Monday, February 23, 2015

Zilpha Zobedia (Curtis) Hancock

Zilpha Zobedia Curtis was born on 13 November 1851, the fifth child born in the new town of Payson, Utah. She was the third child of nine born to Joseph and Sally Ann (Reed) Curtis. She had two older sisters, Sarah Jane who was born in Cag Creek, Iowa (1847-1939) and Delia Prisinda who was born in Salt Lake City, Utah (1849 -1929). Other siblings born in Payson were: Joseph Hyrum, (1853-1936), Heber John (1856-1931), Mary Sophronia (1858-1906), Naham Tillison (1863-1944), Frederick Reed (1866-1940) and Edward Alma (1870-1872).

Zilpha's mother, Sally, was a tall, slender woman with large gray eyes and auburn hair. In her history, she said that Joseph was a very happy man and sang merrily from morning until night.

Life must have been hard in the new little town, where most families lived within a fort for several years. Joseph was a counselor in the Bishopric, a councilman, and an alderman in the town. Sally Ann was secretary of the first Relief Society in Payson. The Indians were friendly to the new settlers at first, but the Indian wars started in July 1853 and continued until 1866. So Zilpha must have lived in the fort until she was about fifteen.

At times the Indians were troublesome. One time when Zilpha's father was away, some Indians came begging for flour. Her mother, Sally, gave them what she thought she could spare. Later she saw them returning, so she made a mask of dough, and stood by the house with a white blanket over her. They were frightened and ran away.

In talking of her childhood, Zilpha told of the dark stripped long stockings she used to wear. She also talked of when Charles Hancock was courting her, and how, when she saw him ride into the yard while she was outside washing clothes in a tub with a washboard, she quickly pulled her hands out of the water and pulled her sleeves down, because 'it wasn't proper for a girl to show her arms above the wrists', or her legs above the ankles.

Charles Hancock and Zilpha Curtis were married on 23 July 1871. He was born at Pottawatamie, Iowa on 24 March 1849, the first child of George Washington and Betsy Jane (Fackrell) Hancock. He had one sister, Betsy Jane Hancock born in 1851. Their mother died three weeks after Betsy's birth.
Charles and Zilpha lived in Payson for several years, where their first six children were born: Charles Edward (1872-1963), Zilpha Clarissa (1874-1961), Emma Jane (1877-1954), Delia Ann (1880-1890), Mary Millicent (1882-1925), and Betsy Sophronia (1885-1976).

In the early years of their marriage, Charles built a room on their home for his widowed, crippled sister, Betsy and her little daughter, Annie. Betsy would go out sewing by day to support herself and child. In 1878 she became the second wife of Francis M. Shurtliff.

During the winter of 1874-1875 Charles worked on the St. George Temple. It is believed Zilpha and two children accompanied him. The next four children were born in Payson.

In 1887, because of mismanagement of business, Charles lost their home, and he moved his family to Burrville, Sevier County, Utah. There on 17 January 1890 their dear little daughter, Delia Ann passed away. Two more children were born to them, Joseph Washington (1890-1974), and Curtis who was stillborn (1892). Charles served as Assistant, then Superintendent of the Sunday School at Burrville. His oldest son, Ed, served a mission in the Southern States and returned to Burrville and served as ward clerk and choir leader.

Ed said that his parents were both good, honest, respectable, and could be placed among the honorable men and women of their day. They taught their children to be honest, and to work hard. His parents had a great desire to have their children educated, so they were kept in school regularly until they moved to Burrville. There the schools were poor, and with limited means, schooling was limited somewhat. Ed returned to Payson to attend some school, and also in 1893 attended Sevier Stake Academy in Richfield, and in 1896 the Brigham Young Academy in Provo.

In 1903 Charles moved his family to Raymond, Alberta, Canada which was known at that time as the Northwest Territories. Charles and two sons-in-law, James S. Anderson and Henry S. Burr, came to Raymond in February 1903. They liked the place, bought land, and started to build homes for their families. Henry returned to Bunville to help the families move in July. Ed's new bride, Celia May Keyes, accompanied the families to Raymond. Sons, Ed and Joe came at the same time with two freight cars of livestock, farm machinery, and household furnishings, including an organ.

Charles built his own home and engaged in farming and carpentry, helping many others to build their homes in the new town. Clara's husband was a mason and also farmed. Henry Burr, Emma's husband, also farmed. Mary and Bessie found work in the new stores of the town. Bessie married Clarence E. Allred in 1907 and he was also a farmer.

Zilpha's husband, Charles, passed away on 12 February 1912 from a cancer on this throat. Son, Joe, married Grace E. Shields on 23 December 1914. Zilpha and her daughter, Mary, lived in her own home until Mary passed away on 11 April 1925.

Then Zilpha lived alone until 1940. Granddaughters, Betty and Alta (Joe's girls) slept with her sometimes, in case she should have health problems during the night, because she had no phone. Others helped her with cleaning her house, and yard work. Ed's daughter, Lillis, remembers doing so. Her home was always neat, clean, and quiet, except for the clock ticking. 

In her home she had a little pantry off the kitchen, where all food was kept. In the kitchen there was also a coal stove, with a warming oven above it, and a water reservoir on one end. Pipes through the reservoir helped to warm the hot water heater which was in the bathroom, through the wall. There was also a kitchen sink with hot and cold water taps, with a cupboard above for her dishes. There was also a free standing cupboard with glass windows, for her pretty dishes, and a wooden table and chairs. In the bathroom was a bathtub supported by feet, a real curio to some of the grandchildren. A black pot-bellied coal heater in the living room supplied heat for the home. Stairs behind the front door led from the living room to the two bedrooms above and one small room between, which were heated by the chimney from the heater. Grandma Zilpha's bedroom was next to the bathroom and living room. Her bed was rather old fashioned, with feather quilts. Under the bed she had a zither, a wonderful stringed musical instrument. There was also a book cupboard, with glass doors, full of interesting looking books. She also had a hide-a-bed that looked like a book cupboard. It was fun to visit Grandma and see her interesting things, but one had to be quiet in her home. Her children and grandchildren were taught that 'children were to be seen and not heard'. 

During the summer of 1936, a Hancock Family Reunion was held in Grandma's back yard, with wooden tables built between the trees. There must have been about sixty people there. It was fun to meet cousins we didn't know and to have pictures taken. 

In 1940, Ed and May and their two youngest children moved in with Grandma Zilpha. She was early ninety years old, in good health, but needed some help. After a few months, Zilpha moved next door, to live with her daughter and son-in-law, Clare and Jim Anderson. She passed away on 12 February 1948 in her ninety-seventh year. She left five living children, and about twenty-two grandchildren and seventy-five great grandchildren. She was well loved and greatly missed. 

Written by Pearl (Hancock) Conrad, granddaughter, May 1999. 

1 comment:

  1. I ran a PDF copy of this through an OCR program; I haven't read through it yet to make sure there aren't any typos.