Eliza Ann MURPHY MICHIE

Born 4 Dec 1878, Mill Creek, Salt Lake, Utah Territory, United States
Died 29 Mar 1947, Heber, Wasatch, Utah, United States

Daughter of Emmanuel Bird and Eliza Ann LAMBORN MURPHY
Wife of William George MICHIE

Eliza Ann MURPHY MICHIE, about 1900


 

HISTORY OF ELIZA ANN MURPHY MICHIE

Written by her daughter,
Erma Michie Olsen
January 1975

Eliza Ann Murphy was born at Millcreek, Utah on December 4, 1878. She was the second child of Emanuel Bird Murphy and Eliza Ann Lamborn. Her older sister had died in infancy so Annie, as they called her, had to take the older daughter's place. Two more little girls were born in the family, but when Annie was eight years old, an epidemic of diphtheria went through the town and both Emily Elizabeth and Josephine died. An infant brother, Emanuel Masters, died three months later. The following year Edwin Leslie was born. Annie helped her mother take care of him. He was a fat, heavy baby, and she carried him around on her hip. She always said that this caused one hip to be higher than the other.

Her father and his brothers had a molasses mill. In the fall, when the sugarcane was ready, they all worked at making molasses. Annie said that at that time, they ate mostly bread and molasses. She would always be sure to wash off any she had spilled on her dress front, as she only had two dresses.

Annie's mother's people lived at Laketown, Utah, and one of the things they looked forward to and enjoyed very much was going to Laketown to fish in Bear Lake.

Her father's people lived near them in Millcreek. The street they lived on was called Murphy Lane. One uncle, Jesse Murphy, acted as the family doctor. He did not have a degree, but he did have a lot of practical knowledge of medicine and doctoring as they did it in those days. Whenever anyone was sick, they always called for Uncle Jesse.

Some of Annie's relatives lived at Salina, and at least once a year, they would go there for a visit. It was about a day's drive with team and wagon.

The cousins, uncles and aunts at Millcreek were all very close and had many good times as they were growing up. In those days of no cars, no TV or radio, it was up to the young and old to make their own good times.

As Annie grew older, she worked hard to help her mother. They used to dry a lot of the fruit. She would cut it and put all of the different kinds out to dry. It was hard work and needed quite a bit of watching.

During these years two sisters, Ada Melinda and Beatrice, and a brother, Paul, were born. Ada Melinda died when only two.

Annie's father's mother, Nancy Judd Easters Murphy, was getting very old, so she came to live with them. She was not well and was often bedfast and Annie helped her mother take care of her.

When Annie was about 17 years old, she had typhoid fever and was seriously ill. The high fever caused her hair to start falling out. Her mother had to cut off all her hair. Before she was sick, her hair had been kind of red and a little curly, but when she got better and her hair grew back, it was a pretty dark brown and very curly.

Shortly after this, her family decided they wanted to get out on a farm, so her father decided to move to Woodland, Utah, which is about fifty miles from Salt Lake. The elevation was higher, but they liked it. Annie went with her father to get everything ready for the rest of the family. While they were at Woodland, her mother had a baby boy, George Amos, on September 30, 1896. He died the same day. Annie said she never got to see that little brother, as he was buried before she and her father could get back to Millcreek. Another sister, Rhoda, was born a year later before they left Millcreek.

As soon as a place was livable in Woodland, the family moved there. All worked hard to make it a nice home. Two sisters, Agnes Maud and Pearl Geneva were born in Woodland.

Annie joined the young people in all the good times. The ward dances and parties were very enjoyable. She met a young man named William George Michie that she liked very much, but he was quite shy and the young people used to joke with him. During this time, there was to be a ward party on April Fool's Day and everyone always took food for a picnic. Annie and a cousin decided to have some fun, so they made cupcakes with a ball of cotton in the center of each. She said the cupcakes looked lovely. While the girls were baking them, her cousin said, "I hope that bashful Willie Michie gets one of these." Annie and her cousin didn't pass out the cupcakes, but gave them to another lady to pass around. The lady didn't know what was wrong, but as she went through the crowd, cakes came flying after her. William said that he was standing by a friend who got the last cake. His friend said, "Here, Will, I will give you half," and he started to break it in halves. The next thing William knew, that cake also went flying after the lady who was passing them out. Annie and all involved really had fun for years talking about the incident.

When Annie was twenty-two years old, she and William George Michie were married, on May 29, 1901, in the Salt Lake Temple. William's brother-in-law [ Joseph H. Lambert] had gone on a mission and his wife was staying with other relatives, so Annie and William rented their house for a while. Annie's oldest son, George Kenneth, was born in this house. He was a small, four-pound baby, but thrived and grew very fast. When Kenneth was fifteen months old, their second child, a girl, Erma, was born. Two years later, another boy, Monroe, was born.

When Monroe was a year old [1906], the family decided to move to the Uinta Basin to homestead land. William went there and picked out the land he wanted, and he built a small, lumber, one-room house on the land. Then he went back to Woodland for the family. William's brother, Robert had also homesteaded some land about two miles away.

They loaded their household goods into the wagon, tied the cow, "Old Red," behind, put the puppy in the wagon with the children and the two nieces, and started out. The road was not good, mostly just a track over Wolfcreek Pass. The scenery was beautiful, but the ride was very rough and they had to travel very slowly because the cow could not walk too fast. The old dog, "Bruce," followed behind.

The first town they came to was called Stockmore. It was about 40 miles from Woodland. As they came out of the canyon at almost sundown, William said, "There is Stockmore." The two nieces were anxious to see the town, as they had heard a lot about it. One stood up, looked, dropped back into her seat, and said, "That is a hot looking place!" Stockmore had a few cabins but was mostly built of tents.

Stockmore was about ten miles from William's and Annie's new home. As more people moved into the valley and made homes, Stockmore just disappeared. However, for a long time, the whole area was called Stockmore. Later, when an LDS ward was made, the area was called Redcliff. Later, when the post office was called the Hanna Office, the town and ward were called Hanna, too.

Annie was really quite happy in her little house. For a time there weren't any near neighbors, but gradually, more people came and there were people living about a half mile away.

William had to clear the land of sagebrush so the ground could be planted. Many times he would work all day piling the brush up, then he would burn it at night. Annie would take the children and go and watch the fire.

In the fall of 1906, they went back to Woodland and stayed for the winter. The next spring they moved back to their little house. William built some log walls about four feet high onto the house. Then he stretched a tent over the logs and made a bedroom.

In September 1907, Annie and the children went back to Woodland. They stayed a month and her third son, Leslie, was born. When he was a month old, she went back home with the children.

Now there were quite a few families scattered up and down the river and valley for about fifteen miles, so a Sunday School was started. For a long time, it was held in people's homes. Sometimes they would go five or six miles away or maybe only two, depending on whose turn it was to have Sunday School at their home.

There was an Indian camp about a mile from where Annie lived, but the Indians were quite friendly. One old Indian, called John Henry, died and William and his brother made a lumber box for a coffin. They also helped get John Henry ready for burial.

The Indian graveyard was on a flat hill about three quarters of a mile from Annie's home, but in order to get to it with a wagon, they had to go about two miles around. Annie took her children and walked across the flat to meet her sister-in-law, Lena, who was going with a wagon. Then they all went together to the burial. The grave was made like a small cellar. The Indian women sat around and sang a tribal chant, while an Indian stood at the head of the grave and preached. When he was through, the Indian women threw into the grave the things they felt John Henry would need: a frying pan, a coffee pot, a sack of bacon, a pair of shoes, a pair of overalls, and other things. When this was finished, they put logs across the grave, then covered those with brush. Then the wife took off her blanket and spread it over the brush before the dirt was shoveled on. William had gone to the funeral on horseback, but when the funeral was over, he, Annie and the children walked home through the trees.

In August 1909, Annie had a tiny baby girl that only lived half an hour. William blessed her and named her Afton. Aunt Lena, Robert's wife, came to help as a nurse. While there, she made a tiny dress that looked like a doll's dress, and helped get the baby ready for burial. Because there wasn't a cemetery, William dug a little grave not far from the house, under a pine tree. Then he made a tiny casket and buried their little daughter there.

The following winter the snow was very deep and it was hard to get around, but the family always tried to go to church when it was not held too far away.

In the spring Annie took the children to what was known as the clay hill to gather white lilies which always bloomed there in the spring. At the foot of the hill, under the cedars, they found four dead Indian cattle that had been trapped by the deep snow and had starved because no one had known they were there.

There was one Indian woman, named Josie, who was very friendly with Annie. In the early days she came to Annie and said, "White squaw, you afraid of Indians?" Annie said, “No, Josie, I am not.” Josie said, "Indian come, what you do?" Annie said, "You see that tea kettle on the stove. It is full of hot water. I would scald any Indian if he tried to bother me." Annie always felt that Josie was testing her. Josie would come quite often and bring her dog, named "Tooty." She would say, "White squaw, you give dog bread" or "You give dog butter" or "You give dog buttermilk." Annie would always share. Many times Josie would stay for a meal, too.

Another Indian woman, who used to visit Josie, had been to school. For those times, she was quite well educated. She was crippled and always walked with a crutch, but she could ride horseback. She came with Josie to visit with Annie, and then, she used to come alone. One day she came and asked Annie if she could sew on Annie's sewing machine. Annie told her yes, so she came back and brought material for a pretty, pink dress. She stayed and sewed on the dress all day.

An Italian family homesteaded land next to William, and they built a house about a half mile away. One morning the man came to Annie and asked her if she would go over to help his wife, who was sick. When Annie got there, the woman was sitting up in bed, trying to wash and dress a new-born baby. Annie went every day to try and help the woman until she was able to be up. The fifth morning, when Annie went over, the woman was out at the woodpile, working.

In 1910 another little boy was born to William and Annie. They named him Arnon. Two years later, in October, another boy, Ariel, was born. When Ariel was about seven months old, Arnon became very ill. The nearest doctor was at Duchesne, about 35 miles away, so Aunt Lena came to stay and tend the children and the baby, while William and Annie took Arnon to the doctor. The doctor told them that Arnon had leakage of the heart and nothing could be done. Arnon only lived about a week after Annie and William brought him home. By this time, there was a cemetery, so Arnon was buried there.

In August of that same year, 1913, another baby boy was born dead. William made another little casket for this tiny baby, then he went dug up the casket of their little girl, Afton, who had died four years before, and took both caskets to the cemetery and buried them in one grave.

In 1915 a little girl was born and they named her Beatrice. However, it was a heartbreaking time again for Annie, as Beatrice only lived a month. One kind neighbor had said how everyone was so thankful for Annie when she had a little girl. All through these hard years, Annie was working, taking care of the other children and trying to teach them to be good people.

In about 1908 William, with his brother's help had built what was called a sawed-log house. It had one big room and a pantry downstairs and one big room upstairs. Later on, the rooms were partitioned off and four rooms were made. With the lumber from the old house, a summer kitchen was also built on. William also built what they called a rock cellar, where milk, butter, and fruit were kept.

In 1916, Annie again gave birth to a little boy that did not live. This time Annie was very ill herself for a long time, but gradually, her strength came back. In 1918, a healthy little girl was born and they named her Varis.

During all of these years, Annie did everything she could to help others and to do good. For a time she was Relief Society President. Because the ladies lived so far apart, they tried to meet in the homes that would be a central place. One of these homes was across the river and, because high water had washed out the bridge, a big log had been put across for a footbridge. Annie did not enjoy heights and the log footbridge was high above the water. Annie would crawl across to go to her meetings. Through these years, the women were asked to donate a bushel of wheat for storage. Sometimes, it was Annie’s job to gather the wheat and to take it to the conference, where others would take it to the storehouse.

One winter William was called to go on a stake mission. He was to be gone for two weeks, so Annie and the boys were to do the chores. One Sunday it snowed all day. When Annie and the boys went to do the milking, they found part of the shed had caved in from the heavy snow. She had to go get a neighbor to come and help shovel off the rest of the shed so it wouldn’t all fall in.

Through these years, the country had been growing in population. Schools were built. Church houses, post offices, and stores were also built. Annie would churn and make butter. Then she would trade it for other groceries they needed.

In the fall of the year, after the crops were gathered in, the stock was always turned into the fields to gather whatever was left to be eaten. One fall while William was away, the pigs were turned loose. A neighbor had a potato patch about an eighth of a mile away and the pigs went into the patch. Annie sent the children to get the pigs out of the patch, but before they reached them, the neighbor set his dogs on the pigs and the dogs chased one of the pigs to death. The neighbor was a very over-bearing man, and always felt that what he said or did shouldn't be questioned. However, Annie felt differently about this matter and when she saw him passing by, she went out and stopped him. She told him what kind of a neighbor she felt he was and said, "I will have some men come and assess the damage to the potatoes and I will pay for the damage. You can pay for the pig, because my children were already coming after the pigs when you set the dogs on them." When she went and looked at the patch, the only damage she could see was where his own children had walked on it. Annie always said that after that she thought the neighbor respected her more because she had stood up for her rights.

During those days, they would go in the wagon, buggy, or sleigh five miles to church. Sunday School was at ten o'clock and sacrament meeting at two o'clock so it was a very long day by the time they would get back home again. When Redcliff was made a ward, William was made first counselor [to the Bishop]. Later, William was Bishop for twelve years.

In 1930 the sons and William, who had been running a sawmill, built a new house. It was very comfortable and Annie was happy with it. They had a small orchard of apple trees and one pear tree and some currant bushes. They enjoyed the fruit from all of these.

Annie's four sons, Kenneth, Monroe, Leslie, and Ariel filled missions for the Church. Leslie became ill in South Carolina and was sent home to recover, but he was able to go back to Georgia and finish his mission. Leslie died in 1945 from the kidney disease he contracted in the mission field. He left a wife, but no children.

. . . . . . .

Note by Coy Michie Harmon: Grandma Michie died 29 March 1947 in Heber, Utah of congestive heart failure secondary to diabetes. Grandpa (William George) died in Montpelier, Idaho 13 April 1963. At that time there were five living children and nineteen grandchildren. She was a wonderful grandma. She was diabetic and had heart problems all during my lifetime and in those days, there was not much treatment. She was nearly blind for several years before her death, but I remember seeing her in her rocking chair, crocheting by feel. I was fourteen when she died and I'm anxious to see her again.

. . . . . . . . .

Many thanks to Coy Harmon for sharing this history!


Related Histories:

William George MICHIE, husband

Robert M. MICHIE, brother in law

Lena MICHIE, sister in law


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