Lucy Ann Haws Hickman
By Josiah Edwin Hickman
My mother was born in Beardstown, Illinois, October 3, 1838. Her parents were Elijah Haws and Katharine Pease Haws.
She was born during the wild scenes of expulsion of the Mormons from Missouri. She with her parents were driven from place to place—first to Iowa and then to Illinois and settled three miles south of Nauvoo on the Layharp road. From there they were driven into Nauvoo. During this period of movings she saw many homes burned. Later they moved to Keg Creek, Iowa, with the Saints. The next spring they moved 9 miles north of Keg Creek on the Missouri River. They lived there until my mother was 13 years of age. From there they went with the banishment of the Mormon people to Utah and arrived there October 3, 1852. They stopped at Sandy for a few days and then went to Payson where her brother Nathaniel had gone the year before. He had built a one-room log house. At that time there were only 8 or 10 families in the beginning settlement. Today there are over 4000 people in Payson city. What a growth for the banished refugees and their descendants!
Mother and her parents were pushed and driven from poverty to desolation forever, like Bedouins, seeking new places of rest until she was 14 years of age—childhood and early youth saddened through a nightmare of mobbings and harrassment until her soul was sick. Those terrible memories could never be obliterated from memory, and all the rest of her life she could never see travelers pass in a covered wagon that she was not engulfed in the hideous memories of the long ago until she was irresistably plunged back into the dark night of the past with all its horrors. It often took days to forget the sad picture of never fading memories.
In build mother was slim and above average in height. She had large brown liquid eyes and hair as black as a raven’s wing until time dimmed their luster.
We lived in modest want for many years. When necessities arose and no money to buy, her genius arose to its height. If necessary, she built her own summer kitchen, dug cellars, whitewashed her humble log cabin of two rooms, covered with dirt instead of shingles. The outside was old and mean, yet within was wonderfully neat and clean.
All her days she longed for refinement but she spent them in making the desert habitable. She toiled with naked hands on the barren rocks of necessity while she fed at famine’s table and slept in the valley of poverty. Little by little her dreams of betterment came true. Necessity made her an architect of fate. Though slender as a sapling and delicate as a flower, yet when necessity required, she remodeled her home, painted her scanty furniture, milked her own cows, raised chickens, made buckskin gloves which she sold to workmen as well as gloves of the most classical mold and beauty. When poverty gripped her and hers she corded, spun and wove clothing for her children. She made her own carpets that were the pride and the praise of the village. When her children were barefoot and poverty clutched with the talons of an eagle she made them shoes. When the shoemaker’s last was not to be had, she carved lasts to fit those chubby scurvy feet and made her own shoe pigs and the waxed thongs that sewed those unpatented shoes. She clothed and shod those whom God had given her. Can I not remember those days, aye, and as I do I laugh and weep—weep for her sacrifice and sorrow—I laugh to realize her genius and uncontrolled spirit.
All her days she was queenly in her toil; song was substituted for groans, and prayer for complaints.
She stood in the shadow and pushed her children into the light. No sleep could sooth her cares if her children walked in folly’s ways.
She was home builder, home keeper, laundress, carpenter, shoemaker, spinner, weaver, and teacher. In those primitive days without schools, she taught her children the rudiments of learning. She would have them sit on a stool at the head of the spinning wheel and read while she walked from the spindle to the head of the twisting thread back and forth from morn till night, she would teach her children to read. With hardly a lull of the great wheel, she would stoop and pronounce the unknown word to the baffled child, and then on would go the wheel with its incessant hum.
That interest never fagged for later she urged her children into high schools and colleges until several of her children hold degrees from universities of this nation. Seeing her earnestness for her children hundreds have become imbued with the thought of higher learning. Her life and toils have been told in private circle and public forum. Few there are who have had such a clear conception of human minds and the ways of youth with an instinctive method of handling them. In the shadow of her declining days her descendants were wont to sit at her feet and seek advice as to how they could solve the mystery of children’s ways and what to do when darkness and confusion confronted them.
This is but a glimpse of the tragic and beautiful life of her who has fought the fight and gained the crown of those who stand about the throne of God, as he stretches forth His hand as he says to His seer: "These are they who came up thru great tribulations."