Hannah Claire Leavitt Wood

 

Hannah Clair Leavitt WoodI was born the 25th of December, 1884 in Salt Lake City, Utah. My mother's name was Cynthia Tryphenia Elmer and my father was John Quincy Leavitt. My mother had 5 children of her own and raised 4 others. . . . my father's first 3 and a little motherless boy off the street. His name was Christopher Brewster. His mother died and his father had this little boy for quite some time. He practically lived at our place even then. Later his father got awfully sick and didn't think he would live, so he called my mother and asked if she would take care of him until he was grown and able to care for himself. She took him, keeping him until he was 28 years old when he got married. He moved to Malad, but came to visit quite often. After that we lost track of him and have not heard from him since. My father's children by his first wife are Elmer Brigham, John Julian, and Ida Josephine Hatch. Our own family was John W., Melinda FidelIa, Mamie myself, Hannah Claire and Mark Minion. . .

We lived in Salt Lake until I was about 4 years old and then moved to Juab. We lived there until I was about 6 and then moved back to Salt Lake again. I was nearly burned to death while living in Juab. I was about 5 years old when I was scalded with hot water. In those days they used to wash with those big kettles. They were heating the water and Mamie brought this big kettle of water and set it on the table in our little wash shanty. I ran across the floor when she had this water on the table and over it went. I was burned from the waist down. I was lucky to still be alive, even though I was not able to walk for almost 3 years.

While we lived in Juab, my father was a stock man and raised purebred race horses. From there we moved to Ogden for one year and then moved to the Marriott settlement. That's where I went to school- -when I went! Heavens, we had 8 grades in one room, one teacher and 3 subjects--reading, writing and arithmetic and that was all. The whole settlement was only about 6 or 8 houses. My father farmed and built half a dozen houses.

We moved to Garland in 1890. At the time we moved there the sun flowers were so high on our farm that we could not see my father's head over the top of them and he was 6'21' tall. Our settlement there was called Sunset. It was about 20 miles north of Brigham. It was later called Garland. The settlement started about 2 miles north of where the center of town is now. My father helped to build the first schoolhouse in North Garland. He was a road supervisor there for about 6 years.

I was in my later teens when I met Charles Wood. His father owned a large dry farm in Fielding. I don't remember the details--I just sort of picked him up. When we had dates together we went in buggies or wagons. We went lots of places--birthday parties, surprise parties and dances. Things were different then but we had just as much fun. We didn't have fancy lunches like they do now. We'd make a few sandwiches, a cake and maybe a salad which consisted (most of the time) of just lettuce. When we had dances we had good orchestras. We'd have an organ, violin and banjo and the music was good. We held our dances in that little North Garland school house for years--we had more fun than a little. We did waltzes, two-step and cake walk. They really danced in those days--they don1t know how now days.

We never got engaged before he went on his mission to Holland--I was silly enough to wait for him. He got home 36 months later, in the month of May and we had a double wedding with his brother Henry, in January. The day we went to Salt Lake to get married the snow was about 10 feet deep so we had to go to the train in a bob-sleigh. Our wedding day was the 16th day of January 1907. John R. Winder married us. He was a counselor to the President of the church. When we got out of the temple the sidewalks had been mostly cleared of snow, but there was a lot of slush and soot and mud about 2 or 3 inches deep. We had to wade around in our long dresses with 3 or 4 petticoats dragging in that mess. I just ruined my wedding dress that Dell had made for me, and I was mad the rest of the day. We didn't have a honeymoon--there was not such things in those days.

After we were married we went to live by Grandpa Wood. We had a little rock house a little ways from his, so the four of us, Henry and Lide and us partitioned it off with cloth. They had half and we had the other half. We lived there from January until May and then moved to Garland. Our first house was the old Munn’s home. From there we moved in with Mame for a while and from there we moved into the old home. Mark and Alice lived in one part and we lived in the other. That was my youngest brother Mark. We moved into the house where Matt Crompton lived and that's where Charles was born. From that house we moved into Uncle Heber Elmer's house and that was where Theron was born. From Uncle Heber's house we moved to the old house that burned down- -Farrell was born there. From there we moved to the old Austin home. My father died at this time so we took my mother in with us, where she lived for 21 years. Clyde, and Leland--the baby that died, were born at Austin's. When Farrell was 9 years old we moved back to the house that later burned down. Reed, LaMar and Clara were all three born there. We were still living there when my mother died. She died on the 7th of December, 1935--Theron and Neta had planned to be married at that time also.

I'll have to tell you about our mean horses. Charles was about 14 and Theron about 12. They were going to take a hay rack down to Henry Rose's and a paper blew up in front of the horses and scared them. The horses ran away with the kids hanging onto the reins. Dragged them over a narrow bridge where they left half the hay rack and on up the road. The kids were still hanging on to the reins while the horses pulled them along the road. It took nearly all the peeling off their arms faces and legs--other than that they were okay. With so many boys we were patching one or the other up all the time. Their dad was just about as bad. We patched him up plenty too. He had a four horse load of beets and was on his way to the factory and had a runaway and was thrown off breaking his ribs. We thought he was dead when we saw them bringing him home in a buggy. Another time he had a runaway and the horses came home alone with part of the wagon and we didn't know what had happened to him. Then we saw someone bringing him home again. Another time the horses were in the stable and he walked in behind them and one of them kicked him and broke his jaw. I was mighty glad when we finally got rid of those horses. I would have gladly traded them for a yellow dog and then shot the dog!

That's only part of a very eventful life. We'd like you to know just a few more things we, as members of her family, remember about her. Some of them might even sound familiar to you.

First of all, she was a very special mother and grandmother. Each of her children and grandchildren had their turns sitting on her lap in the old rocking chair listening to stories and songs and then tucked into a feather bed for the night.

The favorite toy of all was not complicated to operate or expensive to buy. It was a large box of spools which she had saved over the years. Then, after the spools were put Grandma would make everybody's favorite- -milk tea!

Washday was always on Monday no matter what. She only washed certain articles together. Then, when they were hung out on the line to dry, you would always see them in the same order each week. Never would you see underwear hung by a dishtowel. Nobody had a whiter wash. When she felt white was not good enough she boiled the clothes in a large boiler on the stove until they were even whiter than white.

When the canning season came around everyone did their bit. All the fruit was bought at one time. The whole back porch was filled with baskets of peaches, pears, apples, etc. Bottling fruit was a big event. Every shelf in the cellar was brim full of all kinds of fruit for the winter. Almost like a two year supply would be now.

Many times neighbors would come for help when some child was sick. Grandma would drop everything and go to help no matter what time it was. She even had a hot-tottie on hand for grown up bellyaches. This particular medication was on the top shelf of the cupboard. No one ever helped themselves, but there did seem to be an unusual number of gastric upsets around.

She taught the Elmer girls to make bread and many other things, so that even though they were afflicted with blindness they could take care of their house and their father who was blind.

She loved parties--even the preparations were fun for her. She always kept a bunch of prizes and favors on hand for the next time she entertained. When any of us had parties or family dinners, she would offer her help with the cooking. Hot rolls and dressing were two of her specialties which were favorites of everyone. Fruit cakes, custard pies, cream cake, and a freezer of homemade ice cream could be whipped up on a minutes notice. You only had to say the word. She not only spoiled family and friends, but the animals around the yard. She would make a pan of milk gravy for the large variety of cats and dogs we always seemed to be blessed with.

Another of her favorite things were genealogy and temple work. She provided many opportunities to a large number of young chiliren to be baptized for the dead. Rides were provided for them to and from the temple. She did many endowments herself--for our own family members who had died as well as names furnished by the temple. She also paid for others to search out genealogy records in other parts of the country.

I would guess that a lot of you here today have had one of her beautiful quilts on your bed. Each one of her children have several to remember her by. She gave at least one to all of her grandchildren--to her neighbors and to their children and others in the valley. We have no idea the exact number of quilts she made, but in her later years we asked her to write them down. When she died we counted them up and there were 188. The very day she died she was planning to put a quilt on the frames .

She had one pet peeve that stands out in all our memories and that was our mailman. She called him several colorful names almost every day. He seemed to get his kicks out of being obnoxious. She was sure he was put on the earth specifically to make life miserable.

She was not a person who worried about keeping up with the Joneses-- nor was she concerned about being in the social whirl. She loved people--her friends, her neighbors, and most of all her family. She was generous to a fault--sharing whatever she had with others. Many worthwhile lessons have been learned from our association with her--not only her family members, but everyone who knew her.

We've lost our special grandmother And we'll miss her beyond measure; But she has left us wealth untold, Memories we all will treasure.

Wherever any of us may go, No trips can ever compare With the ones we shared, each in turn, With her in her rocking chair.

She not only cared for the children She was usually tending some pet One of the boy's horses or dogs, Anything live, she couldn't forget.

For the kids and all their friends Her house was open wide, They could count on food and beds And fun and love inside.

Anyone sick or feeling sad, Could count on Grandmother Wood Some warm milk and her feather bed And you knew that she understood.

Yes, we've listened to her tell stories, And we've played with her box of spools And the lessons we learned just knowing her, Are the kind they don't teach in schools.

We watched her hang her clothes out Each in its proper place Washings that are all mixed up Grandma thought were a disgrace.

Nothing made grandma happier Than a party being planned She loved to prepare mountains of food And to use prizes she kept on hand.

We'll all remember her frying potatoes And muttering at grandpa's frights; Her sense of humor and wise remarks Were a source of endless delight.

Hundreds of beds are warmer Thanks to the lovely quilts she's made Thousands of blocks and stitches Sewed with love that will never fade.

Oh, so many lessons of life she taught, Though she never preached a word; She was honest and loyal and ready to help Whenever the need occurred.

She's gone now to another home, And we'll miss her tremendously, But I'll bet wherever she is by now, They're having a quilting bee

 

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