Mother was born on Christmas
day, 1853, the daughter of Calvin Perry and Lucretia Thom Bingham.
Her early life was as useful and busy as were her later years. She
worked out some, and also helped her grandfather Ashael Thorne make
butter and cheese plus other work to be done on a farm.
When she was a young lady, she earned money to buy herself a nice
yellow calico dress with black dots in it and thought it most
beautiful. She, like Father, loved to dance and said often after
they had danced until after midnight, a crowd would get into a
sleigh and ride until daylight.
She had quite a number of boy friends, one in particular she liked
real well, It was while she was keeping company with him that she
married Father (Hyrum Smith Phelps) as a plural wife. She said she
didnít know why she did it, but supposed it was meant to be that
At the time she married they lived in Montpelier, Idaho, but the
winters were too severe so they moved to Mesa, Arizona after three
daughters had been born, Laurett, Lucy and Barbara. Laurett died of
diphtheria before they left Idaho.
The journey to Arizona was a long hard one, especially for mother,
as she was in her last months of pregnancy. The company laid over
three days at Leeís Ferry because of her condition, and on the third
day, Dec. 2, 1878 her oldest son, Gove Edward, was born. They
arrived in Mesa Jan. 17, 1879. Mesa was practically a desert when
they arrived and they lived in tents the first three months until
Father and his sons could make adobes to build a house.
Seated: Hyrum S., Gertrude, Amy, Orson, Mary Eilzabeth
Standing: Harriet, Gove, Ester, Wilford, Lucy, Barbara,
The first one was a long
three-room house. Mother lived in one end and Aunt Clarinda the
other. The center room was used for awhile to store corn and grain,
and later Grandma Bingham lived there awhile. While she lived there,
he son Ashael died.
In 1881 Father built a home on the corner of First Avenue and
Hibbert Street for Aunt Clarinda. This house was a T-shape with a
porch on two sides, had a shingle roof and dirt floors. It still
stands today  but has been improved. Mother had the long house
then to herself. It was here that Hattie, Orson and Yuma were
born. The federal officers had been after Father and Mother for
plural marriage, and Father was arrested. He was sent to Yuma,
Arizona Penitentiary for three months. Mother was taken to the home
of Ed Jones in Lehi. She stayed there until just before Yuma was
born, then went to her mother.
Father bought or traded and got eighty acres one mile east of town
and built another home for Aunt Clarinda who had a family of boys
and moved mother to the home on First Avenue and Hibbert because she
had mostly girls. Here Grace, who lived only a few weeks, Amy,
Esther, Clara and Gertrude were born.
After Aunt Clarinda moved to the ranch, Mother was allotted a few
cows for her support. It was Goveís job to drive the cows to and
from the pasture, and he often rode a cow called Puso. I remember we
had a lot of grief because the cows would often get out of the
corral and get into Brother Hibbertís place at night, and he would
come and awake mother and say ugly things to her. We milked some of
the cows that were brought from Montpelier. When Esther was a few
months old, Father went on a mission to the Southern States.
Mother lived in this home until 1895 when Father sold it and built
her a nice brick house on the eighty acres. Wilford, Motherís
fourteenth child, was born here. He was the pride and joy of the
family. Father used to call him the little prophet. He is four
months younger than my oldest son, Ashael. Mother practically raised
him with Wilford. They were like brothers.
While living in this home Motherís greatest sorrow came when Lucy
died. At the time she was confined to her bed with a sore leg, and
couldnít go see Lucy during her sickness. Lucy had developed blood
poison after the birth of her fourth child and namesake, Lucy.
Brother Calvin was surely good to mother during Lucyís sickness; he
would come three times a day to keep her informed of Lucyís
condition. Sometimes he would call at midnight. Lucy died Jan. 6,
1905. Mother took little Lucy and raised her as her own.
Because of Fatherís age and the boys married and gone, he found he
couldnít do the work on the ranch, so he sold to a Mr. Fraser and
moved onto twenty acres on Home Lane. He built mother the nicest
home she had had and built two houses in town on Sirrine, one for
Aunt Clarinda and one to rent. As age kept creeping, he found he had
to stop work altogether, so he sold the twenty acres and moved
Mother in the house he built to rent. Here they spent their last
days. Father died April 23, 1926, after having been gored in the
belly by a bull. Mother died 17 November, 1933 from the effects of
Mother was a wonderful mother to her family, a typical Bingham, the
most unselfish and generous person to be found. She always went
without for her family. Iíve seen her many times skim the cream off
the milk and give it to father and she would use the skim milk. She
didnít go out very often, having 14 children, two babies most of the
time. One May Day she sent us on ahead to a picnic. Amy was the
baby. Lucy and I took her and the other children on; Mother came
later. When we took Amy to her, the baby didnít recognize Mother and
began to scream. It was the first time she had seen Mother in her
dress-up clothes. Amy cried with hunger, so Mother had to go home
and change her dress so Amy would nurse.
Mother had inflammatory rheumatism while Amy was a baby. At that
time there was an epidemic of some kind of fever, and Aunt
Clarindaís oldest son, Hyrum, had it. Father had to be with him
until he died. Lucy and I, with Grandma Sarah Phelps had to take
care of Mother and the baby. She suffered something awful. Her legs
were swollen twice their size, and she couldnít bear to be moved.
After Hyrum died and Father came to help take care of Mother, he and
Grandma decided to get her up on an open bottom chair and steam her.
They got her on the chair, but it was cruel what she suffered during
the ordeal, and the sad part was that no good came from it. She
finally got well.
Mother was quite spiritual. A number of times things happened and it
was made known to her before hand. One time she was troubled and
went into the bedroom to pray. As she came out, she said just above
the door she heard the sweetest music she had ever heard, and as the
music died away, a peaceful feeling came over her and she was
Very few people suffered as much as Mother. One time she and sister
Annie went into the field to glean wheat, and they came in contact
with poison weeds and their legs broke out with sores. Motherís was
the worst. Both her legs were solid sores from her knees to
the soles of her feet. It took weeks for them to heal. Every summer
for several years at the same time, her legs would break out with
the same kind of sores, but each year they would he more mild. This
was a few weeks before Grace was born; after that her legs caused
her a lot of misery. There were quite a few other things that caused
a lot of suffering that Iíll not take time to mention, besides
giving birth to 14 children without the aid of a doctor or having
something done to ease the pain.
Mother was a good Latter-day
Saint. She always donated liberally, paid her tithing and fast
offerings. When she began paying, she saved all her statements from
the dairy so she would know how much she owed, and at the end of the
year, she owed a few cents more than ten dollars. I donít know how
she managed to live. She had a few hens, but they didnít lay any
eggs until the price went down to ten cents a dozen. Lucy was the
main stay of the family. Hattie and I worked some. When either of us
earned any money, it was turned over to Mother. Not a cent did we
use for ourselves without her telling us to. She would shine our
heavy shoes with stove soot. We were quite large before we could
afford dress shoes. We werenít the only poor people, however; most
everyone was alike
We had a happy home, Mother
made it so. Our home was a house of prayer. We had family prayer
night and morning, and I think that had everything to do with the
spirit of our home.
I know I speak for all of the family when I say I am thankful for
wonderful parents and what they did for us.