Nancy Irene Sanders Cox

By her niece, Beatrice Pritchett

I wonder if she ever realized how happy we children were to see her drive up and stop at our hitching post and Aunt Nancy setting so prim and sweet in her one seated buggy with the black top and her gray mare that often had a beautiful young colt trotting by its side.

Nancy was a small woman and quick at getting out of the buggy. Her long black skirt made with a pleated flounce sewed onto many widths of material would make it hard to get out of the buggy. With one hand she quickly folded her skirt over and held in the fullness, the other hand held onto the buggy as she stepped onto the buggy step and so lightly onto the ground. She went to the back of the buggy and picked up a package. She would bring us fresh new vinegar honey, cider or if one of us were sick it would be oranges or bananas.

Gerald was the quickest of the boys to get her horse tied up. Not that the horse needed tying, for that mare would of never went without Nancy in the seat and her tap with the lines and saying "giddie-up, lets go home." She never liked to drive the oxen for they would run away with her. Nancy never could remember Gee from Haw.

Gerald thought he partly belonged to Aunt Nancy because he was born on her birthday. Aunt Nancy had already made other sick calls to older friends and shut-ins, so her visit was short even with Mother saying, “Why do you need to be going so soon, you just got here. We would like to have you set down and talk awhile, you get here so seldom."

So it was, Nancy's visits were kind, encouraging words then gone again. But we enjoyed good dinners and visits at her place on Thanksgiving, Christmas and some birthdays.

Nancy's father was John Franklin Sanders and mother was Mary Irene Clement. Nancy Irene was born 1 October 1856 at Union Fort, Salt Lake County, Utah and the first child of eight children.

When Nancy was about three years old she was crying and held her breath; she fainted and fell into the fire place onto the hot coals, and this left her face badly burned and left a scar for life. There was very little hair on her head, so she combed one side of the hair up over the top and into a round bun at the back of the head. She grew up into such a good, kind person that the beauty and love from within her heart and soul outshined the scarred face.

Soon after the second child John Frank was born 4 November 1858, this family and other, families of Union Fort were called to go to North Sanpete and look for other places to settle and make a town. They stayed in Mt. Pleasant. The men went on horse back to look at the valley six miles north for a place to build their homes. They decided on this nice green valley. This was the early spring of 1859. The valley was called Fairview and here Nancy spent her life.

In Mt Pleasant there were boys and girls Nancy’s age but in Fairview the children were younger. The early spring of 1875 Nancy now age 19 took a trip to St George, Utah to visit her grandparents Moses Martin Sanders. While there her mother age 35 died of a ruptured fallopian tube, 22 august 1875. Nancy hurried back to Fairview for she knew she was needed in the home. She had 4 younger brothers Frank, 17, Martin, age 12, Thomas age 8, and David Darius age 2 1/2. Her sisters were Mary age 14 and Olive 5 years old in October. Baby Darius was taken by uncle Darius Clements to live in his home with his big family. Olive was sent to Far West, up by Ogden, to live with Uncle Thomas Clements. They had lost 5 of their children with Diphtheria so wanted little Olive, but Olive got sick and didn't want to eat, she was homesick, so was sent back to Fairview and lived with Margaret Cheney. Olive remembers how good she was to her.

The next year Nancy married Walter Cox 9 October 1876, in the Salt Lake Endowment House. They built a home of logs down in the fields one mile south of Fairview. As their family grew they added more rooms. They had eleven children. Two boys, then 3 girls, twin boys, 3 more girls and 1 more boy.

Two years after they were married in 1878, Nancy’s father with other early settlers of Fairview were called by the church to go to Arizona to take his herd of cattle and settle there to see how his cattle did. The church called it a Mission. Nancy's father at this time was called a wealthy man, as he could see so many ways to make money. He always had work for other men. He owned different farms close to town, Flat Canyon on the mountain and a big Long valley of land north of Indianola where his boys and hired men took care of hundreds of head of cattle. The cattle were herded at Flat Canyon on the mountain in the summer while the hay grew in the Indianola valley to feed his cattle in the winter. They made money from their bees. Brigham Young had bees shipped into Salt Lake for people who wanted them. Now the church thought he could raise cattle in Arizona. So he sold his Indianola land to the Lassons who still own it down through the generations of children.

John Franklin Sanders was taking his second wife Jane and all his children except Nancy who was married and the two small ones to Arizona. He asked Nancy and Walter if they would give the two little ones a home, Olive now 8 and Darius nearly 6. He gave them some field ground, Flat Canyon on the Mt, 5 milk cows, her mother’s things, trunks, dishes, furniture etc.

Nancy and Walter also took in other children who needed a home for awhile. They both loved babies and children. They always had plenty of food of some kind to feed them. Where their home was located some of the children would get sick at times. The Doctor said it was the water to close to the corrals. West of them was a nice clean spring with plenty of good water, so here they built the big three story high house with lots of bedrooms, I think seven.

When this home was finished the church folks, Sunday school, MIA, all liked to go to the Cox's farm for dinners, parties, outside corn, potato or chicken roasts. Here was many thing to do for entertainment; a pond, a raft, good swimming, ice skating in winter on a big field. Best of all was the high swing Walter had built. He built the swing by using four high pine poles, like telephone poles. They were put deep and solid into the ground. The two south poles leaned a little toward each other. A plank at the top and two or three other planks about 6 feet apart down nearly to the ground to hold the big poles in place. The two north poles were done the same way. A pole went across from the two south poles to the two north poles, this pole held a swinging frame built the shape of a canoe pointed at each end, two ropes draping down from the middle holding a board for the seat. Now to get you going high as high as the third floor window (if that is what you wanted) there was a long rope hanging from each end of the canoe shaped point. To get you swinging one man would pull and you would swing away from him then the other man would pull and you would swing away from him. A swing up on tall poles the men could soon have you up high; they could keep the swing swinging at the height one wanted to swing. This was fun and a real thrill to most of the young folks of all ages. I loved the height of the third story window.

Nancy's new home had a large kitchen on the east end with a large walk-in pantry under the stairway. The pantry had many shelves, drawers, cupboard bins for flour, sugar, bread and etc. the work counter was built low for Aunt Nancy’s height. To wash the dishes at her house you used three large dish pans, one for soap and water and two for rinsing water, to be sure the taste of lye soap was washed off the dishes. People would sure talk if dishes tasted of soap. Nancy had many nice dishes and good cooking pots and pans and dripping pans for baking her many loaves of good graham flour bread. Nancy could fix a good big meal for 500 people as easy as for a small party. At her big dinners, Nancy’s table held plenty of good food. She liked my dad (Uncle Bone) to mash the big kettle of potatoes, he could get them like she wanted: fluffy, creamy and white. She often ground her carrots in a food grinder and cooked them in a small amount of water and just before serving she poured thick cream into the carrots. Everyone liked the carrots.

Nancy's dining room was built for two long tables. Dishes would be washed and tables reset again. At one end of her dining room stood her mothers tall dish cabinet with its glass cupboard doors where we could all see Grandma Irene's beautiful dishes. A few times she let us children eat on them. One thing Aunt Nancy did was let the grownup eat first and they seemed to eat and talk forever. After while the kids were hanging allover the parents backs of chairs saying, "I'm hungry." Aunt Nancy would say, "Next time we will feed them first, so we can set and talk." But she never did that I know off.

On the north side of the dining room by the stairway stood grandma Irene's dining room side board with a mirror and two nice little round shelves each side and drawers on the bottom half where nice table cloths, napkins etc. were kept. A few years after the home was built Nancy had a wall built along the north which put the stairway into a long 5 ft wide, cold hall; now she could keep the dining room warmer.

As you went up the steps on your right was a long 8 foot shelf with a long door that lifted up, and here was a dozen or more pairs of ice skates. All winter the field on the west and near the highway was covered with good slick ice, where old and young could ice skate. At the top of the stairs a door went into Nancy and Walters’s bedroom. You turned right and opened a door to a family living room. All around the room was doors that went into bedrooms. One door on the north went into her canned fruit room, apples and other food storage. Toward evening a fire was lit in the round bellied stove. The bedroom doors were opened to get the rooms warm. The warm beds each had a feather bed and pillows, wool blankets, nice homemade quilts with wool bats.

In this family living room were many shelves of good books for all ages and many good games to set and play and many different card games. Aunt Nancy, as her mother did, ordered all the church newspaper and magazines the Liahona that gave news and stories about the missionaries. Nancy wrote to them often and sent 5O cents which meant a lot to them. At Christmas she sent a package of cookies etc.

All these upstairs floors were covered from wall to wall with nice evenly torn sewed and woven rag carpets. Nancy’s boys as well as the girls helped tear and sew the rags for all those yards and yards of carpet. Every year the carpets were taken up and fresh straw put under them. Then the girls from town came down to the farm for slumber parties and "Have a Honey Candy Pull."

The evenings were spent with the children getting their studies, helping each other when needed. The chairs were placed in a circle and mother Nancy would read to them from the scriptures or a good story from a church magazine. Before going to bed all knelt by their chairs and one of them said the evening prayer with each kneeling again before getting into bed. At the table in the morning all knelt by their chair while someone prayed. They then set up to the table and the blessing was said for the food.

Nancy's farm had ducks, geese, turkeys and chickens everywhere. At her dinners she served most often stuffed geese cooked and browned so well. She would have her sister Olive take some goose fat home to use on the boys chapped hands and lips.

Two of Nancy's boys and two of the girls went on a mission and some went after they were married with their companions.

All the children went to Logan or the BYU College, Often five in one winter. The older girl Irene was the first to go - she went to Logan and how she did enjoy learning so many things. One was how to make a good cheese, so after that the cows were taken each summer to Flat Canyon on the east mountain and cheese made from the milk. There was a good market for cheese and the money helped toward their schooling.

The first summer my mother Olive went to Flat Canyon with Irene. Olive loved the mountains in the summer time. She took her three youngest children, Burdella, Frank and Tom Lee. Burdella tended Tom Le, and Frank helped round up the cows for milking. One evening they had a hard time finding all the cows so were still milking into the black cloudy night and oh such lighting and thundering. Olive has said how happy they were for the lighting so they could see another cow to milk. They had no lantern for a light. A lamp was in their tent but no good outside.

The Cox's had many hives of bees in different places. On the west hills above Birch Creek, past the stone quarry north of Fairview, and Nancy had her own in the field a block east of her home by her garden, the fruit trees, gooseberry, current and raspberry bushes. Extra money came from the honey they sold to help with schooling. The candy company paid a reasonable price some years for the honey. Honey was put into 5 gallon square cans to sell. Most homes used 5 gallons a winter.

When washing up the extractor etc. the sweet honey water was saved and Nancy made vinegar by adding to it a chunk of Mother. It made a real good vinegar for salads. The wax cappings were melted in a flat box under a glass and set in the hot sun, then sold to the wax company. Nothing was wasted in this home or outside. Walter had his own blacksmith shop and was handy at so many things.

My mother tells how they wove many straw hats for the young children. They made their own lye for making soap. When making soap they used to gather up the cow chips to keep the fire going. In the summer they cooked outside over a camp fire of cow chips or sage brush, so the house would be cooler. When they moved to the big new house Uncle Walt would keep a slow low fire in the stove by wetting the fine coal dust, but Aunt Nancy knew how to make a good hot fire for cooking a meal when she wanted a good fire.

Aunt Nancy bought things in large quantities, not only food but other things. There were always plenty of needles and thimbles. Thread was bought by a dozen spools at a time, mostly black and white, no color like today. Plenty of good sharp scissors with each girl having her own and a silver thimble. So many girls; she gave them no excuse for not knowing how to sew or mend. Only one sewing machine but it was usually busy.

The day came when Aunt Nancy missed having a small child to help her, so mother would say, "Beatrice can go down and help you, just let us know." I guess I was eight that first year.

While Aunt Nancy worked with the bees in the hot part of the day, she would hoe her garden toward evening. She would keep me busy at little things helping, and then I would pick currents or gooseberries. Yes! They were little things and my dish or bucket filled so slowly. Sometimes I would leave one here and there, she wanted me to pick every ripe one. She kept a white cloth over the berry bushes for the birds enjoyed picking them.

Verona, her youngest daughter, age 16, liked to sleep out in the open meadow where the fox tail grass grew high. I also liked sleeping there where the air was so fresh with the meadow smells, the bed so soft, and snuggle down in the quietness and the beautiful bright sky full of stars and a slowly moving moon. I didn’t want to go to sleep but I did. Every night we moved our bed into more tall grass, as Verona didn't want her mother to find us, so we could sleep longer.

The Christmas of 1915, I would soon be 13, and Nancy's family was married or at the BYU to school. She was trying to get a package sent to each family. She had so many grandchildren so had me come down to help her with the honey cookies. She made such good "honey cookies." I have made many of them since that day.

I was surprised how many ducks and geese she had cleaned, and we did a few more that evening. Now each family’s gift lay separately along the cold north hallway with a few small toys and books, geese or ducks. The next day we mixed and baked dozens of cookies and they were so extra good and tender. They kept their shape well for packing. It is a drop cookie from a spoon, not rolled out.

There was also time for Stanley and me to ice skate. We had a good time as we both liked to ice skate. We had good bread and milk for supper then went upstairs and set around the warm stove and Dear Aunt Nancy, in her soft sweet voice, read to us. We knelt and had family prayer and went to bed, all but Aunt Nancy. She always had more things to do. I don't think she ever went to bed before 1 O'clock in her life.

Belva and Verona came home for Christmas vacation. Christmas morning Nancy took sick. It was appendicitis. One morning about 4 days later, Gerald said, "Ma, I dreamed about Aunt Nancy last night. I dreamed the hospital burned down and everyone got out but Aunt Nancy." Ma said, .Oh! My!" and went to the phone and said to Belva, "Let’s take the 11 o'clock train to Mt Pleasant and visit your mother and come back on the 2:3Opm train." They went and Nancy was so happy they came.

New Years morning 1916, after one painful week in the hospital, Nancy walked through a different garden gate, her spirit left the painful body behind. At her funeral there were many good songs sung, good speakers, so many good things said. She lived a good life as near perfect as anyone could. The church was filled to over flowing. Her life and kind deeds had been felt in every home in some way, also in neighboring towns. The meeting was 2 hours long. The day was sunny and not to cold for January. Everyone who had a wagon, buggy or a car went to the cemetery, giving rides to others. It was the largest funeral Fairview had ever had.

Oh! how we all missed her. To my mother Olive she was not only a sister but had been her and Darius's mother. Olive just kept grieving and feeling bad, then one night Olive (Pritchett) dreamed of Nancy. Nancy said, "Don't grieve so Olive, I am well and everything is good here. I am very busy. There are so many babies for me to help see to."

These words were what Olive needed, she started to feel better. But Olive's son Gerald drowned 28 June 1916 and went to be with his dear Aunt Nancy who he loved and was born on her birthday.

By her niece, Beatrice Pritchett