RUTH BURNS MCBRIDE

Daughter of Enoch Burns and Elizabeth Jane Pierce
First wife of Peter Howard McBride

Click for Histories of the Children of Ruth Burns & Peter Howard McBride

Ruth Burns McBride, born June 30, 1857 in Ogden City, Utah, lived an eventful, productive life. Her parents, Enoch and Elizabeth, were acquainted with the Prophet Joseph Smith and endured much persecution for the gospel’s sake in the early days of the Church. Migrating with a company of saints, the Burns family arrived in Utah, October 3, 1850 and settled in Ogden City where Ruth was born, the eighth child of a large family. The family moved to Eden in Ogden Valley where Ruth gained what was considered a good education for those days.

When not quite seventeen Ruth married Peter Howard McBride, February 1, 1874. Two years later, she and her husband was called by President Brigham Young, to a pioneering mission in Northern Arizona. Peter’s charge was to be the music director to the wards and towns that the Mormons were expected to establish in the territory. Ruth’s mission was to be nursing mother to all who would call on her for her services. An Apostle of the Lord who set her apart promised many blessings for her and her children, all of which were abundantly fulfilled in her life.

They joined the pioneer party already on its way, February 12, 1876, and traveled to camps that had recently been established on the Little Colorado River. There she engaged in cooking and housekeeping as the colony attempted to live the United Order. After nearly a year the effort was abandoned and they went back to Utah.

Shortly thereafter, at a conference meeting in St. George, Utah, the couple met President Brigham Young who told them their mission was not yet finished. President Young then reassigned them to a different location, this time to Forestdale, Arizona, an establishment near where the town of Showlow is today.

Their stay in Forestdale was short-lived – in less than three years they were obliged to abandon the homes they had built and the gardens and fields they had cultivated. Government agents informed them that they had settled on Indian reservation land. Heart sick over the situation they traveled southward with little to sustain them except an unwavering faith in divine providence and a vision for the future. After an arduous journey they arrived in the Gila Valley, January 12, 1880. Among the saints, only recently established in Smithville (now Pima), Peter and Ruth continued the special services to which they had been called, and began anew to plant their roots.

For many years, Ruth served in various capacities in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Relief Society teacher, President of the Young Ladies, teacher of the religion class, Sunday School teacher. A member of the first dramatic company organized in Pima. Ruth played the part of Cora in the production, "Pizzarro", for which she received much honor and many congratulations on her dramatic ability.

After many years of beautiful, faith promoting and charitable service, Ruth was released from most of her assignments because of a hearing failure – becoming almost totally deaf. Because of this ailment things she intended to do had to be shelved.

During her life she bore fourteen children, eight of which died in infancy. Despite great loses, Ruth never complained about her lot. Her greatest comfort continued to be in the knowledge that all of the six who survived lived true to the gospel.

In September 1893, Ruth decided to move to Thatcher, there she rented a house several blocks away from the Academy and took in boarders, who were attending school. It was at this time that Peter taught at the Academy, and also taught Seminary there. Frank and Howard attended school, which at this time, was held in a two story house and they had to climb a ladder to get in the second story. But the school grew and grew and not only was outside stairs built on the back but rooms were added on. Perle must have been helping on the farm, as there were always things to do with cows, horses, pigs, sheep and other animals. My father told Perle that I could out run him, as I really could run out there in Mexico. So we tried it, but he beat me, even though I was a good runner. (Laura McBride Smith) I stayed with Aunt Ruth, as we called her, when I attended the Academy and I was grateful for her being there.

On March 29, 1929, Ruth fell from a footbridge across a ditch and broke her right arm just below the shoulder. Unable to use her arm for many months, she suffered greatly. Again misfortune came her way when she fell from her bed, breaking a leg. After more months of suffering, Ruth passed away in the early hours of April 8, 1932. Her husband, Peter, records in his diary that the clock stopped at the exact time of her death, "five minutes after three a.m." And that is where he left it, in remembrance of "Ruth, my sweetheart, my wife."

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