Stories About Abigail Told By Grand~Daughter's
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Stories about Abigail
Told by her Grand~daughters

Stories are taken from "The Life Story of Lerena Stewart/Humphreys"

My father Carl got severely ill from the terrible flu epidemic that hit in 1916 or 1917. We all had the flu, and many people around were dying from it.

We were living on Okamur's farm where Dad was a foreman. Dad took sick. He stayed in for a day or two, but then his workers took ill, so he had to go out in the field to do the farm work. That is what caused his Asthma to flare up so badly. He suffered with such bad working conditions. He had another setback with the flu and was bedridden for 9 months and was out of his head most of the time. They didn't know what was keeping him alive; he was skin and bones. Mother took care of him and would lift him out of bed, make the bed, then put him back in it. This is probably when she was pregnant with their youngest daughter Mary Ella. My father recovered but was left with Asthma and a weak heart.


That fall we moved to Pocatello Idaho. Mother went back to work at the Tech College. Soon afterwards Mother took ill. She got a huge sliver in her leg and ended up with blood poisoning from it.

When Mother became too sick to care for herself and us children, Grandma Stewart left her husband John C. Phillips in Logan and came to Pocatello to care for Mother. Grandma Stewart stayed with us for four months until mother died. She waited on her hand and foot, and I was her helper. We had to change her bed every day. Although Mother was very ill, she never complained.

I had a dream a week before Mother died. I remember I was telling it to Grandmother Stewart when she put her finger to her lips to shush me. She was afraid that Mother might overhear us. I dreamt that I saw Mother and Dad in the buggy. There was a white horse tied to the buggy and all of us children were standing on a hill. As Dad and Mother went down the hill and came up on the other side, Mother wasn't in the buggy. Dad was alone and he looked so sad. I didn't understand the significance of the dream until later on. Everyone expected Dad to die first.

When it was close to the time of her death, Grandmother called all the family together. When I got in the room I heard Mother say that she knew she was dying, but didn't know how long it would be. That was 2:00 a.m. She passed away at 10:00 a.m. February 12, 1924 Pocatello Idaho and was buried on Valentines Day. She was only 38 years old. She died from inflammatory rheumatism and blood poisoning. I was 13 years old (1 month from being 14) at the time of her death; Eva was 16 (almost 17); Maxine was eight (almost 9) and Mary Ella (Ella Mae) was almost 4 years old.

The night Mother died, Grandma went to turn her over (her legs were so bad) and Mother said to Grandma, "Oh Mother, I can see into Heaven! You are an Angel. I can see all the good work you have done. You can go with me now if you want to." But my Grandmother said,"no... my work here is not done yet."

The night Mother saw into Heaven she didn't want to be here any longer. Prior to this night Mother always use to say to Grandma, "save me for my children". But after that night she never said it again...she was ready to go.

After Mother died, I quit school to take care of the family. (I believe I finished the 6th grade) I cleaned the house, did the washing, ironing and cooked the meals. I tried to take Mother's place.
I was almost 14 when I went to work for Troy Laundry, Eva began working there too at the age of 16.

Dad wasn't able to work because of his asthma was so bad, but he still tried to work for Okamura delivering vegetables. The doctor said he needed a change in climate to help his asthma. I quit my job at the Troy Laundry, the only income coming in, (Eva was married by then).

We all piled all of our belongings in Dad's 1/2 ton truck, and we spent the next two or three months traveling through Idaho, sleeping out under the stars. Myself, Ella Mae and Dad sat in the cab of the truck; Maxine and brother Carl sat in the back with all our belongings. We lookd like real gypsies!

We went to Nampa Idaho, where I went to work in the laundry for about a week to get money for food.

Dad worked on a farm, and we lived there for a couple of weeks, but his asthma got worse because of the haying. Dad had a cot that he put up for him and Carl to sleep on. Us girls slept in the truck. At night there were wild animals and we had nothing to protect ourselves from them. I remember being very frightened at night.

One day while traveling we saw some men working on a road construction crew. Dad went to them and asked if he could work for them to earn money for food. They put him to work as water boy for the other men. He worked long enough to get groceries and supplies and then we moved on.

~ Grandmother Stewart writes...
and asked us to come live with her ~

Fall was coming and the younger children needed to be put in school. My Grandmother Stewart wrote and asked us to move in with her. She lived at 842 N. 4th East in Logan Utah.

My father's mother, Abigail Mariah Jones Stewart, was a very stately woman. She didn't want any of the family business known, I guess... because she didn't write any family history, and she never talked about her past, except when recalling her pioneer days.

She came across the plains with all the heartache and suffering that most pioneers suffered. When they settled here in Utah, she worked on the railroad. At 11 years old, Grandma was the youngest person to cook for the men who worked for the railroad. Her father was a foreman on the railroad.

She carried herself well, was a proud lady, but was awfully strict. When she told you to do something, you didn't just did it. She had love for all of us in her own way, but it was different than the way we show it today. She was a very good cook, an excellent seamstress an hat maker, and she was a nurse. Her clothes were always neat and tidy.

On a family group sheet I have, it lists Grandma's husbands as J. Earnest (who I uderstand was a polygamist and Grandma would't live like that, so they divorced); then Grandpa Benjamin Nephi Stewart (from which she had all her children with and was divorced in 1898, just five years after ther youngest child, Earl was born); she then married Isaac Sloan (I have no info on him); next she married I.Priest (no info on him); and then she married John C. Phillips, she was married to him when my Mother died. She left him in Logan to come to Pocatello Idaho to take care of my Mother)

~ Maxine and Lerena ~

Talk about their first day
walking into their
Grandmother's house

When we opened the door and walked into the little log cabin home with the checkered cloth on her table and everything in it's place, we felt like we had come home. After living out of a truck like poor gypsies, her humble house seemed like a castle to us.

Her house was a two room log house with a shanty. She had one bedroom and a large kitchen. There were two beds in the bedroom. My Dad and brother slept in one; Maxine and Ella Mae and I slept in the other. Grandma slept on the couch in the kitchen.
The kitchen was really something! It was so homey and comfortable. She had a big clock on her stove that would tell when the weather was about to change.
We had to carry water in from outside. There was a wash basin just inside the door with a large bucket and dipper so we could get our drinks. She had a cellar by the side of the house where she kept all her bottles and fruit.

It was a special home and she taught us so much. She had a closet in the bedroom with a large medical book in it. (she was a nurse) Maxine would sneak the book and look through it.

She had a large orchard in her back yard, where she spent lots of time.
We would get up early in the morning to pick raspberries from her big patch in the garden.
She had beautiful roses. It was a wonderful place to grow up.

At night, the neighbors would get together and play games and baseball. Grandma was very strict, but she was good to us.

~ Abigail makes Maxine a dress from a flour sack...

Maxine was 11 years old when she picked beans in Hyrum one summer. A bus would come and pick her up at the 10th ward at 4:00 in the morning and she would pick beans all day. She was doing such a good job at picking beans that they brought her inside to snip beans with the older ladies. The ladies got very haughty about it and so they had to take her back outside. She worked there until about 4:30 in the afternoon, then the bus would take her back to the 10th ward. One of Grandma's friends asked her what she was going to do with all her money. Maxine stated that she was going to buy a new pair of shoes for school and some sugar so Grandma could put up some fruit with sugar instead of having fruit without it. This woman told Grandma what Maxine had said. When Maxine came home from work the next day, Grandma had bleaced out a flour sack until it was white and she made Maxine a new dress and put a ruffle around the shoulders and bottom of the dress. She did it because Maxine was willing to buy the sugar for Grandma. Maxine loved this dress because it was something made out of love!

Maxine and Grandma use to sit out on the south porch of her house and Grandma would tell her about how she crossed the plains; how she would have to get down in the water to hide from the Indians; how their mother would give them reeds to breathe with under the water, and how they pushed handcarts and how their shoes would wear out, so they would have to walk barefoot.

To Illustrate
What a Good Nurse
Grandma was

We had an old car in the back of the house. One day Maxine said to Grandma, "Come on Grandma, let's go for a ride." She said okay but asked Maxine to go get all the rags she had been collecting. (Grandma used to make rag rugs and wanted to work on one while they took their drive)
When Maxine ran out to get them, she stepped on a nail and it went right through her foot. Grandma put both her feet on each side of the board to hold it down, while she pulled Maxine's foot to get the nail out. She took her in the house and for two weeks didn't let Maxine walk on her foot. She washed it with Lysol and she lovingly cared for her the whole time.

Grandma Helped Maxine
When Sick In Bed
Pregnant With Marilyn

Maxine was in bed for six weks while she was pregnant with Marilyn. Grandma came to where she lived, felt her stomache and said, "I know what's wrong with you,your uterus is tipped." She took two towels and kneaded her stomache and in three days Maxine was up and walking.

Grandma nursed many people through that terrible flu epidemic, and it was because of an article written in the newspaper about her efforts, that her son Parley was able to locate her after so many years. He had been missing for twenty years!

Grandma Makes Great Hot Beer...
Told by Lerena

Grandma made great hot beer; she also had wine stashed out in the shed. When Grandma was in California, I invited some friends over. They got into this wine and really got drunk! I was awfully naive and didn't understand about those things. Grandma was really mad when she found it missing!

I Wore Grandma's Boots...
One day Grandma was gone, so I wore a pair of her boots to work. She kept them in the shanty. They were really nice with fur around the top of them. She got really mad when she got back! You were never to touch Grandma's things; that was an invasion of her privacy, and she had so little privacy when our family came to live with her in such a small place.

Maxine and Ella Mae get into Grandma's Trunk...

One day Grandma cleaned her bedroom, took out a large trunk and put it on the porch while she was cleaning. She went off to town for something. In the meantime, Ella Mae and Maxine looked inside the trunk. There was some candy inside that she had hid from us. They ate some of the candy. The candy was so old, it had turned white from ageing. The minute that Grandma walked through the gate she knew they had been into the trunk and the candy. She was really upset! She talked with Dad and told him that we would have to move because the children had violated her privacy for the last time. That was when we moved from Grandma's house. I was 17 years old, Maxine was 11 and Ella Mae was 7.

Even though Grandma was sometimes rough (pulled our hair and ears) she was a very special woman. She was a special woman in our lives, but she believed in obedience and we had to tow the line or pay the consequences. Grandma had even gone to the laundry in Logan and applied for a job for me so I would have a job when I arrived there to live with her.

At The Time Dad Was Dying...

By now Ceylon and I were married. My father was terribly ill...he was dying. Grandma had moved into one part the house. Grandma was suffering from carbuncles (a painful, pus-producing infection of the skin) on her neck. She could of lost her mind because of these things. She would nurse herself in her part of the house, and Dad was very sick in his part of the house. Grandma said a "messenger" came to her and told her that Dad was going to pass away. She got up... dressed...then sat with him until he passed away. Grandma got word that same day that her only sister (Aunt Ella) had died and was cremated.

When Dad passed away, everyone made a big fuss over all of us girls. My brother Carl, sat in the corner and no one made a fuss over his loss. He was so broken up over Dad's death. Carl and Grandma had a hard time relating to each other.

She kicked Carl out of the house because he defended Maxine. The kids were getting ready for school one morning and Maxine was trying to hurry Ella Mae along to get dishes done so they could get to school on time. Grandma came in and decided to straighened Maxine out. From the story Ella Mae told throughout the years, Grandma was going to hit Maxine with a piece of firewood. Carl stepped in and stopped her from hitting Maxine. So, Grandma kicked him out of the house. When Grandma told him he couldn't live there anymore, he fixed himself a place in the garage with a stove...ect, but he wasn't there very long. Grandmother must have been really ill at the time I guess...she had been through alot....but she went out and tore down his place and wouldn't let him stay there. He roamed Logan and did odd jobs. He worked in a cafe doing dishes for awhile, but then Grandma took him up to Blackfoot and just left him alone, on the streets to fend for himself. He was only about 14 years old when this happened!

Carl Buys Maxine and Ella Mae
A Brand New Pair of Shoes

When Carl was around 15 or so, him and Maxine and Ella Mae came to live with me and my husband Ceylon. Times were hard, it was the begining of the Depression. We raised our own meat, had our own garden.

My sister Eva and her husband Doyle tried to help Carl out as much as they could. After he was old enough to work at the railroad he got a job there. When he got his first pay-check, he bought Ella Mae and Maxine a new pair of shoes. He also bought himself a new suit.

Carl Dies From An Accidental Fall
His New Suit Is Stolen
Carl was coming down to Ogden to meet with some friends he had gone to school with, for the 4th of July celebration. The boys all had been drinking, which might have contributed to a severe migraine headache my brother was suffering with that night. The combination of the booze and the headache made Carl sick and he fell down a flight of stairs. The other boys got a hotel room, stripped Carl of his new suit, and left him there alone to sleep it off. Of course Carl was hurt more than anyone knew, and he died on July 4th 1931.

Later we had found out that the suit my brother had bought was taken by the Web kid and had it altered to fit himself. There was a bullentin to look out for these guys. The police picked them up over in Wyoming. I think they were sent to jail.

Carl died when he was 18. He was such a sad, depressed young man. I believe Mother came for Carl because she knew how lonely and sad he always was. He wanted to do so much for his sisters. It was such a tragedy how he died.