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
Rebecca Hughes Claridge.
From the records of blessings
at Orderville, Utah it states:
"REBECCA HUGHES CLARIDGE born 21st Apr 1877, parents Samuel
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
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
we brought a herd of cattle with us for I well remember
letting me ride behind him on his horse. I think Joe and
drove the cattle. There were three families of us...Carpenters,
Brinkerhoffs and us. I was the only girl in our family.
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
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
While we lived in this adobe house,
which was very near the
Gila River, I had chills and fever down there. Every other
would be sick with a hard chill and fever, then the next day
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
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
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
I was just budding into womanhood, and was
very proud of our
new home. When I was about fifteen, I went to school at
Academy. When I was fourteen father and mother left all
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
the curb and falling down it, but I assured them I would watch
them carefully. Kate was the baby and was only two years
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
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
(George duff, 1891-1895) that I would stay out of school one
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
from then on, I went with him steady until we were married two
James Henry Porter was the son of James Henry
and Emma Euphrasia Bennett. He was born June 21, 1875 in
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,
on each, and Jim drove one of them. They freighted
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
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
be off again on another trip. After our courtship of two
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
united in the holy bonds of matrimony. On the same
Layton, Mr. Carl duff and Miss Maud Porter (James sister) will
also enter the same bonds. The receptions
will be held at
Of course our wedding on September 16,
1897, was a grand
affair. Jim's sister Maud and Carl duff were married at
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
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
trimmed with wide silk lace, long white veils which touched the
floor, and orange blossoms. We had about 75 guests and had a
hot dinner at 6:00. I remember mother hired Aunt Cynthia
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.
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
[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
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
and Elder John Henry Smith spoke. "Spoke of the integrity
Samuel Claridge, released from being bishop and to be ordained a
Patriarch, it would be the crowning blessing of his life." (This
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
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
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
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
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
flowered "kimonos" as they were called, that mother made for when
she was carrying a child. Every afternoon mother would
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
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
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.
there was the day I was trusted with three year old Glen
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
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
lunches to him every noon. Mother always fixed enough for us
eat with him. "
For the next several years Rebecca and
Jim lived on this
farm at Bryce. Three more children were born there. Faye,
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
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
would run so high they would have to use a boat to cross on.
it was the horse and buggy that
regularly took them to
Grandmother Claridge's for a visit. It wasn't infrequent
the buggy would get stuck in the quicksand as it tried to cross
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
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
father, Samuel Claridge, this week. All
concerned are doing
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
While Jim was on his mission Rebecca had five
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
move into their beautiful new home. Graham County Guardian
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
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
home and on this farm. Rebecca loved her new home and it was
center of the entire family's activities. She maintained
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.
"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
became great pals. One day Priscilla came running into the 'Big
Six'. She was so full of joy and laughter and announced
great news...she and Dale were getting married. My face
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.
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
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
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
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
a few hours from the time of her brother Ed. There have
three deaths in the Claridge family
since August 26th when
Wilford passed away. Hyrum is the last of nine boys and
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
few minutes and visited with some of the girls.
Monday, Jun 2, 1952
Monroe and Lucille took us to the Porters. Reby did not
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Ed laughing at my dad's dry sense of humor...." [SPM]
"....as we sat around the fire of an evening
pulled taffy and parched corn. Mother and dad always ended up
a debate as to where and when an event took place. To settle
dispute, mother would say, "I'll call so and so to get it right."
Which she promptly did and settled it. Dad would always
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
get a scolding...." [SPM]
"....Maude Marshall Porter,
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
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
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
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]