Monday, March 14, 2011

Jane Walton, by her daughter, Agnes Isadore Bickley Woodbury

Dear Family: Here is a sketch of the life of Great-grandpa William Green Bickley's wife, Jane Walton, written by her daughter, my grandmother, Agnes Isadore Bickley Woodbury which I extracted from a disk typed by Jennie Lee Adam, my sister. I hope you take the time to read it. Have a wonderful day, and know that we love you. Jim and Betty Lee

JANE WALTON A sketch of the life of my mother,

By her daughter Agnes Isadore Bickley

Jane Walton, daughter of Henry Walton and Mary Ann Harwood born 6 October 1839 at Rugby Warwickshire, England 9th of a family of 12 children. The parents were very pious Wesleyan Methodists and very strict with their children and strict observers of the Sabbath day. At the age of 17 she went to Coventry, England to take care of her oldest sister who had married and lived there and had joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It was while she was here she heard the doctrines of this church taught by L.D.S. missionaries and was converted. She emigrated to Utah on the ship called "Underwriter" leaving Liverpool on 23 April, 1861. One day she was standing on the deck holding to a rope, looking out over the ocean, when a big wave came and took the ship out from under her and she hung out over the water 'til the ship came back and caught her. She arrived safe in New York 22 May, 1861.

She stayed in New York a few days then started across the plains in the Horace S. Eldridge company assigned to the wagon of Job Hall. She was young and strong and walked all the way across the plains to arrive in Salt Lake City 15 September, 1861,and was sealed to Job Hall in the Endowment House 20 September, 1861 as 3rd wife being thoroughly converted to the principle of polygamy which was then practiced and taught.

They journeyed to Pine Valley where she was met by his other families very coolly. Life began anew under very hard and trying circumstances, not only terrible poverty but jealousy and hatred of his other families. She was the mother of three children from this union. The two little daughters died in infancy and were laid away in their little worn night gowns the oldest, a boy she named after her father Henry Walton, being more sturdy, lived through all the poverty she often longed to have a calico dress and he had heard her say so and one day she was crying as she was so tired of living any place she could get shelter, mostly in dugouts and he was trying to comfort her and said, "Never mind, Ma, when I get big I'll build you a calico house."

Her bed was a pile of straw on the floor with a buffalo robe under her and one over her. She wove cloth and carpets for a living and I've often heard her say her husband never furnished the wrapping of a finger toward her support. One time she wove a carpet and took a fat pig for pay and when she asked him to kill it for her he said he would for half and he killed, dressed and cut it in halves and took one to his other families. Thru all her hardships and trials her faith in the gospel never wavered. One morning as she was in her dugout taking up the ashes from the fireplace, she heard a noise and on looking up the steps, she saw the bushy head of a very mean Indian known as “Old Bush Head”. (It seems her dugout was outside of the square and she was not protected as the other people were. They had to keep guards night and day as the Indians were so bad). She didn't know what to do. But just then she heard the guards and they captured him and locked him up in the school house.

The Bishop sent out and told the Indians they had him and if they would come in they'd give them blankets. It wasn't long till there were lots of Indians, and the bishop gave them blankets and asked them what they should do with Bush Head. They were glad he was caught as he was a killer and they wanted to hang him to a tree. The Bishop called all the people and they all went to the hanging. After he was dead, the Indians cut locks of his hair off and were glad to get rid of him. Mother and little Henry went with the rest.

She moved around and lived any place she could get shelter and one cold day a young man stopped at her hut to get warm. There were neither doors nor windows and she had but very little fuel so the next day he procured a team and wagon and brought her a load of wood and from that kind act a great and holy love arose. She had had such a terrible life in Dixie she had made up her mind long before this that if she could get free from the terrible man she had put her trust in she would marry the first man that came along let him be lame, halt or blind. This young man was 2 years her junior and blind in one eye having lost it at the age of four. He showed such interest and was so kind and helpful and was such a fine poet and musician that she fell deeply in love and he was devoted to her.

When the President of the Church came down there she told him her plight and he told her if Job Hall would give up all claim to her and give her to this young man whose name was William Green Bickley she could be as free as she had ever been. He was sought and asked and was glad to do this and she was set free.

William was devoted to her and wrote many beautiful songs and poems to her both before and after they were married. They were married 21 March, 1867, and moved to Eagle Valley. She had a soft sweet voice, and loved to sing praises to her Heavenly Father. Whenever she was discouraged about anything, she would sing a hymn and everything would be sunny again. While at Eagle Valley and other places Father led the choirs of which she was always a member. Although they were poor and times were hard and they had to wear homemade and patched clothing and she went barefoot a lot, they were not alone as all the Saints were the same, they lived and loved their religion and went to their meetings and did their duty at any event. I have often heard her say they all went to dances barefoot and she had had one child in her arms and another hanging to her dress many times and went barefoot in the choir but it wasn't strange, as there was plenty of company. She was jolly and full of life and they had many delightful times.

They had six children born to them, two of which died in infancy. Then in 1869, William was called on a mission to England and she was more than anxious to have him go. With the help of we children she was able to send him the means he needed. Her faith and trust in her Heavenly Father had never changed since she had gone down into the waters of baptism and had made a covenant to serve God and keep his commandments and she faithfully tried to live up to them all. All our lives we had been taught to pray and as usual we never neglected our family prayers in his absence.

She was a strict tithe and fast offering observer, never letting the last of the month pass without strictly attending to this duty and privilege. One day, she read a letter from father asking her to send him some money immediately. She only had enough to pay the tithing that was due and she was bewildered as what was the best thing to do with that money as it would go for a good cause either way. The still small voice whispered to pay her tithing and God would help her. Before she could be tempted to do the other way she gathered every cent from the till of the drawer she kept her money in and sent it to the tithing office and got her receipt. She felt glad she had obeyed and went to bed happy. On opening her drawer the next morning she was surprised to find a gold piece in the till she had so carefully emptied the night before. That was a great testimony to all of us she had obeyed and Lord had provided for her missionary. He filled an honorable mission and returned home in 1891.

I might add another faith promoting incident that happened to her and us children. Her oldest daughter may had been to Provo Academy 2 years and had taught one year at Monroe and she had to go to summer school before teaching the next winter as all teachers did and as it was to be held at Fishlake, Sevier County, we went too, as it was only for a week. Our brother Will took us in the big white top buggy and we got there safe and made our camp and surely enjoyed the vacation. He had to hobble the horses out to graze (as others did)but when the time came to go home and everybody was pulling out and getting ready too.

Will having been all forenoon hunting the horses returned to tell us he couldn't find the horses anywhere that they must have gone home. We were all packed to start and that was a great disappointment to us. We would soon be the last ones left. Mother's faith never failed her, she got a large blanket and we fastened it around some trees and set the spring seat in the middle and we all knelt down and each one petitioned our Heavenly Father to hear our prayers. Mother poured out her soul to him and when we got through and went out there just a little way off, were the horses, quietly grazing. Will got them and lost no time getting off after thanking God for our speedy deliverance.

These circumstances and many other delightful and faith promoting instances occurred before she sold the home and moved down town. She also had two fires in the store but although a great deal of damage was done kind hands and loving hearts were so diligent and the first one was soon extinguished everyone was so anxious to help in the second one that the remaining merchandise was removed to another building across the way and that building was restored as before and the goods returned. As she was getting so crippled after she had lived in the cottage behind the store many years later she decided to fix up the back of the store so they could be comfortable and she had a large cupboard built, as a protection from the view and had this filled with all kinds of beautiful things she could find to make it attractive and had a table and folding bed put in, also a couch to lay down on when she was tired. They had a box heater and she could prepare them something to eat. They were very comfortable.

They moved to Minersville, Beaver County as he had work there, then to Beaver City, Utah where he purchased some land (I think about 9 acres) and built a brick house. This was in the northwest part of town 10 blocks out from the business district. As a child her most delightful hours were spent playing store where she would sell bits of lace, ribbon, pretty glass and anything she could get together to the neighborhood children for pins and this longing hadn't left her. So when she was settled in her new brick home and stores (what few there were) were so far away she had glass doors put in the big south room also a counter and a few shelves and with a very meager stock of needles, pins, shoelaces and a number of other useful articles opened up a small store. As it grew she got more and more goods and finally had a nice business but finally her business out grew this little room and she rented a large rock building north of the court house and moved her stock there.

She had a large sign made "The Novelty Bazaar" and placed across the front. She put in a stock of every kind of useful articles and trinkets and novelties. She was a lover of beautiful things and as the business grew and the years passed by she added dishes, tinware and all kinds of beautiful vases and ornaments and beautiful glassware and pictures and was very useful to the public as she carried frames and at that time enlarged pictures were a fad and she framed them and gilded frames over for people and was very busy and very happy. She was always so cheerful and many a person came into her store sad and discouraged and went away with a new lease on life and looking on the bright side of life. She drove back and forth from home to the store with a horse and buggy. Also to all the meetings and Sunday School.

As a child I remember Old “Beaver Adz”, Chief of the Beaver Indians, who was nearly blind and would come into the store each morning to get his eyes doctored with some medicine which mother had. When he would leave, he would always say, “heap good squaw”, as he went away.

She loved to help those less fortunate than she. About 1892 diphtheria was really bad. Three children had died in one family and others were sick. Night after night Mother went to help this poor sister. One night the doctor came while she was there and scolded her for taking such chances. She told him she was not afraid, as she took the same precautions Doctors do. She loved to sit up with the sick and often took care of the bodies of people who had passed away.

She had a good cement coop built at home and took care of her chickens with the help of the children. She was a great hand to go out and sit up with the sick and helped to take care of the bodies of people that had passed away. She labored in the Relief Society as President, 12 years and Councilor 8 years. She was President when they were called upon to gather wheat and store it and as they didn't have a good place to put it she had a large pink rock granary built. The sisters labored faithfully to gather grain and take care of it.

One day the Relief Society President came and told her they were going to put all their property up for bids for sale and her heart sank within her as she lay on the couch wondering what on earth she would ever do with herself when she didn't have her store and all the beautiful things she had in it to comfort her for she was so happy and contented there and what would she do without all her devoted friends that had grown so dear and came in to talk with her so often but as she lay wondering a voice clear and plain said, "Why don't you buy it yourself." She jumped up as quickly as she could and found father and told him and they put a bid on the store building which had a large room up stairs and the Relief Society Hall joining it on the north and they got the property and once more were thankful for the help of the Lord and his blessings.

For many years she had not been able to get up from a chair alone and father was so devoted to always try to be near to help her. She had rollers on the bottom of the legs of her armchairs, which she pushed from place to place and pulled herself around her counters and sat in the corner. She knew exactly where every article was for she had all her life had a place for everything and everything in its' place. When a customer wanted anything she directed them to where they could find it and they brought it back to the counter where she wrapped it up and received the pay. She borrowed $50 when she was trying to get started but it worried her so much she said she'd never borrow again and she kept her word. What she couldn't pay for she didn't get and she was blessed for it. She didn't lose many bills for she didn't do much trusting. She often remarked how beautiful her store looked to her and how happy she was that she owed no man a dollar.

In her younger days she worked quite a lot in the temple for her friends and ancestors in England and when she was too old and lame to go she sent a great many names and the money to pay for others to do it for her. She used to close up the store and take us children and father would go too, if he was home, to the General Conference at least once a year. Also to the carnival and the jubilee and dedication of the Salt Lake L.D.S. Temple. If there was anything special we all went by team 33 mi. To the railroad station at Milford then took the train.

She was a Sunday School Teacher for a number of years but her happiest hours were when she organized a number of faithful sisters and asked Patriarch Mumford and Patriarch Reese to come with them every Sunday morning and hold a meeting and administer the sacrament to some shut-ins who didn't have the privilege of that holy ordinance. They held testimony meetings and it was a real joy and inspiration for them to bear their testimonies of the goodness of God to them. This was carried on for many years and many a sad heart was made to rejoice. Many of these shut-ins had crossed the plains on foot leaving comfortable homes for their testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel and others had not only walked but pulled all their belongings across the barren plains up hill and down but would rather die than give up their convictions. Their only vehicles being handcarts made with a box on two wheels and a handle put cross-wise to pull it by. Their testimonies burning within their bosoms.

These were inspiring and glorious times that they all enjoyed. She was a strict observer of the Word of Wisdom, having always used tea and coffee in England, but it being contrary to the teachings of the Church, she gave it up and I have heard her say many times that although the aroma filled every fiber of her body when she smelled it anywhere she wouldn't touch a drop if gold were piled from the floor to the ceiling. That was just a sample of her faith in every principle and ordinance of the gospel.

In 1917, after their 50th wedding anniversary, her husband died. She often sighed and said, (putting her hand on her chest or heart) "I don't know what's the matter I have such a funny sinking feeling in here", but everyone could tell it was that terrible void lonesome feeling that must always accompany the separation of two loving hearts that had passed 50 years together on the ocean of life but her faith and knowledge that they had complied with the ordinance that bound them together for time and all eternity buoyed her up.

She still tried to do all the good she could. The short time that would elapse 'til she would be called to join him over on the other side where neither death nor anything could ever separate them again. That was the very thing they had looked forward to ever since they had heard and obeyed the gospel. Eternal life and a crown of glory awaited her on the other shore. She still tried to attend her meetings and keep up with everything and come and visit us on Sunday and keep as cheerful as possible and always had a smile and kind word for everyone. In April 1919 she suffered a stroke and passed away on June21.

She prayed often when she was suffering so much for the Lord to take her out of her suffering but she always said she wanted to suffer for every mistake of her life that when she got over on the other side she would be free to receive the blessings that awaited her. Before she passed into the coma she said she was thankful for every trial she had been caused to bear and I'm sure she went to a good reward. Her funeral was held in the opera house next to her store and she was laid to rest in the Mountain View Cemetery beside Father, June 23, 1919.

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