Susan Cox Wilson

Susan Cox Autobiography
compiled in 1959 and revised in 1962
  1. Beginnings
  2. School
  3. Wedding bells
  4. Church and Community

In Orderville, near the clay hills on the west of the old Order Dining Hall, came I into the world. 1886 was the year, and bright Sardynx August was the month, Sunday the day. “And the child that’s born on the Sabbath day is blithe and bonny and good and gay.”

They named me Susan but mostly I am called Susie. Susan means a lily. My mother’s name, Susan, was a lily to me and it seemed significant when I learned of the character of Susan B. Anthony and others of that name.

Sister Bowers was the doctor; the main one in all Long Valley, although my grandmother, and Priddy Meeks’ wife and others did some mid-wifery. My mother told me I came near death’s door at weaning time.

Orderville was settled by those who wished to follow the council of President Brigham Young to live in the United Order which was lived successfully for about 11 years. They decided to first build a dining and recreation hall, preparing their food and eating together until they could get ahead. As soon as possible they ate in their own homes, where they had normal family life.

I came through sturdy ancestors of pioneer and revolutionary stock. Before that my forbearers lived in Britain, and some in Germany.

There were three brothers: William, Charles Robert, and Edward, and one sister, Eunice, older than myself. My father was Delaun Mills Cox, born on the 24th of March, 1850. He was the first white male born in Manti. He was liked by everyone. He was cheerful and always looking on the bright side of life, and he tried to be fair with his fellow men. He was an active ward teacher in the Church most of his life and led the choir for several years. He worked at several industries: blacksmithing, carpentering, broom-making, tending bees and farming. His works live after him both spiritually and temporally. At a reunion of his family in 1931, the stage was filled with the things he had made; chairs, cupboards, tables, tubs, washboards, etc.

He helped settle several places, then wended his way back to Manti where he died at the age of 83, on 24 Apr 1932. A complete history of his life was compiled by myself and three sister, Elvira Blackburn, Charlotte and Margret Heaton, as he dictated it, and is had by each of his children, seventeen at the time.

He was married first to Charlotte Kesley, 19 Jun 1871. In Orderville, most of the families lived the Celestial law of plural marriage. He married my mother, Susan Brown 8 Aug 1877, in the St. George temple the year it was dedicated.

The law of polygamy was revoked by the United States government and sanctioned by President Wilford Woodruff through prophetical direction from the Lord. But they were allowed to support and care for the plural wives they already had.

My grandmother Brown helped supervise the cooking in the order when it was her turn to do so. And my mother helped wait on tables. Father sometimes commented on how mother and some of the other girls used to go to the river and gather red roses to decorate the tables.

My mother was Susan Brown, born in St. George on 18 April 1862. Her families came from Indiana and Kentucky of the honest and fair-minded type. Her father was Robert H. Brown and her mother was Eunice Pectol. They were called by President Brigham Young to help settle Southern Utah to try raising cotton. They also lived in Rockville, Mt. Carmel, and Orderville. Grandfather took up some land in Long Valley and were some of the first settlers there. The graveyard plot in Orderville was part of his homestead, donated for that purpose. He was a member of the Board in the Order. That’s what drew the attention of a young man, Delaun Mills Cox, toward her. They were married 8 August 1877.

She had five boys and four girls. We children liked to hear her read the stories in the Juvenile Instructor. She had a good voice and good enunciation and was a good singer. Her reader book in school was the Bible.

Through her mild nature she would say: “Suffer wrong rather than do wrong.” Other of her maxims were: “Shun even the appearance of evil”, “duty before pleasure”, “A soft answer turneth away wrath,” “Cleanliness is next to Godliness,”, “order is the first law of heaven”, and “Obedience is the first law of order.”

Her days were ended at Manti and she was buried in the Manti beautiful cemetery beside my father.

After coming back from Fairview, we lived at Moccasin a couple of years where my brother Amasa was born. It was at Grandmother Brown’s home on my 6th birthday that our first family picture was taken.

We went to Fredonia where I went to school for 6 weeks then lived at Cottonwood the rest of the winter. Again we lived at grandmother’s while the carpenter shop, which was about 2 blocks west of the center of town, was being fixed up for living conditions.

My childhood days were happy. The fun we had by the flume, with sister Delta, Chastie Lossee, Ethel Porter, and I with icicle castles in winter and fancy block from the turning lather in the summer. Sister Amy was born here, in Orderville. Our new house was built on the west edge of town, a block farther west at the foot of the hills, by the present lughwat (sic). The garden, poplar trees, weeping willow trees, lilacs and roses are fond memories, yes and early Mayflower peaches. My grandmother Brown had the best garden in town. Every summer there was corn, melons, carrots, lettuce, beets, onions, cabbage, plums, peaches, apples, and currants. She always had good milk, butter, and cottage cheese. She could afford to buy rice and sugar, and when cooked we would have cream on it.

My father raised bees so we had plenty of honey. My brothers, Will, Charles, and Edward helped run the farm. They raised wheat, corn, squash, carrots, and potatoes. Sometimes Pa paid us girls to help get the weeds out. They ground the ripe corn and wheat in a mill run by the stream of water. Corn nubbins and bad corn was fed to pigs and chickens. They raised some alfalfa but cows ate mostly fodder. We had milk and eggs but most of the eggs had to be sold the what little bit of store pay or cash we could get to buy buttons, thread, and a little cloth. Pork was used for fat.

We tried to have something a little extra on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Maybe a little cake or pie. Sometimes in summer we ate out of doors under the trees. We would sometimes go on Easter walks with cousins and playmates. Then we could have all the eggs we wanted by saving up beforehand.

At the table, grace was always said with thanks before each meal. Before supper we would read a chapter from the scripture and sing a hymn. We were taught that singing helps to keep one’s health good. Deep breathing of clean, fresh air was a necessary as tasty food. Sometimes we would eat too much or the wrong kinds of food and then we would get sick. Sometimes we did not drink enough water to help our bodies function properly. Now, they teach us to eat lots of fruit and vegetables besides milk, cereal, bread and butter, meat, and eggs.

I went to primary and Sunday School in the old Dining Hall, with curtains between classes. Then I went in the newly built school house until the new church house was built about 1900. It now stands (1959) remodeled in the center of town on the highway.

The primary always celebrated May Day by choosing a queen and about 14 maids. Jennie Carroll was the queen when I was a maid. All of us dressed in white and we braided the maypole. Two girls crowned the queen with a wreath of flowers as we sang:

“Flora sends her rick car (queen walks down the center of the group)
“Fairies deep homage now pay. (maids pay homage and crown queen)
“All fair nymphs from afar (boys from the woods)
“Bow to the queen of the May” (bow)
I was baptized by my father in a creek branching from the Virgin River, a block south of where the church house was to be built. I was confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in fast meeting which was at that time held on Thursday.

The Sunday School class I was in about the age of eleven to fourteen was very outstanding. Ellen Norwood Heaton and my half sisters, Abbie and Maggie Cox were my teachers. We would go and sing to the homebound. An old Swedish couple, Brother and Sister Heziker enjoyed this with enthusiasm. The Sunday School Superintendent, Edward Carroll visited our class quite often because he thought they seemed so sincere. We often had testimony bearing. Our Sunday School class went horseback riding one summer to the Barracks where Clear Creek flows between perpendicular ledges.

One Sunday I fasted all day to get a testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith. That evening, in M.I.A. testimony class, I bore a truthful testimony of the divinity of his mission and have never doubted it since. It left a sweet spiritual influence with me. Three of my brothers went on missions. Leonard went to the southern states, Charles Robert to the Central states mission and years later, about 1922, Orville went to the South African mission sailing around the world going and coming. I was always glad when Sunday came so I could wear my best dress.

My sister Abbie worked in the woolen factory and furnished us with quite a few clothes. We were so poor when I was about fourteen, I hadn’t a dress good enough to go to church. Clara Esplin found it out and her sister Diantha bought the cloth and made me one. Clara and I graduated from the eighth grade the same year.

Our family raised silk worms for two years and we each had a handkerchief made from our own silk work skins. I was almost selfish enough to wish I could have a silk dress for graduation in 1904. Of course, the dress I wore was only a plain white cotton with a little lace on it. In the summer time we could sometimes have white or flowered dresses. It was costly to get colors in cloth unless we colored it ourselves. The earth was dressed in beautiful colors so we liked to pick flowers to pin in our hair or on our dress, or hold in our hands.

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