by Eleanor (Elsanor) Johnson – daughter-in-law
I have often thought I would like to write a sketch of the life of Price Williams and Lydia Nelson, from the time I married and joined the family.
We were married January 1, 1896. Alvin was living in Dublin and I lived in Juarez. We first met at conference in Juarez. Alvin often came to see me, and a year and a half later, we were married. We went to Oaxaca, Sonora to make our home. We settled on a ranch, seven miles from town, where his parents and several other families were living. We built a two room adobe house close to his parents. Their youngest son, Wiford Barley, was still living at home.
I soon learned to love my in-laws. I was only sixteen and had never been away from home before. I had a wonderful mother, but she passed away when I was twelve years old, leaving a family of eleven children. So Grandmother Nelson, as I always called her, fit right into my everyday life. We shared each others joys and sorrows, while we spent many happy hours together.
She had weak eyes and could do but little reading, so I would often read to her. She enjoyed listening to the Bible or other church works or a good story book. She was very religious and loved to talk about the principles of the Gospel. She often told stories of her childhood days and about her parents, so I was sure they were wonderful people. Just a few years ago, I corresponded with Mansell Nelson about genealogy and he sent me a story of the life of her parents. And after reading it, I could plainly see why she was so proud of her parents.
Our first baby girl was born October 3, 1896. She brought a world of joy and comfort to our home. The first time her grandfather Nelson came to see her, he called her “squint”. He always had a nice name for his grandchildren, and enjoyed entertaining them as soon as they were old enough to follow him around.
He always found plenty of work to do around the farm. He planted a nice orchard and several kinds of fruit trees, so it was not but a few years until we had lots of fruit. Soon we learned we had to raise something to eat or go without, for we were seven miles from a store, and had to go by wagon or team. We had several good cows, so we always had plenty of milk and butter.
We didn’t get to Sunday School and Church very often. Sometimes the river was too high to cross, and sometimes the men folk found other excuses for staying home. This was always a disappointment to me. At my father’s home, when Sunday morning came, every member of the family was expected to go to Sunday School and Church, unless they were sick. There wasn’t such a things as staying at home just to rest. On February 26, 1898, a ten pound baby boy was born to us. We named him Alvin, but his Grandfather called him “skunk”. Grandfather sure did enjoy him and spent lots of time at our house with him. When he was two and a half years old, I made him a little white shirt and short pants, and put them on him Sunday morning. I thought he looked so cute. When we were just about to go to Sunday School, Grandfather told him that his short pants were ugly. “Go ask your mother to take them off, and let you stay home with me.” He told Alvin where there were some ripe grapes that he would get for him. I was persuaded to let him stay.
Grandfather seldom ever left the ranch, but one day he went to town with one of our neighbors. He met Brother Beecroft who had just come from the colonies in Chihuahua. He gave him a letter and said that it was for some of his folks. He put it in his shirt pocket and carried it around for several days. My curiosity got the best of me, so I ask if he got a letter from someone. He said he did not know who it was for. He handed it to me and it was addressed to Mrs. Eleanor Nelson. I said, “It is for me.” He said, “Isn’t your name Teanie?” I told him it was just a nickname. I didn’t know who the joke was on, but he leaned my name and I was thrilled to get the letter that was from my sister, Cora.
He seldom ever talked about his early experiences or childhood days. I have often wished I had ask him more about his life story.
Grandmother and Grandfather had several good chairs in their home which he had made. One was a nice little rocker which Grandmother always loved to sit and rock the children in.
Our next child was a baby girl. We named her Lydia, but Grandfather called her Pokahantus. He surely did enjoy our children and spent lots of his time with them.
Grandfather had good health and seldom ever complained of ailing in any way until he got dropsy. His feet and legs were swollen. There was not a doctor within one hundred and fifty miles. We did everything we could for him. I wrote to all his children telling them unless there was a change, he wouldn’t last very long, for everyday we could see that he was worse. His two eldest sons came, Edmond and William. Their time was short for they were only there for a few days when he passed away 27 October 1902. We surely did miss him for he had been so active. All the children seemed to be lost as he had spent a lot of his time with them. He was buried in Oaxaca cemetery.
We lived on that ranch for ten years and had a family of three boys and two girls. On August 20th it began to rain. Soon the river began to raise until it overflowed its banks and continued to raise until it covered all our farm. We sure did work fast to get our belongings out of the house and moved to higher grounds. It washed our house away, destroyed our water ditch and all our crops. There was nothing else to stay there for so we moved down the river 20 miles to Morales, where we bought a city lot and twenty acres of land.
Baily and his wife went to Douglas to find work and Mother Nelson stayed with us until her daughter Lorraine came and got her. She lived with her daughters for some time, and then her son Edmund came and got her. She lived with him until she passed away January 16, 1924at Eagar, Arizona.
I always loved her, she was so patient and kind to my children and was always ready to help me in her kind way. She seldom every said an unkind word to anyone, but could remember something good that she knew about them. “Let us all speak kind words to each other,” was her motto. I have often heard her say she always had good neighbors wherever she settled. She went through lots of hardships, for they moved around from one place to another. She had thirteen children and I know she tried to teach them the gospel for they were deprived of living where they could go to church and schools in the early days.