- Name: Ann Amelia Clark
- Born: September 18, 1883 Malad, Idaho
- Died: July 1, 1958 Provo, Utah
- Related through: Erin's grandfather James Madson
Ann Amelia Clark Madson was born in Malad, Idaho, September 18, 1883, to William Hyrum and Harriet Matilda Williams Clark. Her father died when she was about seven years old. She had some memories of him and spoke of him almost reverently, always calling him "Dad", while her stepfather was always "Pa". Her father was away from home a great deal as his work required. I'm not sure what work he did, but he did leave a little money to the family when he died and my mother was quite bitter about the fact that her mother gave the money to her next husband to invest in sheep. He never did seem to be successful either with sheep or farming so they were always very poor. Mother thought the money should have been saved for the children when they grew up.
Mother was the oldest of three children. The others were Mabel Venetta, born October 13, 1886, and William Hyrum, born November 1, 1889. After her husband's death Grandma cooked for men and thus met Oliver Cowdrey Bake whom she married. They moved to a small farm at Elkhorn where Mother grew up. Children born to this marriage were Elizabeth Sarah, Oliver Leslie (lived only a few years), Earl (died at birth) and Everett Lester.
Mother talked very little about her childhood, but she and her sister, Mabel, seemed to be very close and did everything together. She spoke with pleasure of the time they spent with Grandpa Bakes' father who lived near them. He told them stories of life in England before the family migrated to America.
Mother spoke often of the one room school at Elkhorn which she disliked and never seemed to be able to get through the eighth grade there. She loved to tell of the year she went to Malad to school. She stayed with her Aunt May Bush and family (her mother's sister). She enjoyed the literary society at school and never tired of telling of her thrill at being asked to be in the school play. She was often called upon to give readings at social gatherings long after she was married and had a family.
She enjoyed this and liked to read whenever she could find any reading material. It was scarce and there were no libraries near. Our parents always ordered a few books at Christmas time from Sears or Montgomery Wards --- often popular novels like English Orphans by Mrs. E.D.E.N. Southworth. We read them over and over again. My older brother was an avid reader, but really had to wait until he was in high school and used the Public Library in Malad. They were not very well supplied, but he selected the well worn books which meant they were popular at least. He read anything from Shakespeare to Stanley's travels in Africa to Zane Gray to the Bible and enjoyed every minute of it.
After marrying Mads Jonathan Madson they first lived in a two room log building with a so-called shanty or lean-to on the north. We also had a cellar to keep canned fruit, store potatoes and carrots etc., for winter, keep milk cool and as a general storage area. Later an extra storage space was built over the cellar entrance. This helped, but sleeping space was especially scarce since the new brick house with five bedrooms and a full basement didn't exist until after the sixth child was born. Rex was the first to be born in the new house. All eleven children were born at home.
|John and Amelia Madson family|
There was no lawn, but we did have five large silver maple leafed trees in the front yard. There was a swing attached to a limb on one of the trees which gave us all a good deal of pleasure. It was a good place to swing or read and relax or just enjoy the clean fresh air and meditate. The yard was fenced (partly painted picket) and thus kept our animals like cows, horses and sheep out. The chickens roamed at will.
Coal oil lamps furnished the lighting in the old house, but shortly after moving into the new house we had the luxury of an acetylene gas system which furnished a much better light. It was set up in the cellar and had to be serviced with carbide at intervals. As this was consumed the calcium carbide had to be drained and carried out of the cellar by bucketfuls. It was used to whitewash the chicken coop, or paint the fence or just discarded.
We also had a new record player or phonograph in a nice cabinet with room to store many records. This was a hand windup machine (rewinding necessary about every other record). This was considered a luxury, but it gave all of us considerable pleasure.
My mother and I did quite a bit of sewing. I never did have a ready made dress until I was teaching and earning my own money. Mother taught me to sew when I was about twelve and after that it was my job to make dresses, aprons and rompers regularly.
Most of our food was produced right on the farm including meat (pork, beef, chickens, mutton), vegetables (lettuce, radishes, peas, beans, onions, carrots, potatoes, turnips, parsnips and squash), dairy products (milk, butter, cream, cottage cheese, and of course eggs). The cream was sold in town or used to make butter for our own table and some to trade along with any extra eggs we had at the grocery store. Mother was always very proud of her butter mold and the paddle which she used to shape the butter. Her step-father had carved the paddle out of lovely mahogany wood. The finished product looked very much like the solid pounds of butter we buy at the grocery store now. The grocer weighed each pound carefully to test for full weight. Mother's was usually a little over which was a source of pride and satisfaction to her.
Mother made good bread (not as good as Grandma's) and baking was done every other day. Our big family made it disappear fast. It was mixed at night and made into loaves in the morning. Then it had to rise and be baked by noon. Special treats came when some of the dough was made into hot biscuits, fry cakes or scones, doughnuts or cinnamon buns.
We had oranges once a year, in our Christmas stockings and bananas were almost as rare. Holiday treats included plum pudding made with suet and raisins in a cake like batter and boiled n a bag made from a clean flour sack which had been opened to form a square. This was served hot with a dip made with sugar, water, cornstarch, vanilla or rum flavor (rum was seldom available). Fruit cake was another special Christmas treat.
We never did go hungry, but we were limited by the seasons and lack of refrigeration. There was no such thing as salad dressings or relishes from the store. We mostly went without, but sometimes we made our own. All our food had to be prepared from scratch. It was time consuming and lacked glamour, but it was wholesome and never went to waste.
It wasn't quite all work and no play, but it did seem like it, especially in the summer when the farm work was heaviest. There were no near neighbors and few children our ages even then. We were four to eight miles from church and never did go until the branch Sunday School came to Elkhorn when I was in the late teens.
In summer our Sundays were pretty well taken up in visiting relatives or neighbors. No warning was ever given; we just started early in the white top and later in the old Studebaker and drove to the desired spot. We would go to Uncle Will's, Mother's brother, who lived on a ranch at Devil's Creek north of Malad. We also visited her two sisters, Aunt Mabel lived just north of Malad until she moved to town in the early 1920's and Aunt Lizzie who lived north and west of us about eight to ten miles in a place called Daniels. My Father's brother, Uncle Frank, lived near Cherry Creek south and west of Malad. Then there were the neighbors who lived only a few miles away. One of these was David Williams, Mother's uncle, and Dave Edwards who lived near him. All of these families would return the visits and everyone seemed to come up with a good Sunday dinner, often prepared from scratch after we arrived. The visits were very satisfying and gave us an opportunity to get acquainted with uncles, aunts, cousins and neighbors.
Her oldest son, Earl, was killed in a well pulling accident on May 28, 1928. This was the first death in our family and it was very hard on all of us. I guess Mother mourned most of all. She used to sing as she did her housework, but I never heard her sing again and she didn't like to listen to music after that. Another son Orlin died after he was hit by a car in Provo in 1948.
Her husband, John, died suddenly from a heart attack at home on July 18, 1930. He had been suffering from chest pains for some time and over-exerted himself putting out a small fire in the motor of the combine-harvester he was running the day before his death.
In 1941 Amelia and the three youngest children moved to Provo to live with daughter Hattie. (who wrote this article) She passed away on July 1, 1958 in a Provo rest home where she had been for about two years. She suffered from Parkinson's disease and senility and could not be left alone. We kept her at home as long as possible, but I had to work and the rest home gave her better care than we could have in any way provided at home.
This history was written and compiled by daughter, Hattie Madson Knight, 1976.