History: Grace Davis

One morning while Grace was still in bed after Walter Ilith (Walter Ilith Rowley) was born, the midwife brought her some hot toast and hot milk. When Grace had finished all but a small piece of toast she had left on the plate, she asked little Verda May (Verda May Rowley) to take the dishes back to the kitchen. When Verda May returned to the bedroom, Grace asked if she had eaten the toast. She had, but thinking she had swallowed all of the toast, she told her mother “no”, Grace asked her to open her mouth and much to Verda May’s surprise and dismay, there were some crumbs on her tongue, the wise mother saw a teaching moment and asked her daughter why she had said she hadn’t eaten the toast? She taught her daughter the value of honesty that day. Just a thought, we don’t get away with anything by dishonesty. Verda May was only five years old, but it was one lesson she never forgot!

Grace was a wonderful mother and example. Verda May was almost a constant companion to her, preferring her company to many of the younger people her own age. Grace became an ideal to her daughter, Verda May, and to her sons (Hugh Francis, David William, Emerson Adis and Walter Ilith), and was a wonderful teacher to them. She had a life of toil and sacrifice, but her cheerful and sunny disposition carried her over many of the hard “bumps” in the journey of life. Many a time she would sit and watch the beautiful sunset, or the lovely world around her and crochet, tat[1], knit, darn socks or mend while telling the children many wonderful things she wanted them to know. She would tell them of her own experiences and those of the family. She told them many of the stories from the Bible about the Savior and the Prophets. These were wonderful times and the children learned many truths from her on these occasions. Grace had been baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on 5 December 1894, when she was 18 years old. She had a love of the gospel and an abiding faith which was shown by her activity in the church. She was always leading the way for her children to follow.

When Walter Ilith was only about three weeks old, he contracted whooping cough, which had been brought home from school by the older boys. They all had it, but the baby was nearly lost as he was so tiny and would go into spasms when he started coughing. Grace would rush with him outside onto an open porch, as it seemed to be the only thing that brought him out of the spasms was the shock of the cold air. Grace always wrapped him well to take him outside. He finally got over it through the administrations of the Elders, who had been called in.

As memories flood back to her children, Grace is seen in the “white-topped Studebaker buggy” going to town or off to see a neighbor in need. She would wrap the reins around the whip-stock, then put them back in the holder and as the horses trotted along she would be busily knitting or crocheting, occasionally turning the horses when needed. The children never remember seeing her hands idle. Even when walking, she had a little crocheted bag she carried on her arm to hold her thread and she worked as she walked along. She was a person who couldn’t be idle and was a most adept person and could do several different things at one time. Her interest in others and her desire to help others was very evident during the First World War when she knitted socks and sweaters for the soldier boys fighting in Germany and France. She knitted many a sweater and pairs of socks for these brave boys overseas. She also always knitted Hugh Thompson’s (Hugh Thompson Rowley) socks, and he would never wear anything else but her knitted socks.

[1] Make (a decorative mat or edging) by tying knots in thread and using a small shuttle to form lace.

To Be Continued…

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