The House on the Hill by Josephine Petersen Jackson
Colaborador: trishkovach Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
There's a house that stands on the brow of a hill.
Molly once lived there with a man named "Will".
And like a spider weaves its web so secure,
There are memories clinging to every door.
There were geraniums blooming on each window sill.
They whispered the story of "Molly and Will".
"Will" was fragile of body, but mighty of mind,
there were few men around with a heart so kind.
He did not weary of good deeds to do.
His friends were many and his enemies few.
"Molly" always stood by his side.
She performed household duties with joy and with pride,
and she did not tire of the many tasks that she had.
They seemed sort of light, if they made "Will" feel glad.
They reared twelve children and thus they did fill
with happiness and love, that "House on the Hill",
But it wasn't so long until they were alone,
the children had gone to make homes of their own.
Then the grand-children were welcomed with open arms.
They flocked to this house with all of its charms.
It was here the doors were always opened wide,
then it was like being in a palace, once you were inside.
When Thanksgiving and Christmas arrived with its holly
the tables were spread by "Grandmother Molly".
There was not one room in that house too small,
no matter the number, there was room for all.
Grandfather "Will" was right there too
To clasp each hand and ask, "How are you?"
Whatever the occasion, he was always the same.
He joined in the fun and played every game.
Then alas there came that day
when Will decided to go away,
and Molly was lonely, when he was gone,
but did her best to carry on.
Then came the great-grand children, and she would say,
"I'll be blessed, each one that comes, tops all the rest."
Then grandsons were taken away to war,
they were shipped abroad to lands afar.
"Molly" was thoughtful and made them feel better
It lifted their morale to receive her letters.
One day "Molly" was tired and she went away too.
She went to find "Will", as she knew she would do.
And tho' they are gone, we are sure they do still
maintain a "House that stands High on a Hill."
-Josephine P. Jackson (1951)
Jodie wrote: "In memory of my Grandmother and Grandfather Pitcher who lived over on the Cornish hill."
JOHN WILLIAM PITCHER By Margaret Pitcher Petersen
Colaborador: trishkovach Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
John William Pitcher (or Willie as he was known to his family, this nickname was shortened to Will in later life) was born June 13, 1871, the second child of John and Rebecca Pitcher, at Smithfield, Utah. He was born within two years after his parents immigrated to Utah.
While an infant, perhaps one year of age, he was severely scalded. Grandma and Aunt Susan, Uncle Ted’s wife, had been given some tea, by a friend who had just arrived from England. They made the tea and were anticipating a treat when Grandma accidentally spilled her tea on the baby she was holding on her lap. Grandma told me how the afternoon was spoiled and the difficulty of treating the burn where skin came off with the clothing. To me this incident seems a foreboding of the many illnesses and accidents which befell him. In my girlhood I saw him survive several close brushes with death, and such incidents continued to occur. Some say such bad luck is a result of carelessness. To me it was an example of patience and courage in suffering.
Needless to say in his childhood he had only the meager necessities of life; but Grandma was resourceful, she was also refined both in nature and training in England, and her children were taught to be kind, courteous and mannerly.
His schooling was very limited, but again it was Grandma who taught him to read, and with his natural aptness for figuring, inherited from his father, he found he fared very well with his contemporaries.
It just occurred to me, I could be writing of Uncle Henry as well as father, with the same home influence, experiences and inherent abilities their lives ran parallel for many years. However, I have heard Grandma say that Uncle Henry was a little more timid than Father. But many times she ran out of adjectives in describing their good traits. However I think father held a little edge over Henry in Grandma’s affection because of the following incident. Father’s two younger brothers died of diphtheria, within a few days of each other. (Father’s life was also despaired of at the time.) By the time Aunt Rose was born, father was eight years of age. When he and Uncle Henry herded the cows on the hills north and west of town he was eleven years of age. Grandma taught him how to care for babies and other household tasks and he became her depended-upon-helper.
The cows he herded was known as the town herd, they would gather the cows in the morning and return them in the evening, a small fee was charged, however not always collected. Their lunches were scant but I’ve heard Father say they could always catch a cow and fill their cup with milk to drink. They enjoyed the wild fruit when it was in season, both for eating and to carry home for drying or preserving. Grandfather worked on the railroad, the branch line from Cache Junction around the valley south and up the east side. By the time Father was fourteen of fifteen, Grandpa became section foreman on the main line of the Union Pacific on the west side. They resided at Thatcher, what is now known as Virginia. Just how far his run was I am not sure, but I do know it included Arimo and Downey. Grandma cooked for the section men and often the train crew ate there. Again Father was pressed into helping in the kitchen. Edgar, Joseph and Walter were born after they moved to Thatcher.
At seventeen Father was doing a man’s work on the railroad, Uncle Henry began working before that time.
Grandma was interested in developing the talents of her children reciting poetry, singing and music. They had acquired an organ, Father played an accordion well and I have never heard anyone get so much music out of a mouth organ. Aunt Rose was a natural musician, she could play any instrument.
Their social life included house parties, mostly at Grandmas,, and Father had a few girls, one of whom I wish he had never known, “Maggie Fife”, and Mother always said that was why Father called me Maggie (a name I thoroughly detest, and the only thing I could possibly hold against my Father.) Mother had her “beaus” also, because Father teased her about them.
However each time Father went to Smithfield from Thatcher he managed to spend most of his time with Mother. Their attraction for each other began in childhood, when their families visited together.
Mother said Father was always different than other boys, never rough or uncouth, and did the cutest things, for example he pulled little radishes from the garden, washed them and gave them to her and cracked the hazel nuts for her to eat. Of course round radishes and hazel nuts remained her favorites.
Father said Mollie had the prettiest eyes and the cutest little mouth, of any girl he knew. I may, later write more amusing incidents of their courtship as I have heard them tell.
They were married March 23, 1892, by a Justice of the Peace at Smithfield. Mother said after being married they walked down the street and saw Aunt Nancy Pitcher doing her washing, and Father said, “How could anyone wash on such a wonderfully special day as this.”
Mother’s wedding dress was pale pink cashmere trimmed with a white silk cord and made Basque style. They boarded a train to go to Cannon, now Utida, to Grandma’s for their wedding supper. Grandma Thornley was with them. Mother wore her wedding dress on the train, a breech of good taste which mortified Grandma Pitcher. In telling me of it Grandma said, “I thought I would drop in my tracks when I saw your Mother get off the train in her wedding dress, whatever was her Mother thinking of.”
I don’t know what Grandma Thornley was thinking of, because she left her hat on the train and when the train pulled out, she excitedly clutched Mother and cried, “Aye Me Gad, Mary, my hat is on the train.”
They were soon located in a section house at Thatcher where Father had taken over the section and Grandfather had gone down to Cannon. Grandmother Thornley lived with them until just before my birth.
From Thatcher they moved to Camas, Idaho. I believe were there about three years. Mother cooked for section men as Grandma had done. Besides the section job, Father cared for the windmill, the water tank, and the steam engine that pumped extra water in the tank, when the windmill was insufficient power. This huge tank held water for the steam engines used on the trains. I remember watching Father climb to oil the windmill and watching the engine (pump) run.
At Camas, the Camas creek ran past the house and Father was an excellent fisherman and trout could have been a daily fare. He also liked shooting and was a good shot and ducks, prairie chickens and sage hens varied the diet.
I could tell several fish stories that would be difficult to believe in these days of daily limits. Another memory of Camas was a room called the store room. As purchases were made in case lots the shelves were stacked with items much as a regular store. Large pieces of meat came from Idaho Falls. I can’t believe it would be a quarter of beef except in the winter time when it could be hung out side to freeze. Of course these large amounts of food were necessary to feed the seven to twelve boarders. Aunt Rose and Allie helped Mother with the work.
By 1900 Father was getting tired and unhappy with his work as section foreman. A contributing factor was the type of laborers, replacing the local men. Father decided to go back to Smithfield and farm. Mother liked the railroad with the regular hours and too she never liked farming. Father loved the soil and the animals, and the independent life. Though he was doing what he liked. I agree with Mother the remuneration was not equal or commensurate with the hard work of Father, Mother and the family.
While at Camas, Father purchased one hundred twenty acres of land for $4.00 per acre, through a government land act the name of which has slipped my mind. William Goodwin helped make the selection. It was located in the flats just below the west hills in Cornish. Many have wondered about the selection but at the time the clay soil yielded better. The land was covered with a heavy growth of sage brush. The land was cleared of the sage by first plowing then using a grub axe. Father would spend his summers in Cornish planting the cleared land and clearing more sage each summer until it was finally all under cultivation. He also farmed Mothers twenty acres in Smithfield. Mother stayed in Smithfield, milked the cows, cared for the chickens, pigs and garden which included irrigation in summer. Of course we children helped out, mine was mostly baby-tending, until Cyril and I were old enough to take over the milking, etc.
Every spare dollar went into building the West Cache Canal, each spring Father would sell a team of young horses, cow were sold and other badly needed funds went into the canal. Stock in the canal was given for the contributions. A dream was realized when the water flowed the length of the ditch. Many costly breaks occurred which called for more money and labor. The canal was built with hose drawn, hand operated scrapers, but with the coming of power equipment, former difficulties were over come. A memorial should be built honoring the men who sacrificed so much, many of them lost their farms, that water could be poured on the dry and parched ground, and the soil made to yield in abundance. The present generation is surly reaping benefit from the efforts of their parents and grandparents. It would be difficult to picture the west side of the valley with its sage brush and deep sand while it was in this arid condition.
In the spring of 1906, Father persuaded Mother to sell her inheritance, this she did and received on hundred dollars per acre, an unheard of price up to that time, with five hundred dollars from the sale of the city lot and log home. Father was able to buy another 120 acres of land with a three room rock home on it.
Mother was sad and used to stand by the fence and look toward Smithfield and cry. I knew she cried because I could see her pick up her apron and wipe her eyes. Father used to comfort her and tell her he would take her back to Smithfield to live in ten years. Of course this promise was made in good faith, but circumstances did not permit it. Mother’s attitude must have changed because in 1912, one year after my marriage they built a large home, a nine room giant, which housed a growing family of children and grandchildren and with room for many parties and gatherings of relatives and friends. A large dining room and a well stocked pantry always made it possible to set an extra place or two. It was not unusual to see the pantry shelves laden with twelve to twenty pies. Father was always a good provider, the farm produced milk, eggs, chickens and meat. The smoke house always held cured hams, bacon and shoulders for summer eating. Mother cared for the chickens.
Each one of the family worked, doing their share according to age. Laziness was the cardinal sin. Pheobe and Mozell herded cows and pigs when they were small. Later I think the next three boys may have taken over the herding. The last of the family had life much easier because there wasn’t a new baby coming along every other year to be cared for, also a few more conveniences.
After moving to Cornish, Father spent several years as Assistant Superintendent and Superintendent of the Sunday School and Ward Teacher. In 1917 he sent my brother Cyril on a mission to the Western States. In November 1920 Father left for a mission to England, leaving Mother and seven children at home. To me an invaluable lesson in faith and yielding obedience to any call made by those in authority.
Mother worked in the Relief Society as Treasurer and visiting teacher for many years. Her large family prevented her from participating as much as she was capable of doing.
Their marriage was solemnized in the Logan Temple March 1896. The same day Grandma and Grandpa Pitcher, Aunt Ellen and Uncle Bill received their endowments.
Twelve children were born to this union in the following order: Margaret, Cyril and Harvey at Smithfield, Phoebe at Camas, Mozell, Decon and Brown at Smithfield, Melvin, Bessie, Vaudice, Valden and Bertha at Cornish.
Father was a kind, tender-hearted sympathetic, wise parent because he was near the eldest and Mother the youngest in the family, he had more experience caring for children than she. Though Mother was always willing and glad to do the housework, she turned to Father to diagnose and for advice in treatment of any ailments. He was a good nurse, nearly always sleeping with the ailing child. He was a good disciplinarian and expected obedience, which he received without argument. He was a good neighbor and a good citizen never shirking a duty or responsibility.
He loved flowers and it was a familiar sight to see him come in with a bouquet of flowers he had gathered on his walks around the farm. Wild roses, lilies and pinks were his favorites. He cherished the hopes that he could retire to a small home and gardening, so he could devote his time to growing the beautiful flowers he loved.
He loved sports, and delighted to play games with his children and grandchildren, which he did to the last. He enjoyed the great out-doors. Yellowstone Park trips, and days spent in the canyon, with out-door cooking and eating was always a treat to him.
He continued working hard, the depression of the thirties making it more difficult to make the farming pay, caused him much anxiety and many sleepless nights. The combination of work and worry proved too much for his poor heart. He made a brave effort to recover but succumbed December 16, 1938, several days after suffering a heart attack, surrounded by his family, who owed him so much.
I am attaching a copy of a poem written by Josephine Petersen Jackson, a granddaughter, which I believe tells more than the foregoing that I have written.
(See the poem THE HOUSE ON THE HILL by Josephine P. Jackson)