with Aunt Annie


This "Reminiscing" with Annie Stucki Rich was done at the home of Evelyn Stucki Thirkill, 435 South 19th, Pocatello, Idaho, September 5, 1977. Recorded by Mabel Stucki Athay.

Question from Mabel
: Will you tell us something about Father [Joseph S. Stucki] when you were both young?

Aunt Annie: He was the kindest and most thoughtful brother anyone could have. When I was growing up I was never very popular. When there was a dance and I didn’t have a date, he would take me to the dance then go get his date. He would always dance with me and see that I had a good time.

He was always so very kind to his children. One year when Dan and I lived in your folks’ home, we lived in the front room and had a bedroom upstairs. You children also slept upstairs and Joseph and Mary slept downstairs. When Glenn would wake up in the night and call out, “Daddy, Daddy,” Joseph would get up and go upstairs and say, “What’s the matter with Daddy’s little darling.” Sometimes he would have to go upstairs several times in the night. But he was always patient and kind.

All the children in the neighborhood loved him. When he would return home from work in the evening Glenn would run down the street to meet him. Grant [Rich, Annie’s son] would usually go with him and your father would pick them up, one in each arm and carry them home. Whenever he went away in the wagon or car, he would have his own children, Glenn, Price, Max, Darrell and Grant and perhaps others, with him. If he were going to the canyon for wood, he would have his children and a few neighbor children along.

Question: Please tell us something about your mother.

Aunt Annie:  Mother [Jane Butler Stucki] was Father’s [John Ulrich Stucki's] second wife. Polygamy had its trials as well as blessings. Auntie [Margaretha Huber], his first wife, had no children of her own. She adopted a baby they named Henry, but he died as a young child. Mother had nine children. When Auntie was old and ill shortly before she died I would often go to sit with her and she related many interesting experiences to me, which helped me understand her position as Father’s first wife. She also helped me to see my mother in the position of the second wife. I shall always be grateful for these visits.

During my growing up years I was aware of the conflicts and often jealousies involved in
living in a polygamous family. I had often felt jealous of Auntie and thought she hadn’t been fair to Mother.

Auntie told me, “Being childless was a great trial. When you children were growing up you would all be talking about Father and Mother, and I felt so left out. I thought it would be easier when you all grew up, but it only became harder because then the conversations were, Grandfather and Grandmother, and I could never be part of your lives.”

“I behaved very badly whenever your Mother had another child. I would cry and scream and have a real tantrum. Your Father would stay with your Mother during the birth of the child, and then he would come to see me. To appease my hurt feelings he would take me for a ride or do something special for me to help me feel better again.”

I remember Mother telling me how difficult it was for her whenever she had a new baby. Father would always stay with her through the difficult period of the birth of the child; he would then leave her and go to Auntie. They would go for a ride or do something very special at that time. This would cause Mother to feel jealous and neglected. She said Father was very pleased and proud that she had born him another child, but Auntie got the attention.

Mother was married at an early age. She had come from Wales alone when she was seventeen. She was eighteen years old when she married Father. She lived in the home with Father and Auntie. Often she felt like a third person, finding it very difficult to discipline her feelings and adjust to this kind of life.

Mother told me she was very often homesick for her family who had only recently come to America from Wales. She especially missed her brother, John, who was a year-and-a-half older than she. He had died in Wales in 1866, four years before her marriage. When difficult problems arose she would run to her bedroom and throw herself on her bed crying. She would cry for hours almost overcome with homesickness and jealousy. In this distraught condition she would yearn for John. She said she didn’t know whether she was sleeping or awake, but she heard his voice comforting and encouraging her. One day when he came he told her she must cease to call for him. He had work to do and she must have courage and faith and learn how to deal with her problems. This experience helped her and she learned to accept the conditions that couldn’t be changed. Father soon purchased some land and built a log home for Mother where she could have a home of her own.


Notes from Mabel:  Grandmother Stucki was a petite little Welsh lady; she wore her hair in a neat bob on the top of her head, a long dress covered with a clean front apron, tied with a bow in the back. Her table was always set with a fresh, white tablecloth.

Shortly after Wendell returned from his mission to Switzerland in November of 1928, he went to visit Grandmother Stucki, about noontime. She added another place setting and asked him to share her meal.

Wendell wanted to ask her about polygamy because he had been questioned about it many times while on his mission. After visiting for a while Wendell asked Grandmother, “If you could live your life over again, Grandmother, would you choose to live in polygamy?” This questions startled Grandmother for an instant. Her eyes lighted up as she reflected momentarily. She then responded, “Yes, I would. I wouldn’t change a thing. When I think of my family, my children and grandchildren, the sacrifices I have made have been worth it. I loved your Grandfather. Life has been good to me.”