Edmund Allen Hendrix was born in Salt Lake City, Utah 6 April 1855. His parents, Daniel and Lucy Allen Hendrix were converts to the Church from Massachusetts and Connecticut, respectively. They were among the early pioneers to Utah, coming with the Brigham Young Co. which arrived in Salt Lake 20 Sept. 1848.
Edmund was the youngest of four children. When he was 6 years of age his parents moved to St. George, Utah, where they had been called to help settle that area. Here Edmund received his education in the public schools and was trained by his father in the farming and cattle business.
Mary Ellen Terry was born in Union, Utah 27 Nov. 1855, the daughter of Charles A. and Sarah Hammon Terry. She was the 4th of 12 children to that couple, only 4 of whom grew to maturity. Her parents were also among those called to settle in the St. George community. Mary Ellen was just 6 years of age at this time, and was riding in a wagon, drawn by a team of mules, with her 7 year old brother William as driver. This seems a great responsibility for children of that age, but the father was driving one team of oxen and a brother, Wilford, was driving the other. The mother was driving in a light wagon. As little Mary Ellen sat with a small dog on her lap, William decided he would like to get off and walk awhile. He gave the lines to Mary Ellen and helped her wrap them around her hands. All went well until the little dog fell out and hit one of the mules, startling it, which caused the team to start running. Mary Ellen held onto the lines with all her strength until help came, but the skin was torn from both hands. Mary Ellen would never forget this eventful 3 week journey to Southern Utah.
When she was 20 years of age, and Edmund just 21, they were married in St. George, Utah 9 April 1876. Their honeymoon was a trip by team and wagon to Salt Lake City and back. The following January they were sealed in the St. George temple just a few days after President Woodruff had dedicated the finished lower part of the temple for appropriate temple work. They were sealed on 11 Jan. 1877, and their first child, Daniel Edmund, was born just 2 days later.
These were the days when a few of the Saints were practicing plural marriage; so, two years later, when Mary Ellen saw Edmund go by taking 18 year old Pricilla Blair out for a Sunday buggy ride, she knew he was thinking of taking a second wife. By then she was expecting her second child and naturally felt hurt, but her father said, "Mary Ellen, polygamy is right." So she listened to his counsel and tried to console herself. She said later that she even prepared their bed for them on their wedding day, 24 April 1878.
Mary Ellen was the mother of 9 children: Daniel Edmund, Mary Theresa (who died at age 2), Lucy Loanna, Charles Allen (who died on his 8th birthday), Therron (who died at age 2), Gideon Ray, Ervin Lester, William Lorain and Leland Hendrix.
Mary Pricilla was also the mother of 9 children, three of whom died in infancy.
Mary Ellen and Pricilla grew to love and respect each other and shared each others sorrows in the loss of their little ones. The mortality (death rate) of little children was very high in the heat and climate of Southern Utah, and many mothers took their babies to the Pine Valley Mountains during their second summer, when they were teething, as dysentery took the lives of so many babies at that age.
In the Spring of 1898, Edmund took his two familes to Lund, Nevada, where the LDS Church had called for saints to colonize that area, recently acquired from the government in payment of properties confiscated by them earlier.
They had left comfortable homes in St. George, but here their first home was a tent. But they were happy and became totally captivated with the new life of pioneers. Edmund was a successful farmer and cattle man, and now he had sons growing up who were able to help take some of the responsibility of the work.
Mary Ellen was a patient home maker, a beautiful seamstress and an immaculate housekeeper, and she trained her children in these arts.
As the boys finished the grade school in Lund, several went on to high school in Ely, Provo, or St. George.
A granddaughter, Hilda Oxborrow Harrison, remembers her grandfather. She said he loved to tease, and remembers how he liked to bother her by trying to kiss her and rub his whiskers onher face. He wore a mustache. When his daughter Lucy was planning on marriage she asked him for money to buy the material to have her wedding dress made. He told her that first she had to pop two flour sacks full of popcorn for him. She complied with his request, and he was a little taken back as he only had been teasing her.
Lee remembers his father loving to wrestle with his boys. He says he can especially remember seeing him and Lorain tussling and wrestling in the house causing quite a commotion, but having great fun together.
When the Burgess family left Lund, Edmund purchased their rock home located in the center of town, across from the grade school, and moved Mary Ellen and her family there. They had previously lived on the corner of the upper street back of the Gubler lot. While Pricilla lived in a rock home across the street (this home is still standing), Mary Ellen's first home was a three room single constructed lumber house with slats covering the cracks or seams. This had been moved from an abandoned mining camp at Ward Mountain. It had been taken apart and brought down thru Water Canyon by team and wagon then nailed back together. Mary Ellen was happy with this home in those early years, but now really appreciated her new, well built rock home. It had been built by John P. Horsley, an expert rock mason from England, and was considered one of the nicest homes in the town.
Hilda, being the first grandchild, tells how she enjoyed going there to be pampered by her uncles and grandparents. She felt real important when they would ask her to come and bake for them. Her grandmother taught her to darn, so she darned many of her uncle's socks while learning; then, as she grew older, she helped her grandmother clean house, sew and bake which was great fun for her.
Just before World War I broke out, Edmund purchased a large ranch at Sunnyside, Nevada. He now divided his property between his two families, and he always had the reputation of dealing fairly with his wives. Mary Ellen stayed in Lund but her boys took turns living on the ranch.
During the war Gid and Lorain were drafted into the army where they served as cooks after arriving in France. No doubt the good training of their mother helped them to achieve this assignment. Now the ranch was short of help so Edmund sent to Gridley, California for his son Daniel to come and help. He also hired his son-in-law, Ephraim Oxborrow, who moved his family to the ranch to help until the boys could return home.
It was a sad occasion when the family went to Ely to see Gid and Lorain off to war, and it was a very happy occasion when they returned safely, along with all the other boys of Lund who had been called to serve their country.
Soon after the boys returned and life was getting back to normal, Edmund decided to have as mall, bothersome growth on his head removed, which would be a very simple thing today. But at that time they gave him ether, which caused him to develop a case of ether pneumonia from which he did not recover. He passed away 12 Aug. 1919 at age 64. This sudden, unexpected tragedy was a great shock to all his family and friends.
Mary Ellen continued to keep house for her two boys who were still at home. She continued to pay her tithing, as always, with her chickens and the eggs and was a faithful Church member continuing to do her visiting teaching for Relief Society.
When the last son, Leland, was married he and his wife, Laura, lived with her for a short time before moving to Sunnyside.
Now another tragedy happened in Mary Ellen's life. Her son Lorain lost his wife, leaving two tiny children. Lorain and the children came to her home, where she, with the help of a hired girl, cared for them for the next six years until her death. She was really quite well until the last fewweeks of her life, when she took a bad cold, and complications seemed to set in. She died quite suddenly on 3 March 1935. Her last words were thoughts of the children. She was buried beside her husband.
Hilda said of her, "She was a great soul and suffered in silence," and "I loved my grandparents and they have always lived in my memory as guiding lights."
"Grandma" Hendrix was a petite little lady who kept herself, as well as her home, immaculately groomed. Her percale dresses and aprons were starched and ironed to a shining gloss. No one could quite equal her art of ironing--every article was done to perfection. I remember the white shirts with their starched collars and cuffs. Poor Lee's shirts never looked the same after we were married. "Grandma" said that as she was raising her family she had to save the ironing to do at night after the children were in bed.
The babies, both the girls and boys, wore long, white dresses that touched the floor as they sat on their mothers' laps. These were bordered with many rows of tiny tucks, insertion and lace. These were painstakingly ironed with heavy flat irons, heated on a wood burning stove. I remember ironing, but not so beautifully, with those old flat irons, while the perspiration randown my body--then, continuing to add another stick of wood to the stove to keep the irons hot.
I have mentioned her sewing. She had taken a class in tailoring, while a young girl, even learning to make men's suits and coats. When her little grandson, Jack, needed a little brownie costume made, I remember she spent days tailoring it. She was stunned when Mrs. Horsley sent for the pattern a few hours before the program and expected to have her little boy's suit made in time for the play. They didn't look much different on the stage, but oh the difference in the workmanship of the two costumes!
I remember another story she told me. She said that when her boys were small, her husband brought home a black wool broadcloth overcoat he had found in his travels. She took it apart, washed and pressed it, then made knee pants for two of her little boys. Some of the neighbors were heard to say, "Did you notice that Mary Ellen has her boys dressed in black broadcloth?" They apparently thought that she was a real extravagent lady. This pleased her, but she kept her little secret. Through her ingenuity and skill as a seamstress she was always able to keep her family well dressed on what materials came her way.
Written and submitted by:
Laura G. Hendrix