LIVINGSTON, Ethel (1893)
Ethel Livingston Jeffs
by Enid Jeffs Cox, her daughter
Ethel Livingston was born 14 November 1893 in Castle Dale, Utah, to Archibald George Livingston and Hannah Amanda Adler Livingston. She was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on 7 September 1902, by William J. Seely, confirmed by R. C. Miller. She had 5 half brothers and sisters from her father’s first marriage. Agnes, Archibald, Pearl (died as a child), Leroy and Clarence. She was the first born to Archibald and Hannah. Three years later her sister Hazel was born, then a brother Arnold and a brother Leander.
She attended the Castle Dale Elementary School, also the Emery Stake Academy. Before she married, she worked for Elva Seely helping in the home. She often related what a beautiful little boy Hugh was, with his curly hair and ready smile. They also had two other children Lowry and Marjory. It was a sad day for them when she left the Seely family to be married and eventually have a family of her own.
Ethel married George Jeffs on September 3, 1915. Their first daughter, Hazel was born in the log cabin east of the race track. She was named Hazel after Ethel’s sister who had died suddenly in 1915, just three months before Ethel’s baby girl was born. Then a son, Clive was born 2 ½ years later. When Clive was a baby, she would put them in the buggy and walk all the way across town to Neva or Venice Jensen’s for an afternoon visit. Then in a few days they would return the visit, bringing their babies, Ralph and Ward.
George and Ethel moved to Mohrland about 1920. While they lived there, Ethel cared for a little Japanese lady who lived just across the wash from them. Their name was Watanabe. Her husband had been in a mine accident and was in the hospital with a broken back. She was pregnant and did not speak English very well. They had a bell installed from their house to Ethel’s, which she could ring if she needed help. They were so grateful for everything and never forgot what kindness and friendship was given them from Ethel, George and the kids. She had a darling little girl and her husband eventually was released from the hospital.
About 1924 the mine was closed down and it was necessary to move again, this time back home to Castle Dale. They moved into the old “Woods” home. It was while thley were living here that Ethel helped her sister-in-law, LaFonta Livingston, care for her three small children, Lois, Dale and Lowry. LaFonta was elected County Recorder and she needed a babysitter. Ethel was glad she was able to help.
Ethel served in many capacities in the church and community. She served as 2nd counselor to Maysie Peacock in M.I.A. for five years approximately 1930. She was 1st counselor in the Primary to Mildred Moffitt, President and Neva Jensen, 2nd counselor.
It was while she was in the Primary, one Christmas Eve they (the Primary Presidency and their husbands and others) built a huge bonfire up in the square and had Santa come down off the high school hill with his sleigh and reindeer. They had antlers tied on the horses heads so they looked like reindeer. It was quite exciting and made quite an impression on all the children. Mr. and Mrs. Santa handed out bags of candy, nuts and an orange which was v ery special at that time. This started a tradition that continued for many years.
It was about 1929 when George and Ethel and family moved in with Ethel’s mother, Hannah Livingston. George worked on the farm during the summer and commuted back and forth to the Hiawatha and Wattis mine in the winter.
Ethel served as 2nd counselor to Maysie Moffitt Peacock who was president of the Relief Society from March 1936 for six years. Then she was put in as 1st counselor and served for two more years. It was during this time she was blessed with a baby daughter, March 25, 1935. She was named Enid Ethel and was a joy to everyone (especially her mother). Enid was introduced to the church, or at least Relief Society at a very early age. Her mother would put her in a card board box on the floor to play or sleep during the meeting. She remembers playing under the quilt frames as the ladies quilted in the old Relief Society building on main street.
Ethel had prepared for the birth of this baby for months. She prepared an oval wicker clothes basket for her to sleep in. It was carefully lined with a delicate, frilly material with a ruffle covering the outside. All her wardrobe of nightgowns, slips, dresses, etc. were lavishly embroidered and crocheted. When she was only a few months old she had a cute little bonnet to match every outfit she wore. However, after all the time and effort spent in making her basket really beautiful, she never slept in it. She had decided she would rather sleep with her mother and made it plain she didn’t intend to sleep anywhere else. She remained most uncompromising on this matter until she was several months old.
When Enid was about three years old, they moved into the home they bought from Byron and Della Johansen on the east edge of town. There were two rooms, built separately, the kitchen was frame and the bedroom was partly brick and partly adobe. There was also a big rock house, for storage. Eventually George built a room and porch that joined the other two. This was used as a kitchen and what was the kitchen before was used for the living room. There was no inside plumbing, but they did get an inside tap for water, which was an improvement over having to carry it from outside. However, it was necessary to heat the water on the stove to wash the clothes and for bathing, etc. They took their bathes in the kitchen by the warm stove in a Number 3 round tin tub. It wasn’t too convenient, but it served the purpose.
They finally were able to acquire an electric washer with a wringer. Wash day was an all day affair. It happened every Monday, no matter what. Early Monday morning, Ethel would start heating water. The clothes would be sorted into piles on the floor, starting with the whites. Sheets would be changed every Monday. The dirty clothes would be washed last. Everything was washed in the same water, so as each load was finished, the water was a little dirtier and darker.
Hot water was put into the Maytag washer with the home made soap. Then there was a bench with two #3 tubs with rinse water. One was warm water and the last was cold water with bluing in it. Clothes were put into the washer and allowed to agitate. When that part was finished, the washer was stopped and each article from the washer was put through the wringer into the rinse water. The clothes were swirled around and the wringer from the washer was rotated over the tubs. The articles were then again put through the wringer into the last rinse water that was cold and had bluing in it. While this was being done, another load was washing in the washing machine. Three loads could actually be going at the same time. When the first load was through the wringer a final time from the bluing water, if they didn’t need starch, they were taken out to the clothes lines and hung. If they needed starching, this was done at this point and then hung on the lines. During warmer weather the clothes dried fast and it was wonderful to smell the sheets and towels. The sheets were immediately put back on the beds. In the wintertime however, it became quite a problem to get the clothes dry. Sometimes the clothes would freeze as they were hung on the lines, and they would hang there for a couple of days before they were dry enough to bring in. Lines were hung in the house, but could in no way accommodate all those wet clothes. Only the most needed things were dried inside. After washing on Monday, ironing was always on Tuesday. Almost everything was ironed in those days. The irons were heavy and heated on the coal stove.
Most people those days made their own soap. As they had no money to buy fat with, they made their own by rendering it when they killed an animal. They cut off the fat, cleaned it up, then cut it up finely with a knife. Then they put it in big pots and cooked it until all that remained was the cracklings floating in the boiling fat. They drained off as much fat as they could, poured it into pails, and stored it in the root cellar. They used this to make pies, and to cook with. They put the cracklings away for another day when they would make soap out of them. The cracklings still had a lot of fat in them. In fact, the main reason they cooked the soap was to dissolve, or disintegrate the cracklings into the soap.
On the day they made soap, they took the cracklings and put them in the big kettle. As they were heating on the stove, they added lye, sprinkling the crystals on top of the cracklings. Then they added the water and started stirring it. They boiled this mixture until the cracklings disappeared. If there were any little pieces of meat in the cracklings they wouldn't dissolve and they had to take them out with a wooden spoon, or lift them out on the end of our stirring stick. They continued to stir and boil it, checking it every 20 minutes or so to see if it was done. They did this by taking a spoon full out and pouring it on a plate. They knew it was done when it hardened to the consistency of soft cream cheese after it cooled. Sometimes there were streaks of water running through it. If this happened they knew it needed more water. They poured more water in, boiled it some more, then tried it again. If it ran off the stirring stick like water, they knew it had too much lye and needed more water. They knew it was right when it left a creamy layer on the stick. They didn't have any recipes in the early days. When the soap had finished cooking, they poured it out of the kettle, sometimes as much as 4 inches deep into a small galvanized tub or paper lined box. The soap didn't set up really hard immediately. They waited until the next morning to tip the tub upside down, knock the soap out of it, and cut it up into bar sized pieces. Then they sat the bars outside on a board to continue drying. It wasn't too many days before it was ready to use. To store it, they threw it into a box. Sometimes they didn’t get to the soap making right away and the cracklings went rancid. This wasn't matter, however, as during the soap making process the lye cleaned them right up, and the soap that came from them was just as nice smelling as if they had used fresh cracklings. Home made soap makes great pre-wash. Get the clothes damp and rub the soap bar on the bad spots. It works as well as the expensive stuff from the store. There is no better soap made than the soap with the three simple ingredients: fat, lye, and water. Maybe you would be interested in the Never Fail Soap Recipe:
5 lbs cracklings
1 gal soft water
1 can lye (1 lb.) (This recipe lye heavy. Use 10.6 oz. lye)
See the above information to see how long to boil it. Remove from heat and stir until thick. Perfume it if you like and pour it into molds if you prefer, in the wash tub it does a good job of cleaning soiled clothes. Set for three days, then put in tight wood box lined with newspapers.
About 1947 or 1948, George finished the front part of the house and they got a new kitchen with a large water heater. The electric stove, refrigerator, deep freezer, an automatic washing machine and even a dryer were a dream come true for Ethel. It was like heaven to her. She had worked so hard all of her life and these things made living so much easier.
Ethel loved to sing and was a member of Mrs. L. T. Hunter’s Ladies Chorus. She was City Recorder for several years and also served as City Registrar as well as Judge of Elections for City and General Elections.
Ethel was always a good sport and in 1950, she and Emma Huntington were chaperones to a whole group of girls at a Girls Youth Conference at BYU. One of the activities was climbing to Mt. Timpanogos Cave. She climbed the whole way and the girls all had a wonderful time.
Ethel was always energetic and ambitious. She worked hard from a very early age and until her life was ended. She was serious in nature but loved an enjoyable time spent with relatives and friends. She enjoyed music, dancing, going camping, playing cards, cooking, sewing, crocheting, tatting and making quilts. She had a “green thumb” and was successful growing a most productive vegetable garden - not to mention her beautiful flowers. She was a good seamstress and did lots of crocheting, tatting and quilting. Her hands were always busy. Every time she sat down she would pick up her crocheting or sewing. Many were the quilting bees she held at her home. She would put on a quilt and invite her friends and neighbors in to help. She always served them a delicious lunch and they all enjoyed these pleasant times together. Every summer Ethel’s brothers and sisters-in-law would come from California for a two-week visit. In preparation for this visit, the walls had to be washed down and the windows cleaned. Food was prepared in advance and relatives gathered. This was always a big deal and the whole family was expected to rally and help out. Ethel always looked forward to these visits.
When Leander’s wife Mary died, Ted and Barbara came to stay with George and Ethel in the summer for a few years. Ted told about one time he was out in the back with George who was shoveling wheat in the small silo. George sneezed and his false teeth came out. Ted ran to the house and said “Grandma, Grandma, Grandpa’s teeth have fallen out.” Ethel laughed and laughed.
Ethel was a marvelous cook and thoroughly enjoyed having friends or relatives in for a delicious meal. She also cooked for different crews of men that cam in to work on the road or salesmen that came to town and had no place to get their meals. No one ever came to the Jeffs home without being invited to stay for something to eat.
They bought 400 chickens and Ethel took care of them, feeding, watering and gathering the eggs which had to be cleaned before they were sold. It was with the money from the eggs they were finally able to build the new part of the house. George got timber out from the mountain and sawed the lumber himself. They were very proud of this new part of their home which included a nice big living room with an archway into a nice sized dining room. The kitchen was small, but convenient. They also added a bathroom which made their living conditions much better.
Ethel belonged to a “500 Club”. The ladies who belonged were Mildred Moffitt, Aunt Emma Dickson, Zepha Jensen, Annie Bell and Sydonia Kofford.
Ethel was very considerate and understanding and kind with her neighbors and friends. Every morning they could depend on her to call for them in her Oldsmobile and take them uptown for their mail and to shop.
She was good to keep an eye on Aunt Zepha and help when she was ill and also Aunt Emma (even when she didn’t feel good herself). She cared for her mother, Hannah Livingston, for nine years. Sarah Anderson, her neighbor, was indeed a great help in assisting her. Ethel was compassionate and considerate of others, but could also be very stern. She did much good and helped those in need as much as she could. She was a good listener and sound in her judgements and advice. She always gave a person the benefit of the doubt and freely gave encouragement or criticism when necessary. She helped care for all of her grandchildren who always loved to go to “Grandma’s”.
Ethel's Favorite Recipes
Some of Ethel’s favorite recipes - the bread she made without fail every week:
1 tsp sugar
3 T. sugar
1/2 c. warm water
2 t. salt
1 yeast cake
3/4 c. cold water
1 c. milk
4 c. flour
3 T. butter
Soak yeast cake in warm water & mix in with it 1 tsp sugar. Heat milk and add butter, sugar, salt & cold water. Mix in yeast mixture. Add enough flour to make a soft dough. Let rise until doubled in bulk. Punch down. Let rise again. Make into loaves and allow to rise again. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes then 350 for 35 minutes. Makes three loaves.
1 yeast cake
1/4 c. warm water
1 c. cool scalded milk (may use water 1 1/2 c. flour & powdered milk mixed with flour)
Mix together & let raise for 20 minutes. Add:
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. butter
2 egg yolks
2 c. flour (sifted)
Mix & roll out - stretch - Let raise 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Bake at 375 for 12 to 15 min.
Grandma’s Soft Sugar Cookies
7 c. sifted flour
5 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 c. sugar
1 lb. lard or shortening
4 eggs, beaten
1 c. milk
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Cut lard into flour for pastry. Stir in sugar, eggs & milk. Stir thoroughly. If dough is too dry to roll, add more milk. Roll dough to about 1/2 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes, sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes. Makes about 21 doz. These will remain soft for several days.
Glazed Raisin Loaves
1 package active dry yeast or 1 cake compressed yeast
1/4 c. water
1 c. seedless raisins
1/4 c. soft butter or margarine
1/4 c. sugar
1 1/4 tsp. salt
Oven to 400 degrees
1/2 c. buttermilk or milk, scalded
3 1/2 to 4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 beaten eggs
Soften active dry yeast in warm water or compressed yeast in lukewarm water. Combine next 4 ingredients. Add hot milk: stir to dissolve sugar. Cool to lukewarm. Add 1 1/2 c. flour; beat well. Add yeast & eggs; beat well. Add enough of remaining flour to make soft dough. Turn out on lightly floured surface. Knead till smooth and elastic (10 - 12 min.) Place in lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface. Cover; let double (1 1/2 to 2 hours) in warm place. Punch down; divide dough in half, rounding each in a ball. Cover and let rest 10 minutes. Shape in loaves. Place in 2 greased loaf pans. Cover; let almost double (45 to 60 minutes). Bake in hot oven (400 degrees) about 20 minutes; place foil over top last 10 minutes, if necessary. Remove from pans; cool. Glaze loaves with icing. Makes 2 loaves
Ethel loved life and made the most of every waking minute - even to the last. She had shingles and suffered with them for several years before she had a heart attack the day after Christmas and died on December 29, 1970. Mildred Cox and Barbara Lynne Cox were with her.
She left a legacy of love for her children and grandchildren. She must have been greeted with open arms in the Great Beyond and received a well-earned reward for a life well lived. Her funeral was the day after New Years. She was buried January 2, 1971, in the Castle Dale Cemetery.
Ethel’s obituary in the Emery County Progress