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LIVINGSTON, William (1848)

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William Livingston
William Livingston.png
Full name William Livingston
Born April 28 1848(1848-04-28)
Place of birth Airdrie, Lanark, Scotland
Died November 20 1900
Place of death Cedar Cliff, Sanpete, Utah


Orphaned by the the time he was a year old, William Livingston probably never felt neglected; for he and his the older brothers and sisters were reared by their paternal grandmother, "Granny" Livingston, with the help of her son, James. Her youngest daughter, Ellen, helped; and eventually so did Ellen's husband, John Dobbie. There had been another sister, Jane, who died before William was born.

William was in his seventh year when this family immigrated from Airdrie to Salt Lake City, his older brother James having gone ahead to prepare the way for the family. Here the family continued to be supported by their Uncle "Jimmie" and William's older brothers. When old enough, William worked in the quarry with his brothers. He knew about food shortages; and he learned about survival. Recollections of the family convey the impression that a close family unity and the courageous, firm, caring grandmother provided a sense of security for William and his siblings.

At 22, William, called Will, was married in the Endowment House to 20 year-old Lillias Dick, called Lilly. Will had a sandy beard and hair and Lilly's hair was coal black. They were born in the same county In Scotland, their villages being only a few miles apart. Lilly had been only four when her mother died. She had left Scotland at age 17 with her widowed father and an older and younger sister. At Salt Lake she lived and worked as a domestic at the home of Ferramorz Little. In the summer she helped cook for the Ferramorz Little crew that was quarrying stone for the Salt Lake Temple. William was a member of that crew. When they became acquainted is not known, but Annie Livingston Neilson, William's and Lilly's first born granddaughter, wrote that William, "a large brawny Scot, had met Grandmother (Lilly) on a bridge, not allowing her to cross without paying the toll in a kiss." William Dobbie, foster son of Will's Aunt Ellen, recalled that Lilly also worked at the home of William's brother, Archibald, on the south side of South Temple Street between 2nd and 3rd West. There, he said, "They teased Lilly about William Livingston when he was courting her, and on one occasion, I recall seeing her burst into tears in her embarrassment."

At first the couple lived "In a little adobe house at 343 Sixth Street (So. or Ave.). Here William Dobbie recalled seeing Lilly standing in the doorway holding her first born child, William D., and asking if he were not a beautiful baby!" Later, they moved to a home Will built at the east of the corner where Granny lived (corner of 9th East 2nd South).

In 1883 they moved with their six children and a seventh expected to a place in Sanpete called Birch Creek located southwest of Fountain Green near the west hills and about 120 miles south of Salt Lake. William's brother, James C., had gotten a tract of land for William and for two of his own sons. William had a quarter section. He and Lilly lived there the remainder of their lives. Leaving Salt Lake vicinity, her father, and other relatives was distressing to Lilly. According to her daughter, Lillie May Robertson, "Mother cried at the thought of going into the wilderness with nothing but sagebrush and trees; and white people still were fearful of the Indians; but she was advised that it would be easier to bring up a family in the country than in the city and better for them.

William and his two older sons, Will, 12, and Arch, 10, traveled by team with the household furniture and supplies. The first night they stayed at the home of William's Aunt Ellen and Uncle John Dobbie in Sandy because William had gotten on the wrong road. Willie Dobbie recalled that the two boys were so tired that they fell asleep before beds could be made up for them. Lilly followed by train with the four younger children, John, Annie, Lillie May, and Jean.

At Birch Creek. six more children were born— Joseph, Ray, Abe, Ellen, Heber, and Isabel, and they all grew to adulthood. (Lilly had a miscarriage in Salt Lake that was not recorded on the family group sheets.) At first the family lived in a two-room house with a shanty. Later, their light red brick house consisted of four rooms with a hall in the center running from the front entrance to a large kitchen at the back. A kitchen door opened onto a small porch at the south. To the right, on the west, was the entrance to the cellar. A few feet to the south was a shanty, probably used for cooking in the warm weather and for extra sleeping quarters for the boys in the winter. There was a vegetable garden and a well. The house, surrounded by trees and facing east was set back about 40 or 50 feet from the road with a picket fence in front, a large swing southeast of the house. The tracks for the Sanpete Valley Railroad were about a quarter of a mile west of the house. At least once after moving to Birch Creek, William and his three older sons returned to Salt Lake to work for several months "in the quarry with Uncle Jim." William ran a sawmill located westward from the home. He has been described as having mechanical ability, and his son Abe was impressed with his father's skill with an axe. Upon occasion, Abe would turn the logs while his father hewed with the axe.

Lillie May, the second oldest daughter, recalled that her parents and their children worked hard at a variety of tasks. Besides the usual household functions, the girls attended to outside chores such as milking cows, feeding pigs, and pulling lucerne for feed. Much interaction occurred among the Birch Creek families, many of whom were relatives. William's family gave and received. Sometimes the girls would do housework for pay at 35 cents per day in the 1890's. For several years William's wife Lilly and Jane Livingston Despain were the two women who served as nurses and midwives. Lillie May recalled also the sleigh rides, the good times at the dinner table, the laughing and talking about what happened the night before at a Friday night dance where they had plain quadrilles, tuckers, and round dances. If the girls overslept after a dance, William might complain about their staying out too late. Their mother would be overheard telling him, "Let them rest—girls are not very strong." Upon other occasions she would say, "Let them go—they are only young once." If the older boys were away working and the girls wanted to go to the dance, the mother might encourage the younger boys, Joseph and Ray with, "Don't you want to go with the girls?" The girls were pleased when their older brothers working away from home would return with dress materials.

"Father didn't get angry often, but when he did, he meant it. Mother would not contradict him then—generally though, what Mother said we had to do. Usually we could get around father. He would come through at the last." Lillie May described her father as "quite proud—nothing was too good for us; and he was jolly like Isabel (the youngest child), cracked jokes, and saw the funny side of life. Yes, Father and Mother would go to parties. Mother enjoyed going out, but religion meant more to her than anything." For Relief Society or other meetings, "Father always saw that the horses were hitched up for Mother." Will and Lilly had much concern about schooling for their children. William Dobbie is reported to have had a favorable influence on the children in this respect.

Mary Jolley Oldroyd, a close friend of Lilly's lived with her two small sons across the fields on the west hills prior to moving to Fountain Green. Mary's granddaughter, Mary Jane Oldroyd Livingston (who became the wife of Lilly's son, Heber provided a glimpse of the William Livingston home in the late 1890s when as a small child she would accompany her grandmother on visits to the Livingstons, going to Birch Creek by hone and buggy from Fountain Green. Mary Jane recalled seeing the two women perform many tasks together such as gleaning wheat for their chickens and laughing and talking together. She recalled the big swing and the large crowd at the late Sunday afternoon dinners and the friendliness and hospitality of Will and Lilly — "I Just loved her." She recalled, also, Lilly's funeral at Fountain Green and the line of school children feeling shock and sadness for the young Livingston children over losing their mother six weeks after the death of their father.

It was November 20, 1900 that William had taken the cows to pasture, walking at the same time with his young children part way to school. His wife Lilly had been sick in bed for some weeks with a heart condition; and his daughter, Lillie, was washing the breakfast dishes. William returned, hitched the team to leave for the lumber mill and then came into the kitchen, saying to his daughter, "Lillie, I don't feel very well." He felt a pain at the base of his skull, sat in a chair and died immediately. Lillie wondered how site could break the news to her mother; but when she entered the front south bedroom, her mother said, "I know that your father is gone," adding that the Lord would not take her yet—that she would remain long enough to prepare the family to manage without their parents. And that is what happened. The family remained intact at the Birch Creek home. When Jean married three years later, her husband, Dave Cook, purchased the property and they continued to care for the children who still were at home.

Notes and References

Retrieved from "http://livingstonfamily.org/wiki/LIVINGSTON,_William_(1848)"

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