Angeline Davis

Taken from “Legacy”, a Brimhall family history by David Jex Brimhall

By David Davis Brimhall

Angeline Davis
Angeline Davis

Angeline Davis was born in Nebraska City, Forest County. Pennsylvania, July 11, 1861. She was the daughter of Peter Harris Davis and Margaret Thomas Davis.

Her parents were purely Welsh, having immigrated to the Untied States from South Wales. These two people became acquainted with each other in St. Clair, Pennsylvania and were married in the spring of 1859 in the same city. Her parents desiring to gather with the saints in Utah, joined a company bound for Salt Lake Valley. It was while this company was enroute to Utah, traveling under the hardships of Pioneer life that AngeJine was born in a covered wagon. Because of the adverse conditions the company  was compelled  to pause for three days before continuing their journey.  They were very jubilant, however, and during the remainder of  the trek to Zion, she became very popular and the center of attraction. She related in after years instances of how older members of the company had called on her and joked as to how they had bounced her on their knee during the trip. The company arrived in Utah in the late fall of 1866. The same year the Civil War broke out. She was the second child of four children. Her oldest brother, Even, was born February 11, 1860, in St. Clair, Pennsylvania and died the same year. Her only sister, Julia Ann was born September 23, 1863, and Davis Thomas was born December 18,1865, in Dayton, Nevada.

Her father always associated himself with mining and smelting, so to obtain work, and better family conditions they joined with a company and journeyed on to California. How far they went into California we do not know but he returned to Dayton, Nevada where he engaged in mining for himself Part of his stay in Nevada was in Carson City and Virginia City. While moving from place to place Angeiine never missed a chance to attend school where possible.

She was seven years old when her Mother contracted pneumonia and died. Well does she remember the day and the few who gathered on that almost desolate hillside to lay her dearest friend on earth to rest. It is in the little mining camp of Empire in the proximity of Carson City, 1868. She being the oldest it befell her lot to care for her younger brothers and sisters, which she did very admirably until she married. Grief stricken, her father with his three children wended his way bade to Utah, settling in Tintic, where he obtained work in the mine. The next two years were spent partly in Tintic and partly in Goshen.

Sometime during the last year they lived in Tintic, a peculiar incident happened which may be weH worth mentioning. Emer Brimhali, then a young man, who ‘with others, were driving some cattle through Tintic. Angeline, her hair in braids and dressed in gingham, was playing on the highway with other children. Emer pointed her out as his future wife. Her family moved to Spanish Fork the following year and they were evidently acquainted from then on. But not until July 4.1880 did he ask her to be his partner at a dance. They were married March 17,1881.

In the year of 1870 the family moved to Spanish Fork. Here she kept house for the family cooking over a fireplace with an iron rod across it to hang the pots on. She was baptized in the LD.S. church when about ten years old in a canal known as the Big Sec in the old field. She always said this was the thrill of her life and that her activity from then on proves that, at this baptism, something came into her life and has always been a strength and power to her.

During the next five or six years her father was ill; her summers were spent in gleaning wheat and picking ground cherries.. One job, which she never forgot, was packing the hay from the lower lot on a pitchfork. She loved sewing and made her father’s overalls by hand. As odd as it my seem she sheared the sheep they had with the scissors, and carded the wool which was used in their quilts. Her only amusements were private home parties where molasses candy pulling was popular and where they danced to the music of a violin, For about two years before she was married she spent intervals doing housework in Salt Lake City, where she took advantage of every opportunity to better qualify herself for years to come.

Emer Mayer Brimhall
Emer Mayer Brimhall

She was married to Emer Mayer Brimhall, March 17, 1881 in the Endowment House. At that time the roads were in such a state that it took two full days in a covered wagon to drive to Salt Lake. Soon after they were married they bought a farm up at the head of the river bottoms not far from where the power house now stands, and built a one room log house on it. This cabin stood near the cutoff trail that went south from Spanish Fork Canyon and because of its location they were often visited by Indians. Many a time Angeline hid herself and refused to answer the door even when friends called because of her fear of the Indians. They were her constant dread and they called often although she was never harmed.

On January 2, 1882 their first son Silas Emer was born. On February 25, 1883. Peter Harris was bom, both in Spanish Fork, For various reasons the land in the bottoms was disposed of and the house, log by log was moved to a lot ]us1 above the sand hitt on Spanish Fork bench; now 2nd and 3rd East. When the sagebrush was cleared and the house put together again it was a unique little one room log hut typical of those days. The only water they had was drawn from a deep well. It was in this house that three more children were born, Clara their first daughter, August 27, 1884; David Davis, May 23, 1886, and Metva Augusi 31, 1887. In the summer of 1885 they filed settlers claim for a homestead in the canyon. This was about 15 miles from Spanish Fork, located on Billy’s Mountain. This homestead was afterwards known as the Brimhall Ranch.

The family lived on the ranch in the summer and in Spanish Fork in the winter. Many hardships were encountered in going from one place to the other; a round trip taking two days. Often a visit to town was not made in weeks. The roads were not much more than a trail and in the spring the water was high and treacherous. At times the family would have to take to the trails while the empty vehicle dangerously forded the river. During the first years at this home in the mountains they made their own candles, carded their own wool, made their own soap, their own tabfe salt out of common rock salt, and starch out of potatoes.

Once while Angeline was driving to town in a cart with three of her children she narrowly escaped severe injury when her horse became frightened of a newspaper rustling in the wind and started up the side of the mountain, scattering all of them on the side of the hill. Luckily some of the cattlemen came to her rescue and got them started safely on their way. Their nearest neighbor at the ranch was over a mile away, over a cut off trail.

One day at the ranch some Indians called and wanted to trade a fawn for some sugar. One of the squaws spoke pretty good English and wanted to trade without delay. Angeline was alone with the children who were quite small. She told them that she did not have any sugar and that she had not had any for a long time. The Indians thought she was lying and did not like it. They looked around the room and through the cupboard while the young mother held her breath with her children hanging on to her skirt. Not finding anything they wanted, they insisted on leaving the deer and said they would come back after the sugar. Angeline gave them some bread and other things and told them to take their deer along as she did not want it, she was willing to give them all she had if they would only go and never come back. Finally they left leaving me aeer against ner protests saying they would be back after the sugar, The fawn was raised on a bottle and became the family pet for months until one day it became frightened and run away. Angeline watched continuously, living in dread of the second call of the Indians. Not being able to afford sugar and the deer had ran away; when they came what would she do? She found consolation in prayer, that only seemed to solve her perplexities, it is said by trappers and our early pioneers that Indians never forget; and although we may never know why, these Indians never came back.

In later years more homesteads were taken up in the canyon, roads were improved, bridges built, and crops increased to the extent that ttiey could afford more and better facilities. The boys grew up and proved to be a great help. The threshing machine came and with it a crew of upwards of 15 men. They would always be at the Brimhalls from 10 days to two weeks, during this thrashing time for a number of years Angeline cooked on a three legged stove making hot biscuits every morning in a oven with a capacity of 12 biscuits. At nigh! a large campfire would be built of which the threshers would sit around and sing songs and related pioneer stories, and carry on until almost midnight.

Emer Mayer Brimhall Family, 1903
Emer Mayer Brimhall Family, 1903

In the meantime new members were added to the Brimhall family, however none of these children were born at the ranch: Glenn Dee, December 26, 1889; Ida, November 16, 1891; Delbert C., April 27, 1893; Alan, June 6, 1895; Tryphena, October 31, 1897; Ida Jane, March 4, 1900.

The settlers saw the need of a religious education during these summer months and applied for a Sunday School. This Sunday School was organized and the family attended it for a while in the one room log house on the Gay farm. Later some of the family went as far as Thistte to Sunday School.

She always manifested great faith and prayed continuously for the safety of her family. Those who knew the family and the conditions under Which she worked know her prayers were effective. On September 7, 1902 Grant R, was bom and September 3, 1904, Margaret Ellen the 13th child, came to the family.

As to her religious activity from the time she was baptized she never failed to help in the cause which she believed with all her heart and soul to be true. She was a teacher in the 1st Ward Young Ladies Mutual for several years and during the time of the Religion Class, taught and spent a great deal of time preparing faith promoting lessons for the young people. She worked in Reliel Society as a visiting teacher and a member of the washing and anointing committee. During this time many faith promoting incidents came into her life.

Up until August 28, 1907, the family circle had been broken but once, Ida at six months old had died of Whooping Cough. These two people pioneering it in the wilds of the mountains under adverse conditions and hazardous circumstances had raised twelve out of thirteen children. But on this date Emer and two boys, were stacking grain when a bolt of lightning came down almost out of a clear sky and her husband was killed instantly. Glenn also was struck and suffered intensely from the results, which later caused his death. Dell was also struck and knocked down but was not seriously hurt. This sad tragedy seemed to build a barrier between the ranch and the family and while for a number of years it was held dear to their hearts it was finally disposed of.

At the age of 77, this pioneer baby, born in a covered wagon on the plains, who so patiently and quietly has lived out the measure of her creation In rearing a large family, and in serving the Lord to the best of her ability, is a noble soul full of wisdom and valuable advice. She is enjoying fair health and although her hair is white with years and experience she is not old in spirit. If there is one thing she likes more than anything else in all the world it is for her family to gather at her home where she can see and realize more fully the reward for ail her heartaches and hardships. She has indeed lived for her family and although handicapped in many respects can look back with pride upon what she accomplished. She loves to read and when alone may be found among her books, preferably church works and early Utah history. When asked upon one occasion if there were anything she would like to take along with her when she goes, she answered, “Yes, my books.” She never had the opportunity to qualify for public life neither has her name appeared in headlines of renown, but, in the true calling of her life as a faithful wife, a true patient and loving mother, a sincere advocate of all that is good and noble, her name will rank among those worthy to be called mother forever.

She passed away March 19, 1940. Her funeral services were conducted March 23, 1940 in the Fifth Ward Meeting House, under the direction of Bishop R. E. Nelson. The speakers were Mrs. Shepherd, President Henry A, Gardner, and Bishop Arthur Mckell, all of whom bore testimony of her faithful life.

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