Julia Bartholomew Ercanbrack Autobiography
I was born in a little town of Fayette in Sanpete County on November 6, 1882. My parents were John Bartholomew and Eliza Roxie Metcalf. They were both pioneers in the early settling of Utah. My father fought in the Black Hawk Wars with the Indians. My mother came from England when she was six years old with her parents. She was Relief Society President for many years in Fayette. My father was set apart as Bishop when he was very young, and was Bishop all his life. He was still holding that position at the time of his death at the age of sixty-five.
I can remember right where I was baptized on my eighth birthday. It was in my grandpa's yard in a creek that we used to go wading in. When I was about eight, I loved to go to my grandmother's apple tree and pick up the apples with my hands, which had fallen on the ground. They were red-astricans and how I did enjoy one of those apples, which my grandmother gave me for picking them up. She did not like anything wasted. She could make a stew from a boiled bone, and I can almost taste it now. It was beyond anything I have ever made.
I well remember how I helped my mother wash the wool in the same creek where I was baptized, to spin into yarn to weave cloth to make our own dresses, stockings, shirts for the men and linsy for our nice white wool blankets. We children would go out all along the barbed wire fence and pick the wool off where the sheep had gone under the wire. If we found a dead sheep, we pulled the wool off its back, which was not a very nice job.
When I was thirteen years old I knitted my own stockings out of the yarn we spun. Mother dyed the yarn brown with the husks of the native walnuts from the trees tall that grew along the ditch banks. I also helped my mother while weaving the linsy cloth, (as we called it).
I remember going in a wagon drawn by horses to our farm with my father, which was nine miles north of Fayette, where we raised grain and fruit. We used to dry the fruit for winter use, such as apples, apricots, peaches, and the wild currents. There was always a wagonload of children. I had five brothers and five sisters, eleven children in all. We were taught to pray, to keep the Sabbath day and pay our tithing.
I well remember going to Fish Lake with my brothers, sisters, and father one summer in June. I remember how I caught fish with my hands in a small stream. We took barrels with us and cleaned the fish and laid them out flat in the barrel. We then salted them so they would keep until we used them. Of course, we had to lay them in milk at night to take the salt out before we used them; this made them nice, as fresh ones would be. There were many Indians at the lake and streams. They were very jealous of us catching so many fish.
My father, mother, and the whole family would go in the wagon drawn by
horses in the fall into the different canyons to get choice-cherries and
serviceberries. We would take a lunch for dinner and stay all day, and
just get buckets of berries. Then to, we used to go out in the wheat stubbles
were the ground cherries grew, after the grain was harvested, and pick
the ground cherries, which made lovely preserves.
When I was fourteen years old I was asked to play the organ for the singing in Primary. At that time I was taking lessons from Brother Swalsburg of Gunnison. I could not do too much in the winter, as I was subject to rheumatism and had to walk on crutches some of the time, which has made me a cripple all my life. I always managed to get to Sunday School and Sacrament meeting. I got what education I could in the District School in Fayette under the direction of Thomas W. Dyches until I was seventeen years old and got over having those spells of rheumatism. Then I left Fayette with my father in a covered wagon and traveled two days to get to Provo Utah, where I attended the Brigham Young University for two years.
e took enough in our wagon to keep house. We rented two rooms straight
across the street west from the Old College building, which still stands.
Those two years at the Academy were very happy years of my life. As I
continued in my music, I learned to play the mandolin, in which I got
a lot of enjoyment.
Otis came down, of course, to see my parents and ask if he could marry me. My father had him work in the beet field for a week to see what kind of a worker he was. As soon as the wedding was over we packed our belongings to leave, as Otis had a home prepared for us to live in.
We took the train and went to Silver City, Utah, in the Tintic District to live. We sure got a rousing welcome with the beating of tin cans, ringing to cow bells and all kinds of shivering. Everybody, old and young, was at the depot when we got off the train.
We lived in Silver City for three months. Otis worked as a deliveryman for his father's store. We both worked in the Mutual. Otis played the guitar and I the mandolin. We did some entertaining, in that organization.
In February 1902, we moved on a farm south of Goshen, which belonged to his father, William Thomas Ercanbrack. While on this farm nine children were born to fill our home with joy and make us happy and contented.
Also while on the farm we had many happy experiences. We raised turkeys, and served dinners to many friends and also schoolteachers from Goshen who taught our children in the school.
We did not have electricity on the farm. I had to wash our cloths by hand. All the whites would be washed one day and the colored clothes the next. I had to cook for hired men in the hay time in the summer. I put up hundreds of quarts of fruit and made butter and cheese.
We always took our children and went to Sunday School and Meeting in the wagon. It was three miles there and three miles back.
When I was twenty-five years old I was set apart as a Relief Society Teacher. I took the horse and buggy every month and went three miles on my district, getting my companion, Sister Mary Ann Finch, on the way. How we longed for our teaching day to come around, for we sure enjoyed our visit.
I worked in almost all the organizations in Goshen. I was Relief Society Magazine Agent for eight years, going from house to house. I served as councilor in the Relief Society with Elizabeth Sorensen.
We left the farm and moved down to Goshen. Otis was appointed Bishop. I served as President of the Goshen Ward Relief Society for four years, from November 1, 1920 until August 1, 1924.
While we lived in Goshen Ward, we had many joys and many sorrows, for it was the time of the flu epidemic. While Otis was Bishop he worked hard with the people to save their lives and saw many tragic sights.
We also had five more children added to our family, which made us very happy. I was having terrible spells of rheumatism, which crippled my feet and hands, but I never stopped working. Every doctor told me I would be an invalid, but I knew the Lord would bless me if I put my trust in him.
We went to the Manti Temple many times, where I was instantly healed
under the hands of the Elders.
We had a little boy who was one and a half years old. He put his right hand in an electric sausage grinder and before we could stop it, his fingers got ground off. This was a terrible accident and filled our home with sorrow. This happened about one month before our baby girl was born. Doctor Curtis from Payson, Utah, did such a good job on his hand, that it was never a handicap. He could chop wood, sew on the machine, and do anything he wanted to do with his determination. In September 1933, he took appendicitis and died.
We also lost our oldest Son Harry, with cancer in June 1955. He left a wonderful wife and three fine children who are all working in the church.
When I was released as Relief Society President in 1924, I was set apart as Stake Chorister in the Tintic Stake. I worked under the direction of President Elizabeth Boswell. She was a wonderful president, so full of faith and the spirit of the gospel was her life. I held this office until we moved to Provo 3rd Ward in November 1929. At this time my youngest child was three months old and I was 47 years old.
In the 3rd Ward we made many dear friends who are still our friends. Brother Andrew Edwards was the first person to come to our home. He invited us to come and join in the ward functions. We went and they put us right to work. I worked in the Primary with Mary Sanders, whom I learned to love and respect. I was chorister in the Relief Society of a chorus of 30 ladies for ten years.
I worked on the welfare through the depression after World War I under the direction of Bishop Eves and his good wife. I also worked under Bishop Arthur D. Taylor and Bishop Maurice Harding in the music department.
I was asked by many people to furnish the music at funerals and I put on many programs at the Utah State Hospital.
I attended the B.Y.U. music class under the direction of Dr. Franklin Madsen to improve my music ability as chorister. I also attended a class under Sister Amy Brown Lyman on welfare work. I attended a class at the AC College In Logan, Utah, for two weeks on the extension work, and I have attended leadership week at the B.Y.U. ever since it was instituted.
My husband having sheep, we moved out of the nice city of Provo on 885 N. 5 West in the year 1944, to the beautiful valley of Wallsburg. Here we are contented and happy still working in the church, as Music Director of Sunday School, Relief Society and as Ward director.
I have worked on the cancer drive for 6 years. Our children are all married. We had three sons serve in the 2nd World War and our youngest son in the Korean War. He has served nearly 4 years in the Navy. We had 10 boys and 4 girls and lost the 2 boys. We have 12 children still living, all working in the church, and most of them married in the temple and none using tobacco or drinking. We have 45 grandchildren, 14 great grandchildren, 20 families and 83 in all.
I have remembered them all on their birthdays and Christmas with a gift. I am still working in music in Wallsburg and give music lessons. I am still using my hands at quilting and needle work at 71 years of age. I have made satin bedspreads and cut blocks for 18, quilt tops this winter (1954) besides my church duties. I have marked and quilted 25 satin bedspreads, which is my hobby, along with other fancy work. Making flowers is another hobby.
I have always wanted my hands to keep busy as the Doctor told me I would not be able to use them as I had so much rheumatism in them all the time. I have worked under Bishops in my life and I know they are all men of God.
Lily music has been half of my life. My testimony is that I know the
Lord lives and hears and answers my prayers, that Jesus Christ is the
Savior of the world, that he named his Church after His name, Church of
Jesus Christ and gave the gospel to the Prophet Joseph Smith in its fullness,
this is of the greatest value of my life. I hope and pray that I can live
worthy of the blessing of health to be able to work in his church all
my life and to receive the promises given me in my patriarchal blessing
in September 1901 by John Ashton. I am trying to live for these promises
and to meet my 2 sons who have gone on before me and I pray the Lord will
help me to keep my testimony and keep his spirit to guide me throughout
my days on earth.