Sunday, July 25, 2010

Remembering Our Pioneer Heritage - Agnes Caldwell Southworth

Isn't is incredible that there are so many young children in this family that are well acquainted with their great-grandparents? The picture of young Jack skiing with his great grandpa is one that I'll always cherish along with the other photos of Grandma and Grandpa celebrating baby blessings on a regular basis. It wasn't that long ago that many of the now adult 'Generation 3' grandkids were able to sing songs and play games with their Great-Grandma Veara Southworth Fife.

Grandma Norda is one of very few (the only one that I know of) who can tell a story about her grandmother and her journey across the plains as part of the Willie Handcart company. Over the years I've related this story in Primary, Sacrament meetings and even Stake Conference and I've heard the story told in General Conference and Church-wide firesides.

Grandma's grandpa Southworth was also a young pioneer. Chester Southworth III crossed the plains as a young 9 year old boy with the John B Walker Wagon Company.

Grandpa Emmett once joked that the Emmetts were smart and waited in St Louis for the train to be completed. This is not correct - not by a long way. All eight of Grandpa Emmett's great grandparents
crossed the plains as pioneers between 1847 and 1867. He also can boast that his grandma, Mary Jensen Emmett, crossed the plains as a 9 year old in 1867 as part of the Leonard Rice Wagon Company and his Grandpa, Charles Heber Dudley, crossed the plains as part of the Edward Hunter Wagon Company as an almost two year old.

Agnes Caldwell Southworth

Born: 1847 Died: 1924
Children's Story: Nine year old Agnes was a member of the 1856 Willie Handcart Company. She was blessed by the forethought and preparation of her mother and did not suffer as much as others.
Biography: © 1994 Deseret Book Company. All rights reserved.
Born: February 22, 1847, Glasgow, Lanark, Scotland
Parents: William and Margaret Ann McFall Caldwell
1856: James G. Willie Handcart Company
Age at time of journey: 9

On the twenty-eighth day of June, 1856, under the company leader of James G. Willie, we landed in the United States of America. Then began the noted tramp across the desert waste. Mother had one boy fifteen years of age, upon whom she was depending for the greater share of the pulling; when only a day or two out he was attempting to lasso a wild cow to be milked, his foot became tangled in the rope. He was thrown on his shoulder and dragged quite a distance, sustaining a broken shoulder. This of course threw the heavy pulling upon Mother.

Although only tender years of age, I can yet close my eyes and see everything in panoramic precision before me-the ceaseless walking, walking, ever to remain in my memory. Many times I would become so tired and, childlike, would hang on the cart, only to be gently pushed away. Then I would throw myself by the side of the road and cry. Then realizing they were all passing me by, I would jump to my feet and make an extra run to catch up.

Of the long cold journey, the suffering, and hardships, enough has been told and written, of that terrible night when fifteen were frozen and buried in one grave. My sister Elizabeth Caldwell had her foot frozen. Two of her toes were amputated upon our arrival in the Salt Lake Valley.I have often marveled of the wonderful integrity of character of my mother's planning and successfully completing such a journey where more able-bodied and stronger-yes, even men-failed miserably.

Winter came in October with eighteen inches of snow, but in spite of this we did not suffer from hunger, due to Mother's careful and frugal planning. In Iowa City Mother sold a quilt and a bedspread for the sum of twenty-four cents. With this she bought food. She had a way with Indians: she traded trinkets for dried meat, which proved to be of great help to us on the journey. Frequently it would be stormy so that a fire could not be built; then mother would allow each of us to have a piece of dried meat on a piece of bread. As food became more and more scarce and the weather colder, she would stew a little of this meat and make a delicious gravy over it. I guess the reason it tasted so good is that we were allowed only a small portion at each meal.

One very cold night, some young men were on guard. Mother prepared some meat broth, thickened with flour, and a little salt; she gave each one of the young men a half pint. They often declared it saved their lives and never before or since had anything tasted so good.
For baking, Mother dug a hole in the ground. The food was placed in a heavy iron kettle with a tight lid on, then set in the hole and covered over with buffalo chips, which were set afire. This produced a nice, even heat, baking the food evenly.

One day we came to a section inhabited by rattlesnakes. Two of us, my friend Mary Hurren and I, would hold hands and jump. It seemed to me we were jumping for more than a mile. Due to the protecting hand of the Lord, we were not harmed.

The 30th of September we stopped at a station in Laramie, Wyoming. Mother, in company with her fifteen-year-old boy and a young lady, Christena McNeil, who was making the trip under Mother's care, visited one of the generals in command at the fort to obtain permission to trade some trinkets and silver spoons for flour and meat. The officer said he himself could not use any of the things but to leave the young lady in his office while mother went to another station, where he assured her she would be able to obtain the things she desired. He seemed very kind, and not wishing to arouse any feeling of ill will, she left Christena and Thomas. During her absence the officer used the time in trying to persuade Christena to stay there, proposing to her and showing her the gold he had, telling her what a fine lady he would make of her. Then he tried discouraging her, pointing out to her how the handcart company would never reach Utah, because of the severe cold, and that they would die of cold and hunger and exposure. Like all noble girls, and true to the cause for which she had left her native Scotland, her family, home, and friends just to be in Utah, she told him in plain language she would take her chances with the others even though it might mean death. She was greatly relieved to have Mother return. The officer, however, seemed to admire her very much for her loyalty to her faith and gave her a large cured ham and wished her well in her chosen adventure.

Just before we crossed the mountains, relief wagons reached us, and it certainly was a relief. The infirm and aged were allowed to ride, all able-bodied continuing to walk. When the wagons started out, a number of us children decided to see how long we could keep up with the wagons, in hopes of being asked to ride. At least that is what my great hope was. One by one they all fell out, until I was the last one remaining, so determined was I that I should get a ride. After what seemed the longest run I ever made before or since, the driver, who was Heber [William Henry] Kimball, called to me, "Say, sissy, would you like a ride?" I answered in my very best manner, "Yes sir." At this he reached over, taking my hand, clucking to his horses to make me run, with legs that seemed to me could run no farther. On we went, to what to me seemed miles. What went through my head at that time was that he was the meanest man that ever lived or that I had ever heard of, and other things that would not be a credit nor would it look well coming from one so young. Just at what seemed the breaking point, he stopped. Taking a blanket, he wrapped me up and lay me in the bottom of the wagon, warm and comfortable. Here I had time to change my mind, as I surely did, knowing full well by doing this he saved me from freezing when taken into the wagon.
Agnes Caldwell and her family arrived safely in the Great Salt Lake Valley November 9, 1856. They settled in Brigham City, Utah, where Agnes met and married Chester Southworth. They became the parents of thirteen children. They lived in Dingle, Idaho, helped settle an LDS colony in Cardston, Alberta, Canada, and lived a short time in Gridley, California, where her husband died in 1910. Agnes moved back to Brigham City for her remaining years, where she was active in Relief Society and enjoyed sewing, quilting, and living close to some of her children. She was an excellent cook and made many Scottish recipes. She died September 11, 1924, in Brigham City at the age of seventy-seven.

Source: "Autobiography of Agnes Caldwell," typescript of interview conducted by Vera Southworth Fife, her daughter. Original in files of Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum in Salt Lake City, Utah. pp. 56-59 I Walked to Zion: True Stories of Young Pioneers on the Mormon Trail.

Remembering Our Pioneer Heritage - Charles Heber Dudley


Charles Heber Dudley Sr. was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa to Oliver Hunt Dudley and Mary Ann Robinson on 17 August 1848, while his family waited to move west with the saints. His wife was Dorothy Ann Wallace, the daughter of George Benjamin Wallace and Hannah Davis. She was 17 years old and Charles was 32 years old when they were married. This occurring only after Dorothy was counseled by her father to do so. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple. Charles was 52 years old when he came to Canada.

Their children are: Charles Heber Jr., Dorothy Elta, Mary Ann, George Benjamin, Hannah Ida, Harriet, Oliver Thomas, Pearl Lavon, Wallace, Emily, and Thelma.

In 1889 Charles Heber Dudley of Willard Utah entered into a contract with the Alberta Irrigation Company to build a mile of canal in Magrath Alberta, Canada. This point of land today, is on the South bank of the coulee where highway 62 rises out of the pothole coulee. The mile was to be the second mile of canal, east of the Magrath dam around Gumbo Point. With men, equipment, and sixteen head of horses, he traveled to Canada by rail. Arriving at the canal he built a 18' x 24' dug-in to live and also to store his equipment. He worked from 20 April 1899 to February of 1900, when he completed his contract. For his work he received half cash and half script with which he purchased 200 acres of land. This land, called the hayland, is one and one-half miles south-west of Magrath and is where Wallace Dudley, his son, later farmed.

While in Canada, Charles received a call from the Mormon Church to bring his family from Utah and settle in Magrath. Storing his equipment in the dug-in he returned to Utah for his family. Upon reaching Willard in February of 1900, he sold his farm on the Bear River, his home, which they had just finished paying for, and all other holdings, except for his share in the orchard, in preparation for the move. During the preparations to move, his wife Dorothy Ann Wallace refused to leave Willard and go to Canada. She appealed to her father George Benjamin Wallace who was at the time the Stake President of the Salt Lake stake. George Benjamin drove to Willard in his buggy to give encouragement to Dorothy Ann. He told her that this move was a mission call from the lord and promised her that it would be an experience she would never regret. With this Dorothy Ann went to Canada with a strong spirit and zeal that blessed and encouraged the lives of many.

Leaving Utah, April 6th, 1900, they traveled with their family to Lethbridge, Alberta by train. The family rode in the caboose from Great Falls, Montana to Lethbridge and arrived April 9th at 9:00 pm. They immediately began unloading their cattle, horses, pigs, chickens, furniture, and machinery. Charles and his family left Lethbridge at 9:00 am on April 11 in a large white topped democrat, said to be the first in Magrath. The weather was beautiful and they stopped at the pothole crossing south-west of the Lethbridge airport for dinner. The grass was as tall as a horses belly and the wind created waves like the sea, causing Dorothy to become seasick as she watched it. The hill was so steep down into the Magrath pothole at the dug-way (rudimentary road} that aunt "Ag' Wallace wouldn't ride the buggy down. They arrived at the dug-in at 10:00 p.m. that evening.

Two of the children, Dora and Harriet, years later, told of the fun that they had running up the hill onto the roof of the dug-in and down again until "father" put an end to it. The next day the children had great fun building a raft out of slabs and sailing on the pond in front of their new home.

It didn't take Dorothy long to set up respectable housekeeping. She divided the dug-in into four rooms by slab partitions, hung building paper on the slabs and layered cloth on that. A coat of kalsomine was then added. On the floor was a thin layer of straw with rag rugs from wall to wall. Two bedrooms were added later. Dorothy was creative in making everything in her domain beautiful. She was an expert seamstress and would often find the most exquisite dress in the exclusive shops and then would go home and make it. She was also a wonderful cook. Breads, cakes, cookies, pies, fondants, chocolates, candy, scotch bread and more, often graced her home. She always had a large garden and when C.H. butchered a steer, she would can it.

In July, 1902 it rained and rained, causing flooding in the valley. The water rose so fast that the family had to crawl out the north window of the dug-in to higher ground. The organ was lifted onto a table to save it. They moved into the grainery for three days until they could reach safe ground when the water receded. They had no clean water and almost died of thirst, until Sammy Wallace swam a horse over to bring some water. The floor of their home was covered with a silty mud. Dorothy and her girls made it cozy and livable again in short order.

After the flood, a new six room home was built by Arthur Critchfield twenty feet west of the present Alan Dudley home. This was a two story frame home which had a bedroom, pantry, and two large rooms on the lower level.

The kitchen was in the south end of the home while the living room was in the north. The entrance way was off the kitchen on the southeast side. There were internal stairs on the east wall rising to the south. The bedrooms were upstairs. The Wallace's (Dorothy's family) had a nursery in Salt Lake, so she was particular with the grounds and was concerned when the grass would never grow on a patch of ground on the north side of the house. This remained a mystery until Charles finally realized that the north room was the boys bedroom.

During the winter months, Dorothy and her children had great fun sliding on scoop shovelsdown the hill on the east side of the house out on to the frozen pond. As there was no refrigeration, ice was used from the pond, later known as Ovard's pond. It was cut and hauled up the hill and stored in an underground cellar (ice house), which was about 60 feet east of the house. Packed in ashes, the ice remained frozen and was sold in the summer. Alan has found many artifacts from this and other structures from that era while digging water lines etc. About 100 feet southeast of the house was the chicken coop. It was on a small rise of ground with the stable beyond that. The garden was south of the barn. The spring was toward the creek (pond) about 150 feet southeast of the house and is still there and running.

It has been a labor of love for Alan Dudley to be able to purchase the land and have it once again to be the Dudley homestead.

Additional tid-bits

Dororthy Ann was a practical nurse and began her midwife career during the flood of 1902 out of necessity. She later went on to deliver 200 - 300 babies in the Magrath -Raymond district. Her charge was $1.50, and this included delivering the baby and 10 days of care for the mother and child. One experience she had was in the dead of winter during a terrible blizzard when a man came to her to deliver a baby in the country, When they got there, snow was drifting into the cabin onto the woman's bed. Dorothy Ann delivered the baby but the after- birth would not come, Knowing the woman was hemorrhaging, Dorothy went into a closet and prayed, asking what to do. A voice gave her instructions, which she followed exactly, and was able to save the woman's life. Because of her great faith, she could tell many faith promoting experiences.

Charles Heber was an ambitious, frugal, and a very religious man. Every morning the family would read from the scriptures and then would turn their chairs with the backs to the table and have a kneeling family prayer. He was the first ward clerk and also the town secretary in Magrath. He always had peppermints in his pockets to give to the kids. One funny story told of Charles Heber was when he got his first car. The boys drove it out from Lethbridge and when he got in to drive, they didn't tell him how to stop it. When he wanted to stop, he pulled back on the steering wheel and yelled "whoa, whoa". They boys were running along side of the car having so much fun that they wouldn't tell him how to stop it. Finally one of the boys jumped in and stopped it for him.

A favorite story tells of the Rasmus Rasmussen family and their neighborly buck sheep. One morning, while the Dudleys were at church, he decided to make a visit. Dorothy had brought with her from Utah a folding bed with a large mirror on the front of it. This being a very valuable luxury in a frontier town. The sheep saw himself in the mirror and rushed in to attack. There was not even a small piece of glass left intact when Dorothy returned home from church.

This write up was taken from Alison Shaw’s website: