Monday, March 14, 2011

My Mother, (Annie Eliza Keele) by daughter, Ada Edwards

Dear family: Good morning: In going through my mother's things, I found a carbon copy of a history of Grandpa Lee's first wife, Annie Eliza Keele as written by Ada Edwards, her daughter, in 1960, and even though I sent out another life story about her, by my dad, James Horald Lee, this has more about her, and the wonderful life she lived. Have a wonderful day, and know that we love you. Your friend and brother. Jim Lee
"My Mother" as I remember her, written 20 January 1960, by daugher Ada Edwards.
"My earliest recollection of my mother was when I was abouth three and a half years of age. My oldest sister, Myrtle and I and my brother Jesse were standing around a chair eating hominy from saucers. All of us were babies as we were about seventeen months apart.
At the time, we were living at Aunt Ida Hollingshead's place, across the street from Grandma Lee's place at Panaca. I can even recall what she looked like. Very young and beautiful, as she was married at fifteen years.
She was fair and had warm brown eyes and light brown hair and so much in love with my dear daddy, who is alive today at age 81, full of the zest of living. Mother had many talents, being a gifted seamstress, she made many beautiful clothes both for herself and for her family. She was also an excellent cook. She could make fruit cake and pickles as I have never tasted anywhere since. I recall sneaking to the cellar where I would eat pickles from the crock as if they were candy.
She had many virtues, among them the power of discernment of being able to see things before they happened. I have often heard daddy tell of things she seemed to forsee, and say that if he had listened to her counsel he would have been better off.
We lived at Panaca until after my sister Birdie was born, then went to the White River ranch to live in White Pine, Co., Nevada. Here my dear brother Horald James was born, as we were too far away to have a doctor in attendance, my grandmother Lee and father were the only ones with her at the time of his birth, but she was very brave and young and so got along very well.
They soon had to move from the ranch as the wild jackrabbits took all the grain and hay and the cattle had nothing to eat. They moved farther Northward to a little town called Lund, Nevada, where we settled on a little farm and bought a house. Daddy was very young yet. I remember his 25th birthday very well. He had to leave home and go away to far off Tonapah to haul ore. Mother was left alone for long periods of time, while he was away.
While living at Lund, my sisters Stella and Melba were born with only a midwife in attendance. Mother and daddy both took an active part in Church work and many times took part in home theatricals.
After three or four years at Lund, daddy decided to go to Preston, a town still farther northward. He bought a farm and we lived there for a number of years. My sister Margarette was born here, as also Guy, Will, and Porter Lavon. He died when only a few weeks old.
During some of these years at Preston, my father became very ill with a bad hernia and as they didn't operate for it at that time, he was bedfast a lot of the time and mother had to work real hard. My dear mother scarcely took time out to have her babies at that time as my brother Jess was not old enough yet to do chores, she would be up and around as soon as possible.
At this time a dear sister by the name of Margaret Windows, she was a midwife, took care of mother at childbirth, then mother in turn would take care of her, when her children were born. Our families were almost like one big happy family, often eating Thanksgiving dinner at each other's homes.
Since mother was such an excellent seamstress, the ladies would often come to mother's housee and they would sew and make quilts together, often bringing their little ones with them. They would stay all day long.
It was the custom in those days to have a community Christmas tree, where everyone would take a gift to put under the tree for Santa to give the children. On one occasion, I remember that Santa was taking the gifts from the tree when his beard caught on fire from the lighted candles. Mother screamed and ran to him and hiding his face from the audience she pulled the burning beard from his face. I didn't know for many years that the Santa was my own dear father.
Christmas was in those days, a sheer magic, to the children as we never saw any toys, nor went in any stores to see anything like that before Christmas, and on finding toys in our stockings, Christmas morning, we were more than delighted. I never knew then what a sacrifice it was for mother and dad to always have a very Merry Christmas for us, and sometimes they would play Santa to those less fortunate than we. When I was ten and my older sister Myrtle was twelve, mother made our Fourth of July dresses out of pink and blue sateen as that was all the material obtainable at that time but with her skill as a fine seamstress, she took some lace medallions out of a blouse she had, and trimmed them. They were princess styles and I was very sure they were the prettiest dresses in town.
Dad's restless nature soon had them on the move again. This time we went to McGill, Nevada, A booming mining and smelting town. He worked at the mill for about four years.
When my brother Lester Nelson Lee was born, Aunt Margaret Windows came up from Preston to be with mother during his birth, but as she was expecting a child she could not stay, so it fell to my lot to help nurse mother and baby brother. Mother would instruct me how to bathe the baby and take care of him. He was born in December, and that was Christmas. I helped take mother's place as Santa's helper, which was a thrilling experience for me. While we lived there, mother would take in washing to help out with our large family. Soon however, they were called back to Panaca, to help Grandpa Lee on the farm. However, this did not last long, as we had to live with Grandpa, so after a couple of years they came to Utah, living at Minersville, his father's birthplace, for a short time. Here, I met and married Reese Griffiths, a fine violinist. Shortly afterwards, mother and dad moved to Parowan, Iron Co., to live and they lived there for four or five years. Here my sisters Ida Mae and Elzada were born. Dad engaged in farming while there.
During 1918 a flu epidemic broke out and mother was called to nurse the sick and dying, as many of them lost their lives at that time. She was a fine courageous woman, she took care of her own large family and went nursing night and day, helping to save many lives.
After a few years there, they moved to Millard County, where they lived at Sugarville. Here my youngest sister Edessa was born, making fourteen children for her. However, mother's health started to fail and when Edessa was only fourteen months old, mother got blood clots in her legs and after much suffering died, leaving her large family and ending the life of a very noble woman, loved and revered by many.
Lovingly submitted by her daughter Ada Griffiths Edwards, 21 January 1960, with love to my dear brother H. J. Lee (James Horald Lee Note: Dad's family called him Horald.)

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