Susannah Alvey Heaps
Contributor: ashlin2008 Created: 3 years ago Updated: 3 years ago
THE LIFE OF MY MOTHER SUSANNAH ALVEY HEAPS
My mother, Susannah Alvey Heaps, was born at Panguitch, Garfield County, Utah, December 10, 1872. Her parents, William Alvey and Mary Elizabeth Heaps, emigrated from England for the sake of the Gospel.
Early in the spring of 1876 this family, along with several other families, left Panguitch and moved to what was then known as Potato Valley. This community was later to be known as Escalante. This move was made because of the feelings of some of the men who had gone into the valley the previous summer. Here they found a better climate and good feed for their livestock.
The Alveys' first home in this new settlement was a dugout on the north side of the creek, which was then only a small irrigation ditch. Their next home was on the lot where the Frank Liston home now stands. This was said to be the first home on the new town site. This also was a dugout and only 10 by 12 feet, which not only provided shelter for the family, but for other women and children as they arrived in the valley.
They next moved about four miles north of town and built up a good farm and a fine fruit orchard. This was later known as the Bailey place. This house was constructed of bricks, made by the family, and was considered to be a fine house at that time.
My mother had a very hard life. Her family was large, she being the third child in a family of thirteen. In addition to supporting their own large family, they also helped others of the Alvey family to come to America.
In 1879 they had saved enough to help bring Grandfather Alvey's father and mother (William and Mary Beardall Alvey) along with three brothers (John, Aaron, and Samuel) to Escalante.
In 1893 they helped another brother, James, and his family to come to the valley from England. This included Uncle James, his wife Sarah, and ten sons and daughters.
Because of this pressure on the family finances, mother was thirteen years old before she had any kind of dress except ones made from denim. This dress she would wear all week, then wash and iron it on Saturdays to wear Sunday and the following week.
She wore no shoes until mid-winter and these were homemade until she was sixteen. She often joked about her feet being so tough and calloused that sparks would fly as she ran up over the rocks hunting cows. She also told of my father coming to see her shortly before their marriage. She was so embarrassed at being caught bare-footed that she sat down on the ground and covered her feet with her dress so that he could not see them.
Her school days were very limited. She was unable to go beyond the fourth grade. Her only books were a reader, speller, and a slate. It was often difficult for her to have even a slate pencil.
Because her father needed help on the farm and because she was one of the older children, she worked right along with her brothers doing a man's work. She must have been a strong girl judging from the type of work she did. She helped milk a large herd of cows twice a day, stacked grain, stripped cane, and made molasses. In the summer they would move to their dairy ranch in the Upper Valley where they would make cheese and butter. In the fall grandfather would take the cheese and butter into Salt Lake City and exchange it for the necessities they needed in the home.
Many of mother's stories show the true spirit of pioneers. She loved to tell of how each morning a new broom was made of rabbit brush for cleaning the house. She also told of how they ran to the neighbors to borrow coals for starting a fire, as they had no matches.
One of her earliest recollections was of going to the home of Lacy Larmie on a Christmas morning and getting a Christmas gift from them. (This was an old Escalante custom.) They gave her a mess of pig ribs and how she ran home with them to show her family.
One of the few recreations they enjoyed was making molasses candy. They were allowed to have the skimmings from the molasses while it was being made. This gave them a great deal of fun as well as sometimes getting to see friends.
Her parents were very severe in their discipline, so consequently she had good training. She was taught the principles of the gospel and how to live them. Her father returned to England to fill a mission and search for genealogy in his native land. She has told us that if she ever misspelled a word when writing to him, he would correct the mistake and return the letter to her.
He also gave her some foundation for music and singing, as he was a fine musician. He conducted the first choir in Escalante, which he continued to do for many years. He also taught music. At one time he taught in the home of Carl Shurtz, and at another time in an upstairs room of the James Schow home.
When my father, Thomas Heber Heaps, was 18 he came with his parents, Henry and Susannah Turner Heaps, into Escalante. They too had emigrated from England where my father was born August 20, 1860. After his family was established in Escalante, he made regular trips to see them. He was then employed in Nevada where he drove a six-horse outfit hauling gold bullion from the mines to various places in Nevada and California. Such names as Caliente, Goldfield, Panaca, Pioche, and Tonopah were part of our vocabulary.
During one of these trips to Escalante to visit his family, he met and later married my mother. During their courting days they had to walk the four miles from the ranch home and back again. Mother said it was something special to ride horseback, which they did occasionally.
At that time dancing was about the only type of recreation available. Mother tells of her first dance under a bowery. The young people toiled for hours carrying water to the spot where they were going to dance so that it would become hardened. It was also the custom to go into their homes to dance. They had few parties but always attended M.I.A. meetings. This made a change in their day of hard work.
At the age of seventeen, on June 28, 1890, my mother was married. The ceremony was performed by the Justice of the Peace, Peter Barker, at Escalante. The Justice of the Peace was always known to us as "Uncle Pete."
After her marriage mother continued to work hard. They
first went to the Upper Valley and ranched. Then father returned to his work in Nevada where he spent a great part of his time for more than fifteen hears. This left the responsibility of rearing the family mostly upon mother. She not did this, but worked at whatever she could to help out financially. She took in washings, sewed rag rugs, and made sunbonnets. She often told about sitting up until after midnight making sunbonnets after having scrubbed clothes on a washboard all day.
She saved the money father sent and bought calves so that they could get started in the cattle business. She also had the responsibility of looking after them.
As mother was gifted in caring for the sick, and as the town was badly in need of some medical help, she paused in her home duties and in October 1909, went to Salt Lake City where she took a course in obstetrics. While there going to school, she lived with Emmaline B. Wells and worked for her board and room.
After staying in the city and studying that first winter, she returned to Escalante where I (Ethel) was born on June 21. Then leaving me with my older sisters, Clarice and Grace, with Grandmother Alvey to help them, mother returned to Salt Lake the following winter and finished her schooling.
She returned home to nurse her oldest son, Alfred, who was very ill with what we know today as appendicitis. Although a doctor was called to come from Panguitch, he died on March 15, 1911. This was a heart breaking experience for her which brought her close to a nervous breakdown.
Her career as a mid-wife began July 1, 1911, when she brought Lawrence and Belle Christensen a baby boy. He was named Lionel. With this as a beginning, she did a marvelous work. During much of the time until she became too old, she was the only doctor the town had, being left to care for nearly a thousand people. She was called all times of the day and night and for all kinds of sickness. These ranged all the way from giving a croup remedy to delivering a baby or diagnosing a case of scarlet fever or appendicitis.
She delivered over 700 babies alone, in addition to assisting some doctors and Aunt Mary Alice Shurtz (another mid-wife) in bringing a great many more. She has ridden to Boulder, a distance of 36 miles, over the worst roads in the state and in all kinds of weather. Many of these trips were by horseback, as it was impossible to get a car over such a road.
The family well remembers one time when she was called to Boulder to deliver a baby. No sooner had she arrived there, than she was rushed back to Escalante for another emergency. She then had to turn around and go back to Boulder. Frank Haws, who accompanied her most of the time during this wild experience, said that she broke a record in travel time over this road. She rode a horse most of the trip.
The family also recalls when she and Aunt Mary Alice were called into an Indian camp to deliver a baby. In spite of the unsanitary conditions everything turned out fine.
She was a mother to the whole community, neglecting her own family and risking her health and even her life, for the good she could do her friends. She suffered from severe migraine headaches during many years of her life. She has left her sickbed when she had been unable to sit up all day to go to the home of sick person. She has gone into homes where poverty was so great that she would return home to get the family something to eat. She has also taken sheets, bedding, and other necessities for a sickroom from our home.
Mother always walked. When someone would come for her at night, she would tell him or her to go back home and she would come. Before leaving she always kneeled down and asked the Lord to help her. Stormy weather or darkness didn't seem to bother her. My father answered the door one night to a man coming for mother. When she was ready to go, she asked father who it was. He said he didn't know, so she started out in the dark to find the place where she was needed. Finally she saw a light, which guided her to the right place.
No matter how far her patient was from our home, mother walked twice a day to care for the mother and baby. We used to say that walking kept her young and active.
She often went to the little towns of Boulder and Widtsoe to deliver babies. If she could be spared from Escalante, she would stay for several days. She not only took care of the mother and baby, but also did the cooking and cared for the rest of the family.
As I think of her loyalty to people I recall a man from Widtsoe coming for her in the middle of the winter. It was about 10 o'clock at night and there was a lot of snow on the Escalante Mountain, which they had to cross. In addition to this he was in an old dilapidated car and he himself was half drunk. In spite of the protests from the family, she said, "I am not afraid. I have to go. These folks are depending on me." She made the man some coffee, heated an iron to put to her feet, got the old black satchel (which we children always thought carried the babies), and left.
Another time she was called to a home to deliver a baby. The father was a boot-legger. An officer of the law came to search the house. Before he had time to get into the house, the husband took his keg of "spirits" and put it in bed with his wife. The officer found nothing.
She tried her best to live the gospel as it should be lived. She was a Sunday School teacher for many years before she became a mid-wife. All her married life she belonged to the Relief Society and was chorister of that organization for more than ten years. She was honored as a block teacher for all the years of service she had rendered in that capacity.
She was a Charter Member of the Escalante Camp of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, organized May 29, 1935. She became the chorister at this time. She was always an enthusiastic member.
In September 1961, a monument commemorating a log schoolhouse built in 1876-77 was unveiled. This excerpt was taken from the Escalante Story: "Susan A. Heaps, age 89, veteran member of the D.U.P. and of long community service, unveiled the plaque which gives facts concerning the early school."
In her later life, during the 1930's, she served on the Escalante Town Board for eight years. She was acting in this capacity when water was first piped into the town in 1936. On the night of May 22, 1936, my husband and I traveled most of the night through mud hub-deep to get her to Escalante for the Dedicatory Service for the newly completed water system for which she had so diligently worked.
She also served as the Town Health Officer for over thirty years. She retired from this position in December 1954.
Mother had many hobbies in spite of her busy life. She pursued the art of rug and quilt making and loved to raise flowers. She was never too tired, regardless of the many hours she had been with the sick, or the many blocks she had walked to dig among her flowers or work with her rugs and quilts. She never knew what it meant to be idle.
Mother was always the life of the party. Nothing pleased her more than to tell a good story on herself. My father was very modest and he would usually get up and leave when she would begin a story. You could always hear him say, "Now Susan."
An incident happened the summer she was eight-nine that shows the fun and energy she possessed. Early the morning of July 24 the town band came out serenading. They stopped out in front of her house and began to play. No sooner had they stopped, than out she went in her nightgown and robe, and step-danced for them.
June 28, 1940, mother and father celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary. At that time they had six living children, thirty grandchildren, and six great grandchildren.
Alcea passed away in May of 1936, leaving a large family. Dad and mother raised one of her daughters as well as having a nephew in their home for many years.
Four years after their Golden Wedding on January 21, 1944, father passed away. Mother lived eighteen years as a widow. She passed away September 23, 1962. During all of her ninety years she was active, caring for herself and her home. During her last few winters she came to Wayne County to be near three of her daughters. Although she had enjoyed fairly good health all of her life, she suffered from gall-stones. This ailment became so severe that it became necessary for her to be operated on. Because of her age she did not recover from the operation.
Her life ended in the Panguitch Hospital. No place could have been more fitting. She was among those who, had she been able, she would have loved to serve.
Although mother never enjoyed the luxuries of the world, her life read, as do these lines:
"Not by the size of their house or lands
Or their golden coins in the bank;
The number of servants who come at their call,
And not by their titles or rank;
Not by their acres of waving grain,
Or their animals prized in the pen;
Not by the riches of forest or mine
Do I reckon the wealth of men.
I count men's wealth by their will to serve
And their power to fill the plan;
Who deepen the joy of many hearts,
And bring new joys to man;
By the number of friends who know them true,
Who are true to them in turn;
By the worth of the interests
They make their own;
By all riches they cannot burn.
Mother's posterity at the time of her death:
One hundred and three great grandchildren
Seven great-great grandchildren
Prepared by daughter Ethel Heaps Durfey
Story of circumstances around Samuel Alvey's coming to America from England
Contributor: ashlin2008 Created: 3 years ago Updated: 3 years ago
My grandfather, William Alvey was born November 1, 1847, at Arnold, Nottingham, England; a son of William Alvey Sr., born July 23, 1820 at Arnold Nottingham, England and Mary Beardall, born April 30, 1823 at Calverton, England. He was one of eleven children born to these good people - Elija, Ann, William Jr. James. Joseph. Nephi, Dorothy, Sarah, John Aaron and Samuel.
He was baptized at the age of 10 on Dec 11, 1857 by Elder Kirk and confirmed by Joseph Campton.
He came from a very religious family and wanted to come to America, but financial conditions kept them from coming. So, at the age of 18 my grandfather, WIlliam Jr. came to America, leaving allof his family in England. He crossed the Atlantic OCean on the ship "John-Bright" which left Liverpool April 30, 1866 with a company of 747 Saints, under the direction of Elder C.M. Gillet.
They landed at New York June 6, 1866 and plans were then made for them to make the long journey to Utah. Grandfather arrived in Salt Lake City August 28, 1866. Knowing he must find work, he went to Tooele with one of the Saints. THere he got a job and worked for two years.
He was then called to go down to the Muddy Mission in Nevada to help protect the settlers from the Indians. He was called on his mission in 1868.
After his mission was completed, he settled in Panaca, Lincoln County, Nevada. There he met my grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Heaps at a church gathering, just as he had seen her in a dream and he knew she was the one to be his wife. They were marrried January 28, 1870 by Samuel Homes. In 1872 they were sent with others to settle in the South East part of Utah. They located in Panguitch. They lived there four years,helping to build this community.
Grandfather by now was able to emigrate his father, mother, sister Ann and three brothers - John, Aaron, and Samuel to America.
Due to the shortage of feed and severe cold weather, he left Panguitch with grandmother and their three children, as well as other families in the Spring of 1876.
They went 60 miles over a very high and rugged mountain, making roads as they went, until they came to a beautiful valley where the two of Escalante is now located. They lived in dugouts and anyway they could until they could get water out on the land and get to raising crops.
Grandfather cut and hauled logs out of the mountains and built the first log house in Escalante. By this time he was able to send for his brother James, his wife and their 10 children to come from England. Making it possible for 18 of his family members to come from England to Utah.
Later he built a home one mile out of town on a farm. When his children were old enough to go to school, he sold that home and built himself a beautiful home in town. He raised beautiful flowers and so much lovely fruit and grapes that it made his home even more beautiful.
My grandfather used to sit up nights after working hard all day and study music. He taught music in the elementary school and gave private lessons. He only had three lessons in his life.
He taught for 21 years and was choir leaser for 40 years. He homesteaded land 17 miles out of Escalante in what was known as the Upper Valley. There he built a nice ranch house, corrals and after fencing it in, made a ranch where they could live in the summers. They milked 40 cows - night and morning and my grandmother made cheese and butter. Then they moved into town in the fall. Then grandfather would take the cheese and butter to Salk Lake to sell and buy food and clothing for his family for the winter months. It would take him three weeks to make the trip.
He held many positions in the wards where he lived. With the help of his good wife. they always lived the golden rule "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." THey were always ready to help anyone in need.
In 1902, he was called on a mission to England. He was then 55 years of age, but gladly accepted the call. On July 13, 1902, the town gave him a farewell party and on July 16, 1902 he left his home for the Salt Lake City Mission Headquarters, where he received instructions. He was sent from there to Boston, Massachusets and set sail for England July 30, 1902, on the ship New England. He arrived safely and labored for 26 months there under Brother Lyman as his Mission President. He converted and baptized many. He was honorably discharged in August of 1904.
My grandfather and grandmother were the proud parents of 13 children. My mother was the oldest, then there was Ann Elizabeth, Susannah, Sarah, William Lester, Mary Ellen, Thomas, Alice, Arthur, Dorothy, Lafayette, Lillie, and Violet Ethel.
in 1917, they sold their home in Escalante and moved to Manti, Utah where they worked in the temple until their death.
Grandfather died February 1, 1920 at Provo and was buried in Manti Cemetery.
Life of William Alvey Sr. - By Iona Peterson Alvey
Contributor: ashlin2008 Created: 3 years ago Updated: 3 years ago
William Alvey Sr., a son of James Alvey (30 Sept. 1742- 17 Nov. 1791), and Elizabeth Richardson, (born at Burton Joyce, Nottinghamshire, England, about 1784, and died 20 April or March, 1860) was born in Arnold Nottinghamshire, England, on 23 July 1820.
When he grew up he married Mary Beardall (About 1872). Mary (30 Apr. 1823 – 26 Aug. 1894) was the daughter of Samuel Beardall, (1784-1857) and Martha Smith (21 March 1786-1850).
William Sr. and his family learned of the church through Mormon missionaries and were converted. Later, on 12 April 1857, he and his two sons, William Jr. and James were baptized. Soon other members of the family also joined.
William Sr.’s oldest son, William Jr., (who later married Mary Elizabeth Taylor Heaps, daughter of Thomas Heaps), was the first Alvey Family to come to America.*
He must have truly thought that America was a land of opportunities and encouraged all of his family to come, for several years later on 19 October 1878, William Sr., his wife Mary, and their three sons, Aaron, John and Samuel, set sail on the ship Wyoming for America to join their son William Jr. and his family in Utah. About a year later, his sister, Ann Cotton, a widow also joined them. They all lived in Escalante for a while, then William Sr., his wife and three younger boys moved to Hillsdale, Utah, where they resided for quite a long time.
William Sr. died 12 January 1886, while living at Hillsdale, Utah, and is buried in the Hillsdale Cemetary.
Shortly after his death, his wife Mary and her sons returned to Escalante where she lived in a little house on the Holiday Lot just across the street south of where we live, according to Edson’s father, William M. Alvey. (We live on Block 39 Lot 4).
Samuel married Lucinda Merrill on 10 June 1885, at Hillsdale and brought her back to Escalante where they built their home on the lot just south of where Melvin Alvey lives today, Block 38 Lot 4.
John married Margaret Leah Harris at Escalante, 18 October 1888 and went to live on Block 39 Lot 1, where Clyde and Lillie Spencer live today; and Aaron married Mary M. Van Luven and lived on Block 38 Lot 3—the Jim Haycock place.
Several years later, 1889, Mary Beardall Alvey’s second son, James, (who was married to Sarah Mayfield) arrived from England bringing his family of 11 children, (three more were born at Escalante), and built their home not far from where she lived. (James Alvey home Block 39 Lot 3, Where Barton Deuel lives at the present time.)
Mary Beardall Alvey died on 26 August 1894, at Escalante, Utah and is buried in the Escalante Cemetary.
*William Jr. was the oldest son of William and Mary Beardall Alvey. He came to America as a young man. He married Mary Elizabeth Teylor Heaps at Panaca, Lincoln, Nevada, on 28 Janyary 1870. She was the daughter of Thomas Heaps who is the brother to Henry Heaps who was Grandma Lucy Barney’s father.
William Jr., (Uncle William, as the family all seemed to call him) came to Escalante with the first settlers. He built the first house on this side of the creek. Later he built a house where Arcola Gates Lives today. He liked to sing so he built high ceilings in his home because singing voices sounded better.
It was through financial help of “Uncle William” and the ward Emigration Fund that the James Alvey family was able to come to America. Later, they paid all the money back.
The Escalante story lists William Alvey, Thomas Heaps, Henry Heaps and Joseph H. Spencer among those who came to re-settle Panguitch in 1871-72 after Indian troubles had been quieted and then they moved on to Escalante.
By Iona Peterson Alvey