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Autobiography of Augusta Dorius Stevens

Retyped courtesy of Kevin Jacobson

Autobiography of Augusta Dorius Stevens

 

Augusta Dorius Stevens, daughter of Nicoli and Sophia Christopherson Dorius, was born Oct. 29, 1837, in Copenhagen, Denmark.

 

“When I was two years of age, I lost one of my eyes through an accident.  I had many minor accidents, but go through them all right.  I attended school until I was 13 years of age.  About that time, the Mormon Elders came to Copenhagen with the Gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  My father embraced the gospel and was baptized Nov. 10, 1850.  My brother, John F. Dorius, and myself were baptized the 11th day of December 1850.  For this reason, I had to quit school because of the immediate persecution staged against us in school on account of our joining this then unpopular religion.  We lived in the same house where the LDS meetings were held.  We lived downstairs and the meetings were held upstairs.  One night a mob came up to the hall and broke down the door.  They wanted to get Brother Erastus Snow to subject him to bodily punishment.  We had to break up the meeting, and Brother Snow walked out with the crowd of Saints and the mob did not get him.  My mother could not see that our church was any better than her Lutheran Church, and so she did not join until 1862, when my two brothers, Carl and John left Utah for a mission to Norway.  While there, the boys went to Copenhagen, Denmark and took mother to the city of Christiania (now Oslo) where they made their headquarters and where she was baptized.  Mother did not come to Utah until 1874.  I was therefore away from my mother for 22 years.”

 

The First Emigration From Scandinavia to Zion

 

“I did not know how many persons had joined the Church when I left for Utah.  But at that time, the spirit of gathering became an important item among the saints in Copenhagen.  There were 28 people who got ready to emigrate with Elder Erastus Snow when he returned from his first mission in Scandinavia, and I was one of them.  I had assisted a family by the name of Raven as a girl in their home at general domestic work.  Mr. Raven was a sea captain, and the family was quite well off.  They had joined the Church, took quite a liking to me for the work I was doing for them and inasmuch as I had joined the Church, they offered me the opportunity to join them in coming to Utah and they paid my way.  My father thought it would be a good thing for one of the family to go to Zion, and the rest of the family would come later.  Thus it was arranged for me to go.  I though that this was a fine plan, and was happy to think that I was to be the first of the family to go to Zion.

    The day came for us to start.  It was the fourth of March 1852.  I had great faith in the gospel I had embraced, so I felt all would be well for me.  But when I said farewell to my parents, brothers and sisters and seeing the steamboat sail out and my folks begin to fade out of sight, I felt alone.  I felt badly and wept as I then realized for the first time that I was truly alone to face the world, and that, too, on foreign soil.  If I had known or realized how far that journey was to be, I certainly would have felt worse.  But traveling was something new to me and there were many sights for me to see which were interesting and entertaining.  I wonder sometimes how I received the courage to leave my family and go to a strange country; and then too, when I did not know how far we should travel to get to Zion, and I could not speak the language.  But it was the Gospel I had received and the spirit of the Lord that helped me.  I was ignorant of the world and did not it as I came to know later.  When I think of one of my daughters starting out at that age, going into my fifteenth year, I wonder how it would go for her.  But if she had the same faith that I had. I think it would be all right for her too.  But there are few who have such strong faith as those who came from the old country in those days. I have never regretted that I came then as I did, but am thankful to the Lord that I was thus permitted to come to Zion.

    As the steamboat on which I left Copenhagen reached Liverpool, England, we were transferred to a sail ship by the name of Italy.  The ship, propelled by the wind of the sails, took nine weeks to cross the Atlantic Ocean and we landed at New Orleans.  The Mississippi River at its mouth was quite shallow and sometimes the wind was unfavorable and our larger sail ship was tugged the river by two small steamboats----one pulling on each of our sail ship.  Thus the ship was pulled up to the City of New Orleans.  From this city, we completed the balance of our river journey by steamboat to Kanesville on the Missouri River.  [Present day Council Bluffs, Iowa.] This unloading point is on the East side of the river, and we remained there a month to prepare for crossing the plains, getting the oxen, wagons and equipment ready for the journey.  At this point, I experienced a new phenomenon.  There came one day the worst wind and thunderstorm that I could ever imagine and an experience I had never known in Denmark or on the journey so far.  The appointed time came for the great journey across the plains into the then almost unknown West.  The wagons, equipment and members of the emigrating party were taken over the Missouri River by ferries.  The oxen, cows and horses had to swim across, as there were then no accommodations for ferrying animals across the Missouri.

    There were representatives of several nationalities, including Americans, Mexicans, but in our particular division of the emigrant train, which included 50 wagons, there were 28 people from Copenhagen.  In our company of ten wagons, there were included quite a number of Americans.  Our company was presided over by John Cutler.  The entire 50 wagons with occupants were presided over by a head captain, in the person of S. Kelsey, and the whole emigrant train is known as Kelsey’s Company.  There were then five companies with ten wagons to each; each one presided over by a captain.  The women generally rode in the wagons and always slept in the wagons.  Personally, I thought the emigrant wagons most remarkable, as I had never seen anything of the kind before starting on this journey.  Upon nearing the Rocky Mountains, the oxen became somewhat worn out and then it became necessary for many women to walk while traveling.  Upon camping at night, the wagons were driven in a circle and the campfires were made inside the circle.  Being young and in my fifteenth year, this being the year 1852, it became a part of my regular duty to gather buffalo chips which served as part of the fuel for the camp fire.  During the first part of the journey across the plains, the novelty of travel was new, and by evenings, we felt to enjoy the company of the members and the friends we had made.  One member had a fiddle, as we then knew it, and all joined in the evening dances around the campfires within the big circle.  Prayers and hymns were part of the daily morning and evening programs.  After walking a good deal during the days, I felt so tired that I should often have been glad to go to bed without my supper, but I always had to help with the dishes and help with camp duties, including the preparing of the beds.

    Occasionally I walked with some of the other girls ahead of the train, as far as we dared go because of the Indians, and then wait for the wagons.  My thoughts would go back to my parents and folks in Denmark, feeling sure that I would never see them again because the journey into the wild West seemed so long, hard and uninviting, that I could never hope to have them join me in the distant place somewhere in the West, known as Zion.  Surely my elderly parents at least when I left the old country, could not endure the hardships of such a journey.  I had my sobs and cries and pangs of sorrow.  What a comfort it would have been to me if I could even have been able to speak or understand the American language, in this to me, the New Land of America.

 

One of the singular incidents that happened enroute was the occasion of a stampede of a herd of buffalo that came directly toward our wagon train.  The stampede ran providentially just ahead of the train with the fierceness of the rush and tromp, and as it appeared almost a cyclone of dust.  This caused a great commotion and almost stampede among the oxen and horses of the train.  The few rifles available were used and fortunately enough for the emigrants, a few buffalo fell, which were prepared and this gave us extra provisions on the long journey ahead of us.  Upon another occasion, nearly a dozen Indians came on their horses and approached the emigrant train.  A great deal of apprehension was caused among the emigrants, as they felt sure an impending disaster was before them.  They thought that this was the contingent of herds of Indians that lived in the ravines near the trails.  The daily prayers were answered and we were assured that the Heavenly Father was mindful of the needs and protection of His Saints.  The Indians spread their blankets by the side of the trail, and each wagon was required to give its toll of food to the Indians as it passed.

    The Ravens family who paid my way for the journey gave me most unusual treatment and care.  Especially did I appreciate the kindness of Sister Ravens, as she cared for me as her own child.  I assisted them all that I could on the journey to at least partly pay for their unusual kindness to me.

    When we had advanced to the Green River Station, now known as Green River, Wyoming, the supply of flour had been exhausted.  The fall snows commenced bringing the cold blizzard and wintery blast, all of which added to the perils of the journey.  It became necessary to send a man with the best and fastest equipment on to Salt Lake City to get flour and rush back to Green River, as our supplies were only sufficient to sustain the party in the train for the balance of the trip.

    On into the mountains we went along the already broken trail that had now been traveled over by the emigrant wagon trains for five years.  We arrived in Salt Lake City, October 16, 1852, after eight months and 12 days journeying since I had waved my last farewell to my parents and friends from the deck of the ship that sailed away from the port of Copenhagen.

    Elder Erastus Snow had come by horse across the plains and had not stopped the month at Kanesville.  Upon entering Salt Lake Valley, Elder Snow met our train, and invited our original 28 Scandinavians to his home for dinner at which we were served salt rice and salt risen bread.  I must here remark that I had never tasted a cake that to me tasted as good as that bread after this prolonged and tedious journey of hardships.

    I remained in Salt Lake City one year, until October 1853.  During this time, I worked for an American family by the name of Warner, which came in our company across the plains.  Of course, this was of great assistance to me in learning to speak the English language.  In the fall of 1853, there came a large company of Scandinavians from the Old Country, and there were several from my home city of Copenhagen.  I was so happy to see them, and they seemed almost like my own folks from home.  Only those who have been through a similar experience of breaking away from all family ties and going on a similar pilgrimage journey can appreciate my real inner feelings.  I was, however, not so homesick for my home as I was for my folks.

    At this time, the Indians were at war with the settlers in Sanpete County.  Brigham Young accordingly sought to strengthen the members of Saints in Sanpete Valley against the warring savages and molestations of the Indians.  This new company of Scandinavians was called as a body amounting to several hundred strong to go to Sanpete County.  This company was ordered to continue its journey into the almost undeveloped Sanpete Valley with scarcely more that a brief stop at Salt Lake City.  This trouble with the Indians is known as the Walker War, being named after the big aggressive Chief Walker.  I made up my mind to join this Scandinavian party and embarked for our Southern trip.  Upon reaching Salt Creek Canyon, the men of the long train of wagons who were fortunate enough to have guns, walked in and ahead of the train to make the route secure.  Upon reaching the top of the divide in this canyon going over into Sanpete Valley, we came across the four men [possibly graves], whom we afterwards learned were from Manti and had recently been killed by the Indians.  These men had reached this point on their way toward Salt Lake City with wagonloads of wheat.  The men had been killed and their bodies had been called for by their friends of Manti.  The horses had been stolen, the wagons tipped over and wrecked, and a good portion of the wheat had been carried away and the balance scattered over the ground.  This incident made a very deep and solemn impression upon the members of the company.

    Our leaders were directed to go to a point on the east side of Sanpete County where a family of Allred had located.  This was called Spring Town and is now called Spring City.  Here we all lived in wagons and tents until the midst of the winter season.  During the balance of the fall, most of the supply of provisions became exhausted and a company was made up to go into the valley northward, now known as Utah County, in order to secure provisions for the company of Scandinavians at Spring Town. Of course, the younger and more alert men were chosen for this journey for food and they were supplied with all the guns possible to spare them.  This company was captained by one Cofford, who had been our captain--and could understand and speak the English language.  He went as the leader of the company, going for food supplies and to make the wants and needs known to the settlers in the northern settlements.  This Cofford later became the Bishop of Fort Ephraim.  The year I had already spent in America gave me a familiarity with the language so that I was called to be the interpreter during the absence of Brother Cofford between the Scandinavians and English-speaking settlers of Spring Town.  As the drum beat, night and morning, calling all the settlers to roll call, acting Bishop Boubon Allred gave out the instructions as to the duties of each for the day and appointing guards for the night.  Duties were proportioned to all and there were the general camp duties as the duties in herding or providing the necessary food for the oxen, cows, and horses, as well as the general replenishing of food from the wild animals and game and also the general proportion of the emigrants and settlers from the ravages and molestations constantly raged by the Indians, during the Walker War which lasted during the years of 1853 and 1854.  During this fall and winter season, I was called to the specific duty as interpreter for which I was afterward awarded my pay at a time when I became most destitute for clothes.  I received for this work from acting bishop Allred, two bundles of wheat and a sheep.  I sent the wheat tot Salt Lake City with the early freighters for purchase of cloth to make up into clothing myself.  The sheep I sold and this became a help for my support during some of the winter months.

    The Indians were stimulated in their ravages upon the approach of the fierceness and intensity of the cold and hard winter weather that came with an abundance of snow.  The whole colony was accordingly directed to go to Manti immediately to join with the settlers there for protection during the winter.  We left Sprint Town to cover this distance in the midst of a heavy and deep snowfall.  By springtime, the Indians were starved into submission and they came to the settlers of Manti and wanted to make peace.  This message was gladly received by the settlers, but the sentiment proved to be not entirely general among the Indians, because there were several ravages upon white settlers after that time and the Walker Indian War lasted during the following year, 1854.

    Practically all the emigrants who went to Manti for the winter from Spring Town went as a colony in the Spring of 1854, to a point about seven miles north from Manti on Cotton Wood Creek.  There had already settled on this creek one man and his family by the name of Bahaunau who had cultivated some land along the creek and had his cabin about in the yard later occupied by Moila Postmaster Person---the block now occupied by the Ephraim Opera House and adjoining buildings.  Considerable objection was waged against the settlers by Bohonnon as he contended there would not be enough water in the creek for his sheep and to water the small tract of ground he had cultivated.

    A fort wall was constructed of stone surrounding a tract on which the Ephraim Tabernacle and Carnegie City Library now stand.  The remains of this high wall still stand on the south and west line.  The wall was about nine feet high and built of limestone hauled from mountains of stone northeast from the city, later developed into the great quarries at Ephraim.  Portholes were provided near the top of the wall about 20 feet apart.

    These were made to serve as guard holes and gun holes for the settlers.  The great gate was always guarded and there were guards always on the lookout for approaching Indians.  All the cows, horses and oxen were corralled within the fort wall at night and carefully herded during the day.  Log and mud houses were built within the fort wall to provide for the settlers, many of who also lived in their wagons and tents.  I was one of the number of this first crowd of settlers at Fort Ephraim and I lived with Bishop Allred’s family.  Bishop Allred was selected as the first bishop of Fort Ephraim, and he later moved to Spring Town again.  Brother Cofford was chosen as the second bishop of Ephraim, and he later moved to Spring Town too.  The arrangement of the houses and cattle herd on the inside of the wall as well as the meeting and school house was that the cattle were all corralled in the center and the houses, camps and wagons were closer to the walls.

    We did not know money, as there was really none in the possession of the settlers.  Their exchange medium was in the nature of services and during the succeeding few years in the nature of grain and produce as raised by the settlers and the clothes were also worn out almost to the last thread.

    Up to this year 1854, none of my folks had come to Utah to join the Saints.  I had some opportunities to get married in this my sixteenth year, but I thought I was too young.  However, I considered the matter very thoroughly and carefully and finally decided to get married, which I did on the 25th day of July 1854.  I was married to Henry Stevens, who was a good man, but older than I was.  I became his second wife, and was accordingly married into polygamy.  I thought the principle right and became his second wife.  We made a trip to Salt Lake City and were married in the Endowment House that was built as a temporary structure.

    There was little, if any courtship in my marriage.  Brother Stevens was called to go from Payson to Manti during the winter and then to join the Scandinavian company to locate at Fort Ephraim.  I was acquainted with him as a member of the colony from March when we left Manti until July 25, 1854, when we went to Salt Lake City to be married.  He was 25 years older than I was.  He was good to his first wife and me also, and she proved to be a good kind mother to me and my children that came later also.  She was not a strong woman.  After we had lived together for ten years, part of the time in Ephraim, part in Spring Town; while we were living in Dixie, and while there she died from pneumonia which developed from a bad cold due to exposure on the trip.  She was buried at Spring Town before we were able to even receive word by letter through carriers that she was ill.  This caused us a great deal of sorrow because she was a most remarkable and good woman, and I loved her dearly.  She treated my children as though they were her own.  In our lonely cabin dug out of the side of the hill, where we were each provided with our own room, we lived in love and unity.  I used to sit in my room so lonely and hope and imagine that I could see her coming in the door.  The Lord had called a choice spirit and one aptly chosen to fulfill the commandment and live in polygamy, a mission that in my view she completed perfectly.  She had six children, four of whom grew to maturity, among whom Barney Stevens was the oldest son.  One daughter died after bringing seven children into the world, one son by the name of James went to California and died there, and the only survivor is Elisbur Stevens, who now lives in Oregon.

    Milking cows, making butter and cheese, spinning and weaving to make cloth for the clothing of the whole family became part of my duties besides my general housework.  I did a great deal of sewing and prepared the cloth and made the clothes for the men as well as for the children and myself.  I used to crochet a great deal, and trim my clothes with crochet work.  When I put a crocheted collar on my homespun dress, I looked about as neat as any of the other neighbors.  We used to go to dances and parties and we surely enjoyed ourselves.  The light from the fireplace, where we placed big pine logs, usually lighted our rooms by night.  We also made some candlesticks.  I used to cook our meal over the fire in the fireplace and we thought we made some good, substantial meals too.

    My first baby, a boy was born in Fort Ephraim, December 20, 1857, before we moved to Spring Town and then to Dixie.  This baby lived eight months and then died at a time when there was an epidemic of summer complaint among the children.

    In the year 1859, the second movement was made to settle Spring Town after the Indians had quieted down.  My husband was called as one of the settlers from Fort Ephraim and I went to cook for him, Roddick Allred and his wife went too.  Roddick Allred’s wife and I were the first women to camp at Spring Town during the second—final and successful—establishment of a colony of Saints at Spring Town.  We lived in our wagons and tents until some houses could be built.  My husband put up a grist mill and while getting out the timbers, they had to haul the timbers down from the mountains on the snow, he caught such a cold and cough that we became alarmed over his condition and there seemed to be nothing we could do that would give him much relief.  We had no doctors those days, but we tried every possible way to destroy the cold, but in it all there seemed to be no cure.  The cold turned to asthma—an affliction from which he was never cured and which finally resulted in his death years later.

    My second boy was born November 20, 1860, in Spring Town.  In the spring of 1862, there was a call made for settlers to go to Dixie in South-western Utah.  My husband thought the change to warmer climate might affect a cure for his affliction.  We accordingly started for the Dixie land of Utah.  We went with a wagon and oxen team and the journey took us three weeks.  There was a man by the name of Paco from Payson who had two or three women and traveled in three wagons who came to join us, making four wagons in all, to make the journey.  This trip was a hard one, so rough that I had to walk up the mountain carrying my baby, and again had to carry the baby down the mountain on the other side and we went into Washington City in Dixie.  We remained there for one season and raised one crop of cotton on shares.  It was there that my first girl was born on Nov 18, 1862.  This baby later died from an incurable spell of canker and her little body was laid away on the Springdale fork on the Virgin River.

    In the spring of 1863, we went up to Shumesburg from Washington City where we spent our first season and raised our first cotton crop.  Shunesburg was a village on the Virgin River.  A few houses were scattered up the river.  We selected some land where we could raise cotton and cane for sugar or molasses.  This was a lot of terribly hard work in this farming as the cotton crop required picking and repicking as the bales of cotton matured.  We had no cotton gin so we had to pick the seed out by hand, which seemed almost an endless task and was a terribly tedious job.  We then carded and spun and colored the cotton, usually with one of three colors, blue from indigo which we had to buy… …rather which we raised and which colored red, and a combination of these two which made the color green which was sometimes used.  I made great numbers of yards of cloth, which I wove and then made into clothes for my husband, the children and myself.  I really prided myself upon the ability to make suits of clothes for my husband.  I sometimes wish I knew how many yards of cotton cloth I had prepared and woven.  The Indians here were good to help pick cotton and strip the cane.  I used to get a squaw to help me do the washings.  The weather was so terribly hot in the summers that it seemed almost unbearable.  It was almost too hot to sleep at nights and we accordingly arose in the mornings very tired to meet the next day’s work in the boiling sun.

    The Indians who were kind to help us were the Piutes.  The Navajo Indians were also living in Dixie and they got on the warpath and killed the Barry boys and the wife of one of the boys and some others.  The settlers along the Virgin River all moved four miles down the river to the town of Rockville, where they sought better protection from the ravages of the Navajo Indians.  Here we lived in our tents and wagons and it was here my fourth child was born---my daughter Laura.  It rained so much that summer that it came down in torrents that went through our tents and wagon covers and into our beds and provisions and we had to sleep in wet bedding night after night during the summer season.  The floods came down the mountainsides and down the river and washed out our crops and washed deep ditches and ravines across our cultivated land.  The great lot of rains and May floods caused practically the loss of the entire crops of the Saints, and it sometimes looked as though the water and floods down the river would sweep even the people.  The rains kept on nearly the whole summer and the river roared almost like thunder long before the headwaters of the floods reached the village.  Our wheat crops were destroyed, but my husband harvested as much of the cotton and cane crop that was left to ripen.  He later went into the settlements as far north as Utah County to sell the year’s supply of molasses and cotton.  He made some exchanges of his products for flour.  Some of the settlers in Dixie lived on corn almost all year round.  On account of the rains and heat and bad water, many of the people contacted chills and fever, which diseases lasted sometimes as long as eighteen months.  After a time, some of the people would be relieved from the chills but they would return, their beds shaking as the people were wrapped up under the covers.  There were many unpleasant features during these years of the settling of Utah’s Dixie.

    While we were living in southern Utah, my husband, children, and myself went on a visit to Ephraim to see some of my family.  We had a small span of mules and our old camp wagon.  After we had visited in Ephraim for a little while we went on to Salt Lake City where we had a visit and we bought a stove, a lamp and one gallon of coal oil.  I had had five children before I received my first stove.  When we arrived back in Dixie, the neighbors saw my stove and lamp and they said, “Why Sister Stevens, you are rich, you have so many things.”  You may be sure that I was pleased that I had received this new equipment and it was a real pleasure to cook on my new stove as I had cooked so many years by the camp fire and the fire place.

    We remained in southern Utah nine years until my husband’s cough got so bad because of the hot climate as it seemed that the climate was worse for him than the cooler climate.  He became so bad that he could not do any work.  So we started for Sanpete County in the spring of 1873.  The roads were so decidedly bad in the early spring that we were unable to complete our journey and had to stop at Kanosh in Millard County.  The little mules could not go any further with the wagon and the few effects that we had.  We stopped that season and raised a small crop of grain on shares.  We farmed on shares with Joe Black.  We had one room in his large house and it was here that my fourth girl, Juliette, was born on June 2, 1873.  There was so very large a storm that springtime and summer and we lived in a dirt house.  While I was confined to the bed with the birth of this baby, we had to have pans set around the bed to catch the rainwater, as well as pans scattered around on the floor of the room.  The mud also streamed down into the room from the dirt roof.  Accordingly, the bedding became damp and wet and at this critical time, it now seems strange to me that I did not contact pneumonia and die.  I often drew up the contrast with the condition of the present day wondering how many women of today would have survived under the same conditions.  The Lord surely blessed me and I must have had a great power of resistance to sickness.  This incident is almost a proof to me that my life was to be spared for a much greater mission that I was to perform to which I was called a few years later when my home was in Ephraim, to lend my services in the practice of obstetrics in bringing many babies into the world.

    The next spring, 1874, we started for Sanpete County.  We therefore went direct to Wales to live.  We took up a homestead a few miles out from Wales and lived on it for the next five years.  At last we moved to Ephraim where my last baby was born.  For the last 15 years, my husband was able to do little of any work on account of the prolonged and permanent asthma, which he had.  It became necessary for me to go out sewing and do weaving at my home and do all kinds of work in order to support my husband and children.  We had moved around so much and had very poor luck in it all and we felt that we had moved ourselves out of everything in the way of property, equipment, and effects.  This became necessary because of the miserable spell of incurable sickness that had by this time made my husband a complete invalid.

    He died August 29, 1899, at the age of 84 years.  He had been a good man all his life and had taken an active part in trying to settle southern Utah.  In these hardships he had contracted a wretched disease---asthma—along with its complications, which finally sapped out his life.

    Brother Stevens was in Far West, Missouri, when the Saints had some of their worst trials, he was there when the Brethren had to give up their arms at the time when the Prophet Joseph Smith was taken.  The mob officers had planned to shoot the Prophet at eight o’clock in the morning of the following day after he was taken.

    I was indeed sorry to lose my husband and companion in all the trials and sickness we had experienced during our years of hardship together.  He had, however, been an invalid and suffered the pangs of his sickness for so many years that I felt to be thankful that he might be taken Home and relieved from his suffering.

    Soon after Brother Stevens passed away, I had a nice cottage built in Ephraim in the year 1900.  I lived there for nine years.  I sold my home and moved to Salt Lake City, so that I could be nearer some of my married daughters.  On September 9, 1909, I purchased a house at 310 Stanton Avenue, Salt Lake City, and have now spent a number of birthdays while I have made this my home, which is located in the Ninth Ward.  Soon after becoming a member of the ward, I was assigned to regular duties in the Relief Society as a block teacher and have attended to duties pertaining to this calling with a great deal of pride and interest ever since.

    My health has been fairly good up to this time, although my stomach gives me considerable trouble at times.  While I have only one eye that has served me faithfully as a constant member of my body, I am able to do considerable reading and never resort to the use of glasses.  I really believe that I have now received my second sight, as they call it.  This came about six years ago, or about the year 1916, and I now do quite a bit of sewing and reading which is a pleasing pastime for me.  I always attend to my own housework and go about in the city alone with ease and without anxiety.

    During my life, I have brought more than 1,200 babies into the world in my practice of obstetrics.  No doubt it may be said of me that I have by this done some good in the world.  During the height of my practice, the charge for this class of work including nursing the patient until the mother and baby did not require extra help was from $2.50 to $5.00.  This is the amount I usually received, and in a great many cases the pay is still coming to me, money was scarce and difficult to secure it seemed.  It took lots of hard and constant work these days in order to make a few dollars for my scanty living for the support of myself and family.  Accordingly, I have done some service in a professional way.  I did the best I knew how to do and have tried to help comfort the sick and cheer them up.  I believe there are a great many women who have a warm spot in their hearts for me.  Regarding those I helped bring forth in their infancy, a great majority of them now know the real responsibility of this service because they now have families of their own.  Many of the babies, as I call them, are now grandparents, and some are even great grandparents.

    My work as a practical nurse has not been altogether laid aside since coming to Salt Lake City, as my children, relatives and friends have called upon me from time to time.  There are 13 little ones I have assisted in bringing while living in Salt Lake City.  In all these years of experience as a nurse in obstetrics practice, I have no doubt established a little reputation in this profession.

    October 29, 1919, was the date on which I celebrated my 82nd birthday.  At this time, my relatives and friends arranged a social for me that was given in the Ninth Ward Hall.  There were 130 of my near and dear ones in attendance.  This I considered as a great honor and feel grateful for it now in my old age.  In my advancing years, I have appreciated my children, relatives, and friends, more it seems, each day.  I hope they will always think of me a great deal.  I am trying to live right so that I may always retain my friends and friendships.  The very successful social given me is an evidence of their love and esteem for me, which made me feel so good that I joined dances at the part.  Dancing has always been one of my pleasures.

 

         *****************************

 

A talk given on the 82nd birthday anniversary of Augusta Dorius Stevens, October 29, 1919, by her niece, Julia Dorius Jensen.

 

Our Dear Aunt Gusta:

 

    What a world of tender memories, respect and love that name implies.  It is known far and wide by her thousands of friends as just plain Aunt Gusta.  With what grateful hearts is that name lovingly recalled by the many whose bedside she has attended with tender care and nursing—always so cheerful and hopeful, dispelling gloom and sadness and brining sunshine and gladness.  Her great talent for comical songs and stories was a true gift we shall always cherish.

    She left home, parents and friends when but a girl of 15.  Among strangers she traveled; crossed the ocean in a sail ship—the trip taking nine weeks.  She crossed the plains by ox team, and endured all the perils of the journey, arriving in Salt Lake on October 14, 1852.  She located in Ephraim, was married to Henry Stevens at the age of 16 and to them were born eight children.  They moved to Dixie when conditions there were anything but encouraging and the struggle they had for nine years would be sad to reveal. They were indeed glad to move back to Ephraim.

    I remember distinctly Aunt Gusta as President of our Primary Association of Ephraim South Ward.  Oh, how we children all loved her.  What grand Primary meetings we had, what jolly times in games and fun we had in the old Tabernacle where we played on the lot behind the little old school house which stood on the southeast corner of the Tabernacle block.  Her jovial pleasant disposition and noble character made her an ideal president.  For nine years, she labored faithfully in that capacity, winning love and esteem of every child in the town, who now rise up to call her blessed.

    Her home was wonderful for its neatness and cleanliness, so cozy, we all loved to visit there.  Never to be forgotten are the delicious pies, cookies and biscuits that she made.  Even at the age of eighty-two, her pies were unexcelled.  Many are the happy times we still have at dear Aunt Gusto’s.

    Her great calling was nursing.  In 1876, she commenced to practice obstetrics.  Besides rearing her family successfully, and caring for her invalid husband who was stricken with asthma, she earned their livelihood going around from house to house caring for her patients.  I seem to see her now coming along with her black satchel in her hand, and after a pleasant “Good Morning, how are you?” over the fence, on she would hurry on her rounds to nurse the happy mothers and care for the babies.  So with a joke and a laugh and some encouraging word, on she went each day, yes, and night too, until she had brought more than 1,200 babies into this world.

    We cannot forget what a prominent part she played in all our social activities.  None could dance better than Aunt Gusta, and now even at the age of 82, she is more spry than many of us younger people.  Many times, in our parties has Auntie’s sweet voice entertained us, especially in comic song.

    She moved from Ephraim to Salt Lake City in 1909.  She has won many friends wherever she has mingled.  She has acted as ward teacher in the Relief Society cause in the Ninth Ward for many years.

    Aunt Gusta preserves her age most wonderfully.  She still has her sunny disposition, always cheerful and optimistic—and is inspiration and a grand example for all of us.

    May our Heavenly Father’s choicest blessings rest upon you, Dear Aunt Gusta, and may you be permitted to live as long as you desire—a comfort to all and an inspiration to us to live noble and well.  What a glorious thing to have lived such a life that you are so beloved and respected.

    May this large gathering of relatives and friends on this, your 82nd birthday bring you such joy and satisfaction—a real testimonial of our love for you, I humbly ask in the Name of our Redeemer.

 

 

 

It has always been my desire to see California.  One of my daughters was living there, and so I took the trip, leaving Salt Lake City Jan. 17, 1920, and arrived at San Francisco on Jan. 18, having taken the trip alone.  I found no one there to meet me, which was contrary to the plans.  We had just missed each other.  I stood and waited for some time and hardly knew what to do.  Finally here came one of the boys and I was surely happy that I was found.

    The family took me for a while down to the ocean.  I saw the big waves roll in onto the shore.  I washed my hands in the ocean water, but had no desire to sail on the water again as I had had enough ocean travel when I came across from the Old Country as a girl.  A family party was arranged at Golden Gate Park, and we had a glorious time in that beautiful park on the shores of the Pacific Ocean.

    Santa Cruz, located south of San Francisco is where my girlhood chum lives---Mrs. J. Thornton—whom I had not seen for 66 years.  My trip was planned for a visit with her and in a few days I journeyed to Santa Cruz to meet her.  It was surely a treat for us both to meet after a lapse of 66 years and to have such a wonderful visit as we had during the succeeding days.  Our conversation continued from day to day each relating the interesting experiences we had during the precious years of our lives we had been apart.  She had lived all this time in California, while I had lived in Utah.  All the stories and experiences we related to each other would have filled a large volume, no doubt.

 

The story is continued in Part 2.



Owner/SourceKevin Jacobson
Linked toAugusta Rasimena DORIUS

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