Tracing the disparate ancestries of four great families


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HISTORY: Rhoda Adell Ogden, wife of George Watson Dobson

HISTORY: Rhoda Adell Ogden, wife of George Watson Dobson

Memories by Adell DOBSON (STEELE), and Jeta DOBSON (FULLMER), with Questions from Kay STEELE (KILLPACK) (1996)

(Adell) When Mother and Dad were married, Dad was going to the Academy in Beaver. He went to Richfield to see his sister Elizabeth Dobson, who was living there at that time, and he met Mother. I guess it was love at first sight, because they started going together and they were married the next June. At that time Grandpa and Grandma OGDEN, Mother was living home with them. And she was a very popular girl, a beautiful girl and she used to sing a lot, with a quartet (one photo shows seven). One of them was her cousin Laura, and the other two was Cora and somebody else that I don't remember the name of. But they embroidered a pillow that I still have, and I have several pictures of the four of them together. They would sing all around the country. She had a beautiful alto voice. And when Dad and Mother were married in June, Grandpa and Grandma had a reception right at their home. And I still have the invitation, its so cute. It said, at their home, at seven o'clock pm. And we lived in a little adobe house, where Morris and Jeneal now live in. Its where Blaine was born and I was born, and I think the grand parents must have been real thrilled with their first grand children. ....... , but we were the first. And grandpa and grandma by this time were financially fixed to help Mother, and they dressed us so darling and were so proud of us, and mother was fed well and taken care of well, and she was so happy in Richfield with her family.

When I was about six months old to a year, Dad wanted to do something different. Somewhere he got the idea that over in Delta they were just settling and they needed water. Somehow he got his hands on enough money, and I think grandpa must have given it to him, to go to Delta and drill wells. So he picked up Mother and the two babies and went to Delta. I don't know where we start this?

(Jeta) When Dad and Mother were married, Grandpa and Grandma Ogden gave them a thousand head of sheep (Adell and Blaine think it was a hundred head). Apparently they sold them, either to buy the old farm, or the house in town in Delta. Because it was still in Mother's name when Mother died, and I remember we had to get a quick claim deed from each one of we children, because it would have gone to we children.

(Adell) We lived in a very small three room house right in the middle of town. Blaine was the oldest, then I, Adell, was the next. I can remember when were a little bit older that Mother got immediately pregnant with Mae just a year and half after me. It seemed like there never was a time when she wasn't nursing or had a couple or three in diapers. Mother had four of us in about five years, about a year and a half apart. And when she got Jeta and Mae, had two babies there together, one day she sat down on a chair and she brought Blaine and I before her. And she took Blaine's little hand, and my little hand and she put my hand in his, and I can remember this, chubby, dirty little hands, and she said, "Blaine, you're a big boy now. And this is your little sister, and you must take care of her. You keep her hand in yours and always watch her and don't let anything happen to her. Don't let her get lost. You are responsible for taking care of her, because I have two other babies. So wherever you go, wherever she goes you must watch her. And I will never forget that. And Blaine did it, for the rest of his life. He took hold of my hand and it was great to have a big brother to watch over me. We lived in this little house for I don't know how many years before we ever got enough money to buy the farm, 40 acres. But right in back of our little house was a big canal. And mother was always afraid of it. But as I was big enough to go out there and play - there was clay soil in Delta, really heavy clay - and you could make something and let it dry over night and it would be hard as a rock, in fact we used it to put little homes together. I loved to make bakery things, and I would make all these little goodies, cakes and pies and sandwiches and cookies and things, and my brother would come along and kick them into the water. I will never forget how mischievous he was. He teased and teased constantly. I guess there wasn't much else for him to do.

(Kay, question: "What did your mother do when you were teasing each other?")


I don't know. She was very patient. She would never, Never!


I never heard of her ever hitting or scolding or swearing or being cross or angry. She was the most patient, lovable, good natured woman that ever lived. She would just come and talk to us gentle, and so we kind of grew up with that feeling. She was a very patient woman. She needed to be with all the things ahead of her.


One thing, Mother was always there, always there.


Dad was the impatient, emotional kind.


Yes, very.


Mother was the patient, easy going, soft spoken. She never raised her voice, she always spoke softly.


Beautiful. Once I had a stomach ache or something wrong, and I remember her digging down in the charcoal in the stove to get a piece of good wood charcoal. So I could eat it. That's what we did for stomach aches. I remember Dad telling the story about mother, that was at the time I was born (This is Jeta), and they had some ducks out there and they laid some nice eggs. But Mother, no, she wasn't going to eat any duck egg, but she would make a cake or something like that with them. Mother was in bed with me, and Dad came in and fixed breakfast for her. And he scrambled up all these duck eggs, and she said that was the best food she had ever eaten. And then when he told her it was the duck eggs, mother got very ill. Well, a little while after, when I was about six weeks old, the folks decided they would go to Fredonia, Arizona, to see grandpa Thomas Dobson. Dad's father and mother were living in Fredonia, Arizona. So they hooked up the horses to the old covered wagon, and with four little children they took off to go from Delta to Fredonia, Arizona. I, of course, don't remember any of this, but I remember Blaine telling that it took them about ten days to get down there. How long did we stay? (Adell asked). I think we were gone about a month the way Blaine could remembered it. But during that time my grandfather, Thomas Dobson named and blessed me. So I guess he is responsible for "Jeta." I don't know anywhere else they got that name from. But anyway, I was held in the arms of a man who had been held in the arms of our Prophet, Joseph Smith. Which I'm very proud of!


When we left our little house in Delta, we went to a farm. Dad bought forty acres that had an old house on it. And beside the house there was a flowing well, which was enclosed in a big round cement cistern, that held a lot of water that was clear and cold and delicious. Really good water. And so once in awhile he would have to clean the moss out. But that was where our water came from. But we lived very primitively - very - very. It was a hard life for mother I'm sure. We would have to get up in the morning and make a fire unless we had coal to burn and we could bank it and keep a fire going all night. But usually we didn't have coal, and we had to depend on grease woods mostly, and scraps of wood we could find around to make a fire. So they would have to get up in the morning and make a fire and then cook us some breakfast. Usually cooked cereal. Mother had all the babies to feed. And Dad would have to get out on the farm real early in the morning. He did have machinery to work though. He had a mowing machine. He grew alfalfa. We depended on alfalfa, I guess, for most of our lives while we were on the farm. If we had a good seed crop they would sell the seed and we would have money to live on during the winter. If a blight came along, or there was a drought or something, we wouldn't have much that winter. We didn't have fruit. Dad usually had a garden. And we would eat quite a bit from the garden. We would have potatoes and squash and mellons. And as kids would help a little bit with Dad. We would follow him around, and take him his lunch. I used to run in front of the mower once in awhile because I was afraid he would cut the little rabbits. There were lots of little rabbits and pheasants and things. And I would run ahead of him and shoo them out of the way so the mower wouldn't come along and cut them. But I helped mother in the house a lot, it seemed like. Jeta and Mae would run out and play. Jeta was surrounded with cats all the time. She had lots of little cats. And the cats would go out and the milkers would squirt milk in their mouths out in the barnyard. And Jeta and Mae would play outside a lot, or wherever they wanted to. But Mother kept me with her in the house to help her.

After we moved to the farm little Beth was born. And that is a whole long story in itself. During about 1919 the big flu epidemic came along. Mother had the flu at the time that Beth was born, and she couldn't help very much with the birth. And little Beth was very weak and she couldn't help. And I always, although I can't prove it and didn't ever hear, I always felt like, she must have been in the birth canal too long, because she was born with not mentally completely..., what do I want to say... Her body was weak and her mind was weak because she was not thoroughly developed. She was a "preemie" and she was born under this stressful, disastrous time of year. We couldn't get help. There were so many people dying we couldn't get help out on the farm. We didn't have a telephone. It was real hard. Mother knew that Beth was very frail. She didn't develop as soon as she should. I don't think she sat up until nearly a year. And I don't think she walked until she was a year and a half or two years old. I think Mother understood what Beth was going to be like and all the trials she would have, but we children didn't know. You know kids are kind of mean. They would call her names. When she was a little older I used to call her dumbbell because she would stay up so late trying to get her lessons, and we didn't know why. So we kind of nicknamed her dumbbell. If we had known then what we know now we could have done things for her.


After Beth was born, and she was born in February, the fourth of July coming up, and Dad had a good seed crop, and he bought a 1919 Model T Ford car. And I remember we had little all white embroidered dresses and little white canvas shoes. And we all got in this car with our flag, and drove to Deseret for the big Fourth of July Celebration.


Would you like to know what a typical wash day was on the farm? First of all we had a big copper boiler. And it seemed to me like it was always sitting on our stove heating water for something or other. Then we had an old wash tub and a wash board that had ridges across it. And you would put the bottom of it in the tub, and the clothes would be in there with some warm water, heated on the stove. And Mother would scrub them, the clothes, up and down with some homemade soap. She had to make her own homemade soap, and would build a fire outside, and we would keep the fat from some animals that were killed - the tallow from the animals. And she would mix that with so much lye and so much water - and I don't know the formula, I used to have one. But she would put it in a big old black kettle of some kind, on the fire outside and cook it. until it was done. Then she would pour it out and when it got cold she would cut it into bars, and that was the kind of soap we would use. It was pretty strong, but it would really clean the clothes. And that was the kind of soap we had to wash. I don't think we used it on our skin. But I can't remember what we used on our skin. (Jeta: we did at Grandmas.) It was probably refined a little bit more, maybe a little bit more grease in it for our skin. But I don't remember buying it, I think we had to make it.

Life was hard. We had a little outdoor toilet, with a two little holer they called it. It was a distance from the house. And no matter what time of day it was, or no matter how cold, we had to run out their and sit, and it was cold in the winter time too, believe me! And we would have a Sears catalog or something to use for paper. We had no in-door water. We had to carry it from the big cistern, the flowing well into the house. When we moved to town we had a little pump, but this was before we had the pump. So life was hard. But we didn't know any different, so we thought it was wonderful. We just laughed and had fun all day long. We didn't know how hard Mother was working. But she had been raised with a little bit more luxuries, so it was hard on our Mother.

(Kay - When did she get a better washing facility for clothes?)

(Adell) Not until we moved back into town. After little Beth was born Mother said, "No more winters am I going to spend on this farm." So Dad made arrangements to get a place in town. And it was a little bit more modern, although we still had an outdoor toilet. We did have a well that provided - Dad was quite a plumber - Dad could do most anything. And so he got a little pump that you had to prime, and he put it on the cupboard, on the sink in the kitchen.

(Jeta) The water pump didn't come until much later. When we moved into town there was only the kitchen, the front room, one bedroom and a front screened porch. One little closet. But they had moved the old wash house or something in the back of the house, and it had a little covered over porch, and that's where they put the washer. It was an old wooden thing that I know must have had a dasher of some kind in it. I remember Blaine holding the handle of that and pushing it back and forth and that was what was washing the clothes. (Adell; "While he was reading a novel). Yes, he always had a book in his hands. Also Mother had two rinse tubs, and with a wringer that you could wring the clothes through by hand. And that was really something because all the diapers and diapers and diapers, I remember, and the dirty ones we had to was in the tub. (Kay - And you used to have to wring everything by hand). By hand before that we did. But we had a wringer that you could put the clothes through and the clothes were really clean and nice. But before that, where the water came from there, I don't remember. (Adell - I don't remember either).

(Adell) Mother seemed to sense that she wouldn't live very long. Like Joseph Smith, she just had a time limit here on this earth. So that is why she kept me by her side and taught me so many things. I don't know. But when she cooked, she included me. When she sewed, she included me. When she took care of the baby, she included me. So I was prepared, more or less, when Mother died, to take the little children, to take care of them for a couple of years. But I remember when Beth was about two years old, we had a little, I don't remember it being a covered buggy, but it was a little cart of some kind that we put Beth in (Jeta - doll buggy). And one day we went to church, Dad wasn't with us. But we took her to church. You know, way back then we would have one conference a year, maybe, in the little town. We had a big meeting house, it was a lumber, board, meeting house and it looked like a barn. And it had big steps going up to it we climbed, wooden steps. And in the back of it had a stage with a curtain in front of it. And this time we happened to have Apostle Ballard as our speaker. And everyone was excited. And I went to the meeting with Mother, and I don't know if the other kids were with me or not or whether it was just me and the baby, I always took care of the baby. And if mother had to sing, I would take care of the baby and Mother could sing in the Choir. (Kay- did she sing in the Choir?) Yes, she was always in the Choir. (Jeta- In Primary she sang and played the organ). This time we went to the church and after Apostle Ballard delivered his sermon he said at the end "If there is anyone who needs a special blessing, meet me up on the stage back of the curtain." And Mother carried little Beth, and I went with them, and we went up there. And I will never forget the blessing that Apostle Ballard gave to Beth. He blessed her that her eyes would get better and that she would be able to see better. And that she had a mission on this earth, and that she would live to fulfill it. And he said that you were a chosen Spirit of our Heavenly Father, and you will become stronger.

And it was a funny thing, after a few weeks, we didn't notice any change in Beth. But one day we went to town and Beth was in this little buggy. I don't remember what we went to town for, but I was with Mother, and as we approached the main street in town, Beth looked up in the sky and she said, "Oh! freesays, freesays." It was a brick chimney, I think it was in back of the picture-show house. It was a tall chimney and Beth said, "Oh! freesays." And Mother just clapped for joy, because we knew Beth could see. Up until that time Beth could only see as far as her little hand. She used to sit in the high chair, there was a little table on the high chair, and we would put little blocks on the high chair. And I remember counting, "One, two, three," and for some reason Beth got the idea that freesays. And she called her blocks, freesays. She could only see about as far as these little blocks. So when she could look up at this chimney made out of bricks, she said "Oh! freesays," we knew she could see. And that was a wonderful testimony. I used it in my testimony a number of times in my life, because Apostle Ballard was a special Apostle and everybody loved him. And he said wonderful things, and I never will forget this blessing he gave to our little sister Beth.

(Jeta) I remember we must have moved into town when I was about five, because I don't remember going to school until about the next year, and when I did go, they weren't going to let me go to school because I was too little. But anyway, we lived across the street from some people named Broderick, they were very weird kind people, and didn't have anything. They were poor, poor people, and I was over playing with their kids. And I noticed there were three pennies on the floor, so when I went home, they went with me in my pocket. When I got home I was playing with them, and Mother said, "Where did you get the pennies?" "Oh Mrs. Broderick gave them to me." Mother looked at me and she said, "Now Jeta, your know Mrs. Broderick doesn't have pennies to give away. Now where did you get them? Did you bring them without asking? Yes Mother. OK, you take the pennies and you go over to Broderick's and you knock on the door. And you tell her that you stole these pennies and you are bringing them back and you are sorry. Well, just to say I had stolen them was just about all I could take. But believe me, I went back and gave her the pennies and told her I was sorry. That was my lesson not to ever steal.

Mother had an organ that Mother's folks had given her when they left Richfield when she got married. And I remember it being in the old house down on the old farm. Then of course it was brought into town with us. And Mother, I can see her, up leading the singing and playing the organ for Primary. (Kay - both at the same time?). Yes, both at the same time. Bless her heart, she had a beautiful voice, it wasn't a strong voice but it was a beautiful alto voice. And little Beth's voice was the same way. Beth could sing alto at anything you wanted to sing. (Adell - Yes, she had a beautiful voice). And Mother was just always there for us. She was just part of our life. I remember that after Mother passed away that Dad got rid of the of the organ, and I don't know why, and got a piano, and insisted that I take lessons. And of course I didn't have anyone there to get me to practice, so I just fiddled away for a year.

(Adell) Mother was a beautiful woman. She looked like the Ogdens more or less. She had light brown hair and blue eyes. Her father had blue eyes. The Ogdens all had blue eyes. She was of medium build. I would say she her bones were small, but with each baby she would put on another ten pounds, so that by the time Mother died she was quite heavy. But it just became her, because she was so good natured, and always laughing. After we got into town a little while, after Beth was three or four years old, little Fred was born. They named him Fred Ogden Dobson. And he weighed about ten pounds when he was born. He was a beautiful baby. Healthy and beautiful. But you know in those days there were a lot of contagious diseases that came along. And little Fred got the whooping cough, along with the other children. But Fred being so young, about six months old, it went really hard with him. And we all remember the night that he died. He just coughed himself into convulsions. The doctor was there, but could do nothing. Mother held him. We had a little lamp. We didn't have electricity. Mother never knew what electricity was in Delta until after she died we got electricity. But we had little coal oil lamps, and we had to wash the chimneys every day to clean them off so we could see. And the little lamp was lighted when I went into the room the night little Fred died, and Mother was holding him in her arms. And he was going through all these things, and couldn't quite die. But he was a beautiful child, and he died at six months old.

About a year and a half after little Fred died, Mother had another pregnancy and soon little Chad was born. He was a pretty little thing. He was a smaller baby but he had pretty green eyes and blond hair, and a smile from one ear to the other. (Jeta - Eyelashes a mile long). And he wasn't very old when finally Mother died.

They knew a for long time before mother died. She got pneumonia and it wore her heart out. She lived I don't know how long, but several months after she had pneumonia, but it never cleared out of her lungs. The doctor said her lungs were clear, but her heart had been under such a strain that her heart stopped. We were still using coal oil lamps, and the night she died I went in. The doctor was there. Doctor Smith. And Dad was there, and the lamps were going. And they were doing all they could for Mother. But the bed that she was lying on was just shaking all over. The whole room seemed to shake to me, because her heart was pounding so hard. And the perspiration was just rolling off of her forehead and down her face. And I was sitting on the edge of the bed with a wash cloth wiping her face. (Kay - How old were you?). I was thirteen. I was thirteen in November and this was in March when Mother died, after I was thirteen. Blaine was a year older and then the rest of them were younger. (Kay - How old was the baby?). The baby was about two and a half. So she left six little children, and it was a real, real tragedy to us. And Dad was on crutches, because he had building a new part on the house, that Mother never really got to use. Dad took her to the door and she looked out into the beautiful great big kitchen that Dad had built, and said, "Oh I would like keep house in that kitchen, because he had put the pump on the sink, and it was going to be so nice. It was roughed in for a bathroom. We were going to have a bathroom. And it was going to be heaven for her, but she never got to use it. About four o'clock in the morning she said, "Daddy bring my children in." So he woke up all the other little babies. And they all came in around her bed and she kissed each one of goodbye. It was really dramatic. It was really a sad thing because she was only thirty six years old. She had six little children. But the Lord took her. After she kissed us all goodbye, and told us goodbye her heart stopped. Her heart suddenly stopped and she was gone. And I remember going outside and it was just getting light, and there was a train going by. And I thought, Oh the nerve of that train, how come it doesn't stop? Mother's dead. How come that train keeps on going when my Mother is dead.

It was a very sad thing, and Dad was very much alone. He became very bitter for a long time because he couldn't understand why the Lord would take a mother from six little children when we all needed her so badly.

(Jeta) A little thing I remember so vividly. Mothers soft heart. I was sent to school. And of course I was told to come right home from school. About the second day I was in school I decided I would go down home with my girl friend, whose Dad was a barber. I'll never forget her name was Viola Powell. And we got to playing and it got a little later and a little later, and of course it was in the fall, and it was getting dark a little early. And I knew I had to get home, and it was getting darker. And I remember coming down the street and looking and could see the light in the kitchen window. And everybody was around the table and they were having supper. And I hated to go in, and finally I went in the kitchen door. And Mother just made a little motion to me to go in the bedroom and get undressed and go to bed. Well, my heart was broke, no supper and go to bed. It went on to about nine o'clock that night, and I sobbing and sobbing, and in comes my Mother, takes me in her arms, takes me in to have some bread and milk, and then takes me into the little armless rocking chair and sits and rocks me to sleep. What a beautiful woman she was.



Mrs. Rhoda Dobson died last week after a lingering illness of about six weeks duration. (Note: March 27, 1925). Mrs. Dobson was an ardent church worker, took a deep interest in her duties and was beloved and respected by all who knew her. She was born in Richfield, October 17, 1888, the second child of seven children of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Ogden. She was educated in the Sevier schools, and in 1909 she married in the Manti Temple to George Dobson, of Fredonia, Arizona. They lived in Richfield two years and then moved to Delta, where they have resided ever since. There was born to the marriage seven children, four girls and three boys, one of whom preceded the mother four years ago. Mrs. Dobson was a fond mother and a loving wife. Her untimely demise is deeply mourned by all, and the heartfelt sympathy of the entire community is extended to the bereaved family.

Funeral services were held in Delta Monday at which a great many of her friends gathered to pay respect to one whom they loved. Many beautiful floral designs were presented; the speakers were Bishop Hiatt E. Maxfield, George Boyack, Frank M. Ogden, Orson F. Christensen, Bishop E. W. Jeffery, and it was announced that 371 persons were present. There were a large number in attendance from other towns.

CARD OF THANKS Words fail to express our heartfelt thanks to the many kind sympathetic friends who so generously contributed so many sympathetic words, such loving deeds, and much-appreciated help, for the many beautiful floral tributes during the long illness, death and funeral of our beloved wife, mother, daughter, and sister.

We also thank the speakers, readers, singers, and all who attended the funeral.

Mr. George Dobson and children

Mr. Joseph Ogden and family.

Linked toRhoda Adell Ogden

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