ELLA GILBERT NIELSON'S LIFE
WRITTEN 31 MAY, 1961
BY ELLA GILBERT
I was born 21 October, 1885 in Gillespie, Fayette County, Pennsylvania. My father's name was John Gilbert who came from Scotland in 9 June, 1874. He landed in America and settled in Pennsylvania.
Julia Ann Thompson Federer became his wife the 27th of May, 1879. They had three children, Greenland, Christina and myself. Mother died 6 May, 1887. I do not know much about that time because I was only 18 months old. Uncle Andrew Gilbert told me that the last time he saw my mother, she was at Grandfather Gilbert's funeral and she had me in her arms. After mother died, father let Grandmother Gilbert take us. She did what she could to take care of us, but she was not well. So, father let me go to this one Aunt's place to live and then later to another Aunt's. I was the younger of the two. Then there was a dear lady that tried to adopt my sister, Christine, but she wouldn't consent to be separated from her daddy, and she cried most of the time. The lady gave her everything to make her happy, but she refused to be her little girl, and father had to take her back home. Then between times he had to hire help to care for us children.
Then when I was four years old my father remarried again. My step-mother was a good housekeeper and kept us children clean and well clothed. She was Scotch and taught me her language or her Scotch twang which was a terrible embarrassment to me. When I started school it was such a handicap that I did not learn my own language, and would have welcomed a mouse's hole to crawl into to get away from the fun I created in the schoolroom among the students. So, my education was hampered from the start. I rebelled about going to school to face that uproar, but it didn't seem anyone cared whether or not so I was out of school most of the time.
We did not have order when women taught school. There were big boys who were almost grown to us small first graders all in one room. And the teacher who taught us was a women related to the rich farmers, so, the poor didn't get much attention. We changed to different schools. My brother never attended the county school where I mostly attended. I had to walk about 2 1/2 miles to school over high snowdrifts in the winter so I rarely went in bad weather. The other school was what was called Troy Town school. We had a man teacher, and when he had trouble with the children, he would send one out to get a willow. He never used it that I remember. Another threat or story he told the children was there was a graveyard up on the hill, and that seemed to make them think. I was in the first grade when I went to his school. I can still remember a big chart with our lessons. When our class was called up to get our lessons, we had the alphabet on one page with all its form and other pages with beginners' reading and spelling and also numbers. Books were scarce. We had a slate and pencil to write with and a wet rag to erase with.
The steamboats passed up and down the river; We had our schoolhouse built high upon the hillside, I mean at a safe distance from high water. The school house was on the opposite side of the hill from my home so this hill I am talking about separated my home from the river. The river was the Monongahela River which at that time was the main transport by steam shipment of coal and commerce and passengers, by steamboats, tugboats, barges and all such commercial purposes. There were locks spaced to level off the swiftness of the force of water that it could be safely us. The river generally froze over completely in the winter. This usually closed the mines and until the ice broke up we walked across it many times. Other wise we went in what we called a row bout or skiffs. When the river was clear of ice we could go across the river in this manner to visit relatives that lived on the opposite side of the river or go on excursions on different occasions. Our relatives came to us from West Virginia by passenger boat. They lived in Gladsville, and we went down the river to Pittsburgh by boat. Sense we left there, there, there was a new railroad put clear through our side of the river to Brownsville, Pa.
My father worked in the coal mines from the time he was eight years old. His father would take him to work with him. They would go down into the mine before it was light and stay until after dark. So when his father and brother came to America, coal mining was their occupation here in America too.
Father bought nine acres of land and on this piece of land built our home. We, as I remember, had lots of vines on the hillside, a big raspberry patch, a large garden plot and some bees at the end of our house, there were about 14 stands. They were very gentle bees because they did not sting him when he took the honey. There was a few fruit trees. We kept a cow. We had to drive her to pasture nearby but we didn't always have a cow. We went to a farm and bought butter and milk.
We would go upon the hills and away out in the country and pick fruit, fruits in their seasons. We always had plenty of jams, jellies and bottled fruits, and we had our own honey---and we always had a fat pig to kill.
We went to the Presbyterian Church to Sunday School once in a great while, also to their picnics. They invited us to go in the summertime. We did not belong to any church. In Scotland my step-mother was a member of the Protestant Church. I suppose my father was too. My mother belonged to the Baptist Church, and all her people did but one uncle was a Methodist. Mother's father was training to be a Catholic Priest in Switzerland where the Mormon Temple is now. The Priest that was over him continually drained him for all the money he could give him, either to borrow or otherwise. His mother died about that time, and he was about to bury her, and the Priest demanded more money from him. So he quit the Catholic Church there and then got another minister to finish the funeral for her. This he told my father when he went back from Utah to Pennsylvania on a visit. I guess they were talking about Mormonism. My father joined the Church of Latter-Day Saints. My Uncle Andrew joined the LDS Church and moved to Richfield, Sevier County, Utah. But he had asthma there so moved to Winter Quarters, Carbon County, Utah because the coal mine was a help if not a complete cure. His asthma was better when he made the move. So, in later years when my father joined the Church, it was through Uncle Andrew that my father came to Winter Quarters as did many other converts who joined the Church.
It was there my sister met her husband, my brother met his wife and I met Niels Nielson. His father's family lived there. The altitude was nine thousand, nine hundred feet above sea level and in our time the Doctor said I would have to leave the high altitude for my heart.
I married Niels in 1903. We loved each other very much. In 18 July, 1905 Julia was born. We named her after my Mother--her name was Julia Ann Thompson. People were always telling me, when I was a child, about my mother whom they loved so much. Julia, my daughter, was like her for everyone loved her. And our next child was James Clifford. He was a very fair complected and such a sweet contented baby. He died when he was ten months old, lacking seven days. The next baby was a baby girl and we named her Elva Christina. She was born 9 January, 1910. She had a dark complexion like Julia.
She like James didn't stay with us very long. She died 28 May, 1910. Then came Thora Ella. She was born 3 November, 1911. She had dark hair at first but later it turned a pretty blond. John came next and we named him John Gilbert after my father. He was like James and had a fair complexion and white hair.
After a short time here we had a strong desire to move on the farm, which your daddy, Niels had bought two years before in Cedar View, Duchesne County, Utah. I had never seen the place but anything was better than raising my children in a mining camp, and to us was beautiful. His family tried to persuade him not to make the move but we had the home land and we were both anxious to make the move, which we did in 1916.
We didn't have anything to start with except a team and a wagon and what we could put in the wagon. We started with a real pioneering job form the moment we left our home in Winter Quarters. But I never could be sorry for the move we made in the spring of 1916. Although we went through a lot of hardships.
LeRoy was born 24 March, 1918 and there wasn't even a floor in the one room home. But we thought we were rich with such a nice black headed addition to our family of three. When you don't know the hardships before you, you keep trusting in Him from whom all blessings flow, and Father in Heaven blessed us with his own measuring stick
Glen Edward was our next lovely son. But he was very delicate and he was born 7 August, 1920. After he was out of his babyhood, he just didn't seem to get along good and gave me a lot of care and worry. We had a lot of sickness with all of them. tonsillitis, measles, mumps and all children's diseases. John was sick for a long time. LeRoy had a sickness we feared also.
Stanley was our eighth child and fifth son. He was a big healthy baby and never sick, if he was at all he came out of it in a hurry. Stanley was born 29 November, 1922.
Irene came after Stanley. She had enlarged tonsils, earache, a lot of sick spells. She was born 6 November, 1924, and then came Calvin. He was an even-tempered child and completely contented if he was taken care of properly and even then if some unavoidable neglect, he was wonderful. He was a good baby like Stanley. When he was six months old, Jule had to share Calvin's attention from Mama. Julia died 5th June, 1927 and the Doctors said I would have to nurse Jule to save his life, which I did. But it wasn't long until those two baby boys were sitting side by side holding their bottles with their fat chubby hands. Hardly giving anyone any trouble but to attend their wants and keep them in full bottles. Calvin was born 12 November, 1926. And Jule Loyal Clifford Perry was born 4 June, 1927. Julia his mother died shortly after he was born and he stayed with us until he was four years old.
Then came Joseph Federer. He was born 23 September, 1931. He was our seventh son and he was a strong healthy baby except he was born with bad adenoids and he got worse as he got older. While he slept foam would work out of his mouth. I thought it was sniffles and kept putting Vicks in his nostrils until the doctor examined him and said he had enlarged tonsils. But he never really got over his throat and nose troubles until he had both tonsils and adenoids taken out.
Jule and Calvin were very much attached to each other. Jule's father took Jule home when he married Thora and the separation of the two was very hard on Calvin.
On the farm in Ceader View, Utah, it was very nice, and the children seemed to enjou it in spite of our hardships. We always had plenty to eat after the first two years. The church was about a mile away and we new all the people. We had a school in Ceader View for the first few years and then they began to centralize the schools and put on busses to take the children to Roosevelt. This destroyed the growth of Ceader View, and it never amounted to anything after that. We had five children born in Winter Quarters, Utah and six born in Ceader View, Utah. When the drought struck in the country in 1933, we had to move to Midview. It was between Bridgeland and Myton, down the Duchesne River in Duchesne County, Utah. We rented Indian land, and we gave the Indians a part of our produce every year.
In 1936, Niels was bit by a poisonious wood tick and he died with Rocky Mountain Tick Fever. He was buried in the Roosevelt Cemetery in Duchesne County, Utah. Ella passed away 27 September, 1970 at Roosevelt, Utah and is buried there.