AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF ROSEMILDA RANGHILDA BLUTH FARR
A Sketch of My Life by Hilda B. Farr
I wish I could give you a word picture of what has passed through my mind and before my eyes since I began life here on earth. I know of no one who has more reasons to be grateful than I for the many blessings that have come to me in my life.
I was born in this land of the free—in this great nation. I have always been glad I didn’t have to live during the dark ages. I was born the 12th of February 1883 in the city of Ogden, Weber County, Utah. My father was A.C.F. Bluth, who was born in Stockholm, Sweden August 24, 1842. My mother was Johanna Johnson Bluth, born May 14, 1848 at Goteberg, Sweden. They were both converts to the Latter-day Saints Church. My father had been married twice before he married my mother. Both of his first wives had died as had three of his children, leaving him only one young son. My mother had six children. I was the third child. Two older sisters than myself had died before I was born and I had three younger brothers.
When I was six years old, my parents moved to old Mexico in 1889. The relentless zeal of the U. S. Marshalls in seeking out violators of the Edmund-Tucker Law, had put many members of the Church in danger of prison sentences. My father was among those harassed Mormon members, which were being persecuted for their religious beliefs. Something had to be done. The Presidency of the Church made arrangements for a place of refuge where the Saints could live, which was across the border into old Mexico. A migration began which lasted for many years and as a result, eight colonies were established in that land.
My father’s family left Ogden by train the 15th of May 1889. The train took us to Deming, New Mexico where we remained for some time until arrangements could be made for someone to take us by team and wagon to our future home in the colonies. While at Deming, my second brother, Jared William, died with scarlet fever and was buried in Deming. My brother Oscar and I had both had scarlet fever and whooping cough before we left Ogden, which left me with a complication. I was left totally blind. I was blind for several months and under the doctor’s care, but it was only though the faith and prayers of my parents that I was healed and regained my sight.
To travel by team and wagon was no hardship for us children, but I’m sure my mother never felt it was a pleasure trip; cooking over a campfire and sleeping out. I well remember the large barrels on each side of the wagon filled with water for both our use and for the horses. A large tent was set up each night and taken down in the morning when we were ready to travel again. On those nights as we were camping out, we could hear the howl of coyotes and wolves, a sound that always frightened me and I was always afraid one would come too near. The road was no paved highway and was rough traveling. We also had to ford two large rivers.
One month from the time we left Ogden, Utah, we arrived in the colony of Dublan in Old Mexico. We now were in a strange land to begin a new life. Father set up our tent and then we gathered weeping willow tree limbs and built a nice bowery of willows in front of our tent, where we lived until father built our home. He made a mold himself, and made mud bricks called adobies from which he built us a two room house. We later added more rooms, which we felt made us quite comfortable.
My first school was at a neighbor’s home. Mollie Jones was the teacher of the school, where all the children of the families settled there, plus a lot of Mexican children gathered. I had a hard time learning English as I had been raised a little Swedish girl. My mother spoke only Swedish until quite late in her life; she learned what English my father taught her. I remember my father talking to mother in English and she would always answer him in Swedish. As more people came and a church was built, we held our school in the church house. I was 18 years old before I finished the eighth grade which was the highest our schools in Dublan went and I was not allowed to attend the academy at Juarez which was the church school 18 miles away. My father didn’t think girls needed any more education.
After I finished school, I went out working for other people, doing house work and sewing, which I enjoyed. Later I got a chance to work in the Mercantile Establishment where I was the cashier. It was while I was working at this store that I met and became acquainted with a good fellow of our town named H. E. Farr, whom I later married. He was a leader in the Stake, a member of the High Council, a stake missionary, and had filled a three year mission to the Eastern States, laboring in Pennsylvania. We were married March 25, 1904 at Colonia Juarez by President Ivins and later came to Salt Lake City to the Temple and had my endowments.
My first child, a son, was born the 4th of July 1906. We named him Halvan Heber. When my baby was eight months old, I went with my husband to the northern part of the State of Chihuahua, deep down into Mexico where he and some others from our colony had found work on a railroad. Myself and a sister-in-law were the only white women among several hundred Mexican, Japanese, and Indian men who were working for my husband on the railroad. It was a lovely place to live. Such an even climate, no frost, and with beautiful evergreen trees so large some were several feet through the trunk, and wild flowers and ferns. We built a log house to live in.
After some time, I went home for I was expecting a new baby. On May 18, 1908, my second son was born. A lovely baby, but he only lived a week. His father never was privileged to see him. I named him Ivan Bluth Farr. It was a sad time for me as I was young and inexperienced. My parents were such a comfort to me. My father made the little coffin to bury him in and it was lovely—all covered white and trimmed with lace. My father was an expert cabinet maker and helped to build many of the homes in the colony where we lived. After some time my husband came home for a short time and again I accompanied him back to his work with the railroad. After some time, the work with the railroad ended and we returned to our home in Dublan where our third son was born September 3, 1909. We called him Deral Winslow.
Money was quite scarce in the colonies and the stake president had advised people to find good temporary work elsewhere to bring in a little money to help pay for their homes. Some of my husband’s people persuaded him to come to Arizona where he contracted for a large tract of land in Tucson, Pima County. We left our home in Mexico to which we expected to come back some day. Several families left with us in November 1909. Deral was just two months old and Halvan just three. We moved in a wagon which was fixed up with an extension top over the wagon bed, so we could sleep in the wagon at night, but we had to do our cooking on a camp fire. We were about a month on our way, reaching Tucson near Christmas time.
There was no church organization in Tucson. My husband’s relatives were not L.D.S. members then, but were later baptized and came into the church. Other families moved in and in a short time a branch of the California Mission was organized and was called Binghampton. My husband was called to be the Branch President, which position he held for about fifteen years.
During the year 1912, because of the civil war in Mexico and the constant raid of bandits and guerilla bands, the members of the church residing in the Juarez Stake (consisting of eight settlements or wards) were robbed and persecuted and finally forced to seek refuge in the United States with the hope that they would again return to their homes, most of which were located close to the border. But as time passed and the conditions had not improved, a large number moved away and located in other stakes. We had been in Arizona three years and were pretty well settled when the people were driven out of Mexico. My husband, along with others, went to El Paso to help the people get located on lands and find homes and employment. There was 4,000 saints who left the colonies.
When our oldest son Halvan was ten years old, he was afflicted with tetnus (lockjaw). He was seriously ill, having convulsions for 21 days. The medical doctors said he was beyond help and was pronounced dead by the doctor of the hospital and the nurse even pinned the little death cross on his bed, as he was in a Catholic hospital. When we were notified of his death, we went immediately to the hospital and my husband and President Robinson of the California Mission who was with us, did not feel he was gone. They administered to him and in a very few seconds he began breathing again. He was restored to health. The nuns at the hospital always spoke of him as the resurrection and the miracle boy. It was truly a miracle of healing.
In 1926, we had to make another move. We had done well in Tucson and were comfortably situated, but my husband’s health broke down when he was nearly killed by a jersey bull. He couldn’t seem to gain his health back until he came to the Salt Lake Temple and received a special blessing for his health. So when our baby daughter Yvonne was three months old, I left Arizona to move to Utah. Myself and the four youngest children, Keith 6, Azona 4 ½ , Nadine 2, and the baby came on the train by way of San Francisco—crossed Oakland Bay on a boat. Then we boarded a train and came across the new railroad across the Great Salt Lake called the Lucian Cutoff. My husband and the older children had previously come by car bringing our household belongings and found us a house to live in. Before I arrived, Lawrence, who was in Provo with his father, was hit by a car. It broke his arm and fractured his skull. Everyone thought him a dead boy, but through good medical care and nursing and prayer, he was soon able to be around again. His father brought him to Ogden to meet us at the train. How frightened I was when I saw his head and his arm all bandaged.
Soon after, we bought a farm and moved to Pleasant Grove. In 1929, our youngest son Keith, who was then 10 ½ years old, had rheumatic fever which left his heart weak and he died in June of 1929. You can imagine with this large of a family we have spent lots of days and nights doctoring for earaches, toothaches, measles, mumps, and all the other ailments of childhood, none of which ever seemed to pass us by without all having to have their turn. I remember the day we took the four youngest children to Salt Lake to have their tonsils removed. It seemed in those days they used to take out tonsils as a family project. Forty-five miles to Salt Lake seemed like quite a trip then in our old car. Josephine, Azona, and Nadine had their tonsils removed, but the doctor thought Yvonne should wait. As it turned out Yvonne was sicker than the other three, just from smelling the ether. After ten days Josephine had a serious hemorrhage from her operation, which was a lot of worry at the time.
Eight of our children married and are sealed to their partners in the Temple. Our son Deral hasn’t chosen him a wife as yet. All have married well, good members of the L.D.S. Church and active and willing to take part in their church activities. When I go over the jobs my children are doing in the church, I believe it includes every organization in the church nearly,--they are Sunday School teachers and coordinators, Relief Society Presidents and Secretary, Sunday School chorister, Primary Teacher, MIA Counselor, two sons and four sons-in-law are members of ward bishoprics, stake missionaries, Seventy’s and Elder’s Quorums, and served on the High Council.
We now own a home in Provo and have an interest in a dairy farm in Payson where our two oldest sons live and operate the farm.
I was involved in a car accident in 1952 as I was returning from a visit to our oldest daughter’s, who lives in Roosevelt. It was in January, and the driver of the car lost control on the icy road in Daniel’s Canyon. The car went over an embankment which was quite steep and down a few hundred feet and stopped in about three feet of snow. The door came open and I was thrown from the car. Somehow I managed to climb back up the embankment and signaled for help. We were taken to the hospital at Heber City. The car was demolished and the driver had a broken back. I had several fractured ribs and many cuts and bruises, but I felt my life had been wonderfully preserved. I was in the hospital for three days and was then taken to my daughter Josephine’s home where I remained for some time until I was able to care for myself again.
Our son Lawrence Waldo died in August of 1957 after a lingering illness with cancer, leaving a lovely wife and five fine children. His death occurred on his father’s birthday, the 16th of August. His father was 82 and he was 42. Lawrence was well loved and respected—there were 1600 people that came and paid their respects at his funeral in the little town of Pleasant Grove where he and his family lived.
I have thirty five grandchildren and ten great grandchildren. I am thinking of the years yet to come, that I hope to enjoy with my family. My church work has been something I have enjoyed all my life and still do. We have visited five of the temples and have worked in the Salt Lake Temple ever since we came to Utah, which is now over thirty years. I earnestly desire to do more research work and temple work.
Our children are all wonderfully considerate of us and very dutiful of our wishes and needs. These incidents may mean but little to others, but to me they are milestones of my life and are important and dear to me. My life is still a joy to me and I pray it to be so for many years yet to come.
Hilda passed away 21 Nov 1973 in Provo, Utah, Utah. She was buried 24 Nov 1973 in Pleasant Grove, Utah, age 90 years old