Lucy Ann HAWES HICKMAN
Written by her daughter, Mrs. Josephine H. Finlayson,
for the "Daughters Of The Pioneers"
October 22, 1925, Provo, Utah
The subject of this sketch was born October 3, 1838, on Keg Creek, near Beardstown, Illinois. Lucy A. was the seventh of eleven children of Elijah Hawes and Catherine Pease Hawes. Her parents joined the church in its early rise and were with those who were driven from place to place by the mobs of Missouri and Illinois. She crossed the plains, with her parents in the year 1851, being thirteen years of age. Of this trip, I never heard my mother complain. Her father, having a very good outfit for those days, I presume they came with less hardships than some others. Yet, all throughout her life, she never saw people traveling in covered wagons, but her sympathy went out to them, maybe wondering if they too had no home or were deprived of the necessities of life. I have heard her tell of the large herds of buffaloes and of witnessing the stampede that would have wrecked their train of they had not suddenly swerved as they passed on at a tremendous rate of speed.
I have heard her tell of the sweet good butter they had every night for supper. They would milk their cows every morning, strain the milk into churns and cover tightly, place them on the back or side of the wagon, and the continual jolting as they traveled churned the butter to small round balls for the hot corn bread form the tightly covered iron bake-oven in the evening.
Each night mother said, the company would all gather around the campfire and sing, dance, or play games, they have prayer and go to bed. each day brought resumed hope and anticipation of that place of rest at the journey's end.
They arrived in the valley in the fall and went on to Payson, where mother's sister Eunice Stewart lived. She had emigrated the year previous. Later, mother with her parents, moved to Salem, then called Pondtown, where they took up land and made a home. Here she bloomed into womanhood and took her part with the family in spinning, weaving, and sewing.
She had but few months of regular schooling after coming to Utah. One winter she took in evening school: reading, writing, and arithmetic were the only subjects taught. All her life she hungered for knowledge, and imbibed much, considering her environment. I remember her talking lessons on grammar from her nephew Andrew Stewart. At twenty-one mother had married a college man and she felt keenly her lack of scholastic training. It was probably this sting that prompted her life's sacrifice for her children's education. In this frontier village none seemed so well educated that she suffered by comparison. But from the time she saw a pair of intelligent clear blue eyes peeping admiringly over a newspaper, watching her frolic in a rose festooned sunbonnet, her poignant passion for learning began. But the only answer for her longing, came through the university of struggle in conquering the frontier privations, the bearing of thirteen children, helping to feed, house and educate the nine that lived beyond infancy.
Father could have made a generous living with his profession, but how different, oh, how different, would have been the story! He was George Washington Hickman, who had just left the medical college of Ohio and was on his way through Utah to California’s glittering gold fields, when the mischievous black eye of a slender maiden became more alluring than gold. He had investigated this strange religion which had brought her people across the trackless wastes. He had approved its tenets and had joined the church. (But oh, the sacrifice for its sake that he was to make, was not less than tragic).
President Young counseled him not to practice medicine because he wanted to teach the people faith and dependence upon God, "for by their faith they should be healed." (A stunning blow to a young man who had spent years in preparing for a profession, suddenly to have his staff knocked from under him)! No one was ever less fitted for the role of a frontiersman than he: Fresh from college, and from his father's Missouri plantations where slaves did all the manual labor. He knew nothing of the agricultural life which was the only one now to choose. Every year's failure on the farm called for renewed strength to continue the sacrifice for their religion. There was a life sacrifice. Gradually of course, Father was drawn into giving medical service, but he seldom charged, and when he did, he often allowed the people to set the price and time of paying, which time seldom came. Let me here state my father never regretted he joined the L.D.S. Church and ever rejoiced in its glorious principles and it's divinely inspired leaders.
About 1866 my parents moved to what was called the lower ranch near Benjamin. Here they struggled with poverty even more than before, for now they had five children. The hard times of 1869 and 70 all old-timers remember father's paying eight and ten dollars per hundred for flour; at another time sold a two year-old heifer for one hundred pounds of flour, and during that period he sold a yolk of oxen for eight hundred pounds of flour.
Financial trials paled into insignificance, when death claimed their little six year-old Ella. I shall never forget the grief of my mother and father. My mother sinking on her knees in grief by the little coffin as they fastened down the lid. And I never will forget how long it seemed before mother smiled again, and when she did, how pleased we all were.
The pressing need of a large family demanded mother's helping provide the livelihood. Aside from her help with chickens, dairy, garden, and the household articles she made, she took up the trade of glove making and became very proficient. This helped very materially in providing for the family. I cannot tell or realize how they managed, but I never went hungry, and all who came were fed and made welcome. I do not think we suffered for clothing for mother was so resourceful, she could make pretty things out of so little and seemed equal to all emergencies. How proud were my sister Annie and I of the shoes she made out of calf-skin boot tops. No children were ever happier than when we got up Christmas morning and found these new shoes and also the new pink linsey dresses from her own spinning and weaving; the new linsey petticoat, knit stockings and mittens added to the joys and comforts of Christmas. All these mother had made after putting us to bed, by the light of tallow candles she had molded. Recently a cousin of mine, Malvina Hawes Durfee, when asked about mother's making shoes said, "Heaven's yes, I surely can remember. Made she made me the nicest pair I ever had. I was fourteen years old and was then just before I was married. She made her own lasts out of soft quaking Asp and cut and whittled until they were the shape and size she wanted."
Not only in the material things was mother amply resourceful, but while she worked with her hands, she conducted a school of her little tots about her. Our first lessons were learned at her side. She papered a summer kitchen with newspaper and taught us to read them. As she continued with her varied duties, we would spell words and she would pronounce them. A pound of candy at the end of the week aided her smooth discipline and results obtained.
But mother's care and support and love reached beyond her own little family. She daily administered to others about her. While here at the ranch her sister was widowed and father brought her and her five children home to live with us. Ten children and the three parents in two log rooms, but I never remember of a quarrel or fuss, nor can they, but I can remember how our hearts were grieved when one of the little cousins died. Aunt remained with us for over a year, but never was there a harsh word between them. In fact I have heard my mother say she never quarreled with or gave a cross word to a brother or sister or parent in her life; I have heard her sisters say the same.
From the ranch we moved to Benjamin proper to land my father homesteaded or preempted. Again a log house with two rooms, but to this one mother added a summer kitchen or shanty as they were then called. She made chicken coops, pig pens, cellars, benches, cupboards, the latter always with the whitest of curtains. Everything, windows and walls, she constantly renewed to shimmering white. What she wanted she set about to get. She was called the ranch carpenter. Father seemed so helpless as a mechanic. Mother would plan and coax him to try to make something that was beyond a woman's strength, but not until he found she would even attempt it herself, would he try his skill. But getting the cash to send her children to school called for superhuman power. Her ideals, however, were even before her. She made her plans and worked to them. Often the fall term would approach without a dollar in sight. She said it seemed like an insurmountable will came up before her and there was no visible outlet; yet not a moment did she falter. "I worked on", she said, "constant to my aims, and I never quite got to the wall. There was always another step I could take." Daily toil and nightly prayer, sweet, cheerful, loving sacrifice was ever the benediction to her beautiful soul.
When I was about eight years old she hired cousin Lestra Stewart Morrison to teach us for one or two summers, then she sent us three older ones to Payson, to Henry Boyle who was assisted by his wife. But the children's schooling was not sufficient. She must provide them a larger, better home. Her dreams projected a two-story brick building on the state road running in front of the log cabin. No visible means in sight, but before taking a step, remonstrated with her saying, "Why, my dear Mrs. Hickman we cannot think of building now. Wait a few year until the farm develops better." Mother calmly and firmly replied, "We will begin now, the way will come. I myself will provide the wherewith to say if you will haul the materials and assist what you can. But do not oppose me, for I do not want to disobey you.
After the foundation was in father said, "Now we must stop." And the progress seemingly did for several months. But mother's hands and her head daily, persistently worked to the goal. Her butter, cheese, dried fruit, eggs, various other farm products, and poultry, though bounteous in supply could not be then turned into much money. To her art of glove making was added another remunerative achievement. Hundreds of yards of rag carpet she made besides enough to cover all the rooms of the large new home. Workmen were glad to take her produce for pay as far as they could, the rest was converted into store script or due bills for them or for building materials. Sometimes she would turn in a cow or heifer the she claimed. Many times I heard father joke her and say he was gong to trade off some of her cows for some of his own, and in the same jocose vein, ask "Well what about my share of the egg money". "Who feeds these chickens"? Mother really made most of the money or was financier for the building. When the home was finished, it had all been paid for, some of it long before the work was done. A few years later she added a wing and made the attic high and light for her loom to which she later, something resorted. But the bath was significant as begin the only one in the town for years. The painting of this large house, mother did so far as the first two coats, then hired the best painter for the last one and for the artistic decoration in fine gold and pink stripes or golden olive or lavender. A brick cellar, artesian well on the back porch and cement walks were unusual conveniences for the rural home. These also she added. But I shall not pass without saying, the very night she moved into the new home, after a hard day of laying carpets and moving furniture into rooms yet damp with new plaster, her thirteenth child was born. She said, "In all my life I was never so happy."
In 1880 she moved to Provo to put her children in school, taking all of the children but my sister who was married. Father stayed home to care for the cattle and the farm, coming down at week-ends when weather was good to bring supplies. Mother had five boarders besides her own large family during that year, and worked so hard. In 1885, while yet in Provo, her sixteen year old daughter Edna, a student at Brigham Young Academy, took sick and died. This loss nearly broke my mother's heart. She never got over it, yet she picked up her burden and carried on. From this time on she went back and forth to Provo many different years to keep her children all in the best schools available.
To keep so many children away at school for many years, she needed more money. Father sold some land and mother put a stock of merchandise in one room of the house. This seemed renumerative. A year later, she built a large store nearby. But again came the lure of the school and she left the store for father's care and again went with her last three children to Provo. While she was there father met with an accident, broke two of the small bones in his ankle. He was at my home at the time. His suffering was intense, but he said, "I think I am like your children. I want mother when I am sick, when she comes I will be alright." Mother came and took him to the Benjamin home where he took pneumonia and died a week later. This loss of her life's companion seemed more than she could bear. She had already lost five children and one, a grown woman, and now to be deprived of a husband seemed to overcome her. She was in a daze and did not seem to have the power to rally. He had always been so true and almost worshipfully kind and considerate. I never knew him to give her a cross word in my life. I never knew my mother to get up and build a fire while he lay in bed, nor did he allow her to cut wood as most women then did. Her incessant toil was ever a source of his distress.
Mother had always been a leader as well as a companion, but now she felt all her life and ambition had gone. It was months before she could adjust herself again. Not alone sorrow, but everything was now so strange, so different. No one to lean on, no one to comfort her now in her sorrow as she had always had before. "Yes," she said at last, "I have my children. I must still live and work for them." She lived to see four of her eight living children take out college degrees - three of them Masters Degrees and PhD's.
In 1912 mother sold her farm and moved to Provo permanently. She built a fine brick home on the comer of Seventh North and University Avenue with all modern conveniences. When I asked why she wanted so large a home now that she had only one child left, she said, "I want room for my children and grandchildren when they come home." And Oh, what an aching vacancy in our lives when she left it four years ago.
The latter decade of her life was spent in well earned comfort and plenty. She relaxed into extensive reading. In her last seven years she read many of the works of fiction, history, theology and poetry. At eighty years of age, to rest her eyes, but still unable to spend one idle moment, she took up the knitting of lace and taught herself to crochet. She made all of her own designs for dozens of pieces of fancy work which she gave away.
In her patriarchal blessing, she was told she was a Royal Princess of the house of Joseph and that her children should rise up and call her blessed. We have not only called her blessed but the dearest and best mother in all the world.
She died beloved by all who knew her and the spirit and culture and influence of her life were extolled by prominent people who knew her, and spoke at her funeral.