Rebecca Hughes Claridge Porter


The following text & images were taken from:
"The Children of Samuel Claridge" 1987, pp143-155
 

 REBECCA HUGHES CLARIDGE PORTER 
April 21, 1877 - May 31, 1952





       Rebecca  Hughes  Claridge  was  born  April  21,  1877  at
  Orderville, Kane County, Utah, just two hours before her father
  Samuel Claridge left Orderville to fill a mission to England.
  She was the seventh child, and first daughter, born to Samuel and
  Rebecca Hughes Claridge.
       From the records of blessings at Orderville, Utah it states:
  "REBECCA HUGHES CLARIDGE born 21st Apr 1877, parents Samuel and
  Rebecca Claridge, blessed by I.V. Carling and others."
       The top of the sheet containing the record of this blessing
  is as follows:
                        March 31st 1878
       It appears that mother Rebecca did not get around to having
  her first daughter blessed for about eleven months and one week.
  Reader recalls that Samuel Claridge was in England all during
  this time as he left for a mission to England two hours after
  this child was born on April 21, 1877, and did not return until
  July 1878.
       Of most  of  her life,  Rebecca Hughes Claridge Porter has
  written the following:
       "I was just six years old when we came to Arizona from Utah,
  and I can remember a few little incidents.  I remember we had two
  or three covered wagons loaded with all our belongings and I know
  we brought a herd of cattle with us  for I well  remember Joe
  letting me ride behind him on his horse.  I think Joe and Hyrum
  drove the cattle.  There were three families of us...Carpenters,
  Brinkerhoffs and us.  I was the only girl in our family.  We had
  only been here about three months when my sister Nell was born.
       Our home was a tent and one room made of willows, but it
  wasn't long before father built an adobe house with three rooms
  in it.   We lived there until I was thirteen years old.   Mother
  was very clean, every week she and I would clean all the doors
  and windows and scrub the floors, and how clean we would feel
  Saturday night.
       While we lived in this adobe house, which was very near the
  Gila River, I had chills and fever down there.  Every other day I
  would be sick with a hard chill and fever, then the next day I
  would help mother, as she had so much to do with five boys older
  than I, and Nellie, Mercy, Julie and Kate, (all of whom had been
  born in this adobe house).
       When we moved up in town in our big new home on April 14,
  1892, mother and I were thrilled.   We would cook a good dinner
  and invite a lot of ladies to come and sew rags together (rag
  bees...we would call them), and at the end of the day we would
feel well paid for our work, with a big pile of balls of rags in
the corner of the room all sewed together, ready to make our rugs
for the new house.
     When we got enough rags sewed together, and enough for a
carpet for a room we would have it woven into strips, then sew
the strips together, to make the carpet cover the floor from wall
to wall.   I never will forget how nice those carpets looked in
our new home.
     Father was Bishop of the Thatcher Ward at that time and we
had lots of company; and dear mother would cook big dinners for
the company.
     I was just budding into womanhood, and was very proud of our
new home.   When I was about fifteen, I went to school at the
Academy.   When I was fourteen father and mother left all the
children with me and went to Pine Crest (Pinetop, Arizona) on
July 1, 1892, in the northern part of the state to a conference.
I remember father and mother warning me of the open well that had
a curb around it,  and we had to draw our water out of it in
buckets.  They were afraid of the little children climbing up on
the curb and falling down it, but I assured them I would watch
them carefully.   Kate was the baby and was only two years old.
Joy and I were in full charge, as he was twelve and I fourteen.
The older boys were married.  There was Ed, Nellie, Mercy, Julia,
and Kate to care for, and we all slept in one bedroom because we
felt much safer.
     One night after we had gone to bed, and all the children
were asleep, I heard someone come in the kitchen.  I nudged Joy
and he was awake and said he heard them too.  We laid cross ways
of the bed and I think there were two of the children between us,
but Joy and I were the only ones awake, and were we scared.  We
kept quiet as a mouse and every time we'd hear a noise we'd nudge
each other,  but finally we were overcome with sleep and never
heard anymore, but the next morning a big ham that was hanging on
the screen porch was gone, and another thing or two, but we felt
lucky anyway that they didn't bother us.  Father and mother were
gone about ten days, and we were all fine when they came home,
and were a very happy bunch to see them.
     When I attended school it was understood with the Principal
 (George duff, 1891-1895) that I would stay out of school one day
each week to help mother wash, and every morning I had to get up
and clean up all the bedrooms before I left for school.  Mother
liked that day I stayed out, because I would tell her all the
gossip about the boys and girls at school.   We always did the
ironing at night,  and about 11:00 o'clock p.m. we would stop
ironing to eat us a 'quiet bite', as mother used to call it.  It
would consist of eggnog and toast, or cornmeal gruel and toast,
but how I enjoyed it.
     Father was very strict with me, and just now and then would
let me go to a dance, but mother would help me beg him on some
occasions and we would win out.  The next day I would manage to
tell mother everything that happened.   Joy used to have to go
with me but I generally came home with some boy.  The dance hall
was just across the street and Joy would come home and hide and
watch us come home, then he'd eavesdrop on us, and next day would
tell me everything we'd say.   I wouldn't get mad at him because
he wouldn't tell father about me coming home with some boy, but
when I got sixteen I had my boy friends come to the house.
     I met James Henry Porter when I was sixteen, at school.  He,
with other boys, came from Safford down to the Academy.  He asked
me at school if I would be to the dance in Allred's Hall that
night and I said I thought so, and he said there were some boys
coming down from Safford to the dance, so of course I wanted to
go so terrible bad, and father said I'd better not go, but mother
knew I had a crush on Jim Porter, so she helped me.  We had a new
carpet  to  sew  up  the  strips,  so mother  said at the  supper
table... "Reby and I are going to sit up tonight and sew up a
strip or two of the carpet"....So of course Pa went to'bed at his
usual hour, with mother and I busy sewing on the carpet.  When Pa
had got into bed, mother told me to hurry and get ready and she
would walk over to the dance with me.  She told me to be sure and
come home at 12:00, which I did, accompanied by my boy-friend
Jim.   This was the first time I had even come home with him and
from then on, I went with him steady until we were married two
years later.
     James Henry Porter was the son of James Henry Porter, Sr.
and Emma Euphrasia Bennett.   He was born June 21, 1875 in Mt.
Pleasant, Utah where he resided until he was twelve years old.
With his  family he moved to Colorado and then to St.  Johns,
Arizona and then on to the Gila Valley where he grew to manhood.
He was educated in the local schools.
     His father owned two large freight outfits, sixteen horses
on each,  and Jim drove one of them.   They freighted ore from
Globe to Willcox and they would be gone on one trip about a
month, so we really did enjoy being together the few days at the
end of the trip when he would be home.   He would stop to our
house when he came from Globe with his three or four large wagons
and sixteen horses, and I would get up in that high seat with him
and go on home with him, up to Layton, where he would clean up
and then we would take his mother's nice buggy and come back down
to our house.   It would just be two or three days then he would
be off again on another trip.   After our courtship of two years
his freighting was discontinued and the big rigs were sold.  Jim
kept part of his and freighted in a smaller way.  His father went
off and he kept his mother,  his sister Maude, and his little
brother Harry, until we were married.
     Graham County Bulletin - 10  Sep 1897;  Next Thursday at
Thatcher Mr.  James Porter and Miss Rebecca Claridge will  be
united  in the holy bonds of matrimony.   On the same day at
Layton, Mr. Carl duff and Miss Maud Porter (James sister) will
also enter the  same  bonds.   The  receptions will  be held at
Thatcher.
     Of course our wedding on September 16,  1897, was a grand
affair.   Jim's sister Maud and Carl duff were married at the
same time.  We had a big free dance together on the night we were
married and what a night! !!... .rain and such a flood.  We had to
pay  the  musicians  overtime  after  12:00  and we danced until
morning because no one could get home because of the flood.
      They had to take everyone home at daybreak in big wagons, because
there was so much water.
     Maud and I  had wedding dresses alike...long white satin
trimmed with wide silk lace, long white veils which touched the
floor, and orange blossoms.  We had about 75 guests and had a big
hot dinner at 6:00.   I remember mother hired Aunt Cynthia Layton
to help cook the dinner.
     [Notes from Andrew Kimball papers.]  January 30, 1898...met
at 5 p.m. at Charles Laytons and attended to Sealings.   JAMES
HENRY PORTER to REBECCA HUGHES CLARIDGE.
     Marriage by John H. Smith.   James Henry Porter to Rebecca
Hughes Claridge.   "John W. Taylor mouth and J.H. Smith ordained
Elder Hyrum Claridge as one of the Presidents of the 89th Quorum
of 70."
     [Note to the reader, this happened on January 30, 1898, the
day  of  the  big  re-organization of  the  St.  Joseph  Stake and
Thatcher  Ward.    The  time  that  Andrew  Kimball  did  the  re-
organizing and replaced Christopher Layton.   Elder John Henry
Smith,  of the Church presidency and also John W. Taylor, were
present for all of this.]
     At 7 p.m. they met in Robinson Hall, the people of Thatcher,
and Elder John Henry Smith spoke.   "Spoke of the integrity of
Samuel Claridge, released from being bishop and to be ordained a
Patriarch, it would be the crowning blessing of his life."  (This
was done.)
     After the wedding we lived with Jim's mother for three or
four months, until our home was fixed up some at the Big Ranch at
Solomonville, which George Foote and Jim had rented.
     Our home in Solomonville consisted of one room about 16 x
16.   Our room was comfortable with homemade carpet which I had
sewn before our marriage and which mother had woven.  We had a
bed,  stove,  and Jim made a table and cupboard.   We were very
happy,  even  if  I  had  left  a good home of  eight  rooms  and
everything comfortable.   We lived there that year and in the
spring just when our crops were almost ready to harvest, a flood
came and took everything we had.  All we came out with was a new
sewing machine Jim bought me as we were going to have a baby.
     In August he moved me down to mother's where our first child
Vera was born August 3, 1898.  We stayed here until Jim built us
a one room lumber house on father's ranch, which Jim and Wilf
rented that year.  We moved down there in September of 1898, just
one year after we were married.   December 11, 1899 our second
daughter Lola was born in that home.   Little Vera died that
winter in January 1899.   In 1900 we moved to Bryce on 40 acres
that Jim bought."
     Daughter Faye recalls:   "Our childhood days in Bryce were
very happy ones.  The first recollection I had (and I must have
been very young) was mother's immaculate cleanliness in her home,
with we children and her own personal cleanliness.  When she was
pregnant with Pricilla,  I  can  still  see all  those beautiful
flowered "kimonos" as they were called, that mother made for when
she was carrying a child.   Every afternoon mother would sit in
her  rocker  and  let  me  clean  her  up.... wash  her  hands  and
feet...comb her hair...and choose one of those pretty kimonos for
her to wear.   I look back now and wonder if she let me do this
 because it gave her so much pleasure or because she was really
 tired.   I remember  "wash days" when daddy was gone I carried
 buckets of water from the large canal to do her huge washings and
 because water was so hard to carry, we would each be put in the
 big "bluing" tub for a bath when the washing was finished.  Then
 there was the day I was trusted with three year old Glen and I
 let  him  fall  in  the  big  ditch  full  of  water... to my great
 surprise mother took Glen in her arms soaking wet and loved him
and called me over to love him too.   Mother didn't scold or
 threaten or whip.   Then the day when "Old Grant", the big red
horse, picked Glen up by his head of hair...mother stood quietly
 by ringing her hands while Pete Norton, dad's hired man, rescued
him.   Then there were the happier days, picnics, taking daddy's
lunches to him every noon.  Mother always fixed enough for us to
eat with him. "
      For the next several years Rebecca and Jim lived on this
farm at Bryce.  Three more children were born there.  Faye, their
third child, was born December 5, 1901.  Their fourth child, and
first son. Glen was born October 16, 1903, and their fifth child
Priscilla Layton was born November 24, 1905.
     Transportation at this time was all by horse and buggy, and
Jim  always  had  the  best  and  prettiest  horses  pulling  his
carriage.   It took them to and from Church where Jim was in the
Superintendency,  and Rebecca a teacher  in the Sunday School.
Since there were no stores in Bryce, they did all their shopping
at Webbs Store in Pima, across the river.   At times this river
would run so high they would have to use a boat to cross on.  But
it  was  the  horse  and  buggy  that  regularly  took  them  to
Grandmother Claridge's for a visit.   It wasn't infrequent that
the buggy would get stuck in the quicksand as it tried to cross
the river.
     In 1908 Rebecca and Jim moved to Thatcher.  They bought the
Allred home on main street just across the street from Samuel and
Rebecca's home.  It was here that Lorraine, their sixth child was
born on August 23, 1908.
     Graham County Guardian 4 Sep 1908:  Mrs. Reby Porter is the
mother of another fine baby girl.  It was born at the home of her
father,  Samuel  Claridge,  this week.   All concerned are doing
nicely.  [Lorraine]
     Shortly after this Jim was called to fill a mission for the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  With a family of
five, it wasn't easy for him to accept but Rebecca encouraged him
to go.  Before leaving in September 1909, Jim rented out his farm
in Bryce to help keep his family at home and him on a mission.
Rebecca  rented out  rooms in the home to also help cover the
expenses.
     While Jim was on his mission Rebecca had five young children
to care for.  She was just 34 years old and made many a sacrifice
and went without, so her children could have food and clothing.
Her milk cow which supplied their milk, died...but her father
Samuel let her use a young heifer he had.   The teats were so
small she would go out each evening to milk and her fingers would
ache with cold from milking the young heifer, yet she willingly
milked the cow for every little bit of milk for her children.
     Graham County Guardian 22 Oct 1909:  A missionary farewell
was held in the church on Sunday evening for Jim Porter.   It
consisted of music, singing, reciting and enthusiastic missionary
talks by returned missionaries.
     Rebecca and her baby Lorraine accompanied Jim to Salt Lake
City in order that she and Jim could go through the Temple and
get  their  endowments.    On January  30,  1898 James Porter and
Rebecca  Claridge  Porter  had  been  married  for  time  and  all
eternity in a room set aside for this purpose in the Christopher
Layton home in Thatcher, by Apostle John Henry Smith.  This was
an approved arrangement because of the difficulty of travel, and
couples would later go to the Salt Lake Temple to receive their
endowments.   Rebecca and Jim left their other children with the
Claridge grandparents.
     Rebecca's  brother Edward  Claridge  was called  on  a  mission
about the same time so he   moved   his  wife Lillian and two children
into  two  rooms  of Rebecca's  home,   which made for a pleasant and
enjoyable  relationship for each of the sisters.    When  Jim  returned
from  his  mission  he moved the family back to Bryce.   They farmed
their  place  for  one year,  sold it and moved back  to  the  home  in
Thatcher.  It was here on November 8, 1913 that their  seventh  child
Sybil  was  born.     On August  25,  1916,  their eighth  and  last  child
Beth Lenore was born.
Graham County Guardian 19 Apr 1918;  Miss Priscilla Porter
had the misfortune to fall from the belfry of the Church tower,
through the church ceiling to the floor of the church, a distance
of over twenty-five feet, last Thursday evening, when she climbed
to the top of the tower to get a view of the valley.  As a result
of the fall, her left leg was broken above the knee and her head
considerably bruised.
     She  was  taken  to  her  home  and  the  doctor  sent  for
immediately,  who set the broken limb and dressed the bruises.
Miss Porter is doing nicely, and it is hoped that she will soon
be around again.
     In 1918 Jim bought the Ed Carpenter farm.   They built a
beautiful red brick home there, however before it was completed
in 1920, they had sold their other home, so they moved into the
red  brick  school  house  just  behind  the present high  school
building on the north side.   They lived here until they could
move into their beautiful new home.   Graham County Guardian 30
May 1919: Jim Porter has purchased the property here owned by Ed
Carpenter and expects to erect a fine new house there in the near
future.   Mr. Carpenter has purchased a farm in Sanchez and has
moved his family there.   Graham County Guardian 12 Sep 1919;
James Porter has completed his beautiful new bungalow, which is
modern in every respect.  The family are now moving in.
     The remainder of their lives were spent in this beautiful
home and on this farm.  Rebecca loved her new home and it was the
center of the entire family's activities.   She maintained it as
such  even  though  she worked  long  in  the Primary and Relief
Society and at one time or another Jim was President of the MIA,
Superintendent of the Sunday School and in 1927 Jim was sustained
and set apart as Bishop of the THATCHER EAST WARD.
     Faye  recalls:     "My  sister  Priscilla  was  a  vivacious
teenager.   Before I knew it, she was dating and so atttractive.
Life was so gay and she was so full of personality and sparkle.
She was finally going steady with Dale Webb from Pima. " I was
working  in  the  'Big  Six when  she  came  running  in...oh  so
exhuberent and so happy.   Although I was four years older we
became great pals.  One day Priscilla came running into the 'Big
Six'.   She was  so full of joy and laughter and announced the
great news...she and Dale were getting married.   My face must
have shown my disapproval... she was only 17 and I was four years
older than her.   She said in her spunky way, "You are jealous."
But,  that night we got together and we were excited about it.
She was married July 22, 1923 and after the wedding they moved to
Miami to live.  Her sister Lola lived only four houses away from
Priscilla and they both became pregnant around the same time.  In
March Priscilla was very ill and said her stomach hurt her verry
much and thought she had indigestion.  But two weeks later, she
had another attack and Dale took her to the hospital.  She was in
the hospital four months with a busted appendix.  They took her
baby April 2, 1924, two months before her time, so they could
operate on her.  Little Garth lived eight hours before he died.
During her illness, our devoted mother spent four months in Miami
to be with her.   Mother's health was not so good from here on.
But whenever there was a new grandchild she wanted it to be born
in her home when possible."
     In November of 1935, Rebecca and Jim went by Greyhound to
Detroit for a new car, stopping off in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to spend
a night with Lorraine and Gordie, who were living there.

Rebecca Hughes Claridge Porter passed away May 31, 1952.
[From the journal entries of Clare Kimball Brinkerhoff Claridge
re: Rebe Porter death....we find the following:
Thursday, May 22, 1952
Julia called and said that Ed Claridge had had a heart attack the
day before and was in the hospital.
Friday, May 23, 1952
Before 7:00 a.m. the phone rang and it was Elizabeth Crandall to
tell us that Ed had passed away about 6:15 that morning.  After
dinner we went to see Lillian.   We stayed a few minutes then
drove down to see Jim and Reby Porter.  They were both better.
Jim had had a heart attack about two weeks ago and is able to be
up in a chair.
Sunday May 25, 1952
Soon after 4 p.m. Elizabeth came and we went with her to Ed's
funeral in Thatcher Church which was at 5:00 p.m.  I spoke with
Glen Porter at the cemetery and he said the doctor had put his
mother to bed.  She had been real sick and Jim had had the heart
attack and then the shock of Ed's death was too much for her.
Saturday, May 31, 1952
We got word this morning that Hyrum's sister Reby Porter had
passed away in the Safford Hospital.  She had been there several
days and had been very bad.  She passed away a week and a day and
a few hours from the time of her brother Ed.   There have been
three  deaths  in  the  Claridge  family  since August 26th when
Wilford passed away.   Hyrum is the last of nine boys and the
oldest.  There are now one boy and four girls left of the fifteen
children of Samuel and Rebecca Claridge.  Wilf's wife Laura came
for a few minutes to see Hyrum.
Sunday, June 1, 1952
In the afternoon we rode down to Thatcher to see Jim Porter but
he had gone for a ride with some of his family.  We stayed for a
few minutes and visited with some of the girls.
Monday, Jun 2, 1952
Monroe and Lucille took us to the Porters.   Reby did not want
people to view her remains so they had the casket closed.  There
were quite a number of people who were at the house.  We rode up
to the Thatcher Church where the funeral was to be.  Several men
carried Jim in a chair from the house to the car then to the
Chapel from the car.  The Thatcher Singing Mothers sang two songs
and Sharron Hoopes sang a solo, Leslie Parley gave the obituary
and President H.L. Payne the funeral sermon.  Marie Parley also
sang a solo.   It was near 7 p.m. when we got home as the funeral
was at 5 p.m.
     James Henry Porter followed his wife in death on May 1,
1958.  They are both buried in the Thatcher Cemetery.
     Sybil wrote the following song down many years ago.  This
was a song her mother liked to sing while she was working:

     I'm just 45 and my dear little wife
     Is just 10 years younger than me.
     She is fond of enjoyment and pleasure in life.
     Sometimes she goes out on a spree.

     She leaves me behind the baby to mind
     The house in good order to keep...
     Oft times she does wrong,
     So far from her home, while I rock the baby to sleep.

     Tra la la la...hush a baby
     Toss baby ever so high.
     Tra la la la la
     Mama will come by and by.

     Last night when I rocked the baby to sleep,
     I took a short stroll on the street.
     And to my surprise with my own eyes...
     I saw my wife with a soldier six feet.

     I first gave a smile and then a sigh,
     My love I've been taking a peep...
     You've been hugging and kissing that soldier tonight.
     While I rocked the baby to sleep.

     Tra la la la...hush a baby
     Toss baby ever so high.
     Tra la la la la
     Mama will come by and by.

     Sybil and Beth have provided some affectionate recollections
of the past:
     "....Uncle Ed would come down to our place quite often and
he'd say, "Reby....got the fire going?"  She would have it going
in short order with the frying pan ready for a steak.  Dad would
put the big black frying pan over the fire place coals and parch
the corn.   Afterwards they would visit and laugh...mostly Uncle
Ed laughing at my dad's dry sense of humor...." [SPM]
     "....as we sat around the fire of an evening we visited,
pulled taffy and parched corn.  Mother and dad always ended up in
a debate as to where and when an event took place.  To settle the
dispute, mother would say, "I'll call so and so to get it right."
Which she promptly did and settled it.   Dad would always laugh
because he knew that's the way it would always end up." [BPN]
     "....my mother went to a ball game with the other kids and
left me and my sister Beth with my Dad.  He fried us some peanuts
and when mother came home she found us all very sick.  Did my Dad
get a scolding...." [SPM]
     "....Maude  Marshall  Porter,  Reby's  daughter-in-law,
remembers  that  in  her  later  years,  Reby  had  arthritis  and
suffered greatly with it.  She also recalls that Reby's brother
Ed wanted to buy her a new coat every year and usually did.  Reby
sewed for her girls and loved to study health food books...."
     "....Mother weighed cotton for the cotton pickers for Dad.
Every Saturday they would be at our dining room table figuring up
the amount owed to the cotton pickers.   Beth and I hoping some
small change would go to our little fists..." [SPM]
     "....Mother was a loving and devoted mother to her children
and a kind loving wife to Daddy and a true companion.  Mother was
always so happy, she always sang while she worked and she had a
beautiful  voice.    Our Aunt Jewell  told us girls  that Laura
Anderson Blake  said to her,    "I will always remember Sister
Porter by her singing." [LPH]
     "....we miss our sweet little Mother...talking to her while
sitting on the  front porch swing, with all her fine bits of
wisdom and advice and telling her all our secrets.  We will be
glad to see her on the other side.  The night she died I had a
vivid picture left in my mind of her sweet spirit walking in a
field of flowers in her neat little dress." [SPM]

 

greg@porter-az.com