Sunday, June 17, 2012

Mary Jane Harwood

            I was born in Lehi, Utah, Jan. 25, 1862. My father James F Harwood was born in England, July 3, 1834. My Mother Sarah J Taylor was born in Oldham, England, April 3, 1842.
            My girlhood and part of my married life was spent in the town of my birth. I remember my brother, Jim, and I riding an old mule to school in stormy weather. Father would go with us leading the mule. The first Sunday school was held in grandfather Taylor's home. It was the first Sunday school in Lehi. Grandfather was the first Sunday school superintendent in Lehi.
            As a child, we used to play on the old forte wall which was quite near our home. An old man lived near by and he used to frighten us by telling us we'd break the wall. There used to be some holes by the forte wall from which they had taken the mud to build the wall with. These were filled with water, and at certain times of the year, these would be filled with polly-wogs. We used to catch them and have much fun with them.
            I remember well my first coat. I was 15 or 16 years old. I had purchased it with money received from drying apples, peaches, apricots, and plumbs. Mother gave us half of the fruit we dried. I paid $9.00 for my coat and was very proud of it.
            I remember that the grasshoppers were so bad they ate everything that was green. When they were flying, there was so many, one could not see the sun.
            When I wanted to go to a dance I would promise my brother, Jim, I would make him a custard pie. I usually got results. We used to have parties and shows at our home. We would charge pins for admission to the shows. Other amusements were apple and peach cuttings, and carpet rag bees. In the winter, crowds would go skating on Utah Lake.
            Before my husband was married, we had many pleasant joy rides in a spring wagon. After Sunday School, perhaps two other couples and us would go for a wagon ride and I am sure we enjoyed it fully as much as the young people do car riding today.
            I was married to George H. Smith on December 24, 1881. We first lived in a small log room. Our furniture comprised a small stove, 4 chairs, a table, a bed, 2 trunks and a sewing machine that father and mother gave us. They also gave us a heifer calf. We lived there until March then moved in the field in a small lumber room on 2 acres of ground. We added an adobe room to our lumber room. I went with my husband in the west hills to get rock for the foundation and helped him haul the adobe. He would hand them to me and I would place them in the wagon. I held a candle while he laid the floor at night. We finished our house just two weeks before our first baby, Grace, was born.
            On Sept. 23, my husband went to the canyon for wood. He was to be gone until the next day. Before leaving he took me to mothers. I rode on the running gear of the wagon. That night our first baby was born. A few years later we built two more rooms on our house making it very comfortable. We planted a good orchard, a fine variety of fruit trees, currants, berries and grapes. We had eleven children and they were all born in that home in Lehi. We had many hardships and struggles, but mixed with the sorrow and worries was much love, joy and happiness. We buried 4 children in Lehi: Grace, Sammie, Clara and Flora, which was indeed a trial.
            We had many good times going to parties and having our friends and families come to our home. We always spent Thanksgiving and the 24th of July at father and mother’s home. Almost every summer we would take our family and spend a week in the canyon. Some friends and their families would go too. At one time there was 90 Lehi people in camp at the same time.
            As we were returning from one trip in the canyon, we had trouble which might have ended very seriously. We had a young horse which drove a light buggy. My brother Fred was driving it. My husband wanted me to ride in the buggy because he thought it was too much for me to walk and carry Clara who was about 9 months old, but I was afraid to ride so the children and I walked down the canyon. The men had gone ahead with a wagon load of wood and they got stuck as they went up a steep hill. They were calling to the horses trying to make them pull and frightened the horse which was hitched to the buggy. He ran away with Fred. He jumped of a steep creek bank and turned the buggy up-side down in the creek. Fred jumped out in time to escape getting hurt. We were very grateful for the inspiration which kept me out of the buggy.
            My sister Flora Gibbs had an experience which has been a great testimony to me. She was in bed with her last baby and very ill. Her heart was very bad and it was doubtful if she would recover. One morning a man dressed in white entered her room and said, "It is time you were getting your work done," she was frightened and did not reply. He then repeated the same statement. She said, "How can I get it done, sick as I am?" He repeated it a third time and left the room. When she told mother about it she said "Oh you were just dreaming". But when I called in the afternoon she said to me, "Jane, I've had the funniest thing happen to me". Then she related her experience to me and she said, "I could not have been dreaming for I was wide awake." I told her, "Now Flo, the Lord would never have sent that warning to you without giving you a chance to do your work." She did get well and was baptized and wanted to go to the Temple with her husband and be sealed, but it was harvest time and they kept putting it off until her husband’s nerves collapsed. He was taken to Canada to his mother and father. Shortly afterwards, Flo died. Three of the children were taken to Canada, including the baby and the other three remained in Lehi with her sisters. After a few months her husband recovered and he brought two children with him and had his wife and five children sealed to him. His brother had taken care of the baby and had moved away and couldn't bring her with him.
            I joined the church after we were married and we went to the Logan Temple and had our endowments. My father's family didn't belong to the church and my brother, Don, delighted in arguing with me about my religion.           
            In one conversation he asked me why it was that the Elders converted usually the poorer class of people. This I was unable to answer. I thought about it and felt badly because he was so sure he had made a point there. My eyes were bad and I couldn't do much reading. That night after going to bed I thought about it and was real worried during the night. I saw Jesus Christ standing on a high mountain. He was holding a large Bible open and he said to me "Read". I thought and I said to Him, "I cannot read, my eyes are too bad." Then there appeared to me in large figures 1213. They appeared twice. In the morning when Ben came to breakfast I told him about it. He got the small bible, but couldn't find that many chapters in it. I knew it must be there. I remember it was a small bible he held so we got a larger bible which had belonged to his father and mother, and sure enough on that page was the "Sermon on the Mount" which was the perfect answer to Don's question.
            Once while visiting with Aunt Mary Wood in Salt Lake I met a Mrs. Conobes from Spanish Fork. She related to me an incident in her life when she was a child she saw an angel. She also told me I would have a large family that would be a credit to me. I am the mother of eleven children and I feel that her prediction came true.
In the year 1903, Grace died. We had her sealed to Eugene Webb. In Jan. 1904, George was married to Christie Sharp and two weeks later left for a mission in the northern states.
            That same year our son, Sammie, died of a heart ailment. My husband was away in Idaho employed by the sugar company. This was indeed a trial for me. In August 1905 our last baby was born and we named her Fern. She was such a comfort to us. In Feb. 1905 Annie was married to Eugene Webb. In Dec. of that year we moved to Blackfoot, Idaho. It was very hard to leave my home, and Annie, Mother, father, sisters, and friends and go away among strangers. I took me quite a long time to get used to it. I soon made many friends whom I learned to love dearly. In Feb. 1906 while I was in Lehi visiting my daughter Annie, Clara, who was 8 years old became violently ill with a pain in her head. The Doctor couldn't decide what was the trouble. She became helpless as a baby and lost her eye sight. We had within such a short time lost three children just older than she, then we felt we could not give her up. We prayed and exercised our faith and did everything in our power for her but she did not improve in any way. We took her to Idaho on a stretcher in May of that year. The doctors there could do nothing for her. She just lingered on helpless and pitiful. In Sept. I felt that I could stand it no longer so I brought myself to say "Thy will be done" and began to put her things away. Very soon after that she passed away. I was convinced that the Lord know best. When we ask for our loved ones to be spared to us, we should be willing to say "Thy will be done". Through our trouble we learned what a host of real friends we had and that Idaho was a good place to live.
            In May 1912, I was set-a-part as Relief Society President of Riverside. When asked to be president, I told the Bishop I didn't think I was capable. But he felt that I should take it. I told him I would talk to father and then let him know. Father thought it would be a good thing for me, but I couldn't feel convinced. That night I dreamed a large crowd was going on the train and I decided to not go with them. I could see the train pulling out with all those people leaving me behind. I at once thought of Relief Society and how it would go on without me and I would fail to enjoy the privileges and experiences which awaited me if I failed to respond to the call. I accepted the call and will never cease being grateful for the joy and enrichment of spirit that experience gave me.
            In May 1914 we sent our daughter Zada to the Central States on a mission. She was married to Ancle Peterson in June 1916.
            In the year 1918 we purchased a home in Blackfoot and move there. I was very happy and contented in that home which was indeed very convenient and lovely. We enjoyed the neighborhood so much too. We were members of the Blackfoot 2nd Ward. While there, I acted as Relief Society Teacher. In 1929 we sold our home and moved on the other side of town in the home we had purchased from George. We remodeled the house and made it very comfortable but I was never contented there. Perhaps one reason for that was because my health was very poor. We were farther from the ward house and I couldn't be so active in church affairs.
            Fern was married to Fred Gurney. In the summer of 1924 when Fern's first baby was only a few weeks old, Fred's father, mother, and brother from Lehi were making then a visit. They decided to take them on an outing to Indian Springs and they invited father and me to go to. We chose a certain place to eat our lunch but in order to get there it was necessary to go down the hill and carry Fern's baby. Therewas some willows at the foot of the hill and due to a misunderstanding, I came from behind the willows directly in front of the car. Father saw me and threw on the brakes but they did no good. There was no possible way for me to get out of the way. Something seemed to tell me to sit on the bumper which I did and there I rode until the car was stopped.
            In the spring of 1935, we sold our home and purchased one in Lehi. We moved back to our old home town. George and Annie are still living there. Also two of my sisters and many dear friends. We love our home for it is lovely. The people of Lehi gave us a hearty welcome and have continued to be very friendly and nice to us. We are enjoying it all and are very happy except that we get lonely for our children in Idaho and the dear friends we have there.
            Mary Amelia Smith Taylor Halverson added this note: Mother died Feb 8, 1939 at Lehi Utah at the age of 77 years. She was a wonderful mother and a true Latter-Day-Saint.

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