• “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. Dr. Suess

Thursday, February 9, 2012


On 9 February 1899, in Alpine Arizona, my father's grandmother died tragically. Some family records state that, "Viola died in childbirth, when the midwife tried to rupture her water but punctured her bladder instead. Both mother and baby died."

I am so grateful for the medical miracles, medicines, technology, Doctors, nurses, and midwives that have helped my children arrive safely. So many unexpected things can occur so suddenly as lives hang in the balance during childbirth. 

In a short history, compiled by Mary H. Oviatt and Catherine D Hudson in 1965, I learned additional information about these courageous frontier women - both the expectant mother and the midwife that assisted. Stories and information for the short history were collected from Tom Hatch's children, Chloe, Victor, Norah, Della, Reed, and Grant, and recorded by Marie D Templeman. They also acknowledge the journal of Lorenzo Hill Hatch as a source of information.

" Each time a baby was due, it was Tom's duty to see that the team was ready to be hitched at a moment's notice to get Sister Jepson, who acted as doctor. It is hard to say to which the time seemed longest ... to the ones making the trip, or to the mother at home alone. Once when they entered they were greeted by the cry of the new baby - Victor."

I realized that the midwife was not inexperienced or foolish, and that she was doing the best she could when some unknown [to us] factor occurred. I also realized that a previous baby had been delivered safely before that midwife could come.

"In 1897, Tom embarked on a large business venture [cutting timber for mine props] on the Blue River, so he would have to work there. [ The Blue River arises near Alpine and flows south into the San Francisco River just upstream from Clifton Arizona] ... He had twenty-five six-horse teams working for him, and was doing a business of about three thousand dollars a month. He did very well for a while, but tragedy entered his life when he received word that his wife, Viola, was critically ill at home. He lost no time in returning and obtained a doctor."
Special thanks to Tom Todd on Find a Grave for this photo

Viola is buried in Alpine, Apache County, Arizona.

My father's mother, Chloe, was 13 years old. Viola left her husband, Thomas Hatch, with seven children to care for.

about fall 1894
back row l-r : Thomas Hatch, Victor held by 
       Viola Melissa Pearce, Thomas Layfayette [Faye]
front row l-r: Chloe, Catherine [Kate],  Lorenzo[Wren], Mary
A journal of her father-in-law, Lorenzo Hill Hatch, records,"Thomas ... and his seven motherless children visited in Woodruff.  My sympathies were touched very much. All of them are bright and as good as could be expected. He [Thomas] was a-going to leave two of them with us, but the oldest girl [Chloe] of thirteen said she could not sleep if she did not have them where she could care for them.”
I note in this short passage that the children were 'bright and as good as could be expected' during this visit to their grandparents. I also notice that the oldest child is kindly caring about her siblings. I like to think that she learned such kindness and diligence from her parents.

I attribute much of my desire to be more Christ like to my Grandma Chloe's influence.  She was a very kind, gentle person. Did she learn that from her mother?

What life habits and ways of living did your mother or grandmother teach you? If you could teach an important concept or ideal to your child what would you want them to learn? How would you teach it?

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