Mary Laura Hickman

Mary Laura Hickman

written by

Vivian Karen Bush

December 2005

My lineage is:  Vivian Karen Hickman, daughter of Raymond Dee Hickman, son of Edwin Dee Hickman, son of Josiah Edwin Hickman, brother of Mary Laura Hickman, my great-grand aunt.

This page is dedicated to my own sister, Laura Bea Hickman Dupaix, who wanted to know more about our great-grand aunt Laura.

Mary Laura Hickman

Laura's Birth and Family

     On a stormy November 9, 1874, George Washington and Lucy Ann (Hawes) Hickman welcomed their tenth child, a daughter, into their family.  They named her Mary Laura.  Three of their children had died within the last four years.  Rose Ella had died age five in 1870.  William Wallace was one year and four months when he died two years earlier.  Elijah Mordicai died the previous July at the age of one year and 3 months.  So it was in a family that had experienced great sadness that Laura came to and was welcomed with joy.

Lucy Ann Hawes George Washington Hickman
Lucy Ann (Hawes) & George Washington Hickman
Laura Hickman's parents

      The Hickmans lived in the little town of Benjamin, Utah.  Laura's father, George Washington Hickman was a doctor and a farmer.  He had come to Utah from Missouri and studied the Latter Day Saint religion for two years before joining the Church.  Her mother, Lucy Ann Hawes Hickman was a strong and independent woman.  She had come across the plains with her parents when she was fourteen.  Lucy had great faith and many experiences that strengthen her faith.  Lucy, determined to raise her children well, sewed their clothes and even learned how to make shoes for them. All the children had their part to do in helping the family be independent, doing chores on the farm and helping their mother in the little store she ran.  They were a close family.  Laura had four older sisters, Josephine, Annie, Lettie and Edna to look up to.  Her older brothers, Josiah and George, thought the world of her.  After Laura, three more boys were born to the family--Charles, Thomas and Frank Leslie.  Sadly, the baby Thomas died when he was eight months old.

Hickman census in 1880
Hickman Family on the 1880 Census:
Laura is 5 years old, listed as Mary L. Frank is the baby. The next family listed is Elijah and Catherine Haws, Laura's maternal grandparents.

Laura's Education

George and Lucy wanted their children to get an education.  The children attended the neighborhood school and learned little more than the basics.  The LDS Academy system provided a means for young people to further their education.  It was while attending one of the Academies that Laura's sister, Edna died at the age of seventeen.  It must have been quite a blow to nine year old Laura as Edna was the closest sister to her in age.

When Laura was fifteen, she and her younger brother, Charles went to Fillmore to attend the Millard Stake Academy in the fall of 1890.  Their brother Josiah was principal.  Academy life was demanding and busy.  Much was expected of the students in their studies.  Millard had a staff of excellently qualified teachers who were gaining good reputations in the field among the church and public schools of Utah.  Among them were E.S. Hinckly and Martha Lawisch, a young German lady who would was lately married to Laura's brother, the principal of the Academy, Josiah Hickman.  Laura was active in the school's Polysophical Society that met weekly to listen to lectures and read papers on various educational and cultural topics.  At the end of their first year, Josiah wrote of his brother and sister in his journal:  “Laura and Chas. have done exceedingly well this year.”

The next year there were 128 students who were attending the academy, many coming a great distance to attend.  Many girls attended this year.  An article in the Deseret Weekly newspaper stated:  “The number of young women attending our seats of learning and teaching in the district schools, together with the proficiency they attain in that to which they devote themselves, goes to prove beyond a doubt that their capacity for learning is fully equal to that of men when the same facilities are placed within their reach.” [Deseret Weekly, Salt Lake City, Utah, June 4, 1892, Vol. XLIV, No. 24, p. 26 “Millard Stake Academy”]

Laura was one of the young women who took the teacher's examination that summer in Utah County. She was awarded a third grade certificate.  Her older sister, Josephine Finlayson also took the exam and received a second grade certificate.

Laura Begins Teaching and Pursues a Higher Education

Laura's first teaching job was in the school at Woodruff, Utah.  The school year was just in the second month when her father died suddenly of pneumonia.  It was a great shock to the close-knit Hickman family.

After the funeral, Laura returned to her teaching position in Woodruff.  She was beginning to attain a reputation with her natural ability to teach.  Benjamin Cluff who was the president of the Brigham Young Academy had high praise for her and said that she had “the promise of making a model teacher.”

In 1897 Laura became the assistant principal of the Woodruff School.  Orvis Call was the principal.  She continued teaching there through 1899.  During the summer Laura returned home to be with her mother and attended summer courses.  By this time, Lucy had built a home in Provo so that her younger children could attend the Academy and College.

After leaving Woodruff, Laura entered the Brigham Young College.  Her brother, Josiah was now a professor and Laura took his classes, one being Physics.  She certainly was a student in his pedagogy classes as well.  Another student at the University at this time was Lisle Finlayson, Laura's niece.  They became very close friends.

At this time, Laura's sister-in-law, Ella, the wife of Josiah Hickman, became quite ill.  Laura spent a lot of time with her, helping her to take care of a new baby girl. Josiah was often away on lecture tours in central and southern Utah.  It did seem she was improving and Laura once sent him a post card that Ella had been able to walk to the door twice.  Then in early November, Ella became worse with heart trouble and died.  Josiah's brothers and sisters rallied around him to help him through his grief and to comfort his seven motherless children.

Laura continued with her studies at Brigham Young College.  During the summers she and her mother would return to the family home in Benjamin.  On one visit she nearly had a fatal accident.  Stepping off the train she slipped and fell into a deep ditch of water and was sucked into the flume and would have drowned had she not been pulled out by LeRoy Stevens.

In 1902 Laura had a position teaching in the Provo district school.  Josiah at the time said “I feel she is one of Utah's best lady teachers.”

In 1904, Laura enrolled for classes at the University of Chicago.  In December Josiah stopped to visit her on his way to school in New York and spent Christmas with her.  Christmas Eve was on Sunday and they attended church together.

University of Chicago in 1904
Panoramic view of the The University of Chicago in 1904.

When Laura returned the next year her friend, Gertrude Cluff, threw a welcome home party for her.  The Eastern Utah Advocate reported on July 13th:

Honored at Dinner Party

Miss Gertrude Cluff entertained at a dinner party Monday evening, July 13th, in honor of Miss Laura Hickman.  Miss Hickman has been attending the University of Chicago for the past year, and has now returned to her home in Provo, Utah.  She has accepted a position for the coming year in the Emery Stake academy.  [Eastern Utah Advocate, August 24, 1905, "In Eastern and Southern Utah"']

Emery Stake Academy

Laura's brother, Francis was now the principal of the Emery Stake Academy in Castledale, Utah and he succeeded in getting Laura to come and be Matron of the Academy.  She was to teach English rhetoric, elocution, grammar, domestic art and drawing. As usually, Laura threw herself whole-heartedly into her work.  Laura had been developing her own ideas on teaching and health and was now implementing these into her teaching.  At the end of the year the local newspaper reviewed her work:  “This year, however, progress and advancement is quite as apparent and a few more old cobwebs were swept down and out of the Academy and new ideas and higher ideals occupy their place. Miss Hickman has proved a valuable acquisition and has installed into the minds of the girl students especially a fund of wholesome truths and common sense. Her work gains appreciation as it is better understood." In speaking of the second year high school class, the Progress said, "This class showed the skilful training of Miss Hickman and the effort was a finished product of Utah excellence.”

Laura's popularity extended to the circle of her fellow teachers as well as her students.  She loved to be around people and to entertain.

“Miss Laura Hickman and Archer Willey of the academy faculty entertained the Castle Dale public school teachers besides the other members of the academy faculty and their wives, together with a few other friends, at a dinner party Saturday evening.  This most enjoyable social function was given at the home of Mrs. Peter Frandsen who on this occasion particularly did full justice to her well established reputation as a first class caterer.  Following the elaborate dinner the guests retired to the parlor where game and music were enjoyed until midnight.  All present departed with the knowledge that Miss Hickman and Mr. Willey are splendid and hospitable entertainers.” [Emery County Progress, January 20, 1906, “Town and County Notes”]

Laura intended to leave Emery Stake Academy to teach in Woodruff the next year, but she returned when her brother Francis contracted typhoid fever to keep the Academy running until he regained his health.

Every year the Academy drama club did a play and took it on the road to nearby towns to raise money for the Academy.  In 1906, the Emery Stake Academy Dramatic Company presented Shakespeare's “Merchant of Venice.” The papers gave them a favorable review, saying, “A great many here entertained the opinion that a Shakespeare play is a big thing for amateurs to tackle but all agreed after witnessing the performance that the academy faculty and students made a very clever effort and deserve praise for choosing the highest rather than a wishy-washy type of play.  All the leading roles were nicely sustained and only favorable comment is heard for the combined effort of the dramatic company.  Mr. Dyche's interpretation of the title role was one of the best bits of acting ever seen here and Miss Kofford's Portia was a charming personation of one of Shakespear's woman characters.  A. N. Leon and J. T. Hand and Edward Cox in other stellar roles did exceptionally well.  The costumes are the best ever brought into the county and the music both vocal and instrumental added extra pleasure to good entertainment.  The play was under the direction of Miss Laura Hickman and the successful performance reflected credit upon her.”  The money earned from the play went towards buying new books for the Academy's library.  [Emery County Progress, April 12, 1907, “A Clever Performance”]

Laura's dramatic talents were not only in directing, but also in writing, for she wrote the high school play that year.

“The Second Year Highs were in evidence Thursday night and no finer body of students ever appeared on an eastern Utah platform.  Miss Hickman had taken this lass under her special guidance and the result was a nice program.  The play, “Wedded to the Stage” was written by Miss Hickman and is a gem in phraseology and diction.  The characters were designed to measure the ambitions of several members of the class with Miss Louis Kofford.  Owing to the fact that Miss Hickman undertook the task of writing the play since the school presented “Merchant of Venice” a few weeks ago and has been quite ill in the meantime the work was only fully completed Thursday noon which allowed some players but a few hours to memorize their lines and their failure to do so is no surprise or discredit. ” [Emery County Progress, June 1, 1907, “Another Good Year at the Academy”]

Laura finally left Emery Academy at the end of the year.  Her next position was at the Millard Stake Academy where Josiah was the new principal.  As usual, she became active in every aspect of the school.  She even entered the school contest to write the best school song.  She came in second, Miss White winning the best song.  It was Josiah's opinion that Laura's song was “the best from a literary standpoint but lacked in some elements that a college song needed.” A Scientific Society was formed at the school and during the year and Laura read a paper she wrote on the “Laws and Characters of the Drama.”

Laura was awarded a life time teaching certificate form the Utah State Examining Board the next year.

Taking Care of Mother

After one year Laura decided not to return.  She wanted to be nearer Benjamin so she could take care of her mother.  Laura was single and didn't have the family responsibilities that her siblings had, so she felt it was her duty and calling in life to take care of Mother.  However, Laura did not lack for beaus who wanted to marry her. Josiah spoke of Dr. John Sundwall who wanted to very much marry her.  They probably had met while she was studying back east.  He was several years younger than her, but they did have much in common, especially in their ideas on health.  Josiah said that it was "due to her reticence" that she did not marry him.

In the summer of 1913, Laura and her mother accompanied Josiah with Leslie and Olive on a trip to San Juan County in southern Utah.  It was not a smooth trip.  They were as far as Tucker and had to stop for the night because of car trouble.  The next day they had the car shipped to Price for repairs and continued to Price by train.  While Leslie and Olive remained in Price until the car was fixed, Laura, Lucy and Josiah hired a car and drove on to Castle Dale to stay the night and attend the wedding of Francis' oldest daughter, Vera.

After the wedding, Laura, Josiah, Leslie and Olive started for San Juan County to look at land for homesteading.  They left Olive in Huntington to visit her relatives. They were nearly to Green River when they began to have serious car trouble.  The car went out of control and over a cliff. Leslie fell out of the car and managed to throw himself out of the path of the car onto the opposite side of the cliff.  He was somewhat bruised up but not seriously hurt. Somehow Laura and Josiah escaped injury.  Leslie had the car hauled to Green River and then shipped to Provo.  Laura and Josiah went on to San Juan County alone in a hired car.  The roads were bad, but they managed to get there. They filed claims for Laura, Josiah and their mother 6 miles east of Monticello.  They also looked at the Cunningham ranch with the intention of going into business with Senator Hammond Jason.  On Sunday they stopped in Moab to attend church and meet with Senator Hammond to discuss a partnership.

On their return, Laura and her mother moved into a new home in Provo.  The next year they took in ten roomers.  Laura was teaching in high school at this time.  In a letter, Lucy said that Laura worked early and late at the school.  That summer she went to California to study at the University in Berkley.

Every year Lucy's children gathered together to celebrate her birthday.  On October 3, 1919 the family got together to celebrate their mother's 81st birthday. Laura cooked a big family dinner.  All the children were there except Charles and Annie.  A few months later, Laura notified the family that their mother was sick with the flu but seemed to be getting better.

For their mother's 82nd birthday, Laura and Josiah together hosted a banquet at Utah Lake.  There were a hundred relatives there to celebrate with swimming and boating. It was the last family reunion for Lucy.  Her health began to fail and eventually she was almost bed-ridden.  Laura continued nursing her mother even as she was in her first year of a new position at Brigham Young University.

In May 1921, Laura phoned her brothers and sisters to tell them that their mother was very sick and to pray for her.  A few days later she phoned again and told all to come. All but Charles was able to get there in time to be with their mother as she passed from this life into the next.  Josiah wrote, “Though we were all mature men and women we stood about our dead mother and wept as children.” Mindful of Laura's deep sorrow, he wrote of her, “We all felt deeply for Laura who has sacrificed her life for mother's comfort.  She was so tender and thoughtful for mother's wants and every comfort.  We all, except Laura, have families to take our minds, but poor Laura will go back to her home desolate and full of uncomforted grief for Mother is gone.  Laura has almost worked herself to death to keep up with her classes in the B.Y.U. and care for mother and the houses in general for there have been 3 houses to look after.  The main home has long since been deeded to Laura for her years of toil and sacrifices for Mother.”

Teaching at the “Y” and the “U”

In 1920, Laura began teaching at Brigham Young University for $2,000 a year. She did not remain there long, dissatisfied with retirement benefits.  She resigned and went to New York to study at Cornell University.  After graduation, she returned home in ill health. It was thought she had consumption.  She went to Phoenix, Arizona to bet better.

When she returned to Utah, she took an apartment in Salt Lake and was hired at the University of Utah. In thhe summer of 1930 she was a chaperone for a student field trip to the canyon lands of southern Utah and the Grand Canyon. An article printed several Utah papers give us a wonderful picture of the kind of activities Laura enjoyed and the popularity she had with all who knew her.

A Field Trip
(By Harrison R. Merrill)
August 1930

Bryce Canyon, Grand, and Zion, via the Mt. Carmel tunnel in three days and a half from Salt Lake City and Provo!

That achievement sounds improbable if not impossible, yet it can be done; in fact, it has been done and done nicely by a summer school party from Brigham Young university! But what grandeur, what glory, what celestial lighting effects for so short a time!

It was at 3:30 p.m., on a Friday that we set out from Brigham Young university in a fast bus driven by "Watty" Watkins, well known football and basketball star of the University of Utah.  Any one who has seen Watkins streak up the field followed by a forward pass will know that he knows how to go.  There were twenty-two in the party including the driver, and owing to his genial attitude, he soon became actually one of us.

By 4:30 we were in Nephi where the needs of the bus were attended to before we "sailed up salt Creek," towards Sanpete where we had to stop for accoutrements for some of our party.  From Moroni we went to Ephraim where we had to stop again for bedding for Reed Christenson, who was a member of the group.

Through Sanpete and Sevier we sailed, regaling ourselves with stories of early Indian depredations as we passed through the territory which was once terrorized by Chiefs Sandpitch, Walker and Black Hawk.  The moon was high overhead when we [reached] Marysvale canyon where the road skirts the cliffs and splits the promontories.  One glance at the "Woman Playing the Organ, one at the yellow paint that has been spilled by the millions of pounds over some of the ridges of the canyon and we were through, pausing at Marysvale for a sandwich for the company and gasoline for the bus.

It was now late, but no one thought of stopping north of Bryce.  While the car was being greased and watered the group went into the hotel where a piano with popular songs drew forth the nightingales.

We did not so much as pause at Panguitch though the lights of the town were enticing. Up Red canyon we flitted and at 11 o'clock drew up at Ruby's Inn where we stayed for the night out under his great yellow pine trees.  Miss Laura Hickman and her party of three University of Utah students who were accompanying the "Y'sers," took rooms in the hotel.

Though it was late, we had made our first objective on scheduled time. We were ready to see Bryce at sunrise.

Such good sports as that group of students proved to be headed by Alvah Fitzgerald, president of the "Y" summer school student body, I have rarely seen.  Though they must have been tired, all were ready to roll out when I have the signal at 4:30 a.m. while yet the stars were brilliant in the west and only a faint glow heralded the king of day over the Pink cliffs far away on Escalante mountain.

They ad slept soundly, for when I asked them if they had heard the coyote serenade a little earlier, every one of them had missed as fine a sage brush chorus as I have ever listened to.

With the cobwebs of sleep still in our eyes, we piled into the bus and were off for Bryce to see the glory of glories-sunrise among the minarets and towers.

From Observation Point we beheld the sunlight creep over the vast broken plains to the east, fingering the rosy cliffs as it came.  We saw it gild the towers of the cathedral and the pinnacles of the pearly gates; we saw it paint the minarets and towers a rosy pink, and beheld its reflection where there should have been a shadow turning the clay images into transparencies of transcendent hue.

Thirty minutes on the point and we returned to Ruby's for breakfast.  Fires were soon built and the savory odor of bacon and eggs urged the hungry sightseers to the table over which Fitzgerald presided with a professional air that marked him as an excellent table waiter lost to the world.  Vernon Moore, of Payson proved to be an excellent provider.  From his lunch box were unearthed delicacies that only a woman or one who spends some time in an effort to please women should ever have on a trip such as the one we were making.

Breakfast over, we returned to Bryce to see the colors in full bloom.  It was like another canyon.  Dainty minarets and towers that earlier merely smiled with faint hues of color now laughed out loud, in fact, they fairly shouted with color and brilliancy.  The Navaho trail beckoned and soon the party was strung out among the deep streets of the silent city.

At 10:30 the party bade goodbye to Bryce and rolled on to Kanab.  At the junction where the Long valley highway is intersected by the Mt. Carmel road, we were forced to halt.  We were told that the governors were coming.  In the hot sun we paused while fourteen big buses bearing their excellencies whisked by tearing up a desert dust as they did so.  At Kanab we paused for lunch and once more intercepted the governors who had also stopped for their midday repast.

As we left town a patrolman stopped us telling us that we must keep out of the parade of governors.  Upon being assured by our football driver that no governor could overtake us, he allowed us to proceed.  Probably it was this frequent contact with the governors that gave Miss Hickman an idea.  As we whirled along at forty-five miles an hour toward Buckskin mountain she led in a patriotic program in which all participated.  We were to closing Star Spangled Banner when we reached the first cedars of the Buckskin and looked back to see little puffs of dust which marked the approach of the governors.

While we were watering the bus at Jacob's lake, the first of the string of governors overtook us, but while they were drinking root beer, we pulled on ahead and managed to keep out of sight until we reached VT Park where we paused to visit a moment with the Rusts before going on to Bright Angel.

The sun, by the time we reached the camp on the rim, was getting low, therefore, hastily we threw our luggage into the cabins which had been reserved for us and we rushed on to see the sun set over the Grand Canyon.  We hastened to Bright Angel point only to see the last glow of the sun on the distant walls of the world's greatest, most stunning spectacle.

But we were on schedule.  Bryce for sunrise, Grand Canyon for sunset!  What Indian runner, what cowboy, what pioneer of twenty-five years ago could have believed it?

After the shadows had filled the vast gorge, we returned to camp, had a community supper in one of the cabins and then all of us using two wash basins and two looking glasses prepared ourselves for the governor's ball at the new Grand Canyon lodge.

When we returned to our beds, some of them in the open under the massive yellow pines, we found a moon more than half full tangled in the upper branches, and stars such as can only be found in clear atmosphere twinkling down at us from a sky serene and blue.

After a community breakfast, once more we sought the lodge as many of us had not been at Bright Angel since it was completed.  A short visit only was necessary to convince us that the men who made the lodge were blood relatives if not sons of him who made the canyon.  Huge logs beautifully stripped of bark had been used in the interior and logs and rock in building the walls of the lodge.  A sun porch almost hangs out over the awful chasm below and great glass windows frame pictures such as no artist yet has ever painted.

That sun porch!  Where in this world can there be such another?  Great plate glass windows frame views of Bright Angel and the awful canyon below.  Towers and temples rise against a background of color such as only the painted desert and the canyon walls of Grand can furnish.  It doesn't seem real at all, but ethereal, vast-infinite, in fact.

Cape Royal was also on our itinerary.  Shortly after 9 a.m. we left Bright Angel and sped through the forest over the shoulders of Buckskin for twenty-five miles.  During the last ten or twelve miles of the journey we caught fleeting breath-taking glimpses through the trees of a country so full of color that it seemed like scraps of paintings from a modernist's art gallery or endless yards of jazzy cretons.

After miles of hills and vales we wound up a point and exclaimed with well-known Utah fervor, "This must be-This is the place!"

We were at Cape Royal.

Not a person of our party had ever visited the Cape before.  We Clambered out of the bus and like partridges disappeared among the cedars in search of the best views.  We had already had our fist glimpse of the river through a natural window that framed miles of color.

Is Cape Royal more wonderful than Bright Angel?  Who can say?  One at Cape Royal can see the river and the painted desert and the canyon.  It is different but is it better?  I don't know-nobody does.  It may be greater today, but tomorrow it may not.  Inside of us is the interpreter and he changes with the wind.

A few great eyefuls, a few photographs, a little flitting from point to point and we were off once more.  This time to the towers of Zion.

It was after 1 o'clock when we reached V. T. park.  There we had a sandwich lunch furnished by Rastus.  When we were ready once more to sail, Evan Madsen, a former "y'ser" and his wife formerly Rae Rust, gathered their waitresses around them and gave us some V. T. Park songs to speed us on our way.

We had offered a peanut for the person who first saw a Kaibab white tailed squirrel.  As we neared Jacob's lake on our return journey a cry went up that hundreds of deer failed to draw from our party.  Some one had spied a white tailed squirrel.

The bus slowed down and practically every member of the party saw what one must go to the Kaibab to see.  At Kanab we paused for gas and water and then struck out for Zion.  The sun was getting low and we were eager to see the tunnel before dark.  The roads were good, however, and we were able to travel rapidly, singing as we went.

The tunnel country and the tunnels themselves are fit companions of the southern wonders.  Here again man has proved his relationship to the Creator of the earth.  Through that inaccessible but wonderfully beautiful canyon he has bored his way merely that his eyes might feast upon a country that must be reminiscent of the Holy City viewed by John.

The sun was gilding the towers of the Zion aw we entered the portals.  The bus whisked us up to the Temple of Sinawava before we would allow it to pause.  There we beheld the Great White Throne in all its splendor with the moon hanging just off one corner of it.  It was a sight to be remembered always.

Then some what subdued and chastened by the presence of the great spirit of Zion, we returned to the camp ground.

We were on schedule.  Nine o'clock at Bright Angel, 11 o'clock at Cape Royal, after 1 o'clock at V. T. Park, and sunset at Zion.  We were on time.

Nearly all of the group went down to the lodge for the dance, but the next morning early all were out hiking the trails of Zion.  By 9 o'clock we were ready to leave.  This time Salt Lake City was the goal.

We rolled out of the wonderful country enjoying the glories of the approach to Zion as we went.  At Anderson's Ranch we stopped while some of our party, especially the girls, who had never seen Eve's costume-fig leaves-examined them critically and wondered if the modern girl has became as scantily dressed.  Here Mr. Anderson invited the group to the apricot orchard where luscious fruit was hanging in bushels.

We began the trip on Friday, but it was not until we approached Cedar City that our misfortune overtook us.

We burned out a bearing.

A few hours in the metropolis of the south, however, and another bus was ready for us.  We left Cedar at 12:05 a.m. after an 11-hour delay and reached Provo at 7 a.m.

But what a trip!  What eyefuls.  Our minds, like reservoirs, had stored away a thousand miles of scenery to make beautiful and enliven the remainder of our lives.

We had made the gigantic loop and had we not started on Friday we might have made it on schedule.  As it was we were about ten hours late.

The trip can be made in three days and a half.

Those how made up the party on this trip were Alvah Fitzgerald, president of the 'Y Summer school student body; Mary, Cristie and Mabel Rassmussen, Mildred and Ione Carlston, Beth Kenny, Melba Dastrup, Catherine Grow, Ethel Lund, all of the Brigham Young University; Laura Hickman, Margery Burrell, Mrs. Lucas and Miss Sharp, all of the University of Utah; Reed Christenson, Vernon Moore, Harry Nickolson, Melvin McDonald of the Brigham Young University, Mrs. Merrill our daughter, Ruby and "Watty," besides myself…. The Deseret News.

Beloved Sister and Aunt

Laura loved her brothers and sisters and loved being an aunt to their children. She loved being of service to them.  When her brother Leslie needed help straightening out some financial problems, she sat down with him and patiently showed him how to make a budget to get out of debt.  She also helped Josiah on was with his book, The Romance of the Book of Mormon which would become a lesson manual for the M-Men and Gleaner Classes of the LDS Church.  Josiah wrote in his acknowledgements, “Especially am I grateful to my sister, Laura, who gave great aid in the correction of my manuscript as to thought and construction.”  Laura had worked hard on the manuscript, even at a time when she seemed to be emotionally and physically unwell.  During this time, her sisters Josephine and Annie took care of her and helped her through her difficulties.

In Dec 1933 Laura took a trip with brothers Josiah and Francis from Salt Lake to Benjamin and Payson, in Francis' new car, a Hupmobile.  The trip took them one hour and 17 minutes.  They visited with Charles' and Eunice's families for several hours and returned to Salt Lake.  In Salt Lake they also visited their cousin Minnie Tanner Fairbanks who was laid up with a broken back.

By Christmas 1933, Laura had a mental and physical break-down from over-work.  The Doctors ordered complete rest in a quiet place for her to regain her health.  Her brothers, Francis and Josiah, asked their sister Eunice if she would be willing to have Laura come stay with her and offered to pay her Laura's room and board for the time.  They then went and talked to Laura, who finally agreed to go, although she wanted to stay in Salt Lake and finish some work she and others were doing on some civic propositions.  Josiah and Francis urged her to get complete rest until she finally agreed to go.  Francis was to take her to Benjamin the next day.

A few weeks later, Laura decided she didn't want to stay with Eunice but would rather go stay with her sister Annie in Logan.  Josiah said that “she is very weak in mind and body and is some what eccentric; we hope she will improve.” Josiah and the stake president, J. E. Cardon gave her a blessing, from which time her health improved.  In March she did have a relapse for a few days, but after that improved again.

In Salt Lake, Laura lived in an apartment in the old Ute Hotel on South Temple Street.  When her brother Leslie died in 1948, she invited her sister-in-law, Olive (Nixon) Hickman to come and live with her, as she lost the family home.  They remained together until Olive married again.

Aunt Laura was well loved by her nieces.  It was an event when she came to visit and all wanted to be with her.  Her niece, Elaine (Hickman) Maxwell, remembers her Aunt Laura as "very sweet and all liked to be with her and having her visit." Elaine's sister, Erma Bird, remembers Aunt Laura as a dietician, and “of course she was skinny as a rail.”  It seems that Laura would serve her guests raw peanuts, but the children had not acquired a liking for that snack.

Donna Fullmer remembers a time that Laura visited the Richardson family and they sat down to a dinner abundant with vegetables from the garden.  Laura exclaimed, “What a lovely ve-get-able dinner!” The children thought it funny because she said vegetable just like the word is spelled.  Laura was very refined and practiced good manners. She expected everyone around her to do the same.  They remember her being very health conscious, exercising early every morning and going out to a field to sunbathe.

Laura lived to be ninety-five.  She is a lovely lady who will be remembered by generations of nieces and nephews who look forward to someday meeting her.

Created on ... February 16, 2006

©Vivian Karen Bush, 2006