On August 23, 1882 I was born in a small town called Uckington, Gloucestershire, England. My parents were William Ballingham and Emily Harriet Evans. They named me Ellen Sarah, also known as Nell or Nellie. I had one sister, Annie, and four brothers; Charles, Albert James, Godfrey, and George E.
We lived in many different places where my father’s work called him. He was a Cartier and took care of fine horses on many different farms. Many of the horses he took to shows, he would decorate them with ribbons and metals, they looked just beautiful. My father loved this type of work and was very good at it.
There are so many pretty towns in England and we had many good times growing up. My Gramma Evans used to come and visit with us quite often. She was a widow when my mother was quite young and had to work to help support her family. Corsets were the style in those days, Gramma would make them from measurements for many different people so they would have a nice shape. My grandfather’s father’s name was Silvanus Evans, after being a widow for some time Gramma married James Henery Griffin, who also left her a widow in a few years. She met some Mormon missionaries and she and one of her daughters Ellen joined the church. Ellen came to America, married Charlie Holt and made her home in Bountiful, Utah. Later she helped finance Gramma’s trip to America.
The hopes and dreams of the converts were to come to Utah, make a new home here where they could go to the temple and be married for time and all eternity and have their families sealed to them. A beautiful place to live and worship God.
A few years later my mother, father and oldest brother Charlie were baptized on February 28, 1887. They were the only Mormons in the little country place called Bodingham at that time. It was kept a secret for a while because the people were very bitter against the Mormons. They finally found out and Father lost his job because of his new faith.
Father soon found another job and we moved to a place called Arle. We liked living there because it was much closer to town so we could go to Sunday School and meeting. There was a small branch there with a few missionaries, we were the only children to go to Sunday School so we held one large class. It was a struggle to keep a branch running but a few at a time were converted.
It was hard for the Elders to get their garments washed and they were the homemade style at that time, so mother did their washing for them. I seen mother stay up many nights ironing and mending for them. I often helped by threading needles for her. When she had finished, she would fix them all together in the baby carriage for me to take to 14 Regent St., Cheltenham, England where they lived. I had to walk about one mile, but didn’t mind. I had to walk that far every day to school. There were no buses then.
My father was the only one of his family that joined the church, so it was a little discouraging for him. He also had a lot of ridicule from those he worked with. My family remained very faithful through it all, even my brother Charles who was thirteen.
When one of the missionaries was released to come home, he offered to take Charlie home to America with him. He said he could live with his family and help on the farm. Charlie was so thrilled and begged the folks to let him go. He was given the chance and the folks hoped it wouldn’t be long, if they continued to save, before the whole family could join him.
It was nine years before the family was able to join my brother and we could hardly wait to see him after so long. In England we met a lot of missionaries, they would visit in our home and many times mother would fix them something to eat when they stopped after a long day of doing the Lord’s work. As time went on a missionary by the name of William Betteridge came from a country town called Grouse Creek, Utah.
We became good friends with Brother Betteridge in Sunday School. My brothers and I were about the only children that went. We would sit in a circle and take turns reading and then discussing from the Book of Mormon. I remember wondering then why mother didn’t send us to another church where there were more children.
One time I stood on a street corner with my brother and helped sing the opening and closing song while the Elders held an open air meeting. At that time it was hard for the Elders to even rent a building for meetings and now they are building meeting houses and temples everywhere.
As the days went on, it was time for Brother Betteridge to be released and return home to Utah. After some time my parents received a letter from him telling them he knew a man by the name of Sam Kimball who could find work for my father, helping him run his ranch. Mr. Kimball was willing to forward the money so he could bring his whole family and come to Utah. This was such a surprise for us, it took time for the decision to be made to leave our home and relatives, but we were all so anxious to see Charlie. It had been nine years.
It took us a few weeks to get ready. Mother wanted to bring all she could, and there were seven to get ready to come. Finally we left dear old England, us kids were so excited without a care in the world, but it was a big undertaking for my folks.
I can’t remember whether we sailed from Liverpool or Glasgow, but we sailed on a big ship called the City of Rome. We were nine days on the boat and arrived in New York on May 30, 1898. We came by train to Ogden. When we arrived in Ogden William Betteridge was there to meet us. It was so good to see a familiar face. Sam Kimball was with him and they found us a place to spend the night. They had brought two teams and wagons to take us the rest of the way, and it was an experience to travel that way. It was great fun for us kids but mother was so tired of taking care of us on the ship because we were all sick.
We spent one night in Brigham City with some families. They treated us well and fed us good meals. It was different in those days, almost anyone would take you in, make you a bed on their floor, and give you plain food, not fancy meals like you get today, just homemade bread and butter which is really better for people.
The next morning we were on our way to another place to camp out and our first night to sleep in the covered wagon, and see how they cooked meals over the open fires. The next morning we were on our way bright and early. We went as far as a small railroad town called Terrace. Because funds were getting low the men camped out and the women slept in a hay loft with a bunch of blankets spread over some straw. The next night we spent at Sam Kimball’s home at Grouse Creek, which was our home for that summer. Mr. Betteridge went on home about five miles up the valley. I imagine he was glad to get there after taking care of all of us for four days and nights.
We all stayed with the Kimballs that summer, but my sister Annie stayed with the Betteridges some of the time. They had a niece named Lillian who was a good companion for her.
Albert got work at different places, and then in the fall my folks moved to a little two-room log cabin. That was our first little home at Grouse Creek and it was wonderful for our family to be all together again.
Money was scarce and the ways of living and farming were so different from England, but Dad got along the best he could. Mr. Kimball was hard to get along with for awhile but Dad stayed with him though then found another job and we moved to a bigger home.
Dad worked for Billy Gilbert and got along much better. He allowed us to use his team to attend our meetings and we were able to visit the Betteridges. They always gave us a good meal and vegetables from his garden to take home with us. They were always so free to give. It was at this time that I first met my husband.
I used to get to work a few days sometimes helping people clean their homes or do a families wash for fifty cents a day. This was done on a wash board. Then one summer I got a steady job at Mr. and Mrs. Dave Thomas’s. I made $2.00 a week and my board and room. I did cooking for hay men and that meant lots of dishes to wash, heating the water on a wood stove. We baked our own bread and made our own butter, so with washing and ironing I was kept very busy and was glad to go home in the winter. The next summer I went back for $3.00 a week. By then my dad was working for David Thomas and later took over their home and ranch on shares and the Thomas’s moved to Oakley, Idaho.
The Thomas home was quite large so my brother had to help a lot. There was hay to put up and cattle to feed in the winter time but after a few years they bought a little farm and built a new home on it.
My brother, Godfrey, was getting married to Jane Paskett in the Salt Lake Temple. My folks went with them on June 7, 1916 and had their work done at the same time. It was a wish come true.
John Betteridge and I were married on January 17, 1901. We lived with his folks that winter. The Betteridge family all worked together as a company. In the spring they bought another little farm with a log cabin with four rooms. This is where we lived and raised our seven children. I still had to draw water from a well, heat it on the stove for everything. John always helped when he was around.
After a few years people worked together and fixed a pipe line from a good spring called Buckskin and we had water in the home and that was a real treat. We had to iron by wood stove, make our own bread, and butter and everything else we ate or go hungry. This was all very hard for me to get used to after living in England.
When our babies were coming along there was more washing and ironing to do on the scrub board. I fed all my babies the natural way, no bottles or canned food to feed them. Sometimes I wonder how we ever made it after seeing how nice and convenient things are today.
If we were sick, we heated flat irons, wrapped them up to warm their beds and used old-fashioned remedies or anything that might help. There were no doctors, no cars to go places. We were blessed with a good midwife named Ellen Blanthorn, who would help in time of sickness and when the new babies came and we were to remain in bed for nine days. She only charged $5.00 and it was well worth that to have someone to help. Ellen’s sister Mary Hadfield took nurse training and they worked together.
We were very fortunate and got along fine, all our children are living and have good health. We had four boys first and they soon grew up to help a little on the farm. They also helped to wash and dry dishes for me and churn the butter. Like all kids they didn’t like doing it very well, they would rather be playing with their ponies or riding the calves. If they were caught at it, boy there was trouble. They also built a dam in a creek so they would have a swimming hole. The children out there made their own entertainment and had many good times.
Our oldest daughter Elva soon became old enough to help take care of her younger sisters Raida and Eva, and that was a great help to me, gave me time to take care of all the milk we had. I made butter and cottage cheese. I think it tasted better then than now.
The girls and I raised eight lambs that didn’t have a mother. We taught them to drink from a bottle and the girls had pets. The experience of living on the farm is wonderful, to know how to raise chicks, feed pigs and all the other things that must be done to keep a farm running. One time one of the little piglets had to be taken to the house and fed, then when it was put back with the others when supper time came, it always ran to the house to be fed.
In the winter we would always kill a beef, divide it up with the family and also kill a pig, render the lard, make sausage, put it in sacks and hang it outside to freeze. John’s father raised a lot of nice vegetables, plenty of potatoes to put in the cellar for the winter.
They gathered up the grain in the fall then got the threshing done. We always had a big meal that day, everyone was busy and hungry and it was so enjoyable. Later John would hitch up the team and take the wheat over to the mill at Oakley, Idaho. Later he would bring it back in winters flour, better flour than you get today. Also, he brought germade cereal for breakfast. There were also apples of many different kinds, enough to do all winter.
Later, when our family was small the Betteridge company sold their cattle ranch and went into the store business. They were doing a good job for a few years, had good stock, almost everything for a country store, then one day it all went up in smoke.
We all had our farms so we made it for awhile, later we all divided things up and took care of our own. This was better. Our family was growing fast.
A few years later we made a move to Ogden in 1921. We bought a home and have lived here most of our lives. Our oldest son, Wilbur, got married and moved to California, the other three boys worked on the railroad until they retired. The girls got married and we were left alone, back like we started.
I’ve tried my hardest to live a good life doing good to others and always trying to do those things pleasing in the sight of the Lord. My life has been full of many hard times and many joys. John and I raised seven wonderful and successful children and I always felt like the Lord was very good to us.