Friday, August 21, 2009

Heber Jarvis and Susan Janet Smith Jarvis, Part 2

Susan Janet Smith, daughter of Jesse N. Smith and Janet Mauretta Johnson Smith, was born September 15th, 1868, at Parowan, Iron County, Utah.

Being the oldest child in a large family of girls, she was early given responsibility as both Mother's and Father's helper. She had to help mother with cooking, housework and caring the the younger children, and father with the teams and stock. [If new Family Search is accurate, she had eleven sisters and one brother, who was born six years after she married (and eighteen half-sisters and thirteen half-brothers); if she was looking to an early marriage for a break from hard labor, I will note here that she had fifteen of her own children.] She had gone to school some in her home town of Parowan, but when her father was called to Arizona to preside over the Eastern Arizona Stake of Zion, in 1878, Susie was just past ten years old.

On the way to Arizona she helped her father harness and care for the horses, and drove one of the teams. Arriving in Snowflake, they had to make a new home. The settlement was new—only a few houses, and they were log ones. Camps had to be made until houses could be built. Land had to be prepared for farming, houses, corrals, fences, ditches, etc., all had to be made; the townsite selected and laid off, a meeting house (also of logs) built, arrangements made for a school in each settlement, (which was always a "First" among the Mormon Pioneers). It was her father's responsibility to see that all these improvements were being attended to. So from the first, Susie's experiences comprehended responsibility, not alone for their immediate family, but for the community, and adjoining towns.

She grew rapidly in stature and also in understanding. Everything those early settlers had in the shape of food, clothes, furniture and conveniences of any kind, had to be raised or made at home, or freighted by team from great distances, taking weeks and often months of time. Susie not only learned to bake, cook, wash, iron and keep a home neat and tidy, but she learned to knit their stockings, sew their clothes and dresses, make quilts from the scraps left from sewing, and carpets from the worn out clothing, braid the wheat straw and make it into hats, wash and card the wool into bats [sic] to put in the quilts, then quilt them for their bedding, and make her own trimming for hats and dresses. All these things she had learned to do before she was married to my Uncle Heber Jarvis, my mother's brother. She was a beautiful young woman, — good form, brown eyes and a clear complexion, dark wavy hair and a pleasant face, and I thought my new Aunt was the most beautiful and cleverest person that ever could be, and I loved her devotedly, almost worshipfully. [Margaret was five years old when Heber and Susan married.] They were the only relatives we had or ever saw in those early years, until I was a grown woman and went to Utah to be married.

We lived neighbors for a while at Nutrioso, and I remember her first baby boy Heber, who died there at about one year old, and how happy and thankful she was when her second baby boy was born, some months later. After that, while I was still a small girl, we moved away, and they did, also. Finally they lived in Eagar, and we in St. Johns, about thirty-five miles apart, but we had to travel by team and wagon, and only saw each other at Conference time, once in three months, or perhaps six months or even a year.

I was always happy when they came to our house, or we could go to theirs. They lived on a farm at Eagar. How I did enjoy the new potatoes, carrots, onions, turnips, squash, etc., from their garden; new milk and plenty of cream and fresh home-made butter, and cheese, new laid eggs, fried chicken, or fresh beef and Aunty's pies and cakes[.] Everything tasted so good. And she was so sweet always busy, but pleasant, ready to sing with us, or get books to solve some question that was under discussion. Her home was neat, and touches of fancy work around, and she also kept ladies hats for sale—which I enjoyed to look at. Her babies came regularly, until she had fifteen, — such sweet, lovable little cousins! Uncle Heber was a good provider, and Aunt Susie managed everything just right, in my eyes; and they were always so pleasant and happy together.

He did his part in the Church, she worked in the various organizations, and always went to Church on Sunday if the health of the family permitted. Then they moved to St. Johns, to give the children a better chance for education.

Here Aunt Susie was President of the Relief Society for a number of years, filling the position with honor and distinction. My dear Aunty was a good and wonderful woman — I loved her, and love does not look for faults. I never saw any in her.

After the children were mostly grown and married, they moved to Mesa, and were workers in the Arizona Temple for about twenty years, until they were not able to do the work any longer. Now the dear Auntie is alone — her faithful mate having been called home. Her children all have families and affairs of their own that must be looked after, and none of them can give up their homes and live with her. She is not content nor can she stand to live in any of their homes, with the rush and bustle of this modern age. The grandchildren all have their work and studies, and she nor they seem able to adjust to each other. Her age, mental and physical condition, and habits of a lifetime, seem to clash with the younger generation. And so she is tired and lonely — just another and very different experience in life...... (Written 1955 by the editor M.J.O.)

[Susan Smith Jarvis died 15 December 15, 1960, in Phoenix, and was buried in Mesa.]

See also, part 1: Heber Jarvis.

From Margaret Godfrey Jarvis Overson. George Jarvis And Joseph George De Friez Genealogy. Mesa, Ariz: M.J. Overson, 1957, pp 74-75. Picture from Jarvis family website.

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