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Aunt Lizzie February 25, 2010

Elizabeth Johnson
Daughter of Warren Marshall Johnson and Samantha Nelson
26 April 1874 – 12 November 1970
This record is entitled “Chapter Eleven”.  It has been typed on the back of some old Family Group Sheets. 


Chapter Eleven

My Experiences with Herbs

 In 1924-25 I went to Salt Lake to a special school to learn about herbs, and to take a nursing course under Dr. Ellis Shipp, a woman Doctor. She was a very good woman and a wonderful doctor. I stayed at Sr. Hardy’s, an old lady about eighty years old. I was only three blocks from my school. I walked to school each morning, took the class for two or three hours, then worked for Sr. Hardy the rest of the day. She paid me five dollars a week which took care of my tuition. She had never had any daughters of her own, but she had several boys. When I first went there, she didn’t think I would know anything about making bread, so she bought a hard old yeast cake and made some. The bread wouldn’t raise and didn’t turn out to be very good, so I made my own yeast and made a batch of bread, and it was really good. From then on she wouldn’t make any more bread but had me make it. When I left she cried, not wanting me to leave.

When my daughter was to be confined with her second child I went up to take care of her. She said if I didn’t come she was afraid she wouldn’t live. I started from home with Br. Isaac Black, Leonard’s grandfather, and went with him to Salt Lake in an old ford car. When I left home all I had in my pocket was fifty cents, so I planned on staying with Warren Johnson, brother Jerry’s boy. I found work as a nurse in Salt Lake, but when Wilford, Mamies’ husband, heard I was there he sent me fifty dollars to come on the train. Warren took me to the station. When Mamie’s baby girl was born she pronounced dead by the doctor. I worked with the baby, dipping her fist in cold water then in hot water, I rubbed her little body briskly until she started to gasp. The baby girl, Elda, lived and grew to be a good mother with eight children.

It was while I was up there that my sister Mattie Neves, she had married Wilford’s brother Dick Neves, had tonsillitis and pneumonia together. I met the doctor at the door when I was going to see her. He told me that she couldn’t live more than a few hours. I went in; asked for some oats, put them in two small sacks, about two cups of oats to each sack. I poured boiling water on them to let them soften before putting the oats in the sacks. I laid one on a tin plate, poured one tablespoon of vinegar over it when I was ready to put it on her. I kept changing them as they cooled and kept the extra one hot in the oven. When it was hot, I’d put another tablespoon of vinegar over it and exchange it for the cool one. In this way, I succeeded in drawing out the infection and she soon got well.

I used this same method in Cane Beds, on Lorin Covington’s two year old boy, hot with fever and pneumonia. I stayed right with him for several days until he was better.

There was a family with two little boys one about two and the other about four years old. They had both been sick and the oldest one died. Their father came up on the mail and told us about it. He said that his baby had the same thing that the older boy had, canker and dysentery. I gave him some of my homemade canker medicine. I had just made up the medicine when he came in the door. I instructed him to give a tablespoon three or four times a day and his baby would be all right. In a day or two he came back and said he would pay me any price I asked for the medicine. It had made his baby well.

The Bowery I Made

I took it into my head that I wanted a bowery so I, with Verna and Charlotte, hitched up the team and went up the canyon. We went up on the hillside where there were groves of nice oak poles. The kiddies and I chopped and chopped and worked until we got enough poles for the bowery. We had to get them down the sand bank to where the wagon was. We would take one at a time and go rolling down the sand bank with it, and we finally got them home. Since the poles were oak it was about like cutting iron. The bowery was about 18 by 3 feet. I went up to St. George and got some starts of vines that did not take long to grow. I got them all around the bowery after I got the frame up. The vines and flowers I had around it sure did look pretty.

The Short Creek Ditch

The ditch came from up in the canyon and around the East Mountain.  The Ditch Company gave credit to everyone who worked on the ditch. Bro. Colvin, and Isaac, JT. Spencer, Bro. Edwin Black, and a lot of others worked on the ditch. It was a hard job for just a few men, as it was made on a side hill, but they worked hard and got the water down to our land. I worked for about a week with the men and got credit for it. It was a very hard job to keep the water in the ditch. It would break loose and run down the side hill and make big washes for them to fix. So we did not have the water very long. My children and I would walk up to the ditch and carry pies to the men. They surely did like them. The ditch was a failure.

Sickness and Death of My Mother Samantha Nelson Johnson

 Father died in 1902. In about 1910 Aunt Permelia went back down to Utah and stayed. Mother stayed in the Big Horn until the spring of 1914. Jerry built a house for her in Hurricane near his own home. We all came back except Mattie, Lucy and Nancy who had married. The boys all came back.

One day, Aunt Mary Covington went to see Mother, and when she knocked on the door, no one answered, but she heard a little noise and opened the door. Mother was laying on the floor in a stroke. She lived for about two years after that. She could not talk very well and could not remember things, but she tried hard to earn and got so she could talk and write pretty well. It was hard on her as she knew she could not say things as she should.

I went to see her as often as I could and took things for her to eat. She seemed to be getting better, and we all thought she would be all right. We had a lot of hopes for her.

Chris Heaton left for his mission just after his wife, Elnora had died. He wanted us as a family to move to Moccasin to take care of his place while he was gone. So we went over and took care of his farm. We lived there for two years. We had a lot of fruit to take care of.

While we were living at Moccasin in about 1923, one morning while I was preparing breakfast, a voice said to me, “Go down to Hurricane and get Mother”. I knew it was my sister Elnora. She was standing there by my side. I went out to where Br. Colvin was working and doing the chores and I told him that I wanted to go and get mother. He said that the fruit is all ready to take care of and in a few days you can go down and get her. I went back in the house and the same voice said to me, “You go down and get Mother”, so I went out again and told my husband that I felt that I should go right away. He said that he felt the same way. So he hitched up the team and I went right away.

I took my little girl Charlotte, as Verna and the others were going to school. When I got to Hurricane Mother said to me, “Where are you going?” I said, “I have come to take you back with me”. She said, “I cannot leave my things they way they are”. So we fixed up her things the best we could, and the next morning we loaded some things she would need and went as far as Short Creek, now Colorado City, as it took for days to make the trip to Moccasin, Arizona.

After we got to Moccasin, that night or along toward morning, mother was sleeping with me in the house, as Brother Colvin was sleeping out on the porch as it was quite warm weather, and we had a good bed on the porch. Mother started to move her left arm and leg up and down. As she could not use her right arm, I went out and got Bro. Colvin, and we did all we could for her. We got a Doctor from the Indian School but he could do nothing for her. She was helpless for over three weeks. I would lift her in the rocking chair and drag the chair outdoors every day. She surely did enjoy it, and we thought she was getting better.

One day, about the fifth of October, 1923, I had just fixed her a piece of toast and a cup of tea and left her in the chair. I went out to feed the chickens and was gone just a few minutes. When I got nearly to the house, I heard her breathing very hard. I ran in and she was all slumped down in the chair. She had thrown her false teeth clear across the room and her toast was thrown on the other side of the room. She lived for three days, breathing hard in a coma.

Then on the 7th of October, she died early in the morning. We took her over to Kanab to bury her by the side of Aunt Permelia. If she had lived until the 28 of October, she would have been 7y0 years old. She was born on the 28 Oct., 1853, and was married on her birthday. She died October 7, 1923.

About Short Creek

Misters J.M. Lauritzen and William Rust were living here on the north side of the creek with their families when we first came here. We were the first ones to come on the South side of the creek to take up land and make our home.

My husband and son Isaac, who was 17 or 18 years old, would come over from Pipe Springs where we were working for Jonathan Heaton, and do fencing, plowing, and putting in crops. We had Sunday School and meetings in the house before it was finished. Mr. and Mrs. Lauritzen and Mr. and Mrs. Rust would always come over to our meeting and we would always have a good time. Ours was a nice house before the big earthquake. It just about ruined the house, but we fixed it up the best we could. We had all the dances and parties at tour house. Sister Lauritzen would always be there. Sometimes she would take her shoes and stockings off and wade the creek as there was no bridge. She never missed a Sunday School meeting and she was always on time.

The big earthquake came in the year of 1925.  At first we heard a big rumble like a distant wind or thunder. It came with a great force like a big truck or something banged against the northwest corner of the house. The metal ceiling in the house just twisted and made such a noise we could hardly hear each other talk. It cracked some of the windows. The doors were twisted so we could not shut them. We all ran outside and saw the rocks rolling down the mountain and the big dust they made.

It shook the ground until it felt like the waves of the ocean. Rocks and big boulders tumbled down the mountain. It changed the face of the canyons and mountains over as far as Cane Beds. It caused a crack in the earth from up in the canyon down through the country as far as the Grand Canyon. We would put our ears over the crack and it would sound like a big river running.

This happened between sundown and dark. It came every evening about the same time for about a week. It seemed to become less severe every night. The rocks only fell three nights and the last one was just a quiver.

Sister Perkins in Cane Beds was going out with two buckets of slop for her pigs, and the ground went up in waves like the ocean, and she had to set her buckets down and sit down herself. The mountains fell and big boulders rolled from them all along from here to the other side of Cane Beds, just a big streak right down to the Grand Canyon. There was just a little shake felt down in Hurricane and over in Kanab, so the main place the quake hit was here.

A boulder rolled down and knocked a big pine tree down and is still laying on top of it. There are big cracks in the ledges. Lots of big boulders tipped over.

My brother, Leroy came here from Kanab to live until 1926, in time to start his children in school, He lived in part of our house for about nine or ten months until he could get a house made.

My husband Orlin Francis Colvin had cancer of the stomach. He surely suffered for five or six months, but he never gave up. He did chores and worked until about three days before he died. He was always a hard worker and on the go. Dr. Wilkerson from Hurricane came out and said there was no hopes for him. He was only in bed about three days before he died. Our son Orlin was going to High School in St. George, and Verna was over at the Indian School working. They all came home and we sat up all night with him, and the next day about 10 or 11 o’clock, on the 17 Dec 1927, he died. Charles Heaton and some of the people from Moccasin came over and we buried him in the Kanab cemetery.

Then I lived here at home in Short Creek and I went out nursing. Part of the time I went with Josephine Johnson, my sister-in-law. We certainly were busy. We did not have it as easy as they do now. We would take care of the woman and baby for ten days or two weeks, we did not dare let the woman even raise her head. We did the washing as well as bathing the woman and baby every day.

Sometimes I would be called to go over to Cane Beds, and I would go in an old lumber wagon, winter or summer. One time, I was getting ready for bed when Bye Hutchins, Vera Wells’ husband knocked on the door. He told me to throw a quilt around me and dress on the way. I grabbed my coat and shoes and stockings and ran and got on the old lumber wagon. We had about ten miles to go down the other side of the Berry Knoll. When we got there, the baby was just born as we got in the door so we were there in time, just barely.

I had a few fruit and nut trees around in the lot. We had a pretty place until my health began to break down then the place went down too.

I still took in the travel and tried to keep the place up, but it was too much for me. The boys and girls were good to me and we got along pretty well. When the Zion Canyon Road was finished all the travel went that way, and I gave up taking in travel.

And now I will be 91 the 26 of this month, April 1965. I just have to sit around and hold my hands, which is very trying to me as I always tried to keep my housework up. Now I have to depend on Verna, my dear girl and my grandchildren, which I am thankful for.

 Elizabeth Johnson Carling Colvin died 12 Nov 1970 in Hillsdale, Washington, Utah


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