I was born September 7, 1885 in St. George, Utah in the family home, a little white house on the southeast corner of Temple Block. I was the eighth of eleven children of Joseph Oxborrow and Mary Leicht. At the time of my birth Father was cooking for the Temple Hands and was later employed as a gardener there.
In 1892 our family moved from the home where I was born to the Crane home. On my 8th birthday I was baptized in the font of the St. George Temple. It was not baptismal day but the President of the Temple learned that this had been my special wish and gave permission for Father to baptize me there.
In January of 1894 my brother Ted and I were at Aunt Sophie's delivering a New Year's dinner. She had depleted her stock of firewood and asked Ted to cut some bark stripped from the cedar trees. Always the recipient of "odd jobs", I was holding the bark on the chopping block while Ted cut it into stove lengths. Suddenly I slipped my hand over the chopping block and the ax descended before Ted realized it was there. The first three fingers were severed from my right hand. Ted dashed home to get Mother who was nurse for Dr. Clift. Meanwhile Aunt Sophie wrapped my hand in salt and cotton batting to stop the bleeding. The doctor spent several hours in caring for my hand, and tho' he used no stitches he splinted the hand until it healed. Dr. Clift, who had recently arrived from Germany, came every day to check on the progress and change the bandages. To combat the stiffness of the fingers an unusual poultice of angle worm oil was made and applied. Only the miles of crocheting, knitting, quilting and sewing I have done since give accurate record of the complete recovery from this accident.
Father died when I was 10 years old. My fondest memories of him were carved while I walked to Sunday School with him, hand in hand. After my father's death, Mother supported the family through her nursing and I was delegated to watch my younger sister Vera. The summer Iwas 12 I did the washing and ironing for an old couple for only 50 cents a week. Later, when I was going to school, I worked for 75 cents a week. From my "wages" I bought material for several dresses and a fancy hat. My older sister Lizzie worked as a seamstress, and made the dresses for me.
I went to school in St. George and was in the 8th grade when we moved to Lund, Nevada. I cried every day on our trip out there, wanting so to go back to St. George. Those who have not pioneered can not imagine the conditions a family faces when moving into an area where white men have never lived. Only a few homes had been erected when we arrived on January 8, 1900. My brother Joe and his wife Sabra offered to share their small home, already crowded with them and their three children.
The little frame house my brothers built for Mother became the meeting house on Sundays, and the social hall for the weekly dances. The boys slept in the large unfinished rooms while Mother, Vera and I slept in the back. Our home served this three-fold purpose until the Church was finished in Lund.
When the Lund Mutual was organized in 1901, I became the first secretary of the Young Ladies Mutual. That first year in Lund we put on a Mutual play, "The Spinster's Convention." It was the custom in MIA to answer roll call with a scripture. Being high-spirited and fun loving I couldn't resist telling my friends the funniest line in our play. One of the Wakeling boys said, "Molly, I'll dare you to stand up and give your line at roll call tonight." Well, I was never one to pass up a dare so when my name was called I stood up and said, "Men should be seen and not heard." Oh, the look the Mutual President gave me.
The next winter I returned to St. George and lived with my sister Lizzie. She taught me the art of cutting dress patterns and when I returned to Lund I sewed for many people in the neighborhood. This was done primarily for the pleasure of sewing and the experience it gave me, for the pioneers were a very close group, almost like one big family, and we enjoyed helping each other all we could.
Soon after my return, Ethel Smith and I went to Currant Creek for a house party and barn dance. These were very special amusements, and the neighbors gathered from miles around and planned to stay for at least two days. My brothers furnished.the music as the "Oxborrow Band", a tradition carried on for three generations. They each played a stringed instrument and I often accompanied them on the piano, guitar and mandolin, tho' I preferred to dance and never wanted for a partner.
The two young men most frequently at our door were Tom Wakeling and Earl Ashworth with equal attention paid them. When one was out of town the other appeared as my escort. (One page missing from this autobiography with marriage date missing. She was married to Earl Ashworth in 1905.)
Earl's younger brother Webster came to Lund about this time and Mother welcomed him into her already crowded home that fall, while Earl hauled freight from Ely to Tonopah and Goldfield by horse and wagon.
Two months before our first child was to be born, my sister Vera took sick. Friday night she gaily partied, and four days later she died of polio or meningitis. This came as a horrible shock to me, for I loved my little sister very dearly and we had been quite close. When our little son was born stillborn in April, I felt my grief hard to bear.
We moved into a little frame home across the street from Mother (where Neil and Emma Gardner live now, 1980). I often went over to help her weave carpet on her loom. I was so thrilled to have four rooms of our own and I took pride in keeping it up. It was the Burgess home and was located on the corner south of the Church. (The same little house that is back of Kathryn Gubler's home, 1980).
On April 8, 1909 a baby girl was stillborn and one year later, April 9, 1910, Donald Earl was born. If he'd even look like he'd cough I wilted and couldn't stand to let him out of my sight. He had beautiful curly hair and his ringlets weren't cut until he was four. Our other children, Irene born 1 December 1912; Genevieve, 30 July 1915; John Clair, 25 July 1917; Verle, 15 November 1920; and Keith, 4 September 1924; all were born in Lund except Keith.
In 1919 Earl and my brother Ted leased a farm from John Whipple located in the Lund fields (same field now owned by Van Gardner and Milton Gardner, 1980). They were in the process of buying it when the depression hit and they were unable to sell the crops. At that time Ted was involved in a freighting accident and had to have a leg amputated, so they had to give up the farm.
Ted realized that something had to be done with our large and hungry brood. He went to Kimberly in March of 1923 and got a job as a blacksmith. Earl was rapidly advanced to shop mechanic and later became repair foreman. After school was out in May we moved to Kimberly "for the summer", not knowing we would spend the next 27 years there. After 7 years in Kimberly we sold our little home in Lund, though we often returned for the yearly rabbit hunts.
In Lund I had been active in the Primary, as counselor for three years and teacher for about five. When we moved to Kimberly I was first counselor to Anna Aljets in Relief Society and Mary Eads was second counselor. We used to take turns in having Relief Society in our homes. As I was work counselor we had our work meetings at my home. I always enjoyed our work.
After 27 years in Kimberly, replete with memories of the personal Santa Claus visits on Christmas, the waltzing prize won, the huge turkey dinner with pies, cakes, hot rolls, all cooked days in advance, and all of the children grown and married, we moved to Las Vegas in October of 1949. Earl had been given a Merit Pin for 27 years without injury or accident to his men.
In his retirement, Earl became a jack-of-all-trades, helping his children with carpentry work on their homes. We enjoyed being near our children and on December 20, 1955 we celebrated our golden wedding anniversary with a large party held at Verle's home in Las Vegas. Two years later, Earl, who had had asthma for some time, contracted bronchial asthma and passed away July 15, 1957 at our home in Las Vegas.
Surrounded with children, grandchildren and friends, and working actively in the Fifth Ward Relief Society as quilt chairman and doing handwork, visiting and traveling, now occupy my time.
Above concludes excerpts from autobiography of Molly Oxborrow Ashworth. An account of a trip to the Hill Cumorah Pageant and other points of interest in the East was probably one of the highlights in her life, yet too long to include in this sketch.
Donald and Mildred Ashworth
Helen C. Gardner