Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Lucy Cordelia Johnson Laws History

Lucy Cordelia Johnson was born September 18, 1891, in Colonia, Diaz, Old Mexico. Her father’s family had moved down there to help colonize that country. The baptism of Lucy was October 1, 1899.

The following story of her life is written by her as told to her daughter Fern Laws Palmer:

"The thing I remember about my home in Diaz, was the beautiful lawns about it, along with the shrubs. The mock orange trees were special to me because of the many fights we kids had with them. John, one of my older brothers, loved to hit me with oranges and duck me in the irrigation ditch that ran passed our home. I remember many a time he held me under that tap and pumped water on me.

I went to school until I was in the eighth grade, then I had to quit and help my mother with the work at home. When I was 14 years old, my father found me a job working for a lady who had just had a baby. I took care of her and the baby and did all the house work for only 75 cents a day. [In those days the mother stayed in bed for 10 days, so she had to be bathed each day also.-Fern] I remember it nearing conference time and I wanted a new hat to wear to conference so bad that I took all my money from the job and bought me one.

I started my courtship with June when I was 14. My father thought I shouldn’t go with him, but wanted me to go with another fellow, so my brother John would have to take me to the dances and etc. June would often get John’s girl and then we would trade when we got to the dance.

After my father could see that we were serious, he consented to our marriage. We were married on the 12th day of May, 1909, at our home. We were married by William Derby Johnson, June’s uncle. We served dinner to 100 guests. At our reception, we received many necessary things to keep house with. The only thing lacking was a stove.

We bought a home in Diaz, and stayed there until the Mexican Revolution. Asa and Lurlene were born to us there. Julian Asa was born on the 9th of May, 1910, and Lurlene November 13, 1911. When the Mexicans were causing so much trouble June had to be gone as a “minute man.” One night Eva and I stayed together. Lurlene had the croup and we tried to keep her quiet because we knew the rebels were patrolling our street and if she cried we might get shot. She didn’t cry at all in the night!

On July 28, 1912 the Church authorities thought it would be best if we would leave for a short time. So we packed what we thought we would need for a few days and left. June was one of the minute men to stay there and guard our property. I left with Father, Mother, and Eva, taking the two kids.

We had everything we took in one wagon. We made camp just over the border in the U.S. It rained on us that first night. We came to Hatchita, New Mexico and stayed there from July until November. We lived in tents and on G.I. rations. June caught up with us, and there he tromped adobes for 75 cents a day.

We left Hatchita in November with everything in the same small wagon. We were unable to get back to Diaz and get any more of our belongings. The Mexican bandits destroyed everything we owned.

Some days we would travel only a mile per day, the roads being muddy. We had sickness, and we had very little to eat most of the time. When we reached Bluewater, New Mexico we traded our buggy, guns and everything we could spare to Joe Hatch and Charlie Ashcroft for food. When we got to the San Juan River, we hired men with our last money to help us across.

All we had left to eat was dried apples, biscuits and beans. Eva and I hired Indians for 10 cents apiece to carry Rose and Lurlene across the swinging bridge. The bridge was flipping so hard from the wind that Mother had to kneel 3 times to get across. When we finally made it across, little Lurlene just sighed as if she were so relieved.

We stayed that night on the river banks. Everything was wet from crossing the river, so we washed the next day.

When we came to Fruitland, there were people lined along the road with food of every kind for us to eat. The Bishop let us have hay and grain for our horses. We went on to Farmington, and there we met Ashcroft and his sister with food and bedding. When we left for Blanding, we had plenty of supplies to live on.

We made our last camp at Jacob’s Well, before reaching Blanding. My brother John met us there. People were very kind to us. Bishop Hansen Bayles let us have pasture for our horses and we were able to find a place to live.

We stayed in Blanding from April to August, then we went on to Richfield, where June’s folks were. While there, our third child was born. William Hart (Bill) was born on November 14, 1913. We stayed in Richfield for two years and then moved back to Blanding.

We made our permanent home in Blanding. Shortly after arriving there, our fourth child was born. James Parley was born on August 30, 1915. Then came our next three; Harry Boyd was born on July 23, 1917; Fern was born October 25, 1919; and Elwood Wayne was born November 5, 1921.

In the time we spent in Blanding, one year was spent at Indian Creek, one at a sawmill at Devil’s Canyon, and eight years at Carlisle. We also spent the spring at several different places, cooking for the sheep shearers. We spent the happiest years of our life at our ranch at Alkali Point. Many the times I can remember burning bushes and hoeing weeds, riding with June to look for cows, and just plain being happy spending my life with him."

Added by Fern
[During these times of her life, Lou taught Primary, Sunday School, and Mutual, along with being a Relief Society teacher. She was always willing to join the fun of her children and their friends.

In spite of all her hardships, and the days she spent lying in bed, she was always cheerful, always willing to help someone in need, sometimes risking her own health.
She was a very good seamstress, and made her children’s own clothes. She made many quilts, and helped her neighbors with their sewing.

The last years of her life were an inspiration to any one who saw her. It didn’t matter when you would go to her house or how miserable she felt, she didn’t complain once. Only the day before she left this life, did she say, “Fern, do you really think it’s worth the effort to live?” She passed away on January 20, 1951.]

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