BIOGRAPHY OF LOUIE OLDS DUFFIN

by Elaine Olds Hagelberg

On 11 June 1887, Jane Olds gave birth to a set of twins. A boy they named Louis (or Lewis) and a daughter they called Louie. The were very delicate children requiring a great deal of care. Louie and Louis were very close - depending upon one another for companionship. The twins were blessed shortly after birth -- Louis by Elder J. Orderly and Louie by Elder Joseph Abraham.

While still babies the family moved to Lyman, Wayne County, Utah. Here the twins started school and were baptized 5 July 1895 by James P. Knight and confirmed the same day by Archie Allred.

Even though the twins were active normal youngsters, they did not enjoy the robust health that the rest of the family did, and in 1896, when influenza struck the family, Louis did not recover. His death was on 19 January 1896 and we believe it was caused from a rheumatic heart and the influenza. This was Louie's first experience at parting with a loved one and she missed Louis very much. She was the only daughter in a big family of boys (eventually 11 of them) and Louis had been her closest companion.

One time when the family lived in Lyman, while Louie was a young girl, her folks were away from home for a short time leaving her alone. There were two Indians that had been around for some time going into people's homes and helping themselves to whatever they wanted. Thinking everyone was gone they came to the Olds home and first knocked on the door. Being alone and frightened, Louie did not answer the door, so they just opened it and came right in the house. (Living in a house full of rough-neck brothers apparently taught Louie to defend herself very young.) The Indians started toward her and Louie quickly looked around for something to defend herself with. Noticing the teakettle boiling on the stove, she grabbed it and threw it at the first big Indian. The boiling water splashed all over him giving him a bad scald. They quickly retreated and this calmed these Indians down considerably and they didn't help themselves as much as before.

The family eventually ended up in Toquerville and Louie attended school there for awhile. She was very active in MIA and Primary work and started very young doing all she could in Relief Society. She was a great help to her mother and she learned to sew and make handicraft items to improve the appearance of their home. She was a spotless housekeeper, and even with all her brothers tracking in and out the floors were spotless and Carl tells me that if you soiled them in any way she really took you to task.

On another occasion all the young people in town were playing "King of Bunker Hill". The young ladies wore ankle-length skirts and Louie was especially modest and very proper. While playing a lizard ran up under her skirts and became entangled in her petticoats and she couldn't get it out. She became rather hysterical and a gallant young man helped her remove the lizard. She was so embarrassed that she remained in the house for days.

The family moved to Pintura, but this didn't stop the suitors from calling on Louie. She was always well-chaperoned. There would be little brothers hanging on the limbs of the trees and in every nook and corner that they could hide and still get a good view of the art of courting. Will Duffin became the most constant suitor and one day they were sitting out in the yard whispering sweet nothings to each other when they heard a rumpus in the chicken coop. They jumped up and ran to see what was disturbing the chickens. Will gently pushed Louie to one side, then opened the door and stepped in. He was met by a skunk that defended himself with the only weapon he owned and poor Will got the full force. Well, after all the excitement had settled down and attempts had been made to eradicate the smell or at least reduce it, Will and Louie were setting out in the yard in the shade again and resumed the whispering of sweet nothings. Frequently Will would ask Louie, "Can you smell anything?" Louie not only being blinded by love, apparently had her nose stuffed up also, because she would smile up at him sweetly and shy, "No, I can't smell a thing." But several of the brothers tell me that they could.

Will Duffin received a call to go on a mission, so Louie accompanied him to Salt Lake City on the train. On 7 April 1910 Louie Olds married William P. Duffin in the Salt Lake Temple. They had a glorious week of sightseeing and honeymoon, they on the 13 April 1910 Will departed to St. Louis, Missouri for the Central States Mission, and Louie returned home by herself to wait for her husband. Will did not complete his mission for some reason, returning home 23 Feb. 1911. Will was the son of Isaac Nephi and Mary Adeline Lamb Duffin and he was born 8 Jan. 1884 at Toquerville.

Will and Louie lived with her folks in Pintura for about a year. Louie was a victim of epilepsy and although she had not been plagued with too much trouble during her youth, shortly after her marriage she had considerable unpleasantness. But her mother kept her near and looked out for her.

Louie loved children, but she had been told that the possibility of her being a mother was very slim. But her faith and desires prevailed and on 12 Oct. 1912 she gave birth to a fine young son to whom was given the name of Glen Wilber Duffin. He was blessed on 15 December 1912 by his father, assisted by John T. Batty and Juno Batty. Louie was a sweet, gentle little mother and when her health permitted took complete care of her baby.

Will took out a homestead in Pintura at South Ash Creek and they lived there for several years in a tent. Will never seemed to be able to settle down, and Louie was never to enjoy any luxuries the rest of her life. Will and Earn Duffin trapped lions at Pintura. (I can't seem to find out if they ever caught any.)

Louie had parted with three of her brothers through death, but the greatest loss of all was when her dear mother, and sweetest companion was taken away through death on 21 May 1917. Louie had spent much of her time caring for her mother during her illness and was on her way to get a nurse to come help out when she was called back -- too late to see her mother one last time. Louie stayed at home to keep house for her father and brothers for awhile, then the prophesy of the arrival of another child limited her activities. She spent some of her time in Toquerville with Will's family and on the 13 July 1918, a lovely daughter come into her life. As though she were meant to fill the void left by her grandmother, this little daughter had the same lovely red hair, and she was given the name of Flora.

Will served as Ward Clerk of the Toquerville Ward from 1918 to 1921. Pintura was part of this ward.

Another daughter was born to Louie and Will on 11 Oct 1922 and she was named Ludonna. She died from influenza pneumonia when only three months old on 29 January 1923, and was buried at Toquerville.

Lucille was born 21 Jan 1927 at Toquerville.

I have been unable -- in the limited time allowed -- to compile facts about Louie and her life. About 1930 they were living at a ranch west of Cedar City. They lived in Kanarraville for some time, and eventually ended up living in Cedar City on third west at the north end of town. Will never worked steadily, and Louie was never to enjoy good health. Lucille and Flora both suffered from heart conditions. Louie's home was always very humble, but it was spotlessly clean. Throughout her home you could always see evidence of her handwork as she was always very busy crocheting, sewing, making quilts, etc. After the death of Dewey's first wife she took Connell into her home and treated him as her own until he was in his teens. Her children were always so clean and well-kept. She felt the importance of family ties and welcomed anyone in her home and treated them most graciously - regardless of how she felt. She was the tiniest little woman, seldom weighed more than ninety pounds - soft spoken and with a pleasant and sweet atmosphere about her. Louie passed away on the 19 August 1941 at Cedar City and is buried at Toquerville, Utah. At the age of sixty her frail body would at last find the rest and peace it needed.

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This history is copyrighted and is offered for personal use and research only.
It is not to be reprinted or used for commercial purposes without written permission.

Copyright 2000 by Elaine Olds Hagelberg


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