Emily Ness Betteridge

Emily Ness Betteridge was born on December 4, 1880, to Benjamin and Margaret Ann Coulson Ness, in Scarborough, Yorkshire,England. She was the sixth child in the Ness family. Other than her parents, she lived with her two brothers, George and John, and her three sisters, Sarah Ann, Margaret Ann and Ada. An older brother died September 12, 1867, when he was nine months old.

When Emily was quite young, she helped with the cooking and was responsible for the household chores.

Emily had a fondness for animals even when she was a young child, especially for cats and dogs. In fact, cats were her dolls, and she would dress them up in various kinds of clothes and pretend that they were her playmates. She always gave the cats a name that suited her fancy.

Emily’s father was a stone mason, and died of stone masons’ consumption when she was almost five years old. This left Mother Ness to care for and raise the children. Sarah Ann was seventeen years of age, George was fifteen and both were able to earn some money to supplement the family income. The other children were too young to help in that way.

Mother Ness took in lodgers and gave them board and room.

Emily attended what we would call an elementary school, and seemed to get along well with everyone. She often ran errands for the teacher. This, she loved. If the errand took her out of the school building, she would walk the long way around and take a stroll along the beach. She was a free spirit, doing her thing.

One of her uncles owned a string of donkeys, to sell rides to the children. Emily helped her uncle in this business venture and enjoyed it to the fullest.

When she was about fourteen years old, the Ness family moved to Leeds, a large industrial city. Eventually she found work with various dressmaking establishments. The shop girls worked hard and long hours, but even so, there was time for a little fun, usually at the expense of the boss.

Emily’s social life seemed to center around young people her own age. Walks in the country, buying a ticket to some music hall entertainment, and occasionally short holiday trips.

She became interested in the Mormon religion in her early twenties. Her brother, John, was the first member of the Ness family to develop a need to know more about LDS doctrine, and was baptized on April 28, 1894. Emily was baptized on April 19, 1902, by William A. Cornaby and confirmed on the same day by her future husband, James William Betteridge.

Emily’s interest in the church may also have been kindled by the tall persuasive Elder Betteridge, who had spent, with others, a number of pleasant hours at the Ness home in connection the church activities or social functions.

Elder Betteridge was released from his mission and sailed on the U.S. Republic for the United States. After reaching Grouse Creek, James corresponded with Emily frequently. He finally persuaded her to “cast her lot with his” as the saying goes.

Emily sailed from England on August 24, 1904. She came to Salt Lake and spent about six weeks with the John Hill family. John Hill had been a missionary companion of James.

James left Tacoma on October 2, 1904 to meet Sister Hill and Emily. General Conference was held on October 9, and after attending conference they purchased their furniture. Their marriage license was obtained October 12, and they attended a dance that evening in the Granite Stake House. Their wedding picture was taken on October 19, at Fox and Symons Studio. They were married that day in the Salt Lake Temple by John R. Winder.

Upon arriving in Grouse Creek on October 23, 1904, they were given a chivaree by “the boys,” and after promising to give a dance they were left in peace and quiet.

The newlyweds established their new home in Tacoma, Nevada, which was a railroad center for parts of Utah and Nevada. In the latter part of October, they traveled by wagon from Grouse Creek to Tacoma to retrieve their furniture, which had been shipped there from Salt Lake the day it had been bought. It took a week to set up the proper housekeeping facilities.

Emily bought Mrs. Lee’s sewing machine for $25.00. These were busy times in Tacoma, with James working at the store. Sheep and cattlemen were frequent customers. Ranchers from the surrounding area, and people from Grouse Creek and points in between, came to buy the necessary goods needed to keep their households well supplied.

Visitors were always welcome in Tacoma. It seems as though some relative or friend was always stopping over for a night or two on their way to or from the Grouse Creek area.

This new life was interesting to Emily, as she had been accustomed to living in a large industrial city back in England. She was now in the wide-open spaces of the West surrounded by sage-brush, cedars, a few homes, a store, railroad station, and a half dozen Indians, who were friendly.

Early in the year of 1905, it was decided that James would leave the employ of Mr. Lee. Edgar, James’ brother, had arrived to help them and provide transportation. They left Tacoma and stopped at the Kimber Ranch for dinner and on to Grouse Creek. On the way they found the roads horrible.

Their first home in Grouse Creek was the two west rooms at the home of James’ brother, John. It took a week of cleaning and rearranging to make their new home comfortably livable. This home where the two families lived was built of logs and had a dirt roof.

Grouse Creek society readily accepted Emily, who in turn adapted herself to living in a small community where most everyone was related, and everybody knew everyone else. She participated in all of the social and religious activities, also in community celebrations. One of her first church responsibilities was that of being a Primary teacher. Another was that of a counselor in the Relief Society.

The second home occupied by Emily and James in Grouse Creek, was also built of logs. It too, had a dirt roof, and consisted of a kitchen, living room, bedroom, and an attached storage room in the back. It was furnished comfortably and looked homey. There was room for a vegetable garden and some flowers. There were lilacs, yellow roses, wild roses, California poppies and others. In back of the house there was an underground cellar where vegetables and bottled fruit were stored for the winter, together with other eatables. Before water came to be piped into the homes there was also a well. Another convenience a little distance from the house, and in the vicinity of the corral was a “Chic Sale” as the outside privies were sometimes referred to. There also was a pig pen and a chicken coop, and in the corral several milk cows.

The highlights of the small community were Church activities, holiday celebrations such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Valentines Day, Fourth of July, Twenty-fourth of July, and dances, with a masquerade for good measure. Then there were church-sponsored plays, school plays and of course birthdays. Emily did her share of helping in all these events. James also took part in several plays over the years.

Many a freezer of ice cream was made by Emily and James for summer celebrations. Ice was “harvested” in blocks from a reservoir a few miles away, in the winter time, and was stored in “icehouses” for use in the summer. Other goodies were prepared and donated, especially for bazaars sponsored by the Relief Society, to help make such activities a success.

She learned how to cook on, and to control, a wood burning range. James always made certain the wood box by the stove was well filled.

On January 16, 1906, a daughter was born to Emily and James, and named Alpha. She was attended by Mrs. Mary Hadfield, a midwife.

Twelve years had elapsed since Emily and James moved from Tacoma to Grouse Creek. The family had grown. Other daughters now in the family included Olive, born on April 14, 1908; Eileen, born on February 13, 1910; Verna, born on January 25, 1912; Jessie, born on April 7, 1914; and Muriel, born on April 22, 1916. At each confinement, Emily was attended by Mrs. Hadfield or Mrs. Blanthorn (another midwife) or both.

In April 1917, they, with their six daughters and all of their belongings, made the big move to Provo. Farm life was never easy. Eventually the farm provided a variety of fruit which they bottled. It required several hundred quarts of fruit to satisfy the family’s appetites.

On November 23, 1918, a daughter Norma was born. The faithful Mrs. Hadfield came from Grouse Creek to be in attendance. She was with the family for about two weeks, and took full charge of the household. While there, she taught some of the girls how to knit scarves.

To supplement the family income, James worked on various jobs in the winter. He worked at the Roundhouse (a steel and blast furnace), he was a Deputy County Assessor during early spring months, and helped build a new water flume in Provo Canyon. Money at times may have been scarce, but there was never a lack of food.

March 15, 1921 was sort of a special occasion. After seven girls now in the family, a son was born. The baby was delivered by Dr. Pyne and this was the first time that Emily had been attended by a physician. The baby was named Bryce.

On June 16, 1924 a baby girl arrived and they called her June.

As the years went by, it was found difficult to maintain a farm with a family of girls and one boy, who was at this time too young to be of assistance. A decision was made to move to the Salt Lake area.

Emily loved to read, especially romantic love stories. She also enjoyed reading the editorial page of the newspaper.

Family festivities, which included all day outings to nearby canyons in the summer pleased Emily. She loved birthday celebrations or any events which brought the family together. She also liked picnics with the neighbors. She enjoyed being with her daughters and the girls enjoyed her company too.

All the Betteridge children graduated from high school. Mr. and Mrs. Betteridge wanted the best for their offspring and gave them every help.

Emily began to have eye problems, which seemed to create a feeling of nausea. The doctor diagnosed acute glaucoma. She was operated on, however, too much damage had been done and she eventually lost her sight.

It became necessary to employ someone to be with her while her husband and daughters were at work. She never lost her sense of humor.

Emily passed away quietly on June 11, 1953. She was laid to rest in the Sunset Lawn Burial Gardens in Salt Lake City, Utah.