Annie Ison Danks, wife of Mark Hopwood Bleazard

May 22, 2009

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"It is my understanding that a box of letters written to and by Annie Bleazard and her family (in Passiac, NJ and elsewhere) was in an shop, possibly an antique shop, in downtown Salt Lake City several years ago. Annie's Nursing Certificate was also in the box.  If anyone can find the letters and/or certificate for me, it would be so wonderful to have them uploaded onto Annie's page for all of us to read? If you know where they are, please share with me."
joan bleazard thomas

by her daughter,
Bertha Bleazard Miles


 Annie Ison Danks, was born 9 September 9, 1859 at Nuneaton, Warwickshire England.  Her parents are William and Rhoda Ison Danks.  She was the youngest child in a family of nine children. Seven children, foir boys and three girls grew to be adults.  one boy an one girl died as infants.


The oldest child of William and Rhoda Ison Danks was Sarah and she was 19 years old when she birthed a little girl named Jennie.  At about the same time Rhoda gave birth to her youngest child, Annie.  William and Rhoda raised their granddaughter, Jennie, along with Annie – almost as if they were sisters. Jennie was a pretty child with peaches and cream complexion and beautiful golden hair, and Annie’s complexion was dark. 


William and Rhoda were middle class English and they worked on the estate of the nobles.  William was a veterinarian and Rhoda was a homemaker.


About the time Annie was born, her mother’s (Rhoda)  brother Charley Ison was sent to America to bring a bunch of blooded sheep.  Annie’s oldest brother, Sam, who was a young man 17 or 18 years old came with him to help with the sheep. Sarah came to America about that time also.  They were able to get work around New York and made a home there.


It was some time before William and Rhoda came to America and brought their three youngest children. At the time they came to America, Annie was 4 years old, Charley was 6 years old and Joe was 10 years old.  Lizzie was 20 years old and ready to be married, so she stayed in England and married Joseph Mathews and raised a family of 13 in Fillingley.  Will, the second son, had been bound out to a brick layer in another part of England (“Bound out”, as I understand it, meant the brick layer took him as s boy and taught him the trade, then he was bound to stay and work to pay for the training). Will stayed all his life in England.  Annie knew very little about those older brothers and sister.  She really had to get acquainted with her sister, Sarah, and brother, Sam, after she came to America.


Annie was 4 years old when her father and mother were ready to come to America.  Her father, William Danks, couldn’t write and Annie used to tell her children how they would put her up on a high stool so she could sign the necessary papers for their passage.  Her mother, Rhoda, couldn’t write either, but somehow Annie was taught to write at the age of four.  Bertha said, "My grandma, Rhoda, also taught me how to write when I stayed with her in Salt Lake.  She wanted me to write to my mother, Annie, who was in Peoa.  They were sorry letters, but my mother used to say how glad she would be to get them.  Rhoda would show us the letters in the Bible and help us make them.  She called these letters pot-hooks."


By the time William and Rhoda got to New York, Charley Ison had gotten a job as foreman on a railroad building job.  Charley had a crew of men and the work was all horse and man power, and William got work at once caring for the horses.


Rhoda set up a boarding house where she fed some of the workers.  From then on until she came to Utah she usually had some men who took their meals with her.  She was a wonderful English cook.  She used to tell us what a hard time she had getting used to some new American food, like corn, tomatoes and squash.  Her brother, Sam, brought her some corn-on-the-cob, and she asked him how she should cook it. He told her to boil it, and she boiled it all day and still couldn't get a fork in it


Annie and Jennie helped in the boarding house when they were young, and Annie also became a good seamstress. They made all their clothes.  Rhoda did not have a sewing machine until Annie was old enough to use one and before that, all of Rhoda’s sewing was done by hand.  They also used to take some work home from the nearby factories and would work on it in the evenings.  Beading was very fashionable at that time and they would talk about doing beading.  Annie also worked a short time for the Prudential Insurance Co. when it first started.  Bertha said that it may hve been the only work she did outside her home before she came to Utah.


It wasn’t long after they came to the United States that they got a lot along the route of the railroad, in Passaic, New Jersey.  Bertha mentioned that, " was a very unlevel piece of ground and they used to tell how William worked to fill and level and make soil for his garden.  They built a two story frame house and planted every foot of ground and had a very comfortable home.  Sam eventually got the home. After William Danks died, Sam bought Charley’s interest in the home, and Sam’s family lived there.  Sam’s daughter, Rhoda, never married and she kept a home there for her two brothers.  After the youngest brother married, Rhoda built a smaller house in the “gardin” and the other brother, Joe, took over the old home.  When Joe died, he had only one living son named Joey.  Joey was killed in the Battle of Normandy in World War II.  After Joe’s death his wife remarried and her name was Mamie Chesick and she lived in the old home.


Bertha said, "My grandmother’s, Rhoda, family was home and family' loving people. Their whole life seemed to be  family and  work.  All of the children were good singers and they would sing together a lot.  As long as Annie could sing at all, she sang some of those songs, and just to hear them would bring tender memories of her home and brothers.  After Annie got a radio, I remember tears in her eyes when she heard “Little Annie Lunny”.  She would say:  “Oh, Sam’s song!”


Sam was Annie’s oldest brother and he was a kind, gentle fellow who made a great fuss over his baby sister --- as they all did.  Annie used to say that they wouldn’t let the wind blow on her if they could help it.


Annie’s brother, Joe, was younger and they used to say he was such a “gay lad”. Joe would sing and cut up around the house until his father, William, would get tired of it and then he would go out on the “stoop” and sing under the stars.  His mother, Rhoda, would always say, “Oh, let them be gay, the dull ox will step on them soon enough.”


Annie and her youngest brother, Charley, were close in age.  There is a picture of them taken together when they were 15 or 16 years old.  She used to tell of them going boating together at Coney Island and about the time that she sat on her crochet hook and it got stuck in her leg.  Charley was opposed to Mormonism and very much against any of them coming to Utah.  In fact they never heard from him after they came to Utah.  Charley lived with his father, William, after his sister, Annie, and his mother, Rhoda, left New Jersey with a company of Saints and came to Utah.  When he died, William left most of everything he had to Charley.


William became known for his work with horses and he got a job caring for the stables of one of the rich men of the city.  Rhoda used to tell how he loved horses and took so much pride in then.  William always wore white coats and the horses were never groomed until he could rub them with his sleeve and see no dirt.  A rich man had a young son who was a ‘sport’ at the time. and he was allowed to ride and drive some of the horses.  He had one really fine stallion that was his special pride, and the boy would come with gifts and coax William to let him take the stallion.  The boy would say, “Now Uncle” (everyone called my grandpa Uncle Billy).  Sometimes “Uncle Billy” would let the boy take the horse and he would bring him back late all sweaty and hard done by. Then William would have to work overtime to get the horse in shape so the rich man wouldn’t know he had been out.  In New Jersey, the family had a comfortable home and living.


After William and Rhoda Ison Danks got their home built, William decided he would go back to England.  He thought he didn’t like it here and he may have been homesick. While he was in England his wife, Rhoda, and his daughter, Annie, were going to the Mormon Church and doing a lot of things while he was away. Before they got them done, William came back to America.  William said: " the darned country wasn’t like it used to be. It rained all the time.”  They always laughed at him about that.  They said he looked so “pussy” when he arrived home and they couldn’t believe the change.  When he began to take off his things they found he had a bolt of fine English Cashmere, wrapped around and around his body.  It was a beautiful plum color and it was for his daughter, Annie.  She had a dress made of it when she came to Utah.  She put the rest of the cashmere in her trunk and would get it out and make her something new when she had to sing or take part in meetings after Bertha was old enough to help her sew.


William brought Rhoda a set of English china also, and Bertha had quite a few pieces of it.  They only used it for very special occasions.and not for common usage.mQuite a few pieces of it got broken when Annie Belle pulled the cupboard over.  She was just little and tried going up the shelves like a ladder to get something she wanted and it fell over on its face.


 Rhoda Ison  had heard the Gospel in England and believed it, and she was baptized on 24 April 1843.  She had been a Mormon for eleven years when Annie was born.  William always was opposed to the religion and wouldn’t allow Rhoda to go to Church or to do anything about it if he knew, nor was she to teach it to the children.  Rhoda somehow taught it to her daughter, Annie.


Two of Rhoda’s sisters belonged to the Church and had come to America before William, Rhoda and Annie came.  One sister, Mary Ison Worthington, came and brought her four children, three boys and a girl, leaving her husband in England. Mary came to Utah in a handcart company and became the 9th wife of  John Hopwood Bleazard.


Rhoda's two brothers, Charley and Tom Ison, and her younger sister, Hannah Flowers, lived around New York, sometimes in Newark, Patterson and Yonkers.  The sisters visited often and iduring the visits Rhoda was able to contact the missionaries and the church.  The brothers never joined the church.


Bertha said: " I think my mother, Annie, was always a Mormon at heart, but her father, William, would not allow her to be baptized until she was of age.  On the 25 January 1878 a hole was cut through the ice on the Hudson River and Annie was baptized and became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She was baptized by John Loftis, who was the son-in-law of Rhoda’s younger sister, Hannah Flowers."


Rhoda and Annie were planning to come to Utah and were putting aside money as they could for that purpose.


Hannah Flowers was the youngest of the three Ison sisters (Mary, Rhoda and Hannah) and Hannah visited Rhoda often when they lived around New Jersey.  Hannah was a gentle, sweet soul and Annie loved her dearly.  Annie used to say that Hannah’s visits were some of the happiest times of her childhood.  Once when she came to visit Annie asked her when she was going home as soon as she got there.  After that everyone would tease Annie about trying to send her dearest Aunt home as soon as she arrived!


Hannah came to Utah and somehow got in with the Heber C. Kimball family.  Some of the sons had a ranch on the Bear River and lived there. They raised cattle and horses and worked in the timber.  They lived with Hannah, or she lived there with them.  Hannah later had a home in Meadowville and that is where she died.  At one time Hannah had a long sickness and Rhoda went from Peoa up there to help her out.  Rhoda was there when, when her daughter, Annie, birthed Rose Irene on 5 April 1892.  Bertha rememberd: "As I remember, Grandma Rhoda, started back to Peoa because Annie needed her but she didn’t get home in time, and then she didn’t get back to Meadowville before her sister, Hannah, died.  Hannah’s two grandchildren, Will and Lizzie Loftus, used to visit Annie and Rhoda often in Salt Lake City.  Will died in Ogden, Utah in 1957 where he left a large family."


Rhoda's sister, Mary Ison Worthington, became the  9th wife of John Hopwood Bleazard and they lived in John’s home in the 14th Ward in Salt Lake City.  Mary married JHB about 1867 and they lived together for about four years.. John Bleazard died in 1871.  Mary always said the four years she was married to him were the happiest of her life.  Annie had corresponded with her Aunt Mary when she and Rhoda lived in New Jersey, and Mary had encouraged Rhoda and Annie to come to Utah, and she had made plans for what they would do when they got here.  John and Mary’s 14th Ward home was on the south side of First South just west of Main Street.


A company of Saints and missionaries were to leave New Jersey for Utah in the fall of 1879 and Annie and her mother, Rhoda, arranged to come with them. Bertha said, "...I don’t think that Grandpa William thought they would come alone, and he had no intention of coming.  He knew that Grandma Rhoda had no means of support to live on and she was past the age of much work. However, about the middle of September 1879 Rhoda  left New Jersey.  Rhoda went to Chicago where her brother, Joe, met her and took her to his place in Edgewood, Illinois, where she visited for six weeks.  Then Rhoda met the Company that her daughter,  Annie, was with in Chicago and they came on to Utah.  There were no goodbyes as far as I know.  When Grandpa William got home from work, Grandma Rhoda was gone."


Bertha writes: "It was different for my mother, Annie.  In her late years I heard her cry as if her heart was still broken for her poor old Dad.  She remembered how her Dad, William, began to know Rhoda was serious about going to Utah, and he tried in every way to persuade Annie to give up the idea and to stay with him. He even tried to buy her.  William got out his money which he kept in rolls and offered her all of it if she would stay.  She thought it was a large amount of money. He wanted her to stay, and he didn’t want a dollar to be used in Utah.  Annie was torn between the love of her Dad and the security of the good home in New Jersey, and her love of her mother, Rhoda, and her faith in the Gospel.  It was a hard decision.  She said “The Spirit of Gathering” had taken hold of her and nothing could stop her and that she would come to Utah even if she had to walk.


I think that none of us have ever realized the sacrifice she made.  The great change that came into her life, her sorrow and longing for home and family, the poverty and hard work – all that we might be born in the Church and established among the Saints.  Do we appreciate it enough?"


Rhoda and Annie arrived in Salt Lake City on 4 November 1879 and they went to Mary Ison Worthington and John Hopwood Bleazard’s home in the 14th Ward and on First South.  They stayed there for some time while they got acquainted with the new land and found a place to live.


Mary Ison Bleazard had it all planned as to how they would live before they came to Utah.  She knew a man named George Crammer who had been a friend in England.  George lived in Tooele and for that time, had a good ranch and home. It was arranged that Crammer whould have Annie for a young wife. Annie's mother, Rhoda, would be able to stay with them.  Shortly after they got to Salt Lake City, George came in with a good team and wagon and invited them to go to his place to spend the holidays, either a  Thanksgiving or Christmas.  Annie had never been on a ranch or in the country and she was thrilled at the prospect.  There was a big family and the neighbors joined in and they had a wonderful time.  They hadn’t been there long, however, before Annie learned of the plan and she was indignant and would have nothing to do with it.  She said there was one son who had shown her such a good time and who she liked and that she might have been interested in, but she certainly wasn’t interested in  his Dad.


When they got back to Salt Lake City, Mary was awfully put out that Annie wouldn’t do as she said.  She said, “You would have been so well provided for as George would have taken Rhoda too.  Then Rhoda could tend the babies and darn the socks.”  This made Annie mad.  Anyway, Mary let them know that their welcome was over and they were out on their own.  They soon got a couple of rooms and set up housekeeping for themselves.


The first home in Salt Lake that Rhoda and Annie lived in was two rooms that stood right where the Covey Apartments are now.  Annie was a good sewer and she got work in a dress making ship that stood on the spot where the Post Office now stands.  Annie earned $3.50 a week.  Rhoda got a bit of furniture wherever she could and they got along.  They used to laugh about how Rhoda would bargain with the second hand men to get what she needed for what she could pay.  One man had a big feather bed that Rhoda wanted but couldn’t pay the price. After a lot of friendly talk he told her she could have it at her price if she could tote it home.  She gathered it up in her arms and took it home (I still have it). Rhoda’s friend used to say, “Just give Rhode four walls and she will soon make it into a home.”


Rhoda and her daughter, Annie, brought quite a lot of good clothes with them when they came to Utah. They were well dressed and people thought they were well off and needed no help. They got along until the heat of the summer.  Annie was always bothered with “summer complaint” and she got a real bad spell of it.  She still kept on going to work until she got so weak and bad off that she passed out in an outdoor toilet. They had to get help to get her out and to bed, and she was off work a long time.  Their money was gone and they got down so bad that they didn’t have anything to eat.  The neighbors came to visit and learned of their condition and began to help.


Annie had a very good voice and wanted to be trained but her father, William, thought a girl didn’t need any special training or any higher education because they would only get married and make no special use of it.  Soon after Annie came to Utah she joined Evan Steppens singing class.  She got some training and a lot of pleasure from it.


They became acquainted with an elderly English man named Brother Price, who had a son named Herbert.  Herbert was married and had three children.  They had all lived together but the son and his wife had trouble and she had taken the children and gone home to her folks.  The men needed a house keeper so they hired Rhoda and she and Annie had a home.  They had a good home and were very comfortable.  They lived on 200 North and 200 West.  Annie always said that “Pa” Price was one of the kindest men she ever knew and that she hoped they were in the same heaven.


The old mule cars ran along 200 West but Annie couldn’t afford the five cent car fare, so she walked that nine or ten blocks to the dressmaking shop. There were no snow plows then and she was often wet and cold when she got home.  Brother Price always saw to it that the house was warm and that there was warm food when she got home. Then he would have her lie down on a cot by the fire and he would cover her up with his toat (a fur-lined cape).


Rhoda and Annie stayed at the Price home until Herbert and his wife fixed up their troubles and she came back to him.  They were no longer needed.  Brother Price had a lot and a small house up on 100 West and 300 North that they called the Spring lot.  Annie and Rhoda moved up there and that is where they were living when Annie married Mark Hopwood Bleazard.

Bertha tells this story about Brother Price: "The Price’s and two of their sons had joined the Church in England and came to Utah early, crossing the plains by wagon. They got mountain fever as they traveled and the mother died.  One son was very sick when they got to Salt Lake. They pulled their wagon on the lot that became their home.  It faced on 200 North.  The lot joining them facing 200 West had settlers who had been there for some time.  As it got dark, the son got worse and they felt that he was dying, but had no light of any kind so could not see how things were.  The neighbor came and brought a candle and was there when the boy died.  The neighbor proved to be a cranky old woman, who could spit in your eye from clear across the room – and did!   Brother Price always forgave her everything because 'she came with a candle'.


Rhoda and Annie eventually left the Price home. Sister Polly Phelps, who had been with the church in Nauvoo, was a blind lady. The church took care of her and they paid Rhoda to take her in and take care of her.  This helped them to be independent.


Mary Ison Bleazard’s place, and also the Covey Place, was in the 14th Ward so that was the first ward Rhoda and Annie lived in.  Many of the early Church leaders also lived in this ward.  Annie made friends easily and was soon acquainted with everyone in the ward and enjoying herself greatly. She used to say she thought it was the finest group of young people that ever got together, and she was friends with all.  There were the Taylors, Richards, Cowley, Thomas, Bennett, and there were many men not only young but old who were looking for wives.  Annie had several chances to practice polygamy but she seemed to have decided on one man, Mark Hopwood Bleazard.


It is likely that when Rhoda and Annie were staying at the home of Mary Ison and John Hopwood Bleazard that Annie became acquainted with John’s son, Mark.  Mark Hopwood and his brothers Orson and Caleb and his sister Lucy (all just kids) were living at the home on 500 South and West Templ.e. This was the location of their mother’s home. Their mother was Lydia Davis, the 7th wife of John Hopwood Bleazard. The children were living in the home after their mother, Lydia Davis, died on 3 Novenber 1878. Lydia had been dead a year and a day when Annie arrived in Utah.  Lydia and John’s children worked all they could to support themselves but they had to go to Mary, John’s 9th wife, for anything they couldn’t earn and that they needed to survive.  Mary Ison Bleazard, the 9th wife, was handling everything that John Bleazard left.  Bertha wrote: "One of the granddaughters told me and my sister, Rose Irene,  a few years ago, how they used to laugh at Mark Hopwood when he would come up to Mary's home and beg for a loaf of bread."   


Annie never told us anything about their courtship but there are some letters in Annie’s keepsakes that Mark wrote to her when he was out with a railroad crew early in 1880.  Annie and Mark must have been interested in one another from the time Annie arrived in Utah.


Annie Danks and Mark Hopwood Bleazard were married in the Endowment House by Daniel H. Wells on 11 May 1882.  They walked to the Temple Block and back home. One of their friends told us that they made a funny looking couple.  Annie had a stylish silk dress, and Mark had on an old coat and trousers that were too small for him.  Annie said they had about $10 between them.  Mark took his few possessions from his mother’s home to the Spring Lot in the “little trunk”.


Mark was a carpenter and there was quite a bit of work around, but there was no money.  He worked for $1.50 a day and he worked wherever he could get work and took as pay whatever people had: food, furniture, a cow, a buggy and harness, etc.  Things they didn’t need he traded for things they could use.


Mark went over to build for Lamberts, an old 7th Ward family, and here he got the buggy and harness.  Mark had no horse so he traded the buggy and harness for a bedroom set, the one that the marble top dresser belonged to.  Annie said she was as happy as a queen when they got that. 


Before John William (Will), was born on 3 March 1883, Mark and Annie moved from 300 North down to the Lydia Davis Bleazard home on 5th South and West Temple.  Mark’s sister, Lucy, had married and his brothers Caleb and Orson came and went as they pleased.  Mark tried to keep this home for all of them,


About the time that Will was born, Annie had a very bad time.  Her mother, Rhoda, and the neighbors took care of her and the baby.  Will was big enough to talk and know them before Annie was able to take care of him. 


Lydia was born at the old home on 5th South West Temple on 8 February 1885.  Annie and Mark took a trip to Idaho somewhere near this time to visit Mark’s Uncles, George and Billy Davis.  They lived around Saint Anthony, Idaho.  Both had big families and most of them were living close around.  I think they were all farmers.  They didn’t have big houses but they took Mark and Annie in and showed them the best time possible. They all took a holiday and would cook up a lot of food and go from one home to another, spend the day and celebrate the best they could.  Mark’s Grandma Davis (Lucy) was living with Billy and that was when Annie got acquainted with her, also she became acquainted with Mark’s Uncles and Aunts and Cousins.  She always felt that it was one of the best times of their lives.


About this time Mark went to Cottonwood to build a house for John Fowlks.  The older Fowlks were friends and neighbors of Rhoda’s in England.  Mark got quite a lot of other work out there and there was no work to be had in Salt Lake City.  No one seemed to hire all their work done – only what they could not do themselves,  Mark went all over Cottonwood hanging doors, putting in windows, cutting rafters, etc.  When he couldn’t get building to do he could usually get something else – farming, paper mill work, ditch digging and such.


It was impossible for Mark to get back home often and he got a chance to get a piece of ground with a house on it to farm, on shares  The ground belonged to Fred Fowlks and was south of Butlerville Hill and East of the Highway. They moved sometime between the time Lydia Sarah was born on 8 February 1885 and 14 April, 1886. It was on 14 April 1886, when they lived in the Cottonwood/Butlerville, that Annie birthed twin girls, named Jennie and Rhoda. They died a few hours after birth.


Nine months after the birth of the twins, on 22 January 1887,  Bertha May was born in Cottonwood.  This was a hard time for Annie because the baby was two months early. Grandma and Grandpa Fowlks were the doctors and they had a hard time saving the mother and child.  They were the ones who gave the baby her name, Bertha.


Annie had never been on a farm and she was scared to death of horses and cattle.  They couldn’t go to Church or visit with neighbors or go anywhere without horses.  Rhoda knew more about them and tried to help and to teach Annie to tend the animals, make garden, butter, raise chickens and ducks, etc.  It was a big job for her, especially with so many babies. George was born in Cottonwood on 26 March 1888.


While in Butlerville they got hold of ten acres of land up on the hill near the church.  Here they hoped to build a home but there came a drought.  Nothing was raised and work was very hard to get.


Mark’s brother, Caleb, had gone to Peoa, Utah and he and Herb Best were attempting to buy the old home place. Best wanted to get out of it and Caleb couldn’t handle it alone so he persuaded Mark to come out and look at it with the thought of going in with him.  They went out in the summer of 1889 just when everything was at its best.  There were streams of running water everywhere and all the fields were green; such a contrast to the drought they had left.  They were so impressed they decided to buy Best’s interest and go into a partnership.


On 19 October 1889 Mark and Annie moved to Peoa.  Before they got to Peoa it started to rain, and it rained for six weeks!  On the place there was only the “old house” – a large one-room log house, and two low stables with straw roofs.  The house roof did not leak and the room was the only dry place. They had to stack everything in that room.  There were four adults (Mark, Annie, Rhoda and Caleb) and four kids (Will, Lydia, Bertha and George) in the one room.  They had brought seed grain for planting, and it was in the room under a bed.


Annie was six months pregnant with Gerald S. (Dale), and she always said it was such a terrible time that she almost hated Peoa and all it stood for, before the weather cleared so they could get out of the house.


Before Dale was born, Annie got down so sick and discouraged that they all feared she wasn’t going to be able to live through it.  There were no doctors, but the neighbors found out how bad she was and came to help.  Bishop Stephen Walker and his wife, Lydia Marchant Walker (who was the Relief Society President) came to help and they did all they could.  Bishop Walker got right after Caleb and made him move his bed out into one of the sheds.  Caleb would not move to the shed when Mark asked him to move and I guess it made trouble between them.  The smelly grain was also moved to a shed and that gave a little more room and it took some of the smell out of the house.  Then life was a little better. Annie was always grateful for the help of Bishop and Mrs. Walker and hr other neighbors.


Mark was never idle and as fast as he could he was getting logs, mostly Cottonwood, off the home place to build more rooms.  He got out rock from the quarry hill for a foundation and began building two more rooms in the summer of 1890.  It was a real struggle to build having no money and trying to make a farm and put in a crop.  Mark got the logs laid and a floor and roof on and they moved in.  The plastering was done after they moved into the cabin. Sometime later Mark added the low room for a kitchen, and later still the shed and the “bowery” which was a temporary porch.  Mark always had in mind to build a good rock house and for years he spent all his spare time getting out rock, but his health failed before he got it done.


Mark started to farm with very poor machinery and poor harnesses and small horses. He was always fixing wagons, harnesses and machinery.  He got along with any old stuff he could get while he was paying for his land.  It was years before he could get any new things.


Fences were always a problem.  The place had no fence and it had stood vacant and with everybody using it for a calf pasture and they made no attempt to keep their cattle off the Bleazard place.


The Sulfur Spring was just below the house and all the range cattle would come in to get salt or some mineral they liked. The curve of the quarry hill, where the old corral and the Peoa Cemetery are, made the best shelter from the winds and storms for the cattle and they would gather there in great numbers.  They would bed-fight and tramp over the graves.  The graveyard was right across from our house and this worried Rhoda and Annie until they couldn’t stand it.


Mark started to talking with the town people about fencing the graveyard, and after some time  a good picket fence was placed around it.  From then on as long as we lived in Peoa it was a job to keep the fence in repair.  Mark and/or one or more of his sons were always putting on a picket or two to keep the cattle and sheep out.


They soon found that the home place just wasn’t big enough.  They needed rangeland to run the cattle, so they began to buy land, and they were always struggling to pay for land. There was very little raised on the farm in those early days that could be sold.  The grain froze more years than not.  It took most of the hay to feed the cattle.  They were trying to build up their herd so they could live on the profits.  They always milked a few cows and Annie always made "the best" butter. The butter had to pay the store bill and butter was often 12 ½ to 15 cents a pound.  After their oldest son, Will, went to Park City to work, Annie got a contract to furnish butter for Mrs. Lowe who ran the boarding house where Will stayed for 25 cents a pound for the whole year round.  Eggs had to be saved to take to the store to pay for necessary items.


At one time a fine steer was ready for sale. They got $30 for it and it ws a big help when it came time to pay taxes.


Annie met some of the people who later became the Church leaders and singers.  She made very good use of her ability to sing both in Butlerville and in Peoa.  Annie always was on the programs at Christmas, 4th of July, 24th of July and all celebrations. She would sing Mistletoe Bow; The Bird in the Wildwood; or Columbia the Gem of the Ocean.  For years she was the onlyperson in Church singing alto and her voice always carried others along in ward singing.  When Mr. Worth came to Peoa to teach school they organized a singing school.  They used to meet in the old school house in the evening and everybody was invited.  It helped a lot as entertainment as well as to improve the singing.  They also had a debating society and spelling matches.  It is not known whether Annie took part in the debates but she was always interested in the spelling.  Most everybody in the town would choose up sides until everyone who wanted to spell had been chosen.  As they missed a word they would sit down.  The last one to go down, of course, was the winner.  At one spelling bee, Will spelled all of the words correctly and won the spelling bee, and the family was proud of him.


All of Annie's children’s friends were welcome in her home. A pal or twowould always come to the home after Sunday School.  She would get the children all off to Sunday School and then would put the dinner on.  The children knew and so did their friends that that dinner would be ready when we got home. Not all of the friends were as lucky as Mark and Annie's children. Everybody in Peoa was poor and many didn’t even raise a garden.  There was no fresh food except that brought in by fruit peddler in the fall.  Food was plain and with very little variety. Mark always bought fruit if he had a dollar or could trade grain or anything he did have for fruit.  Nearly every fall he would come down to Cottonwood and get a load of fruit, and then the family and friends would have a feast.


Annie also made people comfortable who came to her home, though there was very little room and little comforts in the home, all friends were welcome.  She never showed that it bothered her, no matter what, and she did not make apologies for things she didn't have.  She gave the best she had and everybody felt good about it. 

One time in summer when she was President of the Primary they held Stake Primary Conference in Peoa.  Everybody came from around the Stake and were fed and entertained by the Ward people.  Park City Primary brought a class to take part and there were about 30 children. They didn’t want to be separated, so Annie took them all home.  I worried about what we would ever do with them.  Annie put them on the lawn and started them playing games.  She went in ad fixed a picnic lunch and they with her own bunch sat on quilts on the lawn and ate.  Then the played until time for the next meeting. Everybody had a great time and became good friends.


We always had the best bread and butter, meat, milk, potatoes, usually some kind of fruit or syrup, a much better variety than most had.  Two families of our friends used to come regularly to eat.  One of my pals rubbed her tummy after dinner and said “Gosh, it does feel good to get some rice pudding in your belly.”  Annie always fed everyone who came. She said she never objected until the day we had 18 kids to dinner on one Sunday. In her last years, which was during the depression years, Annie would ask and almost insist that everyone who came to the house should stay and eat.


I remember as we were teenagers of having so many young people in the old kitchen they would be sitting on the table, cupboard, wood box or any place they could find and still Annie would not seem to get bothered.


I think we were the only family in Peoa who had a lawn.  It was a nice green patch in front of the house and under the cottonwood trees, watered from the garden ditch and mowed by a horse or a few sheep.  We used to gather all through the summer and play games, rassel and amuse ourselves.  Annie always encouraged us because when we were there she knew where her kids were and what they were doing.


As we got old enough for dating we would fool around in the old kitchen (which was the living room, too), after mutual, dances, etc. We would make a lot of noise and would eat everything in sight, until Pa (Mark) would tell Ma (Annie) in the next room, “If you don’t send them home I will.”  Annie would always kid with the guys and they would go off happy.  After a while the fellow knew when Pa (Mark) wound his watch or coughed and cleared his throat that it meant to go home.


I believe that Annie always worked in the church.  When I first remember she was treasurer of the Relief Society.  There was no welfare then and the Relief Society was supposed to take care of the poor.  They used to put on big ward dinners to raise money.  They would be big too, often chicken and the best of everything they could get and fix. It really was a big day for the town when they would have a Relief Society Dinner.  The getting ready and the clean up was a great pleasure as they had so much fun among themselves, not only the Relief Society members but the men and the boys and girls.


The Relief Society was different then, and there were no classes.  It was mostly work and testimonies.  Caring for the sick and helping out when there was death occurred in a family were two big parts.  When they knew anyone was sick a couple of women would go and stay in the home and help wherever they could.  They always figured some one had to “sit up” with the sick to keep the fires going and to give the medicine, etc.  There were no doctors or hospitals but I think no one was ever left alone if it was known they needed help.


Annie went a lot and she was so good with sick people that she was often called to help. She stayed in some homes for weeks.


When the Summit Stake was reorganized in 1901, Annie was made president of the Peoa Primary.  She chose Thressa Mee(?) and Francis Wright as counselors.  I was secretary and Bethia Maxwell was the assistant secretary.  I think thee are men and women now who were boys and girls of that time who remember her fondly.  I think she was released as Primary President when her sons, Dale and Delbert (Deb) had “typhoid pneumonia.”  The boys were sick for a long time and the Relief Society women repaid her for some of the time she had spent caring for the sick.


Annie’s mother, Rhoda, died 11 April 1901 after a long sickness.  When Rhoda got really bad, Annie sent word to her sister, Sarah, who lived in Passaic, New Jersey and she came and stayed for about two months.  The Ward women and also some of the men came and stayed and did everything they could.  Sarah said she had never seen anything like it, and she always spoke of those wonderful women who came to help the family and who were so kind.


Rhoda’s passing was an awful trial for Annie.  As mother and daughter they had seldom been separated and they were all either of them had.


Annie was a great lover of flowers.  She always had a few in the kitchen windows.  There was very little time or place outside for them, but we always ran over the hills and fields to find flowers for her.  We usually found many more than she could keep and she would have us put them on the graves that never got any flowers. The graveyard was right across the street from our home. She would always tuck a flower or two in her hair, also.  She loved the sand lilies and we kept them all through their season.  She used to say that she hoped she would die in lily time.  Mark used to find a blue flower in the fields in the summer and would always bring enough for her hair.  Will, too, would come with his hat band full of flowers when he rode the hills for cows or pet lambs.


Some time later Annie was made President of the Relief Society in Peoa.  It was while she was President that lesson work was started.  Very few of the women had any training or experience in teaching or in public speaking and it was hard to get lesson work going.  She had some trouble, too.  There was a class of women who delighted in smutty jokes and stories and told them around the quilts.  Annie always thought that Relief Society was no place for that, in fact, thee was no place for it. My parents, Mark and Annie, never told or allowed us children to tell them.  When she became President she told the women that it couldn’t go on in Relief Society gatherings. Some women resented being told what they could say and made it miserable for her. They said that she just thought she was better than they were. She was different.


It was thought at that time that the Relief Society President should do everything that people needed done and she was gone from home so much that it got to be a hardship.  Lydia and I were at the L.D.S. High School and the kids were young and she needed to be at home.  One time she was in one home with sickness for three weeks and the father in the family told her she was supposed to do it for the honor of her job.


There was so much serious sickness in the out-lying Wards and there were no doctors.  The Church asked the Bishop to send a woman to Salt Lake City to take a Nurses course, to especially train them as midwives.  Brother Maxwell called Annie to take the course, and it was just as a Call for any Mission.


Lydia and I graduated from L.D.S. High School in May 1908 and our mother, Annie, started her Nurse Course in the fall of 1908.  While attending High School, Lydia and I had lived at Pa’s (Mark), the Lydia Davis Bleazard, house on 43rd West and 5th South.  Mark got so bad with asthma while in Peoa and at this time that it was impossible for him to work, so he came with Annie and with Annie Bell, who was 8 years old, and they went to 43rd W and 5th South to live while Annie attended the Roberts School of Nursing. She passed the state tests in the spring of 1909.


The change in climate in Salt Lake and less work during this time helped Mark with the asthma some and after Annie graduated they went back to Peoa.  Annie went all over the country with the sick, brought all the babies and stayed in many of the homes and took care of everything until the mother could be up, which was never less than ten days.  Those who could pay and didn’t want charity, paid $15 for the job.


While Pa (Mark) was in Salt Lake City during the winter of 1908 and 1909, he got a chance to trade the 43rd West 5th South property for the home at 550 East and 3300 South and six acres of land.  Rose Irene and Mark Charles (Charl) were ready for High School and Mark thought they could go to Granite High.  Granite High joined the property, and the boys could help make a living on the land.  They got the deal through and moved to the new location in the summer of 1909.


John William (Will) had been living out at Dutch Flat, Wyoming since they went out there to run the Saw Mill.  Will came back to Peoa and moved onto the home place.  Gerald S (Dale) was still at the home so they ran the Peoa farm.  George Hopwood was on a mission to the Southern States at this time.


Mark and his sons, Mark Charles (Charl) and Delbert Ison (Deb) worked as janitors at Granite High School and they farmed and gardened.  They went back and forth to Peoa to help with the farm work, and Mark would go back and forth for a change in climate that he hoped would help with his health (asthma), which was gradually getting worse.


John William (Will) moved to the Uintah Basin (the Reservation). George S. (Dale) got married and went to Layton, Utah to live.  George Hopwood came home from his mission and got married and he lived on the place for some time.


Annie got in with many doctors through her study and her nursing, and several of them were anxious to have her take their patients.  She consulted with them all about Mark’s trouble and several tried to help him – without good results. Dr. Middleton said, “My dear sister, when we learn a cure for asthma our fortunes are made.”  I have seen several people with asthma, but never one like my Pa (Mark) had.  He would cough until he would almost tear himself to pieces and at the same time he would struggle for breath.  All this would make the rupture unbearable, and he had awful headaches.  Mark suffered a thousand deaths.  We often thought every spell would be the last. Many times we were called home thinking he couldn’t live.  Sometimes by the time we got home he was better. (The time we had the family group picture taken was one of those times).  About as soon as Mark could breathe he would get up and try to work and to act as if he was alright.


When he got so he couldn’t work, then he was bad.  I’ve seen him cry when he had to give up on things he wanted to do.


There never was a more unselfish person than Ma (Annie).  She always thought of others before herself.  It was hard to get clothes, but I think we girls always got a 4th of July dress and a Christmas dress.  Annie didn’t get anything new very often though.  In her later years we used to try to get her to buy herself some good clothes, but she always thought about something that someone else needed that she could better use the money for.


Annie loved to read.  In the busy days of our childhood there was no time and very little material to read; a few church books, and the required school books were all we got hold of.  We always had the Deseret News.  For years a semi-weekly came,  and for a while Jim Billings sent the Passaic Daily News as he worked for it.  Then there was the “Comfort”.  It was a little women’s magazine, with stories, foods, sewing, etc.  Annie used to take her pattern for knitted lace, etc, from it.  It cost 25 cents a year but it was worth a fortune.  We generally had the Juvenile Instructor and when we got to Mutual age we had the Young Ladies Journal. Every word was read and re-read.


I think they began publishing the Children’s Friend about the time Annie was President of the Primary.  It was such a pleasure for us to read and a great help in Primary. I think Annie organized the first classes in Primary in Peoa.


In Annie’s later years she read everything she could get hold of until her eyes failed her.  When we got the place on 33rd South (Granite High) she worked outside a great deal raising garden, flowers, chickens and fruit.  It was so much hotter than we had been used to in Peoa so she would get up as soon as it was daylight and go out and work until it got too hot.  Then she would come in and lie own with a book and rest both mind and body.


Annie gained lots of information and with her free friendly nature; she was able to talk intelligently with everybody.


The school men, principals, teachers, board members would come to her often (especially after they decided they wanted her land). The doctors whom she came in contact with in her nursing work also loved to talk with her.  She could converse with them on almost any subject.


Annie had a very friendly nature.  No one, salesmen, collectors, neighbors, even tramps ever left her door without a bit of friendly talk.  Sometimes there would be a lot of talk.  There was a meter reader named Short who used to come to the 33rd South home. Sometime he would stay an hour or two when Annie was home.  When I was alone there, the visit was short.


All of the children’s friends were just as friendly with Annie as with us.  She talked, played with, sang with them and fed them.


Mr. Kerr taught at Granite.  He came to board with Annie about the first year she lived at 33rd South. He took her on just like she was his mother and he stuck to her as long as he lived.


Adam Bennion was just a young man when he was made Principal of Granite High School.  Often problems would get too heavy for him.  He would come through the fence and talk with Annie, usually never mentioning his problem.  He often played the piano a little and then say to her, “Now I feel better.” And he would go back to his job.  All the people where she went nursing had the same friendly feeling for her.  The Shurtliffs, Bells, Murphy’s, Riches, Millers, Morgans, McHughs were just part of her big family.


Calvin Smith was Superintendent of Schools during Annie’s last days.  He came to visit very often and he brought her books to read.  She would read it in a day or so and then she would discuss it with him when he came again to bring another book.  He was always interested in her ideas and opinions.  He always wanted some of us to write them down so they could be kept.  Many times those men have said to me, “Your mother is a wonderful woman.”


Dr. Phipps wrote when she died, “She is the bravest person I ever saw in the face of the inevitable.”  He knew that she knew the result of her trouble.


After we got the 33rd South place in Salt Lake my mother (Annie) and I worked very hard to start flowers.  The place was covered with weeds which we dug and we cleaned the land. Everywhere Annie went nursing she would get a slip or bulb to bring home.  Much of the time we had to carry water to keep them alive, but it wasn’t long until we had flowers all around and she loved them all.  As long as she could get around she would say to me, “Come on let’s go the rounds” and we would go all around the place to see how the flowers were ding and if there was a new flower in bloom anywhere.  She felt awful when the decision was made to move from this place,


After they got the 33rd South place they were up and down between the two places, Annie nursed in Peoa until there was a well established Doctor in Kamas and the roads were better so he could make the trip to Peoa when needed.  Then she felt like she had filled hr mission there.


Annie brought most of her grandchildren into the world.  We never felt like we needed a doctor if she was there, and no doctor was good enough without her. She was very successful with doctoring, especially with babies.  Dr. Dannenberg told some of the Peoa people not to send for him for sick babies, but to get Annie.


Annie had a way of making people feel comfortable.  I have seen her go into a home where there was bad sickness and everything seemed in confusion. She could take over and in a very short time the sick person, especially a sick child, would be made quiet and comfortable and the mother or others who were worried would be calm and peaceful.  Soon the child wouldn’t let anyone but Annie do anything for them.  It seemed like she always had that Gift.  When she first went out to Cottonwood as a young woman she had an experience that she used to tell us about, and it was an example of many such stories.  It was haying time at the Fowlks in Cottonwood.  Joe, who was a small boy got his hand in the pulley on the haying derrick and got badly cut.  His people did what they could to save his hand but it got infected and was full of what they called “proud flesh”.  It hurt him so badly that he wouldn’t let any one touch it.  Annie knew he would die if something wasn’t done.  She took cream and sugar and boiled it into syrup, took the scissors and cut out the bad flesh and poured the syrup into the wounds.  She said she would give him tastes of it every little while to quiet him.  Every day she went and dressed it and gave him more cream and sugar.  As long as I ever saw him he would show his had and say it was due to Annie’s cream and sugar.  She saved Ed Beckstead and Verne Riches and others in much the same way.


Annie doctored Grandad Miles. He mashed his hand in the rocks when he was working on the hill going to get rocks for the church house.  They brought him over to Annie.  She cleaned out the wound and filled it with cayenne pepper.  He said that he had no trouble with it.


Many people have told how she came into their home in sickness and death and brought comfort.  Annie went to many homes to deliver babies where she had to mother the children and tend the house as well as care for the mother and baby.  Some of those mothers tell me of their love for her and their gratitude for her kindness.



In her later years Annie would do the same with her grandchildren.  She was the happiest when they were all around her.  They all looked to her for help and comfort when they needed it.  When my kids got fingers cut or bumps, they would go to her – not to me.


Annie was very handy with her hands.  She earned her living after she came to Utah in a dress making shop.  The women all wore basques – fitted waist – with buttons very close together all the way down.  When they found out what lovely button holes she could make they gave her them to make all together.  I never saw anyone make such perfect buttonholes. After I stated to sew she would sit by the machine and take the things when I got the machine sewing done and do the finishing and put on buttons and buttonholes.  She crochets and knitted a lot to, most all the stockings, gloves and mittens were hand knit when we were kids.  She could knit and talk, laugh and sing while we all played around.  We didn’t like the itchy stockings but they were warm and they did last.  She knitted lots of lace and all her girls and most of her daughter-in-laws had pillow cases with her knitted lace.  Latting, too, was easy fro her.  All her girls, but me, and many others learned most of their mother’s arts.


Quilt making was an everlasting job in those early days.  The bedrooms were seldom heated and it took so many quilts to keep us all warm. There always had to be a company bed too.  Though cloth was cheap, it was often impossible to get enough, so everything was used.  We were always piecing quilt blocks, no new scrap of cloth was ever wasted, and many quilts tops were made of used pieces.  I remember sewing tops of the good shirt tails, even overalls were pieced up for quilts.  All the quilts of our youth were filled with wool.  It was a big job to wash, pack and card enough wool for a quilt.  The quilting was always a pleasure.  Annie was a beautiful quilter as were most all women of Peoa of her day, and a quilting was a party,


The floor coverings were handmade too.  Every rag was saved for carpet rags (everybody did it).  The rags were cut or torn about ¾ inch wide and sewed together and wound into balls.  The girls were never without a job, there was always carpet rags to get ready, always one of us would sew on the machine.  The boys would cut from the machine sewing and wind into balls.  Often the girls would have a rag bee and they were real parties.


We always sent the rags to Mrs. Larson or Isakson to be woven.  Then the strips were cut and sewed to room size.  The floor after being scrubbed was covered with clean straw before the carpet was put on.  Then it was stretched and tacked own.  Lydia was the good stretcher.  How good it felt to walk and to roll on the new carpet.  I’ve heard Annie say she could never be happier with a velvet carpet than she was with those rag carpets.


We worked hard to raise ducks and geese, as much for the feathers as for the meat.  Every feather was taken care of.  Annie and her mother, Rhoda, used to pick the ducks and geese. That is they took off the spare feathers – before they shed them.  The good feathers and down went into the pillows, the coarser ones and the chicken feathers went into feather beds.  She made enough so that most of us had a feather bed and some good pillows when we were married.  Annie was always happy when she got a feather bed to put in top of the straw ticks.  Everybody in early Utah had straw ticks and what a time we would have after threshing to empty out the old straw and refill the tick with new straw.


Another of Annie’s tasks was making butter.  They always kept a few cows and the butter was taken to the store to trade for groceries.  For years the milk was set in shallow pans in the milk cupboard in the cellar for the cream to rise.  When they got a separator, they were real modern.  Mark or the kids usually turned the churn, but the working and printing was a big job.  It was an art too, and I couldn’t master it. I’d work it greasy.  Gerald S (Dale) helped Annie more than any of us on that as I remember.  Annie always made the best butter ever. When she could sell it for 25 cents a pound she thought she had done well.  The buttermilk was worthwhile, too.  It was always so rich and so sweet.  It really made the good hot cakes – the ones that Annie had such a way with.


Bread making was a job when we were all at home.  For sometime we baked eight loaves of bread every other day.  No one ever made bread like hers.  All her daughters and daughters-in-law were good bread makers, but they were always trying to make it like Annie’s.  Annie made the eight loaves in the big dripper.  When Lydia and I were in High School they got a bread mixer and it was George’s job to mix the bread when we were away.


I think that my mother, Annie, managed her family well.  As long as I can remember we had our jobs as we got big enough.  The first job I remember was to put the knives and forks on the table.  When Rose got big enough to set the table, my job became to put the chairs up to the table.  Lydia helped with the cooking, washing and scrubbing more than I did.  All the washing in those early years was rubbed on a wash board.  Lydia used to rub when she had to stand on a stool to reach the tub.  I was a good sized kid when they got the first washer. It was turned by hand, back and forth and was hard work – but quicker than rubbing on the board.  Mark always turned the washer if he possibly had time and he would turn until we told it to stop.  Everybody else who turned would want to know if the clothes weren’t clean enough after three or four minutes.


The next washer we got had a wheel and it turned round and round like a grinding stone and it was quite an improvement.  The first electric washer Annie had was in about 1922.


The ironing was done with the old irons heated on top of the stove.  That wasn’t bad in cold weather because we always had a fire in the range to keep the house warm, but it was bad to keep fires in hot weather.  I never saw an electric iron until after I graduated from High School.


It is hard to imagine now that there was no electricity, no running water, no plumbing, no telephones, radios or T.V. or automobiles, no corner grocery, no doctors or drug stores – and yet we lived and were happy.


There was no electricity in Peoa as long as we lived there.  We always had coal oil lamps though Grandma Rhoda had a candle stick with a candle in my time. It was for a long time Rose’s job to clean and polish the lamp chimneys.


I believe my most steady job when I was at home was to tend the baby until I got big enough to help with the sewing and there was always plenty of that.


After Mark and Annie settled on 33rd, Annie got in with Dr, McHugh.  He was a general practitioner at that time, located on 33rd and State Street.  He was glad to get Annie as his nurse and he took her all over the county, Annie soon had more work than she could do.  Annie went to all – many times leaving Mark so bad off.  It must have been awful hard, but they had no income to keep everything up.


In 1918 they decided to sell the Peoa place.  H. A. Jorgenson bought it.  After they got the money for it, Annie quit going out to work.  She got back to her family.  My son, Bub, was the last baby she brought into the world.  She was then 72 years of age.


Mark and Annie weren’t to enjoy themselves long though. Mark’s health was so bad and Annie, who always had a heart condition, was not very well.


It wasn’t long after Mark died on 15 August 1921 that Annie developed diabetes, and she had a nervous condition in her face.  A pain would tear through her face just like lightening, and later it moved into her leg.  We couldn’t find anything that would relieve it, but to put her out with a hypo.  It was a terrible time and it wore her down until she couldn’t fight the diabetes.   It got worse until she was in bed most of the time.


It was while she was in this condition that Granite (High School) decided they had to have her place, and it almost killed her to part with it.  The only bright thing about it was she found the 7th East home on Wandermere. Her daughter, Rose Irene lived across the street from the home, and Annie was not far from the 33rd South place she had loved so much.   Annie never seemed to be well or very happy after the move and she went down and down.  Annie Ison Danks (Bleazard) died 6 December 1941 and was buried in Peoa, Utah near her husband Mark Hopwood Bleazard, and near her mother Rhoda Ison Danks,


Thus we lost one of the most loving and devoted mothers any family ever had. 

Joan Thomas,
Feb 18, 2009, 9:18 PM
Joan Thomas,
Feb 18, 2009, 9:19 PM