Josephine Mower Duncan Conover
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Josephine Mower Duncan Conover
Father’s Name: William Middleton Mower
Mother’s Name: Catherine Pennington
Birth Date: 27 October 1910
Place: Lindon, Utah County Utah
Baptized: 27 October 1918
Where Baptized: Little Spring Creek, Springville Utah
Baptized by William Middleton Mower
When Confirmed: 27 October 1918
Married: George Thomas Duncan 11 May 1929
Where Married: Nephi, Juab County Utah
Endowed Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah 26 September 1955
Where Sealed: Manti Temple, Sanpete county, Utah 23 July 1959
To Whom Sealed: Richard Matthew Conover (Second Husband)
Patriarchal Blessing by Peter Nielsen 9 May 1956
Special Assignments: Stake Mission Feb 12th, 1961. Released 8 Nov 1964, Ordinance Worker Manti Temple 10 Sep 1969-23 Oct 1971.
School began in Toole, Tooele County, Utah, Attended school in Springville, Lincoln school, Highland school Highland Utah county, Utah, Washington school Springville Utah County Utah. Springville High School- Springville Utah County, Utah.
Vocation: Housewife, clerk in grocery store 1943-1951, Cosmetic saleswoman 1952, clerk in grocery store 1956-1962.
Teacher in primary – 1930 Highland Ward Highland Utah, 1938-1940.
Springville Third ward 1942, Teacher in Sunday school.
Springville third ward, teacher in Junior Sunday school
Springville Third ward-Assistant Superintendent Junior Sunday school-teacher in Junior Sunday school-Theology teacher in Relief Society-1949 Genealogy committee member-Ordinance worker in Provo temple 1972-Ordinance worker in Manti Temple-Stake Missionary.
Places of Residence: Lindon, Utah County, Tooele, Tooele County Utah, Springville Utah County, Utah, Highland Utah County, Utah.
Talents: Piano, Organ, Poetry, Writing, Music-many others.
Autobiography—by Josephine Mower Duncan Conover
I was born in the little town of Lindon, in Utah County, Utah, on October 27, 1910 on a Thursday. As I remember, my parents told me that that my Uncle Edmund drove over to Springville to get my mother’s mother to come and take care of my mother and the new baby. Dr Noyes was the doctor. He lived in American Fork and came by horse and buggy. I was born at about six o clock in the morning. Mama said she helped papa pick tomatoes most of the day on the Wednesday before I was born.
My folks were living in a humble little two room house on the banks of the canal. The walls were covered with factory and papered over it.
My parents, William M. Mower and Catherine Pennington, were married almost five years before I was born, and had almost given up hope of having a family, so I was really welcome.
I was blessed in the Lindon Ward by my father.
So far as I know I was a healthy baby and grew and developed in a normal way.
When I was about two yeas old my parents moved to Tooele, where my father took over a Rawleigh selling route. In Tooele, we lived in three different houses, but I only remember the last one, which was on North Main Street.
Some of my Tooele playmates were Bernice Johnson, who lived in a house a little farther north and across the road. One of my best friends that I spent the most time with was Jimmie Ellis. Everyone used to tease me about him. He came from a family of boys—about eight of them I believe. I think after he left Tooele, they finally had a girl.
Just south of us lived a family named Gillespie, and just south of them lived St. Clairs. The St. Clairs had a girl my age named Reva and a small boy who had epileptic seizures and banged his head on the cement. He finally died in one of these spells.
Across the road lived a girl named Clara Ekenstam, who was two or three years older than I. She had several older sisters. One day Clara took me up town with her for a walk. Here she met one of her older sister’s gentleman friends. She told him he had promised to buy her a doll. He took us in the store and bought her a doll that I thought was beautiful, and because I was along with her, he got a little cheap doll for me. I thought this was wonderful, although I always wondered how Clara could be so nervy as to ask him to buy her a doll.
Just south of the Ekenstams lived a family called Cully. One day Mrs. Cully got her two little girls ready for Primary and sent them outside to play while she got the baby ready. The younger girl, Helen, had a match which she struck. It caught on a little tear in her apron, and she was soon in flames. Her mother threw the baby and grabbed the girl and put her under running water. They said it just cooked her flesh, and much of it fell off. When I went to see her, she was all bandaged except for her nose, which was uncovered. She lived, but was terribly scarred. When they took the bandages off her arm grew to her side. I have never forgotten this terrible tragedy.
My father enjoyed his Rawleigh business very much. He would go to the towns around Tooele and be gone for several days. He did very well in this business and made lots of friends. My folks and their friends used to have parties—many of them surprise parties. This was before the days of hired baby sitters, and they always took me along. I thought it was great fun.
At Christmas time we used to come to Springville. I remember what a thrill it was to ride down on the train. We had to change onto the Interurban at Salt Lake City. I remember one time we walked through a store and saw a little doll house of some kind, that had lights shining out of the windows. I always though it I could have something like that, it would be the greatest thing I could ever have.
When we got off the Orem in Springville, we would walk down to Grandpa and Grandma Mower’s. I remember Mama and Papa talking me by the arms and jumping me in the air. I though this was a real thrill.
When we got to Grandpa and Grandma’s I would always see my cousins, the older Kindred children.
Grandpa and Grandma would always have a Christmas tree that reached to the ceiling. Sometimes I got to string cranberries and popcorn for the tree.
There were always bright colored candles in fancy holders, which one of the grownups would light. Oh, what beauty! One never forgets these happy childhood memories. Then always Santa Claus would make a surprise visit. I never noticed at the time, that Grandpa always left before Santa Claus came. I was just thrilled by the whole experience.
Usually Santa Clause would come to Tooele the night before we came to Springville; so I would have a double portion of Christmas.
It was always a thrill to take the lamp and go upstairs to sleep. They had electricity downstairs but not upstairs. There were always such scary shadows on the walls. Upstairs there were straw ticks on the beds, and I would sink way down in. It was so wonderful to wake up at Grandma’s and go downstairs and have mush with fresh warm milk on—straight from the cow.
Grandma had a salt shaker in the form of a lemon, which I loved—also some ornamental dogs on the clock shelf. I always had to take the things and look at them when I got there. I didn’t get to Springville very often, so I was quite a pet with my grandparents. I especially loved Grandma Mower. She was so plain, and kind and sweet.
I remember when I was six years old, my older cousins, Marie and Crede Kindred, told me that there was no Santa Claus. I always wished they hadn’t, although for quite a few years, I still halfway believed there was.
When I was three years old, I had a little sister, who lived for two hours. I remember she moaned all the time, and when she died, they laid her out on Mama’s dresser. She was named Lucretia for my great grandmother, Lucretia Hupper Mower, who was then in her 94th year.
While we lived in Tooele, my mother’s mother Grandma Pennington would come to visit us. Also, Mama’s three younger brothers would come at different times and stay for a while. Uncle Ted, the oldest of these brothers, was a terrible tease. He made my life miserable I always remembered it.
I think that it was in 1914 that Mama had appendicitis. Before they could operate the appendix ruptured, and Mama was desperately ill. At this time, they called in seven members of the priesthood, who laid their hands on her head and pronounced a blessing upon her. She testified that the minute they took their hands from her head the terrible pain was gone, and she began to mend.
When I was six and a half years old my parents had a son, whom they named Oscar Francis, after Papa’s brother who had died. We called him Francis.
About two months after Francis’s birth, my grandma mower died of a bladder ailment. I remember they phoned us in the night, and Mama and Papa picked up their two sleeping children out of their beds and bundled them into their new model T Ford and started for Springville. It seemed to me like we traveled all night. We reached Springville just as the first rooster began to crow, and Aunt Mabel Kindred met us out behind the house under the old apricot tree and told us Grandma had just died.
My two aunts and Grandpa Mower asked Papa to bring his family to Springville and live in the family home and take care of Grandpa Mower. Papa hated to leave his Rawleigh business and all of their Tooele friends, but decided he should come, so we moved to Springville in the fall of 1917.
I started school in Tooele in 1917, but only went to school there for a month or two. I had to wait until I was almost seven to start school, as you had to be six before the first of October to start school, and my birthday came at the wrong time. I don’t remember my teacher’s name in Tooele, but think it was Stewart. When we moved to Springville, I started going to the Lincoln school. My teacher was Bertha McKenzie.
That winter, my little brother got pneumonia. He was very bad. We had to have a trained nurse for him. Papa was in Tooele, trying to collect on his accounts, and Grandpa Mower, being of the old school, didn’t think we needed a fire in the front room; so Mama had to take Francis upstairs in the cold to sleep. She always blamed Grandpa for this and wasn’t happy living in his home.
Francis got over the pneumonia, but it left his heart weak. He was never strong after that.
I think it was in the spring of 1918 that Papa had a bedroom and screen porch built on his two room house just north of Grandpa’s and we moved over there. Grandpa still came over and had his meals with us, but slept in his own home.
Grandma Pennington and Aunt Suse and the three boys lived uptown in Springville. During the flu epidemic of 1918, Aunt Suse who had a bad heart, got the flu and died, 4 November 1918. Many people died from this dreadful epidemic. My father came down with it, but took care of himself and got over it. I remember we had to wear gauze masks over our noses and moths when we went into his room to take care of him.
In the spring of 1919, my father bought a farm over on the Highland bench, just North of American Fork. I remember Mama hated to move and she said at this time. “If I ever come back to Springville, I hope it will be to die.” As I mentioned before, Papa bought a Ford car just before we left Tooele. Mama was afraid of it, thought it was some new fangled thing that would get him in trouble. He had to crank it. We went to Highland in that, although I guess we moved the furniture in the wagon.
At Highland we had a large kitchen, front room, three bedrooms, although one of them was real small, a pantry and a cellar which joined on to the pantry.
At that time we had to drink water out of the ditch, but Papa soon hired a man to dig him a well. They had quite a time digging it. It caved in once and Mr. Turner, the man who was digging it, had a narrow escape. Papa was always thankful for this, because Mr. Turner had a large family. Thy had to dig 48 feet to get the water, but it was a real good well, and a great luxury in Highland, as almost everyone else still had to drink ditch water.
Highland wasn’t a very prosperous place, and our ward meetings were held in the school house, which consisted of two rooms with a hall and store room in the center. These rooms were not very large, but they were used for school, church and as a dance hall.
I had to walk about two and a half miles to school, and it surely seemed like a long ways. The other kids all had to walk too. I was in the second grade and Miss Abel was my teacher. They held four grades in each room. Miss Abel taught the first four grades in the east room.
When I was in the third grade, they gave me a special promotion; so I completed the third and fourth grades in one year.
During one of the summers that we lived at Highland, Auth Nell and family and Aunt Alice and family came over from Springville for a visit and we all went for an outing to Saratoga. At that time, they only cleaned the pool there once a week and we went there when it hadn’t been cleaned for a week. Papa ducked me in the water and I swallowe3d a lot of the dirty water and got diphtheria, I remember what a terrible sore throat I had and how my nose was so plugged up I couldn’t breathe out of it. Every morning my tongue would be as stiff as a board after breathing though my mouth all night. When I started to get well, I couldn’t talk plain, and the water would run out of my nose every time I drank, and even when I ate watermelon. I thought sure I would never be the same again, but I was soon as good as ever.
I must interrupt the sequence of my story now, as I forgot to relate one of the most important events of my life. The day I was eight years old, which fell on a Sunday, my father baptized me in little Spring Creek, down below Grandpa Mower’s house on the south side of the pasture. The water was deep and cold—as I remember it; the latter part of October, although I am sure it was warmer than when my father was baptized there many years before on his birthday, on January 14. I was confirmed in Sacrament meeting that same evening, by my father, I believe.
Returning to my story to Highland again, during the winter of 1919, the flu epidemic came back again—although not quite so severe as it was during the preceding year. My father, who felt that he was safe from getting it again, traveled all around Highland, helping those who were ill in every way that he could. My mother would make hot soup and other things, that the sufferers could eat, and he would take these foods around by bob sleigh. Many of the people in Highland remember him as an angel of mercy in helping them through this difficult time.
Some of the people we cam to know well in Highland were: The Cheney’s, the O.C. Day family, the Binns family, the Meyers’s, the Adamson’s—Dave, Peter, and Tom and their families.
During the time we lived in Highland, Papa worked in the Mutual Superintendency. He was instrumental in getting the other officers to hold dances during the winter to raise money. All the old timers said it would never work, but it turned out to be a very successful endeavor. They charged enough money to buy a sacrament setup until then they had been drinking the water out of the same cup, and a new set of song books, and a set of church works. After the success he had in the Mutual, the put my father in the bishopric with Wayne C. Booth and C.C. Day. Papa told them he might not be staying in Highland long, as he had his place listed for sale, but they put him in anyway. Right after this, a family by the name of Pitts came and bought the farm and wonted to move right in. We let them move into the front part of the house and we lived in the back part until fall.
The Pitts family had three children—two grown daughters, Clara and Ethel, and a boy just younger than I, who was named Milton. Ethel and Milton both had bright red hair. Milton had a pony and he let me sit behind him and ride. I remember I held on so tight I pushed his shirt way up when we would ride. We had some good times before we moved back to Springville.
It was September when we moved back. I remember two things that fall. Mama got sick, and I got my first bicycle. Mama was ill with kidney trouble, heart trouble and high blood pressure. We had to have a hired girl (named Bertha Hatfield) who helped us for several weeks. I was rue Mama would never get well, but she was soon better again, for which we were all very thankful.
I think I got my bicycle for my tenth birthday. I remember how happy I was with it. It was a second hand one and cost just ten dollars, but I was as thrilled and happy with it as though it cost a million dollars.
I had to take the cows to pasture—up on the hill every morning and go and bring them home at night. I remember one day I was going for the cows and our old dog Spot ran in front of me and made me have a spill. I landed on my arm and sprained my shoulder. I couldn’t lift my arm for over a week, but it finally got better. I was hurt quite badly, but I continued on and got the cows before going home. Later our old dog Spot developed rabies and had to be killed, after biting our hired man. I was quite broken hearted about this.
I went to school in Springville at the old Washington school. May Weight was my teacher in the fifth grade, and Mr. Beck and Jennie Palfreyman were my teachers in the sixth grade. Mr. Beck tried to make me write with my right hand, and I almost had St. Vitus Dance because of this. I always used to worry for fear some other teacher would try to make me write right handed.
It was while I was in the sixth grade, that I wrote my first poem. Each student had to write a poem for Language class and read it to the class. The teacher though mine was so good, he had me put it in the school fair. It was entitled “Dear Little Brook”, and it was twelve lines long. After this, I wrote quite a few little poems, several of which I had published in the Juvenile Instructor.
In 1922 I began Junior High School and finessed the seventh grade in the spring of 1923.
During the summer of 1923 the Doctor said that I needed my tonsils out, but before I could get them out, I got sick with Rheumatic fever—they didn’t call it that in those days. It affected my heart, and I was in bed for over two months. My brother, Francis was sick at the same time, so Mama had us both in bed.
When I got well enough, I had my tonsils out, and after that I soon gained back my strength. The doctor advised my parents against sending me to school that year, so I missed the whole year. Thus I ended up with the friends I had first started school with.
During my bout with Rheumatic fever, I had several bad nose bleeds. One of them lasted for six hours. I remember after one of them I fainted. I thought sure I was dying, and was surprised when I came to.
When I started school in the eighth grade, after missing a year, I made a new group of friends. I never did go with the girls from the Third ward much. My friends were all from other parts of town. We had lots of good times while we were growing up. In the spring of 1928 my brother Francis took sick. He had never had a strong heart, and at this time he had to be put to bed. He continued to grow worse, and on September 9, after 19 weeks in bed he died. Mama had been devoting her life to his care, and after he died, she was inconsolable. She and Papa had pinned so many of their hopes on him; they felt the Lord had let them down.
Through one of the girls in our gang, I met Tom Duncan. He was a friend of Fred Bullock, one of the boys she knew. He had come from Idaho with Fred, and was staying at his place in Provo. I don’t really know why I ever went out with him, except through some strange feeling of inadequacy I seemed to have within me. I somehow felt that nobody would ever be interested enough in me to want to marry me. I think I must have had an inferiority complex. Tom was good looking—at least, all the girls seemed to think so. I am sure at times I thought I loved him, but at other times I knew in my heart it was all wrong.
Tom was not a member of the Church, but he was baptized in January of 1929. I am afraid he was never really converted, as he never quit his bad habits, as he promised to do. We were never happy, even in our courtship, but he seemed to dominate me in some ways; so I could not break away. I offer no excuses for the mistakes I made. I was brought up in a good home and had the best of teachings, both at home and in church. I was not rebellious and always had a desire to do right. As I have said before, it must have been some lack within me that made me make the mistakes I did. Tom and I were married in May 1929. My father lent us $25.00 to get married on. We went to Nephi on the train and were married by a Justice of the Peace in the court house.
My folks fixed up a room of their house for us to live in, and we lived there until after our son was born in November. Tom had a job at the pipe plant when we were married, but he soon decided he didn’t like his bosses so he quit. That seemed to be the pattern of our living from them on. He had quite a few jobs but never stayed with any of them long enough to get anywhere.
I am sure I was not mature enough for marriage either. I know I made many mistakes. At first I tried to make myself believe that I was happy. Tom was jealous of my folks, because they had to help us so much, and yet he never seemed to care enough to make the effort to earn enough to keep us without accepting help.
Mama had been heart broken when I got married, but when our baby came along, she forgot to a great extent and really enjoyed him.
In the summer of 1930, I had a miscarriage at five months, and in August of 1931, our second baby, a daughter, was born. In February of 1933, we had our second daughter. During all this time, I tried to be happy, although Tom and I didn’t get along. He liked to go out and party with his friends. He was ashamed to take me anywhere while I was pregnant, and he never wanted to take me and the children anywhere as a family. He used to joke and say; “Somebody might think I am married.” It was supposed to be a joke, but it was really very true.
My father let him farm two or three years, but he would always get mad at something and go and start drinking and spend much more money than we could afford; so we could never pay our bills or have anything that other people had.
I could never bring myself to admit that my marriage was a failure. Somehow I felt that I had to make the best of my mistake and try to make a go of it.
After two or three years of farming, Tom got a chance to run a service station for Jack Fletcher. At first he did pretty well, and we had a little more to live on, but this job contributed to his drinking. Lots of fellows would come in the station and give him a drink. I guess he was a born alcoholic, because he could never take a drink and stop. He always had to keep on until he was drunk. It didn’t take long for him to lose this job. After that, he worked at the State Fish Hatchery for a while, and would have ha d permanent job there, but he got drunk and failed to go to work, so Bill Whitney had to lay him off.
About this time, the church authorities tried to encourage him by making him an Elder. They tried to encourage him to change his way of living and go to the Temple. For a while, it looked like we might go, but he didn’t quit his smoking and drinking, so we didn’t go. I was thankful afterward that we never did.
We were really getting down and out, so my father decided to give us a chance to live on the farm over in Highland. He had been obliged to take it back when the Pitts family couldn’t afford to pay for it. He had put sever different families on it and tried to help the, but none of them had done much. At this time there was a family by the name of Barkdull living there.
We moved over there on March 21, 1935. I remember it was snowing the day we moved. We moved into the two front rooms, and lived there all spring until the Bark dulls finally found a place and moved out in June. It rained and snowed all spring, and the cold old wind blew every day. We had nothing but a north door, so we really noticed the cold and wind.
Almost as soon as we got over there, Tom got in with some of the neighbors who did a lot of dinking and there was hardly a Saturday and Sunday that he wasn’t dinking. He landed in jail several times.
Papa helped us start in the chicken business. We also had a cow and a pig and a horse most of the time.
Tom worked hard when he was working, but it didn’t do any good, on account of the way he drank. When he would start drinking, he would sell eggs, chickens, and whatever else he could turn into cash. He even bought chicken feed on credit and sold it to get money to buy liquor. Several times, my father stocked us up with chickens again, but things just kept getting worse.
Our second son was born September 19, 1936
In the year of 1939, things got to the point where I couldn’t stand them. I had a nervous breakdown or nervous exhaustion, from which I have never completely recovered. Tom was drinking practically all the time. One night he came home drunk and particularly unpleasant. He accused me of doing terrible things, and started knocking everything around. He threw dishes and other things and broke them. I was terrified and went and hid in the pantry. He my heart was beating so hard I thought it would choke me. Once he almost found me, but somehow I manage to get out without him seeing me. It was summer and the two girls were asleep in the front bedroom. I took the tow boys—Bill and Jim—and a blanket and we went and lay down on the ground across the street in a field and tried to sleep. I worried all night about the two girls, but I didn’t dare go over to find out about them. I think this experience brought on my nervous trouble, as it started soon after this.
Tom had been drinking quite steadily and left me and the kids alone. My folks topped in one day on their way home from the Temple, and found me in such a state they took me to Springville and to the Doctor. He told them to put me to bed where I stayed for about two weeks. I don’t know how to describe how I felt. There just didn’t seem to be any use in living. I was terrible afraid, and didn’t know what I was afraid of. I thought sure I was losing my mind, and couldn’t seem to do anything about it. I have said many times since the, I would take any other kid of sickness rather than any nervous trouble.
I finally got enough better to go home. Tom had come to himself a little by this time, and seemed to want to turn over anew leaf. For five weeks after I got home, he refrained from drinking. The ward officers were trying to help him by giving him work and in other ways. I almost started to believe things were going to be different. Then he started drinking again and everything was worse than ever.
About this time, I became pregnant again, and I worried for fear my baby wouldn’t be normal. When I went to the Doctor, he assured me everything would be alright. I gradually got stronger and was at least partly my old self by the time Kerry Lee was born in July of 1940
Things didn’t get any better, and when I got pregnant again the following year, I was more discouraged than ever. In the spring of 1942, Papa finally decided there was no need of leaving us on the farm any longer, so he sent some other people over to take the farm over. Tom really got upset at this and threatened to kill my father and all the rest of us. Pap helped us find a place to live in Springville. We had one room downstairs and three rooms upstairs. We paid ten dollars a month for rent. Tom got a job building for Uncle Edmund Cragun and made eight dollars per day. He could have gotten along on this if hadn’t done any drinking, but he did, and we started getting behind on all our bills again.
I went back to American Fork to the hospital to have my little baby daughter Jo Anne. Tom had been drunk for two or three days when he took me to the hospital, and he only came to see me once during the ten days I spent there.
I used to see the ladies husbands come to see them at least once every day and treat them so specially. I though then how much I was missing that really counted.
When the time came for me to go home Tom was still drinking; so Mama came and took me and the baby to her place. She already had the five other children who had come down when they found themselves alone.
My father told me he thought I should apply for a divorce. I was pretty discouraged by this time, so I borrowed $25.00 from him and started divorce proceedings. However, I still hadn’t been able to give up hopes completely, and when Tom came back and told me he would try again, I called the divorce off and went home to try once more.
Things went better for a little while, but they soon fell into the old patter. About this time I decided to get some sore of job to help out. Uncle Edmund gave me a job in his market starting for 25 cents per hour. I left my children to take care of the baby. Tom made it very miserable for me for trying to work. He didn’t want me to have any independence. He even accused me of being in love with my boss, and made a scene in front of some customers. Uncle Edmund laid me off to keep peace in the family.
In 1944, we had to move, and because houses were hard to get-especially with a bunch of children, Papa let us move in the little house to the north of him and Mama, that he had been renting. It was only half big enough for our family, but Bill was already living with my folks, and Catherine started living with them when we moved own. We had two beds in the one small bedroom and one in the front room all the time.
In the summer of 1944, Kerry had two different narrow escapes. He fell off the back of Papa’s truck onto the back of his head. He had a large blood clot, which Doctor John Anderson had to open and remove. This had scarcely healed when he was caught in between the coral fence and the back of the truck. We were afraid he was hurt internally, but he soon recovered.
On February 21, 1945, my seventh and last baby was born, two and a half months prematurely. She weighed two pounds and three ounces, and lived for two days in an incubator.
In the fall of 1944 I had gone back to work at Cragun's Market. This gave us enough to keep us eating, but didn’t amount to much more, as Tm worked so sporadically and spent so much of what he did make on his drinking.
In October 1948, our oldest boy, Bill, having graduated from high school, joined the navy for three years.
In June of 1949, during a period of drinking, Tom went away with one of his pals, leaving us to live the best we could. I was working part time at the market, and my father helped us a lot, or we could never have made it. Tom was gone for fifteen months-returning in September of 1950. I had waited all this time, hoping Tom would change, and when he came back, everyone seemed to think I should give him another chance, so I did. It wasn’t long before we both realized it wasn’t going to work, but we struggled alone, making each other more miserable all the time.
In April of 1951, Bill came home from the Navy on leave and married his little American Fork sweetheart while he was home.
In June of 1951 I had a flare up of rheumatic fever. I was in bed for two weeks or more, and it took me most of the summer to gain back my strength. I had to quit my job at Craguns at this time.
In June of 1952, being sadly in need of extra money to live on, I took a job selling Avon products. I didn’t do much at this job at first, but I have stuck with it through the years and it has grown through the years
In the spring of 1952, Mama got sick and had to have an operation. She seemed to be all right for a while after this operation, but didn’t gain her strength as she should and soon got sick again. She had to have another operation, after which the doctor told us she couldn’t get better. All summer and fall she suffered patiently and died on the morning of October 31, 1952.
In the spring of 1953 (May 5), Tom left once more. I was very miserable at this time. My blood was so low; I had no pep at all. The doctor said I had a tumor and needed to have a hysterectomy as soon as possible. My father paid for the operation.
Ten days after my operation, our oldest daughter, Sallie was married to Eugene Davies in the Salt Lake Temple. At the reception, I sat in line.
My health was much improved after the operation and I went back to my Avon work very soon. In fact, I never missed sending an order.
In May of 1954, Jim graduated from High School and entered the paratroopers for three years. In the latter part of May, 1954, I applied for and was granted a divorce.
In July of 1954, Papa married Rose Versluis, in the Manti Temple.
In the summer of 1955, Catherine went to San Francisco to work. There, she met Jim Walker, from Clearfield, Utah. He was in the Navy and stationed on Treasure Island. In September, they took time off from their work and came home and were married in the Salt Lake Temple. At this time, I had my divorce cleared and went to the Temple with them. So, finally, I saw one of my children get married.
In 1956, I had my Patriarchal blessing from Patriarch Peter Nielson. He gave me a wonderful blessing and told me I would one day be sealed to a man worthy of my love and respect. This was a great comfort to me, as I had felt that my life was over as far as marriage was concerned.
In May 1957, Kerry went into the Army. He had been getting into difficulties, and this seemed to be the best solution.
In 1957, I started going to the Temple with Dick Conover. This began the most wonderful and most miserable two years of my life. At this time, Dick was still living with his wife, although they had had trouble and were just living under the same roof. She had run away time after time to be with another man, but feeling that he had to take care of her, he had taken her back each time she came back home. We soon knew that we were in love, and for a long time we tried to fight it. In June Dick applied for a divorce, on the advice of our Bishop, while his wife was away on one of her trips to be with the other man. When she returned and realized what she was losing, she tried hard to get him to change his mind. His sense of duty was so strong, I am sure he would have sacrificed both our happiness, but for the fact that he asked our Bishopric to give him a blessing. He was making himself ill under the mental strain. In the blessing they told him to go through with the divorce, that his wife would someday accept and live the gospel with another man, but never with him, that there was a great work for Dick and me to do together.
The divorce became final in January 1959.
In May 1959 Dick’s wife married.
In Jun, 1959 we became engaged and on July 23, 1959 we were married in the Manti Temple. We went on a honeymoon trip to California for ten days. This was the first time I had been to California—in fact, on any kind of a vacation trip and it was like a new world to me.
When we returned, I came to find out what a good marriage was like.
We have had many church positions since we have been married, which have all been very rewarding. We were in the Stake Mutual, as leaders of the Mutual study group.
Dick was the Senior President of the 333 quorum of seventies. We were stake missionaries together for almost four years. At this time, he is the High priest group leader in the 3rd ward, and I am Relief society secretary.
We have done a great deal of temple work in the years we have been together, and now we are trying to get some genealogy of our own done-also to interest others in our ward in this program.
We both have a great desire to serve the Lord in every way we can. We want to be faithful and valiant enough to make up for the mistakes that we have made.
We both have scars left from our other marriages. Dick’s wife’s second marriage didn’t work, and we try to help her in whatever way we can. She seems to be trying to live a better life, but needs moral support as well as financial support from time to time.
Jo Anne lived with us until she married Alan Reed in September 1964, and Kerry came and lived with us from October 1964 until June 1965, when he married Nedra Houser.
My children all seem to respect and love Dick and the three girls have been sealed to me and him-also, we had the daughter who died sealed to us. I hove hopes that someday the boys will be sealed to us, too, as Brother Neilson told me in my blessing. Dick’s daughter, Carol is a lovely girl, and seems to think as much of me as I do of her.
I have had more real happiness in the last seven years than I had in all my other married years. It has been as different as night and day from the first time.
I have a broken heart and contrite spirit when I think of my sins and mistakes, but I am thankful that the Lord has given me another chance at happiness. I am so thankful for Dick and all he does to make me happy. I am thankful for my family and for Dick’s daughter. I am thankful for my parents and all they did for me when I needed help so badly.
I hope to spend the rest of my life in being valiant in the Gospel.
Now it seems fifteen more years have passed since I wrote this history. So many things have happened and my life changes so much since then, but I will try to tell about it more or less as it has come to pass.
When we were married in 1959, we bought a little home on 74 East 200 North. This was in the 9th ward and we began to work in that ward, which we enjoyed very much. I was called to give the social relations lessons in Relief society for a time, and worked hard at this job. Dick was at the head of the 70’s at this time as we both worked on the projects which they had taken on at this time. Jo Anne didn’t take to the move into a new ward and didn’t do too much in the church at this time.
Kerry was in the service at this time, but came home in 1960 and lived with us for about sixteen months. However, he had not grown up in many ways and ran into troubles again. We couldn’t seem to establish a good relationship with him, so in 1961 he went back into the service again for another three years. This seemed to be the only way to go, as he had done some things to run into trouble with the law. I felt very badly to see him go again, but felt it was the only solution.
During the three years we lived in the 9th ward, we began our association with the Sudweeks, Nello and Alice. We went on a trip with them to Southern Utah and California, I believe, which we all enjoyed very much. At this time Forrest Allred was Bishop of the 9th ward, and we got along with him just fine and had some choice experiences in the ward. We learned later that many of the ward members ran into trouble with him and weren’t too happy with him.
On February 12, 1961, Dick and I were called to be Stake missionaries. This was a choice experience. We met many fine people and came to appreciate them so much. This helped to teach us how many choice people there are in the world who are not members of our church. We also enjoyed our association with the other missionaries, mainly La Rell Johnson’s and the Harmon Hatches. In August of 1962, my son Jim and his family wanted to move from my old home on North Main, so we took the place back and moved down there. This was a mistake, as it caused us to have trouble with Papa and Rose. Papa though that Dick should take over and help him on the farm, and Dick felt that he had all he could do just to keep up with his Post Office job and his church assignments.
In 1965 Jo Anne and Alan moved to Cody, Wyoming, where they lived until after the birth of their first son, Ryan, in May of 1966. Soon after Ryan was born they moved back to Utah and lived on West Center in Provo for a while. When Alan’s Grandmother Reed died in 1967, they bough her home in Springville and lived there for the next few years.
In 1967 I had a heart attack in September and Dick had a heart attack in December during the Christmas rush at the Post Office. During the time he was recuperating he tried to talk at Walter Robinson’s funeral, (a man whom we had baptized while on our stake mission), and almost had another attack right at the pulpit. It took him quite a while to recover from this illness.
During the year 1966 Nedra, Jo Anne and Sallie each had new babies, and ruing the year 1967 Catherine, Carma and Jo Anne each had new arrivals. This brought the number of our Grandchildren to 28. I guess I need to go back to 1962 and report that Carol had a new little daughter on March 6, and Sallie had one on April 13. Then in 1963 Catherine’s David was born, and her Richard in 1964. Also Danny, Jim’s second boy was born in October of 1962, and Sallie’s Michael in 1965. The grandchildren really came along during these years, and each one was very welcome.
In 1968, about June, I believe we bought a little 15 ½ foot trailer from Walter Newman. We went on several trips in this during the summer and fall, and took several of our relatives and friends with us. In August of 1968, I think it was, when Merrill Christiansen hunted Dick up one day. Someone had told him that Dick played the Mandolin. Merrill played the guitar, and they wanted them to get together and see if they could work up a number or so for the High Priests party which was soon coming up. We went up to their house that nigh, and after the first tune, they knew they clicked, and we didn’t come home until around midnight. They were both so thrilled to have someone they could do some playing with. Dick had wanted for so long to find someone with the same ideals, who would enjoy playing as much as he did. From then on, the spent almost every spare hour together. At first they just played but then they tried singing a few songs, and found that their voices harmonized very well. They always had a hard time remembering the words. They played the music by ear, without any written music, but we had to make copies of the words for them. It wasn’t long before people heard about them, and they were much in demand. They sang the old fashioned songs which the older generation liked, and they went about everywhere playing.
In February of 1969 Dick had an operation for hernia. He came through the operation all right, but had several complications. The worst of these was an embolism in his lung. This was really bad. He was in the hospital 19 days and lost 26 pounds. After this sick spell, he decided to use up his sick leave and retire.
In April of 1969 while delivering Avon orders, I suffered what Doctor Orton said was a slight stroke. It affected the left side of my face. I couldn’t smile and my eye wouldn’t work right. This frightened me a great deal, as I had seen people with their faces drawn out of shape and felt that I couldn’t face anything like that. Many people encouraged me and told me I would get better in a while, and sure enough, I did. At least my mouth got so that I could smile again. I still have a weakness in my eye, but it isn’t bad enough to cause any noticeable disfigurement, for which I am so grateful. I gave up working at selling Avon at this time. I had been selling for almost 17 years, and had had many choice experiences and made many wonderful friends.
Dick retired from his job in May, and the latter part of July, we received a mission call. We were given our choice of going on a proselyting mission or going to the temple at Manti. As my father was quite miserable at that time, we chose to go to the temple, so that we could come home on weekends and help out in taking care of him.
The Christiansen’s felt bad to think that Dick and Merrill would be separated and couldn’t do any more entertaining, but mainly through Dick’s efforts and the fact that Merrill knew the president of the Manti temple, the Christiansen’s received a call to work down there, too. We all had a wonderful two years down there, doing the work of the Lord in the daytime and entertaining the people in all the towns around about at night. The boys and their music were very popular down there as they had been up here, and the four of us traveled al around and had many choice experiences.
While in Manti, we lived in the house where President George had been living, at the foot of the Temple Hill. It was while we were living in this house that I wrote the song about the Manti Temple. I could see the beautiful lights of the temple each nigh through our windows, and it was truly and inspiring sight. I wrote the words first and then the music, and worked it out on the piano when we went home on weekends.
We made some very special friends at the temple. We started a Family home evening group and met in each other’s homes every Monday evening. Our first group was composed of the Christiansen’s, the Frandsen's, the Eckersley's, the Jarvises, the Purcells, the Meyers’s, the Thomas’s and us. We enjoyed this group a lot. We had gospel lessons, refreshments and then socialized. The boys played and sang for us every week.
Most of the sisters who worked at the temple took a day off each week, but I felt that I should be working when Dick was working, so I only took a few Thursdays of while we were there.
My father was quite sick and I worried about him, but couldn’t do much only when were home on weekends. He died on October 1 1970. We stayed in Manti until October 23, 1971. The Christiansen’s came back to Springville before we did, as Merrill was called to help with the prepatory work of opening the Provo temple. Soon after we got back to Springville, we were called to help train the workers of the Provo Temple, and we worked at that through November and December. In January they held the open house for three weeks. We were some of the supervisors in this work and enjoyed it.
It was while we were in our various positions during the open house that I wrote the words and composed the music for my song about the Provo temple. During the dedication, which was held in February, one of the general authorities told of coming into the valley and seeing the temple looking like a candle. Mainly on account of this I called it “The Candle of the Lord.”
After the dedication we held in the opening of the temple. This was a great privilege which we enjoyed very much. When the work began Elsie Eckersley appointed me as a supervisor of the brides on Fridays. I had some choice experiences in this capacity. Dick and I worked Thursday, Friday and Saturday on the early shift for the first year, but after that we changed and just worked two days a week on the 8 am shift, as it was too hard for Dick to get up that early.
Soon after we came home, we started having trouble with Rose. She turned all her property over to Dale and he started pushing us around. I hate to remember these troubles. Dick got so upset I am sure it contributed to his health problems. He decided he wanted to move and get away from it all, and when Jim started selling real estate, he put our place up for sale. He also started looking for a house for us to buy. The upshot of it all was that we sold our place on North Main, partly to a company in Provo and partly to Jim and Alan. I was upset. I didn’t want to move away from the old home. I felt like a traitor letting go of Papa’s property. We made a bid on Artie Hill’s home and purchased it. We moved up there in April of 1973 and into the 9th ward again.
We had several sad events in our family at this time. Charlie died in Grand Junction, within a few days after we had gone back and visited him: then on April 4, Brad’s little girlfriend Kathy Huff died after being in a coma for six weeks. Her car had been struck by a drunk driver one evening when she was coming home from work in Provo. This was a very sad time for Brad, and also for the whole family. Bill and Gerry were really having their troubles. Scott’s wife Nancy left him, taking their two little children, and married another fellow. Corey was also married in May to Charlene Houtz. He was only 17 and he and Charlene each had another year in High School.
When we came back from Manti, we organized a new Home evening group with the Christiansen’s, the Eckersley's, and Frandsens, the Jarvises and us, from our old group. We added the Livingston’s, whom we had known in Manti and the Wilford Hunts from the Provo Temple. Later when the Sylvester Bradfords came up to Provo from Manti, we added them; and when they moved to Blanding, after a short time, we added the Sudweeks. We also asked Bent and Mary Peterson—he had been president of the Manti temple before we went down there. We had many wonderful times with this group. We also invited Bill, Jo, and Ruth dais and Alvin and Lucille Kohler from Midway to meet with us in our summer parties; which we held every two or three weeks in the different canyons. Dick really enjoyed the association with all these special people. He also enjoyed the entertaining that he and Merrill were doing. His health wasn’t good, and it was often a struggle for him to go on these assignments, but as he loved so much to make people happy he continues to make the effort. He quit working at the temple in 1974, and I worked as a substitute. He went back to work for a while, but got sick and had to quit. I finished out the year without him.
Dick had also enjoyed the Black Hawk organization and the group made him state Commander in 1974. In June of 1975 Dick was stricken with a bad case of gout. He took medicine and got to feeling some better for a while. He went to the Black Hawk encampment in Lehi and hobbled around, tending to his duties as commander. Later he had a bad reaction to his medication. In November of 1975 he got really sick. He couldn’t keep anything on his stomach. We put him in the Payson Hospital first and then changed doctors and moved him to Provo for a while, and then to Salt Lake to the University Hospital. We thought he was getting better for a while but he didn’t snap out of it and continued to go down hill. During this time I went up and stayed with Jim and Catherine. I spent the days with Dick in the hospital and then went to their place at night. This was a time that was very hard for me. Dick suffered a lot and I felt so bad not to be able to help him. At this time he worried a lot about the trouble we had had with Dale and Delores and Rose. He had me write a letter to them at his dictation telling them how sorry he was about all that had happened and telling them how he had learned through suffering that a drink of water or a piece of bread was worth more that all the property which had been the cause of our trouble. I sent the letter and they called, wanting to come and talk to Dick, but he was too sick. I told them if he got a little better I would let them know, but he didn’t get better. In fact, he was partly in a coma at that time. He had to have dialysis treatments and they were very hard on him. Besides his kidney problem he developed pneumonia and suffered through Christmas. He died on December 29th in the evening.
I felt like my world had been swept out from under me. We had been so close and lived for each other all the 16 ½ years we had been married. If I could have gone with him at that time I would have gone gladly, but people don’t seem to die too often of broken hearts. I hadn’t been nearly so upset as Dick at Rose and the Tanners, but after he died, the feelings sort of transferred themselves to me. I felt that the trouble had been a great part of the cause of Dick’s health problems, and I found it hard to forgive and forget.
Although I didn’t see how I could go on without Dick, I went to fast meeting on the Sunday following the Friday when he was buried and bore my testimony. I felt that the Lord and the Church were my best helps. My family were very considerate and helpful, but they all had their own lives and work, and I knew it. I didn’t want to be anymore of a burden to them than I could help. I tried to keep on my church assignments. I also went back to the temple when Catherine’s boy Jimmie went, before going on his mission to Florida. This was very hard for me to do, as Dick and I had spent so much time together in the temple, both before and after our marriage, and it just didn’t seem right to be there without him.
I don’t know how I made it through those first years without Dick. I know I felt like just half a person. Nothing seemed to really matter. I had to keep on the go, because I couldn’t stand to stay home alone. I continued to go to the Black Hawk encampment, as I felt that Dick would want me to. I also substituted at the temple and did sessions as often as I could. I went on a trip or two with the Sudweeks and Phyllis.
In February of 1978, I went on a trip to the temples that were down South with Wilbur Webb and the fun time tours. Veloy Bailey was my partner. We had a nice trip and enjoyed it a lot. We also went to Disneyland, San Francisco and some of the places I had been to with Dick.
Soon after I came home from this trip, I had my left eye operated on for cataract. I had continued to have trouble with my eyes and my ears. After the operation I had a small hemorrhage in my eye, and the operation wasn’t as successful as I had hoped, but I could see pretty well eventually, although my eye is still weak and runs a lot. I think probably this is partly due to the stroke I had in 1969, which affected the left side of my face.
In July of 1978, I went on a tour back east with Wilbur Webb and his group. This was something Dick and I had wanted to do and I felt that he would want me to go. We went to all the places of church interest, also some of the historical national places. I enjoyed this trip a lot, wrote several poems and entertained the folks on the bus. We were gone for 17 days. Each day was a completely new adventure and I learned many interesting things about Church and National history.
I started helping in the special interest program in 1976 and continued to be active in this. I also went to Education week at the “Y” each summer.
I had been quite close to Della Dallin after Dick’s death, but she got sick and died in 1978. This was quite a blow to me, as we had been real close. I really missed her and still do.
I let Catherine and Jim take the truck and sleeper after Dick died, and they started taking their family on little camping trips and taking me with them. I enjoyed this very much. Catherine has also been faithful in writing to me almost every week, trying to keep my spirits up. This has helped a lot.
I kept on going to our Home Evenings, even though I was alone. In fact, they made me leader of the group, and I called each week and got them together. I also planned the summer parties and told everyone what to bring.
Jim’s girl Sheryl and Catherine’s boy Jimmie got married in 1979, and I made a quilt for each of them.
In April of 1980 I had my right eye operated on. It was more successful than the other one, but took a long time to get so I could see very well.
JoAnne had some problems in 1980 which were very hard for me to battle through. Bill also had a problem and I was really concerned about him. When our ward was divided in September Bishop Frank Memory called me to be Relief Society President. I couldn’t believe it, but he said he knew I was the one the Lord wanted. When I got to thinking about it, I felt that the Lord had been testing me with the family troubles I had had. I chose Marion Tippetts and Lillian O’Hara and Helen Hoffman to help me and we got the work organized and enjoyed it a lot.
In December of 1980 I went down in the basement to get a Christmas decoration and fell down onto a little table on my chest. I really hurt myself; in fact I felt that I might be injured fatally, but I made myself go and work at the temple that afternoon as I had promised to substitute and couldn’t find anyone to take my place. When my injured ribs started to heal, I could tell that something else was wrong. Jim and Carma took me to Dr Nightingale and he said I had congestive Heart failure; that it had been coming on for a long time, and had just been triggered off by the injury. He said it was a result of the rheumatic fever I had had as a teenager. He really frightened me and I started having nervous spells, which were terrible. I felt like the inner part of me, which was supposed to be my strength, was turning to jelly. I felt that I couldn’t stand these spells.
During this time I tried to keep on with my Relief society work, which was hard while I was miserable. The bishop could see that I was having a hard time, so he released me in September. I felt good about the release, because I hadn’t had to ask for it. I had so many choice experiences during the year that I was in, and felt very grateful to have had that opportunity. I felt so close to all the sisters in the ward, and to the bishop and the other executive officers. It was a wonderful experience. They were planning a ward fair at this time and needed someone who could work hard at it, both physically and in a directing capacity. I was grateful to be released, but I really missed they work with the sisters.
In June of 1980, just a day before Rick Ferguson was scheduled to be married, Cec Ferguson, Carol’s husband, was stricken with a massive heart attack and died. This was very hard on Carol, as they had to go through with the wedding. In August Gary Ferguson was married and Carol and Sherry found themselves alone. Sherry decided to the “Y”, instead of Ricks as she had been planning.
I made quilts for Rick and Gary for their wedding presents.
In December of 1981, I went to the LDS Hospital and had an operation for hemorrhoids.
My health was not too good through 1982, so I didn’t get to go on any trips-except for camping trips with Catherine and a little trip with Pearl Strong Stevens, an old school friend, who had hunted me up after our school reunion in 1979.
Danny and Bart Duncan and Sheri Davies were all married in 1981. I wasn’t well enough to make quilts for the boys, but managed to make one later for Sheri Davies.
We held a family reunion in 1982, and had 71 out of a possible 83 there. I thought this was wonderful. We had a real good time. Bill and Gerry were in charge of it.
When David Walker went on a mission in June of 1982, Catherine went to work to help support him. She also enrolled in some classes.
Eugene sold his business in Grand Junction, and they are trying to get moved to Vernal, but haven’t succeeded yet.
In February 1983 I went to a new doctor who advised me to have a gall baler operation. I had this in March and I am trying to recuperate from it at the present time.
We had lost three, besides Dick, from our family home evening group. Virgie Hunt died and Brother Hunt married Mahala, who is a real special person. Brother Bent Peterson died and Dolores Christiansen died in February 1982. Some of our members have had bad health problems and we haven’t met much lately. When we were having such a hard time getting our old group together, I started meeting with the group of special interest sisters in our ward. They are a choice bunch and I have enjoyed being with them. In April of 1983 we lost Sister Margaret Snelson, a choice person. We recently added three new members to the group from other wards. We now have eleven of us.
This spring has been a very stormy one, and we are all concerned about possible floods. It is now past the middle of May and we are still having snow and rain. The lake and streams are all so high that anything could happen. We also had a great earth slide at Thistle, which had done away with the road and railroad through Spanish Fork Canyon-at least temporarily. Sallie and Eugene have to come up through Salina or Vernal and this makes it a much longer trip. They were here last week for Merilee’s missionary farewell, while they were here. Jan Davies had her third baby- a little boy, and Sallie helped them out for a few days. When Sallie left to go home, she said she didn’t know when she would be coming back, as it is such a long trip now.
My children all still have jobs, for which I am very grateful. They keep busy, and I see them quite often, although I still spend many hours alone. I try to keep busy with worthwhile things, but I often wonder what I accomplish. I have some projects that I want to do, but I am easily discouraged from trying anything that looks different or difficult. I have to work at keeping my spirits up, especially in this rainy weather.
So far I have had seven grandchildren go on missions. Rick Ferguson went to Arizona in 1974. Gary Ferguson went to Australia in 1976, Bart went to Austria in 1977, Jimmie Walker went to Florida in 1976, Sheri Davies went to Hong Kong in 1980, David Walker went to Pennsylvania in 1982 and Merilee Davies is in the mission home no, getting ready to go to South Carolina. (She has had two others since this was written, Richard Walker Los Angeles California Spanish speaking, and now Julie Davies has been called to the Hamburg German mission.
History written for her ward Newsletter 1988 Springville Utah:
Josephine was born to William Middleton and Catherine Pennington Mower, 27 October 1910, at their home in Lindon, Utah. Her only sister was born prematurely and lived just 2 day. Her only brother Francis died of heart trouble at age 11.
The Mowers moved from their Lindon farm to Tooele where Will sold Raleigh products for a living. His folks had a farm in Springville and when Josephine’s grandmother died they moved here to take care of her grandfather. Their home was on North Main where Cragun’s home now stands and then in the home next to it at 717 North Main. In 1919 Josephine’s parents bought a 36 acre farm in Highland, Utah and raised peaches, apples, hay, grain, chickens, cows and pigs so there was plenty of work to do. There was no running water so they really pioneered. They drank water from the ditch until her father drilled the only well in the area.
Will had a Model T Ford car but didn’t believe in pampering kids, so Josephine walked 2 ½ miles to school every day.
They moved back to Springville where she went to the Washington, Jr. High, and High schools; In Highland she got a double promotion…went through 3rd and 4th grades in one year, then into the 5th. However she had rheumatic fever after the 7th grade, spent several months in bed and missed a year of school so she found herself back with the age group she’s started with. She could not longer walk to school or participate in gym classes or sports, but with a farm and chickens she had plenty to do. She helped her mother churn, make and sell butter. She cleaned dressed and sold fryers, weeded onions, thinned beets, tromped hay and rode the horse on the hay fork. Another duty was taking the cows to pasture below (rock canyon on what is now Highway 91) and getting them home.
Little Spring Creek ran down through the lot by their pasture and she was baptized in it on her 8th birthday and remembers it was mighty cold. She was happy when they named our Stake after Spring Creek.
When she was eleven the teacher had the students each write a poem, he chose Josephine’s to put in the school fair…this was a start to her poetry writing. She has written many, fine poems for herself, family and friends for all occasions. She entered one in the old Era Contest and won 1st prize and in the Relief Society magazine and received honorable mention. She wrote a beautiful poem about the Manti temple called “The Temple on the Hill” and one for the Provo Temple called “The Candle of the Lord”. She later wrote music for them and had them published.
The stake poetry books feature her work as did issues of the Juvenile Instructor. She has written many as tributes for weddings, funerals and programs. Two of her poems are in today’s Ward paper…and in keeping with the modern trend…she did them on her own computer.
She took lesson, first on the old pump organ then the piano and learned to play all the hymns. She pays for her own enjoyment and her family’s. She has played for Sunday school, Relief society, and DUP and made tapes for accompaniment to be used when there was no piano. She sang with the Ward choir and Relief society singing mothers.
Josephine married Tom Duncan in 1929. They lived together 24 years then divorced. They had 7 children: Bill, Sally, Catherine, Jim, Kerry, & JoAnne & a baby girl, Jean, who had to be in an incubator and only lived 2 days.
Josephine enjoys her family and is always concerned for their well being and interested in their special events and achievement. She now has 34 grandchildren and 40 great grandchildren and loves each and every one.
She married Dick Conover in 1959 in the Manti temple. Dick had played the mandolin for years-playing at one time on the KOVO Radio Station with a group called “The Happy Chappies”. In 1968 he joined Merrill Christiansen who played guitar. They sang and played in different areas of Utah for funerals, weddings, and program’s and in Nursing Homes. They took their wives with them.
Dick and Josephine lived at 74 E. 200 North in Springville. He had one daughter, Carol and she and Josephine have a good relationship. The Conover’s served a Stake mission for 3 years. They were then called as temple ordinance workers in the Manti temple in 1969. They served over 2 yrs, and lived in Manti at that time. They were transferred to help with the opening of the new Provo temple in 1972. After 2 yrs. Dick had to quit because of poor health. Josephine continued several years as a substitute as long as her health permitted. She does attend regularly for 3 weekly sessions-one with Carol and 2 with sisters in our ward. Dick passed away 29 Dec. 1975 which left a void in Josephine’s life, but she keeps very busy and is active in the LDS church, always going the extra mile to serve.
She has a strong testimony of the gospel, has served as Sunday school and Relief society accompanist, Relief Society President, counselor, visiting teacher, Secretary and Spiritual living teacher and as a Single Adult Leader. She wrote for the Single’s newspaper. She enjoys FHE ever Monday with a group of sisters; they also attend Pres
A History and Tribute to my Father William M Mower by his daughter Josephine Mower Duncan Conover
Contributor: Denverbarb Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
My Father, William M. Mower, was born in Springville, Utah, January 14, 1886. He was the youngest child in a family of four children, having one older brother and two older sisters. When he was two years old his brother died of the dread disease diphtheria, leaving him the only boy in the family.
He went to school in Springville and graduated from the 8th grade at Washington School in 1903.
At the age of 19 he married my mother, Catherine Pennington, in the Salt Lake Temple. His sister Ella was married on the same day to Edmund Cragun.
After their marriage, my folks lived with his parents for a while and then built a little house just north of his parent’s home and moved into it.
In about 1908 my father bought a fruit farm on Provo bench and they moved over there.
May parents were childless for five years before I was born, so I was very welcome in the family. When I was about two years old, we moved to Tooele, where my father took, over a Raleigh route. He enjoyed this business and did well in it, and made many good and wonderful friends.
In 1913 my folks had a daughter who was born prematurely and only lived for two hours, then in 1917, my only brother, Francis was born.
Soon after my brother’s birth my Grandmother Mower died in Springville and we moved back here to take care of my Grandfather Mower. In 1919 Papa bought a farm over in Highland, four miles North of American Fork and we lived over there for a year and a half. While we lived over there Papa worked in the M.I.A. Through his efforts they organized dances for the ward members and raised enough money to buy some new song books, as set of church works and anew sacrament set for the ward. It was a small and poor ward, and up until then they had been drinking the sacrament water from a large cup. Soon Papa was put into the bishopric, but we only stayed in Highland for a short time after that; so he did not act in this capacity for very long.
I remember during the winter of 1919, the flu epidemic came back to Highland, and Papa traveled around among the sick people aiding them in every way that he could. Mama made soup; which Papa delivered to the people around Highland. He did this in a bob sleigh; as that was the only form of transportation that they had in those days. He had recovered from a bout with the flue in 1918 and felt that he wouldn’t be likely to catch it again. Many of the people in Highland remembered and spoke of his kindness to them.
My brother Francis was never healthy, but he lived to be eleven years old before he died of heart trouble.
Mama took my brother’s death very hard and had a bad time getting over it. It was a great disappointment to Papa, too; as he had set great store by his only boy, but he seemed to adjust much better than my mother did. Soon after that I married and when my children came alone, Mama and Papa took them into their hearts and really loved them.
During all the years when my children were growing up my parents helped greatly in taking care of them. My marriage was never too happy, and seemed to grow worse with the years. My folks were always there to help when we needed help and played a big part in raising the children. I am sure we were a great burden at times, but they were always kind and understanding. I was truly blessed to have such wonderful parents.
In 1952 my mother got sick and died. This was a great blow to my father; as they had always been devoted to each other. It was also a great blow to me, as we had been so close, and I had really depended on her, but at this time, I came to appreciate my father more than I ever had before. My husband left us in 1953, with no means of support. I had tow part time jobs, and along with help from Papa gave me. I was able to get alone. I went over to his place in the daytime and got the meals for all of us, and then we came back to our home next door to sleep.
Papa was very lonesome and depressed at this time, but in 1954 he met and married my stepmother, Rose Versluis. Even after this, he continued to help me and the children, fixing up our home so that we could live in it, and continuing to help us financially. Rose was very good to us also, and we managed quite well with the help they gave us.
I truly appreciate all my fathers’ good qualities. He has always been honest and industrious. In fact, he was of the old schools, who believe work is the main purpose for living. It was always hard for us to get him to do things to enjoy life. After Dick and I were married, we went on several trips with Papa and Rose, but it was always hard to get him to make up his mind to go. When he did go he really enjoyed everything and would talk about it to ever body for months afterwards.
He loved to go to the temple, and he and Mama used to make many trips to the Salt Lake Temple, and later he and Rose went often to the Manti Temple.
He was the High Priest group leader in the Springville 3rd ward for many years, and at one time he and Mama were on the old folk’s committee.
Until recent years Papa always enjoyed dancing, and he and Mama went to many dances. When he and Rose got married, he taught her to dance, and they danced quite often, until his health began to fail. He always thought that pleasures should be enjoyed sparingly, though, and only when all the work was done. He had a favorite expression about his family and friends, which he used when he thought they were neglecting their work to go places and enjoy life. He said that they were “chasing bubbles.”
He was a great hand to like to go to funerals, especially as he got older and one by one his friends and kinfolk passed away. He liked to go and mingle with the old friends and relatives, who had left town and, who never came back except to such gatherings. Rose has always said that in the first years after she and Papa were married, she went to more funerals in Springville than she had been to in all of the rest of her life put together.
He always loved to have animals to care for, and was never really happy when he got so that he could no longer keep a cow and some chickens and pigs.
For years he raised chickens and sold their eggs to people in Provo. He had his regular customers and would make trips to Provo three times a week. He also raised vegetables and sold them, as well as the eggs. It was a hard life, and he and my mother worked hard, preparing and marketing all these things, and after Mama died, Rose worked just as hard helping him.
Papa was always trying to help people who were down and out. Many times he helped those who the rest of us felt he shouldn’t help, but he seemed to have a compulsion to help those whom other people didn’t think were worth bothering with. As a consequence of these things, he often lost money, but I am sure that many poor people have been blessed by his generous help.
He and my mother took care of Grandpa Mower for many years, and when Mama’s Mother, Grandma Pennington, got so she couldn’t take care of herself, they brought her to their home and cared for her for about five years, until Mama got sick and couldn’t do it any longer.
For many years he had good health, but during the last few years his health has failed rapidly. He had a hard time accepting this, but he fought hard to continue to do the things he had always done. He had several bad spells when we thought he would never pull through, but he always came out of it fighting.
For the last few months he has been almost completely helpless, and it really almost broke all our hearts to see him so, after he had lived such an active life. Through all his illness, Rose has done a wonderful job of taking care of him. For months, she lifted him each day from his bed and back into his bed and ministered to him tenderly in every way. She has certainly done the very best she could to care for him at all times.
Papa’s grandchildren have always loved and respected him, and he has always been Papa to them. Quite a few of the great-grandchildren also call him that.
A few years ago Rose’s daughter went to the temple and was sealed to her and to Papa, and this gave him great happiness. Delores and her family have been tenderly devoted to him through his illness, for which we are all grateful.
In bringing this history to a close, I think it would be appropriate to share with all you friends and relatives a selection which Papa memorized in his youth, and which he always enjoyed giving when we met together as a family. A year or so ago a granddaughter, Jo Anne Reed made a picture to represent this poem and presented it to her grandfather and Rose, which they appreciated very much. It is called, “The Dog under the Wagon.”
This short history was written at the time of Papa’s death. At that time he was survived by his wife, Rose Vers Luis Mower, step-daughter, six grandchildren. Four step-grand-children and 27 great grand-children.
Written by his daughter, Josephine, she said: We all feel that the Lord has been merciful to him in relieving him from his sufferings, but we will miss him in the days to come. He truly lived to be one of the last of his generation. I pray that we his loved ones, and descendants may emulate his good qualities and strive to live the gospel in such a way that we may all be with him in the life to come. I am sure that this is the prayer of all his loved ones.
“The Dog under the Wagon”
“Come, wife,” said good old Farmer Grey,
“Put on your things! Tis market day:
And we’ll be off to the nearest town,
There and back, ere the sun goes down”
“Spot? No, we’ll leave old spot behind.”
But spot he barked and Spot he whined,
And soon made up his doggish mind
To follow under the wagon.
Off they drove at a good round pace,
When joy came into the farmer’s face.
“Poor Spot, He did so want to come.
But I’m glad that he stayed at home.
He’ll guard the barn and guard the cot,
And keep the cattle out of the lot.”
“I’m not so sure of that,” thought Spot,
The dog under the wagon.
The farmer all his produce sold,
And got his pay in yellow gold.
Home through the lonely forest, Hark!
A robber springs from behind a tree.
“Your money or your life!” cried he.
The moon was up, but he didn’t see
The dog under the wagon.
Spot ne’er barked, and Spot ne’er whined
But quickly caught that thief behind
Dragged him down in the mire and dirt,
And tore his coat and tore his shirt;
Held him fast on the miry ground,
While his hands and feet the farmer bound
And tumbled him into the wagon.
So Spot he saved the farmer’s life,
The farmer’s money and the farmer’s wife.
And now, a hero, grand and gay,
A silver collar he wears today
And everywhere his master goes,
He follows on his ***** toes,
The dog under the wagon.
Another of his poems that he memorized is the one about Will. I remember him telling this poem to all of us at our gatherings. I have saved a copy of that poem also.
Jest A-fore Christmas
Father calls me William: Sister calls me Will;
Mother calls me Willie, but the fellers call me Bill.
Mighty glad I ain’t a girl; I’d rather be a boy,
Without them sashes, curls and things that’s worn by Fauntleroy.
I love to chaunk green apples and go swimmin in the lake,
But I hate to take the castor oil they giver fer belly ache.
Most all the time, the whole year round, They ain’t no flies on me,
But jest afore Christmas, I’m as good as I can be.
My Grandma says she hopes that when I get to be a man,
I’ll be a missionary like her oldest brother Dan.
What got et up by cannibals that live on Ceylon’s Isle,
Where every prospect pleases and only man is vile.
But Grandma, she ain’t never been to see a wild west show.
Or read the life of Daniel Boone, or else I guess she’s know
That Buffalo bill and cowboys is good enough fer me.
“Cept jest afore Christmas, when I’m good as I can be.
Then old sport, he jest hangs around so solemn like and still,
The old cat sneaks down off her perch, and wonders what’s become
Of them two enemies of hers, that used to make things hum.
But I am so perlite, and tend so earnestly to biz,
That mother says to father, “How improved our Willie is.”
But Father, havin’ been a boy himself suspicions me,
When jest afore Christmas I’m as good as I kin be.
Fer Christmas with its lots and lots of candies, cakes and toys,
Was made, they say, for proper kids, and not fer naughty boys.
So wash yer face and comb yer hair, and mind yer P’s and Q’s
And don’t bust our yer pantaloons and don’t wear out yer shoes.
Say yassum to the ladies, and yessir to the men,
And when they’s company don’t pass yer plate fer pie again.
But keep a thinkin of the things you’ll see upon that tree,
And jest afore Christmas be as good as you can be.