Life of Rose Ellen Wickham Madsen
Contributor: BarbaraLeishman Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
Born Sept. 10, 1869, in the 4th Ward of Brigham city, Box Elder Co., Utah. The second child of Richard and Ellen Wickham who were converts to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints coming to the United States from England and crossing the plains in Thomas Ricks Co. in 1863. They made their home in Brigham city being married there Dec. 10, 1863. My father made molasses for Lorenzo Snow and worked at other odd jobs to support his family.
He was not satisfied with just working about here and there, his desires being to get a place of his own. So in may 1873, we moved with another family by the name of Stephen Callan to a place called Five Mile Creek, North of Weston Idaho in Cache Valley. Our belongings consisted of a team and wagon, a cow, a few head of sheep and a plow. There was a family living there that kept a little store. Father and Bro. Callans built two one room houses for their families, and then went to work clearing a few acres of land from sage brush which was big and thick and all one could see for miles around. After clearing and plowing 4 acres we planted a little wheat but the grass hoppers and crickets were so thick they soon ate it up. I remember how father would dig holes around the patch of grain and have us children try and scare the hoppers and crickets in them, then he would cover them over, but no matter how hard we worked or what we did we could not save our wheat field. Father had to leave us and find work so we could live through another winter and try our luck again. While father was gone mother would spin yarn on her spinning wheel for our stockings and she taught me how to twist yarn. Father worked for a man by the name of Ezra Barnard at Calls Fort and another man and made enough so we were able to clear more land and plant more grain but the next spring our fields were bothered with horses at night running about and father and Brother Callans had to take turns at night bearding until they were able to build a fence of cedar posts and willows that they hauled from the canyon.
The next year some more people came and settled near by and we would visit one another, and on Sundays would hold meetings in each others homes.
My brother Alfred was born August 18, 1873 he was the first child born in the new settlement and they had quite a time in finding him a name, They wanted to call him "Ranch Hero", Rancho.
In 1875 we moved a mile south of the creek where father and Bro Callans each took up a quarter section of land. They each built a two room house and then went to work again clearing land. Father would plow while we children would pile sage brush. Our work was hard and it was discouraging as our crops were continually bothered by hoppers and crickets.
Thea same year the settlers moved a log school house from Weston, and a branch was organized with Bro. Callans as president and father as superintendent of Sunday School and leader of the singing. What good times we had in those days. Mother worked very hard, even setting up nights sewing our clothes by hand. We would have a calico dress for Sundays with ruffles on, and a plain belt waist dress of brown denim for week days.
My sister Mary Maretta was born Jan. 22, 1877, and what a sweet little girl she was, with rosie cheeks, blue eyes, and curly hair. How glad we were to have another sister. Two and a half years passed and father spent considerable time away working to keep us in food and clothing. Then my sister Eunice Jane was born Sept. 25,1879, it being the year my Uncle Walter Wickham and family moved to the settlement and were our nearest neighbors. As their son Lesley and myself were the eldest children in the families, they often sent us to the store (4 miles South) to Weston. We walked there and back with butter and eggs and brought back groceries. One summer morning we started out with a basket of butter, it was cool but before Lesley and I reached Weston it became hot and melted the butter. I remember walking into the store crying and how Bro. Clark the store keeper patted me on the shoulder and said "never mind, never you mind, it will be alright," and he took the butter and gave me the groceries.
The 1st of June the next year uncle Walter moved to Franklin and father went with them to work on a grist mill. While there mother did the chores and looked after we children. One morning while letting the corral bars down one of the poles hit her on the top of the head hurting her badly. Two weeks later she became very sick and all we did or could do, did not seem to help, she commenced talking out of her mind and after some time had to be taken away to Boise, Idaho to a hospital. Father and we children felt very lonely after our dear mother was taken away, but the neighbors were very kind and did all they could to comfort us. I was only eleven years old and my sister Alice nine. Father was very kind to us and helped with the house work as well as tending the farm. That fall we harvested a good crop of seven hundred bushels of wheat and father bought us a sewing machine, my sister Alice took up sewing while I did the house work. As time went on we enjoyed our selves, father would take us girls to the dances in the log school house. We started our dances about as soon as it became dark and would dance until we were tired out. What good times we did have no one was above the other in our settlement. I remember that our Sunday dress did us for dances as well, and that it did us all winter.
As new settlers moved into our village it became necessary to organize a ward. William B Preston was Stake President and when we knew he was making our branch a visit father and Bro. Callans would white wash the school house and we girls would clean and scrub. We enjoyed the Stake visitors. It always happened that President Preston arrived in our settlement some time during the day and never after dark. the people were divided as what to call the place. Some called it Five Mile Creek, other Chadville, after the first settlers, but President Preston settled that by saying, let us call it Dayton seeing that we arrive here always in the daytime.
After the ward was organized there was plenty to do for all. The Relief Society called on we girls to help in teaching. When I was seventeen I was chosen second counselor in the Young Ladies Mutual which position I held for one year, then father got married and I decided that it would be best for me to work out. I came to Honeyville, Utah, where I was successful in finding plenty of jobs. It was here that I met James C. Madsen and on Nov. 12, 1890 we were married in the Logan Temple. We made our home with his folks, His grandmother was sickly and needed someone to look after her.
On Oct. 26, 1891, my first child was born and I came near to losing my life, had it not been for the prayers of the Elders, the good Relief Society Sisters and dear Sister Burbanks, there was no doubt in my mind that I would have died. Two years and one month after, my second child came and I got along just fine. We were sure happy now that we had a boy and girl. Four months before my third child was born Grandma Madsen was confined to her bed and I took care of her for three months. She died April 10, 1896, and two days later, on the day Grandma was buried my baby was born. We named our baby girl after Grandma, Annie Margaret.
Grandpa Madsen was very lonesome after grandma died and we did all we could to cheer him up. He was very kind and good to my children and he did much to help me in the tending of the children. He would take them on his knees and sing to them for hours, we were a happy family. My fourth child was born March 15, 1898, we all felt fine about Ezella except Leo, he thought she should have been a boy and wanted to know why he couldn't have a brother. I told him that the train didn't carry a boy this time, so he said that he would make a train that would bring a boy next time and what he said did come true. Two years and three months after, our boy Richard was born. My what a happy bunch of children because of a baby brother.
As time passed and I was able to leave the smaller children with the oldr ones, I began to go to Relief Society Meetings and do teaching in the ward.
The winter before my sixth child was born we moved to Honeyville (lived in the house that Wm Orme lives in). So my children would have it close to school and church. On March 10, 1903 my daughter Ivy was born and I got along alright until the twelfth day when I took a back set and was very sick. The Elders we called in and Dr. Rich was sent for (he being the first Dr. I had ever had) and after some time I was made whole.
We moved back home the first part of May and as Frank Dustman's Family had been living in our house and as they were getting ready to move their son Marvin became very sick and a doctor had to be called in. He said that the boy had diphtheria and that he could not be moved. So we were locked up the fifteen of us but were spared from the hand of death.
Nov. 4, 1905, Thora was born and a cute little girl she was, I have often said that Thora was the one that helped me to keep the word of wisdom. At that time I was a tea user and when she saw me with a cup she would ask "where's mine", so rather than see here grow up like me I decided to stop and from then on I've tried to do with out tea or coffee. When she was a year and a half old, I became very sick. I had a bad cough and a pain in my side and had to be taken to the hospital in Brigham City, were I remained for ten days, after coming home I was poorly all summer and the doctor told me that If I ever had another child it would no doubt be the death of me. My improvement was slow and being delicate, I decide to go to the Temple and be baptized for my health. On Sept. 5 1908, my son Ervin was born and this was my easiest confinement which gave me more faith in Temple work, since then I have done some Temple work.
On Nov. 1, 1910 Grandpa Madsen took sick and died on the 3rd at the age of ninety years. I had been married twenty years, one year later my oldest son left for a mission to the British Iles and was gone two years, after he returned we built a new home. I am now the mother of eight living children, two are married also one grandchild.
Written by Rose Ellen Madsen
The Story of her life was told to her daughter Ezella shortly after her first grandson Ronald was born in 1917. Dates supplied and rearranged for writing in 1942 by her son James Leo Madsen. (C.M.J.)