A Brief Sketch of My Mother’s Life by Thomas Albert Meldrum
Contributor: finnsh Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
Jane Duke was born in Provo, Utah 23 August 1862. She married Thomas Alexander Meldrum 16 February 1887 in the Logan L.D.S. Temple. She died 9 December 1941. She was a house wife and an active church worker. She had a very limited formal education because she was only in the 5th grade when her father died and she, with her other older brothers and sisters had to quit school and get jobs to help support the family. She and some of her older brothers and sisters worked in the Provo Woolen Mills. They worked long hours and received very small wages for their work. Mother’s first job at the factory was picking up scraps of cloth around the machines. As she got older she learned how to operate the weaving machines. She worked there until she was married.
Mother and Dad lived in Provo until 1896 when they moved to the farm Dad had acquired. Mother was a neat person and kept her house clean and orderly. She liked flowers and always had a lot of nice flowers either indoors or outside in her flower garden. She also liked to help in the vegetable garden and never allowed a weed to grow in it. When the berries were ready to pick she would always help pick them and leave my older sister, Emma, to do the house work and cook the meals. Mother was not only a good house-keeper, but also a good cook. We raised all our own meat, eggs, vegetables, fruits, milk, etc. and she always had plenty on hand to cook. If any company or visitors were at the house about noon hour they were always invited to stay and have dinner with us. Mother often cooked a delicious chicken dinner on Sunday and would invite a few of our friends to enjoy it with us.
Mother worked in the Relief Society and the Primary organizations. She also attended Sunday School and Sacrament Meetings. When she was working in the Primary she would usually drive down to the meeting house, which was about 3 miles from our house, with the horse and buggy. Sometimes Dad would take us down in the wagon. He would then go on down to Provo to transact some business and be back in time to take us home. When Dad was working in the canyon with the horses or was using them on the farm, mother would put the two youngest kids in the baby buggy and with the rest of us following along, make our way thru the dust or mud, depending on the season of the year, hike 3 miles to the meeting house. Unless she was sick, she never missed a meeting. She always paid her tithing. This was in produce rather than in money as we do today, for at that time money was not very plentiful. She made her own butter and every 10th pound of butter, and every 10th dozen of eggs was put away separately to be sent to the tithing office. This she would do about once a month, when she went to town. Sometimes she would send us kids with it. She also made butter to sell and had plenty of customers who were anxious to get her butter and eggs, because they could depend on them being good and fresh. One of her customers was a dentist who lived in Salt Lake City. He would ride from Salt Lake City to Provo on the train Monday morning and stay in Provo thru the week and leave Saturday evening after office hours for Salt Lake. Before he left Saturday afternoon, mother would always take him 2 or 3 pounds of butter to take home. This helped pay our dental bills.
Mother made all of our clothes, knit our stockings, gloves, sweaters; bought cloth and made our shirts, overalls, and dresses for the girls. She would patch them, and always kept us neat and clean. She never spoke a cross word to us, but sometimes, in a good natured way, would threaten to paddle us, but we knew she wouldn’t. After Dad died in 1912, Mother remained on the farm until she died 9 December 1941 or about 29 years. My brother Reed ran the farm most of this time. My older sister Emma also lived with her part of this time. She liked her home and was glad she could take care of it and herself.