A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE LIFE OF MY MOTHER JANE BUTLER STUCKI
By Margaret S. Hoge
[This history was apparently written in 1933. The punctuation and spelling have been retained as well as the formatting from the original. The copy that I had was a typed carbon copy. Editorial comments are in [ ] brackets. L. Gee 2006]
Jane Butler Stucki, my Mother, was born in a little village called St. Brides, Glamorganshire, South Wales on the 8th of November 1851, the daughter of Thomas L. and Dinah David Butler. The family considered consisted of six children, three boys and three girls; Mother being the fifth child to bless that home although not rich in worldly possessions she was made welcome and happy.
At one time the Butlers had been owners of Dunraven Castle in Glamorganshire, South Wales and had lived there for ten generations. Through feudal wars they lost possession of the castle, but the castle still stands and is occupied. [It was at the time of the writing of this history in the early 1930ís, but was demolished by the Earl of Dunraven in the 1960ís because he did not want to pay taxes on the estate.]
The home in which Mother was born was a small three room rock house calcimined [calcimine was a water based paint which rubbed off when touched] in pale yellow. Surrounding the house was a small garden where different kinds of vegetables and berries were grown. From the house to the stile, on each side of the path were large beds of beautiful flowers.
The village where Mother lived was located in a large farming district about one and one-half miles from the sea. It was considered a very healthful place and people often went there to spend the summer, similar to the way they go to Bear Lake.
Mother was very happy in her childhood days, surrounded with everything that was beautiful, brothers and sisters to play with and loving parents to teach and guide her in the way she should go; both of her parents being members of our Church. Grandfather had joined the Mormon Church shortly after he and Grandmother were married, but Grandmother didnít become a member until some time later. The way in which she was brought to see the truth of the gospel is very remarkable and shows the power of the Lord.
Grandmother Butler was a member of the Baptist Church and in fact was a little bitter toward the Mormon Church, a thing that grieved Grandfather very much. He worried and prayed that she would be shown the light. In answer to his prayers she received a strange dream. In this dream she seemed to be standing in a long hall wrapped in darkness. While standing there wondering what to do, far down the hall she saw a small light that looked like a mere speck. As the light came nearer she recognized the minister of the Baptist Church and in his hand he held a small, lighted candle. While she stood looking a much brighter light came from the other end of the hall and as it came nearer it seemed to swallow up the light held by the Minister. In astonishment she looked to see who could bring such a light and saw that it was held by a Mormon Elder.
When Grandmother told her dream to Grandfather and admitted that she believed, one can imagine the joy that filled their hearts.
My, Mother, Jane Butler, did not know of this remarkable dream until after the death of her Mother when it was related in her funeral.
When Grandmother became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints she was just as sincere as Grandfather was. It was nothing for them and the children to walk six miles to meetings and on one occasion they walked twenty miles.
Grandfather was put in as Branch President and held this position until he moved away. They did not have a meetinghouse to hold meeting in so they were held in the houses of the Saints. These meetings were held twice or three times a week, a prayer meeting was held on Wednesday night, a meeting Sunday and every month a conference was held where the Saints from the different Branches and the Elders from Utah met together. The children attended most of these meetings and were blessed with the spirit of the Gospel.
From Motherís infancy her greatest desire was for all the members of the family to come to Zion. This was not her desire alone but the wish of the whole family. As a result they were all willing to do all they could to help raise the money necessary. They were poor in worldly riches and it was essential for each member of the family to earn what money he or she could. Mother went to school four years and then had to do her part in getting money to support the family.
On the 7th of August 1864 Mother was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Grandfather did not want her to become a member until she was sure that she understood and believed the gospel; that was the reason she had not been baptized before. From then on the desire to come to Utah became greater in her heart. Upon one occasion she dreamed that they all came to Zion and with what joy she related the dream to her parents.
They did all come to Utah but not as she had expected. Her oldest sister came first, the following year Mother left her home, parents and friends and came to Utah. She was only 17 years old and it was a great trial for her to leave her loved ones and come to a strange land. If she had not been blessed by the Lord, she could not have done it.
She landed in New York City the last of May 1869. From there she took the train to Ogden, Utah, that being the first year that the train came as far west as that city.
Six years later Motherís parents, her brother and his family and her youngest sister, Maria, came to Utah. Motherís oldest and youngest brothers having died before she left her home. Now all the family living had gained their greatest desire and had come to live with Godís people.
Mother lived in Salt Lake City the first summer after she came to Utah, but her desire was to go to the country to live. In December 1869 the way opened for her to go to Providence, Utah. Brother Henry Brown and Mary Lowe came to Salt Lake to be married in the Endowment House. Mother became acquainted with these good people and upon their return to Providence she accompanied them.
While in Providence she met my Father, Brother John U. Stucki, and in February, 1870, she became his wife, they were married in the Endowment House at Salt Lake City by Brother Daniel H. Wells, they made their home in Providence until June 1870 when they moved to Bear Lake.
Brother William Budge was Bishop of the Providence Ward and Father, John U. Stucki, was one of his counselors. In 1870 Brother Budge received a call from President Young to go to Bear Lake and act as President of the Stake there and Father was called to be the Stake Clerk.
They arrived in Bear Lake in July 1870, and were very favorably impressed with the country. In fact Mother liked it better than any place she had seen since leaving her native land, Wales. Soon after they arrived in Paris they purchased a small three room house from Brother Hinson which stood on the lot where Auntie Stuckiís [Margaretha Huber Stucki] house afterward was built. Later they purchased from Brother Swenson the corner lot to the south where Motherís home was built and still stands.
Her first home was a small one room log house and how beautiful she thought it was for she was grateful for it and all the love and tenderness of a big heart was put into the daily tasks of making it a real home. Home meant much to Mother as she had lived in small rented places until this time. Her first baby, Charles, was born in a little log house where Brother Spencerís lot now stands; her second baby, Caroline, was born in a little house between Sister Allredís house and Frank Beckís house, owned by Brother Beck. So the thought of a real home where she could raise her children and instill into their beings the love of God was an inspiration to her.
At the very time they were planning on building on the lot they had purchased Father was called on a Mission. The people of the town, filled with the spirit of helpfulness, worked together and erected the one room log house that was to be Motherís and bring such joy to her. This was done in the early part of April 1874. Father left for his Mission to Switzerland a few days later.
While Father was gone on this mission Mother had to take care of her two little children by herself, but the Lord watched over her and blessed them. Almost before they realized it the two years had slipped by and Father was home again and all were stronger spiritually as a result of the experiences they had gone through.
A small lean-to was now built on the west of Motherís log house which made it seem like a palace to her. Maria, William, Hyrum, Joseph and Annie were born while the family had but these two small rooms. Then Father and Mother planned on enlarging the place by building the addition to the south which constituted the main part of the house, But again just as the plans were tinder way for building, Father was called on his second Mission to Switzerland, in April 1888.
The home was erected after he left. The responsibility resting on Motherís shoulders. In order to help support herself and the little children she rented three rooms and took in boarders. She also had some current bushes growing in the garden and from the sale of the berries she was able to buy enough warp to make a rag carpet to cover the floors in the part of the house she occupied. Mother testifies that she was indeed blessed by the Lord or she could never have been able to get along like she did while Father was away the three years on his mission.
After his return, peace and happiness reigned and to this home of love, two more children were born, myself, and Woodruff, making nine children in all.
It was always Motherís desire to do what she could to help, and her life was indeed a life of true service and one of love and devotion, not only to her family but to the whole community. For eight years she acted as Relief Society Ward Teacher and for over twelve years she was President of the First Ward Relief Society. While she was President over the Relief Society she and her counselors were indeed angels of mercy, never considering any task too difficult as they willingly entered the homes of sickness and death, staying there for days and nights at a time ministering comfort and hope in their gentle unassuming way.
God accepted Motherís humble efforts by allowing her to taste of joys not of this world. How well I remember hearing her tell how at times when returning home from some pilgrimage of mercy she had heard the strains of heavenly music.
Mother had known the pangs of sorrow as well as the sacred depths of joy. She has buried her husband and four out of her nine children. She has been blessed with 43 grand children, 36 of whom are living, and 11 great grandchildren.
Mother is nearing her 82 birthday and although suffering from heart disease, she is still patient, loving and kind. Her faith and trust in God is beautiful and she is ever giving us helpful counsel and advise [sic].
Two weeks before her 82nd birthday, October 25, 1933, ten minutes past six oíclock in the evening "Mother" passed away, but her memory will ever live on in our hearts. Her teachings and the wonderful example she set will influence us as long as life shall last and even beyond the grave.
Margaret S. Hoge