AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF RUTH ELIZABETH GREENHALGH CRAM
Contributor: TessKreationz Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
In the little manufacturing town of Cahose, Albany County, N.Y., within sight of the Mohawk River, I was born on the nineteenth day of June, 1866.
My father, Thomas Greenhalgh, was born January 15, 1821, in Lancashire, England. My mother, Mary Moorcroft Greenhalgh, was born February 27, 1927, in Lancashire, England.
My parents were converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during their early life in England. My father was a missionary and branch president in England for a number of years before he brought his family to America.
My parents, brothers, and sisters crossed the ocean in the Steamship Bellwood and landed in the New York Harbor in 1865 the day peace was proclaimed between the North and South. They stayed a number of weeks in New York City and then moved to Cahose where they lived a year.
We started our journey across the plains July 24, 1866, in Joseph S. Rawlin’s company when I was abut six weeks old. During the early part of our journey I was christened Ruth Elizabeth by Horace S. Eldridge, a returned missionary from England, for his mother.
There were ten persons in our wagon – father, mother, myself, brothers and sisters, and the driver of our ox team, Cicen Chase.
About a month and a half after leaving Cahose, a group of Indians rode into our camp. They traded back and forth with the pioneers in our company. I was about two months old at the time and I suppose the only young baby in the company, for when the Indians saw me they wanted to trade a pony for the little white baby. When they left our camp they circled it yelling, whooping, and waving their arms. They made three complete circles in this manner and then rode away in a cloud of dust. This was the only encounter we had with the Indians in our journey across the plains. Our hot and dusty journey ended on the Fourth of October, 1866, when we drove into the peaceful Salt Lake Valley.
During the next year my father supervised the installing of the first power looms in Salt Lake, and when I was fifteen months old he was called to Dixie to set up the power looms and warping machine in the Washington factory, where my sister Mary Ann wove the first yard of cloth.
During the first few years of our stay in Washington, the Indians were rather troublesome when the men folks were away from home. One day my mother happened to glance out the window of our cabin and saw a number of Indian braves approaching the house. She quickly locked the doors and told us all to keep quiet. We heard stealthy foot steps circling the house and then a deafening pounding at the front door. Our hearts seemed to jump into our throats. Finally mother put me out the back door and told me to run for father who was down at the factory. I circled the fields, glancing behind me every now and then, for it seemed that the Indians surely must have seen me leave the house. It seemed hours before I finally reached the factory, and my heart was pounding so I could hardly speak, but I managed to gasp, “Indians.” Before I had finished speaking, father was running toward the house. When we reached home the Indians had gone, leaving nothing damaged except the battered door.
Another time when we were all working in the garden my sister Maggie went into the house to prepare dinner, and there was an old Indian helping himself to our flour. He was just getting ready to leave when my sister grabbed a bayonet which father had fastened to the end of a broom handle, and stuck it into his leg. The Indian gave a grunt, dropped the sack of flour, and ran out through the door with the bayonet dragging behind him. A few days later when my sister and I were home alone, four young Indian braves quietly came to the door. They glanced quickly around and then started to chase Maggie around and around the room. I ran to the door screaming for help, and my oldest brother, Abe, was just driving up with our mule team. By this time the Indians had come into the yard, and he ran toward them yelling and swinging his big black whip across their backs. This treatment soon discouraged those Indians, and they left faster than they had come. We supposed that these young braves were the sons of the old Indian who had tried to steal our flour. This was the last time the Indians were ever hostile toward us.
The year I was five a regiment of United States Army wintered in Washington. I don’t remember just why the stayed there, but I suppose it was because of the hostile Indians. Some of the soldiers used to come to our cabin in the evening to talk with father, and one of them gave me a fifty-cent greenback which was quite common at that time.
I started to school in Washington when I was about six years old. My first teacher was Mrs. Everett, and during my second year Mrs. Haywood taught me. One day my brother Will went to sleep in school, and the teacher told him he’d better bring a pillow after this. The next day Will took a pillow to school, prepared to have a good sleep. The teacher seemed to think differently, for she took the pillow and sat on it the rest of the day.
My next teacher was John C. Pace who taught there for a number of years. During these years I was promoted from the first to the third reader.
The summer I was eleven I ran the quilter in the factory for $2.50 a week. Maggie sold me a pair of earrings for two weeks wages. She wouldn’t pierce my ears for me, so I stood before the mirror and did it myself. (I remember Great Grandma Cram always wore her gold hoop earrings. Karren)
During my last year of school in Washington I was chosen Queen of May. Mrs. Tompson was my teacher.
The spring just before I was thirteen I came to Kanab to stay with my sister Mary Ann. We stayed in Kanab a few weeks and then moved to Johnson where I went to school that winter. I spent my next few years of school in Kanab.
The fall I was sixteen I moved to Provo to live with my sister, Maggie Billings. I went to Brigham Young Academy at Provo the year I was seventeen. Karl G. Maeser was principal.
One Sunday evening a group of my school friends and I were having an Oyster supper at sister Maggie’s home. It was almost ten o’clock when we heard the church bell ringing. We couldn’t imagine what was happening so late at night, so we all rushed down into town where we found our Academy Building going up in flames. We hadn’t been there long when the whole roof fell in with a resounding crash. No one ever knew what started the fire, but the building was completely burned.
The next week classes were held in the basement of the church and in the bank building which was just across the street. After a few weeks the class which was being held in the church was moved to S.S. Jones’s store which had just been completed.
In the year of 1884 I moved to Manti with Sister Maggie where I spent my last year of school at the Sanpete County High School. I helped Wallace Billings teach school the next year.
In 1886 I moved back to Kanab to keep house for brothers Tim, Will, and George. I lived with them three years during which time I was First Counselor of the Young Ladies Mutual Association, teacher in the Sunday School, and a member of the Ward Choir.
In the winter of 1888 on January 17, I was married to Charles Sanborn Cram, Jr. We drove through three feet of snow in Ted Riggs’ cutter to the Tithing Office in Kanab where the ceremony was performed. I kept house for my brothers during the first five years of our marriage.
Our first child, Ruth, was born on the third day of October in 1888. We lived at the Castle Creek farm during the years of 1889 to 1893. During the first summer, Rachel and Brig Riggs lived with us.
One summer day we took our lunch down to the field where the men were working. After lunch was over we lay resting in the hay – Charles was up on the barn shingling the roof – when all of a sudden there came a flash of lightening and a clap of thunder which set a big tree on fire near the barn. Charles certainly came down from that roof in a hurry.
The second summer we lived there I cooked for a large group of sheep shearers, when we moved back to Kanab where our second girl, Leona, was born, July 7, 1893. When she was a year old we moved to Crocodile for one summer and fall, then we moved to Findlay’s ranch where we lived during the year of 1895. In the early winter we moved back to Kanab where our first boy, Charles, was born January 10, 1896.
When Charles was five weeks old we moved into our new home which had just been completed.
Eliza, our third girl, was born July 21, 1898. Our second boy, Marion, was born April 5, 1901, and died March 8, 1902, with pneumonia.
Charles left in April, 1902, to freight from Tonopah, Nevada, and didn’t get home the next winter until the day after Christmas.
Reed G., our third boy, was born September 20, 1903.
Our daughter, Ruth, married Isaac Chamberlain September 5, 1906.
Eliza took sick with Diphtheria in December, 1907, and died on the 18th day of that month.
Mable was born eight months later on the 24th of July, 1908.
The year she was a year old we saw our first automobile. Two cars passed through Kanab on their way to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. When they came back we had moved to Sink Valley for the summer. Word was sent ahead by telephone for us to be on the look-out for them. We watched and watched, and finally along toward noon we saw them in the distance come puffing along in the sand. “They look uncanny to me,” I said, “slinking along without any horses.” When they arrived at Sink Valley, the men ate lunch there and then went on. It took them twelve days to make the round trip beginning at Salt Lake City.
Clinton Prescott was born April 15, 1911. When he was two and a half years old, Leona married Edward C. Heaton, October 8, 1913.
In 1915 I was put in the primary as a teacher and later as secretary where I worked for fifteen years.
We lived at the sheep herd during the summer of 1921 near Alton, Utah.
In August, 1928, Charlie, my husband, was working on the road when he had a sun stroke. He never did get completely well again before he died the 24th of January, 1930.
Mable married Rollan Masterson on the second day of July, 1930.
During the recent years I have spent part of two winters in St. George doing temple work. I have gone through for 132 names.
I now have six children living, 31 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren.
(The pipes for the Tabernacle Organ were brought to Salt Lake City in my father’s wagon.)
(Ruth Elizabeth Greenhalgh Cram took sick (had a stroke) January 8, 1947 and died February 2, 1947.)