"God has given me so much and I have given him so little. I am reminded of a few lines of a poem by Tennyson, "Sunset and evening star...One clear call for me! And may there be no moaning at the bar when I put out to sea."
I love my garden of roses and flowers that my husband and children have planted and cared for, so I might enjoy their beauty and fragrance. Also, that I might have the great joy of sharing them with others.
I am grateful for the heritage of honesty and integrity that has come to me from my pioneer ancestors, the Hanks, the Caspers, the Sylvesters and the Nicholsons, that I in turn can pass on to my children.
I am especially thankful for the beautiful gospel plan that has been restored to us to enrich our lives, that gives us a plan for now and hereafter to work for thru service and love.
Above all I am thankful for my faith in God. For without that faith I would not have the courage to carry on. All this and much more I am grateful for." (The above is a copy of part of a personal testimony written by Mama in the spring before her last sick spell in 1960.)
I, Gladys Sylvester, was born at Bellevue, Washington County, Utah, now called Pintura, in a cottage built by my grandfather and grandmother, James Sylvester and Rebecca Nicholson. They were real pioneers of English ancestry, who having heard the gospel of Jesus Christ had found faith in it and had willingly left their beloved Sheffield in England and with their children came to America.
Upon reaching St. Louis, Mo. they were compelled to remain there and work to get funds to continue their journey to the land of promise as was their faith that it would be just that.
After working three years they joined the James Jeppson Co. and came to Salt Lake. From there they went south to Springville where they built their first home. They lived there nine years. My father, Joseph Sylvester was born there the 9th of September, 1861. He was the eleventh child born to James and Rebecca and the second son to grow to maturity.
My Sylvester grandparents were called by President Brigham Young to move to Southern Utah to a small community named Bellevue, to plant vineyards for the purpose of wine making. I can imagine how heartbreaking it was to leave their lovely home in Springville where they all had worked so hard to build and go to the windy and rocky land of Dixie. But their faith was great and they loved the gospel. They built themselves a lovely home and lived a contented life.
I will always remember that house with it's thick walls made of rock and put together with clay. It was so cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The flowers in the front yard were pink and yellow roses, hollyhocks and purple and yellow flags, the roots and starts were brought from England.
I can remember Grandmother Sylvester, who was a tiny and dainty lady. She was always making something for one of her grandchildren to wear. I can recall her making me flannel petticoats and how proud I was of the crocheted lace on the bottom.
My father and mother were married at Toquerville, Utah on the first of January, 1880 and lived in Bellevue, moving about to wherever father found work. My father was not a farmer in any sense of the word but loved to work with cattle and horses. He always had beautiful horses and took great pride in them. My father excelled in many things during his lifetime.
To my father and mother were born eight children, six have grown to maturity...Frank, the eldest, was born at Bellevue the 17 of June 1881. He was always the great brain and a special joy to my mother. Next was Nellie, who was also born in Bellevue, on March 9, 1884. She had dark hair and black eyes and I always thought she was so beautiful. She was like a second mother to me. When mother became so very ill, I went to live with her.
Lovina was born October 12, 1885 at Hanksville, the first child born there. She was named for Aunt Lovina Berry, father's sister. We all called her by a nickname, "Dick". She was the great reader and poet. I will always remember the poems she taught me and the stories she told me and even the way she told me the facts of life, told in the form of a beautiful story.
Maude was born January 2, 1888 at Bellevue. She was the practical one who saw to my physical needs. In my growing up years, she saw that I had new clothes, shoes, graduating dress, coat or whatever my needs were. After my marriage, she was by my side during my illnesses and troubles, many times leaving her own family to do so.
Then Joseph was born November 2, 1890. He died of pneumonia December 11, 1891.
Victor was born February 8, 1893 at Hanksville, Wayne County, Utah. He was a mean brat and teased me constantly and I hated him when I was a kid. About three years after his arrival I came along. My father and mother were again living in Bellevue. Dr. Middleton and Susan Bringhurst were in attendance. My arrival date was the 23 of May, 1896. My father told me mother had always disliked red hair and when I was born weighing seven pounds and having so much red hair, mother was quite disturbed, but father was real pleased because he had a red mustache and beard. Father told me I was the happiest baby they had ever had and the name Gladys was so right for me. It was a name mother loved. I have wondered why I have disliked that name so much - probably because the kids nicknamed it and spoiled it for me. I was always such a sensitive child.
Father told me that one evening when I was about a year old and we were living in grandfather Sylvester's house, he held me up to the window to watch the full moon coming up over the mountain. I reached out and cried for it saying, "Pretty, Pretty." I think even at that age I loved and appreciated the beautiful and natural things of life.
Father had a favorite pet name for me, one he called me all my life, "Kiddy". Grandmother Sylvester found it hard to remember my name and very often called me, "Thanky".
My little brother Eugene was born three years after I was on June 17, 1898 at Toquerville. He lived nine months and died of pneumonia on September 9, 1898. He is buried in the Toquerville cemetery.
Of my mother I remember very little; nothing before the time my brother Victor was whittling and I ran across the floor and smacked into the knife blade, cutting an awful gash across my jaw. Victor became so frightened, he ran down to the creek, which had an enormous flood in it, and was going to drown himself because he thought he had killed me. Grant Gregerson went down and brought him back. It was a very bad cut and I remember Mama putting the inner skin of an egg on it. She drew the cut together and placed the skin tightly together. The wound healed, but left a terrible scar. I remember Mama taking me in her arms and rocking me and taking Victor on he lap and loving him too. For years I could not figure out how she could love such a mean kid, but now I know he needed loving and understanding more that any child ever did and I know that had Mama lived, the course of our lives would have been very different. (This is the end of Mama's personal history.)
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