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Althea Worthen Letter to LaRee Porter

Received from Charlotte Woten

Althea Worthen Frederick


a letter written by Althea Worthen Frederick to LaRee Porter#
Oct. 20, 1955


Dear Loree,


I have been going to write and tell you a few things pertaining to mine and Grandpa's early life--we haven't either one done anything outstanding or has anything exciting ever happened to us, we are just ordinary people.

I, Althea Worthen Frederick, was born in Panguitch, Garfield Co., Utah, August eighth, Eighteen Hundred ninety-seven to Laura Jane Cameron and Henry Grow Worthen. The Camerons are Scotch and the Grows were English. My Grandfather Samual (Samuel) Worthen was a polygamist--he had three wives.# My Grandmother Maria Louisa Grow Worthen and Aunt Jane Worthen lived in the same house for many years. It had two rooms down stairs and two upstairs with a hall between, dividing it in half.

I don't remember Grandfather but I remember Grandmother and Aunt Jane of course. When I remember them all their children were married except the youngest daughter in each family. Grandfather seemed to have left them plenty of property--cattle and sheep--to have a comfortable living. I never remember seeing the third wife, Aunt Sarah. She lived in St. George. They all had big families.
Grandfather served time in the penitentiary for being a polygamist--I believe 6 months.
The Worthens were a very religious family and above all believed in Temple marriage and Temple Work for the dead.

Grandmother Lillis Minerva Barney and Grandfather Joseph Cameron built the Cameron Hotel in Panguitch. I don't know what year, but long before I was born. It was where my mother lived in her teenage time. It is still a Cameron Hotel. Grandfather sold it to his brother Ben. Then Ben's son Bennie bought it and now Ben's son Allen Cameron owns it. I can remember when grandfather sold out and moved to Idaho. They later moved to California where they both died. They have two children living in California at the present time. Lilly Prichett and Grover Cameron. They just had five children. One son Joseph lives in Salt Lake and Grandma Worthen lives in Panguitch. They lost a boy, Milan, when he was very small.

I lived in Panguitch until I married. I went to school in the schoolhouse that is still in use. We lived about ten or eleven blocks from the school house. The winters were very cold, with lots of snow. Those days everyone walked and we also walked home for lunch and back. Our school in those days consisted of eight grades. Each grade had a room but each grade was also divided into two classes. We always said "big and little" class. We had to go a year in each class so it took us twice as long to complete school then than it does now. There was a teacher for each grade. Women teachers for the first four grades or little grades as we called them, and men teachers for the four big grades. The little grades were held on the ground floor and the big grades upstairs. Later the basement was finished and a high school held in it. At recess and noon and night, a gong would sound and we formed in lines four abreast and marched out, very quiet with straight lines and stood in line until we were dismissed. We marched into the building the same way when the bell rang, with no whispering or pushing or crooked lines or else we marched and marched! We used to have fire drills which were the most terrifying things that ever happened to me. We never had home economics but had to take singing, reading, writing, spelling, arithmetic, english or grammar, history, geography and health, a class in each every day. We were in school from nine until noon then from one until four or four-thirty, if we didn't get through our lessons. We had a 15 minute recess twice a day, and if we didn't have our lessons prepared we stayed at night until we had them. We could never write them and hand them in. Every lesson had to be learned and recited and discussed in class. We had to be very quiet--no whispering. My greatest failing in life is that I always see the funny side of every thing and have to laugh. My laughing has sure got me into trouble.

My Dad and Mother always moved to the mountains for the summer. Dad worked with the sheep for years on east fork and at Panguitch Lake. Then he owned a sawmill just three miles west of Panguitch Lake in Rock Canyon. We always moved as soon as school was out in the spring and stayed until time to start again in the fall.

I remember one time Dad sent my brother Cleon and I over on Mammoth with a buckboard and two ponies for a jag of hay for the cow. We run the horses all the way over and part of the way back. I imagine it was about ten miles. It was real dark and we could see five cougars watching us. The horses were tired so we unhooked them from the buckboard and rode them home. Dad was sure angry. He made Cleon go back after the hay and he insisted he walked the horses. I cried and said I was tired and afraid and I didn't have to go. The next time we went to Mammoth in day light we saw that the five cougars were five stumps.

I remember one time how frightened we became when we lost my small brother, Nelse. Always in the afternoon all the women (about 5 or 6) and the children would go to the mill to watch the men work. Nelse was about three years old and was so spoiled as he could be, he always cried to be carried. Mother wasn't very well so it fell to my lot to carry him. I guess I was lazy and this certain day I wouldn't carry him. We left him lying in the trail and went on to the mill (it was probably a block). There was no timber, brush, or anything, just houses and skids. After we had been at the mill a short time, mother insisted I go back for Nelse, and I couldn't find him. They shut the mill down and everyone looked for him. We looked until nearly dark, probably about four hours, when we saw him crawling out of a culvert. He had been asleep all afternoon.

Another time we were all in the hills watching the men log. All the children were playing on the hillside and the men were up above loading logs when one log broke loose and rolled down the hill. One of the small children was directly in it's path and no time to go after him. I guess we all prayed because just a few feet from the baby the log hit a rock and changed its course.

I was the only teenage girl at the mill. I guess that is why I was such a tom boy. I only went to a few dances in the summer. When I did go, I had to ride eighteen miles horseback into town. I would always stay all night and ride back the next day. I had a cousin, Ida Hatch, living on the Mammoth. Sometimes we went together. The Mammoth is a creek a few miles south of Panguitch Lake with ranches along it. My Grandfather Cameron and his two brothers Jon and Ben homesteaded there in early times.

We sure worked hard but we had lots of fun. It seemed that everyone in Panguitch came to see us, both girls and boys. I liked being at the Lake better than in Rock Canyon. For one thing, there was nothing to do but play and then every 24th of July there was a big celebration there. People came from all over and thousands of Indians came and camped and had their dances. The celebration consisted mainly of horse racing in the day and dancing at night. The crowd usually stayed a week.

In those days girls never wore slacks or jeans of any kind. When we rode horseback we wore divided skirts (culottes to you). I always helped my Uncle Nelse Worthen at night and morning with the calves when they milked and so I wore bibbed overalls (imagine). We called them "brownies". My cousins came over one year from St. George to the celebration. They were just my age--boys!! When they came I was helping Uncle Nelse. Then in the evening when I was ready for the dance they came to our house---and was I ever embarrassed---they didn't even know me. When Mother told them they had met me at Uncle Nelse's they said they thought I was a boy. I was so humiliated I never wore overalls again, I always wore a dress when I helped chore.

I used to go fishing with my Dad on the lake. We always had to get up and go at day light but I loved it. We always moved to and from the lake in a covered wagon. It took us all day.

I remember the first car I ever saw, It must have been about 1904 or 1905. They let school out so we could go up on main street and see it. What a thrill it was! Even after Grandpa (Ralph) and I were married in 1914 we always went places with a team and buggy. Grandpa had a beautiful team of horses. He was sure proud of them.

I always worked in the primary when I was a teenage girl. We held a preparation meeting one night a week in what we called the tithing building. We had a small room with a wood stove in. One of my cousins, Osborne Worthen, who lived close to us always went and unlocked the building and made a fire and lit the lamp. One terribly dark night, here came Aunt Merve with the keys. She said Osborne was having one of his tantrums and wouldn't go get the building ready for meeting so it was up to me. I was sure scared but I did it.

There were 15 or 16 of we girls and boys that run around together. We always said "our crowd". Uncle Dave Cameron would let us take the white top buggy and team if we would go to meeting on Sunday night. Then after meeting we could go for a ride. We always went and sat on the back row. I don't know to this day what they did in Sunday night meeting. We always went to the dances in a crowd (we all had dates but got together) and we just danced with the boys in "our crowd". If any other boys asked us to dance we had to turn them down. Some of the worst trouble and quarrels we had was we girls dancing with older boys.
I remember one girl older than we were went "up north" for a while and when she came back she had the most daring dress on you ever saw. It had elbow length sleeves and instead of a solid piece of cloth across the top of the sleeve it had ribbon bands about 1 inch apart. And horror of horrors, you could see her bare arm between the ribbon bands. Shocking! When I finally coaxed my Mother to make my school dresses with elbow length sleeves and flat collars instead of a high band around the neck, my Grandmother Worthen would call me in her place and make me put a long sleeved and high neck waist (blouse) under my dress. We wore home knit long stockings. Then we got real daring and wore cotton ribbed stockings--just black or brown. We wore heavy cotton underwear with long legs and sleeves in. When we would get to school we would roll our underwear up above our knees but believe me we rolled it down before we went home.

Your Grandfather Ralph Frederick was born at Marysvale, Piute County, to David Ira and Ellen Sophia DeGraw Frederick. The Fredericks are of German descent.
Grandpa's mother and Father lived in the united order at one time. That was in Orderville, Utah. Grandpa spent his boyhood in Monroe, Utah. That is where he went to school. He is the next to the youngest in a family of eleven children. His baby sister died when she was real small. I guess he had to work hard. He was driving 4 horses on construction jobs when he was 15.

I can't think of many of the things his mother has told me of their family. Grandpa's mother was married to John Mathis (and had her first three children) before she was married to his Dad. I have heard Grandpa tell of his Mother having cataracts on her eyes. That was before many doctors were around and they never operated on the eyes. But they were healed by faith and when I knew her she had wonderful eyesight.

Grandpa came to Panguitch to work on the new high school building and that is where we met. We were married November 18, 1914 at Panguitch. We went to Monroe to live. That is where your Mother (Bea) was born. Work in those days was hard to get. Grandpa went on the Unitah Reservation and worked all summer before your Mother was born and I went to the sawmill and stayed with my folks.

We have lived in Fruitland on the Uintah Reservation--just a few houses and a store. We had to hold church in people's homes. We lived both at the Deer Trail mine and the Alunite mill. We lived in Kingston one summer and Grandpa freighted with a team from Marysvale to Kanab. We lived in Junction, Utah from 1923 to 1937 when we moved to Marysvale.

I have always found the best way to keep happy is to keep busy. I have worked in the church all my life. We have had eight children and now they are all married and have children. We are the most lucky parents in the world. Our children married such wonderful men and women. I am a hill billy. I love to go in the mountains and I love to fish. I guess you would say my hobby is crocheting and making quilts. I love to read. We are happiest when we are around our children and grandchildren. I hope you can read a small part of this.

love, Grandma

Linked toLaura Jane Cameron; Althea Worthen; Henry Grow Worthen

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