LIFE SKETCH AND TRIBUTE TO ETHEL ASHTON HUGGARD
by granddaughter Dorothy Ann Drew Loveridge given at the Huggard reunion on 5 June 1999
Ethel Ashton was born on 7 November 1886, in Lehi, Utah County, Utah to Henry and Aldura Hammer Ashton, who were life long residents of Lehi. She was the oldest of eight children, four of which died in infancy. Her sister Mabel died at the age of 29 when Ethel was only 34 Ĺ years old. She greatly missed the companionship of this only sister. Ethel preceded her two younger brothers, Warren Ashton who lived in Salt Lake City, and Marvin Ashton of Lehi in death.
When Ethel was 8 years old she was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and took an active part in the Lehi First Ward. She attended school in Lehi and completed the eighth grade and then went to work for her maternal grandparents in the old Lehi Hammer Hotel. Later she worked at the Lehi Knitting Factory. Ethel's life was one of hard work, plus caring for and nurturing others. Her father died when she was just 19 years old, having never recovered from injuries sustained in the Lehi Sugar Factory four years previously. Being the oldest child she helped care for her mother, whose health was failing, her sister, also in poor health, and her two young brothers who were doing their best to take care of the farm with Ethelís help.
At the age of 22 Ethel Ashton and Frank Huggard from American Fork were married in Salt Lake City on 2 December 1908. For three years they made their home in Lehi and then moved to American Fork where they resided for the rest of their lives. Their two oldest children, Annie Aleta, who was born on her motherís birthday, and Effie Marie were born in Lehi. The other seven children, Mabel Elsie, named after her aunt who soon passed away Earl Clyde, Mary Myla, Frank Ashton, Blanche, Glen James and Max Hyrum were born at home in American Fork. Of the nine children only four are still living. Mabel Binns of Ogden, Frank Huggard of Lehi, Blanche Ovard of Murray and Glen James (Jim) of American Fork. With each passing year the others are missed more and more.
As the mother of a large family the time caring for her own would ordinarily have been enough, but not for Ethel Ashton Huggard. She gave of her love and devotion to her aged invalid mother, Aldura Marie Hammer Ashton, who was crippled with rheumatoid arthritis. She was given the best room in the Huggard home and tenderly nursed and cared for, for nearly 14 years from 1922 until April 29, 1935 when she passed away at the age of 73. Great-grandma Ashton was confined to a wheel chair with the crippling infirmity, and many, many times her devoted daughter would take the time the time to arrange a party or a quilting bee so her mother could enjoy the company of friends and relatives. Often Ethel was seen pushing her mother in her wheel chair to various socials, parades, shows, parades, etc. or just to a friendís home to visit.
Grandma's kindness was extended to her husband's father also. Great-grandpa Hyrum Huggard also lived with Ethel and Frank. Grandma was so good to him, looking out for his comfort and caring for him. Great-grandpa often gave Ethel little gifts to show his appreciation. Hyrum lived with Ethel and Frank for at least twelve years before passing away on 23 December 1939 at the age of 83.
Aunt Effie with her small son, Norman Millett, moved back home with her parents in 1936-37,after the loss of her husband. Effie's health was fragile, but Norman was well loved and cared for by Grandma Huggard and those in the Huggard household. Norman lived with them until he graduated from school (the rest of us cousins were a little envious that he could stay with Grandma and Grandpa when it was time for us to go home).
Ethel was a devoted wife to Frank and a loving mother to their four sons and five daughters. Her death was the first break in the large family. These loved ones always came first in Ethel's life. She was always on hand if any of them were sick or needed any help. After the marriage of each of her children their cares, sorrows and joys continued to be hers. Grandma went into their homes helping with ironing, mending, cooking, quilting, sewing, canning, wallpapering, tending those who were ill, anything and everything to help, she would do whatever was needed. I cannot remember my mother wallpapering without grandma being there to help. Maybe that is the reason I never had to learn how to hang wallpaper but I certainly learned a lot about service given with love. Many is the quart of dill pickles that she canned for her married children and grandchildren. Grandma would stay night and day to help nurse a sick grandchild, or would take those that needed help into her own home and care for them until they were on their feet again.
Ethel was of a very retiring nature, quietly filling her niche in life to the best of her ability and asking neither honor nor praise. Grandma Huggard was a very refined lady. Soft spoken, regal, loving, caring and with the sweetest most gentle smile. I don't think grandma owned a pair of trousers, I never saw her in anything but dresses; beautiful gingham house dresses covered with an apron during the week and a lovely silk dress on Sundays and special occasions.
One of Grandma's greatest joys was family get-togethers and outings. Planning them was a delight for her...whether it was to go up to the canyon or to the park or just have a get together at home...helping make sure her family would stay close to each another. Whatever she did it worked! I have never seen any siblings any closer or more loving and caring than my mother and her brothers and sisters were, and are, with one another.
When Ethel's children were small and she was also caring for her mother and father-in-law, she didn't have very much time to devote to church activities, but she attended faithfully. In the later years, however, Grandma loved her Relief Society work. She served faithfully as a visiting teacher and for years planned and mostly prepared the luncheon served on workdays. She sewed miles of carpet rags and pieced together numberless quilt blocks. One year she alone sewed over three-fourths of the welfare sewing assignment for her ward. When Roy and I bought our first furniture she made us a beautiful gold taffeta pillow all hand 'pin tucked' on top. It was beautiful; we enjoyed it for many, many years.
For three years, 1942-1945, Grandma worked in the school lunch room mostly at the Harrington Elementary School in American Fork, but sometimes she worked at the AF Junior/High School when I was in Junior High. It was so nice to see her at lunchtime and be able to say 'hello'.
Grandmas did not have much money, but she always prepared the most delicious food using whatever was available. Her kitchen stove was the 'elite' of the Monarch kitchen coal ranges. There was chrome trim on all the handles and on the doors, with a wrap around bumper made of chrome. At the top back of the stove there were two warming ovens. There was even a reservoir on the side of the stove for heating water. I also remember watching grandma make her own soap in a big washtub out in the back yard of her house. Rendered lard and lye is used in the process so she always made me stand back until all the ingredients were together, then she would let me stir the soap with a big long stick. I loved the smell of that soap and it really cleaned well.
On 5 November 1953 Ethel sustained a stroke, which impaired her health. Four months later on 13 February 1954 she passed away at the age of 67. Her husband, five daughters, four sons, and two brothers survived Ethel. At the time of Grandmas death she had twenty grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Today, if Grandma was still us, she could claim thirty-three grandchildren, four of whom are deceased...three in infancy (Frank & Dorothy Huggardís twin sons and a baby daughter of Mabel & Ken Binns), and her oldest grandchild, my brother Bob, who passed away on Valentine's Day this year on 14 February 1999. As close as I can count she would have at least 113 great-grandchildren. I did not trust myself to count the great great grandchildren.
I was privileged to have been Ethel's third grandchild, to have a chance to know and love her. All my memories of grandma are filled with love and joy. I remember as a very little girl always going into Great-grandma Ashtonís room first whenever we went to grandmas. I was barely three years old when Great-grandma Ashton died, but I remember so much about her, how she looked... her hands were knurled, and she always wore long dresses to cover her misshapen legs, about having to be so careful when giving her a kiss not to squeeze her because it hurt her too much. I remember the chamber pot under her bed, grandma brushing her hair, so many memories. I remember sitting between my mother, Aleta, and Grandma Huggard at great-grandma Ashtonís funeral. I used to describe the scene to my mother, the way the casket looked, a schoolhouse clock on the back wall of the chapel--everything just indelibly etched in my brain. Mom was always amazed at how much I could remember...but the memories are all filled with Grandma Huggardís love and care of her mother.
I always wished I were more like this gentle, caring, refined, beautiful women. We are all a product of our genes. Lee, my brother, wrote in the last Drew newsletter he prepares to help keep his immediate family close to one another, "that we are all a macrocosm of the DNA and social rules and events established by our ancestry". We are the total sum of this complex setup. It is so rewarding to be able to spend a little time in remembering our ancestors, learning about their lives, their personalities, their talents and beliefs.
Ethel Ashton and Frank Huggard when you married you started a dynasty. We thank you and hope you are able to look down on all of us with PRIDE as well as LOVE
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