Thursday, October 9, 2008

History - Elizaberth Ann DAVIS

Ancestry chain
TR, Lark, Kirt DeMar WOOD, Laura Elizabeth PARKER,
to her mother

Elizabeth Ann DAVIS PARKER
who was the daughter of James George DAVIS and Polly WILLIAMS. Elizabeth was the wife of Charles PARKER who was the some of John Davis PARKER and Almeda Sophia ROUNDY.

above - Elizabeth Ann DAVIS PARKER with baby "Lena" 1897
below- Elizabeth Ann DAVIS PARKER about 1926

Elizabeth Ann DAVIS PARKER
By Esther PARKER ROBB - daughter of Elizabeth Ann DAVIS and Charles PARKER

[Elizabeth's names between photos are linked to two post with PARKER family photos, her name just above is linked to more of her history.]

An old adobe fort was the first thing built by the settlers as they had to protect themselves from the ravages of the Indians who infested the territory. This old fort was built in the form of a square, with one entrance only, a heavy, thick, wooded gate. The community lived inside the fort. Each family had one or two small rooms in which they lived. There [were] no outside openings from these rooms. Inside the square of the fort was a well which furnished the water supply used by all the families within.

In such a fort [Old Fort Harmony] on Jan 8th, 1859 a baby girl was born to James and Polly Davis. They named her Elizabeth Ann. Sociability reigned in this little fort and she grew up with other children and played with them every day, having no older brothers and sisters.

Although the conditions in that day were very poor, she had a strong desire to go to school and learn the “Three R’s, Reading, “Riting and “Rithmetic. Her determination to go to school was not daunted by the privations she had to endure. She never missed school at any time, no matter who trying the difficulties were in getting there. She even attended school when she had to go barefooted, =when there was ice on the ground. In that day in the old fort they had no modern facilities for gaining an education. About all the subjects were R, R, &R, but in these subjects she became very proficient and was [considered] to be the best speller in any of the classes, and was above the average in reading and arithmetic. There [were] no High Schools or Colleges that she could really attend so her educational training was limited to the grade system.

Being the oldest child in the family, she was looked up to by the younger members. There were three sisters and six brothers all younger than her and they depended a great deal upon her for their care. She had a great responsibility as she had the household duties to take care of as well as helping to care for the children. The household training she received in her early childhood days, under very adverse conditions were a wonderful help to her in her later married life, in raising her own family. In that day there ere no modern conveniences. The washing had to be done by hand: ironing with the sad irons, which were heated on top of the stove, and as one cooled off, it was exchanged for another hot one, keeping the ironing job continuous without waiting for irons to be re-heated. They also made their own sop, in a brass kettle, out side over an open fire. The family meals were cooked, many times, over the fireplace in a bake skillet or Dutch oven.

Mother had much artistic ability which she applied after she grew up. Her crochet work and knitting were very beautiful. She made many beautiful household articles such as tidies, throws, and doilies. In those days, when a girl married, it seemed she had a cover for every cedar chest, many beautiful articles in embroidery and hand-knitted lace which she used to pay for all the thread and materials she needed to [use], so she did fancywork for others and was paid ”spool for spool“, for a customer, she Earned on spool for herself. Can you imagine what a lot of work this required to make all the art pieces she owned? You can have had a dozen or more quilts with beautiful patterns such as “Rose of Beauty”, the “Feather Star”, “Sunflower”. “Bethlehem Star”, “Double Irish Chain”. “Kentucky Star” and many more. These also required a great deal of money which she had to work for to earn. She did the family washings for fifty cents to earn the money to buy the material to make the quilts. Grandpa Davis [went] to Silver Reef to sell it, the proceeds from which she wished to use to apply on her trousseau, but when Grandpa Davis [James George DAVIS] was considering selling it, he didn’t want to part with it. Her industry didn’t let up with the trousseau. She kept up her work after she was married, until in later years when she was unable to use her hands to work with. She was a good dressmaker, having made many beautiful dresses for herself. I remember on in particular, a black alpaca skirt with eight plaited ruffles up the front funning around the bottom of the skirt. We were a lucky bunch of girls to have so many pretty dresses made by her. She never used a pattern. She did all the sewing for the family: shirts, underwear and all the other clothing. She was a good helpmate for father. The helped each other financially by being able to do so many of the necessary jobs to keep the family well dressed and well fed.

I remember once when mother was having a little difficulty in getting Laura and me to get the dishes done. (This was later in life when she was afflicted with rheumatism.) She said if we wouldn’t come do the dishes she would call in the Relief Society ladies to make our dresses. We didn’t want that to happen, so we responded at once. The dresses were rose cashmere trimmed with green print silk. They were very beautiful dresses.

When mother and father were first married [10 Mar 1880] they made a trip to Salt Lake. It was a combination honeymoon, pleasure, and shopping trip. They were on the road three weeks, the duration of the round trip. While there they had pleasant visits with their relatives then they went shopping to buy their outfits to start housekeeping. They bought their furniture, consisting of two bedsteads, a dresser, a commode, kitchen table and chairs, a stove, dishes, and Cedar chests, one for each of them. Their first home was a log house that they built by the side of Grandpa and Grandma Parker’s. Here they had the misfortune of losing their first child, a little girl, who was stillborn. Mother always blamed this tragedy onto her being badly frightened by being chased by a cow just three days before the baby was due. The second baby born in this house was a girl named Zina Ett.

The first home that they bought was Wallace Roundy’s old home where they both worked very had the first year. Father cut crops in the field for custom. He started work as early as 4 a.m. and worked until as late as he could see at night. Mother shouldered her load at home. Besides caring for the children and the meals and the household work she went out to do the chores, cutting alfalfa for the pigs, milking a corral full of cows and caring for chickens. They worked together to raise the money to pay for the home they were buying. Mother always did the gardening.

She raised chickens, and most of the proceeds from them were sold for cash or used as a medium of exchange for the things bought at the store. She and father both schemed to get everything possible by their own work, and trade such things as they could such as horses, cattle and farm produce instead of cash.

As the family grew and we were in need of more room for our convenience, mother and father took great pride and joy in planning what was to be our new home. They planned the way they wanted it built by adding a kitchen and pantry on to ground, and tow large bedrooms upstairs, and changing the front part with an entrance and a stairway. They also added a by window in the front which extended up into the bedroom above.

They had much more planning than just the architecture as it took a great deal of scheming to finance the materials and the workmanship. Father put in all the time he could take away from the farming to make trips to haul lumber from duck Creek, which took him several days to a week to make each trip. The brick all had to be made. My brother Charles [Jr.] did most of the work with [my brother] Dee [John Davis Parker] helping him to make the brick. This was done at the brick kiln south of Kanarra. [Father] had to sell the livestock and proceeds from the farm for cash to purchase the parts of the house which required cas, such as the windows and doors which we ordered from Montgomery Ward. Father was a strudy builder. When ever he built a barn or a fence or anything it was built to stand. Many people said that when Charles Built anything it was good for a hundred years. And so it was with his house. It was built to last for many generations.

Charles PARKER's Kanarra Home
with grandchildren Elaine and Parker ROBB and son Bruce "Fay" PARKER

Mother’s biggest plan, outside of the help she gave father, was to have carpets. This took extra money which she financed by the proceeds from her hens also by selling butter, milk and cream. It was a big job but no task was too great for her that she could do with her own labor as long as she had her health. The carpets were ready and large rolls lay waiting for the floors when they were finished. She also made many rugs some woven and others she made from wool that she had gathered in small bits form the bushes, off the barb-wire and sage brush, where the sheep had lost some of their wool as they ran through tight places. After picking enough of these tiny bits for a rug, she had to wash, cord, and spin it into yarn, after which she colored the skeins to work up into the [rugs.] She hooked these rugs and mad many beautiful designs, some with flowers. Some with animals and other pretty patterns. When the house was finished she had all of her work done, carpeting enough and throw rugs for five huge rooms, four bedrooms and the parlor.

The home after 100 years - taken at Kanarra, UT about 2003
SW corner at 1st East and Center Street, Kanarraville, Utah

In spite of the negative attitude toward education in her home early in her life, she was always determined to see her children as well educated as could be. It was remarkable how she, in her poor health and crippled during her later years. Still financed the schooling for her younger children.

She and I undertook a big project on year to get money for my second year of high school. Sericulture in Utah had never before been tried out, so as an experiment, we decided to try raising the silkworms. It was a very interesting project. We sent a mail order to Salt Lake to receive the tiny eggs which came in a small package. When we opened the package the eggs had already started hatching out. Nature took care of the feed immediately as the mulberry trees were just budding out at the right time. (Mulberry leaves are the only food that silkworms live on.) We built shelves and laid the leaves out for the little worms to eat. They steadily grew and the food supply had to be increased day by day. Until we were bringing in larger and larger branches. About the third week they began molting, they attached themselves on to a branch and started spinning a thread from their own bodies inside the cocoon. About six to ten weeks later their bodies have completely disappeared and have formed a ball of beautiful silk thread. This thread had to be heated immediately to kill the moth inside before it broke out and destroyed the silk thread. Then the thread was reeled and used for silk yardage. During all these processes we had many interested visitors who quietly watched the little worms doing their jobs. (We always had to be extremely quiet when we were with the worms. Any disturbance or chilling would cause an imperfection or the silk thread would be tangled and could not be used in top grade material.) After mother and I split the money at the end of the season, I had enough to buy a little trunk to store my school clothing in and some of the silk was made into a beautiful golden wig. Mother saved hers for something really special.

Besides being artistic and clever with her hand, she inherited a good voice from Grandpa Davis and spent many enjoyable hours singing at home and for church programs.

[see "More Memories of Elizabeth Ann DAVIS PARKER" by Sophia PARKER STAPLEY .]


Talyn said...

That's Alena's namesake in the first picture, right? Too bad you can't see her.

Lark said...

Yes the baby in her mothers arms is Samantha Ahlena PARKER WILLIAMS (1897-1981). She would be Alena's 2nd great-grand aunt and her namesake. Your Alena is 100 years younger.