by Euphemia Jane Carter Freeman
taken from Family History of George Richard and Euphemia Jane Freeman (1990),
pp. 41-48, compiled by Glen R. Freeman
I was born 23 March 1857 in Blisworth, Northamptonshire, England. My father’s name was Henry Carter; my mother’s name was Elizabeth Green Carter. I had the following brothers and sisters:
|born 30 December 1853
born 13 July 1859
born 22 January 1864
All of whom were born at Blisworth, Northamptonshire, England.
I started to work at lace making when I was eight years old. I did not have much schooling. In those days our parents were glad to have their children work and earn some money for their keep.
While I was home as a child, I used to go gleaning with my mother and older sister. In those days the people used to go gleaning to get wheat for their flour for the winter and to help buy clothes for the family. We used to walk many miles to the fields and gathered heads of wheat dropped by the men harvesting the wheat. We would put the wheat heads into bags, and then we would carry it home on our heads, sometimes two and three miles. Our heads would feel like they had been pushed down into our necks by the time we arrived home. That used to be very hard work and so much walking – – so many miles we had to go. I often wonder what the young people would think of such work now. We did not have the good times they have today, but I am sure we were much happier than many of them are today.
Then, we young people had to go to Sunday School. We had to go – – there was no way of getting out of it unless you were sick; then you were excused. My parents belonged to the Church of England. Later my mother joined the Baptists. My father never went to church as he used to have to work on Sundays, but he had one Sunday in a month off. Then in the summer months he used to take Mother and we children up to the woods to pick primroses and other flowers. We used to walk two miles there and two back, but we enjoyed it so much when he had his Sunday off so we could go to the woods and pick flowers and nuts. I often think of those times. Now we have passed through many changes. I always love to be among flowers. I like to give them to people that don’t have any and to the sick folks to cheer them up.
When I was twelve years old, I went to live out to take care of a little boy and do some of the housework. The lady’s name was Whitlock. For my work I received one shilling a week. I was there about two years; then I went to a place called Longbuckby to take care of three children for a Mrs. Lee. That was twelve miles from my home. I lived there one year; then I went to work at a place in Blisworth for a Mrs. Wesley. They were millers and farmers. There I received three shillings a week. Then I went back to live with Mrs. Lee at Longbuckby for another year for four shillings a week. After that I went to live in Northampton with a newly married couple. I do not remember the wages I had there. I stayed with them two years and had to do all the washing. My older sister lived with the man’s mother. Their name was Laycock.
After two years I left the Laycock family and went to live at Olney in Buckinghamshire with a Mrs. Coles. An old lady, and her daughter. That was the last of all the places where I lived. I lived with them four years; then I left to get married. I was then about twenty-four years old.
On 26 December 1881 I was married to George Richard Freeman in the Baptist chapel at Blisworth. Marriage brought another change in my life. We have had seven fine children, five boys and two girls, all living but the youngest. He died of the flu while in the service of this country. Their names follow.:
James Bert Wallinger
|born 18 September 1882
born 14 march 1884
born 12 December 1886
born 10 September 1890
born 1 June 1893
born 26 February 1895
born 3 January1897
They are all married but the last one who died.
About four years after we were married, we had two Mormon elders come to my father-in-law’s home, but my husband and I did not want to have anything to do with them – – did not want to be seen with them. As our children grew, other children used to call them “Mormonite Dick.” They did not like to be called that, but everything came out all right.
After these two elders first came, then they came every month and stayed for a few days and would go tracting in the district. We used to have some good times and often would sit up until one o’clock and talk gospel and sing the Latter-day Saints’ songs and talk about Utah. Those were enjoyable times that went on for a few years; then we wanted to come to Utah.
Our two oldest boys came over first in May 1901. The rest of the family came out in June 1902. My mother came out with us. My father died 23 March 1902, so Mother wanted to see her youngest daughter, who had been out of here ten years. She so wanted to come to see her and spend her last days with her. She was an old woman. She turned eighty in August after she got here. She did not get seasick, and I was sick three days. I could not take care of her while I was sick. A lady from London tried to take care of her, but mother would not let her. Mother’s mind was getting weak, and she was almost like a child. She did not know what to do or where to go. She was all over the ship. She missed me.
Well, we got here, and after the general run of the troubles people have that come over here, we are now as happy as the rest of the human family. We came through different trials the same as many others have had to do, but there is always a sliver lining to the cloud after it has passed over. We haven’t had much sickness in our family. I think that is a great blessing.
We are doing our little bit to help roll on the work of the Lord in our weak way – – Temple work. I think that brings to everyone many blessings and helps others for themselves. That is the reason I like to go and work in the temple.
We left our friends and my oldest sister in England. I often feel sad about her being alone there as two of us are here in America, but if she is true and faithful to the gospel, the Lord will take care of her.
Now, as we have traveled through fifty years together, we have got to the place where we started out, all alone, and we can look back and see a few ups and downs in our lives. Now I do hope my children and their children will keep true and faithful to the gospel. My earnest prayer is that they will be charitable and true to each other and let brotherly love continue among them.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Stories Told by Euphemia Jane Carter Freeman
to her Daughter, Ida F. Winter
Mother’s earliest recollection was of her baby brother when Mother was only three years old. One this morning he was put in her bed and given a peppermint drop (candy) which he held dangling from his fingers and a white door knob to play with, while their mother went downstairs to light the fire. Then later she saw him in his little white coffin. He died of whooping cough when he was a little more than one year of age.
Mother’s school life was short. In those days school masters or teachers were allowed to reprimand the children severely. The children sat on backless benches in a row. One day the teacher was called from the room, and the children played and ran about. On his return he heard the noise and took his anger out on the first one on the bench. Mother was innocent but she received the thrashing. She begged and pleaded with her mother not to send her back to school, so she did not return. Instead she went to a “lace school” to learn to make lace. The lace made at the school was purchased, usually by the people who had money – – the nobility chiefly. This was a private school and the owner was the teacher. At this lace school the children would stay while the teacher would have her afternoon nap. Again, Mother attended to her work and finished the required yardage and went home while the others who played and pouted had to remain longer to finish their work.
One pattern remembered by Mother, after many years, was brought home by Irene (a granddaughter) on her return home from her mission in England. Mother exclaimed, I used to do that pattern as a young girl.” It was called the “Running River.”
Mother’s hair was thick and heavy so she wore it Dutch cut (bangs and cut straight around below ear length).
She and her older sister, Polly (Mary Ann), were often sent down the street for a pail of beer or ale for their father’s supper. There was no light in the streets, no lamp lights, and shutters were closed at every window so everywhere was very dark. They huddled together in their mother’s large shawl and with their eyes big with fear, they hurried down to the pub and back.
For hats, materials and things not obtainable in their small town, they walked to the city ten miles away, made their purchases, and took the train home. One day Mother was to have her ears pierced as all the young girls were doing. Being timid, she changed her mind on the way and decided a new hat would be better. She never did have her ears pierced.
All her life Mother disliked the dark. As a child, when put to bed, her mother lit a small candle-end and left it by mother. Mother would watch the candle burn down and flicker out and then would call, “Mother, the candle is out.” The answer came back, “Now you must go to sleep.” But sleep was slow coming.
One day as Mother and her friends were playing “tig” she ran upstairs to avoid her pursuers and found her grandfather on the floor beside the bed with all the bedclothes on top of him. He had had a stroke and while trying to pull himself up had pulled the clothes off the bed. “Fee,” the name Mother went by at home, ran to her uncle Richard’s a few doors away, where her parents were visiting. They came and put Grandfather to bed. He died a short time later. Fee then ran to the church to tell them to toll the bell (one toll for each year of his age). He was ninety years old. Her grandfather had been brought to their home when he could no longer care for himself.
On Sunday they loved to go walking in the meadows, a usual Sunday outing for most families. One Sunday they were all dressed for a walk and waiting for their parents to be ready when Sarah, their baby sister, fell and dislocated her arm or shoulder so they didn’t take the walk – – only to the doctor.
As a young girl of twelve years, mother took care of children (baby sitting). One little boy became so attached to her that she was taken to Morcombe Bay on vacation to care for the boy while the parents went their way. The boy was sickly and the doctor ordered seawater baths, so one of Mother’s duties was to carry seawater from the beach in which to bathe the child. The ocean and new country delighted Mother.
While still at a young age, Mother hired out as a servant – – the usual work at that time. One of the first places was in a home in which her cousin worked, so Mother felt herself lucky to be with someone she knew who could help her become adjusted to the work. At another place, “Long Buckley Mill,” quite near our home town, she was one of several servants. The people were millers and owned the mill where the townspeople came to have their grain ground into flour or feed. They also had a dairy, chickens, and geese. Here Mother had her first encounter with geese. Out in the yard one day a gander became angry at something and flew at Mother, beating her legs with his powerful wings and body. One of the workmen saw the trouble and ran and beat the bird off with his tick. Mother’s legs were quite bruised.
At this time Mother started working as a servant. While away from home she fund it difficult to communicate with her parents because she could not read or write, so she determined to teach herself. She took the family’s discarded envelopes and with pencil and paper formed the letters, learned how to put them together and what they meant. In time she was able to write home for what she needed and let them know who she was getting along. (She always said that she finished her education when her children went to school.). Years later she was Literacy teacher in her ward Relief Society.
Polly, mother’s oldest sister, was working also, so she bought Grandmother a sewing machine to help her in her sewing – – no treadle in those days. The machine was run by turning the wheel with a handle, quite slow, but faster and easier than hand sewing. Finally the machine would not run. There was no one to fix it, so Grandmother put it in the “copper” and boiled it. Then it ran beautifully. A copper was a copper-lined, large bowl-shaped basin set in a fireproof counter with a fireplace under it and was used to boil the washed clothes in as we used to use a washer boiler. Grandmother made all their clothes and sent them t wherever they were working (Poly and Euphemia Jane).
During those years there were many poor people and often there were high prices, and shortages of butter or fats for their bread. Servants were not often treated as family members. They were often given bacon fat and beef drippings to be used for butter. These people were millers and had a dairy. The milk house was over a stream of water to keep it cool. There the butter and milk were kept. As mother had to spread the bread for her employers with mutter for their meals, she spread the servants bread with butter too, turning it upside down so that the lady of the house would not see it. (In those days bread was always cut thin and spread with butter before being placed on the table.) The lady of the house had decided that mutton fat was good enough for her servants and put a bowl full on their table. Mother said, “I have never eaten such stuff and I am not going to now.” so she took the mutton fat out to the man to grease the wagon wheels. Of course Mother has repented since, but not then.
Servants were usually hired at Michaelmass time, 29 September. (NOTE: Michaelmass is an annual church festival honoring the arch angel Michael and all the angels.) It was always a busy, happy time of the year. The Michaelmass daisies were in bloom at this time, making a bright splash of purple and lavender color.
As a child Mother was fond of play. She played the usual games with her friends: There was “Tig” or tag, a form of jacks played with smooth pebbles, hop scotch, jump the rope, or they would trundle their large hoops down the streets or along the tow path along the canal, guiding them with a stick or a short length of steel. Often the hoops rolled into the canal and stayed there until Grandfather or some other man fished them out.
When they would meet the vicar on the street they made a curtsy to him. (The boys doffed their caps.) If the curtsy or bow was not deep enough they got a reprimand from him. He rapped their head with his knuckles. The vicar asked Grandmother to name my mother, Euphemia, for his daughter and he would be godfather to her. In later years Mother said, “I was named by the request of the vicar, and then he did not even put my name on the parish register.” (We had known of no record of Mother’s birth.) 1982 – – Glen, a son of Wilford’s wished to have Mother’s birth date researched at “St. Catherine’s House” and it was found on record, so we now have her birth date on record.
The last place mother worked was in Olney, for a Mrs. Coles. Mother always called her “Old Lady Coles.” She was elderly but very good to Mother. The servant before was named Sarah, so Mother was called “Sarah” because her employer could not remember the long name. Mother often said Mrs. Coles chemise were patch on patch (a chemise is an undergarment) but always very clean.
To go out of the back door they went through the scullery, or back kitchen, where all the dirty chores were done. On a bench along the wall stood all the black pots. Mother soon had all of them scoured and covered with paper so they appeared cleaner and tidy. The path outside the back door was lined with Christmas roses. Mother always loved them.
At a party one night Mother met the man she later married. He was with another girl and Mother with another man, but they left the party together. They continued seeing each other – – they generally went for a Sunday walk to the fields or to Blisworth to see Mother’s parents. They were married 26 December 1881, in the Baptist church at Blisworth. Mrs. Coles gave mother a tea set and a clock. Father had a case made for the clock and it came to Utah with us in 1902. Mrs. Coles wanted Mother to marry the other man and tried hard to change Mother’s mind.
As the children came along, Mother formed a dislike to using straight pins in the babies’ diapers so she sewed them on, often having to do the sewing over too soon. There were no safety pins in those days.
This was mother’s prayer as a child:
|Gentle Jesus, meek and mild
Look upon a little child,
Pity my simplicity,
Suffer me to come to Thee.
Fain I would to thee be brought,
These songs Mother sang as a child:
|I thank Thee dear Father in heaven above.
For Thy goodness and mercy Thy kindness and love.
I thank Thee for home, friends and parents to dear
And for every blessing that I enjoy here.
Help me to be good, kind and gentle today
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
|I think when I read that sweet story of old
When Jesus was here among men.
How he called little children like lambs to His fold
I would liked to have been with Him then.
I wish that His hands had been placed on my head,
Yet still to His footstool, in prayer I may go
Ida note: When Mother was ninety-five years old I stopped at a wheat field one day and she picked a few heads of wheat and remarked about how life had changed.