History of EMELINE PHOEBE CURTIS MINER
Grandmother -----BY LAUREL MINER DICKSON.
A beautiful Dresden China figurine reminds me of my fathers
mother. Her naturally curly, jet-black hair,, always parted in
middles waved neatly down each side of her head and was pinned
a bob at the nape of her neck. She told us she had Cherokee Indian
blood in her "from way back." In her dark brown eyes
there was a
twinkle of humor mixed with tender love and affections Her satiny
smooth, skin was pallid, almost transparent. Her face mirrored
sympathy, compassion, understanding, and an inner beauty of peace.
Her clothes showed good taste and were becoming. The dresses
she wore were of the waist and skirt type, with a belt that buckled
in the front. A favorite breast pin, which adorned the high-necked
waists, was an exquisite oval-shaped cameo, a luxurious rarity
pioneer women. Most of her dresses were dark colored and all
floor length, It was quite improper to show the ankle in her
An occasional white waist broke the monotony of the drab colored
Skirts. The Sunday dresses were trimmed with beading, velvet
lace, and rows of tiny tucks, ruffles, and frills. She was up
the minute in style.
Emeline Phoebe Curtis was born at Golden Point, Illinois,
Hancock County, December 6, l844. Her father was Uriah Curtis,
mother, Phoebe Martin Curtis. She was the youngest child of a
family of seven: Elsa Ann, Erastus, Eliza Jane, Lehi, Uriah Martin,
Mary Melinda, and Emeline Phoebe.
When she was a child of eight years old, she crossed the plains
with her parents and brothers and sisters. Her father, Uriah
was Captain of the Sixteenth Company of Emigrants, He was in
of a company of Saints from Pottawattamie County, Iowa, numbering
about 365. which had been organized by Elder Jedediah M. Grant,
24, 1852. A few days later they left the Missouri River, The
arrived in Salt Lake City on October 1, 1852. No information
found concerning their stay in Salt Lake City. The Journal histories
of 1855 states that Uriah Curtis was on the committee for the
of the celebration of the 24th of July 1855 in Springville, Utah.
His family lived in Springville for a number of years. Then they
moved to Curtisville which was near pandtown, now known as Salem,
The Deseret News of October 24, 1863 gives the following account
Pandtown; Uriah Curtis son of Joseph and Elsie Curtis died of
fever October 18, 1863. He was born May 5, 1805 at Stephen Town,
Kenzler County, New York. He was baptized July 7, l831 by Solomon
Hancock in Fountain County, Indiana. He gathered with the Saints
Jackson County, Missouri in the fall of l932. They were driven
there by our enemies. He passed through all the persecutions
the Saints that gathered at Nauvoo, and from there to the Great
Lake City in 1852. He was true in the faith until the end."
by Erastus Curtis, son of Uriah. Uriah is burled at Salem, Utah.
Grandmother grew to be an attractive brunette. Accomplished
in the practical arts, her skills were varied and many: carding
spinning, weaving, sewing, cooking, at infinitum. She had a very
beautiful singing voice and often sang solos.
An industrious, courageous, tall, light complexioned young
from Springville, Utah, courted the pretty brunette. On February
24, 1861, Mormon Miner and Emeline Phoebe Curtis ware married
They went through the Endowment House November 2,1867.
Early in the Spring of 1861 the young couple moved to Fairview
Sanpete County, Utah then called North Bend. Here they endured
hardships and deprivations of the early settlers. They knew what
was to be hungry, cold and fearful of the marauding, treacherous
Their daily rations were often supplemented by sego lily bulbs,
wild currants, and berries from the hawthorn bushes, which grew
They lived within the old rock fort. This was an enclosure
the wily Indians. A rock wall ten feet high and about two feet
was built on the north, east and west sides. The South side was
in the summer of 1859.
There was a community, cattle and sheep herd, which fed along
valley as far north as Indianola. The Indians caused much trouble,
stealing and killing the animals. Several men were killed by
Indians as they guarded the herd.
In 1660 Mormon Miner helped guard the northern-end of the
Valley against Indians and renegade whites following Johnstons
Army. The soldiers helped to build the road up Thistle Canyon
of Thistle Junction, and commemorating this service, different
still bear the names of Soldiers Summit, Soldier Dugway,
One early morning in the Spring of 1852, the settlers awakened
find the Indians had driven off a large number of their horses.
was Immediately formed to find and recover them. The horses had
driven up Fairview Canyon., The men followed the tracks until
to a place in the Canyon where the Indians had stopped to rest
They recovered most of the horses. The Indians had cleared out,
behind one sick man huddled under a bush. Some of the white men
suggested that they kill the Indian. Grandfather said: No
not do that. We will take him home with us, and he may get well.
they did. In a short time the Indian was well and was given his
About a year later Grandfather and another man were standing
night watch inside the fort. It was after midnight, and the two
had made the rounds and met in the center of the enclosure as
Both men had noticed the uneasiness of the stock. Little did
realize that at that very moment two treacherous Indians were
behind a "critter" with their guns leveled on Grandfather,
opportunity to kill him.
Grandfather said to his partner, "Somebody, must be getting
Shortly afterward the cattle quieted down, and everything
right the rest of the night.
Some years later a group of Indians came to Fairview. This
after the Black Hawk War, and the Indians were friendly. One
Indians came to see Grandfather and asked. "You 'member
white men want to kill? You do not let them?"
"Yes", answered Grandfather.
"You 'member d-a-r-k" night you guard cattle in
rock fort? You
think some one there?"
"Yes, I remember that very well", said Grandfather.
Then the Indian said: "Me and another Indian behind cow
to shoot. When you say Some one damn close me know
your voice. you
save my life. I save you. 'we go the way we got in.
That Indian was always grandfathers friend.
The Black Hawk War took Its toll In Fairview. Because of the
of three men in March, 1866, Brigham Young warned the settlers
Fairview to move to the Fort at Mt. Pleasant.
With the arrival of the State Troops in June 1866, some of
militia were posted in each town, and the people returned to
in the fall of that year.
Grandfather had homesteaded and cleared the eastern half of
City block cater-cornered from the rock fort where the Fairview
Coop now stands. His property was the eastern half of the block
between Main and first streets East, and first and Second South
When it was safe to build houses outside the fort, he built
room adobe house on the southeast corner facing the east. The
were made by hand; they were reinforced by mixing straw with
mud, put in wooden molds to shape them, then dried in the sun.
On the northern part of this property, facing First South,
Brothers had a general merchandise and food store. Business was
through barter and exchange, for the most part. Butter, eggs,
grain, coal, lumber, meat, and so forth were exchanged for the
commodities of stock and trade. An alloy metal was used for temporary
money with Miner Brothers inscription on it, When they went out
business, I remember father taking a leather bag of this money
it into the fire, where it melted into fantastic shapes.
To the west of Town and about one and a half miles south.
Miner had homesteaded 150 acres, which extended east of the present
highway and across west to the hills. The western part was swamp
with the San Pitch River running through it. This later was known
Miner Brothers Farm. There also Was a Miner Brothers Creamery
When relations with the Indians became peaceful, the family
in a little shack at Indianola for a few months. While there,
learned the Indian language.
Emeline, as she was lovingly called, was the mother of thirteen
Children, nine boys and four girls. Of this number seven boys
girls grew to adulthood, the others dying in infancy or childhood.
were Martin Mormon, Erastus, Albert Uriah, Phoebe Ann, Mary Rosalee,
Melvin Orson, Homer Franklin, Ernest Leroy, George Dolaze, Laurette
Emeline Lester Curtis, Lee Ross, and Louie Merle.
As the family increased, a larger home was necessary. During
early eighteen seventies, Andrew Christiansen and John DeFries
the large white rock house on the same lot where the adobe house
At that time it was the grandest home in the County, a stately,
structure two stories high, towering above all the other houses
town. The walls were about two feet thick. When a child, I climbed
up and sat very comfortably in the wide window ledges.
The beautiful white limestone rock was quarried in Stone Quarry
just north of Fairview, Stone cutter Christiansen, a skilled
cut, dressed, and faced each stone. Andrew Christiansen was born
in Denmark; May 15, 1842, and died in Fairview in January 1880.
from the nearby swamps were dynamite to get the walls down, and
the plaster hung in great sheets. This stood on the corner of
now 85 E. 2nd S. Street, Fairview Utah.
The warm, cozy kitchen was the largest room in the house.
double duty. as It was also used as dining room, a general congregating
or family room as well as kitchen. The huge Majestic Coal Range
as cook stove and heater. A brightly polished copper tea kettle,
always sat atop the stove, sang merrily through, the years. The
table, was large enough to seat a dozen people, and there were
accommodate all. In front of the east window was an Invitingly
handmade lounge. In her declining years Grandmother used this
She would often say "I feel so bad" and Aunt Louie,
a small child
would say, "I feel so bad."
A magnificent large oak bureau stood along the south wall
door which led into her attractive and peaceful bedroom. At the
of the bureau a door opened to a long, straight, steep stairway
you ascended to reach the floor above. From an oblong hallway
doors opened into three roomy upstairs bedrooms.
The spacious parlor, located in the southeast corner of the
displayed an array of lovely furnishings. A carpet made of rags
that had been dyed pretty bright colors, woven in strips a yard
and sewed together by hand covered the floor from wall to wall.
was the padding underneath, and it would crunch and crackle as
upon it. At the east side of the room, under the window, was
red plush sofa, and two matching chairs with white china casters;
stood on either side of the sofa.
The north wall displayed an intricately carved table covered
a large white throw. On the top of the table, a large dome-shaped
covered a delightful bouquet of flowers made of chenille and
was a bright spot that gave color and cheer. In the evening the
was pushed back, and a large kerosene lamp sent forth a bright
light. The round bowl that contained the oil was decorated with
painted red roses. Small crystal pendants hung from the base
neck. The glass chimney was kept spotlessly clean and polished.
soft light from the tubular wick filled the room with golden
On the wall above the table hung an exquisite piece of art, a
showing the result of skilled needlework. An elegant reed organ
found its place at the west side of the room. Against the south
was a dignified and tall secretary, imposing in its grandeur.
platform rocker and a Nantucket high back rocker chair found
places in this
lovely room. From the four windows hung long, white, fancily
lace curtains. This old fashioned parlor was not used every day.
me it was the most elegant room I had ever been in. My cousin
said to me. "0nce when I was a little girl, Aunt Louie took
the parlor and let me touch each thing in the room; then we came
and the door was closed," Most of the furniture was brought
the plains by ox team and wagons. After grandmothers passing,
Mary Lee, shipped this beautiful furniture to Salt Lake City
it there. The Storage warehouse burned, and all of the furniture
lost in the fire.
Another kitchen door opened to the east onto a large front
enclosed by a carved fence railing. To the South a swinging gateway
led down a slightly winding stairs into a cool, clean cellar,
similar to our basements of today. Here all kinds of food were
On a long tables pans of milk were set to cool so the cream
rise. This was skimmed off and churned into butter. Many times
have helped to churn the cream by constantly pulling the dasher
down from the tall barrel-shaped churn. The cool buttermilk was
to drink. The golden butter was very tasty on grandmothers
salt-rising bread. Sometimes we had wild currant jelly or ground
preserves to eat on the bread.
Grandmother was an excellent cook. Her pioneer dishes might
suit the connoisseurs taste of today. Thickened milk, called
dick was made of tiny lumps of moistened flour cooked into
milk. It was served as first course with just plain milk, second
course with sugar and milk, or third course with cinnamon and
Butter mush, sweet soup, and vinegar pies are but a few of the
dishes she cooked. All were wholesome; tasty, and satisfying,
no adulterations or preservatives to dull the body or mind.
Her sense of humor was piquant, refreshing and delightful;
was an Emily Post of her day. In a gently soft voiced way she
say things which never hurt, but usually brought a burst of laughter.
One day, while eating the noon day meal, Grandfather was guzzling
food, and in her clever, kind way, she said; "For heavens
Pa, don't eat so much like a horse." Grandfather leaned
back in his
chair, and his impetuous, jovial laughter resounded throughout
One early morning, while the family knelt in prayer, by their
chairs which surrounded the kitchen tables grandfather was saying
customary morning prayer. A loud knock came to the front kitchen
made by the crooked cane of an old Indian Squaw. Grandfather
on long and loud. The knocking continued; grandfather persistently
praying and the Indian persistently knocking. It seemed to be
of endurance. Finally Amen was said. Grandmother, whose patience
bad long since ceased, went to the door and saw the Indian woman,
was a busybody and who bad previously made a nuisance of herself
numerous occasions. There was an unmistakable ring of authority
Grandmother's voice as she spoke to the Indian in her own language.
She said, "We were talking to the Great White Spirit; now
yourself away in a hurry or Ill set the dog on you, and
your hinder off." The Indian's retreat was not slow. Turning
Grandfather, Grandmother said, "Pa, where is your reverence?
that words without thoughts never to heaven go." Although
not a large woman, she never minced words with any one. She had
the wind out of both of their sails, and justly so.
Her quips, quotes, anecdotes, and original sayings, for which
shall long be remembered, always fitted the situation at hand.
boys came to the door with muddy feet, a good natured reminder
"Bestus, clean your boots."
"Pride is painful", she would say when the girls
having their hair curled and combed.
"When you dance you pay the fiddler.
"Thanks be to ye, Pat, for doin me that."
This is the complete Irish Ditty:
Thanks be to ye, Pat,
For doin me that,
May the blessings upon ye be big.
At the great judgment day
To the widder Ill say,
Mrs. Flanagan, here's your pig."
The lack of normal intelligence was: "He was hit over
with a hand spike", or, "He's a shingle or a button
short." The favored
one was, "The blue hens a chicken.
Inquiring about a foul deed, she'd say: "How come Your
without your face being scratched?"
When Uncle Mel was about three years old, a man named John
pretending to buy his baby brother Frank. Mel was pleased with
idea, but as Johnny walked out of the door with the baby wrapped
new blanket, Mel said :"Bring back the blanket Johnny."
articles were loaned, it was always "Bring back the blanket,
"Your honey tastes of the bee-bread", was the remark
was an off colored flavor to food.
On choosing associates, she said: "Remember, birds of
She wrote poetry of noble verse, filled, with human kindness
She did not have opportunity of schooling beyond the Fifth
Reader, However, she was well versed in the three R's, Reading,
The wisdom she had was reflected in the wise, gentle, just
kind way she raised her family, showing as much refinement and
as was possible in those rugged frontier days, Her sons worshipped
her and tried hard to be the ideal she expected them to be.
The young ladies of the town would say, "You might as
out with the Miner boys mother as with them. They tell
that is done or said." One late, stormy night, perhaps it
early morning, two of her boys were later than their customary
in returning home. Upon their arrival, they found their mother
at her bedside, praying for their safe return home. It was an
established custom for her boys to kiss her good-night when they
been out, then she knew if they had been drinking.
Grandmothers greatest desire was for her children to
and get a good education. Most of them attended the B.Y. Academy
at Provo. Five of the seven sons filled missions for the Latter-day
Uncle Martin was well over six feat tall, dignified and stately.
He filled his mission in Iowa. Ernest and Lester both went on
missions. Ernest Miner was in the Hawaiian Mission for seventeen
His wife and eldest daughter Odetta died while there. Three of
boys became school teachers, and one was County Superintendent
Schools for two terms. Aunt Mary Miner Lee was a very successful
milliner. Aunt Louie helped her. Louie had a beautiful singing
voice, played the organ, and was very artistic in Interior decorating
Uncle Frank was very kind and gentle, He seemed to know just
how to help and to please his mother. He didn't go away to school,
but stayed home and helped to care for his mother in her declining
years. Uncle Ernest also helped care for her in her declining
Uncle Mel was always so jolly and very spiritual. When in the
Field at Texas he was tied to a telephone pole and black-whipped,
only one small black and blue mark was visible on his body.
I shall always remember Uncle George, who had such beautiful
Black, curly hair. No one in the town could play the harmonica
Well. At the Mormon Miner family reunion. July 24,1960, at the
of 82, he played two harmonica numbers.
Uncle Martin's and Fathers first suits were made of
Grandfather sheared the wool from the sheep. Grandmother washed,
Dyed, and carded the wool into rolls about the size of your fingers,
it into thread, then wove it into cloth on a hand loom and tailored
their suits by hand.
At Albert (A. U.'s funeral Prof. B.F Larsen said the three
distinguished boys of Sanpete County were Allie (or A.U., Mel
Ernest Miner. Dressed in their long frock or Prince Albert coats,
white vests, cravats, and shining silk top hats, they were three
One of the highlights of my childhood days was riding in "the
surrey with the fringe on top," This pleasure carriage had
and two seats, both facing forward. There were steps to step
get into it. The broad seats were of buttoned leather, on each
of the front seat was a square wrought-iron case holding a glass
which held candles. A deep Fringe hung gracefully from the top,
blowing and dancing in the wind. Two sleek horses trotted lively,
drawing the carriage along the dusty road.
In winter time, when snow was about four feet deeps dappled
pulling sleighs, with sleigh bells jingling as we road over the
of fences, made life merry.
When the children married, most of them lived, within a radius
one block from the old home. Martin and Mel lived in two houses
across the street, and to the South. Mary lived in the first
Albert in the house across the street east, Frank in the next
Ernest north one block and east. George, Lester and Louie were
married until after their mother had passed from this sphere
Every morning she would visit her children to see what she
do to help, and to give advice. She was trained in the medical
of the day. She expected everyone to have the house work well
way, if not entirely completed, by ten A.M. She was always willing
to lend a helping hand when needed.
Though Grandmother was a frail woman, she withstood the rigorous
pioneer life with courage and fortitude. She had contracted tuberculosis
of the lungs from her mother. It was not active until the later
her life. At this time hired help was hard to get and difficult
to pay for,
as a result she continued to do her own
house work when she was not physically strong. She would often
"I am treading on the wine press alone." a Bible
expression She was
a student of the Bible, with a deep abiding faith in God. During
the long years of her affliction, she was ever patient and cheerful.
Through her meticulous and immaculate care of herself. I know
one to whom she transmitted this dreaded, infectious, communicable
As the days passed, her strength began to wane. She became
All medical help was of no avail Bromo Seltzer would bring
some relief. If I remember correctly, she used 66 bottles during
years of her Illness. On February 8th, 1905, her blithe spirit
her frail body and passed to realms beyond. She left a rich heritage
to her family and a large posterity. At this writing, In June
It number 13 children, 69 grandchildren, 179 great grand children,
108 great-great grandchildren, equaling a posterity of 568 descendents.
She was buried in the upper cemetery at Fairview, Utah.
Church Records; Aunt Mame-Mrs. M.0. Miner; Uncle Lester Curtis
Uncle George DeLaze Miner; Prof. & Mrs. B.F. Larsen; Mr.
Arden F. Miner;
Mrs. Maurine Seely Miner; Mr. Glen B. Miner; Mrs. Verda M. Ashman;
Ora M. Snyder: Mrs. Lela De St. Jeor; Mrs. Jessie M. Colvin;
Miners autobiography; My own recollection, Mrs. Laurel
Mrs. Kate B. Garter, whose husband Is a descendent of Polly Miner
Tombstones In the Fairview City Cemeteries; Dates & Genealogy
Floyd Miner, Journal History Dec. 31, 1852 & roster; Deseret
24, 1863; Journal History - 1855, July 24; Souvenir program of
City Centennial Celebration, June 1959. Church Emigration - 1849
1857 - Vol. 11.
Added, by Melvin Edwin Miner, grandson of Mormon and Phoebe
of Martin Mormon and Evelyn Brown Miner:
When I was a child I used to visit my grandmother Miner almost
every day. She would ask me to gather the eggs for her, and each
I was rewarded for my efforts with one egg, with which I was
to go to the store and buy candy. And I always received a large
of candy for one egg. Sometimes I would find a nest that had
hidden away by the hens, and I would be rewarded, with an extra
such a find. So I spent a good deal of my time and alertness
trying to find the hidden nests.
I can always remember the salt -rising bread grandmother baked
every day. Many times she has torn the "heel" from
the warm bread
and filled It with butter and honey, to my great delight.
I, too, knew of her great suffering from tuberculosis, and
great care that she should not pass It on to those of us who
near to her. She was most careful to keep small cloths In her
and when she coughed, she did so Into one of these rags, putting
Immediately Into the stove and burning it.
I always felt that she had a very special and tender feeling
me because I was the youngest, and so young, at the time of my
father death. My father was her eldest child.