Mary Keziah Bartholomew History

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by Ella Grace Bown (niece)

Mary Keziah Bartholomew, oldest daughter of Joseph and Polly Benson Bartholomew, was born 29 April, 1847 at Little Mosquite, Potawatomie County, Iowa, on a small farm where she lived until she was five years old. The Big Mosquite River ran just back of their farm. She and her mother would cross the river on a fallen tree to get pottowattome plums. The neighbors had some fierce dogs that would frighten them. Large black walnut trees grew by the house; they gathered the nuts and put them in sacks under the corn crib to dry. They went to Cainsville for supplies; it was five miles west of Mosquite.

Mary and her older brother John fished in the Big Mosquite River. John caught large frogs for bait and Mary held them for him in her apron. One day her mother came and found Mary with her apron held up and demanded that she put it down. Mary looked at her mother, then at John--undecided what to do--but at her mother's sharp command, down went the apron and out jumped the frogs right at her mother's feet. What a surprise.

Mary remembered the women weaving on large looms.

At one time Mary wanted to play with Mary Ann Mellor and her father didn't want her to do so and was scolding her. Grandmother threw a pan of ashes on him; he laughed when the ashes hit him and he never became angry about it again.

With the family she left their home in Iowa and started the tedious journey across the plains to Utah, crossing the Missouri River on the 11th of June in 1852. The wagons were put on flat bottom boats and ferried across the river; the children got under the wagon and in this way they crossed the river.

One day the oxen became frightened when a woman in one of the wagons shook her table cloth out the rear of the wagon. Cooking utensils and pots were hung on side of wagons to make more room in the wagon for family and other belongings. As the oxen ran pots, pans and other things scattered along the way. When the teams were under control they went back and gathered up their belongings. If they had of had a big sack full of gold or money these things could not have been replaced and many were family heirlooms.

They traveled for days along the Platte River. One day Mary was busy digging in the bank of the river and like children wanted to finish what she was making when whe call came to go. When she heard the wagons start on without her, she was glad to run and catch up.

She remembered passing Devil's Gate, Pikes Peak, Fort Laramine and other landmarks. At Big Creek they picked Buffalo berries.

Her father owned many cows and oxen and drove his own team. He was a captain over ten wagons. A large company started out but because of shortage of feed the company was divided into ten teams or wagons to the company and her father was a captain over one company.

Mary was five years old when she crossed the plains Had her parents come with the first company in 1847, she would have been born enroute.

She lived with her family in Springville nine years and had many friends her own age. I recall her speaking of the Mendenhall girls.

The spring her family moved to Fayette (Warm Creek) she was fourteen years old and was not too happy to leave her friends. The trip from Springville to this valley took a week. They remained here one or more nights before going to HogWallow where they camped near the rocky-point. Her father took up land at Warm Creek and that summer he, with his oldest sons and his oldest daughter, Mary as cook and housekeeper returned to farm. Her mother, Aunt Electa, and the five smallest children remained at Hog Wallow.

Mary was a great help to her mother; she learned to cook and sew and became a very fine seamstress, making most of the clothing for the family.

Mary and John Edward Metcalf, Jr. were married at home the 19th of April, 1865. To this union twelve children were born: five girls and seven boys. The tenth and eleventh were twin boys stillborn.
They lived at Dover, across the Sevier River for a while, also in a little green frame house between Gunnison and Centerfield, before moving to Manti. She returned often to visit her parents.
When the Manti Temple was dedicated 21 May 1888, she was there and heard the heavenly choir sing. Her mother was with her.

She moved to LaGrande, Oregon in the spring of 1901. All her children went with her but one son who remained at Manti.

She helped to raise her grandchildren and when some of them went to Portland to college, she went along to keep house for them. She also chaperoned her grandchildren on many a canyon or mountain camping trip and on many other occasions. She had a keen sense of humor and was a lot of fun to be with.

She and her daughter Madge were spending the winter of 1912 here at Fayette with her mother, when her mother passed away on the 19th of December. They remained here until sometime in January 1913.
She lived with her daughter Madge at LaGrande, Oregon. She died in her sleep without a struggle the 8th of November, 1937 at the age of 90 years. She was alert and active until the last. Was laid to rest at LaGrande, Oregon cemetery where members of her family are buried.

I visited with Aunt Mary at LaGrande, Oregon two years before her death. We had a very wonderful time; she said I reminded her very much of my mother and she did not want me out of her sight while I was there. She gave me a beautiful quilt top which she had pieced not too many years before--she called it a trip around the world quilt.

She said to me, "When my time comes to go I hope that I can go to sleep and never wake up." The Lord was good to her and that is just what happened. At night her daughter Madge, with whom she was living, tucked the covers around her when she went to bed, it was November and very cold. Madge slept in the same room with Aunt Mary. Madge's bed was in the north end of the room and Aunt Mary's in the south end. Madge worked days so was up early to tidy up the apartment and see that her mother had breakfast and was comfortable before she left. On this morning when all was in in readiness she went to the door and called her mother, when there was no response she went into the room, called again, then walked over to the bed and discovered that she was gone. She was still warm and the bed was undisturbed, covers just like she had tucked them in at night. When the doctor arrived and examined her, he said that the heart had beat slower and slower until it had gradually stopped. Her desire was granted. What a wonderful way to go. She was my favorite Aunt.

Contributed by Larry Smith; obtained from the website created by Vauna Green.

Written July 27, 1963


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