Mary McCain Holladay began writing her life history at least three different times. The following narrative is a transcript taken from those histories which she wrote in longhand.
Laron Waite - 2017
I was born October 27, 1895 at Sweetwater Tennessee to Albert Alexander and Rhoda Elizabeth Chamberlain.
My family in Missouri
Front: Me age 3, Father, Mother and Leoma, Back: Maybelle and Artie
I being the first child born after the Mormon missionaries was named after Elder Marion Clenger, who was staying at our house at this time. So I have been taught the gospel all my life. When very young my folks left Tennessee to come west for the church. They had only enough money to bring them to Missouri so we stopped there with one of my father's uncles, Anderson McCain, for five years. Here another baby girl was born in August 1898. They named her Leoma.
Anderson McCain and His Wife(Mary Ann?) in Cane Hill, Missouri
After Leoma was born I was burned bad. The hired lady left a fire outside where she had heated the water to wash in a big three legged black kettle, which held five gallons. I ran into the hot coals, stopped and sat down, so my feet and legs were burned bad. I had to sit in a little swing for about a week while my burns healed.
About a year later I climbed up in a high chair to reach the churn dash, which Mother had put on top of the warming oven in the cook stove. While reaching for it I fell on the hot stove. This time my hands and arms were burned and it took a long time to heal.
Anderson McCain and His Wife at Their Home in Cane Hill, Missouri
Anderson McCain's Family in Missouri.
While at uncle Anderson's place in Missouri we would swing on a swing made of wild grape vines. We also saw many turtles in a pond there and would step on their backs.
The fall I was five years old Mother was going to help father gather in the fall crops. I held onto the back of the wagon with my bare feet sliding in the dirt. I thought it was a lot of fun. Dad told me to go back to the house with the other children. I said, "No! I won't!". He handed Mama the lines, jumped from the wagon and hit my bare legs a couple of times with the big hickory willow he used for a whip to touch up the horses. That made the blood run down my legs, so I gladly went to the house. I never did again tell Father or Mama I would not do what they told me to do.
I used to ride a horse back of my mother on a side saddle and go where she had to go. My two older sisters Artie and Belle would ride a pony together. Mother held the baby Leoma on her lap. We would ride several miles this way going to neighbors.
Mother would sew all of our clothes even our underwear. She would knit all of the families stockings. She also made our quilts and other bedding. She had a feather tick that she used for as mattress for a long time.
While very small each of us children were taught to pray, taking turns each morning of night while knelling around the table before eating, also blessing the food each meal before eating. This has stayed with me all my life.
My parents worked very hard and saved money to go on to Jensen, Uintah, Utah. In the fall of 1901 we sold eveything we had except for a few clothes and took the train to Heber City, Utah. We stayed there for a couple of weeks with a family name Oyler.
Brother Archie Richardson one of the missionaries that taught our family took us from Heber to Jensen by wagon. We arrived in Jensen with only 50 cents to our name. The next day I was six years old and had my first birthday party. A good lady named Sarah Richardson, at whose home we were staying, gave this party for me. She also gave me my first money, 25 cents. How happy I was to get a new dressand other clothes and a lot of goddies to eat, which we had never been used to only at Christmas. We lived with with the Richardson family when we first got to Jensen.
Soon my father got work and we moved from Richardson's to an old log cabin on the slew banks near Johnny Jensen's place. We lived there for the winter then we moved into the Holgate house. It was a pretty nice place.
It felt good to live by ourselves and all the neighbors were good to us. We attended Sunday School and all other meetings the church held.
In May (1902) a baby brother was born. We named him John Harold. He had golden hair and blue eyes. Then we moved to another house. It was father away from church.
My father got a contract making bricks for the church house. We three oldest girls helped him. We turned all the brick to make the new church. Artie, Belle and myself did all the turning. Soon this was done and we helped make brick for the new school house, where we children all went to school. We moved five miles from the school and church house.
We had to walk to school far farther and used the team for farming. Many times we waded in snow which reached our waists. We went through snow storms so big we could barely see in front of us. Many times in the fall and spring we would take our shoes and stockings off and wade the creek, both comoing and go from school. Sometimes we would ride bare back, sometimes take the little buggy. In winter sometimes we would take the sleigh drawn by one old horse, Engine. Belle and Pet were the little mares we would ride or drive in a buggy.
Before I was eight years old I was baptized in the Green River at Jensen, Utah. When I was fourteen I was made Sunday School teacher. I sang in the choir with my father and older sisters.
I loved to dance and if father did not take us to the dances I would go with my sister Belle and boy friend. One boy she went with was Burt Wilkins, who I loved to dance with. With him I would always dance a very fast waltz. No one could dance as fast and keep up with the music like Burt and I. It was called a gallop.
When I was sixteen my parents went to the LDS temple in Salt Lake City. We were sealed to one another except one girl who went later and was sealed. My sister Belle was married at this time. It was October 2, 1912 when she was married. We had a wonderful time, only my dear little mother was very sick with blood poisoning. After getting home she got well.
This was my first trip to Salt Lake. We went by team to Price, from there we took a train to Salt Lake. We returned the same way.
I worked away a great deal of the time while growing up and going to school. I also worked in the fields a great deal for my father. We had bees and would extract the honey. We also had a big ice house. In winter we would cut huge blocks of ice from the Green River and haul them and pack them in sawdust or straw. They would be used in the summer time. My eldest sister's husband, Albert Snyder would help my father.
In the summer time they would set fish nets. They would catch hundreds of fish. I would go with my mother and help peddle these whitefish. Some were as large as twenty or thirty pounds. In summer we would help mother pick fruit at Vernal, which we would take home and can.
Me age 12
Me age 20
While I was going to school at Jensen they build a big bridge. At noon six or eight of us girls and boys would get in my buggy and go run across this big bridge, when no men were at work. We ran across two-by-twelve planks to see who was the fastest. No one got hurt, but we would be late for school sometimes. We sure had fun. I learned to ice skate on Brush Creek and Green River. I learned to shoot rabbits with a 22 rifle.
We children helped Dad set traps around a haystack in winter. The traps would catch snowshoe rabbits. Then we dried them for summer. They were delicious.
In the summer I helped herd cows on the hills west of our house. Sometimes we would take lunch and a bottle of water and stay all day. I would help milk the cows both night and morning.
One year I worked for some friends at a general store. I learned to clerk here. I also knew how to sew by now and I made some of my own clothes.
Living in a small town, on a farm, we would have parties very often. We would pop corn, parch corn and cook and pull honey candy. We played games both in and outside. My best girfriend and closest neighbor was Lynnie Rasmussen. We ofton slept at each other's home.
While going to school at the eigth grade, I quit in March to stay with my oldest sister when her baby was born on the seventeenth. It was the first baby I had ever seen born. I was very frightened. I never went to school anymore in Utah.
In June (1913) my parents sold almost everything they owned and we moved to a lower climate by team and wagon and one white-topped buggy. My sister Artie and her husband and their two children went with us. We stopped in Overton, Nevada.
On the fourth of July I went to a dance all alone. When I walked in the dance hall an old school teacher of mine from Jensen met me. He, Mr. Jarvis introduced me to everyone in the dance hall. I met a young fellow named Norman Shurtliff. I started working for him and his brother in an ice cream parlor. He also taught me to roller skate because they owned a skating rink next door to the ice cream parlor. I soon learned to love two of his sisters, Sylvie and Ellen. We were the best of pals. One New Year's Eve we, those two girls and their boy friends and Norman and myself went to Moapa in a wagon with a team to a dance and a party. We got home at daylight New Year's morning. Later on Norman and I were engaged, but some time later I broke it. I went with many young men around the valley.
Mary and William Cromwell
I became scretary-treasurer of the Primary, a Sunday School teacher an MIA officer and a choir member. There were four of us girls who sang at funerals, in church and at other events. We would go to Bunkerville and sing. We would also play basketball against the other teams there. We won both at basketball and singing. Jean Anderson, Grace Bishoff, Syble Swapp and myself. The Overton Ward put on some plays that I took part in. I was always involved in different auxillaries of the church. At one time the bishop told me that I was the most perfect tithe payer in the ward and stake.
I clerked in one of Overton's general stores with Pinkie John Bowman. The store was owned by T. W. Sloan. While working there I met a young man from Ogden, Utah, Wilbert A. Cromwell. He seemed to be a very nice fellow. He went to church all the time. We started going together and went steady for a year. Then I became engaged to him. He worked in Overton with his brother-in-law on a ranch.
I wanted him to take me to the St. George Temple to be married, but he wanted to wait and go to the Salt Lake Temple. He promised my parents that if I would marry him at home he would take me to the Salt Lake Temple, so on February 26 1916 we were married by President Willard Jones of Overton, Nevada. One week later we went to his home town Ogden. Here he went to work as a carpenter and did very well, but he would never go to church with me.
In February, 1917 I went to visit my parents and on April 2 my first baby was born in my mother's home. It was a darling 7 3/4 pound baby boy, who we named Robert Arnold. When he was three weeks old I moved to St. Thomas, Nevada where we lived until the school house was finished.
Mr. Cromwell was a carpenter on this beautiful building. When it was completed we went back to Ogden. We stayed for the winter. In the spring we moved to Salt Lake for he had got a job for the Ogden Short Line as a fireman.
In August Robert and I went to Ogden for me to have my second child, another darling baby boy, who we named Arthur Mack. He weighed 7 pounds.
Robert and Arthur Cromwell in Salt Lake City
Now we went back to Salt Lake City. In another year, to my sorrow he and I broke housekeeping up and I started to work sewing for three years, making a living for the two little boys and myself. He soon got married again. My oldest brother came to Salt Lake and brought my two boys to St. George to live with my parents. Here the boys got their schooling and graduated from junior high.
I stayed in Salt Lake to work, sending money to buy their clothes and pay their keep. I met a streetcar conductor in Salt Lake, Lloyd Holladay. We went together for several years. In July, 1932 we were married. Now my boys came to live with us and we were very happy. The boys got work and in three years I persuaded Mr. Holladay to get another job. He was driving truck.
Now sorrow hit us again. War came, The Second World War, so Robert joined because he was single, voluntering in January, 1941. Arthur was married. They had a baby boy named Richard, but they called him Butchy. When he was three, his father was drafted into the army. He became a tail-gunner in a B-17. He soon was sent oversears and was killed over Germany. But before this happened Lloyd had an accident with his truck and was killed. This was the 22nd of June, 1944. Arthur was killed September 11, 1944. Robert was in Manilla in Headquarters Division and I was in St. George with my parents for they were both ill and needed help, but to my sorrow had moved again. Robert was killed on Luzon on June 22, 1945.
Helen and Arthur Cromwell
Now I went from St. George to Salt Lake and disposed of most of my things and my home there. I came back and made my home with my mother and father in St. George. They soon were much better.
I went to work in a little grocery store for Mr. william Graff. I worked here for three years, during which time I was called to work as a counselor in Relief Society with Zetta Worthen. She was president. Annie Schmutz was the other counselor. Elfreda Thompson was secretary. This lasted for five or six years. In the meantime I was called to be an ordinance worker in the St. George Temple for two years, but I was not released until 1964.
In 1952 my parents were so ill I had to stay with them all the time. In 1954 my father passed away. Then I stayed home with my dear little mother as long as she lived for she was not well at any time. One time in the 1950 she had a stroke and was in a wheelchair for some time, but by the power of the priesthood and her great faith and the massaging I could give her she soon got over it. She could walk about as good as usual.
One time I gave her and father a dinner and invited six or seven couples from Jensen, Utah, who were here working in the temple. They had known us when we lived in Jensen. I served a big dinner to them at mother's home. While living with my parents I helped them plant gardens, for they always had gardens in the summer wherever they lived. We also planted alfalfa and wheat in the back of the lot and that fall I cur the grain with a pair of old scissors.
Each time I watered the garden or lot I would have to walk to the red hill and sometimes I would have to go there twice to get the water. This was about a two mile hike each way. Later I bought a chevrolet so I would no longer have to walk after water.
I took Mother and Father to Overton one time, the first time they had been back since they had moved away. I took them many other places as long as they lived.
In 1954 we organized a McCain and Nelson reunion. I was made president and we have had a family ever since, held once a year. We have changed this reunion now to be an organization for genealogy and I have held several offices in it. I also mad a trip to Tennessee where I and my parents were born. We also visited Missouri. I met a lot of our people who I could never remember seeing before. At one time I visited all of the LDS temples, but I have never been overseas to any of them. I have been in all of the states of the Union but Hawaii and Alaska and have done much traveling.
In Sepetmber, 1960 my mother passed away.
In 1960 I went to Montana alone to visit my grandson and his people. Again in 1964 I went July with my sister Leoma to visit her eldest girl Marie and family in Idaho and my grandson and his family in West Glacier, Montana, and in Sanford Montana, in Lewistown Montana and Sheridan, Wyoming. We had a wonderful trip and visit. We arrived home about the last of September or the first of October.
On the first of June, 1962 I moved to the Charles Sullivan apartments, then in April, 1964 I moved to the little house by itself at Sullivan apartments, but the church had bought all this property. Anne Z Aljets lives with me. I go to the temple often to do temple work. I am a Relief Society visiting teacher in the sixth ward. I have been a visiting teacher off and on for fifty years.
Mary McCain Holladay