LIFE HISTORY OF MARY ELLEN HOLT FARMER
Written by her daughter Emma F. Davis 12 February 1938
Mary Ellen Holt (she was known as Nellie) was born 5 June 1867 in Salt Lake City, Utah, the daughter of Edward David and Emma Billings Holt. When she was three years old, the family moved about 16 miles south of Salt Lake to help colonize South Jordan.
July 2nd 1876 she was baptized in the Beckstead ditch, about this time her Father had charge of construction of the railway around the Point of the Mountain, between Draper and American Fork. Soon the first canal was made through the valley and the family assisted with it's construction.
She was very frightened of the Indians and would always hide under the bed when they were around.
Her father had two wives, the first one he married in England. Her name was Mary Ann Miller, and they had one little boy that died shortly after birth. His name was Joseph. Her mother was the second wife and bore 14 children. They called Mary Ann "Ma" and loved and respected her as much as their own mother. She was very good to all of them. There were eight brothers and five sisters. At an early age she went to live with her grandmother Chesson for a year. When she returned home the family all had diphtheria and were very sick. At fifteen she went to work for an Aunt, Ann Chesson Chapman, where she remained for three years.
On the 12th January 1887 she married Erastus Greinig Farmer, in the Logan Temple. They made their home at Herriman, Utah. While there they buried their first little girl, in the South Jordan Cemetery. Her name was Nellie Mabel, born 23 April 1888 and died 16 July 1889.
Their next two children were born at South Jordan, Eva Grace, and Erastus Leroy. In the spring of 1892 they moved to Clifton, Idaho, and on 18 May 1893 a daughter Elsie May was born. They purchased a dry farm and a few years later purchased a home in the North end of Clifton, where the rest of their children were born. They are Ivie Pearl born 27 March 1896, Golden Holt born 28 Oct 1897, Emma Ellen born 15 February 1900, Truman Edward born 1 Aug 1903, and Cora H. born 10 Sept 1906.
A short time before Emma Ellen was born, an old man (Brother Anderson) with only one arm came to live with them as he had no one to care for him. The day after Emma was born he died, which was a sever shock to Mother and she was confined to her bed for weeks.
She was a very industrious woman and raised many beautiful flowers and took much delight in her children.
One evening a neighbor Brother Michael Saunders came to her door. He was sick and cold so she took him in and cared for him until he died. He was an old man and had never married. Before he died he told them where he kept his money and that he wanted them to have it for being so good to him. When Dad went to find it he decided it didn't look very well for him to go alone so he got a neighbor man to go with him. They found twenty-five thousand dollars in gold, silver, and bills hidden in the cellar. They called in the Stake President and it was decided that the money would be used for a Manual Arts Building at the Academy at Preston, Idaho. Even though Mother and Dad never took a penny for their trouble they were always happy that they were kind to him.
Her husband was Bishop of the Clifton Ward for sixteen years so naturally a great responsibility fell on her shoulders, but she never complained and for several years she was counselor in the Relief Society.
About 1911 the family moved to Preston so that the children could continue their schooling and in the summer would move back on the farm. During this time a young Mormon boy from Virginia by the name of Sparrel Huff, made his home with them for several years and went to school.
This was typical of her life as she was always feeding or helping someone besides caring for her home and family. She raised many chickens and sold eggs, also many kinds of vegetables and fruits. For several years she wove carpets and rugs to sell, always doing something to make ends meet.
In the winter of 1918, she took the "Influenza." It left her in a state of nervous collapse and she was bed fast for six months, but through the power of the Priesthood she was made well.
In the fall of 1918, they sold their farm and two sons Leroy and Golden went on Missions. Their daughter Emma got married to Lloyd Davis and he left for a mission in January 1920. In May of 1920 their daughter Elsie and her husband, Bryan Winward and their child Ofa, returned from a three year mission to the Tongan Islands.
In 1925-26 she had charge of the cooking in the girls dormitory at the Utah Ag College at Logan, Utah. Then she and her husband took over the cafeteria in the McDonalds Candy Co. in Salt Lake City. Later going back to their home in Preston.
They spent several winters in Boise, Idaho with their daughter Emma, while Dad worked with the Legislature in the State House.
Around 1 March 1936, she was injured in a fall which dislocated her left shoulder and tore the ligements of the left arm above the elbow. The Doctor in attendance bandaged the muscle but failed to notice the shoulder being out of place and for three months she suffered extremely. When she went to another Doctor who discovered the dislocation and put it into place, she had suffered with it for so long that it had the effect of breaking down her general health so at this time, 27 January 1937, she has not fully recovered from the fall.
On 12 January 1937 Erastus G. and Mary Ellen (Nellie) celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary at the home of their daughter Emma Davis, in Boise, Idaho. They were called upon by many friends and relatives and received many presents and letters of congratulations from old associates making their 50th Wedding anniversary very special, and one long to be remembered.
In the spring of 1937 her husbands health failed and he died 31 July 1937 in Logan, Utah at the home of their daughter Grace Henderson. He died of Stomach cancer and anemia.
Even though she is very lonely and her health isn't good she gets much joy from her children and grandchildren.
It would not be right to close this sketch without saying that Mother, who has shared all the varied experiences of the successes and failures they have met with covering fifty years of marriage, she has been "No silent partner" but has been a real helpmate and a faithful wife. She has been a loving Mother, who has taken pride in the care and responsibility of her family and has ever been a helper in time of need or misfortune.
(Additions after 1938)
In April 1940 she went to Preston and to Salt Lake to visit some of her children and her health gradually grew worse. She suffered so intensely that in December she under went an operation. Although it relieved her some she still suffered a great deal. She had Shaking Palsy and this along with her nervous condition she was extremely unhappy at being confined to bed. When the end came 25 February 1941 we felt the Lord was good to relieve her suffering, even though we have missed her greatly. We are very thankful for having had such Noble parents and trust that we can follow their example.
Her funeral was held at the Deseret Mortuary, Salt Lake City, on 1 March 1941. It was the most beautiful funeral that I have had the privilege to attend. It seemed as though it was the way she would desire it as she always had a great appreciation for the beauties of life. She was laid to rest at South Jordan Cemetery beside Father and their oldest child Nellie Mabel.