History: Grace Davis

Grace was simple, plain, and cheerful in her living and manners — she was generous, hospitable and kind in her nature — a true and devoted wife and Latter-Day Saint. She and Hugh Thompson loved each other very much and showed it in many endearing ways that gave their children a feeling of security such as many children never know. These worthy parents tried very hard to teach their children the importance of obedience in their lives and respect for the rights of others. Grace taught her children by example rather than by precept alone, and her example was fine and noble. She always expressed the desire that all her children would live good lives, go on missions, be honest, honorable and upright. She was never heard to use profanity of any kind, nor tell an off-color story or joke. Her children always tried to follow in her footsteps and tried to have been as worthy an example as she.

Grace never had much of this world’s goods, yet she left a heritage greater than any worldly wealth — a knowledge that this is the divine Gospel of Jesus Christ and a desire to serve Him!

By S. T. Perry

They brought home the portrait last night to me;
On the parlor wall it is hung.
I gave to the artist a picture small,
Which was taken when she was young.
It’s true to life; and there’s a look in the eyes,
I never saw in another.
And the same sweet smile that she always wore.
‘Tis my good, old fashioned Mother.

The hair in the picture is wavy and dark.
‘Twas taken before she was gray.
And the same short curls at the side hang down,
For she always wore it that way.
Her hand on the Bible, easily rests.
As when with my sisters and brothers,
I knelt at her knee, reciting my verse,
To my good old fashioned Mother.

Her dress, it is plain and quite out of style.
Not a puff or ruffle is there.
And no jewels or gold glitter and shine,
She never had any to wear.
Ambition for wealth, or love of display,
We could not even discover,
For poor in spirit and humble in heart,
Was my good old fashioned Mother.

Her life was crowded with work and with care,
How did she accomplish it all?
I do not remember she ever complained,
And yet she was slender and small.
Motives of live that were selfish or wrong,
With Christian grace did she smother.
She lived for her God and the loved ones at home.
My true, good, old fashioned Mother.

The years if her life were only three score,
When the messenger whispered low,
“The Master has come and called for thee”
She answered, “I’m ready to go.”
I gaze alone on her portrait tonight.
And more than ever I love her.
And thank the Lord that he gave to me
Such a good, old fashioned Mother.

Martin Luther has said:

“When Eve was brought unto Adam, he became
filled with the Holy Spirit and gave her the
most sanctified, the most glorious appellations.
He called her Eve. That I smother. He did not call
her wife, but simply Mother — Mother of all
living creatures. In this consists the glory and most
precious ornament of women.”

President David O. McKay tells us:

“Motherhood is the greatest potential influence either for
good or ill in human life. The mother’s image is the first
that stamps itself on the unwritten page of a young
child’s mind. It is her caress that first realization of affection;
her sympathy and tenderness, the first assurance that
there is love in the world. True, there comes a time when
Father takes his place as exemplar and hero of the growing
boy and in the latter’s budding ambition to develop manly traits,
he outwardly seems to turn from the more gentle and
tender virtues engendered by his mother. Yet that
ever-directing and restraining influence implanted during that
first years of his childhood linger with him and permeate
his thoughts and memory as distinctively as perfume
clings to each particular flower.

“In more than one instance in his life of fiery youth, this
lingering influence has proved a safeguard in the hour
of temptation — an influence greater in its restraining power
than the threat of the law of the land, the ostracism of
society, or the fear of violating a command of God. In a
moment of youthful recklessness the youth might defy one
or all of these forces, and so what his hot-blood bade, but
at the critical moment, the flash of a mother’s confiding
trust, the realization of her sorrow if he fail to be true to
it have given him power to refrain from indulgence that
might blight his entire career.”

-The End-


History: Grace Davis

David William married Lillian Alcorn in Chinook on 14 July 1927. They were married by the Branch President, W.B. Peterson.

In November 1928, one of Grace’s cherished dreams came true when Verda May, her only daughter, received a call to go on a mission. Her heart sank, however, when she found out that Verda May had been called to the Central States — which included the South. She had had a friend who had gone to the South, contracted Malaria fever and had suffered the rest of her life from it. Verda May finally convinced her that she’d be all right. Verda May’s faith was such that she knew she’d be all right as her call had come through inspiration and the Central States was where she was needed. Grace, however, was never entirely convinced until Verda May came home again — as well as when she left.

Shortly after her return from her mission of twenty months, Verda May started going with Bert Lund Murphy, who also had just returned from a mission to the North Central States Mission. They were married 17 December 1930 in the Alberta Temple at Cardston, Canada, by President Edward J. Wood. On 13 October 1935, they were set apart as Presidents of the MIA and served until 6 April 1941, when Bert Lund was set apart as the Branch President of the Harlem Branch.

On 21 December 1933, Emerson Adis, Hugh Thompson, and Grace left Montana for Idaho Falls. This trip was always thought of as taking a honeymoon, as they never had one. They arrived in Idaho Falls on the 22 or 23 of December. Emerson Adis let Hugh Thompson and Grace take his car and he stayed in Idaho Falls. As Emerson Adis recalls, his folks truly acted like newlyweds. As he thinks back over the years, this occasion has always given Emerson Adis a glow of satisfaction and a good feeling, as it was the only time that Hugh Thompson and Grace were able to get away together for any length of time and enjoy themselves, free from worries of making a living.

Emerson Adis married Sarah Marie Alderson, 19 August 1934 in Chinook, Montana. She was the daughter of Authur Alderson and Gladys Violet Demon.

Grace’s health kept getting worse and finally the doctor told Hugh Thompson that she needed an operation for the goiter, and that she didn’t want it done in Montana and if she wanted to go to Idaho, for him to let her go. So about the middle of February 1935, Hugh Thompson, Walter Ilith, and Verda May took her by car to Idaho Falls. She lay in the hotel room for about two weeks while the doctor waited for her to rest and get ready for the operation. On the last day of February, she was operated on while Walter Ilith and Verda May were sent to Shelley, Idaho to get Hugh Thompson’s sister, Annie (Harriet Ann ‘Annie’ Rowley). After the operation, she had to have a second one for she began bleeding internally. Her strength was not sufficient to stand this strain and she passed away at 9:00 am the morning of 1 March 1935, which was Aunt Annie’s Birthday.

Funeral services were held at the Wood’s Mortuary. Grace had always wanted to be among her friends and relatives in Idaho. Montana was never really her home. A large crowd came to show their love and respect for her at the services. Her body was held and interred in the Harlem Cemetery, Plot 16.

To be continued…

History: Grace Davis

When school opened in 1924, Emerson Adis and Verda May went into Chinook to go to High School. Verda May was in her third year and Emerson Adis was in his first. Walter Ilith went to a country school called North Yantic, which was near their home. Earl and Vera Murphy, and Emerson Adis and Verda May rented a small house and batched. Verda was unable to start at the beginning, as Grace needed her to cook for beet men. She was six weeks late, but made her grade.

On 9 September 1925, Hugh Francis married Erma Thornton. The ceremony was performed by the Justice of the Peace, Mr. Harold Ziebarth and they moved in with the family as Hugh Francis was helping his father on the farm.

In the fall of 1925, Verda May started High School in Chinook, but in the latter part of October she suddenly took ill. After spending a couple of days at home, she was taken to the Sacred Heart Hospital in Havre and spent a day under observation. On 13 October 1925, she was operated on for appendicitis by Dr. J. S. Almas. She was in the hospital for three weeks as stitch abscesses developed. Just before Christmas, Grace, who was so homesick, decided to go to Idaho for a visit. It was decided that Verda May would go with her. They arrived there two days before Christmas, just in time for Grace to attend her Grandfather’s (Reuben Coles) funeral.

Verda May came home in April 1926, in time to help her sister-in-law with the family’s move to the Charles Christensen ranch, Southeast of Zurich. Soon after, however, they found that they could not get along with the landlord, so they packed up again — moving to the Roy Colgrove farm. Grace missed the short time they lived at the Christensen place, as she was still in Idaho. She came home in June to the second new home. They rented this place for two years.

Moving again!! It seemed as though moving was all they every did — but this time Hugh Thompson bought the 160 acres of very good farm land known as the Jake Everett place, and that was the last move for them. They moved there in the spring of 1927, after Hugh Thompson had built another log house.

This home put them in the Harlem Branch and the church house had been placed on the northwest corner of the farm before Hugh Thompson bought it. It was just across the ditch from their orchard and garden. This made it very convenient to attend all services, conferences, and recreational activities which were held. They enjoyed this very much and being that close, they did the janitorial work as well.

Once more Grace had the opportunity of becoming active in the Relief Society. She didn’t spare herself in trying to make a success of bazaars, plays, dinners, singing groups, compassionate services, visiting the sick and needy, taking fresh vegetables, fruit, baked goods, and whatever she had to share with those who were in need and less fortunate. She was very handy with her hands and did much knitting, crocheting, and embroidery work. One thing she did love to do was to set quilt blocks together and quilt them. She did many. She was a counselor to the President, Gladys Johnson with Maude Munsee as the second counselor, for about seven years. She was set apart 5 February 1928 and served until her death in 1935.

To be continued…

History: Grace Davis

On 7 April 1924, David William and a cousin, Hugh Galloway, arrived in Lohman, Montana on the freight train with the stock and furniture. They borrowed a wagon from Mr. A. S. Lohman, the man from whom Hugh Thompson had rented the farm, and they soon had the furniture and stock unloaded from the box car and moved to the farm, which was only a couple miles from the town. Mary Galloway, Hugh Galloway’s wife, and Verda May arrived on the train the same morning at Chinook and after they spent the day at the hotel, Mr. Lohman picked them up and took them out to the ranch where David William and his cousin were waiting for them.

Hugh Thompson, Hugh Francis, Emerson Adis, and Walter Ilith came by car. They stopped in St. Anthony, Idaho where Hugh Thompson took some treatments for cancers on his face, caused by blows he had received as a young man. They spent two or three days in St. Anthony, then came on to Montana arriving the following week. Grace got to Lohman in the middle of May. As soon as the family was all together again, they found the closest place where they could attend church was at Zurich, as they had a small branch there. It was about twenty miles from Lohman, but they did manage to attend a few times that first summer.

Although Grace was good about concealing her feelings, the family knew she was unhappy in Montana. Verda May caught her in tears more than once and though she never explained the tears, Verda May knew she was lonely and missed her friends and loved ones left behind in Idaho. The first year in Montana didn’t help Grace feel any better, either. In fact it was most discouraging. They had lovely weather, but there were too many little “winged entertainers” which made life miserable — especially the mosquitoes. Every time anyone went outside, it was necessary to put on a wide brim straw hat from which a net veil hung down around the shoulders. A cloud of the miserable little creatures followed everywhere you went. Even the horses and cows were not immune. They were literally covered with mosquitoes out in the fields and had to have nose bags on all the time, especially towards evening. To the Rowley’s, who had always loved to be outside and especially enjoyed the “cool of the evening” — this part of Montana wasn’t the place to live.

The spring after they got there, they all pitched in to help get the crops in — beets, potatoes, grain and flax. Grace did more than her share of planting a large garden and caring for it mostly by herself. She also raised some chickens, having bought some brooding hens and some eggs from a neighbor.

An incident happened later in the spring of 1924 which became very amusing and gave Grace her start in the turkey business. Verda May had gone to work for a Mrs. Lillian German, who raised turkey’s and sold hatching eggs. She had ten pens with ten turkey hens in each pen. It was Verda May’s responsibility, along with other chores, to gather the eggs each night. She was given orders to never leave any eggs out overnight. To Verda May’s consternation, one evening she found 33 eggs in one nest. As badly as she hated to do it, Verda knew she had to be honest and tell Mrs. German. She really got a “scotching”, and then was told she could just as well throw them away as they were not good. On impulse, Verda May asked how much she wanted for them. Taken by surprise, Mrs. German said all for $1.50. She had been getting $2.50 per dozen. Verda May took them home and Grace put them under some hens and hatched out thirty pullets. Imagine Mrs. German’s surprise — and Verda May’s! After that, Grace raised turkeys every year and made a nice little profit on them.

To be continued…

History: Grace Davis

While living on this ranch, they belonged to the Clark Ward. It had been many years since they had had the opportunity of Ward activities. Hugh Thompson and Grace saw to it that the children benefitted from all of them — Primary, MIA, Beehive and Scouting, also attendance at Sacrament Meeting and Sunday School, and all the amusements which were available through these organizations. Hugh Thompson was drama director for a year or so while living in Clark Ward. The boys became involved in Boy Scout work, Grace in Relief Society, and Verda May became a Beehive girl. It was here, also, that Verda May became a teacher of the beginning class in Primary. She was only fourteen, but through this opportunity she began to realize what a blessing it was to be able to serve the Lord.

They also went to school there, the three older ones, Hugh Francis, David William, and Verda May, graduating from the eighth grade in a class of eleven students. Robert E. Weller was their teacher. Hugh Thompson and Grace always encouraged their children to take advantage of all the schooling they could, as well as all of the Church activities.

They moved again, this time to the Webster farm just one and a half miles west of Ririe, which they farmed only one year. This placed them in the Shelton Ward, necessitating the making of new friends and working under new conditions. That fall they rented this place and the following fall (1922-1923) Hugh Thompson, Hugh Francis, David William, and Verda May went to Lincoln to work during the Sugar Factory campaign. This was done to help supplement their budget as they didn’t make very much on the farm. Verda May cooked for boarders while the men worked in the factory. This left Grace with the younger boys to keep in school. She wasn’t very happy to have her family split up like this, but she sacrificed much and did everything to work along with her husband. She was a true “helpmate.”

Sometime during 1923, a rabid dog chased a puppy belonging to the family into the kitchen through the open door. They rolled around on the floor close to Grace and Verda May. Grace was very frightened, but also very brave. She managed to brush the dogs out of the kitchen in order to protect her daughter and herself from an obvious fate. Grace used her voice and a broom to accomplish this task. Neither of the women was bitten, but were very shaken by the experience.

In the spring of 1924, Hugh Thompson really exploded a bombshell when he announced to the family that he had decided to move to Montana. It seemed that he just couldn’t stay out of Montana. Although Grace had given her consent to the move, she was very unhappy about it. Leaving the place of her childhood, all her old friends and relatives nearly broke her heart, but true to the teachings she knew to be true that she should be a helpmate to her husband and follow his counsel and advise, she agreed to go and make another home. These moves were hard on Grace. Her health wasn’t very good and she had suffered from a goiter for many years, along with other complications.

To be continued…

History: Grace Davis

About this time, the school district was also formed and a new school house was built at the “Forks.” It was a large, one room, frame building with a blackboard all along the north side of the room and three large windows on the south side. There was one door and two windows on the east and one door on the west. It was here that all the dances were held, dancing to the fiddle and the organ. Always during the evening there was time out for one or two numbers from the “step dancers” to show their skill. During the intermission, Grace and Verda May often sang a number or two of the songs which were so popular during these years and which were not the old-time songs.

The years of 1917-1918 were the time of the “Spanish Influenza” epidemic. Very few families escaped having it and the Rowley family was no exception. Hugh Thompson was the first one to get sick, then the two younger boys and Verda May became ill. Hugh Francis and David William were away on a hunting trip and when they came home, Grace wouldn’t let them come in but talked to them through the window. They stayed with a neighbor and took care of the night and morning chores, and also the other family needs. Hugh Thompson was very ill with the flu, while Emerson Adis, Walter Ilith and Verda May had it in lesser degrees. Grace took care of all of them until Hugh Thompson was better and could see that she too was ill. Hugh Thompson told the boys to phone the doctor and have him come and take his wife to the hospital. Hugh Thompson then managed with the rest of them. They lived on onion sandwiches and hot toddies. It was quite a menu, but they survived. It was during this epidemic that Grace lost her Grandmother (Hannah Terrell) in 1918. It was a wonder that Grace didn’t get it sooner as she was always going to the aid of others, regardless of how she felt. Verda May can still remember the little white masks, saturated with antiseptic, that everyone wore over their faces when around any illness.

One Saturday, Grace and Hugh Thompson were going to Idaho Falls to do some shopping. Verda May got permission to go horseback riding. Emerson Adis and Walter Ilith were going along with Verda May and her girlfriend. The boys were riding a work horse and Margaret and Verda May were riding a former racehorse which was almost a razorback. Contrary to instructions, they used a saddle. When they started for home, the boys went ahead of them as the girls had stopped to tighten up the cinch, which felt loose. In turning the corner, the cinch broke and they were thrown to the ground, Margaret landing on top of Verda May. The boys and a neighbor caught the horse, which had stopped running when he caught up with the other horse, and brought him back to the girls and they rode him home — minus the saddle. When Grace returned home, one look at Verda May’s swollen face and she knew her daughter had disobeyed. Verda May acknowledged what she had done and Grace felt she had been punished enough. Verda May soon recovered, but her mental anguish made her vow then and there that whatever she suffered in the future would not be for disobedience to her parents.

To be continued…

History: Grace Davis

These fishing expeditions with her children were very special occasions. Being the wise mother she was, Grace took advantage of the wonderful surroundings to talk to her children about the purposes of life and the importance of doing what was right. The gospel of Jesus Christ meant a great deal to Grace and she wanted her children to learn to love it as she did. She wanted to share her strength and testimony with them and she told them often the many wonderful truths they should know. These wonderful fishing trips stand out in the memories of each of her children more than almost anything else at this time in their lives and the lessons they were taught then will never be forgotten.

As memory turns back through the years for her children, Grace can still be seen always ready to go the ‘extra mile’ in opening her home to hold services and putting the extra touches in making the home more pleasant. Many Sundays after church, she invited all who would stay, to have a pot-luck dinner. Sometimes, some of the other families would bring lunch and they’d join together and have a very pleasant day. They learned to know each other better while the children had a great time playing all the games of childhood such as catch, marbles, horseshoes, hide and seek, run-sheep-run[1], ring around the rosy, fill up the gap, and too many more to remember.

On many a clear, cold winter night, neighbors would drop by and spend the evening playing cards and having refreshments of hot chocolate and cake stirred up by Hugh Francis while the older ones played cards. Many an oyster supper was served after an evening of tobogganing, skiing, sleighing and whatever, having a wonderful time just being together and visiting.

One very amusing incident occurred when neighbors were having a watermelon feed. After waiting and enjoying their melon, one of the men present came to Grace and told her that another man, Wallace Rapp, was going to wash her face in melon. Grace stacked a pile of rinds in a convenient place and soon Mr. Rapp came up and tried to grab her. She was very strong and he couldn’t hold her. Imagine his chagrin and embarrassment when he tripped and fell to the floor and Grace proceeded to really wash his face — to the hoots and laughter of the crowd.

During the hardships and struggles of those early days on the dry-farm, the Rowley family was happy in their home. Many times, Grace would read to the children while Hugh Thompson would make a batch of “syrup” candy and they’d all join in when it came to stretching it into ropes. When it had hardened enough, they would cut it into bite size pieces to eat. What a feeling of togetherness they felt as they spent many evenings in this fashion. As they got older, David William and Verda May devoted much time to reading, but Hugh Francis read little as he was more gregarious and liked to go to all the parties and dances he could.

In 1914, the members organized a Sunday School with Roy Hulse, Hugh Thompson, and Roy Hill in the Superintendency. Grace was the secretary and Ralph Hoggan was the adult teacher. They also had a teacher for the younger children. They were small in number, but they had very spiritual meetings and the Spirit of the Gospel was instilled in their hearts.

To be continued…

[1] a game in which one group of players hide and their leader tries to guide them safely home by calling “run, sheep, run” when he thinks they can escape being caught by those searching