Life History of SARAH ADELAIDE WRIGLEY KIRKHAM
I, SARAH ADELAIDE WRIGLEY KIRKHAM, was born 17 December 1888, at American Fork, Utah. I was the daughter of Charles Wrigley and Sarah Ann Robinson. My father was born 21 September 1864, at American Fork, Utah. He was the son of Joseph Wrigley and Adah Lucy Steel. My mother was born 16 September 1868, the daughter of William Walker Robinson and Sarah Eckersly.
Charles Edward and Sarah Ann Robinson Wrigley had nine children. Their names and birth dates are as follows:
Sarah Adelaide 17 December 1888
Adah Lucy 17 November 1890
Charles Edward 28 July 1893
William Henry 29 July 1896
Nona May 13 September 1898
Edward Menta 23 January 1901
Velma 30 March 1905
Helen Louise 21 June 1913
Robinson 11 January 1915
We lived in American Fork a few months, and when I was six months old we moved to Salt Lake City. Then after a short time we moved back to American Fork.
Dad was a carpenter, and on one of his jobs while repairing a roof he sprained his ankle. This made it necessary for Mother to go with Dad to milk the cows. They had left a big fire in the cook stove this one time, and in some way a dish towel caught on fire. I pulled my sister Adah out of bed and dragged her about a block to the barn. I can remember this at four years old. Dad continued to work with the sore ankle and at the time was helping build the Lehi Sugar Factory. The pain in his ankle became more severe and he became very discouraged. Someone told Mama that a drop of water out of an egg would heal his ankle. They tried this and it did get better.
After this age, I also had the misfortune of getting hit on the head with an apple. It started a series of headaches that continued on through my younger years.
At the age of five, my mother taught me to make a nine patch quilt. Every other stitch had to be a back stitch, and I learned to tack the seams so they would match in the center.
When I was five years old, Father's father, Joseph Wrigley, came up from Castle Valley in Emery County, Utah, and persuaded Dad to move to Emery County and homestead a farm. So we moved to Ferron, in Castle Valley. Dad homesteaded a sixty acre farm and built a log house on it at Rock Canyon Flat. There were three of us children now; myself, my sister Adah, and my brother Charles. Mama and we children rode as far as Price on the train and then Dad met us and took us the rest of the way by wagon. Dad and Tom Cunningham, his cousin, took our furniture in a wagon. There was a robber's roost gang in Salina Canyon known as the Crawford and Dalton Desperados. Dad narrowly escaped them on the way with the furniture.
We lived near Ferron for three years. This is the only time in my life, as far as I can remember, that we barely had the necessities of life. [As mentioned] Dad was a carpenter by trade and farming was not in his line. Living so far from the railroad, produce was hard to sell and that which was shipped in was very high. Sugar was 50 cents per pound so we couldn't afford to buy it. We used honey made from stink weed.
We made five trips back to American Fork by wagon in three years. It took from five to eleven days to make the trip. On one trip back, Dad made beds for the women and children in the wagon. The men melted snow so they could make their beds on the ground. We found that they stayed up all night by the fire. They told us the next morning that they saw a lion's foot print, and that is why they didn't go to bed. Also, on one trip we ran into a sand storm. All four wheels of the wagon were stuck in the sand. Dad dug with a shovel and moved the wagon back and forth, and kept this up until it finally came out of the drift of sand so the horses could move it. We had a dog, and as we rode along it would chase the coyotes away from the wagon, then the coyotes would chase the dog back. it was fun to watch them.
I remember what a good occasion it was one Christmas when we received a box from Grandpa and Grandma William Walker Robinson. Dad hid it in the granary in the wheat. A note came with it saying, "If you don't want this stuff send it back." Of course Grandpa knew we needed it. In the box were shoes for all of us and pieces of cloth to make into dresses and skirts.
When I was eight years old, Dad sold the farm at Rock Canyon Flat and we moved back to Lehi next to Father's mother, Grandma Adah Lucy Wrigley Stoddart. She ran a hotel and we moved into a cottage next to it. Then we moved to Locust Grove into a one room house on the corner. There was a pond by this house and a spring that kept it full of water. In the winter children from all over town would come to skate. My brother Charles was going out to the pond over a narrow bridge and he fell in! I ran and told Mama. She wasn't able to run very fast so I ran back and pulled him out. Dad built a nice home on Locust Street and we lived there until I was nineteen.
I started school when I was eight , in the Central School building in Lehi. Angie Webb was my first teacher. I was later transferred to the Ross Building. Later when the Sego Lily School was built, I was sent there, as we lived in that part of town. Ida R. Thurman taught me for three years. Then I went back to the Central School. My teachers were Cora Bromley, Georgia Cropper, Jerome Child, Fred Worlton and Urban Allred. I skipped the second and seventh grades. I went through seven grades in five years. Since I didn't start until I was eight, I believe this had something to do with how well I learned. I was taken out of school when I was partly through the eighth grade on account of poor health. I had a lot of headaches and I was anemic.
While living in Lehi, I went to Primary in the old Ross Building. Sister Long, Bone and Peck were the Primary officers. When the Sego Lily Building was completed, I attended Sunday School and Primary there. When I was thirteen years old, I was called to be a teacher in the Primary class in Sunday School. When the Lehi wards were divided I was thirteen years old, and according to the history of the Lehi Fourth Ward, I was their first Primary Secretary. The ward grew and soon the school building was not large enough, so the ward rented the bank building. Then I became a member of the Ward and Alpine Stake Choir and was secretary of the Sunday School for a number of years, until we moved to Salt Lake. I was a teacher in the MIA and I took singing lessons from Oscar A. Kirkham. All of these positions I held before I was married. When we moved away, the choir gave me a leather bound Psalmody and the Sunday School gave me a beautiful picture. (A lady rowing a boat.) I also belonged to a sewing club that presented me with a picture.
I was baptized on 29 August 1899, at Saratoga Springs by Lott Russon, Sr. and confirmed the same day by Lott Russon, Sr. The reason that I was eleven when I was baptized is because when we lived in Castle Valley we didn't attend school or church because it was too far away.
When I was 16 years old , I went to work in the People's Coop store in Lehi and worked there for two years, until our family moved to Salt Lake. During the time I was working, I had an experience that I'll always remember. About the first of December the Christmas toys came into the Coop store. They would always close the store until we had all the toys on display. They would take us out to dinner and supper and we would work real late that night until everything was out. Next day all of the children in town would rush to the store to see the toys. My brother Willie, then eight years old, dashed home from school so excited that he threw his coat and cap off and ran out of the house and two blocks down to the store to see the toys. He contracted membranous croup and died the next night. I could hear his breathing a block off as I was coming home from work. Mama and Dad said there would be no Christmas this year. They felt too sad. They said, "If Sadie wants to do something, she can." So I bought a gift for each one in the family. Mama just sat and cried all of the time. I had a date Christmas Eve. Mama had made me a new white dress. As I left the house that night I looked back at Mama. She looked so sad and she was crying. We had always had a tree, but Mama said there was to be no tree this year. When I came home from the dance, a lovely sight met my eyes. I cried for joy because there sat Mama making doll clothes. Then, across the corner of the room she had draped some muslin and hung the ornaments on it. The stores stayed open late on Christmas Eve and she and Dad had gone to town and bought each one of us a gift. She said when I left for the dance, I looked so sad that they said to each other, "We shouldn't be so selfish and should make Christmas for the children, even if we don't feel like it."
That year a heart-shaped locket came into the store. I wanted it so bad and admired it every day. I told Mama I'd like it for Christmas. One day I noticed it was gone, so I thought someone else had bought it. But when I got up on Christmas morning, there it was for me. With the money I made at the coop store, I helped buy clothes and other things for my family.
My little sister Velma died of scarlet fever at the age of four in 1909. When father couldn't find work at home he would go to Salt Lake City, where, with the help of his Uncle Richard Chamberlain, he could always get work. After Velma died, Mother was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, so she and the family went to Salt Lake to be with Dad rather than be alone.
In 1909 the family made a permanent move to Salt Lake City.
Three months after our family moved to Salt Lake , I married Lott Kirkham, whom I had kept company with for two years. I had gone to school with him all of my school years. We were married in the Salt Lake City and County Building, with Lott's sister Eliza Crabb and Grandma Adah Lucy Wrigley Stoddart as witnesses, with Nathan H. Tanner performing the ceremony, 1 December 1909. On my father's side of the family, I was the first grandchild to marry.
Lott and I moved to Lehi after we were married. Our first child, Edward Douglas, was born 1 January 1911. Adah and Orla George, twins, were born 3 September 1912. We went to the Salt Lake Temple the 29th of January 1913, and received our endowments and had Edward Douglas, Adah and Orla George sealed to us.
Many a time Lott would come home from work to find me in the rocking chair with all three babies asleep on my lap, unable to get up to lay them down. He was indeed a welcome sight.
Lott had been working for the Utah Idaho Sugar Company since he was fourteen years old and was employed by them when we got married. When the twins were about eight months old, the Sugar Company sent Lott to Payson, Utah, to be a foreman of the "beet end" of the new factory.
In Payson, Sherman Dale was born on the 28th of July 1914. During his birth I had a manifestation. I had a terribly hard time and I kept wondering why women had to suffer so, since they were so willing and anxious to have children. It was made plain to me why Eve had to suffer pain. I could see all the way down through the ages like steps. I heard a voice say, "You know now, but you won't be able to explain it to others."
While living in Payson, Utah, I was a teacher in the YLMIA as a Beehive teacher, the first Beehive class organized in Payson. I was a teacher in the Religion class at school. I also belonged to the ward choir and stake choir, and I had the opportunity of singing at General Conference in Salt Lake City. Every Sunday I would take my children to church and place the four of them on the front row while I sang in the choir.
Sarah was ever faithful in her church callings. An example was when she was a Beehive teacher in Payson. She and the girls had fun meetings, parties, and camp outs at her home and out on the lawn. She took the group horseback riding to the canyon. It was different for her children to see her on a horse. She was interesting, a good cook, creative, and fun to be around. She earned a Bee Pin and a sterling silver "Cell" bracelet for her service as a Beehive teacher.
At parties and gatherings in her home, Sarah always entertained guests in a dignified manner. Everything had to be just perfect. One time she embroidered and crocheted on a huge tablecloth, twelve napkins, twelve large doilies, twelve medium doilies, and twelve smaller ones to use on a dinner table. She saw to it that she had a nice set of dinnerware and silverware for special occasions. Food was placed on each plate just right, no spills or sloppy look, and served in an attractive manner. She taught her children proper etiquette in serving food.
Douglas and the twins, Adah and Orla, started to school in Payson [Utah]. When the Payson Sugar Factory closed down, Lott worked at the Spanish Fork sugar factory for awhile. In 1919 the Sugar Company transferred Lott to Monroe, Sevier County, Utah.
Mother Kirkham made beautiful "horse hair" hats with wide, wide brims and decorated them. She made several for herself and one for Adah. Sarah kept hers on the dresser. It was fun for her daughter Adah to go into the bedroom and try them on and look at them in the mirror as she flipped the brim up and down. They were difficult to wear in the windowless cars in those days.
While living in Monroe, Sarah had one of the most traumatic experiences of her life. Lott was assisting in the tearing down of the sugar mill, and he and a co-worker, Frank Painter, were helping disassemble some equipment and were putting it into some open rail cars. The car in which they were working was on a track by a huge tank. Lott related that he and Frank had an interesting conversation during which Lott asked Frank what he would do if the tank were to tip over onto the car they were in. He asked, "Would you jump out of the car or would you fall to the floor?" Frank responded that he would fall to the floor since he felt the tank would probably hit them before they could have time to get out. Lott expressed to Frank that because he had claustrophobia, he would jump out of the car as fast as possible if it tipped.
Within a very short time, even before their conversation was concluded, the tank began to tip and fall across the open rail car. Lott shouted, "She's tipping Frank!" Immediately Frank attempted to jump over the side. Lott, however, was impressed that he should fall to the floor. This he did and was pinned there by the metal from the tank to the extent that he said he was not able to move his arms or legs, or even his fingers. [Both men did just the opposite of what they had intended to do.]
Unfortunately Frank, who had said he would fall to the floor, had jumped and was severed in half as he lay across the rim of the car beneath the metal tank. Rescuers had to cut the tank and car with torches to free Lott and get him from under the massive metal.
Sarah was notified that there had been an accident at the mill where Lott and another man were working, and one of the two had been killed. She was not told as to whether it was Lott or the other employee. From her window she could see the commotion and excitement at the factory but did not know of Lott's status.
Adah relates she, Douglas, Orla and Sherman were in school at the time, and a boy came running in and told them their dad had been killed in an accident. She said the four of them cried as they ran the three miles to their home. By the time they arrived, Mother Kirkham was aware Lott was still alive but pinned beneath the metal. They could see the tank across the rail car from their window, and it was agonizing as they watched the crew free their husband and dad.
Lott never forgot this incident and considered it a highly spiritual experience in that he expressed, "Someone from the unseen world told me to fall to the floor, which was against my judgement because I feared tight enclosures." He added, "I know the Lord sent a guardian angel that day to spare my life."
The following children were born to Lott and Sarah while they were living at Monroe:
Stanford Wrigley was born the 30th of October 1921, in Salt Lake City, where we had gone to live for a month on account of earthquakes taking place in Sevier County.
Doris was born the 19th of October 1923.
William Gaylor [Bill] was born the 23rd of November 1926.
Donald Robinson [Bob] was born the 19th of January 1928.
When Donald was born, Sarah had another manifestation. She writes, "It seemed like I went to the gates of death. I could see all my friends on the other side asking me to come through the gates and leave this world with its pain and suffering. Among those was John Gilchrist, who [had] died nearly twenty years before. It seemed that I was just about to pass through, when Stanford, I heard, started to cry for something in the kitchen. I felt like I didn't want to leave the children, that I would be able to suffer anything to stay with them."
Sarah's parents lived in Salt Lake City until their deaths. Her mother, Sarah Ann, died November 13, 1925, and her father, Charles, died December 5, 1929.
In Sevier County they organized a Primary and Sunday School out in the factory area and called it Austin Ward. Sarah became secretary of the Primary. They eventually decided the families in that area would go to the Monroe North Ward to church. Sarah was set apart to teach in the Parents Class in Sunday School and the Adult Class in the MIA. She expressed that she enjoyed more satisfaction in teaching than in any other position she ever held. She was expert at it because she studied much and had great knowledge of the scriptures and the gospel. She was greatly blessed, especially in the Sunday School Class. The members seemed to appreciate her efforts in teaching the lessons. There was never a Sunday that someone didn't come and tell her how much they enjoyed the class. This was a great satisfaction to her and she felt she was well paid for the effort of getting eight children ready and taking them to Sunday School.
Other positions Sarah held in the Church in Monroe were; teacher in the Relief Society, M.I.A. and a teacher of the Genealogy class.
Sarah and Lott were very proud of Douglas when he became the First Eagle Scout in Utah.
The five older children attended school in Monroe until in 1929, the Sevier Sugar Factory closed and Lott was transferred to Shelley, Idaho where he and Sarah lived for the rest of their lives.
The new Kirkham home in Shelley was the second house on the south end of the "Sugar Row" in the southeast side of town. [The "Sugar Row" was a string of homes built by the Sugar Company to house their full-time employees.] A son said, "Mother made our home comfortable and homey with her crafts and cozy with her attitude. Our mother was truly a homemaker as well as a counselor and a wonderful story teller."
The Kirkhams always raised a large garden and Lott purchased a cow to supply milk for their needs. Sarah would keep the milk in large pans in the mild cupboard. The children would love to dip a slice of homemade bread into the cream that would rise to the top, add a sprinkle of sugar and enjoy its deliciousness.
Lott and Sarah each enjoyed a good sense of humor. Sometimes he would say something comical while she was carrying a full pan of milk, and she would start laughing and shaking until she would spill it.
Often Sarah would take after Lott with a broom handle and tickle him to the point where she would just have to point it at him and he would laugh until he was so weak he couldn't get up.
Sarah loved needle work, and she taught Doris and Adah (and Bill) to crochet and to knit. Lott said he would often have to move his head "up-and-down" and from "side-to-side" to keep from getting poked by their crochet and knitting needles.
The family had an old style console windup Victorola phonograph that the children enjoyed. They did a lot of singing, and some of them learned to dance while listening to the miracle of its music.
After about four years of working at the Shelley factory, the great depression of the 1930's hit and the factory closed. Lott leased a forty acre farm located about three miles west and one mile south of Shelley. The family crowded into a four room house, but the children said they had more happy memories on the farm than at any other home in which they lived. It had an "outhouse" and an outdoor water pump that had to be primed and pumped vigorously each time they drew water. The four older boys slept in one bedroom, and Doris, Adah and the two younger boys slept on the davenport in the living room.
In 1930, radio was coming onto the market and the Kirkham family certainly enjoyed theirs. They listened to Amos and Andy, Baron Maunchausen, Jimmy Durante, and Mother Kirkham and the youngest son especially enjoyed listening to operas on Saturdays. Douglas was immensely intrigued by the new invention and would lay by the radio set late into the night, listening, dialing for distant stations, but turning the volume down lest he disturb Mother and Dad in the next room. The family was usually only allowed to listen to the radio at night to conserve electricity.
When the snow was deep and the family was confined to the house, jigsaw puzzles helped make life interesting and everyone could participate. They worked every puzzle they could get their hands on. They would get so absorbed in it they didn't realize what was going on around them, and one evening while doing a puzzle, the little boys, Bill and Bob, brought in armful after armful of wood [for the kitchen stove], filling the kitchen so there was not even a path to walk. It was considerate of them and the family laughed and laughed, finding it very humorous.
Sarah tried to make the home cozy and comfortable. She made bread (every day), along with cakes, pies and puddings. She canned almost everything she could get her hands on. One year she canned a whole beef using a pressure cooker. Lott and the children produced some fine crops of sugar beets, potatoes, hay and grain. Sarah made knee pads for the children to use when they thinned beets.
Working in the fields thinning beets brought each of the children a few cents to spend in town and at the movies. Eagerly one year little Bobby went with Stan, Doris, and Bill to earn his share. It didn't last long, however, since he became ill and had to be taken to the house where it was concluded he had a case of the measles. He felt very sad so his mother assured him he would still be paid as much as his brother Bill would earn. He later regretted Bill only earned thirty-five cents.
Sarah taught her children the principles of daily living--to be thrifty and industrious--as well as the Gospel. A good example of her thrift and industry is found in Adah's following account:
"When Lott would kill a pig, he would bring it into the kitchen and lay it on the table to be cut up. Side pork was made and rolled into spiced bacon or put into brine. "Head cheese" was made from the pigs head. Sarah would cut out the eyes, remove the ears, snout and the brain and put the remainder on the stove to cook for a long period of time. Then she would cut off pieces of meat and chop it up. She would then put some of the boiling liquid on it and let it set till it was cold. Then she would slice it. Oh! How good it was in lunches.
"Fat was cut in strips and chunks to be rendered into lard, and the cracklings from this were put in cookies or eaten like they were.
"Sausage was ground and seasoned, liver ground and wrapped in little squares of fat from lining from the pigs stomach, which were called 'faggats.' These were baked. Oh, so good!
"Pig feet were saved to cook with beans or for pickling. Then there were the hams and shoulders put in brine and hung up on the side porch to keep all winter, to cut off and fry.
"The bladder was used as a football. We didn't use the squeal but maybe someone has discovered a use for it today.
"Grandma Wrigley would make her English pork pies from the fresh lard. She had the knack of rolling and rolling and rolling the lard into the flour like the English do."
Nothing on the pig was wasted at the Kirkham home. You haven't eaten ham and bacon till you have eaten that which Mother Kirkham prepared!
The whole Kirkham farm could be seen from the house. Sarah would signal with a white cloth for dinner and Lott would wave his hat in answer and all ten would gather around the table in the small kitchen.
Besides doing jigsaw puzzles, the children read many Big Little Books, played in the willow patch, and climbed in the trees which lined the road on the north side of the farm, picked wild flowers, watched the stars on beautiful clear evenings, and sang songs together.
One of the highlights of the farm life was when the threshing crew would move from farm to farm harvesting the grain. When the tractor pulled the huge thrasher into the Kirkham lot, all the children were watching and helping with great enthusiasm. The girls an Mother would prepare a hot meal for the crew, which ranged from fifteen to twenty hungry hands. When the crop was finished the crew would move to the next farm.
The winter of 1932-33 was a severe one. Snow drifts piled up to the top of the power poles. The family
rode over fences and across fields in a sleigh once a week to get groceries. The younger children rode to the Riverview School to the south, all bundled up and on straw, in a bobsled. Lott had to dig a tunnel through the snow to get to the barn to milk and care for the animals which consisted of cows and two work horses named Bill and Nell.
One day on the farm, Sarah threw a pan of water outside the back door because the home didn't have a sink. She went with the pan and fell. Lott clownishly said he had to get a "block and tackle" to pick her up, and he didn't make much headway since they were both laughing so hard.
Stanford had a horse named Keno. He would bridle her up and ride away at daring speeds, which always worried the rest of the family, especially mother and the two youngest boys. One cold day he took Bill and Bob to the rivers edge, a mile to the east of the home, to show them how faithfully Keno would swim clear across the river with Stan hanging on to her mane for dear life. The boys were terrified with his flirtation with danger. Needless to say, his parents felt the same. Mother just shook her head, and dad found it difficult to do more than scold him since he could see the mutual love between Stan and his pony.
While on the farm, the older children started courting, and with much success. One night Orla was going out on a date and went into the closet to put on his new suit. He was not always fussy about dressing up. Out he came in full dress; pants, coat and vest, with the extra pair of pants that he had purchased with the suit, dragging behind. The family stopped him just as he was going out the door!
Douglas told of the time he broke up with a girl friend, and shortly thereafter she went out to the farm where Father Kirkham was hoeing beets to persuade him into talking Douglas into taking her back. She didn't have much luck, but Lott scolded Doug for causing a minor crop failure. He said the girl killed two rows of beets with her salty tears.
Adah began dating "Pace" Cobbley and was often found tending the younger children when he showed up to court. Stan, Bill and Bob would give her a bad time by sneaking up behind Pace's coupe and watching he and she doing some hugging. One time Pace was having dinner with the family, and right while they were eating, Bill and Bob crawled under the table and started singing, in harmony:
What makes Adah's heart miss a beat
When she sees Pace Cobbley on the street?
It's a precious little thing called Looooooove!
Adah was nervous anyway and this really made her blush. She says she could have "mashed" them right there!
Orla married Salome Davis on the 1st of April 1933.
Adah married Karl G. Smith on the 6th of May 1933, and they moved to Beaver, Utah.
While on the farm, many times the children, and occasionally Mother Kirkham, would walk clear into town on Saturday then walk the four miles back home, even late at night.
Religious training on the farm consisted of attendance at Sunday School and Sacrament Service at the old Second Ward Church in Shelley. The younger members of the family attended regularly. In Sunday School and during the Sacrament Service, the younger children sat on mother's lap or near her side as the sacrament was passed. The water was passed among the adult members in a regular glass from which each took only a small sip. Bobby didn't go for the little sip and often showed quite a rebellious outburst because he wanted a satisfying drink.
The children were taught to pray daily, and respect for the Deity prevailed. Sarah had a great knowledge of the scriptures and could easily answer her children's questions.
Christmas at the Kirkham's was the highlight of the year. Though the family was not rich monetarily, they never suffered from want of food or clothing. Christmas time always meant a tree decorated with chains of popcorn, cranberries or paper strips glued into links which were then put around the branches. Occasionally icicles were purchased and used to top off the decorations. Santa always came and the children received a gift such as a pocket knife, a doll, a harmonica, etc., as well as an orange, nuts, candy, and homemade gifts. Christmas was always a happy time.
The Sugar Company reopened the Shelley mill and Lott returned to work for them. This made it necessary to hire someone to do most of the farm work, which didn't prove profitable. So Lott sold the farm after the family had lived there for four years, and they moved into a huge boarding house which the Sugar Company had built on the factory property southeast of Shelley.
The family members were saddened because they were leaving the farm, but they loved the big boarding house which had plenty of bedrooms, a bathroom, and even a telephone. They only used one end of the old "hotel," as it was called. Sarah took in boarders, preparing many big meals, making lots of lunches, and working very hard. This brought her in some extra money and she loved doing it. The children spent many hours playing and hiding in the many vacant rooms throughout the large two story structure. Their friends were fascinated as they were given a tour down the long hallways and into the many empty rooms.
The kitchen was huge, with big sinks, a large stove, and lots of pantry space. Each child could have their own bedroom. It had a huge dinning room. Mother Kirkham arranged the dinning area at one end. She and Lott purchased a big antique sideboard from the Sugar Company that had been in the Chicago World"s Fair. It had hand carvings on it of baby angels, faces of women, dragons, etc. It graced the big dining room. After Sarah's death it was sold for one thousand dollars and the money was divided among the children.
Douglas married Lelah Geneal Jensen on the 5th of August 1935.
Their wedding and their reception were both held in the large dining area. A few dances were even held in the "hotel" home.
Young Billy showed some curiosity which brought some anguish while in this home. Mother had the washer running one day, and the wringer was turning with it. She left the kitchen to go out to hang clothes, when, it seems, that boring wash day for the children turned into something to remember. Bill stood and stared at the moving wringer and then let his finger play along the rollers. The revolving rollers finally grabbed them and pulled his arm in up to the elbow and then burst his skin. Mother came to his rescue. Father Kirkham said he heard him scream clear over at the sugar factory and came running home. No bones were broken, but Bill had a massive wound.
In 1935, the family moved back to the Sugar Row into the last house on the north end where they lived for ten years. As always, Lott had a beautiful garden, flowers and a neat yard. The large garden helped feed the family as well as the neighbors.
This nice home had a front porch which the family loved. It extended clear across the front of the house. Lott would often rest there and read his paper, and the family would sit out there and shell peas, snap beans and visit. In the evenings Lott and Sarah would just sit there and talk about many, many subjects.
The children would swim in the canal to the east, gather at the corner street light in the evenings to play Kick the Can and other games, play rubber gun games around home and across the road to the west in Oler's barns and spud cellar, and make willow houses on the east side of the canal bank, where they would cook mulligan stews with carrots, peas, chickens, potatoes, and even minnows, bird or chicken eggs, and "who knows what" in them.
The home was fairly close to town and the children used to go there often. One day Bill and Bob visited the lumber yard and found some strips of glass which had been cut from window material and they decided to take them home. On the way they crossed a ditch which they had to jump and Bobby fell on the glass which was jammed down inside of his shirt and across his chest. It made two large gashes and he began some serious bleeding. Bill thought he would never get him home. Mother put some homemade remedy on, which looked and smelled like motor oil and covered them with bandages and sent him off to play. He carried some noticeable scars the rest of his life, and the two boys learned another good "wringer" lesson.
Lott always loved to fish and Sarah enjoyed going with him just as much. He would take the family on fishing trips regularly in the summer. They would get up and leave at about 4:00 A.M. so they could be at the stream at the crack of dawn. Sarah and Lott loved the Island Park area and for years fished Hotel Creek and Warm River, as well as other areas and streams. The kids were usually anxious and willing to go along but would crawl under quilts in the back of the car and sleep all the way there. After arriving, Lott would take the ones from under the cozy quilts who thought they could stand the early morning frost and dew, and they would bring back a mess of fish for breakfast. Mother would cook them, along with some hash brown potatoes and some biscuits. It was always a most delicious meal.
Sarah and Lott were proud and never ashamed of the large family they were raising. Some of Lott's fellow workers, two in particular, sometimes inferred that he had too many children and even made light of it. This hurt Sarah and Lott some, but they could handle it because they loved their family. Having the younger children around and seeing the older ones return with their families for visits, especially on Sunday and holidays, made it all worthwhile for them. Their joy in life was their family.
Lott and Sarah loved taking trips and loved just taking a Sunday or evening ride with the family in the car. They covered every road in the Snake River Valley. Sometimes they would stop and pick wild asparagus or watercress, which they really enjoyed eating. During the years Adah and Karl lived in Beaver, Utah, they would load up the family in their trusty Chevy or Pontiac and take a vacation to southern Utah to visit her and her family. The trip was made at least once a year and was a highlight in those growing up years for the younger children. Mother Kirkham would fix cheese and crackers to eat while traveling, a tradition which was passed on down to their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Sarah and Lott enjoyed visiting some of their old friends along the way; a practice which was truly agonizing for the two younger boys. The children always wanted to get to Adah's quick! Bob always wanted to sleep in the car when they stayed along the way. This way he avoided hearing the same old stories and discussions over and over again about the happy times Sarah and Lott had when they were young.
The older children at home dated and courted and also found their mates.
Sherman married Flora Katherine Hall on September 1, 1938.
Doris married Maurice Oscar Johnson on December 19, 1941.
Stanford married June Beth Pyper on November 25, 1944.
Doris recalls Mother Kirkham's sense of humor. She states that Maurice's favorite was the time they were fishing with her and Lott and she fell into the stream, about hip-deep. Maurice was extremely concerned and immediately started wading in to rescue her, but was soon aware that she and Papa were both laughing very hard. Papa said, "Maurice, you can't pull her up, she'll have to do it by herself." When Mother could control her laughter, she did.
Lott believed in the Church and defended it. He never criticized the prophets who led the members. While living in Utah, he was in the Sunday School Superintendency, and for many years he served as a Ward Teacher. He was an ardent believer in the principle of tithing and he and Sarah paid a full tithing on everything they earned all their life. They made certain their family had a way to get to church meetings and supported them in all their church activities.
After moving to Shelley from Monroe, Sarah and Lott were always members of the L.D.S. Shelley Second Ward, and, as indicated, attending church was a regular weekly experience for the family. Sarah taught the Adult class in M.I.A., was Ward Relief Society Work Director under Sister Juliett Oler, taught the Junior Genealogy Class, and on July 14, 1938, she was sustained Work Leader of the Shelley Stake Relief Society under Sister Anne B. Johnson. She related that she felt "small and insignificant" in this last position. Even when Sister Beak of the General Board praised her for the table decorations at the Stake Board Banquet, she said she still did not feel capable in this great calling. She filled the position with great dignity and humility and was much loved by those with whom she served.
On October 30, 1943, Sarah was sustained as Second Counselor to Annie B. Johnson in the Stake Relief Society. While in this position, school lunches and church welfare canning were sponsored by the Stake Relief Society at the Welfare Center on Shelley's north main street. Sarah was placed in charge of organizing and directing these two important new programs. Also, a mattress making project for needy families was started and hundreds of quilts were made and completed. Many people came to the Center and helped with the projects. Thousands of cans of food were prepared. Sarah supervised and worked at the Center for eleven years, assisting many needy and making many loyal friends. She was recognized by and became very familiar with Apostle Marion G. Romney while in this position. He praised her for her great service to the Church and to the area.
In September 1949, Sarah was released as Second Counselor in the Stake Relief Society, along with all members of the Board, as Sister Johnson and her husband Clarence had accepted a call to the Swedish Mission. The incoming sisters gave them a very nice reception and presented each with a lovely gift. Sarah's was a beautiful lamp and a fancy handkerchief.
On December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in the Hawaiian Islands and the United States became involved in the Second World War. This brought Sarah and Lott to the realization that some of the members of their family would surely become involved in the defense of the country.
In June 1942, Stanford enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and left for San Diego, California shortly thereafter. Sarah and Lott had mixed emotions on that special day. They were very proud of Stan but feared for his safety. Mother's heart ached as she watched him board the train, fearing she might never see him again. Her faith, however, buoyed her up and she prayed for his safety daily. She and Lott proudly placed a Silver Star in the front window of the home, which was the custom for families who had sons or daughters serving in the service of their country. Stan finished basic training and was shipped to New Zealand. From there his division was sent into four of the war's most critical and major battles. They first landed on the beaches of Guadalcanal, and after fierce fighting they secured the island. They next battled for the islands of Siapan, Tarawa and Tinian and successfully captured them from the enemy. These were strategic islands in the Pacific and their capture formed a stepping stone towards the Japanese mainland. Stan was wounded during these invasions and was awarded the Purple Heart. Lott remarked that it would be impossible for anyone other than a parent to understand the agony, fear and uncertainly he and Sarah felt during those critical months. Yet, their pride for what Stan was doing was obvious.
The excitement of Stan's military effort was also experienced by his brothers and sisters. The eldest son Douglas, whom Lott often referred to as an electronic genius, got involved in the effort by accepting a position at the Shelley High School teaching electronic classes. Orla likewise contributed to the effort by working double shifts at the sugar factory, which was necessary because of a shortage of men of his ability and qualifications. Sherman was drafted into Civil Service and was sent to Hill Air Force Base near Ogden, Utah, where he performed maintenance on military aircraft. He was later sent to the Hawaiian Islands to continue that service. (At that time the military were not drafting men of Douglas, Orla and Sherman's ages into combat service. They were encouraged, however, to become involved in the war effort in their particular field, which they did.)
When William turned eighteen he enlisted in the Navy V5 Officers Training Program and spent a year in training in Pocatello at the University of Southern Idaho [which later became the Idaho State University]. Afterwards he was sent to St. Mary's College in California to complete his training.
The youngest son, Donald, joined the Navy near the end of the war and was trained as a Communication Intelligence Specialist at Bainbridge, Maryland and at Bainbridge Island near Seattle, Washington. From there he was sent to Adak Island in the Aleutians, southwest of Alaska.
Doris' husband Maurice also served in the Navy.
These were proud years for Sarah and Lott and they were most grateful for the safe return of Stan and for the effort each of their family had contributed toward their country.
William Gaylor married Jean Anderson on July 3, 1947.
Shortly after returning from the Navy, Donald received a mission call from the L.D.S. Church to serve in the British Isles. He traveled by train and then sailed for England on October 1, 1948. When he received his call, Sarah decided to make herself part of it by accepting a job in Mallory's Department Store in Shelley. This way she was able to help support him on his mission.
Father Kirkham retired on December 1, 1949, having spent most of his life working for the Utah Idaho Sugar Company. He and Sarah purchased a comfortable home on Milton Avenue in the east part of Shelley and moved off the Sugar Row. There Lott enjoyed caring for his large garden, flowers, lawn and yard around the home. Mother Kirkham filled the home with love and comfort as well as with delicious meals which she prepared for them and for her children and grandchildren as they often came to visit.
After two years, Donald returned from his mission and married Deona Huntsman on November 16, 1950.
Douglas bought the novelty part of Mallory's store, and Sarah continued working full time for the new owner until she was past seventy years of age. Even after that, she continued working part-time because she enjoyed it.
With her husband and children, Sarah did a great deal of traveling. She traveled through all of the states, some several times, also to Canada, Mexico and Hawaii. She always brought back to the family many stories of traditions, geography, history, and souvenirs from the places she traveled.
Sarah's hobbies were handwork and making quilts and other things that the hands can create. She learned to crochet, knit, learned tatting, and all kinds of needlework. She painted, and made flowers out of every kind of material. She made rugs, clothes of all kinds, and did embroidery work on may things. She enjoyed making many hundreds of quilt tops and at seventy-nine years of age she averaged making two quilt tops a week.
Besides teaching classes in genealogy research, she worked twenty years searching for names on her father's family. For ten years she was a member of the Shelley Stake Genealogy Committee and spent many hours each week helping others find names in the Shelley Stake Genealogy Library. On her father's line she had cleared 17,000 plus names. All of the temple ordinance work has been done for these people.
Sarah always remembered four grandfathers and six grandmothers. She could remember Grandfather and Grandmother William Walker Robinson, Great Grandmother Sarah Robinson, Great Grandmother Eckersly Compton, Great Grandfather John Compton, Grandmother Adah Lucy Wrigley Stoddart, Grandfather Joseph Wrigley, Great Grandmother Grace Mary Wilkensen, Great Grandmother Lucy Charles Steel and Great Grandfather Edward Steel. Most of them lived to be over ninety years of age. Great Grandmother Robinson lived to be ninety-seven years of age. Grandmother Sarah Eckersly Robinson was deaf and mute. Sarah learned to talk to her with the sign of hands when she was very small and stayed with her whenever she was ill.
Sarah loved her grandparents dearly and it made genealogy research more personal to her. She said, "Every name was a person to me, and I enjoyed it very much."
One of the highlights of her life was the George and Sarah Holt Robinson Family Organization. It was a great pleasure for her to meet at the reunions each year and to get acquainted with so many wonderful relatives and to learn more about her important heritage.
Father Lott Kirkham had a wonderful English sense of humor. He started having some health problems in the early 1950's and went to the doctor for a checkup. When he returned, the anxious wife and children asked him what the doctor said. He simply remarked, "Well it's so serious that he told me that I shouldn't chop any more kindling and I shouldn't eat any more 'bakers' bread." [He loved homemade bread!] "He also said I should not read any 'serials' or play any long playing records." The family laughed but knew that it was probably his way of telling them he needed to take it easy and slow down.
In the summer of 1953, Lott had a heart attack at home and the doctor called for an ambulance to transport him to the hospital. In jest, many times, Lott had told Lloyd Nalder, the local undertaker, that he never wanted to see the back end of his hearse. When Mr. Nalder arrived and was about to help lift him into the ambulance, Lott said, "Darn you Lloyd, I told you I never wanted to ride in this darn thing!" To which Lloyd replied, "Lott, I don't think you have any choice." Unfortunately he didn't. This was his last ride.
Sarah accompanied Lott to the hospital, and she and the children took turns staying with him while there.
On July 3, l953, in Idaho Falls, Sarah's husband Lott passed from this life. He had requested that the family not be sad or mourn, and during the weeks that followed, they were together often, shedding many tears, and reminiscing about the happy times they had experienced with he and Mother Kirkham, and of the joy and humor he brought into their lives. Though they missed him, it was always easy to remember the good times with their mother and dad.
The relatives, friends, neighbors, and former co-workers attending his large funeral, filled the Shelley Second Ward Chapel and overflow. They paid their respects to Sarah as she recalled the many years they had spent together. His interment was in the Hillcrest Cemetery south of Shelley.
Sarah remarked, "He was a kind and loving father and husband and provided a good living for us. He left me with a comfortable home and security, so that I am independent and can live in my own home. For this I am very thankful. I have eight wonderful children who are very kind to me and will do anything for my comfort. My son's wives and my daughter's husbands treat me as their own mother. I am so thankful for my home and that I can live in it and take care of myself with the help of my family."
Lott had always kept things in good repair and kept the yard, flowers, lawn and garden in good shape. After his death the lot became choked somewhat with grass and weeks. There was no longer a garden, just the grass lawn which the grandchildren mowed and cared for.
Sarah was grateful to have four married children living in the Shelley area to help look after her needs. Her daughters, Doris and Adah, were especially attentive and caring. Though she was able to care for herself, they would bring her hot meals each day and helped keep her happy.
She enjoyed her children and grandchildren's visits. She knitted mittens and slippers and quilts for them. The family remembers pans of warm thimble-iron cookies with maple icing running to every corner, and gallon jars of pressed Christmas cookies that she had baked to take to grandchildren and neighbors at Christmas time.
Sarah loved to read. When she became unable to go about, each week Doris would get books at her request from the Shelley Library. She especially like the classics and history.
Doris writes of Mother Kirkham's knowledge:
"I marvel at the way she could answer almost any question I asked regarding my school work. She had a little difficulty with math as she had skipped two grades. As for history, geography, English, grammar, and spelling, she just seemed to know it all."
Sherman stayed with Mother Kirkham for several years, and they took extensive trips throughout the country. She knew many legends and stories of the places they went because she had read much about them in books. Sherman and his mother were very comforting to each other during this period of life. He stated:
"Mother was always there when I needed her to help over rough places in my life. When I was ill, she kept a vigil over me day and night."
As an example of how much love she had for her children, she once said, "Sherman, if I had a chance to go to the Celestial Kingdom, and I knew you weren't going to be there, then I would rather go where you will be."
The following are excerpts from tributes given to Mother Kirkham on her 80th birthday.
A daughter writes, "After my marriage, home was like a Mother Island from which each of us cast off with our little boats to ride the storm of independence. It would be exciting to return home, often, with the tide until we were strong enough to cope with the seas of our responsibilities. I was always bolstered when coming home with the help my parents gave me. Our car was usually loaded with fruit and vegetables, maybe something Mother knitted, crocheted, or embroidered was tucked in to add to the prettiness of my home. Or maybe the nudge of a little check.
"I remember Christmases she [Mother] got up ahead of all of us, lit the candles on the beautiful tree in the special parlor room, with gifts piled high, and made it ready when we ran in there Christmas morning.
"And now in her later years, I appreciate her independence. She is never demanding of anything that she wants us to do for her. She doesn't want to put her wants ahead of the responsibilities we have in our homes."
A grandson states, "I am deeply grateful for the heritage that she has given me. My life is full because of her. I have faith in God because of her teachings, and I hope that I can pass this faith and heritage on to my family."
Another grandson says of her, "If it wasn't for you, my wife and I wouldn't be enjoying the joy and happiness that we have. We are thankful for your faithfulness and for the example that you have set for us."
A granddaughter states, "She has always been an inspiration and ideal for me to follow. She has been a leader to everyone. She has raised the most wonderful daughter, whom I cherish as my Mother."
Another daughter writes, "One of the first things I remember about you [Mother] is that you were always there at home when I needed you. You made home that special place, no matter which house we were living in.
"Maybe the thing I remember most is the fact that you helped me to see the beauty of life, beauty that many other people never see. You showed me the colorful sunsets, the beautiful trees, the beauty of nature all around, and you taught me to make lovely things with my hands.
"I am so thankful you helped me to know the Church is true and so important in my life, and to have a testimony of the Gospel. You always knew the right answers about religion, too."
Another granddaughter said, "The thing that made this trip most unforgettable was the fact that Grandma, as she always does, could make the old places and memories really live, with her magnificent talent for story telling, her sense of humor and good nature.
"I love the lovely grandmotherly ways she has helped us to learn of and appreciate our priceless family heritage."
The following is a verse from a poem written by a granddaughter:
My grandmother's eighty years old today.
She is? So many years to have lived, they say.
And I think to myself, "Do you count it in years?
Or do you count it in memories, joys, and tears?
Do you count it in souls she brought to earth,
Or the lives that she's touched to increase their worth?"
A son expressed, "It seems that all my life whenever I've had problems, she has always told me the truth and it has made me accept life for what it is. She taught me what it means to love people, she taught me how to endure sorrow, she taught me what it means to share with others, she, more than anyone else, taught me the reason we are here on earth and the dangers of temptation that would come our way.
"My mother, to me, is a living example of one of God's choice children, because she knew how to show genuine love. She has such a good knowledge of the Gospel and is always able to answer questions that I have and have asked in the past. I never recall her believing that the Church was true, but rather, I always felt she knew it was true...."
"I was always proud of mother's reputation, and once it really paid off. This was shortly after being discharged from the Navy. I met a cute little brunette one Sunday afternoon. I knew this was it! Here I was, and 'old Navy vet,' and she, a young sophomore in high school. I asked her for a date, and I found out later that when she asked her folks for permission, her mother asked if this Kirkham boy was the son of Sister Kirkham who worked at the Welfare Building. After finding it was, she said, 'If that's Sister Kirkham's boy, it's all right.' It's nice to have a mother that people feel this way about.
"During our married life, our experiences with our mother and grandmother have all been pleasant, ranging from 'wild' trips through the backyard jungle, conducting the Kirkham Band till wee hours in the morning as they played her favorite hymns, 'Memories Are Made Of This,' and 'See You Later Alligator,' to a trip back east to get Orla to help us 'force' her to sign a 'will' which included such things as denying any knowledge or existence of a certain 'peach stone,' and deeding the 'old sideboard' to Bill, Stan, Douglas, and Sherman--or just anyone--but not to Orla or I."
A daughter-in-law writes, "One thing about you that I remember and love is your beautiful white hair. (The color of your hair has always been a thing of beauty, Mother, and something that the children brag about--and incidentally made it easier to find you in a crowd!)
"Thank you for being conservative and thrifty and for instilling this quality into my hard-working husband. I marvel at the way you can stretch your grocery dollar and the many household hints, lovely dishes, and recipes you have shared with me. I'll always remember how you love all kinds of pickles, how you always canned as many as you possibly could, and I remember you telling me about one hard winter when you were raising your family and you made up many a meal on fried potatoes and pickles. Pickles have dressed up a few scanty meals on our table too, and I plan to always have pickles on our shelves.
"I love you for your strong testimony and for the marvelous spiritual example you have set in your life. We can never repay you for all you have given us--life itself and our precious heritage."
A granddaughter expressed, "Ever since my mother was married, Grandma has helped each year with our canning. She always volunteered her services and never complained. Who knows, we may have starved without her help! We, as members of the Kirkham family, owe it to her to live so that we may carry on our name with full respect and honor. We must each live a life that our Grandmother Kirkham will be proud of."
Another granddaughter said, "One of the things I love the most that you gave us Grandma, is Daddy. You must have been a very good mother to raise such good children, because I've got the best dad in the world. Grandma, I'm very proud of you, and I feel I have the best grandma in the world."
A ten year old granddaughter writes, "We love to look around her house because there are so many interesting things to look at, like salt and pepper shakers and jewelry and Uncle 'Nine Toes' [referring to her son Sherman, who had a toe amputated]. I really love her a lot and hope that she will always know it even though sometimes we are so noisy that we wake her from her naps. I hope she will live with us for several more years because I will miss her when she leaves."
A nine year old grandson states, "I always remember those great big hugs that Grandma gave me. I like to go to her house because she gives us treats. I love those good slippers she gave us each year. We had fun when she went to California with us in our brand new [Volkswagen] bus. She enjoyed doing all the things we like to do. We believed she liked it because she was happy all the time and never groaned."
A four year old grandson said, "I love Grandma Kirkham because she's nice. She gives me cookies when we come over to her house. And she 'bees' nice to Uncle Sherman. Grandma makes us slippers. I love her 'berry' much."
On December 17, 1968, Doris and Adah had an Open House to help celebrate Mother Kirkham's eightieth birthday. Many of her friends called to see her. She received many cards and telephone calls as well.
At eighty years of age Sarah could see that her health wasn't quite as it had been. But she still attended church meetings and made quilt tops.
Sherman passed away on February 22, 1972, of a heart attack while living in Ohio and was buried there.
In the early 1970's Sarah's health began to wane. She wanted to remain in her own home as long as possible, but in 1972-73 she felt ill enough that she was persuaded to spend a few weeks at Bob's Doris' and Adah's. When she began to feel better she returned to her home, which she dearly loved. She became weak again so her daughters and daughter-in-laws took turns staying overnight with her.
On the morning of February 14, 1973, at the age of eighty-four, Sarah gently slumped to the floor with the help of a daughter-in-law who was staying with her. The doctor and family were called immediately, and she slowly closed her eyes.
Sarah Adelaide Wrigley Kirkham passed from this earth life calmly and peacefully, without complaint, in her own home, just as she desired.
A lovely funeral service was held and attended by many family members and many friends, and this beautiful daughter of God was laid to rest beside her husband Lott in the Hillcrest Cemetery south of Shelley, Idaho.
Sarah and Lott Kirkham were the parents of eight children. Their names and birth dates are as follows:
Edward Douglas 1 January 1911
Orla George (Twin) 3 September 1912
Adah (Twin) 3 September 1912
Sherman Dale 28 July 1914
Stanford Wrigley 30 October 1921
Doris 19 October 1923
William Gaylor 23 November 1926
Donald Robinson 19 January 1928
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From Documents Written by Sarah Adelaide Wrigley Kirkham and her Family.