Myrtle Hannah Jex

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


Myrtle Hannah Jex
Myrtle Hannah Jex

I was born on December 5, 1891 to Burl Christina Larsen Jex and George Hyrum Jex in Spanish Fork, Utah. I well remember my father who was fairly handsome, industrious, fun-loving and completely dedicated to serving the Lord. My Mother was strong willed, attractive, of pioneer stock, hard working and always a lady.

I had one brother George and four sisters, Bertha, Eliza (tide) Ida and Reva. We were a happy, religion-oriented close family. Family prayers were a part of our daily life. We were brought up to put our faith and trust in the Lord and this sustained us for the trials and tribulations for the life ahead.

Jex and Sons Broom Factory
Jex and Sons Broom Factory

We were proud of our parents and of the Jex name. The Jex’s were extremely proud people and I remember celebrating Grandma Jex’s birthday New Year’s Day at family reunions which were well organized with a program in the afternoon following lunch, and dancing in the evening. These were usually held in the Spanish Fork Pavilion and were well advertized and attended. The Jex’s owned and operated the Jex Lumber Company and the Jex Broom Factory. I was pleased to see a picture of my father working in the Broom Factory published in the Deseret News Centennial Paper in 1948 and pleasantly surprized with it’s appearance in one of the 1973 issues of the New Era. My father left the family business and went to work for the Co-op but not without a firm understanding that he be allowed to have time off to attend to his church duties.

My baby sister Reva died the same day as my Grandfather Larsen passed away. It was a very sad day for us and especially for Mother. At the funeral for my sister, a man spoke in tongues prophesying that Mother would live to an old age and would do much good, which she did.

My father was taken ill and we all had to be so quiet, even the clock had to be stopped. I was but 12 years of age when my father died and during his illness I made it a point to see that the family prayers were continued. After my father died which was a very sad day for us, we started up the clock and we were all pleased to hear the comforting ticking again.

As we were not financially well off and as the farm was not yet paid for, we all had to pitch in and help mother keep the family together. Mother was a janitor at a schoolhouse and took in sewing. Being the oldest, i felt a larger responsibility. I thinned beets and helped my aunt with her housework. Our Mother was generally easy going but when she said “No,” she meant it. The house was usually filled with young people and our childhood was a fairly happy one.

I loved to dance and Uncle Joe, Mother’s brother, would take me. I attended the B.Y.U. for one year whil living with Aunt Emeline in Provo. I worked for my roo and board. I also worked at a brokerage firm in Provo a couple of months, but returned to Spanish Fork to b with my family and friends. We, of course, had so differences being children, but due to the loss of ou father and our baby sister, we were very close knit with strong family ties.

I had been dating Glen Brimhall but when Dave returned from his mission we were introduced and it was not long before he proposed and we were married. We came to Salt Lake and were married May 24, 1911 in the Salt Lake Temple.

We lived in a two-room brick house on 4th North and 3rd South in Spanish Fork. II had apricot and pear trees and I was pleased to have a home of my own. David Jex was born here August 8,1912.

As the Brimhall ranch could no longer support the large family and the families ol the children who had married, it was necessary for Dave to find other work. He was not interested in ranching anyway. He did work for the Branch Office of Salt Lake Hardware as a salesman, but was not happy with this type of work.

Dave went to Salt Lake and found work with the Utah Traction Company as a conductor and we moved from Spanish Fork to Squires Court in Salt Lake near the car barns.

I returned to Spanish Fork for the birth of our second son, Reed Edwin born August 1, 1914. Dave’s brother’s wife, Clara, had had a baby girl in July and was taken to the hospital for an emergency operation the week Reed was born so I nursed both their little girl Elaine and Reed for about three weeks before returning home to Salt Lake. My mother certainly had her hands full taking care of two tiny babies and me.

In Salt Lake while returning home one night on a street car, I was struck in the breast by the big handle used for opening and closing the doors resulting in a gathered breast which was terribly painful and broke in seven places.

We then moved to Egli Court where Lucille was born on April 8, 1916 and Beryl December 28, 1917.

As a bigger house was needed, we moved across the street to a house with two bedrooms. As this was the winter for sickness, it was good to have the extra room. The neighbors held a fast and prayer day for me because I was expecting another baby and it was thought that I would have to be operated on for appendicitis. I was promised that I would not have to have the operation if I would keep the Word ol Wisdom. I did and Claude Henry was born January 9,1920. This was a bad winter for us. There was a flu epidemic and the children were quarantined from Christmas to the 4th of July, taking turns with the flu, measles, whooping cough, and chicken pox. There were times when all of them were sick at one time necessitating two to three loads of bedding everyday to be washed. With all the children, including the tiny baby Claude, running such high fevers, I did not get a chance to even change my clothes or close my eyes for several days. Dr. Openshaw came out two or three times to sit with the children during the afternoon so I could rest. Claude’s fever turned out to be brain fever and sad was the day when a doctor from the Mayo Clinic advised us that the brain fever had destroyed some brain cells and that possibly our boy would be mentally retarded. Claude was a beautiful baby with lots of curly hair. He even won first prize in a beauty contest at a theater in Sugar House. The children were sick for such a long time and I believe it was only our faith and our prayers that kept them alive. I was glad when they were all well again and as for Claude, we had our faith and we would just have to wait and see.

1798 S 600 E
1798 S 600 E

The house we were living in was sold so Dave went out house hunting. A red brick house with four rooms was found at 1798 South 6th East with a big yard and a creek close by. The house was cleaned and I saw the house for the first time moving day. We subsequently added a back porch and a toilet at the back. We even built a big fruit cellar, which was covered with cement. We planned on building a wash room on top of this. Norma was born here December 23, 1923. It was while I was carrying her that I had to be operated on for appendicitis. I was mighty sick and everyone was afraid I would lose her, but the lord preserved us both for which I am very grateful. I had over 100 shots. While in the hospital, Ida Brimhall stayed with the children and as Beryl was unable to walk she was placed in hot water baths twice a day. I was not told of this problem with Beryl’s legs until I returned home or I would have been even more upset. Beryl did not have full use of her legs for about one year.

I was always active in the Church and it gave me much pleasure to be doing the Lord’s work. It seemed that there was always a quilt in our living room either for the Relief Society or for the Streetcar Ladies Auxiliary. I made many articles for bazaars for both the Relief Society and the Auxiliary. There was one bazaar, which was a big success, making over $1000. As a door prize we gave a cedar chest filled with wedding gifts, which was displayed in a store window on Main Street advertising the bazaar.

It seems that I was always on decorating committees, which was challenging to me to come up with something different. I was especially proud of the table decorations for Old Folks Day when we took the prize for the entire Salt Lake County. I was also proud of the sleigh with the ceramic reindeers going up into the air and angel hair all around like clouds. This was used for a city party. I always enjoyed decorating for Christmas and would change the decorations every year. There were always a lot of people who were interested in seeing what “Brim” was doing this year.

There never seemed to be enough money and for many years I earned extra money taking the school census and working as a Judge or Recorder on election days. I worked on behalf of several Republican candidates for public office. The elections were held in our home on more than one occasion.

Myrtle registered Salt Lake City births
Myrtle registered Salt Lake City births

My interest in politics led to my being asked by Renny (Lorenzo) Romney, who was running for County Commissioner to help with his campaign in 1943. He won and as someone was needed to register the city births, I went to work January 16,1944 working for 16 years for the city, registering the births by interviewing the new mothers at all of the city hospitals. Sometimes it was necessary to call at the homes to get the necessary information. I enjoyed working with the doctors and the nurses and made many lifetime friends. It was also a joy to register some of my own grandchildren. Everyone was extremely nice to me and I retired in 1959 with the best wishes from many people.

I have been active all the days of my life and have held many jobs in many organizations. I was a teacher in Relief Society in Belevedere Ward; Religion Class in Emerson Ward and as 1st Assistant to Mrs. White until Religion Class was discontinued and then I was a teacher in the Emerson Ward Primary. I served as Counselor in the Ward Primary until the Ward was divided and then become 1st Counselor in the Sugar House Stake Primary. I was a Visiting Teacher for the Relief Society for most of my years in Salt Lake both in Belvedere and Emerson Ward. I also served as an art director in Relief Society for Emerson Ward. I taught the Daughter of Utah Pioneer lessons for four years.

Besides being active in the Church, I was President of the Streetcar Ladies Auxiliary and State President of the Ladies Utah Federation of Labor. During the Second World War I sold war bonds at the Center Theatre and what a thrill it was to sell a $1000 Bond. I was a co-sponsor for Bundles for Britain and attended Legislative Council meetings and helped on the County Welfare Board.

I was a delegate for the Streetcar Ladies Auxiliary in Cincinnati and made the trip with Mae Knox. I also went with Dave to Atlantic City which was very pleasant as we drove there with Jack and his wife. Jack Hales brother lived in Washington, D. C. and I had lived near his wife as a girl, it made it nice as they gave us a guided tour of the city. We missed seeing the White House, because President Roosevelt’s mother had just passed away and no visitors were allowed. We did see Mt. Vernon and I had my picture taken in front of the mansion. There were six of us at Atlantic City and we had a wonderful time. There were many other trips with Dave; San Diego, British Columbia and Victoria. I enjoyed traveling and have some wonderful memories of the places I have been.

During these intervening years, the children grew up and we survived the shock of Dave being called to be Bishop of Emerson Ward two weeks after moving to McClelland Street, the Depression and the growth and development of the children, and for the most part they were happy years. Our home was always filled with young people and the children were active in church organizations, choirs, etc., and always seemed to be on the go. Lucille and Jex both married in 1940: Lucille in April and Jex in October. Beryl and Norma followed within two years. Reed married December 1947.

There was one extremely sad day for Dave and me–a day I shall always remember. That was the day we let Claude go to the American Fork Training School. This was necessary because Claude was very gullible and became a tool used by the neighborhood children to steal. He was able to finish the 6th grade, but he was slow to learn and the special teacher, Marian Glen, didn’t seem to help. A friend, Lt. Bossard, a policeman in Sugarhouse apprised us of what the neighborhood children were doing and it was hard to overlook the obvious. It was impossible to keep a 24-hour a day watch over him. He was sent to the Training School by the Court — I do not believe that either Dave or I could have put him there by ourselves as we loved him as we loved all of our children. The fever had apparently destroyed the necessary brain cells to learn and even though the conditions were not always what they could have been or what we would have desired it truly was the best place for him. He was strong and could read and he rendered an invaluable service to the youngsters there less fortunate than himself. He loved to draw, paint, and work with his hands. He helped in the hospital by reading and caring for the children there. He loved to bowl and thoroughly enjoyed the outings they had. In 1969 at the age of 50 he passed away and half of the Training School came to his Funeral with tales of helpfulness, kindness, protection and of love offered by Claude. His life was not meaningless. We made many trips to the Training School and had him home for visits whenever possible. The American Fork Training School, like any Government Institution, kept us constantly worried as they did not always do what we believed best, such as putting him to work in the turkey farm and living in a trailer, cooking for himself, working 12 to 14 hours a day. Hospitalizing him and failing to notify us, billing us for clothes, dental and doctor bills that we were not sure he received, wanting to let him out to get married, place him in a Nursing Home or halfway house, putting him out on his own to find a job and pay his own rent, etc. We paid for all of his clothing, doctor bills, etc. Many times I believe I would have lost my mind if it had not been for Mr. Morris, an attorney who helped me with my dealings with the school after Dave’s death and I will forever be indebted to him. After Dave died in 1949 a bill was passed by the legislature granting one half of Dave’s social security to the school for his care. Claude was as happy as he could be, I suppose – he did noi complain about being returned to the school after the first little while. He did worry that I would die and there would be no one to care for him. I thank my Father in Heaven that Claude passed away before me.

World war II saw Reed one of the first inductees in Utah. He spent most of his time in the service in the Aleutians. Both Beryl and Norma’s husbands were shipped over- seas. When Norma’s husband ,Bud, returned, both lived with us for a while. Beryl’s husband, LaVar Breeze, was killed in a bombing flight over Ploesti, Romania oi1 fields. He was a nose gunner and it was only his third mission. He received the purple heart. During the time he was in the service, Beryl’s baby daughter Barbara Ann was born.

Jex left Salt Lake to work at Richland, Washington, January 16, 1944, the day I went to work for Renny. (Lorenzo Romney) Soon after, Lucille and family moved to Twin Falls and then to Boise. Beryl and Barbara made their home with us for the next 12 years. Dave and I made many lovely trips with them to see Jex and Naomi or Lucille and Roy as well as the trip to British Columbia and Vancouver. Barbara brought joy and laughter into our lives and our hearts.

I was glad that Beryl and Barbara were with me when Dave passed away in 1949. I made many trips with Beryl and Barbara. After Beryl married Carl Vance, I visited them every year in California. I have continued to enjoy traveling and have enjoyed my many visits with Roy and Lucille and the camp outs in the mountains with them. I enjoyed the boat trip down Lake Powell with Barbara and Gary, the visits with Beryl in Chicago, the time spent with Jex and his family in Washington, the trips with Norma and Bud to Lake Tahoe and Flaming Gorge. I cherish the many happy hours spent with Reed and Marjorie ‘who have been attentive to my needs over these many years.

I believe I have tried to do every kind of handiwork except knit. I have made applique quilts, hooked a rug, decorated Christmas tree balls, etched aluminum trays, hammered copper pictures, needlepoint, lamp shades, ceramics of all kinds, embroidery and crocheting. I took up oil painting at age 75 when Jex and Naomi gave me an oil paint set. I have thoroughly enjoyed it and painted pictures for all of my children, my grandchildren and for many of my friends. I never had a formal lesson but Mrs. Linton did come and give me a few pointers. I received many compliments on my paintings, which thrilled me.

1434 McClelland Street
1434 McClelland Street

We moved to 1434 McClelland Street in 1926 and lived there for 40 years. We all loved the house and the neighbors and the best years of my life were spent there. I watched my children grow up and marry fine men and women and many grandchildren and great grandchildren born and I cherish each and every one of them. Three of our children have married in the temple, Jex and Naomi, Reed and Marjorie, and Lucille and Roy.

Thanksgiving and Easter Sundays were family get togethers. I treasure the times spent with my family and believe they all enjoyed each other’s company and they were fun days for me. Christmas morning the family would all return home and I would cook breakfast for them. I believe .Reed enjoyed and looked forward to this the most.

I am glad that I have lived long enough to see Reed become a Bishop, Jex a High Councilman, Naomi Stake Relief Society President, two grand children as missionaries one to the Netherlands and one to Mexico; Lucille as ward Relief Society President and Norma as a Counselor in the Relief Society; 6 grandchildren married in the temple and 21 great grandchildren born and all active in the church. I hope to live to see the rest of my dreams for my family come true.

One thought on “Myrtle Hannah Jex”

  1. My maiden name was Jex (Christine) and have always been interested in our history. My family came from Norfolk which is where my husband and I have retired to. An Uncle of mine researched the family name to Salt Lake City, so perhaps there is a connection somewhere, Christine Deadman nee Jex,

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