Mary Elizabeth Toyn Douglas

Mary (Molly) Douglas was born on November 4, 1872 at Big Cottonwood, Salt Lake City, Utah, a daughter of William Jackson and Martha Jane Davis. Martha Jane then married David Harry Toyn and he raised Mary Elizabeth and had her sealed to him in the LDS Temple. Mary had a brother William Jackson and then eleven half brothers and sisters, David Adams, Francis Harris, Charles Crawford, Thomas Spencer, Ann Eliza, Alma Harry, May and Mamie (twins), Cora and Nora (twins) and Joseph Edgar.

She married James Douglas and they were the parents of Richard, Mary, Martha, Ruby, Margaret and Pearl.

She was an active member of the LDS church, serving in the Relief Society. They lived in Ogden, Utah the last fifteen years of her life.

This is a character sketch of Mary Elizabeth written by LaRene Richins Napoli.

Grandma Douglas was a quiet unassuming lady. Her husband called her “Ma” and her children called her “Mother.”

She expected obedience to her wishes from her children and always reminded them, even after they were grown and had families of their own, that they were never too old to be spanked. Her husband was always boss in his home. I never heard her contradict him, although he was quite demanding in his later years.

I remember her with grey hair, always cut short enough to show her ear lobe and she wore bangs. When she primped, she would light the kerosene lamp, heat the end of her curling irons over it, then test their warmth with a spit-wetted finger before she applied it to the end of a wisp of hair. Then she rolled it and held it until it was curled. When company came to her home unexpectedly, she always excused her “frously” hair if she hadn’t had time to curl it.

I loved my grandmother and her quaint ways. The way she’d always say “Well” with a little smile, to a hard to answer question or as an ejaculation. The way she was proud of her Indian ancestry. Her love for Irish songs. It seems I can still hear her playing the “Old Irish Wash Woman” and “Red Wing” on her harmonica. The way she kept fuming about that “blamed critter” all the time she was chasing a cow out of the lucern patch. The way she always sat everyone down to eat at her table, but never ate with them. In all the time I knew her, I don’t remember that she ever sat at her table with her family or other guests as they ate. Instead, she hovered over them with spoon and towel in hand ready to serve them and said she’d have a “bite to eat after a bit.” The way she would save every bead she ever found so that it might be strung later or the way she would clip and save “Dorothy Dix” advice to the lovelorn column from the newspaper every single day.

She had many sick headaches and consumed many bottles of bromo seltzer. She recommended it for most every symptom except rheumatism. For that she always had a ready bottle of Watkins liniment.

She waited on my grandfather for years. He was very heavy and suffered with diabetes. Because it was difficult for him to move around she ran drinks of water to him, opened gates and doors, wrote his letters and many more such favors with complaining.

How uncomplaining she was showed greatest in her last four years when she was bedridden. She had dropsy and had to have the water which collected over her abdomen drawn off through a tube, which was inserted into a small opening made each time by the doctor. She never once complained. Her doctor, L.S. Merrill, of Ogden, Utah, said it pained him to perform the operation because she never cried out or grumbled.

She had a horror all her life of going to the poor house (rest home) in her old age. Her daughters took turns caring for her in her own apartment until the end.

She passed away on December 28, 1951 and she is buried in the Grouse Creek Cemetery.