Sunday, June 17, 2012
Ruth Perkins Mathews- rewritten by Lea Stevenson Radmall- a granddaughter
In the little town of Treboth, two miles out of Swansea in Glamorganshire, Wales, Ruth Perkins was born in William and Jane Mathews Perkins. She was the tenth child of a family of fourteen. During this time the missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, commonly known as the Mormons, were preaching the gospel for time and all eternity to the natives of Wales. William was sincere and humble man who was able to make only an ordinary living for his large family. He was so inspired and impressed when he heard the gospel that he accepted it and was baptized a member. This was just a short time before the birth of Ruth. At this time he was a collier by trade, working regularly in the mines. The message brought to him by the missionaries so inspired and impressed him that he wished to tell everyone about the gospel. William’s associates were very pious Methodists and their influence against him, because he joined the Mormon church, was brought to such extent that he was forced to surrender his position, which entailed much suffering upon his family.
Jane who was expecting her tenth child, Ruth, was taken to the work house or poor farm for Ruth’s birth. The wealthy women of Treboth visiting the family found the need of help as a result Ruth had many fine baby cloths.
Ruth’s parent’s both being members of the Mormon Church, she was brought up under that influence and baptized a member at eight years of age. She lived the principles of Gospel all her life. At the age of 16 years she became the victim of Cholera and came near dying, but while her associates were dying all around her, the power of faith and special administration, under the hands of David Rhees, one of the three noted preachers who had been converted to Mormonism previous to that time, her life was spared.
She sailed for America from Liverpool on the 21 June 1867 on the ship “Manhattan” in a company of 480 Saints under the direction of Archibald N Hill. Coming over on the boat many of the Saints were ill with cholera and Ruth told of her two young friends Mary Ann Ellis and her sister, who cheered the sick with their sweet voices singing the Church Hymns.
The company arrived in New York, July 4, then on to North Platte, a station on the Union Pacific, 391 miles from Omaha. From there they traveled by ox team in the company of Leonard C. River, leaving there August 8 and arriving in Salt Lake City on 5 October 1867.
The trip across the dusty plains and Rocky Mountains was hot and tiresome, yet this young girl so far from her native land and family, had courage, strength of character, and a strong desire to help others. In the same company was a Mrs. Dyer who had a young baby. Mrs. Dyers health was not too good because of the many hardships she had gone through, Ruth, seeing the need of help for the mother and child, carried the baby, Alfred Dyer, on her back part of the way across the plains. Upon Ruth’s arrival in Salt Lake City, she worked in private homes helping with house work.
On March 7, 1868 she married Joseph Davis Mathews in the Salt Lake Endowment House, as his second living wife. Joseph was 30 years senior, and a brother of Ruth’s mother, Joseph was born in Wales on 20 September 1819. Ruth lived in the same house with Joseph and his first wife, Ann Robers, for seven years. Ruth learned early in her married life to control her sharp Welsh temper, because when she and Ann would have a disagreement, even though it was not her fault, Joseph would say Ruthie, you are the younger, get down on your knees and ask her forgiveness, Ruth recalled sometimes biting her tongue to keep from saying something but she said that she asked forgiveness, and she was sure it made her a better and more humble person. She made her choice of plural marriage because she loved and admired Joseph for his strength of character and his sterling qualities. The 30 years difference in their ages mattered not and she chose plural married with Joseph rather than a marriage with a man of her own age.
Ruth remained in Salt Lake until after the birth of her 16 children, and witnessed the baptism of her youngest daughter, Mazy L in the public font.
In 1904 the family moved to the Pleasant View Ward of Weber County, Utah arriving there March 10. Joseph, her husband, was in his 85th year, and an invalid. Joseph passed away there on the 27 August 1904 leaving Ruth at the age of 55 with four unmarried children.
Her integrity and devoting to the church continued through all the years of her life, and her labors in its cause were such as the care and responsibility of a large family would permit her work in the Relief Society reaching back to its beginning in Salt Lake City, which labors she continued in the Pleasant View Ward for many years.
While her life’s experience afforded many rays of pleasant sunshine, she also had her seasons of sorrow, all tending to develop nobility of character. In her family of 16 children, she witnessed the spirits of nine of them depart from this life before reaching their growth, seven with diphtheria, one with whopping cough, and one convulsions. Living near the Salt Lake Temple for so many years, she and her husband were able to do a great amount of temple work, and have opened the prison doors to hundred of spirits, kindred and others, who no doubt in the future years will greet her with happy rejoicing augmenting the stars in her crown of eternal glory.
Because Ruth had lived a good clean life and was faithful, she was greatly rewarded for she was able to read and write and maintain her own home up until the day of her death. Death came quietly and quickly to her on Christmas Day, 25 December 1932, the day before she had cleaned her home and prepared herself in readiness for Christmas Day. She was ill only two hours and not in much pain.
The greatest battles ever fought cannot be found on the maps of the world, but in the hearts of the mothers of men, and they go on from birth to the grave. Fond and loving memories of Ruth are cherished by her children, grandchildren, and a host of friends. Though she did not gain acclaim in a public way, she can be considered a true pioneer, and many lessons can be gained from the faith, courage, fortitude and the ideals of this sweet and noble woman.