My Life Story - By Lillie Lucile Barnes (January 25, 1955)
Contributor: Robert Mortimer Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
MY LIFE STORY
Written by Lillie L. Barnes (January 25, 1955)
I, Lillie Lucile Barnes, was born August 23, 1910, in a small, two-roomed, red brick house in Blackfoot, Bingham County, Idaho.
My father, Oscar Barnes, son of William Barnes and Rosa Ellen Webb was born December 29, 1872, in Kaysville, Davis County, Utah.
My mother, Mary Ellen Bennett, daughter of James Parker Bennett and Mary Elizabeth Ellison, was born August 21, 1877, in Kaysville, Davis County, Utah.
My parents were both of English descent, and were married December 18, 1895 in Kaysville, Utah at the home of my mother’s father, James Parker Bennett. Later on, December 10, 1902 they went through the Salt Lake temple for their endowments and sealings, having their three small children sealed to them. They reared 12 children to manhood and womanhood; 8 girls and 4 boys. Their names are as follows: Wilford, Jennie Irene, Edith Lyle, Edwin Rufus, Elizabeth Ellen, Frances Vilate, Della Leona, Lillie Lucile, Mable Lula, James Reed, Vera Alice, Merlin William. Ten of these children are living at this writing, Wilford and Edith Lyle having died.
I was the eighth child, and was blessed by Andrew C. Jensen on October 2, 1910 in the Groveland Ward, Blackfoot Stake, Blackfoot, Idaho. As a child I had naturally curly hair and Mother said every time I saw her coming toward me with a comb I started to scream. She said I cried more than any child she had. She also said I was born tired, as I was born on Tuesday morning after she had done a hard day’s wash on Monday. I guess that accounts for my laziness today.
At the age of 8 years I was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, August 31, 1918 at Ucon—Ucon Ward, Idaho Falls Stake, by Bishop A. B. Simmons. I was baptized in a canal that ran in front of Bishop Simmons’ home. There were four of us baptized that day – two boys and two girls. The boys both came out of the water crying; we girls came out grinning and gasping. My Confirmation was September 1, 1918 at Ucon, by Samuel Hill. I have my Birth Certificate, Baptism and Confirmation Certificate in by Book of Remembrance.
Childhood memories take me back to pre-school age. Mother used to send me to Primary at the school house, which was about ¾ of a mile from home. Upon arriving at the school one day, I could not open the door and I was too short to look through the glass in the door to see if anyone was in the room; so I tried jumping up to see what was inside. That didn’t work either; so I blasted forth with a shout for Frances. After several yells of fright, anger, etc. (attracting the attention of every child and teacher in the school) I got some response from a teacher who escorted me into a room and gave me a catalogue and a pair of scissors to keep me busy until Primary time. I also had ringlets, and the boys teased me by calling me “pig tails” – which I didn’t like at all.
My early childhood was spent in Blackfoot and I doubt if I ever did anything good, because all I can remember is bad. Our place was surrounded by large cottonwood trees. When the wind would blow, one would find me in the top of one of those trees – swaying with the breeze – a worried mother standing by to see what would happen next.
Dad built a new barn and we used to play on top of it, if we didn’t get caught. The neighbor’s children would come to play with us and as they climbed up and put their fingers over the edge of the roof, we’d step on their fingers and they would go home crying.
My first and only real whipping I remember getting came as a result of disobedience. Mother never allowed us to jump and play on her bed. But while she was at Relief Society one day, Mable, Reed and I had a gay time on her bed, jumping from the bed to the window, then from the window to the bed. All went well for a while, but finally I bounced too far and went through the window. When Mother came home and wanted to know who broke the window, I told her Mable and Reed did. I don’t know how she found out the truth of the matter, but I got the whipping.
At the age of six years we moved to Ucon. It was there that I started to school when I was seven. We lived 2 ¼ miles from the school; so I rode to school with the mail man. I didn’t have to go until noon as the class was so large that they had to take part of them in the morning and the other half in the afternoon. School was fun and I made many friends. My first four teachers, all at the Ucon School, were: Miss Ashcroft, first grade; Miss Ruby Anderson, second; Miss Reva Yeates, third; and Ray Andrus, fourth.
I was in the fourth grade when we moved from Ucon to Lewisville. I shall never forget my first day at Lewisville. Della, Mable, Reed and I ventured up to the school house. Not knowing where to go or what to do, I guess we did appear rather dumb. Finally, a girl, Grace Birch, was kind enough to show us to our rooms. When I entered the fourth grade room, every child in the room stared at me. I thought I had run into a bunch of star gazers. However, I soon made friends with Altheria Poulsen and Alice Ellsworth who became very good chums of mine and I made many other friends. My days at school were very happy ones. Teachers throughout Elementary school at Lewisville were: Elva Kerr, fourth grade and never without a ruler under her arm except when she was using it on some pupil; Eva Clement, fifth; Dorothy Stallings, sixth; Harold Jenkins, seventh; and Alma Teuscher, eighth. At our graduation from grade school I played a piano solo “In the Blacksmith Shop.” At that time, I had taken a few piano lessons.
Treasures dear to me from grade school other than friends are: A book “Pheobe” won in a spelling contest with the fifth, sixth and seventh grades. I was then in the fifth grade. A certificate for being neither absent nor tardy during my fifth year. A merit of Award “Book of Poems” for good work in the eighth grade; and of course, my Diploma.
The following fall found me registering to enter Midway High School where I made many more friends and had many more good times. In my Sophomore year I was made President of the Home Economics Club. We served the Senior Class banquet and I had charge of the kitchen. As a Junior, I was chairman of the Prom committee. We did a beautiful job of decorating, but we went in the hole and it took us a year to get out. I was President of the Senior Class. At our Senior class banquet I represented the class by proposing a toast. School days are wonderful days.
While attending High School I also attended the L. D. S. Seminary and graduated from that institution in May, 1929. It was while attending school at Midway that I received my Patriarchal Blessing on February 24, 1930, given by Patriarch John Webster of Grant, Idaho. It is a wonderful blessing which is worth working for. I graduated from Midway in May of 1930. This event made me happy and gave me mush to look forward to, yet sad to think of parting with dear friends.
The summer following graduation I rogued peas for Canners Seed Corporation to help get money enough to go to college, as I knew my folks weren’t financially fixed to keep me there. I rogued peas for .25 an hour for 10 hours a day.
On September 21, 1930 I left home very proudly to enter college. Attended the University of Utah. Zoe Hoggan and I went together, her folks took us down to Salt Lake. I worked for my board and room at the home of Grant H. Bagley, 1352 Arlington Drive, and enjoyed my work, school and companionship of friends while attending the University for one year only. It was there that I saw my first football game, on Thanksgiving day at the University Stadium. Very close college friends were: Zoe, Ida Carson from Yachats, Oregon; Mildred Kerksick, Salt Lake City; Roma Tubbs, Salt Lake City; Lillian Jensen, Richfield, Utah; James Lee Brownson and Walter Winkler of Salt Lake City. My favorite instructors were: Dr. Elton Quinn, Chemistry; Miss Wooten, Physical Ed.; Miss Skidmore, dress making; Dr. L. L. Daynes, Bacteriology. I did like Chemistry and Bacteriology.
Further schooling consisted of 2 ½ months at the L. D. S. Business College and a few weeks at Link’s Business College in Idaho Falls.
Following my year at college I was given a job at Canners Seed Corporation at Lewisville; I still have that job. Aside from working at Canners, I have worked at the Boy Scout Office in Idaho Falls for Vernon Strong, and for C. H. Aiman at Lewisville.
Have always tried to be a good Church member by being active and taking advantage of most opportunities given me, and by attending Primary, Sunday School, M. I. A., and Sacrament Meetings. It has been a pleasure to act in the following positions in the Church Organizations: Teacher in the Primary for the Z-B’s and Z-G’s; Secretary in Sunday School under Superintendent Lorin Taylor and also Charles W. Casper; Teacher in Sunday School Church History Class from April 5, 1936 for 10 years; teacher of Gleaner Class in M. I. A.; First Counselor in M. I. A. under Elsie Jackson and Second Counselor to Melva Jones; Bee Hive teacher for three different groups of girls. Attended L. D. S. Seminary at Midway and took a Religion Class study and also attended Junior Genealogy class where I started my “Book of Remembrance.”
On Wednesday, August 19, 1936, I was called to be a Stake Missionary in the Rigby Stake. On August 23, 1936, I was set apart as a missionary and I served as best I could for 2 years and was released September 21, 1938.
The next few years were not too eventful, but sadness did strike our home on April 17, 1932 when my sister, Edith Lyle passed away with a heart ailment. Again our home was darkened by the death of mother on January 12, 1937, and again by the death of Wilford, October 12, 1937. Have kept house for my Dad since then and have worked also. Mother died of Pneumonia and Wilford was kicked in the head with a horse and contracted Pneumonia and died.
I was made very happy January 3, 1953 when Bishop Ray Thueson asked me if I would fulfil a mission, if I were called. What a thrill! Would I? Well, I would and I did! Interviewed by Elder Mark E. Peterson.
Entered the Mission Home in Salt Lake City March 18, 1953 where I spent a most joyous week, meeting new friends, learning much about being a missionary. Was set apart for missionary work March 25, 1953 by Elder Bruce R. McConkie and was given a wonderful blessing.
On March 25, 1953 I left Salt Lake City for the West Central States Mission at Billings, Montana, arriving at noon the following day and was met by President Broadbent. My first assignment was Missoula District where I labored at Missoula until August 28, 1953. At that time, I went to Billings to an All-Mission Conference and spent the next six and one-half months laboring in Billings, Yellowstone District. March 8, 1954 I was transferred to Laurel, Montana, the Highlight of my mission, and stayed there until June 22, 1954 when I was taken back to Billings for two weeks and spent most of time at the Billings Clinic.
Was transferred to Sidney, Montana, July 7, 1954 where I completed a very wonderful one and one-half year mission. Was released September 27, 1954 and returned home September 28, 1954. I am not writing the events of my mission as I have kept a Journal of my mission, and details can be kept there.
I should like to site here a few little incidents that mean so much to me. I had difficulty getting the Book of Mormon read through as I didn’t like the phrase “and it came to pass.” I have never liked history and wars always bored me; so I just didn’t take an interest in reading such things. When I was called to the mission I decided I must read the Book of Mormon; so each time I picked the book up to read I prayed that I might overlook the distasteful parts of it. My prayers were answered in that I completely read the book and didn’t notice the phrase “and it came to pass” and the story of the Book of Mormon was made more clear to me. Even the wars weren’t so numerous.
Our All-Mission Conference and Testimony Meeting was a great inspiration to me. The Spirit of God was certainly manifested as about 100 missionaries expressed their feelings in a 10 ½ hour Testimony meeting.
A little lady from Wyoming was healed from a long illness when she was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She felt so indebted to the Lord that, even though she lived in very humble circumstances and had a very meager income, she paid her tithes, fast offerings, and even sent President Broadbent $200.00 to apply on some building fund for a new church.
My experience of losing the Spirit of Missionary work and being unable to finish a meeting because I lacked humility was a very humbling experience for me. I had to turn the meeting over to my companion to finish.
I saw the Spirit of Testimony take effect upon an individual when my companion bore her testimony in the home of an antagonistic person. Sister Peterson’s testimony quieted a lady in Laurel to the extent that she listened to our message and asked us back.
Regarding my HEALTH, I’ve enjoyed good health most of my life, although I guess I had most kid’s diseases such as measles, chicken-pox, whooping cough, mumps, yellow jaundice and inflammation of the bowels. Also had my tonsils out about 18 or 20 years ago.
On November 4, 1953 I had a lump removed from my breast at the St. Vincent’s Hospital in Billings, with Dr. Edward Gibbs performing the operation. January 2, 1954 I had a partial Hysterectomy at the Deaconess Hospital in Billings, with Dr. Leonard Barrow performing the operation. Again, on January 6, 1954 I underwent surgery for a Hernia at the Deaconess Hospital, Billings, with Dr. Gibbs doing the surgery. On December 4, 1954 I was operated on again for a ruptured Ovary and an appendectomy at the L. D. S. Hospital in Idaho Falls, Idaho, with Dr. Asael Tall operating. Now it seems that I’ve had about my share of operations. I’d like a rest for a while.
I enjoy good times. Have always enjoyed playing and watching baseball, and like basketball. Also enjoy swimming, dancing and movies. Guess my greatest past-time is riding. I love an automobile, and love to travel, although I haven’t done much of it. My travelling has been limited to: a trip to San Francisco to the Worlds’ Fair in June of 1939 and we went up the coast to Portland where we attended the Rose Festival with the Seth Ellsworth family. A trip to Bryce and Zion’s National Park in Utah, Grand Canyon, Phoenix and Mesa, Arizona, Yuma, San Diego, Las Vegas and home with Leah, Jennie and Dad. A trip to Denver, Colorado with Mable where we visited the surrounding Parks and mountain scenes. A trip to Las Vegas, San Diego, Tijuana, Mexico; Long Beach, Los Angeles, Stockton, Carson City, Wells, Twin Falls and home again with Donna, Vere, Darwin and Myrtle. A trip to Salmon, Challis and Sun Valley with Leah. Of course, I have made several trips to Yellowstone Park, which I enjoyed very much. Then, of course, my journey through the West Central States Mission – from Glacier National Park to Minot, North Dakota.
I have read many worthwhile books, including the Standard Works of the Church and I have a testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And I do know that the church that I belong to is the true church. It operates through divine inspiration, Revelation, and by the Holy Priesthood of God.
It is a wonderful experience to do temple work for our dead. To date, January 25, 1955, I have participated in endowment work for seven people; stood proxy for two sealings, husband and wife; and sixteen sealings for children. I hope to be able to do much more of this type of work.
(The remainder of this story was added on February 24, 1963) Another chapter in my life began when I received a letter from Matthias Albert Cowley of Missoula, Montana, whom I had met at Church while fulfilling my Mission in the West Central States Mission. Since his home had been broken up by divorce, and he, his sister LaRu Stevens and son, Kenny, were taking a little trip to Salt Lake City, Utah, he wondered if he might stop at Lewisville, Idaho, to say “hello” to me.
Oh, how wonderful! I thought, to have someone from the Mission field stop to see me! But, he did stop! I was at work when he arrived, but I had a nice visit with them which turned out to be the beginning of a strange romance that changed the course of my life.
After several months of romance through correspondence and an occasional visit, Matt and I were married on March 7, 1956, in the Logan Temple, at Logan, Cache County, Utah, by President George A. Raymond who told us our marriage was the 1,959th which he had performed. Helen Smith, an ex-missionary companion and very dear friend was our only guest witness. Following the ceremony, we enjoyed a lovely wedding dinner in the dining room of the Logan Temple where our Honeymoon began. Everyone at the temple was so wonderful to us. It was a most wonderful experience.
Our trip took us to Salt Lake City where we stayed overnight and also went through the temple there. It was a pleasant and beautiful ride to Manti the following day. We arrived too late to join the session to go through the temple for doing work, but the people were very hospitable and allowed us to go through the temple to observe its grandeur and beauty and we appreciated their kindness. Going on to Gunnison, we stopped to visit with Zina Jane and Bryce Goodwin. Zina Jane Orgill (before her marriage to Bryce) was my second missionary companion.
We, then, enjoyed two days of sightseeing. We visited Bryce’s Canyon; Zion’s National Park, Las Vegas, Nevada, Tijuana, Mexico and San Diego, California where we visited my sister, Elizabeth Ellsworth and her family.
Enroute home, we visited Los Angeles where we attended the Dedication of the Los Angeles Temple on March 13, 1956. It was a most wonderful experience to sit on the front row in the assembly room of the Lord’s Holy House in the presence of the First Presidency of the Church, President David O. McKay, J. Reuben Clark and Stephen L. Richards, and all of the Twelve Apostles, and feel their spirit and the spirit of the glorious occasion. What a wonderful experience! What a beautiful building! How rich and glorious life can be!
After visiting relatives in Los Angeles and Playa del Rae, we travelled up the coast to San Francisco, Klamath Falls and Baker, Oregon, then to Boise, Idaho, Mountain Home, Idaho, where we visited Sydney and Dawn James who was my first missionary companion. The final lap of our trip took us to Missoula where I acquired a family of two boys, Robert and Kenneth Cowley, and settled down to homemaking at 2401 Brayton Avenue.
Since being married I have acted in the following capacities in the Church in Missoula: Mia Maid leader, Secretary of the Missoula district Mutual Improvement Association, Genealogy class leader, Investigator class leader, Second Counselor in the Missoula Ward Relief Society, Relief Society Visiting Teacher, Home Missionary, Gleaner and M-Men class leader. When the Missoula Stake was organized on June 16, 1957, I became the first Missoula Stake Relief Society President. I was set apart for this position the same day by Elder Mark E. Peterson. Am still holding this position today, February 24, 1963. (Was released 2 April 1972)
I acted as President of the Missoula Chapter of Daughters of Utah Pioneers for nearly two years, from September 1960 to June 1962. During that time, we sponsored activities which permitted us to place our books “Our Pioneer Heritage” in the Montana University Library and also in the Missoula Public Library, also placed 2 dozen song books in the Missoula Chapel.
Joy filled our life when we felt we were in a position to send our son, Robert Matthias Cowley, on a mission for the Church. He spent two and one-half years in the North Mexican Mission, from January 8, 1957 to July 20, 1959. At the conclusion of his Mission, Matt, Kenny and I purchased us a 1959 Chevrolet Impala and drove to Mexico to get Robert. We spent ten most wonderful days with Robert, touring Old Mexico, meeting his friends and associates. He had such an outstanding spirit and testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our trip took us to National City, California, to visit my sister, Elizabeth and her family. It was while there that Robert drowned at Imperial Beach which brought much sorrow into our lives, making the trip home very empty and sad.
In May of 1958 Matt and I started to build us a new, three-bedroom home at which we labored side by side for about two years. It was pretty rough going, but on February 29, 1960 we moved into it. Our home is located in the beautiful Rattlesnake Creek area between Mount Jumbo and Waterworks hill, facing the east and Mount Jumbo. It is a picture of beauty to sit in our home and look out upon the beauties of nature as the scene changes from season to season. We enjoy it so much.
My talents are few, but I did learn to play the piano and played school marches while in grade school. I was organist for seminary classes and have substituted for organists at different times throughout my life. However, I am not accomplished in music, and I do like to try to sing. Handicraft is a hobby, and I enjoy embroidery work, quilt making, canning and cooking.
Civically, I do very little, however, I acted as judge in the Primary and General election in 1960, which was a new experience for me. Have taken part in Cancer, Red Cross Drives and in the March of Dimes in 1959. I concluded my march with a broken shoulder and leg as a result of slipping on snow packed street. I was laid up for six weeks.
Life is great, and it is even exciting to live in such a progressive time, called the Nuclear Age. Having seen the “horse and buggy days” terminate; the automobile become an every-minute necessity, the aero plane and even jets cluttering the sky; the atomic bomb have its effect upon the world; the rockets, missiles, space ships taking their place in civilization; and the travel to the moon just around the corner, with three men already having been in orbit in outer space, I feel that progress is really in action.
For diversion, work at the Missoula Mercantile Company (Allied) Department Store as sales clerk keeps me busy. I enjoy working with people.
A strong testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a “Pearl of Great Price” to me. I find a great deal of joy and satisfaction in my callings in the Church. Being Stake President in the Relief Society has brought me in contact with so many wonderful people, such as Elder Mark E. Peterson, Spencer W. Kimball, Marion D. Hanks, John Longdon, Sterling W. Sill, Bruce R. McConkie and other high-ranking men of the Church as well as many others including Belle S. Spafford, Marianne C. Sharp, Louise W. Madsen, Christine H. Robinson, Hulda Parker and others who have influenced my life. It is a joy to live!
(Added later than the original writing) Another dramatic chapter in my life began when I was sustained as President of the Missoula fourth Ward Relief Society on 30 April 1972. I was set apart for this position by Bishop A. Keith Schlappy the same day.