NANCY MINDRELL DAYTON FORBES - HISTORY p. 1
Contributor: Yelena F Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
Life History of Our Mother
NANCY MINDREL DAYTON FORBES
Born: September 14, 1851
At Salt Lake City on Pioneer Square
Written By: Ellen Drew Joy Maag, Daughter
November 4, 1957
Nancy Mindrel Dayton Forbes’ Mother, Nancy Lance Stewart, married Hyrum Dayton February 24, 1848 in the Dayton home at Winter Quarters. The marriage ceremony was performed by Brigham Young. The witnesses were Permelia Dayton, who was Hyrum’s wife, James Young and Thomas Bullock.
At the time of her marriage to Hyrum, Nancy L. S. Dayton had a five year old daughter, Mary Stewart. This child came by a former marriage to James Stewart, a sailor who was lost at sea.
Hyrum and Nancy became the parents of one son, Albert Friend Dayton. Hyrum made a trip to Salt Lake City in 1849, leaving part of his family, including Nancy L. S. Dayton and son in Winter Quarters. He returned and moved the rest of his family to Salt Lake City, arriving here September 14, 1851. They traveled in Captain Day’s Company. While en route, Nancy and Hyrum had serious troubles, which they were unable to settle peacefully.
Nancy was so upset that she refused to ride with the families and on the last day of the journey, she walked twelve miles. They barely had time to make camp on Pioneer Square when her baby, Nancy Mindrel, was born. As soon as she was able to get around, Nancy went to Brigham Young with her story. He immediately sanctioned a divorce. His exact words were, "You are as free as the air you breathe.” Being a plural wife it was unnecessary to go to court. She then asked Brigham Young to place her in a home where she could work for the board and shelter of herself and three children, Mary S., Albert Friend, and
She went to the home of Isaac Cooper in American Fork. Their home was one block north of where the Alpine Stake Tabernacle is now. Isaac Cooper had only one wife, Mary, who was nearing forty years of age and had no children. Of course, Mary Cooper fell in love with this beautiful new baby, Nancy Mindrel, and she welcomed the other two children. Later on, she was more than willing to have her husband marry Nancy Lance Dayton. Isaac and Nancy had several sons, so Mother had many half brothers and sisters, Daytons and Coopers, but only one full brother, Albert Friend Dayton.
Albert was a beautiful child and he adored his baby sister. When he was about the age of three or four he accidentally fell forward into an open fireplace, and as a result, was terribly disfigured. His lips were shriveled, so he could not speak plainly. This impediment gave him a complex, and he did not want to attend school, but Mother always loved him and had a great tenderness in her heart for the lonely boy.
To the older members of the Forbes family who knew Isaac Cooper, he was “Grandfather” and so became “Grandfather" to all of the family. He was a fine, good man and raised Mother as his own child. She shared equally with his other children in the division of his property. He owned a dairy farm at the Point of the Mountain where Mother and Father later spent several summers.
Grandmother worked very hard. Besides taking care of her family, carding, spinning, and weaving the wool for clothes, she had many outside chores to do. They kept a home for stray immigrants who stayed until they could find homes of their own. Everything was done with crude things to work with; there were no such things as stoves and washers; water had to he pulled up from the well by hand. All of this drudgery broke her health and she became an invalid while Mother was very young. Mother had learned to do so many things. She could spin, weave, knit, make cheese, butter, and the lye they used for soap. She could milk the cows, cook, and run the house when she was ten years old. She
was a capable woman long before children of today are doing small chores.
I hope you will pardon, as l pause to bring you a personal story: My daughter was teaching a Primary class and found she had to teach the children something about knitting. She knew nothing about it and was quite perplexed, as her class was the next day. She opened her Primary hook and the very first thing she saw was, “Nancy Forbes said, ‘In setting up to knit a stocking’,” and it went on to tell just exactly how it was done — a message from her very own Grandmother to help her when she needed it. The piece ended by saying, "God moves in a mysterious way.” This is in the Primary Bluebird Book for May or June 1957. Mother had been dead for thirty-one years.
When Mother was 14 years old she was a full-fledged woman who could surmount any domestic problem and was afraid of nothing. She could even deliver a baby if she had to. Her sunny disposition gave courage to her mother who had to rely on her for everything. Mother had taken her mother’s place and had been running the house for a long time. She went to school whenever possible, but her many household duties interfered seriously with her education, and as a result, she did not have much schooling. However, she had a rare sound judgment and a quick mind, which stood her in need many times during her life, compensating greatly for her lack of education.
Mother was averse to polygamy and she and her sister, Florinda, had vowed to marry a “Gentile”. The very name was something to be spoken of in whispers, as to them, they were a different kind of mankind. One day they were upstairs looking out of the window when, lo, here were two tired, dusty, but handsome soldiers, riding horseback into the yard. Mother said, "Flo, here are our husbands. I choose the one on the left.” Her prophecy proved to be true for this man was our Father, Joseph Forbes.
His friend’s name was Nevens, and they had just ridden in from California on the old Oregon Trail and were planning to continue to the East. They had stopped off in Salt Lake to meet Brigham Young. They met not only Brigham Young, but also, a man by the name of Leonard Harrington, a New Yorker, who was now living in and was the Mayor of American Fork. Father was well acquainted with the new system of Public Schools being used in the East and was very enthusiastic about it. This interested Harrington, who recognized Forbes as being an educated and cultured man. Their lengthy talks resulted in Harrington inviting young Forbes to come to American Fork as a teacher. So, here he was, directed to the Cooper home, an inn for travelers and immigrants.
Mr. Nevens stayed on a few days and then continued on to his home in the East. Father stayed and accepted the
NANCY MINDRELL DAYTON FORBES - HISTORY p. 2
Contributor: Yelena F Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
accepted the position as a teacher. This was in the late summer of 1865. At the time, Father arrived at the Cooper home, Mother was not quite fourteen. However, she was taking full charge of the home, doing the cooking, laundry, and making the butter and cheese. She looked and conducted herself like a woman and could do so many things so well that Father was astounded and intrigued with her accomplishments. He had never known anyone like her, and it did not take him long to fall in love. As for her, she knew from the start what was going to happen, and so they were married on January 1, 1866.
Mother had been attending his school before they were married and continued on afterward. On September 23, 1867, their first child, Sarah Amanda, was born. Mother had just turned sixteen. In writing home to his Mother, Father filled his letters with praise for his young wife and her marvelous accomplishments. He described how she made lye from ashes, which had been placed in a barrel
designed so water could be poured over and allowed to seep through into another container. Waste fat was then mixed in and then boiled to make soap. He also told how she made cheese, spun cloth, knitted, and made quilts. To him, she was a world's wonder.
They spent the summer on the dairy farm at the Point of the Mountain in the Jordan River Valley. The land where the farm was can be seen from the edge of the present highway. The original farm buildings were destroyed by the Indians, and the land was later taken up by a man named Krissman.
The young couple moved to Riverdale, near Ogden, in 1868. Their second child Nancy Elizabeth was born there on July 24, 1869. In the spring of 1869, American Fork City decided to try out the Free School System, so Father returned to organize and teach in the first Free School in the State of Utah, in
fact, the first Free School west of Kansas City. Father had joined the Church.
Though Mother still had to work hard, she was very happy. Didn't she have the finest, most handsome and loving husband in the whole wide world; and wasn't he hers alone and loving no one but her. They were extremely happy, a very popular couple. Father had a fine voice and he loved to sing. They went everywhere; parties, dances, picnics and sleigh rides. Father was very enthusiastic about the mountains and canyons. So they spent thirteen happy years together. There were many young ladies casting their eyes at Father, when sure enough, one came along to capture his fancy. He married Aunt Jane in 1879. Although Mother never wanted it to happen, she knew she had to make the best of it. By this time, she had given birth to seven children — Amanda, Nancy, Lill, Arthur, Alice, Emily and Isaac. She had just buried her baby Isaac, a strong, healthy child who had never had a sick day during his two years. Her beautiful blond curly headed baby fell asleep in his high chair and never awakened. Another Child was on the way, Olive, who was born December 28,
In 1882, on the 26th of March, a little boy came into the world. Father and Mother were so glad to have another boy, as there was just one other living son, Arthur. This little one only stayed a short time. Elbert Frederick died at six weeks with pneumonia. Mother was again bowed down with grief. I came along just one year later to the day. They tell me the only comment was, “Just another little girl."
Grandfather Cooper had given Mother a farm stocked with sheep, cows, and horses. He had planted fruit trees, Father built a house. and they had plenty of everything to eat. Mother divided with Aunt Jane — eggs, meat, butter, and fruit — to make things run smoothly.
Soon after this, the Government stepped in and there was trouble for all men who had plural wives. Aunt Jane had lost her first child and had three more when Father was forced to move one of his families out of the State. They talked it over and Father was unable to come to a solution. Whenever they were faced with a real problem, he always turned to Mother as he had faith in her sound judgment. She had been compelled so many times in her life to work out other people's problems, as well as her own, and she did possess a rare gift. She reminded Father that she had grown daughters; Amanda and Lill were married. Alice and Em were in their early teens. Arthur, of course, was a grown man. She was strong and capable and with the food from the farm, could manage some way. Aunt Jane with her three small children would not be able to work and needed his help and protection, so he must take her and go.
They went to Sanford, Colorado. Mother went out to work — washing, ironing, cooking for a restaurant — anything she could get to do, and underneath, hiding a broken heart. Alice and Emily took care of the young children, Charles was
just a baby. About this time, Arthur married.
Father had begun to feel uneasy about leaving his family and asked Mother to sell the farm and come to Colorado. She was much opposed to this, feeling that the trouble would blow over before long. She protested the move for a long time, but finally Father came home and persuaded her to sell. So we moved, expecting to live in Colorado. There were six children at home — Alice, Emily, Olive, Nelle, Edna, and Charlie.
We went to Sanford where Aunt Jane was living. While Father was in Utah, Aunt Jane had talked with her Bishop. He had reminded her that she was "Mrs. Forbes” in that town, and because of so many people in Sanford not belonging to the Church, it would be unwise for another Mrs. Forbes to try to live there. Father was well known and they would be courting the same trouble they had run away from. Mother could see the danger, accepted it, and went with the three younger children to New Mexico. Alice, Emily, and Olive stayed in Colorado. We went by wagon with all of our earthly goods; enough supplies for three months, including a cow tied behind. The place where we landed was called Beulah at that time. I have visited there since and it is now called La Puenta.
There were only a few white families there. They were pioneering and were mostly plural wives. I can remember only six or seven of the families. We stayed in one room of a Mexican Hacienda until spring, and then Father had a three-room house built. We spent Christmas in the Mexican house and Christmas came and went without us knowing when.
I was the oldest child with Mother and I shall never forget her tears when she found there was another baby on the way. I had never seen her cry before and was very frightened, thinking that something dreadful was going to happen. It wasn’t that she did not want her baby, but to give birth to a child in such a God-forsaken place — no doctor, no town within forty miles. This was almost too much for even the most valiant of people. She soon overcame her grief, however, and was her sweet sunny self once more.
The other women there were younger than Mother and they had young children. She was mother, nurse, friend, and cheer crew all rolled into one, so they all loved and depended on her. There were seldom more than two men down there at one time to look out for the flock. There were no schools, stores, or places to buy supplies when we ran short. There was a small place called Abique, about seven miles away. Transportation was by foot or, if you preferred, you could ride the cow. You could buy corn, meal, dry beans, rice, sugar, and thread, if you had the money — we did not. We could not afford to wear our shoes to walk that distance. The sand was full of burrs and prickly pears. I remember making the trip to Abique one time with a Mrs. Dotson. She had about three-dozen eggs to
trade and received forty-five cents for them. I do not remember all of what she bought, but I do remember the stick candy, which she gave to me. I tried my best to keep it until I got home, but it kept melting. So...well, I hate to admit to a weak character.
One time when Father took us to Abique in the wagon, we witnessed the gathering of the Penitentes, a radical religious cult. Their belief was that they must suffer as Christ had suffered in order to be saved. They had to endure a three day period of self torture which consisted of lashing their naked backs from side to side with a rawhide whip, the lashes of which were tipped with flint arrowheads. They did this with each step as they trudged across the hot desert. Each man had a guide as witness who carried water, but no food. At the end of the three days, they gathered at the church to receive their blessing and assurance of salvation. We watched from the high side of the ravine through which they filed; a horrible sight which we will never forget. Their backs were raw and streaming with blood. It was a sight few people have seen and one we would not have been allowed to witness had they known we were there. I remember one man went berserk just before he got to the church. He threw himself into a cactus bed screaming and writhing in agony. He was pushed aside and left with no attention. He had failed. This horrible rite has been outlawed for many years.
About every three months, some of the men would come down and bring supplies and provisions for the families. One time in the late spring of ninety-one, we saw the wagon across the river and knew it was Father. The Bishop of Sanford was with him, also our sister Lill and her baby. Lill had moved to
Sanford and had made this trip to visit us. That night they camped across the river, as it was too late to attempt the ford that evening. This was the Chama River, a tributary of the Rio Grande. The water was muddy and the bed was full of quick sand, so the crossing was always a dangerous procedure.
Early next morning, we all went down to see them cross. Some of the Mexican men warned them that the old crossing was not safe and shouted, “Poco mas ariva”, which meant to cross farther up. The Bishop, who was driving, paid no attention and went in at the old crossing. They had a cow tied on behind and an extra horse. Lill was holding her baby who was wrapped in a red quilt. The wheels sank into the sandy bottom and the swift current quickly turned the wagon over, dumping them all into the muddy stream.
Father was the only swimmer. Lill was holding fast to what she thought was the baby but to her horror, found he had slipped through the quilt and into the river. She threw the quilt away and it landed on the lunch basket. We could see it floating away and around the bend and, of course, thought it was the baby. It was quite a relief to find that Father had rescued the baby after seeing that Lill had a safe hold on a wagon wheel protruding above the water. A Mexican rode in and took Lill and the baby on his horse. Father held onto the horse's tail and out they came.
In the meantime, Bishop Bertleson was trying to cut the horses loose. He was only able to save one horse and the cow. She really meant a lot to the community as there was only one other that was giving milk. A week later, the new cow gave birth to her calf. The calf was black and the cow was afraid of it.
We tried blindfolding her, but she would not let the calf near her. We finally had to butcher the calf. About a week later, a black pig got loose and frightened the cow. She went round and round the post she was tied to, The rope became tangled and she broke her neck trying to get loose — a real tragedy for us.
The men had to go back for more provisions because everything was lost in the river. There was very little left to eat in our little community and we had to make it last until they returned. All of the food was pooled and then divided. The portion for our family of five was one cup of flour and a pan of milk. Mother made what she called “lumpy dick". She stirred the flour into the hot milk with a little salt. We ate it and liked it. The wagon came the next morning and were we glad to see them!
Mother smiled through it all and was so cheerful and courageous. She was a great storyteller and mimic. She could be a Swede, a Dane, a Scotsman, an Indian, or Southerner at will. She could be depended upon to cheer her family and neighbors and under these trying circumstances they sorely needed such a person.
Alice and Emily came down on the next wagon load after the river episode. Mother was so happy to have her two big girls. She was nearing her time and was full of anxiety because of having no doctor near. The other women were frightened and could not help, so when the time came, the two girls had to
take over. An old Mexican midwife came over to help. Mother was trying to tell the girls what to do. Alice fainted, so Emily had to do whatever she could. She was only sixteen, but with Mother's help and direction, the baby was delivered safely. This beautiful baby came to the family August 22, 1891. Mother named her "Laura LaVerne".
Father arrived from Sanford a few days later. We were all wild with joy over our new baby, and how we loved her. We had nothing to amuse us, no place to go and no playthings. There was only one tree in the valley, prickly pear, cactus, snakes, and hot, hot sand. This little sister was something special to brighten our lives. Mother’s life was enriched with her arrival and it helped her to bear her troubles without complaint.
When the baby was about six weeks old, my brother Arthur came down to see us, and as he said, “to see what was going on". He had driven from Utah to Colorado, and then on down to New Mexico. When he arrived and saw the conditions under which we were living, he started loading our things on
his wagon and told Mother to get ready to go to Espenola where she could board the train. He wired Father for a ticket and put Mother, Edna, Charley and baby LaVerne on the train. They went to Manassa, a town in Colorado near Sanford. I went in the wagon with Arthur, Mother protested this high-handed treatment, but he paid no heed when she reminded him of how angry his Father would be.
When we left, the women all cried and told Mother they could not do without her. She promised them that she would get them out before winter. As soon as she arrived in Manassa, she went straight to Bishop Dalton and told him what sort of a place the families were living in, and what they had to face. He recalled his ward members who were in Beulah, so Bishop Bertleson of Sanford had to do likewise. There was some trouble over it, but an investigation by the Church in Salt Lake City settled everything.
I loved the ride to Manassa in the wagon with Arthur. I can remember some of the towns we passed through, one called Jo Jo Caliente, and another where the bells from the two churches were ringing as we passed through in the early morning. Arthur cooked our meals on a campfire and it was fun for me. Mother was so happy to have her family all together again; it had been two years since we were separated. We were all glad to be back in civilization once more where we were able to go to school and church. We
NANCY MINDRELL DAYTON FORBES - HISTORY p. 3
Contributor: Yelena F Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
We moved to Eastdale, a nearby town, and were there a year. Mother was stricken with inflammatory rheumatism while we were there. She was in bed most of the summer. Em was her nurse and she looked after the family. We had a farm there and Father was with us for the summer. Olive helped in the house and I helped Father in the fields. He called me his right hand man. We had a fine crop of grain and hay. He wasn’t much of a farmer, but managed to get it cut and hauled. He threw the hay and grain sheaves up and I stood on the load and placed them. I was very, very proud to be such a good help to him.
We moved back to Sanford, then to Manassa, always on the move. Mother said she moved so much that when a wagon came into the yard, her chickens lay down and put their feet together to be tied. She thought that one up long before Rudyard Kipling, in fact, I think he borrowed it from her.
Ruby was born in Manassa, Mother's thirteenth child. Shortly after Ruby was born, an epidemic of Scarlet Fever broke out in Sanford and there were many deaths. Aunt Jane lost three children in about three weeks time. Em was with her and was the only help she had, as Father was not able to enter on account of his school. Em contracted it and Lill nursed her until she was well.
The next winter, Typhoid Fever broke out in Manassa and it was very virulent. it seemed as though every family in town had a patient or two. Father was in Salt Lake teaching in the L.D.S. College. Alice was married and was attending the College with her husband and Olive. Olive went from there to Boston to stay with Aunt Amanda Randall, who was to give her special education. Charlie and I both had typhoid. There was only one doctor for the three towns — Sanford, Manassa and Lalara. He made the rounds between the towns, spending one day in each.
Mother was again pitching in, helping others. With Charlie and l both in bed, she had two cows to milk, pigs and chickens and a horse to care for. l was in bed for nine weeks and was fortunate to have survived. Charlie had walking Typhoid.
Em was the only help Mother had, and what a great help she was, always on hand in time of trouble. l worshiped her, She made all of our clothes, was the best singer in town and so beautiful. Mother never could have gotten through that awful winter without her. Em was married in January after the worst of
the trouble was over.
When Father returned, he told us he had been employed at American Fork to grade the schools. They had built a new school building and named it the “Forbes School,” in honor of him. Here again was an important decision to be made; which family to take. It was impossible to take both; the Manifesto on Polygamy had not yet been signed. Again Mother came up with the answer. Her fine unselfish nature solved the problem for her perplexed husband. She reasoned that Aunt Jane needed the comfort of her Mother, Father and family. She was broken hearted over the loss of her three children and should not be left alone. So, "You take her and I shall manage someway until you can send for us."
What a terrible time we had that winter; still she never complained. l was the oldest one at home, so I took over the outside chores. We had two cows, three horses for the farm work, and some pigs and chickens. We had flour, potatoes, dry beans and peas, pitted carrots and onions. She had a pig killed and hung up for our winter’s meat. Someone stole it.
Mother was not very well acquainted in Sanford, so didn't have many friends to rally around. Will Bush, Lill’s husband, was very good to Mother and helped with the farm. When spring came, he plowed and planted the fields and helped with the garden. We all had to help at harvest time, pick up potatoes, thrash beans and peas, etc. My chief concern was with the livestock over which I took full
charge. I was between twelve and thirteen at the time.
Father sent for us that fall and Mother had a big job to tend to — all the business of closing out the farm products, which brought very little. As for furniture, all she brought back was in two trunks, also a barrel of her prized china, a wedding present, which she held very dear; she loved dishes.
We returned to American Fork in time to enter school and were very proud to see our Father's name on the building, but were ashamed to be so poorly clad, as we got a lot of attention. Mother immediately went to nurse Amanda with a child, taking Ruby and Laverne and leaving me in charge of Edna and Charley. Father had killed a pig and I took care of the meat, making sausage, headcheese, mincemeat, and I rendered out the lard, the hardest job of all. I had never done this before, but had watched Mother may times. I can still remember what a lot of praise I got from Father. His thirteen- year old daughter's ego was greatly enlarged.
When Mother came home, she nursed Aunt Jane through childbirth, baby Marie, who died in her second summer. She then went on other nursing cases as we were badly in need of money to buy clothes. We were living in two rooms in the same house with Aunt Jane. When Mother came home from her nursing, Aunt Jane moved, so we had the whole house to ourselves. It was the Harrington
home on Main, across the street from where the Tabernacle now stands. It was a two-story home with eight rooms.
This was 1896. Olive came home from Boston and Aunt Amanda came with her. We loved her because she was so much like Father, with the same sense of humor. Lill and Alice moved back to Utah, leaving Em in Colorado. Then another tragedy struck our family and this was just about all Mother could take. Our sister Edna took sick with appendicitis and was gone within a week. They knew very little about it at that time. She suffered intensely. I remember it was midnight when she asked Mother to wake us up. We came downstairs — Alice, Olive, me, and Lill, who was staying up to help Mother. All Edna could say was, "Girls, be good to Mother all your lives. She is so fine and good; I know how good, but I don’t think any of you really know.” These were her last words. She died the next morning at 7:00, August, 1897. She was born October 26, 1886.
Poor Mother! The only thing she could do to forget her troubles was to work. That winter she took Grandmother Harrington (no relation) to board and care for. She was over eighty, not quite bedfast, but very feeble. She had the two front rooms upstairs and her meals had to be carried up to her. Mother bathed, nursed and cared for her for about two years. She was to receive credit on the house in payment. I was never told the amount of money she was to receive, but the house could not he sold until Mrs. Harrington passed away. The deal was not put into writing and at the end, all Mother realized was our rent, which was only ten dollars a month.
We moved up into the Fourth Ward and Mother went on with her nursing. Olive went to Mammoth, Utah to stay with Lill who was in poor health at that time. I ran the house while Mother was away. Mother received two hundred and fifty dollars from the sale of a small home in Colorado. This was all she had to show for her Utah farm and home, which Grandfather had willed to her. She bought a lot and
said she was going to have a house. She then made a deal with Arthur, who had a brick kiln in American Fork, to board him and his four men, six days a week for the summer. in return, he was to furnish the brick for our house. No chance for a slip this time, it was put down in writing.
She put me in charge, so I did the cooking. The men were all alive at the end of the summer and never once asked for the soda. I believe I was about seventeen years old. We had breakfast at six-thirty and it was really hard work to keep enough food on the table for five hungry men and the five of us, ten in all. I still hate that smoky old stove. I had to bake all the bread and pastry and never knew when it was going on a tantrum. The men were very patient with me and we made out all right.
Mother came home form her nursing again in the fall with enough money to buy the windows and doors. Father had the bricks laid and the roof on, so we were all so happy and proud of our new home. Mother kept on with her work until the house was finished and how she loved her new home. She vowed it would be her last move and so it was. She still nursed a lot, as she wanted to fix up her parlor. It gave her great satisfaction to have this home and to gradually fill it with the things she had longed for. The many years of moving from one place to another had not given her a chance to really enjoy her home.
She bought first, a States carpet, so called because it came from the Eastern States. Later, she got those lovely lace curtains, which she had laid away at Chipman’s store. The greatest thrill of all was when she bought the organ. The neighbors and children from all around were lined up to see it brought in. Mother's face beamed with pride. She had wanted it for so many years. Her family was all music lovers and was blessed with talent for it. Our family gatherings were now perfect. We could sing together with the organ accompaniment. Ruby and LaVerne had learned to play quite well. Mother surely got her money's worth that time.
Some of the family songs were “Ever of Thee," "Sweet Genevieve,” “I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen, ” and Mothers favorite hymn, "Redeemer of Israel." Once in a while we got Aunt Jane to sing "The Mistletoe Bough”, which had about eight verses telling of a bride, who, to escape the teasing guests, hid in the
old chest in the attic and was never found until years later. I still shiver when I think of the part when she climbed in the trunk and “The lid went down”.
When Mother was around sixty years old, Father contracted to board the men who were putting in the pipeline for the Power Company in American Fork Canyon. This meant a big job for Mother, who was to do the cooking. There were twenty-five men plus our family and helpers, a vegetable man and girl. I
had a months vacation from my job and went up to help. I took over the pastry and waited on tables. We all had to wash dishes. Mother worked much too hard that summer and was never too well after that.
When she was sixty-five, she underwent a serious operation to have a twenty pound tumor removed. She named it "Ralph”, after her doctor, Ralph Richards. After that she dated everything, “So many years after Ralph was born." She did very little nursing after her operation and her girls made a pet out of her. How she enjoyed it; she often said what grand women her girls were, which made us feel like we had never done enough for her.
Mother's chief characteristics were her resourcefulness, her sense of humor and quick wit, her cheerfulness and unselfishness. l have already spoken of her rare good judgment. She was never happier than when she was doing something for others. She was at the beck and call of her family, having nursed most of her daughters and sons’ wives through childbirth. She went to nurse her neighbors many times without thought of pay. She once exposed herself to Smallpox in nursing a friend, and in the process, contracted it herself. She was sixty-seven at the time.
When Mother got to the point where she was unable to take care of herself and home, and was really ill most of the time, her daughters took turns caring for her and Father in their own homes. We got tired of moving around, so we paid Lill, who was a widow, to care for them. That was the winter of 1925. Mother and Father celebrated their Sixtieth Wedding Anniversary in the Tabernacle at American Fork with many old friends attending. The music and program were by the family. Mother did not stay with us long after that.
In the spring of 1926, we had a family party for Olive, who was to marry Morris B. Young. The party was at Alice's home in Salt Lake. The party was held in the afternoon and was one of our best. We had gone to great lengths in preparing some really good games and stunts. l never heard Mother laugh so hard. She wasn’t very well and the fun was almost too much for her. She was in her seventy-sixth year. We put her down for a nap and went home. She visited each one of us — Olive, Ruby and myself, for a few days, then went down to Alice’s again, took sick and passed away three days later, April 20, 1926.
She knew that she was going, but did not seem to mind. She had all of her family with her except Charlie, who was in Wyoming. We took turns holding onto her hand until the end came. We wondered how in the wide world we could ever do without her, knowing we would always need her. What a marvelous gift we have in our memory. To me, it is our most precious faculty. At will, we can hear her voice and really see her sweet smiling face. Anything we once have seen or heard, we can still see or hear; so after all of these years, she is still with us, and will be as long as our memories last.
In thinking of our dear Mother and the many happy gatherings we knew with our family, I recall the words of a song we used to sing when together.
Where is now the merry party
I remember long ago
Gathered ‘round the Christmas fire,
Brightened by its ruddy glow.
Some to fairer fields have wandered
Where they are we cannot say
Restless feet, the lure of cities
Far away, far away.
Some have gone to land far distant
And with strangers made their homes;
Some upon the world of waters
All their lives are forced to roam;
Some have gone from us forever
Longer here they might not stay,
They have reached a fairer region,
Far away, far away.
Her passing was a really personal grief to her many friends and to her neighbors — a personal loss. In spite of her many hardships, sacrifices, loss, and grief, her life was extremely rich. She made it so by forgetting herself to help others. She loved her husband and would do anything to help him or make him happy, but when he took another wife, all the romance in her life was over. I realize that the Church had a problem to solve when they brought polygamy into use. To me it could never seem right, as no man, no matter how strong, can do the right thing by two families. One or the other always suffers injustice. Our folks worked it out as well as any families could. We were taught to respect each other, but there was always resentment and jealously running loose, until we were mature
enough to reason and understand.
Mother gave birth to nine daughters and four sons. Every daughter she had would have loved to be, “Just like Mother”. She gave us something to live up to.
There are only four of us left now: Emily Foster Sweeten, Olive E. Young, Ruby White and myself—Ellen Drew Joy Maag. My sisters helped, prompted, and approved this manuscript
Biography of Nancy Lance and Nancy Mindwell
Contributor: Yelena F Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
NANCY LANCE STUART DAYTON COOPER
Came to Utah 1851
Nancy Lance Stuart Dayton Cooper was bom on the 16th of October, 1807, in Perth, Canada. She was the daughter of Jacob Lance, born in 1773, and Cyntha Draper, born in 1775. There were eight children in the family, they were: William, Louis, Nancy, Louisa, Sophia, Jacob, Simon, and Charles.
Nancy Lance, when very young, married Captain Stuart and to this union was born one child, Mary Stuart. A short time after their marriage, Captain Stuart was drowned at sea, so Nancy moved to Nauvoo with her family. It was there that she and her sister Sophia, also a widow, met Hyrum Dayton and were converted to the Gospel. Sophia married Hyrum Dayton, thereby becorrung his second wife, and later Nancy married him, and bore him two children; one son, Albert Frion, and a daughter, Nancy Mindwell.
Hyrum Dayton and his wife, Nancy, left Nauvoo, Illinois for Winter Quarters with Captain Day's Co.. about November of 1849, and in the fair spring of 1851 crossed the plains in Captain Day's Co., arriving in Salt Lake City, Utah, the 14th of Sept., 1851. Grandfather was very ill at the latter part of the journey with rnountain fever and had to be brought by wagon, but Grandmother walked a great deal of the way, although she was pregnant at the time, and upon the arrival at the spot now known as Pioneer Park in Salt Lake City, the company made camp, and a few hours later, after walking all day, Nancy Dayton gave birth to a daughter, Nancy Mindwell, on the 14th of Sept., 1851. In 1852, Nancy Lance Stuart Dayton married Isaac Cooper.
My mother, Nancy Mindwell, was known as Nancy Cooper in childhood, she being only a baby when grandrnother married Isaac Cooper, and she was raised as his child, though she was not adopted by him. She lived with her mother and Grandfather Cooper on a dairy farm near the point of the mountain on the Jordan River, and it was here that she spent her childhood. When she was six years old, she tried to follow her brother Albert when he went after the cows, and when she sat down to pick out the sand burrs from her bare feet and to rest, an Indian snatched her up and ran away with her. She was rescued after twenty-four hours.
When she was very small, Mother was sent with a basket of food to a new company of pioneers who had just arrived in the Valley. Her mother had told her to give each one of them just one piece of bread, and upon seeing her do this, President Brigham Young put his hands on her head and blessed her and promised her that she would never want for bread, that her last days would be her best, and that her daughters would be jewels in her crown. She remembered these things and felt they literally came true.
Grandfather Cooper owned a quarter section of land at the point of the rnountain at the curve that is railed in, below that point on the river was his pastures, and many times mother had to swim her horse across the river to get the cows. When she was small she would milk eleven cows night and morning. Later the family moved to American Fork and ran a boarding house, and it was there my father first met mother.
One day Mr. Nevins and his partner Joseph Forbes came inquiring about accormnodations and were directed to the Coopers. Upon asking the location of the Coopers, they were told it was finished Hindleys, when they didn't understand, it was explained that finished meant kitty-cornered, though they still didn't understand, they soon located the place, and Grandfather gave them consent to camp in the yard. Of course two handsome, cultured gentlemen who sang and played their guitars, caused quite a sensation among the young folk, who came to peer at them as they prepared their evening meal, and among them were my mother, her cousins, and her half-sisters who stood around and watched the boys first boil their eggs and then use the water for their tea, which went sorely against mother's feelings.
Mother was a very busy hard working girl, as her mother and older sister were both invalids. Her mother, at the birth of her son Cyrus was stricken with paralysis, which left her totally helpless and bereft of her speech, though she lived for a good many years in that condition. Aunt Mary had heart trouble, and about all she could do about the house was to mend and sew, and do beautiful embroidery. Mother learned to spin and weave, and was adapt at malting bread and butter and various other things. She and father fell in love and although his friend and people prevailed upon him to come home, Joseph Forbes cast his lot with the Mormons and Mr. Nevens went on without him. He and mother were married on the 1st of January, 1865, and the following children came to bless this union: Sarah Amanda, Nancy Elizabeth, Joseph Arthur, Mary Alice, Emily Catherine, Isaac Roby, Olive Edith, Fredric Elbert, Ellen Drue, Edna Lulu, Charles Willard, Laura Lavern, and Florence Ruby.
Mother was glad she would never have polygamy to contend with, since she had practically been mother to both families, and felt she never could stand that. However, six months after their marriage, through Bishop Harrington's influence, father embraced the Gospel, and took Aunt Jane to wife. At this time mother's trials sorely tested her faith; her mother died, she lost her beautiful two and a half year old son Roby, and gave birth to my dear Sister Olive.
Mother was only fourteen years old when she was married, and her first daughter, Amanda, was born a month before she was sixteen. When father married Aunt Jane, mother willingly shared her household goods with her, and although her heart was heavy, she went bravely on, never complaining, and sharing whatever she had, and letting her children do any assistance to lighten Aunt Jane's burdens. Mother was of a cheerful and happy nature, and always saw the funny side of things, was witty and one never knew what heartaches her cheery smiles were hiding. She was always ready and willing to venture with father in anything he undertook.
The first year of their married life they lived at the point of the mountain, but while they were on a visit home the Indians burned the house, then they moved to Heber, where father taught one term. They then moved to Ogden, where Nancy Elizabeth was born, but after a year in Ogden they moved back to American Fork. It was here that father taught school for so many years, and with the help of Bishop Harrington they established the free school system.
Mother was a great mimic, never with the spirit of criticism, but just that she loved to make people laugh, and she loved to tease just a little. Though she knew nothing of fortune telling, she often pretended that she did with her daughters, and would tell them just the opposite to what they wanted to hear, such as that their beau might be taking another girl to the dance. She loved romance and her daughters and also granddaughters adored her and would always go to her with their innermost secrets and dissapointments, and she would plan and counsel with them or revel in their happiness. My mother could never be old, for she could always be counted upon to don funny costumes and cut up capers with her granddaughters. Jennie Greenwood's father once told us that as a girl, our mother was very beautiful and a lovely dancer, and that none of her girls could compare with her. Nevertheless mother was always the leader in the work about home. Each one was assigned a task and mother always took the lead and the heaviest one. The hour was never too late, the weather too cold nor the road too long for her to lend aid to the sick and dying.
Just recently Sadie Brandy, Jenny Cunningham, Minnie Webb and others have commented on her cheerful disposition and how beloved she was. She was like a mother to them, and her life long friends we were taught to call Aunt Hannah Condor, and Melissa, Alice, and Mary Mott were all aunts to us. Many times Aunt Caroline would bring her nightdress tucked under her arm to stay all night with mother when father was away. Usually when they came to call, it was an all day affair and the children enjoyed it too.
When we moved to American Fork we lived on the Duncan corner for a number of years, then removed down on the highway by the Kouts and Woodhouse homes. Then father built the adobe house across the street from Richard Hansen's home, and also the home where Aaron Greenwood now lives, and where I was born, and mother's sister Mary and son Joseph A. died. Then mother buried her son Fredrick Elbert when he was six weeks of age. Then the Edmund Lucker (Tucker) law was passed and father moved Aunt Jane to Sanford, Colorado, leaving mother behind. She struggled along for about a year and a half, then father came back and sold our property and though we were heart broken at the thought of leaving our friends, we started for Colorado, where it was sparsely settled and there were few advantages. Upon our arrival at Sanford, Colorado, the Bishop met with the family and persuaded mother that since father was in the Dry Goods business, and was not known to be a polygamist, against whom there was feeling, that it would not be wise for mother to stay there. Mother made the sacrifice and with a small colony of eight or nine families of plural wives went to a little town in Mexico, call Mariana.
When mother left for Mexico, my sister Emily was left to assist Aunt Jane and I remained to work in the store. While in Mexico, mother gave birth to my sister Lavern, with only an old Mexican midwife in attendance. Father took Emily and me down to take care of her, and having learned a bit of the Mexican language while in the store, and through teaching, we made the old Mexican woman understand with difficulty what mother wished her to do. Mother's life was despaired of, but the old midwife would only moan and rock back and forth muttering "Mucho Sangrie", and doing nothing for her. We prayed earnestly for God to spare our dear mother, and our prayers were answered. A year later, due to the terrible floods and storms in that vicinity, father moved us to East-Date, another little plural wife colony. There mother was stricken with Rheumatic fever, but through the careful nursing of sister Emily, she recovered.
During this time Aunt Jane moved back to American Fork, and father moved us to Sanford, Colorado, where we lived about a year, then father secured the school in Manassa, Colorado, and we moved over there; then back to American Fork where mother could call her much loved family about her. We resided in the old Bishop Harrington home for some time, and mother struggled with father to get a foothold in the old life. They kept boarders, mother did cooking, and father resumed his duties in the school. It was in this house that Edna, her thirteen year old daughter died. They then built the house where Elmer Pulley now resides. Mother often said that she had moved so much that the chickens would lie down and cross their legs to have them tied.
In 1926, Mother came to Salt Lake to my home on Murphy Lane, to a party on Friday in honor of Sister Olive. Her daughters were all there, and she was so happy and joined in their fun with her heart and soul. She danced all the changes of the plain quadrille alone. Saturday morning she and father ate breakfast together and made plans to visit all of the girls that day, but a little later she became ill, and grew steadily worse. The doctor was called, and he told us that our dear mother's hours were numbered. She asked for all her family and they assembled Sunday with the exception of Charles.
She went into a state of coma, and on Tuesday morning, April 21st, 1926, she passed away at my home in Salt Lake City. She was taken to her home in American Fork. Dear in the hearts of her children is the memory of Aunt Caroline coming in with tears streaming down her cheeks, and in her hand a bunch of geraniums grown in her own little home. We all appreciated them more than the costliest bouquet money could buy.
Her funeral was held in the tabernacle and our darling mother, sleeps on the hill beside father, and her children who had gone before her.