As told to Margaret Elaine Spendlove Pratt
by Nellie Melba Allen Spendlove and Alice Jones Allen Taylor, daughters
of William Thomas and Margaret Alice Jones
Margaret Alice Jones was
born September 13, 1878, a
daughter of Sylvester Frazer Jones and Mary Alice Melling, at Enoch,
Iron County, Utah. She was the oldest of 10 children. Her father was a
polygamist and had one other wife, Susannah Melling, sister to Mary
Alice Melling. They had 11 children, and so altogether there were 21
children of Sylvester Frazer Jones, a large family.
Margaret had an eighth grade education and was self-educated
after that. She was a voluminous reader and knew a lot about many
things. She had the post office in Summit for many years in her later
life. The postal inspectors who administered the civil service
exam said she had the equivalent of a two year general college
education in many ways. As a girl, she wove carpet to earn money
for her first sewing machine. She also worked out, helping people with
new babies and other things in the home. As the oldest of twenty one
children, she had a great responsibility to help at home with the other
Margaret was quite pretty when she was young. She had brown hair and
eyes and nice even features. William had blue eyes. He was on the
thin side, somewhere between 5'8 and 5'11. But Margaret was just under
William Thomas Allen was born May 17, 1871, a son of John Allen and
Mary Ann Barton, at Summit, Iron County, Utah. He was the seventh child
and only living boy out of twelve children, four of which died in
infancy. His mother, Mary Ann Barton, was his father's second wife, his
father being a
polygamist also. John Allen's first wife was childless. John
Allen was about fifty three years of age and Mary Ann was sixteen when they were married. John
Allen died when William was fourteen, and William had to take over the farm. The
men in town were kind, and taught him what he did not know about farming. William’s
three older sisters went out to do day work for people to help the family. They managed to
buy one pair of shoes for each child per year, and they went barefoot from April
to November. Very often their shoes wore out before the snow was gone, but they made
sometimes tying them together, as they couldn't buy new ones until fall.
William used to ride a horse from Summit to Enoch to court
Margaret. Oscar Hullet, Sr., his closest friend, came with him to court
Margaret's half sister, Susannah Jones. Wilfred Day (grandfather
of Miles Morris, who married William and Margaret's granddaughter, Mary
Taylor) and Lucius Marsden also were close friends of William. After
she was married, Margaret’ s closest friends
were Jeanette Allen Dalley and Martha Allen Dalley, sisters of William,
Susannah Jones Hullet, her half sister.
William and Margaret were married in the St. George
Temple, December 19,1900. They made the long trip to St. George by either buggy or wagon and
were accompanied by their relatives and friends, as was the custom in those
days, as the trip was a journey of several days. Margaret bent down
to get a drink of water at a stream of water and was stung by a bee on her face. Her face
was swollen on her wedding day.
After they were married, William’s mother,
Mary Ann Barton Allen, lived with them for 13 years. Shortly after Mary Ann died, Margaret's
mother, Mary Alice Melling Jones, came to live with them. She lived with them periodically
for about 10 years, staying part of the time with Margaret's sister, Leone
William and Margaret's first child, Thelma, lived only three months.
The midwife had not tied the umbilical cord tightly enough at birth,
and Thelma almost bled to death unnoticed. The baby was white and
pale and had not regained its strength when it contracted pneumonia and
died. Alice Jones Allen, their second child, was born in 1903.
Margaret then lost two children in the third month of pregnancy,
and one boy in the sixth month of pregnancy. It was felt that the first
two miscarriages were probably boy children, as the three girls were carried full
term. Their last child, Nellie Melba Allen, was born in 1913.
William and Margaret used to raise a great big garden
every year, corn, lettuce, onions, radishes, beats, peas, and carrots. In the fall, they
gathered the apples and put them in the cellar and put the root vegetables in the
root cellar. They had a large root cellar from which William sold potatoes during the winter when they were more expensive.
Margaret had a green thumb and could make anything grow
and bloom. The home was on the highway and many people stopped to admire the flowers
she raised. People often came in and Margaret gave them flowers.
Every year she gave many small plants to the people in the town because she always had
them coming up in abundance. Alice remembers as a little girl going out to pick
pansies for her mother, Margaret, to wear in her hair.
When Margaret was a young girl, the children
were bathed and put to bed on Saturday night. Then, all of their clothes had to be washed
so that they would have clean clothes for the Sabbath. They did not have a change of
clothes for Sunday.
Washing clothes was an all-day process for
many years. First the clothes were done by hand on the scrub board. They were scrubbed in two separate waters.
Then they were boiled in water that had been softened with lye, after
which they were put into a tub of clear water, rinsed, wrung out into another tub of clear
water, wrung out again and then hung on the line to dry.
Margaret finally got a hand washing machine with a corrugated board
that rubbed the clothes against the bottom of the tub. The bottom of
the tub was round and the corrugated board was shaped to fit the bottom
of the tub. A lever-type handle extended out from the corrugated board
piece which was pushed back and forth, causing the board to rub back
and forth on the clothes which were between
the board and the bottom of the tub. This was a large washing machine.
Water had to be hauled in, and it held many gallons. Even after the drain was
in the home, the soapy water could not go down the drain into the cesspool, and
the water had to be carried far away from the house to be emptied where it
would not ruin the soil. Finally power was brought into the community and Margaret
got an "Easy" washing machine run by electricity.
In the early part of their married life William freighted to Pioche,
Nevada, and this is the way he earned much of the money to build their
home. Margaret made fresh butter from a large herd of milk cows and
sold eggs. William had his wheat ground into flour at the mill, and he
supplied the hotels and cafes in
Pioche during the boom when it was a big mining town in Nevada.
Margaret and her daughter Alice used to milk the cows while he was gone
William developed a strain of field corn which was named the Will Allen
corn. It was a special variety that he developed by saving the best
each year of a strain which was especially good for the locality
because it grew
to maturity in a short season. Their daughter Nellie Melba can remember
just a few
years back hearing people advertise over the radio that they had the
Will Allen strain of seed corn to sell. William did not have any sons,
and his daughter Melba can remember going to the field with him to help
plant corn and potatoes. He raised about 75 tons of hay every year.
Melba used to drive the horse to run the derrick fork to lift the hay
into the barn.
When William first got the farm it was just a small
part he inherited from his father. He also inherited the lot for his home from his father. He
bought more ground until he had a choice strip of land right through the
center of Summit. As the water ran off the top, if there was any waste he would run it on to the
next area he owned.
When they had a lot of water he raised large crops. He used to
work from sun up until dark. Many times he had to water the fields at
night when his watering turn fell at night. He would get up in the
morning and milk the cows while Margaret got breakfast. Then he would
come in for breakfast and then go out and harness the horses and go to
do his farm work. At noon he would come in and eat and then go out and
start again. He and his brother-in-law, Phil Dalley, would start to
harvest the hay in July and would usually harvest three crops each
summer. They helped each other and took turns with their fields, as one
man could not harvest hay alone. They would no sooner get through with
one field than another would be ready to be harvested, the fields being
staggered in order that they would not all be ready to be harvested at
the same time. In the fall as soon as all the hay was up they had to
gather the corn and potatoes and squash before the frost came .
William milked about twelve cows twice a day. William fed Ben
Lawrence's cow all one winter and summer during the depression, and he
gave them potatoes and flour to help him take care of his large family
because work was so scarce. The following year the government started
testing cows for tuberculosis, and William lost his whole herd of cows.
They were large healthy cows, but
they had contracted tuberculosis. The cows were shot and the government
paid only a small amount for them. The cows had contracted the
tuberculosis from Brother Lawrence's cow which was sickly but thought
to be merely undernourished. However, when the house burned down after
William died, Ben Lawrence in turn donated his labor helping to install
the plumbing in the new house which was built for Margaret.
William used to haul firewood from the mountains, and
Melba can remember going on trips with him to get it. They used to take a lunch, and Melba
thought it was great fun. William also had a good team of horses. They were always well matched in size and looks.
One of the recreations of the town was the Relief Society parties at
which they sold ice cream to raise money for church and community
projects. William and his brother-in-law, Oscar Huellet, Sr. , and
Herbert White used to
go to the mountains and haul back ice and snow to freeze the ice cream.
William was also on the committee which raised the money and supervised
the work to get the first water system in town. The plumbers who
installed the lines, along with volunteer help, lived at the home of
William and Margaret most of the time while they worked there in Summit.
William used to sing in the choir and at other church
functions. His voice was bass and his sisters sang alto and soprano. They had nice voices
and sang together often, but William did not like to sing alone.
He was quiet and conservative and Margaret was more outgoing.
Margaret was on the Democratic Committee, and Melba
can remember going with her to the political rallies when she was a little girl. Margaret
became postmistress of the Summit post office in about 1933. It was a political
appointment. She served as the postmistress until she was 71.
During the First World War she was affiliated
with the Red Cross. She went about Iron County teaching people how to knit sweaters and socks
for the soldiers. Melba can remember going with her and knitting wash rags from cotton yarn.
Margaret taught in the Primary for several years when she was first married. After that
she served in the Relief Society presidency for a few years and then served as secretary
for about 25 years. She was also work director and banquet chairman for many
She served on the banquet committee to raise money for the new church
which was built when she was in her 60's. They catered banquets for
other towns and clubs. They also held auctions to raise money. For
years and years, Margaret and several of the older women were the
only ones that knew how to run
the loom for the rag carpets and get it threaded up. Finally Margaret
insisted on teaching some of the younger women how to thread the loom,
as she was afraid they would never learn how after the older women had
William and Margaret used to enjoy listening to the
radio after it was invented. Their favorite programs were Kate Smith
and Amos and Andy. A big event in their life was when they got
their blacktop buggy and later the Ford. The blacktop buggy had oil
cloth sides that rolled up and down. When traveling
they placed hot bricks in the buggy to keep their feet warm.
William had heart trouble the last few years of his
life and died of a heart attack, which was a blessing, as he had cancer
and would have died a painful death soon after if he had not bad the
heart attack first. He died April 13, 1941, at Summit.
Margaret suffered from terrible gallbladder attacks and
finally insisted that she be operated on. She lived six days after the operation,
but she had been so badly affected by earlier attacks, she was not able to
pull through. It was felt after the operation that she probably also suffered from
cancer. She died December 10, 1953, in the Iron County Hospital at Cedar City.
Margaret and William's first home was the one built
by John Allen, William's father. They lived in this home with William's
mother for a few years after they were married. Then they built the
home in which they lived the rest of their married life. The old home
was in the location of what was in later years
the vegetable garden, just east of the new home.
The old home consisted of one great room with lean-to' s added for
additional rooms. One lean-to
was used as a bedroom and another as a kitchen and there was possibly a
third lean-to. When the new home was built, the lean-to's were pulled
from the old home and the main room was pulled back near the barn and
used as a granary for
many years. Alice, William and Margaret's daughter, lived in the old
home as a small child. She recollects that there were two great lilac
bushes on each side of the door. She can remember as a little girl
getting wet from the lilac bushes going into the house after it had
rained. The old home and also the new home
for many years had rag carpets on the floors. These rag carpets were
made on an
old-fashioned loom. Strips of the carpeting were sewn together to make
great carpet. Every spring the carpets were taken up and fresh straw
placed under them to make them more soft. The straw also allowed dust
to sift down through. Then the carpets were swept, helping the
carpet to stay clean. The carpets were swept with a damp broom to help
to keep the dust from rising up. When the carpets were taken up every
spring the floors had to be scrubbed until they were clean. The carpets
were taken out in the yard and beat and then placed back on the floor
and tacked down on all sides.
The new home was built in 1908 for William and Margaret by Isaac Lemon
and his son. It had four rooms: kitchen and pantry, parlor, bedroom,
and the dining and living area. In the living area there was a heater,
large table, rocking chair, sewing machine, couch and easy chair and
later a radio. The parlor was used only for special company occasions.
The best furniture was there.
There was a piano, some straight back chairs, an old phonograph, a
three-dimensional viewer on a small table and an overstuffed
couch and chair.
For some years there was only one bedroom, but finally the parlor also was used as a bedroom.
The pantry part of the kitchen was eventually converted to a bathroom.
Margaret had rag carpets on all of the floors, except for the kitchen and pantry.
The house had four gables, one on each side, that came together in the center
of the house. The shape of the house was that of a large cross. Two rooms met
the center and the other two rooms extended out from the sides. There
were two good sized porches in two of the corners of the cross, and
room for two porches on the other sides which were never added. The one
back porch was finally turned into a post office when Margaret was
appointed postmistress in Summit. The house had a large window in the front of the
parlor and a large window on the east in the dining and living area.
Each of the large windows had one small window on each side of it. The
home had four outside doors. With the doors open it was always cool in
the summer, never getting hot as some of the homes do now. The home was
intended to have an upstairs which was never completed. Margaret and
William would probably have finished it if they had had a larger
The family remembers the home as being one of the nicer homes in
Summit, although there were quite a number of nice old homes in the
town. This home burned almost to the foundation in July of 1942, about
a year after William died. A new home was built on the foundation of
the older home, many of the towns people contributing their labor and
other ways .
Margaret lived there in the new home until her death in 1953. After that
the home was rented and finally sold. William also built his barn in 1912.
It was a very large barn.
The daughters of William and Margaret remember and appreciate the good
teachings they received in their home which have benefited them in
their lives. William and Margaret were very industrious and thrifty.
They always paid for things as they bought them, believing in staying
out of debt. They
civic minded and participated in community and church activities.