• “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?


Elna Campbell nee Bohne
Died: 9 February 2003.

She is my maternal Grandmother.

She was the mother of 11 children, 5 girls and 6 boys.

Her obituary tells many things about her. She had many hobbies and talents. She gave continual loving service to all around her. She volunteered in the community and the LDS church. She loved her family and the outdoors. The obituary could have filled the entire page.

But there is no way to really describe how hard she worked or her verve.

A memory may illustrate character. When I was 14 I missed my school bus by getting on a bus to another town [Hillspring where Grandma lived] with a friend.  I spent the evening with my friend and then, when her family was ready for a meal and I was not invited, I went to Grandma's. Grandma took me in, and then asked me if my mother knew where I was at. She didn't wait for an answer when I hesitated. She picked up a straw broom and chased me all the way to the store where one of the few phones in town was located and made sure I called mom.

She made sure I knew she loved me enough to smack me with that broom if I did not obey AND I was fed, given a bed for the night and put back on the bus (to school in Cardston) the next morning with some stern instructions regarding appropriate behaviors and future possibilities (and probabilities) if I ever 'ran away' again. My grandfather slipped me a 5 dollar bill when she wasn't looking - for a 'lunch downtown with my friends' he said.

Grandma bound us each to her with an exceptional balance of plain spoken, genuine love. She did it with her unique ability to focus on each as an individual.

When family gathered for a meeting the night prior to her funeral the gymnasium at the Hillspring Church was filled with her posterity - and many were not even able to attend. The next morning the family prayer was held in a full chapel. Friends and associates that came for the service had to be seated in the overflow and gym (after folding doors were opened behind the chapel).

My brother Scott spoke at her funeral. He told about her happiness in living. He talked about the joy she experienced in her love of family and the truths she found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  He reminded us of her love for each one of us and that because of Jesus Christ we will all live again someday.

She knew that. It gave her great happiness.

She also believed that because of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ her family can be together, even after death. She believed that through the sealing ordinances of the Priesthood that it is possible for families to continue their loving relationships forever.

Her greatest hope was always for her family to be loving and united. Family reunions were not saved for the year everyone could make it. They were held every year in the same location and everyone knew when and where, and that they were welcome to join the family 'camp' anytime that week - hundreds attended!

When 54 grandchildren marry and have families, numbers mount quickly. When they begin to marry, numbers increase exponentially.

One of my favorite pictures of her makes me laugh every time I see it. I wish I had a copy. She is 90 plus years old and getting around camp on a quad. What a role model!

The songs listed on her funeral program speak of her beliefs eloquently. The service opened with "O My Father" telling of God as a loving father and ended with "God Be With You Till We Meet Again".

A poem on the back of the program tells of a life well lived. A painting of Chief Mountain by her daughter, Jean - my mother, was placed on the front. This mountain is a prominent landmark in Southern Alberta. Her husband made oil paintings of it and sold them. It is an icon in the area.

In her family she is an icon. Her pervasive presence and example of determination and fortitude can be seen in  her descendants. I believe we will meet again. In my mind I imagine her bright eye piercing me through and through - sizing me up ... and then she will likely put me to work.