call came for teams and teamsters to go to the Missouri river to meet immigrants and bring them west. Father accepted the call for he was always willing to help his fellowmen. In order for him to go, they had to break up their comfortable home, which they had lived in for ten years.They decided to sell all their belongings and buy new ones when he returned. The cattle also had to be gathered up, as they had scattered all over the country, and some were even on the Indian Reserve. After much difficulty the cattle were rounded up and sold, except for 6 cows and one two year old steer. These were then moved with Mother, over to Cedar Springs, where she was to live with her parents. She could sell the cattle for her keep during the summer so she would not be added expense to her parents.
Four months later her first child was born: a bouncing baby boy, who was to be two months old before his father saw him. He was named William Richard after his grandfather. When Father returned with the immigrants, he brought back a nice new stove for Mother. The family stayed the winter, and moved back into the fort in Scipio. A baby girl was born while here, on March 9, 1868 Husseler Ann Probert.
Since the crops had been destroyed by grasshoppers the previous year or maybe for other reasons, Father decided to build his next home in Cedar Springs (Holden). Hinges for the doors could now be made by the blacksmith. Mother hung sheeting at the windows, as no glass could be obtained. She saved everything she could. Nothing was destroyed. She used old clothing for making quilts and carpets and rugs. The clothes were cut or torn into strips, which were sewed together on the ends and then wound into big balls, and thus made into carpets.
Mother was very friendly with the Indians. They often came to talk to her. She learned their language and could speak it fluently, so she conversed with them often. One day an Indian chief rode up to the gate of the fort and as Mother was standing nearby with her first child, he said to her, "Let me hold your boy." This called the attention of the people in the fort. They gathered around and said, "Mary Ann, you are not going to let him hold your child, are you?"
"Yes, I am."
They cautioned her,"Oh, don't. He might ride away with the baby." But Mary Ann proceeded to go to him, holding out the baby with the words of the townspeople still urging her not to. She gave the baby to the chief, he fondled it and said,"He nice papoose." Then he handed the baby back to his mother and rode away smiling.
All land farmed and leased by the townspeople including Father's and Grandfather's, was applied for in 1863, but it was not until 1872 that the titles to the land could be obtained.
The floor of the new home was made out of rough, lumber which was later covered with rag carpets. Clean straw was spread on the rough lumber and the carpets were laid on top of this. At housecleaning time the carpets were hung on the clothes line outside and beaten with a broom or a pole until all the dust was gone, all the old straw was swept away and fresh, clean straw was spread upon the floor before the carpet went back into place. This was done two or three times a year.
The walls were whitewashed with a solution of lime which was hard on the hands, but when the cleaning was done the rooms looked and smelled so clean and fresh. The carpets were soft to walk on.
Straw was an important item in the home. There were no mattresses to sleep on, so large factory or unbleached sheeting ticks were made and filled with straw. These were placed over rope or wood slats to sleep on. When the straw became broken and stuck through the cloth, it had to be replaced. A better tick was made in later years of corn shucks to take the place of the straw. If corn was plentiful, the inner shucks were used, which made the bed much nicer.
As time went on another luxury was added on top of the straw or corn tick: a feather tick. This was tops in sleeping comfort.
Clothes were washed by scrubbing on a washboard. Mother made all her own soap in a large kettle hung over a bonfire in the yard outside. This soap was made from fat drippings and lye.
Mother's family had a change of underwear, which was an improvement over Grandmother's family. Everything was kept in good condition, but it didn't take long to decide which dress to wear to parties or anything else. They had only two dresses. Their shoes were of heavy leather. They were durable and high topped. They were greased in winter to make them more waterproof. Overshoes and rubbers were not to be had. Shoes were blackened and polished with soot which collected under the stove lids.
Social gatherings in the evenings took the form of sewing strips for carpet rags and winding them into balls ready for weaving into carpets. Molasses candy pulls were also popular, with the whitest pulled candy taking top priority in excellence. Real fun was enjoyed by all at little expense.
It is doubtful if the young folks of todays' luxury really enjoy themselves any more than the folks in Mother's day. Home dramatics, dancing, candy pulls, quilting bees, and sleigh riding all added to make a full and enjoyable life. Bob sleighs pulled by horses, and filled with clean straw and heated rocks, covered over by warm quilts, made a pleasant place for the happy folks to meet together to laugh and sing and chat as they rode along in the crisp, cold air.
During the fruit growing season many get togethers were had peeling and crating the fruit to prepare it for drying. Fruit was then spread on clean boards to dry. This was a special treat for the children in the winter, because fruit was never bottled or canned. Glass jars and tin cans were not available at that time. Dried apples became an important item of commerce, being sold along with butter and cheese. In autumn, fall and winter apples were stored in cool cellars to be sold at a good price in the winter.
Folks seemed hungry for sweets. A syrup was made by boiling beets, carrots, or corn stocks. Later, sugar cane was raised as sugar was very scarce, very expensive, and seldom used. The juice of the cane was boiled down to make molasses. Grandfather Johnson owned the first mill in Holden for extracting the juice and the first vat in which to boil down the juice. Preserves were first made by peeling the peaches and dropping them in boiling molasses. Bread and cakes were also made with molasses.
On May 12, 1870, Mary Charlottie was born. She was the third child and was named after a girl in England whom Father thought so much of. She advised him to go to America, and helped him and told him it would be rough there, and that she would never see him again.
On December 1st, 1872, another daughter, Martha, was born in Holden. However, she only lived a few short years and died February 15th, 1875.
The fifth child, Emma Maud was born November 20th, 1874, but she only lived a few months. She died on February 28th, 1875, just 13 days after the death of Martha. It seems that Scarlet Fever took the lives of these children.
These were sad days for Mother, but the days brightened with the birth of her second son, George Marion, on November 29th, 1876. There were more comforts for her now, as Father's farm prospered, and he also invested in sheep. These increased into a large flock. The results of more prosperity brought a nice, new, brick, two storey home near Grandfather and grandmother Probert. The house was furnished with new furniture and a better stove. However, clothes were still scrubbed on washboards.
On September 1st, 1878, a daughter, Ada Jane was born. She died a few years later on December 17th, 1880. With strong, healthy babies, it was very sad to see them taken by diseases which were sudden and incurable at that time.
Three months after the death of Ada Jane, Myrtle was born, but permitted to stay only a short time on earth. She was born March 9th, 1880, and passed away in February of 1882.
Mother's sorrow can only be imagined. She was a strong, healthy, robust woman. At the delivery of her babies, no chloroform was given to make the births easier. Indeed, there being no doctor present, a midwife was hired with the birth of each child. so now, after giving birth to eight children, only the first three and little George was left. He developed rheumatic fever and suffered terribly. In her sorrow Mother said she felt as if she had been struck dumb.
On February 12th, 1883, she was blessed with another son, Lyman. It was found later that he had been born deaf.
On October 17th, 1883, little George died at the age of seven years, lacking 43 days.
By this time the three older children were in their teens and were stepping out some. Father, who had never had the opportunity to go to school, saw to it that his children had that advantage. When the oldest boy, Will, was 19, the Brigham Young Academy was opened in Provo City with Karl G. Maeser as president and teacher. Will, and Benjamin A. Stringham, William R. Stevens, along with four other boys and two girls, with Pauline Larson Dastrup as their cook, went to Provo. This made history for they were among those who made up the first class of the Brigham Young Academy.
In this same year of 1883, a new meetinghouse got under way, and Father was made general manager of the construction.
Mother was kept busy knitting stockings and making clothes for Father and the children. She also knit beautiful lace from spool thread. A pair of these lovely pillowcases are still in our possession. These were made about 1890.They have fine tucks and a 3 inch lace insertion, with a lace edge of the same width and pattern.
Mother amused the children and grandchildren by taking paper and folding it in a certain way, then cut with the scissors and pull out 6 or 8 paper dolls all joined together.
She raised chickens, milked cows, fed pigs, made butter, cheese, and cottage cheese.
On March 31st, 1885, Eva Eugenia came into the world, being the tenth child.
In less than a year, an English friend of Mother's came to live with us. Emma Ashworth was of a polygamist's family and was in hiding when she came to us. She had a girl child, Beatrice, five months younger than I (Eva). They lived with the family for quite some time as Beatrice learned to walk and talk while they were with us. Beatrice called Father "Papa"as he was the only papa she knew. She and I became life long friends. Emma and Beatrice stayed in seclusion for a long time. Mother and Emma also became fast friends. Emma was always grateful for the kindness Mother had shown her and returned this kindness all through her life. After the Manifesto, both families moved to Provo and lived neighbors to each other from just across the street. The family all called her "Aunt Emma".
During this time, quilt blocks were pieced together for the making of quilts. Feather ticks took the place of straw ticks. Many types of rugs were braided from old stockings and old clothes. Feather pillows were also made to help the girls get ready for their marriages.
When Will came home from school, he courted Nellie Kenney, and they were married August 1st, 1886. They also settled in Holden.
Husseler Ann (or Sillar as she was called) married William Riley Stevens December 23rd, 1886 in the St. George temple. They also settled in Holden for a short time. Then they moved to Aurora, Sevier County, where he managed a ranch for his father. Later, he purchased his own farm. Mary Charlottie (called Lottie), Lyman and Eva were all the children left at home. However, on December 20th, 1888, Edna Bevan, a lovely baby girl was born.
By this time the family had grown prosperous with a large flock of sheep. However, Father wanted to go to greener fields, so he thought he would go to the city where there was more activity, as Holden had stayed about the same size throughout the years.
On January 3rd, 1890, Lottie was married to Benjamin Ashley Stringham, son of B. J. Stringham, Patriarch of Holden. It seemed strange that this couple always moved wherever Mother and Father settled, and lived near them.
This was the year they sold their home and flocks of sheep and moved to Provo City where Father invested in a streetcar business, the first in Provo. Mother was a quiet, reserved woman, and longed for her old friends and relatives. Lottie's husband, being a carpenter by trade, built a home for them only a block away from our home. Emma Ashworth was near, and Mother became acquainted with Emily Duke, who also lived only a block from us. Mother had just settled in our new home when misfortune struck again.
The Duke family had friends to visit them who were just getting over Scarlet Fever, so, of course, Eva and Edna, who was just three years old, also contracted the disease, after playing with Mary and a friend.
Mother's 12th child, Stella, was born January 5th, 1891. Mother was too sick to tend the children, so a trained nurse was brought in to help. Edna was burning up with fever and the nurse wrapped her in a wool blanket to "sweat her", but the fever caused her death on January 17th, 1891. Nobody expected me, Eva, to survive, either, but I recovered. Mother was unable to attend the funeral as confinement period was from 10 to 12 days.
During the Grover Cleveland depression, the family lost their fortune. One of the company's men went east to sell bonds for the street car. Temptation was too great : he took the money for himself and skipped to London. So they had to start all over again, as they had lost their home.
The family moved to Richfield, but only lived there about 11 months since Father wanted to move back among his old friends and relatives. So he had a home built in the southern part of Holden. Lottie and her husband followed them, and built a home for themselves on the next lot.
It was here that the Indians came to visit them. There was an old Indian named Silver who came and asked if he could pitch a tent on their place. Permission was granted, and Silver made himself useful by trapping gophers. A bounty was paid for each gopher tail. Silver had quite a number of tails, and one day, unbeknown to anyone else, little Lyman, about 9 years old at this time, took the tails and sold them himself. Silver confronted Mother with the fact that he thought sure Lyman had taken them and said, "He don't know any better. He not hear." But Mother learned that Lyman indeed had sold the tails, so she took the money he had left, made up the balance, and handed it over to Silver. There were no hard feelings between them.
Grandmother passed away at the age of 75 years, on November 5th, 1894. She had managed a sort of hotel called "The Stop over Place". It was here that salesmen and Church officials, including Brigham Young, would stay on their way between Salt Lake City and St. George. There were always good, home cooked meals and good beds with clean linen. This was a livelihood for Grandmother, who also enjoyed meeting people.
Mother always had a good garden and she enjoyed working in it. She had gone back to making her own soap. She had a couple of hives of bees so that the children could enjoy honey in the comb, as well as liquid honey. So with plenty of fresh milk, cream. cheese and butter, they fared well. Father brought the first coal to Holden.
But life was not the same, so the family moved back to Provo in 1895 or 1896. They rented a house, and finally bought a small farm just east and north of where the University now stands. There were fruit trees, pasture, a nice brick home, and water running through the backyard. Here, Mother kept several hives of bees. She developed a business by rendering the honey and selling it. She also sold it in 3"by 3" combs. Mother could work around the bees barehanded, and although they would crawl on her arms and hands, they never bothered her with stings.
The first year in the new home was difficult, and we lived mostly on beans and bread and milk. However, upon accumulation of a flock of chickens, some geese and a couple of cows, so that Mother could sell butter, eggs, and some fruit, there was more variety in our diet the next year. Mother also canned and stored enough apples for the winter. Grandmother Probert was living with us that year, also.Then Grandmother moved to Croyden to live with a daughter, and it was here that she later died.
At this time, also, an institute for the Deaf and Dumb was opened in Ogden. It was decided that Lyman should attend. It was hard for Mother to part with Lyman as he had become so dependent on her, and she feared for him because he was not able to hear, but she realized that he needed schooling, and now he would have the opportunity to learn a trade. His Grandfather Probert was a shoemaker, and Mother thought it would be a good trade for Lyman. He attended school in Ogden for a few years, and then, since the school was transferred to Bozeman, Montana, he finished his education there.
Mother eventually had to sell her bees, as it was too much work for her, especially in the light of all the other tasks she had to do.
Father was a Black Hawk War Veteran, and his outfit always celebrated every year or two. Mother would do a lot of baking and make other preparations prior to this big celebration. This would take place at a different location each time. There, all rich and poor alike would take tents, tin and granite dishes, old iron kettles and fryng pans and cook over an open fire as they did in the early days. They went to a lot of trouble to arrange good times for everyone, including games and races for the kiddies. Programs and tours were also arranged for visiting each other in their respective camps. Everyone was so friendly with each other: they danced, sang, and retold their experiences around the campfires. It took aboyut four days until everyone was "talked out", and then they would break camp and return home rejoicing. One of these took place just prior to moving to Canada. I still have two granite cups which were used during that time: one a quart size and the other a pint.
As the year 1902 began, there was great news about the many opportunities opening up in what is now southern Alberta, Canada. Jesse Knight and his son, Will, had already been up there, and they told Father about the vast acres of grass, and that a sugar factory was being built in a town called Raymond. Father had always wanted a herd of cattle, so thought this was his chance to have a home in town, and a herd of cattle "just over the fence" where he could watch them. Father was so impressed with the idea of going to this new country that he persuaded Lottie and her husband, Will and Sillar, and Charles Duke to take advantage of all these wonderful opportunities in Canada.
So they pulled up stakes, sold the farm, loaded their furniture and other belongings into a boxcar, and their animals into cattle cars, and left on March 9th, 1902, a beautiful spring morning, just as the trees were beginning to show green.
This was the 12th time Mother had packed all their belongings to move. She was now 55 and Father was 62 years of age. She felt it quite an undertaking, but she never complained.
When they arrived in Raymond, there was a lot of snow and the thermometer showed 20 degrees. Some chilly reception! There were 11 families who had come with them: the Vances, the Wildes, the Tollestrups, the Coopers, and others.
Raymond consisted of 11 dwelling houses, the Mercantile Company, which also contained the Post Office, a small hotel, a butcher shop, a meeting house and a school. There wasn't room in the hotel to take care of all the incoming families, so the Church was opened up and we bunked there for the first night.
Next morning Father and Ben and Will went down to the station and scraped the snow and cleared enough ground to lay a floor of lumber the size of a tent. The sides were boarded up and a tent pulled over the top. Inside, a stove, a table and beds just the bare necessities were set up for living, and here we stayed for two weeks. Everything froze solid during the nights, including the bread, which had to be thawed in the morning before it was edible.
The weather finally moderated, and Ben Stringham, with help, began to build Father and Mother a new home. A gable roof with two rooms and a leanto with two more rooms. Mother put her bed in the front room since they seemed to have more furniture than house. But she was thankful to be settled again.
Ben Stringham then built himself a house just south in the same block, and Will Stevens lived just north. So Mother had her two daughters and their families close by, which made it more pleasant, since she was slow in making new friends. The children's pasttime here in Raymond was catching gophers.
It was here that Lyman opened up a shoe repair shop, in part of his bedroom. He was now 19 years of age. He didn't like the shoe repair business, so he was not successful. He got homesick for the people of his own handicap, as no one else could talk his language. He was a jolly type, and begged to go back to school.
More people kept coming, and Raymond continued to boom. It was a late spring, and it rained for a month or more. Father said it was like Noah's flood, where it rained 40 days and 40 nights.
A new drugstore opened up. Charles McCarthy ran the hotel and store. Francis Kirkham came and managed the store. William Wood had a butcher shop, Mr. Hall, the barber shop. Nice, new homes were built which were occupied by a wonderful group of people. Many good times were enjoyed by young and old.
I went to work in the Mercantile Company, and was the first lady clerk in Raymond. I became acquainted with the butcher's son, Albert Wood, who was known as Bert. We were married May 24th, 1904 by Edward J. Wood at Cardston, in Byard Smith's home.
The cattle became too much of a problem for Father as the winters were severe, so he sold them. A new town, Taber, opened up. It was located on the mainline of the C.P.R. between Lethbridge and Medicine Hat. Father decided to go to Taber and open a store.
So, in 1904, just after I was married, Father and Mother sold out in Raymond, purchased a lot in Taber, and built a barn to live in while they were building their home. Mother had the big job of packing everything and moving again. She became expert at that. She dreaded the thought of it, but was always willing to go and do what she could to support her husband. Only her youngest daughter , Stella, who was now 13 years of age, remained at home with her.
Father immediately built and opened up a grocery and hardware store. Taber was now booming and growing so fast that Lottie and Ben also moved there. Ben built on adjoining Father's store, where he lived in the back. Lottie managed a confectionery where she sold home made ice cream. She did very well at this.
A very good baseball team was organized. Lottie was a great fan, and created a lot of fun for them all.
In 1905, the business was becoming more than Father could handle, and since my husband, Bert had sold his butcher shop in Raymond with the intention of opening one in Cardston, he was persuaded by my father to come to Taber and join him in the general store. It now became "Probert and Wood".
In the meantime, Mother was always busy with her garden. She also had a cow, which meant making butter, and selling it. She also sold milk and eggs. She was still knitting for the family. After the new partner took over in the store, Father and Mother again sold their home, their furniture and belongings and moved back to Provo the following spring.
They built a nice home on a hillside near the Maeser Memorial Building on the Brigham Young University campus. They had a lovely pasture for their Jersey cow, they planted grapes, had a nice vegetable garden, as well as flowers, a few chickens, and seemed to be permanently settled.
Mother developed asthma. It was thought that the reason for this was carrying so many things up the hill. So Father sold again and purchased the old Hall home, a block west of the store he had built, and only a few doors from where they had first lived in Provo. So they were back where they first started from in Provo. This made Mother's 16th move since their marriage. She had moved 6 8 times with her own parents before she married.
In the meantime, Lottie developed cancer, so she sold her business and moved to Provo into her old home which was just across the road on the corner from Mother's.
Father and Mother came to visit us in a few years and they said they had a wonderful time and had never been treated better. Bert did put himself out to take them wherever they wanted to go, and they did what they liked.
Stella married Frank Smith on January 19th, 1914. Mother and Father were alone now, but they were comfortable and among old friends, as the Dukes were just across the street west of them. Emma Ashworth was also living across the corner south and east of them. Father and Mother celebrated their golden wedding anniversary on January 23rd, 1914. I was unable to attend, but Stella composed a poem in honor of the event.
Things went smoothly until March, 1916, when Father contracted pneumonia and died on his birthday, March 14th, at the age of 76 years. Mother was now alone, but had Lottie and her children to run errands for her. Then Phoebe, Will's oldest son's daughter, stayed with Mother and went to school. This was in 1917, according to Phoebe. We coaxed Mother to come and live with us one summer, but the children were too much for her, she got homesick and her asthma got bad, so she left in the late summer.
On November 1st, 1917, Lottie died. This was the seventh child and her husband that Mother had buried. She had poor health from then on. A nurse was finally called in to take care of her, but it was rumored that the nurse neglected her, and helped herself to Mother's things and left her alone a lot.
So Mother's dear friend, Emma Ashworth went over and took care of her, and asked that one of us girls come down. I felt I could not get away from my family, and I was not well, so Stella was the only one free to go. Between the two of them, they took care of Mother until she died on April 1st, 1919. She suffered a great deal during the last months of her life.
Father, Mother and Edna are buried in the Provo Cemetery.
ADDENDUM TO MARY ANN JOHNSON'S STORY
Margaret Young, a great granddaughter
When Mary Ann was married to William Probert, Jr. on December 23, 1864, her father, Richard Johnson, built her a set of four shelves to fit in a corner of a room, for his wedding gift to her. They called it a "what-not", and it was used to display some of her precious possessions. Evidently she kept it all her married life because, upon her death it made it's way into the home of Stella, her youngest daughter. She had married Frank Smith in 1914, and they lived in Taber, Alberta, Canada. Near the end of her mother's life, Stella went down to Provo and helped care for her mother until she passed away in the spring of 1919. Frank and Stella never had any children, and when she (Stella) died in the early sixties she appointed a nephew, Evan Stringham, as the executor of her will. My mother was a cousin to Evan and a niece of Stella's.
As he went through her possessions he came to this what-not and since he was familiar with the history of this item, he said,"Well, I think this should go to Ruby (my mother), if she wants it, because her mother, Hussler Ann Probert was the eldest daughter of Mary Ann and Will." Ruby knew that there were other cousins who really wanted it, but, since it was offered to her, she was more than happy to accept it.
It stood in the corner of Ruby's dining room here in Lethbridge, Alberta, as long as she was able to stay in her home (until the fall of 1980). As we were contemplating cleaning out her house, my mother said to me, "Would you have that what-not in your home since you are the eldest grandchild of Hussler Ann? Of course there are several others in the family who would be glad to get it."
My heart skipped a beat. "If I can have it, I would love it!" I said. "I have the perfect corner just waiting for it in my living room." And there it has stood for the past fifteen years. It is now nearing the end of 1995. I estimate that it is nearly 131 years old at the time of this writing.
Now upon my demise, since neither of my daughters have daughters of their own, it will go to my first granddaughter, Deborah Young Zeck, the first child of my second son, Blake Morgan Young, through my eldest daughter, Susan, both of whom live in Victoria, British Columbia, and are almost as dear to each other as a mother and daughter. I have been assured by both of them that they will be as proud to display it in their homes as I have been. If it continues to be handed down to someone who will love it as we do, there is no knowing how old this treasure may become. It has been a real link with the past for us, and we feel so lucky to have been chosen to have it in such a large posterity. Rest assured that it will be well-cared-for.