Monday, March 22, 2010

Eliza Jane Rowley Johnson

Written by her daughter,
Nellie J. Harvey

Eliza Jane Rowley was born April 18, 1865 in Nephi, Utah, to John Rowley and Mary Ann Gadd Rowley.  She was their first child out of 12 children; 5 girls and 7 boys.  Her sisters’ names were Sarah Ann (who died as an infant), Zina Cordelia, Amy Elizabeth and Mary Luella.  Her brothers were, John Sylvester, Jesse Noah, Heber Charles, James Albert, Samuel Issac, Leslie Jacob and Wilford Marion. They were a happy united family, living in harmony with the father's other wives and their children.

They were farmers and many are the stories they would tell about the father having to hide in a fake room under a bin of wheat in their store room when the marshalls would come to arrest him for living in pologomy [sic].  At one time they tried to take Eliza Jane away thinking she was one of the wives.  My mother was Eliza Jane.

Mother spent a lot of her time during the winters after she turned 13 years old in going to the St. George Temple with her father and doing endowment work for the dead.  She did hundreds of names for the dead.  She also helped her father with his farming errands and at his gypsum mine on Mt. Nebo where he mined and made gypsum. Some of it was shipped to Manti and used in the Manti Temple.

Mother was baptized in 1875.  She married James Parley Johnson from Springville, and was sealed to him the 12th of February 1882.  He later married mother's sister Zina Cordelia.

About 1884 Mother and Father and family moved to Central in Arizona where they lived for four or five years. While in Central, Arizona two brothers John and Delbert and a sister Susan Emma were born.

They were always active in church work.

I am not sure about dates, I have no way of checking, only from family group sheets.  About 1890 the family moved on into old Mexico, and stopped at Colonia Diaz.  Here my sister Lucy was born and little Susan died of Mack measles, which made my mother very sad, off in a strange and lonely land.
They moved up to Colonia Pacheco in the mountains for a year or so and my sister Bertha was born there.  They then came back to Diaz where the rest of us kids were all born.

Mother was a hard working woman, taking loving and wonderful care of her large family and teaching us the gospel, as well as to work and get along with each other.  She loved fun too.  One Valentine’s night, this was after we came to Blanding (Grayson it was then) it had been raining and us kids wanted to send some valentines.  There were no sidewalks or roads, just mud.  We were in our night clothes. Mother went with us, we waded in mud over our shoe tops. She giggled and laughed and got just as muddy as the rest of us   She loved picnic's and was always willing to fix lunches.  She kept home made beer in a keg nearly all the time without any ice to even cool it.  One night she went to a dance with her dress on wrong side out.  When she found it out, she was so embarrassed she came home and wouldn't go back to the dance.

It really hurt mother when we had to leave our new home, a lovely red brick home with 12 rooms, and as modern as it could be made at that time.  She made wonderful cheese and we left about a dozen nice big cheese in our screen cupboard besides all her jams, fruit, etc.  She made the best of everything that came to us.  She could make a home in a tent or a covered wagon   Where ever mother was, was home.  When we came to Grayson (Blanding) her 10 year old son Jesse drove the big sheep wagon with mother to tend the brakes for him, loaded with us kids and about all we possessed in it.  Dad drove a light buggy with a good team.

Roy my older brother, drove a wagon with my sister Eva and her little daughter in it and while in Hatchita Mother was doctor, nurse and comforter when Eva got her new baby boy. Eva was a second wife and her husband abandoned her at this time.

When we left Hatchita to come to Thatcher, Arizona, mother was riding in a header box with Douglas Harvey and Bertha and it tipped over on some rough road.  It threw mother out and a big heavy trunk came down on her and really gave her a hard bump on her head. It knocked her out  and left bad effects.  It affected her mind.

About 1925 mother had a stroke.  She was living alone at the time, her husband having passed on before.   She lost her power of speech and her memory.  She just walked the streets. We tried to take care of her but decided about 1926 to take her to the hospital in Provo for treatments. We left her there. She never got better and she died there on the 8th of June 1928.  We went up to get her.   Her brothers and a sister wanted a funeral for her in Provo, so we had a service for her there, then brought her home to Blanding where we had another funeral on June 12, 1928 and buried her by her husband in the Blanding City cemetary.

She was a wonderful wife and mother.  So patient, sweet, gentle and kind. A "gentle woman" all her life is what a wonderful friend said of her to me.  And she was.

We loved her dearly but certainly didn't tell her so often enough.
Written by her daughter,
                       Nellie J. Harvey

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