Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Ida Lee Part 5~More Schooling, Becoming a Teacher

Ida Lee, early 1900's
Remember now...She is Grandma Helen's mother!

The year is 1902 and Ida is now 18 years old.  All of her older brothers and sisters are married, as well as her younger brother Frank. She is the oldest at home with five younger siblings. Much of this story takes place in St. Johns, Arizona.

St. Johns Stake Academy in St. Johns, Arizona

A view of Commercial St. in St. Johns, AZ about 1900.

This map shows where St. Johns is located. It was not nearly as far from home as the Academy in Thatcher was. It was 55 miles to the north of Nutrioso. 
I have marked the other places she has lived, Thatcher and Clifton in large red dots.



In the fall of 1902 my brother Rainey was called to take the missionary course in St. Johns, Arizona. It was decided that I should go with him and attend the Academy, as it was called then. I welcomed, again, the opportunity of going to a school of higher learning. We rented a small house in the north end of town and I cooked, kept the house clean, kept up with the washing and ironing besides attending school. I had very little trouble in keeping up with my studies and helping my brother with his. People were very kind and nice to us. Professor Franklin F. Hinckley was Superintendent of the school and taught the missionary class. We went home for Christmas and when we went back we rented a large house made of adobe. It was just down the hill east of brother and Sister John Henry Heap's home. They were very dear friends and neighbors. They had two daughters, Elva, who was older than I, and May Ellen, younger. In February I came down with a terrible fever and ached all over. I thought I was coming down with the flu. I shall never forget Sister Heap. She came and took me to her house until the fever was gone. One morning I felt a boring sensation on both my wrists and a place or two on my body. Soon blisters came out and I found I had smallpox. Several years before this I had been inoculated for smallpox. I suppose this was the reason that I didn't break out worse on my body. I don't know how I was exposed to them but at the time I was sick, Sister Sorenson's baby had them, also Pearl Udall. When I got to where I could walk, we walked over to Udall's and stood at the gate. Pearl came to the door and stood on the porch. She was a mass of sores all over her face and hands. Then I realized how lucky I was.When it was known that I had smallpox we were put under quarantine. Several people had come to the house after dark though we tried to get them to not come in. Jim McFate from Alpine, who was there attending school, came in and said he was not afraid. Even though I had only those few sores on me he picked up a germ and later after we had all gone back home to Nutrioso, he became very ill and like Pearl Udall, was a mass of sores. Though he was a  very sick young man, he recovered. While ill he stayed in the house where we had lived and his food and medicine were brought to him by the good people of the town. Around the last of March after we had fumigated and washed all clothes and bedding, we decided to return home so my brother could prepare for his mission. So another year's schooling was interrupted.

Rainey was married to Rhoda Francis Wilkins on the 18th day of March, 1903, and ten days later he left for his mission which was in the Western States Mission. Had they had it the way they wanted it, they would have been married in the temple, but there was no finances for that now, as it would take all the money he had and all father and brothers could earn to take him to his mission and keep him there for two years. This arrangement left them very little time together but they were strong in the faith and believed that God would not ask anything of His people but that He would open the way for them to obey. So it was that in ten day, March 28th, he left for his mission in company with Lorenzo Maxwell. I shall never forget the tears shed at that parting. Two years seemed like an eternity. He went to Salt Lake City, as all missionaries do, and while there went through the temple for his brother Hyrum. I kept in touch with him by letter, telling him how much we missed him at home, telling him that when he returned home I would bake him his favorite cream pie. He had always told me, "Sis, give me a round piece," when I baked it, and he usually got it. He always had a sense of humor, and in one of his letters he had put a lot of punctuation marks and wrote, "Sister, put these where they belong." This sense of humor made him many friends. The two years soon passed and he returned home to his bride, mother, father, sisters, brothers and friends. It isn't often that a missionary returned home to this little village but each one brought a portion of the Spirit of the Lord, which adds so much spiritually to the unity of the ward. So his return brought most of the members out to hear his fervent testimony and to heat him relate his experiences. Now he settled down to provide a home for his bride.

The next fall Clark Curtis (Burk) wrote me to come and live with her Grandmother Whiting and her son Fred and go to school. She had a position teaching school out in northern Arizona on the railroad. I welcomed the chance to go on with my education. This was a pleasant winter.  Grandmother Whiting  was a very bright and intellectual lady, in spite of her 80 odd years. Her memory was keen and she spent much of her time reading the books I brought her from the school library. I finished this year's school term and in the spring  returned to my little, much loved home in Nutrioso. I had not thought possible that I could attend school this year, as my parents were financing my brother's mission and having quit a struggle to do so. I shall always be grateful to Joe Pierce, a forest ranger at Nutrioso. During the holidays he visited often at our home and on one of his visits asked me why I wasn't in school. After telling him the reasons I could not go he encouraged me to write to Sister Mary Farr in St. Johns who was keeping boarders, and see if I could make arrangements to stay with her. I wrote her and satisfactory arrangements were made. I was to furnish my board and help with the work for my lodging. When school commenced after the holidays I was enrolled as a student. I put all my attention to those subjects which would help in passing the teacher's examination. So when the examination was held in March, I obtained a certificate for teaching anywhere in Arizona. Jesse Wiltbank and Estella Jones also received certificates. This year was a pleasant one, renewing old acquaintances and making new friends. Professor John W. Brown was my English teacher. During one of my classes he announced to the school he had taught me three years in the grade school and for two of the three years I had a perfect attendance and was never tardy. I was not aware of this record. My home with Brother and Sister Farr was very enlightening and spiritual. Their home was a home for many boys from the towns of Eagar, Nutrioso, Alpine, and Luna. The good influence they had on the lives of these boys can never be estimated. I am sure I learned many beautiful truths while living there.

The following year I taught school in Nutrioso to all the boys and girls from the beginners through the eighth grade.

This is the school house in Nutrioso where Ida attended school as a girl 
and then taught at after she received her teacher's certificate.


As I typed this chapter I was so touched by my grandmother's love of education. What a wonderful gift that was for her! She was born and lived in humble circumstances but her desire to learn took her away from that tiny village of Nutrioso and opened up the world to her. I was a school teacher too. I hope Granny was proud of me, looking down from heaven!

I found this little paragraph about the St. Johns Academy:
Around the turn of the 20th century the Church began encouraging “missionary classes” for men – mostly young, but of any age – to prepare for full-time missionary service. Classes could even be taken by correspondence at one period. These classes focused on gospel principles and Church history that missionaries would need in the field, and also included general (secular) education and etiquette and other subjects that rural and frontier men may have missed in their youth, designed to help missionaries present themselves in respectable company.

(There were)Church history classes at the St. Johns Academy. The class read and discussed much of the Book of Mormon one year, and looked at a few New Testament parables another year. Perhaps 95% of the class material for these years, though, were Church history lessons.


I love FamilySearch.org  so much! I found three new pictures of Rainey that my mother does not have. He was a really good looking guy! He and Rhoda are a handsome couple.


 My mother tells me that the men in the family hauled a lot of freight both for bringing in their own supplies and for supplying the little communities in the White mountain area. The Lees ran this as a business.
I don't know what he is hauling here but he has two span of horses pulling two huge wagons.

I was a bit surprised to hear my grandmother say that she had been inoculated with the small pox vaccine. It's been awhile since my last human biology class! The internet contains multitudes of photos of people with smallpox. I choose not to show you (you can look if you are brave) but let me just say that when Ida refers to Pearl's face and hands as "a mass of sores" these poor people literally had not one fraction of normal skin showing!

Regarding this subject:

In 1796 Edward Jenner of England had a breakthrough in inoculating someone for smallpox.
By 1853 vaccination became mandatory in the U.K. 
In 1855 Massachusetts was the first U.S. state to pass a mandatory vaccination law. 
In 1902 the Biologics Control Act to regulate the making of vaccines to be consistent and safe.
In 1959 The 12th World Health Assembly adopted the goal of global eradication of Smallpox.
In the early 1960's I was one of the millions of school children given the smallpox vaccine at school. We all have the scar on one of our upper arms to prove it! That is the scar from just one pox sore. Can you imagine the aftermath of being covered?


 In 1980 Smallpox was declared eradicated.

Next time: Leaving childhood behind, courtship, and marriage!

Later this week...California Part 2
 I seem to be blogging in parts lately!

1 comment:

URFAVE5 said...

I love these great posts! So interesting. I love reading about it I feel like I know her.

Thanks again for sharing!
Love You,
JoLynn