|MARIA EMELINE MOTT|
|FIRST WIFE OF HUGH MOON|
Maria Emeline Mott was born July 22, 1823, in Ontario, Canada. She was the daughter of Abel Mott and his wife Lydia. When Maria was still a small child, her mother died. Later her father married a woman named Mary. Maria Emeline soon had several half brothers and sisters:|
CAROLINE (married Horace Washburn), ANNIE (who married Alex Trimble), CATHERINE (wife of Jacob Harrold), ABEL, ABSALOM (married Elizabeth Filer), ELLEN (wife of A. Galland), LUCINDA and JOSHUA.
The family made their home in Ontario until the latter part of the 1830's when they emigrated to Illinois where Joshua was born about 1844, members of the family joined the L.D.S. Church and moved to a farm near Montrose, Iowa.
Maria's early years were spent in helping her stepmother with home and children and in studying with her father. She was an eager reader and developed a strong mathematical and business sense. She was excellent in her care of her younger brothers and sisters, and she learned to keep a spotless house. She learned the self control and strictness which helped her rear her own family and Grandchildren with such a wonderful combination of discipline, love and humour. She learned to do fine sewing and fancy work and became an excellent cook. Her family was not wealthy and Maria learned to be frugal in all she did.
Shortly after moving to Montrose, Maria's father, Abel Mott (son of Jonathan and Eleanor Mott) died. About this time Maria met Hugh Moon, whom she always remembered as the best man God ever created. Her devotion to him was founded on his consideration for her, his hard work, and the fact that though he was a very serious man, he had a wonderfully humorous side and loved fun, dancing and music. Her joy was hearing him play his violin for dancing was second only to that of being his partner in a "set".
Hugh Moon and Maria Emeline Mott were married by Elder Thomas Cottam, August 4, 1846, at William Moss's home in Nauvoo. For a time the newlyweds lived at Montrose with Hugh's brother and sisters; John, Dorothy and Hannah, but later they moved into a log house rented from Grant Cutterback. Here their first children James Carlos and Hugh were born (James Carlos Moon is not noted in Hugh Moon's diary but is the oldest of the family according to statements of present descendants Hala Robbins Caldwell, Mabel Mower, Eunice Hobley et.al. There are conflicting statements regarding Carlos. Some records show that he was adopted when his parents died on the way to Salt Lake).
Maria was in ill health during this time, but as the disturbances in the Nauvoo area grew more serious, she and Hugh realised they must leave for the west. Illness had left the small family destitute and Maria's Uncle Hyrum Mott helped them prepare for the long trek. Hugh made his own wagon, and using livestock which Maria had bought with part of her share of her father's estate, they started in company with Moses Whittler May 15, 1848. They joined the Amasa Lyman company on July 9th, and remained with that group arriving in Salt Lake Valley Oct. 19, 1848. Maria was exhausted by the trip, most of which she had walked.
Her illness and fatigue were made more acute by the death of her small son Hugh Jr. two weeks after their arrival in the valley. Maria worked out her grief by helping Hugh build a pole and sod cabin. Here her daughters Dora Adella (Hugh's diary gives the name as Dorothy Adealie), Maria Emeline, and the twins Evaline and Angeline were born.
These were tremendously difficult years for Maria. Church authorities counselled Hugh to take more wives, and counselled Maria to permit it. Polygamy had only been whispered in Nauvoo, and Maria had not believed the whispers. They had been publicly denied long after the Salt Lake settlement. The treatment of the polygamy issue caused Maria to doubt the very foundations of the new faith. Maria refused the authorities and Hugh was in accord with her decision. To discipline them, Hugh was sent about on church business and mission work, keeping him from his business more than he was able to care for It. Hugh had set up a distillery which was a flourishing business, and he also had a factory for making bone buttons and cutlery handles. Maria's business sense was sufficient to keep them going for some time. She was able to run the distillery and keep accounts. However, Brigham Young ordered the distillery closed.
Hugh Moon took his church assignments very seriously, and felt that any sacrifice should be made for the Gospel's sake. Maria felt that no church had the right to demand so much of a man's time and goods that he was unable to support and care for his family. Thus they came to a crossroads in faith and began that part of their lives which was separate spiritually. With the distillery closed and Hugh away for weeks and months at a time, Maria raised money by breaking into her own distillery and taking the whisky to sell. In the words of Hala Caldwell:
"Grandma Maria would take my mother (Dora Adelia) to the distillery and they would climb a ladder that led to a window at the top of the gable. Grandma would let mother down into the distillery on a rope and let a five pound pail down on another rope. Mother would fill the pail with whisky, Grandma would pull it up, take it down the ladder, go back up and pull mother up. Then Grandma sold the whisky to Walker Brothers. They may have taken several pails at a time. I don't know. This was the only way she had of getting money for supplies and most of the time they ate alfalfa and bran bread only".
Finally in retaliation, chiefly against Maria, Brigham Young had the distillery dismantled and the vats and machinery hauled away.
In late 1853 and early 1854, Maria was hounded constantly on the polygamy question. Her faith was crushed by what she considered the underhanded way polygamy was practiced. The church's public statements contrasted so sharply with her own personal experiences that she was left with no respect at all for organised Mormonism.
Hala Caldwell tells her grandmother's narrative regarding the reversal of her decision of the polygamy situation. "A very dear friend of grandma's came one day and told her that her husband had been killed because of his absolute refusal to follow the commandment of the Church; that some men had brought her husband's bloody clothes and told her if she told anyone they would put her where the dogs wouldn't bite her". She told Maria to tell Hugh to follow the rule of the Church or he would have the same fate. They talked it over and decided it was the only thing in the world he could do.
In June 1854 Hugh Moon married two young girls, Elizabeth Kemmish and Jennett Nicol. Maria remembered the following years with heart-sickness. She was twice as old as the new wives. She had been burdened with nerve wrecking problems, she had borne several children and buried two of them. Her husband's explanation that he married to get male heirs galled her, her sensitivity to his attitude was doubled when she bore him two more sons, Hugh Matthias (named Hugh Alexander in the diary) and Lee Roy (called Lehi in the diary). She stayed on in Salt Lake for some time and finally moved to Farmington. When Hugh Moon was called on the St. George Mission in 1861, Maria refused to go with him. Hugh insisted on taking Carlos and five year old Hugh with him. This separation from her sons deeply pained her and further embittered her religiously. Hugh, his two young wives, their children and Maria's two sons left Salt Lake November 7, 1861, for St. George.
Maria continued on the Farmington property. Her daughters were a great help to her, and the baby Lee Roy a wonderful comfort. Maria spent her days and nights in doing sewing and fancy work for sale. At first she had difficulty in selling because she was considered somewhat of an outcast, but gradually conditions became better. The girls gathered weeds and alfalfa greens, and these of coarse bread were their chief diet.
Somehow the years passed and Hugh and the rest of the family returned to Salt Lake in 1866. Hugh brought Elizabeth and her family to the farm to live. He had spent most of life in church service. He sold most of his Salt Lake property before leaving, but had left thousands of dollars in equipment in the care of his brother-in-law. He was very upset over the disposition of his factory equipment and was left very little.
Maria moved off the Farmington property. Now Carlos and Hugh were back with her and she got along better. In the fall of 1867 Dora Adelia married Henry Nelson Robbins and they went to Malad to settle. Maria and the rest of the family followed and homesteaded in the Malad valley. While they were there, there was a jail break and as all the men were away on a cattle round-up, the women gathered at the Bradbury place which was centrally located and large. Maria noticed the prisoners sneaking toward the barn and as it was getting late she told Dora to take one gun and she took the other. The two women covered the barn exits and told the men to get out, which they did, going into the sagebrush nearby. The two women guarded the barn all night as there were horses which the men could use to escape. A stage came by and Dora told the driver that the escapees were in the area. They were caught soon after.
When Hugh Moon was dying at near-by Henderson Creek in 1870, Maria was called to him. All three of his wives were with him when he died. Maria always said that Hugh Moon was the best man in the world. She liked the two wives, hut the principle was repugnant to her. She could not believe in it and could not live with it.
Angeline married a man by the name of Almie Hall and they went to live in California. Maria went with them. The following year Clarlos, Evaline and Lee Roy went out to visit them at Visalia, Tulare County. They took a wrong turn somewhere and spent a few extra months working through the winter before they could go on. Carlos stayed in California, living with Angeline and her family, but Maria, Eva and Lee Roy came back to Idaho where they settled at Willow Creek near Albion, where Dora and Henry Robbins had homesteaded a little earlier. Hugh had stayed with them during this time. Then Maria homesteaded there and helped Hugh and Lee get settled in business. She managed things well for her family. After Eva's first husband was killed in a horse accident, Maria made her home with Eva.
Her last years were filled with work. She sewed and patched by the hours, and loved to brighten the "hand me downs" for the children with a bit of bright trim or handmade lace. Her own petticoats and nightcaps were trimmed with her own handmade fine lace. She sewed beautiful small stitches and loved to sew for children. She loved all the small ones. Jessie Wheyland recalls that Maria made and dressed a rag doll for her which she named Cynthie, and which she fondly remembers as her most beautiful doll. Maria did housework until she became to ill to do so. She scrubbed her floors with lye and they were bleached white. With Dora's hand woven scatter rugs they always looked beautiful Her health failed sharply after she fell down a step from the living room down into the kitchen. She was lame after this, and supported herself with a stick or by keeping hold of the wall or furniture. Her grandchildren still remember Maria's walking out to feed the pigs, using a heavy stick for support and using the same stick to whack the pigs which offended her sense of cleanliness and order. She couldn't stand to see them crowding into the trough, so as she whacked them, she'd shout, "now you get back there and get some manners". She became quite heavy as she grew older. Eva did the cooking and Maria cleared the table. She always declared that "you'd better kill yourself eating that, than have it waste". Her years of poverty and denial were still very close to her. As the years passed, Maria chose to remember the pleasant parts of her life with Hugh and often spoke of his sense of dedication, his consideration and hard work. She would recall the evenings when he played the violin or brass horn while the family sat listening, with such warm description that you could almost hear the music. She often mentioned what fine women Elizabeth and Jennett were, but she died cussing the Mormon Church and it's leaders for having destroyed her family life.
Finally her health kept her pretty well in bed, but she still cared for her window boxes of flower and received visitors and well wishers. Throughout the area she was loved by all, she was "mother or grandma Moon" to everyone living near. Maria Moon was a woman of tremendous courage and conviction. She was a little blue eyed lady with brown hair, very short in physical stature, but tall in character. she died February 13, 1899, at Eva's home In Willow Creek. She is buried in the Albion Cemetery beside her daughters Evaline Rivoux and Dora Adelia Quinn.
Information here was provided by Mahalia Azaretta Caldwell who at the time was 93 years old, Eunice Moon Hobley, Margaret Anderson Toone, Edna Carman and Mike and Jessie Wheyland.
The information was coordinated and summerized by J. Howard Moon.
A blessing by John Smith, Patriarch, upon the head of Maria Mott, daughter of Abel and Lydia Mott, born in Upper Canada, July 22, 1823 "In the name of Jesus Christ, I place my hands upon your head and seal upon you a patriarchal or father's blessing, in as much as you have no father to bless you. You shall have fathers and mothers and friends in abundance, you shall be blessed with health in your habitation, you shall have the power to heal the sick in your house and to cast out devils, or do any work or miracle that shall be for the health and happiness of your family, you shall have peace in your house, you shall prosper in all your concerns in life; you shall have wisdom to direct you in righteousness to conduct all your affairs rightly. You shall live to see the winding up scene of this generation and receive all the blessings and glories of the Redeemer's Kingdom with all your father's house, for you are of the blood of Ephriam and a rightful heir to that inheritance, Amen."
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