In matters pertaining to health as in other areas, the people had to be self-dependent and for the most part they were. It is recorded earlier in this history how four young men in the first decade died of silicosis contracted in the mines before they came to the area. But basically they were of sturdy stock and plain nourishing food and the hard outdoor exercise that was anecessary requirement for their way of life, kept them that way. Nevertheless babies came,unexpected sicknesses, epidemics and accidents occurred that required special treatment. Everyone rallied around in cases of emergency but a few knowledgeable, dedicated women provided the direction.
The first of these women was Delle R. Ivins who, when she came in May of 1898, brought with her a large medical book and a natural talent and skill in nursing, all of which she used toadvantage. In the fall of that year an emergency occurred. Will Terry and his son, George, we reliving with Otis and Susie Terry in their temporary home while Will built a house of logs for his families to come the next year. One day after Will had gone to the hills for logs, George, who had been denied permission to use the gun, took it anyway and went out to hunt ducks. An accident with the gun cut his upper lip wide open down the center. Delle R. treated him and gave directions while Will Terry sewed his son's lip. A not too noticeable scar remained with George throughout his life.
That same winter, in January 1899, Delle R. delivered the first child born in the town of Lund, Lillian Ashby, daughter of Byze and Lillian Wakeling Ashby. In July of that same year she delivered the second child born in the colony, Leone Whipple, daughter of John and Rose Warren Whipple. In the years that followed she delivered many babies and saw the people through many sicknesses, accidents and deaths. She and Mose Harrison also collaborated in setting bones and pulling teeth which was a common practice then even with licensed dentists.
In the influenza epidemic of 1918 and 1919 that took so many lives, Delle R. did her part incaring for the many who contracted the disease and not one person in the town died. However her own daughter, Lillis, died in Rexburg, Idaho where she was teaching school and with the characteristic small town closeness born of shared experiences, the town also shared her sorrow. She continued to give help and comfort to others throughout her life.
Mary L. Oxborrow came to Lund in January of 1900. Working with doctors in St. George she had acquired considerable knowledge and skill in nursing and was set apart by the L.D.S.authorities of the St. George stake to practice midwifery and nursing in the new colony. This she did for many years, ushering a host of babies into the world, her own grandchildren as well as many others. Her specialty was an ointment she made from ingredients she bought at the drugstore and many of the older people today still believe that "Grandma Oxborrow's salve" has magical properties not to be found in modern medicine. This excerpt from her life story written by her grand-daughter, Effie Oxborrow Read, records an incident in her life and pays tribute to her capability as a doctor and nurse.
"Grandmother had been down on her knees. She had spent a quiet moment with her God,and Mother said she had wiped a tear from her face just before she entered the room.
"Brother Gardner says he will not take his son, Kenneth, to Ely to the doctor," my grandmother began. "He says he has faith in my taking care of him. So I have decided I'll do my best," she said to my mother. "I need a yard of white china silk, and I want you to fix four ounces of olive oil and four ounces of carbolic acid in a container and shake it thoroughly," she ordered.
"Half carbolic acid," my mother uttered under her breath. Had Grandmother forgotten? Wouldn't that strong solution be too severe to apply to an open cut? But Mother fixed the solution and prepared the china silk by browning it in the oven. Prepared this way, it would not adhere to the sore and she knew better than to question my grandmother.
"It was haying time on the farm. The mower with its sleek incisive blade was cutting a five-foot swath in the lucern field. Kenneth was on the seat of the mower one moment and in front of the wicked blade the next. His luck was somewhat with him that day, for the accident could have been worse. He landed on his bottom and one buttock was sliced entirely off.
"Grandmother had accepted the challenge of healing Kenneth, who lay on his stomach for six weeks. New flesh filled into the cut. His buttock healed and he was not left deformed."
Preston history mentions Martha Jane Bradley as the first midwife, aided by Frances Horsley. It also mentions Lucy Bruno performing that service. In 1906 the town raised money and sent Margaret Windous to Salt Lake City to take the course in obstetrics offered under Romania B. Pratt. When she returned she became so important to the Valley and the county that she deserves special mention. Many times her horse, Dolly, pulled her buggy over the road between Preston and Lund day or night, in all kinds of weather, whenever her services were needed. After she turned her home into a hospital most of the Lund women went there for their babies and continued to go to her after she moved to Ely. Her gentle wit and good humor in times of stress always helped to put things in perspective. Her sphere broadened to encompass the county and its environs but White River Valley always claimed her as its own.
After Mary Sinfield returned from her mission she took a course in nursing in Salt Lake City. She helped out with nursing in the homes and this extra help in times of need was greatly appreciated.
With their religious background, faith and prayer were as much a part of treatment as the practical measures that were taken. They did not discount practical measures but felt that faith and prayer enhanced their effectiveness. So, in a crisis, the Priesthood was called in to administer to the patient as soon as the doctor was.
For most other services people would travel to Ely or Salt Lake City. However a traveling optometrist, a Dr. DeVine, used to come into the Valley at intervals testing eyes and prescribing glasses for those who felt the need.
There were the usual mishaps and accidents. Lafayette Carter had the same arm broken in the elbow four times. The first time, due to an error easily made by non-professional people (and sometimes by professionals) it was diagnosed not broken. As a result it was crooked when it healed and nothing done for later breaks by doctors in Ely and Salt Lake City could repair the damage. Earl Oxborrow was crushed between a wagon and a shed and his Grandmother Oxborrow gave him the care necessary for his recovery.
Ervin Hendrix was struck by lightening while on a hay wagon in the middle of a field at Sunnyside. One side of his head and face were badly burned. The and on the opposite side was also badly burned and the sleeve of his shirt shredded in strips. Don Hutchings and John Terry restored his breathing and took him to the house. Rose Whipple assisted Maggie in caring for him. That was the only treatment he had until his arm developed an infection and was treated in Salt Lake City. When the infection persisted Grandma Oxborrow cared for it until it healed.
One summer morning when I was about eleven years old I was sitting on the railing of the bridge eating a piece of bread and butter when I saw what appeared to be a large doll about to float under the bridge. I was dimly aware that it wasn't a doll as I ran to the other side and pulled the baby from next door out of the water just as she came out from under the bridge. It was LaRue Nicholas, a toddler between one and two years old, and she had floated about seventy-five yards downstream from the Mathis bridge to ours. The other children were still playing nearby not noticing that she was gone. I ran screaming to the house with her and my mother met me on the path and took over. The parents, Gomer and Etta Nicholas were on the scene immediately and dispatched someone to get Mrs. Ivins. When she arrived, my mother, by some miracle, had the baby breathing, but she was blue and Delle R. had her put in a warm bath and watched her carefully for some time. She recovered fully with no ill effects and is now Mrs. Bud Hendrix.
One Sunday afternoon a group of young boys were riding around town in a one horse cart. The horse took fright and ran away throwing some of the boys out. The only one seriously hurt was my brother, Wesley. The cart ran over his face, mashing his lower jaw badly. Delle R.Ivins, Mose Harrison, Dolph Whitehead, George Gardner and others were soon there to lend support and do what they could but there was little they could do and Dr. Brock of Ely was sent for. It took a long time for him to get the message and make the long trip to Lund and when he got there he could not do much more than had been done and advise my parents to take him to Salt Lake. They drove to Ely that night and made the day long train trip to Salt Lake City the next day. He spent several months in the hospital and carried the scars of the multiple surgery for the rest of his life. Contrast the speed of a later day. One day when I was teaching school I had just stepped on to the school ground after the noon break when some boys investigating a deer rifle that had been left in a pickup one of the boys drove to school, accidentally discharged the gun hitting Stanley Peters. The bullet tore through the fleshy part of his upper arm taking flesh, tissue and part of the artery. I ran and took hold of his arm to stop the blood that was pumping out in spurts but, like a frightened animal, he pulled away and ran. I followed and caught him just as he fell on the grass and held on again until, in a matter of minutes, help came, Arthur Carter, Kelly Harrison and Vance McKenzie. Vance drove the car and they had him in Ely in the Steptoe Hospital in about half an hour. After emergency treatment he was put on the plane and flown to Salt Lake City and in two or three hours after the accident occurred he was in the capable hands of Dr. Reed Clegg.
In the past eighty years changes in health care have kept pace with other changes in rural lifestyle. No longer do doctors drive many miles to make house calls but now days a fast car or an ambulance is readily available to transport patients to the emergency room of the well equipped Steptoe Valley Hospital where competent doctors are always on call.