Life story of Leila Moore Beck (1887-1971)

"I, Leila Moore, was born on 2 March 1887 at St. Johns, Apache Co., Arizona to Samuel Drollinger and Clara Ann Huish Moore. I was born in a two-room log cabin with a lean-to and a dirt floor. For three months before I was born my father and mother had nothing to eat but onions. One evening a Grandma Gibbons was called in and I was born the next morning. I was a baby with dark curly hair. My mother was glad that I was a girl so that I could be a companion to my older sister Clara."

"My parents decided to name me Leila after a Miss Leila Merrill who had taught school with father just before my parents were married. Both of them liked the name Leila. I was blessed by my father, and, in the blessing, I was told that I would fill a mission across the waters. I did not know of this fact until I was to be married. My father told me at that time that he was quite disappointed because he could not see how the promise would ever be fulfilled."

"My father had married my mother on October 10, 1881. The next day he left for a two year mission to the Southern States. In April 1884, six months after returning from his mission to the Southern States, my father and mother were called, with other Mormon colonists, to a mission in Arizona. On October 29, 1884 father and mother and their first baby, Walter Harvey, who was about seven weeks old, left for Arizona. They arrived at St. Johns, Arizona on December 5, 1884, having traveled six weeks by team and wagon."

"My family lived in Arizona for eight years, until 1892. At that time father was released from his mission. On September 29, 1892 we left St. Johns, Arizona and were on our way back to Payson, Utah. We traveled in a wagon for two days across the desert to the railroad at Holbrook, Arizona. During the first night we stopped at a one-room house. We were put to sleep on the floor. The door had to be kept closed to keep the skunks out of the house. When the railroad tracks were reached, I was disappointed because I expected to see an 'iron horse' with legs. Father had told us that an 'iron horse' would take us home. The third morning, mother, Clara, S.D., and I were put on the train, and father and Walter returned to Utah in a covered wagon. When we reached Denver, Colorado (at two o'clock in the morning), no places were available in which we could stay, so we were placed on the station benches in quilts. Although very tired, mother watched over us. When we reached Springville, Utah, we stopped at the home of Caroline Waters. There we saw apples on a tree for the first time."

"For about six weeks, until father arrived from Arizona, we lived at Grandma Moore's home at Payson, Utah. The old Moore home is now the Strawberry Hotel. Father obtained a job teaching school and we got a small home where the Orem Depot now stands. My brother Oro was born three weeks after father reached Payson."

"A lovely feeling prevailed in our home. As a family unit, we had morning and evening prayers. We always kissed our parents goodnight. Father was very strict and expected to be obeyed when he said to do it, we did it. It did not always work so well when we had promised to go to a dance. After Clara and I left home for the Brigham Young University, at about sixteen years of age, we no longer had parental decisions to interfere with our activities."

"My mother was a beautiful woman. Father thought he had the prettiest woman in Payson for a wife. My mother was very aristocratic, proud, and neat. When mother left home to go some place, she was immaculate, even if it meant ironing for hours beforehand. Our home was always very clean. Mother was very loving and never quarreled. This was not true of my father. Mother always had the children go to Sunday School and Primary. We went to the Second Ward Church. My father was stake clerk. When the tithing records came in, we would work steady for about two months. Father was a beautiful penman and insisted on good writing by his children. He was an exceptionally good speller and knew well the definition of words."

"Father always saw that he had a job. We were always called early in the morning. Mother needed both girls in the home to do the work, and the seven boys did the work on the farm. Clara and I made the beds and did the dishes. We pumped the water from a well, turned the washer, and ironed with stove irons. We were given a lot of responsibility for work in the home and were especially responsible for the evening meal. Christmas was a happy time because mother always had something for each of us. During the winter we skated on the sidewalks and went bob sleigh riding. Father always had a pair of 'bobs' for winter."

"Our trips to conference were made in a 'white-top'. Father always had some good horses. Mother refused to ride behind a pair of mules that father had purchased. A short distance out of Spanish Fork one day the mules were frightened and ran about seven miles to Payson along the old county road. Father remained in the buggy until the mules were stopped by the corner of the house and the clothes lines as they ran down the lane. Father was white with fright. Never again did he hook up the mules. The following week the mules were sold."

"One of the awful events of my childhood was the fire that burned down the old tabernacle where the present tabernacle now stands. The building apparently burned down because of a defective flue that went through the roof. The building burned down during the day."

"Mother dressed Clara and me as though we were twins. When I was six years old, the two of us started school together. Ezma Curtis was my first teacher. School was held at a little one-room school house where the Taylor School now stands."

"One winter, when in the fourth grade, Clara and I swept the school building each night. For this work we received a $1.50 a week. With the money we bought some of our dresses. When I was twelve years of age, Uncle Alma Huish, who was the cashier in the bank, hired Clara and me to sweep out the bank at 50 a night. One night I caught my dress in the bank door as it was being closed and I had to wait for two hours before someone arrived with a key to unlock the door."

"My teachers whom I remember most were Melissa Manwill Lewis, Samuel E. Taylor, and my father. I was graduated from the eighth grade under Dr. Joseph Hughes."

"After graduating from the eighth grade, I went to the Peteetneet School for one year and completed the ninth grade there before going to the Brigham Young University at Provo, Utah."

"The summer before going to Provo to school, I took orders for knit goods for the Logan Woolen Mills. The money thus obtained was used to pay my expenses at the Brigham Young University. Clara and I traveled in Payson, Spanish Fork, Santaquin, Goshen, and Eureka. The last summer that I worked, I made a little over $500.00. I traveled alone and carried my suitcase. Apostle Melvin J. Ballard was the factory manager at that time."

"Four happy years were spent at the Brigham Young University. In 1908 I was graduated from the normal school and received a two-year state teacher's certificate. Two years later I went to the University of Utah summer school and obtained my five year state teacher's certificate. I outlined and studied the Book of Mormon under William J. Snow and received my first real testimony that Joseph Smith was a true prophet. Hermese Peterson was my training teacher. I loved to teach in the training school. Miss Ida Alleman (now Mrs. Ida A. Taylor) was also my training teacher and I enjoyed working under her. I especially liked Dr. Harvey Fletcher in physics and Dr. Maw in chemistry. I knew W. W. McAllister when I attended Brigham young University. In one class I sat on one side of him and Clara sat in a seat on the other side. All of our surnames began with 'M.'"

"While attending the Brigham Young University, I lived in the home of Dr. George H. Brimhall. We all had to walk 'the chalk line' and did not even dare say what we thought. Something amusing happened one evening. Dr. Brimhall was sitting before the 'Coales Hot Blast Stove' with the stove door open. He asked his wife to get him a glass of water. When she did not move as quickly as he expected her to, he grabbed her eye glasses and threw them into the stove. Immediately she grabbed his eye glasses and threw them into the stove. The next morning Dr. Brimhall could not go to class without his spectacles. He and his wife went to town in the buggy to get some new ones. The Brimhall girls, Fay and Fawn, who were twins, and the two Moore girls, who dressed as twins, went through school together for four years, graduating at the same time."

"Near the end of our last year of school, Clara and I applied for teaching positions. Samuel E. Taylor was on the board of education and gave a contract to me to teach in the Peteetneet School because he thought that I was the older. Clara taught in Leland for one year and came to Payson the following year to teach at the Peteetneet School. I taught in the third and fourth grades for five years -- from the fall of 1908 to the spring of 1913. The principal of the school was Lee R. Taylor. He was a good principal. Melvin Wilson was the supervisor of the Payson schools."

"Some of the boys with whom I went were: Clyde Hammond, Carl Nelson, Parley Powell, George Scharrer, and George Francom. Once, when the teachers went to Utah Lake for teacher's institute, I went on the lake with Effie Kelsey, Joe Barlow, and Melvin Wilson. A storm came up. The boys rowed while the girls bailed water from the boat. We managed to reach shore without mishap."

"In 1906 I was made a member of the Nebo MIA stake board and served for seven years with Lillian Fairbanks as president. Many pleasant and enjoyable nights were spent visiting the eighteen wards of the stake. These wards were located in the towns of Spanish Fork, Payson, Benjamin, Salem, Goshen, and Eureka. I served as a board member until I was married in 1913. One member of the YWMIA and one member of the YMMIA went together to visit the wards and we had many happy times together."

"Our MIA stake board meeting was held in Spanish Fork. J. Milton Beck, Perry B. Fuller, and Joe McKnight came down from Silver City and won the debate in the morning exercises. (This was in 1910.) I was invited over to the home of Grace Brockbank, one of the board members, and there I met Milton Beck for the first time. That night at the MIA dance I was the only girl with whom Milton danced. (His wife Jennie had died just a short time before.) From the time of the dance on our friendship developed into real companionship. Three weeks later I received a letter asking if he could enjoy my company, and I was glad to have him come. We went together a little over three years. We were together every Christmas, every teacher's institute -- I cannot tell you when we were not together. Milton went to Logan to school one year, but letters came regularly to me all the time that he was gone."

"The day after New Year's in 1913 father was showing someone the new electric washer we had bought mother. I threw my hand out while talking and my index finger was crushed in the washer. The doctor put in fourteen stitches and thought that I would be alright. Five days later blood poisoning set in, and I was told that if my hand was not removed, my life could not be saved. The stake MIA board members and the priesthood met and held a prayer meeting for me. In that prayer I was blessed and told that I would not lose my hand, but that my finger would have to be taken. At first the doctor refused to take just the finger, but father stood over me and told the doctor, 'No! not the hand.' My life was saved, but I had to carry my hand in a sling for four months. On May 21, 1913 Milton and I were married in the Salt Lake Temple. Mother, John E. Huish, John B. Fairbanks, Leo Fairbanks, and Nettie Yates were present to see us married. Milton and I remained at the Wilson Hotel in Salt Lake City for two days. On the night we returned to Payson, mother had a family supper for us. Milton had caught cold in the temple and had what they called the 'putrid pneumonia' (sore throat). He was so sick that he did not care whether anyone spoke to him or not. Ten days later Milton and I left for Spanish Fork to make our home. We lived in the Harry Hughes' home. The summer was spent in Spanish Fork. In the fall, as the work was not sufficient, Milton left for Garland, Utah to work in the Utah-Idaho Sugar Company factory. Two weeks later I joined Milton. We lived in the sugar company house. On February 17, 1914 our first child, John Milton Jr., was born. That was the happiest time we had ever had in our lives. John Milton had blue eyes and blonde hair. He opened a big square mouth when he cried. From the day of his birth he has always been well and strong. On April 23, 1915 we were blessed with another child, a boy, Sterling Smith, who had dark hair and brown eyes. The two boys were always real companions to each other and remained so until Sterling died fourteen years later (May 3, 1929)."

"In the fall of 1915 the house in which we were living was sold. As we could not obtain another one, we decided to return to Spanish Fork. We lived in the Ludlow home in the Third Ward. On March 26, 1917 another baby boy, Wayne Moore, was born."

"The fall of 1917 we left for Silver City, Utah, where Milton had decided to work. Our family lived in a lovely house across the road from the home of President Birch. Our son Milton received his first little train with cars painted red, white, and blue for Christmas in 1918. I was able to watch him toot the train, but was too ill to eat any dinner. At five o'clock that afternoon of December 25,1918, our first baby girl, Carol May, was born -- our little Christmas Carol. The two boys, Milton and Sterling, had been sent to Levi Beck's for the afternoon."

"In July 1919 we came to Payson to celebrate the Fourth of July. When we returned to Silver City, we discovered that the hoist to the mine had burned down and Milton was without a job. Two weeks later, all our belongings were packed and we left for Payson, Utah. Milton and I had decided to raise our boys on a farm instead of at a mining camp. Everyone of our children since that time has been born in Payson, Utah in the house where we now live. Wells Huish was born on November 3, 1920. We only had the pleasure of keeping him until February 5, 1921, for he died then of pneumonia. Until four days before his death, he was a healthy, strong baby. Then he commenced to cry and cried until his death. No one really knew what caused his death."

"On November 15, 1921, Frank Preston, our smallest baby, was born. On the day of his birth, the doctor (A. L. Curtis) was called and examined me. The doctor said that no baby would be born for another two months. In less than an hour after the doctor left, Frank was born. The ordeal of giving birth was too hard on me and resulted in the loss of my hearing. As I got better, I could hear words, but have never been able to hear perfectly since that time."

"On October 26, 1924 another little baby girl, Margaret Leila, was born. She weighed ten pounds. From the day of her birth, she has been strong and robust. She had beautiful curly hair. She always got her own way with the boys."

"Three years later, on January 15, 1921, Donald Lynn was born. He had very dark hair. His personality is such that he has always had a host of friends around him."

"A year and a half later, on September 26, 1928, Fred LeRoy was born. He looked as if he were a twin brother to Donald. When six months of age, on March 22,1929, Fred LeRoy died."

"On November 10, 1931 my husband left to fill a short term mission in California. Previous to this time, my health had not been too good, but, after Milton left, I enjoyed better health than I had had before."

"Four weeks after Milton left for the California Mission, the state Bank of Payson went broke. Soon we were without coal. We had wood, but the snows were so deep, and the wood so water soaked, that it was impossible to get enough dry wood to keep the house warm. At night we had to go to bed because the house would get too cold for us. One morning I asked my son Milton to lead us in prayer. He asked that some way be opened up that fuel would be made available to us so that our house would be kept warm. That evening, when we were doing the chores, a wagon drove up to the large front gate. Wayne called out, 'Somebody wants Mother.' All of us went up to the wagon. Uncle Oro had brought over a half ton of coal from Uncle Walter in Spanish Fork. We all stood by the wagon with tears in our eyes. Our Heavenly Father had answered our prayers. This experience planted within us a strong testimony that God answers prayer. I was so blessed with health and knowledge that I was able to care for my family and my husband was able to remain in the mission field."

"In March 1932 I took Donald and went to California to meet Milton. While in California I visited with Elmer Daniels, Lynn McClellan, and the James family. Elmer Daniels took us to Tijuana, Mexico. The trip was a wonderful experience for all of us. We returned to Utah in time for April conference. When we returned home, even old 'Tony', our German police dog, remembered Milton."

"In 1935 I took a job with the Utah State Adult Education program. I taught sewing four days a week in the Central School and enjoyed teaching the classes very much. In order to keep my job, I renewed my state teaching certificate by attending summer school at the University of Utah during the summers of 1936, 1937, and 1938. In 1940 my certificate was again renewed. I was hired by the Nebo School District to teach two adult sewing classes a week. I continued teaching until 1942."

"About this time I became more interested in genealogy work. As I did not want to be confined in my genealogical activities by a teaching position, I stopped teaching. Milton and I wanted to be free to go on the regular temple excursions. I have searched the records until I have been able to send several hundred names to the temple for ordinance work. I have greatly enjoyed my genealogical work. Milton and I have now visited all the temples except the Canadian temple."

"During my life I have held many positions in the church. At Garland I was president of the YWMIA for two years (1913-1915). Milton and I would take the boys to Mutual in a buggy. At Silver City, I served for one year as counselor in the Relief Society. I have been a member of the Relief Society since 1918 and have held many different positions in that organization. Since 1946 I have been a teacher of sewing in the Payson Third Ward Relief Society."

"In the summer of 1947 Milton and I took a trip to the Salt Lake Temple, Logan temple, and the Idaho Falls temple. Two weeks later we went through the Manti temple and the St. George temple. We returned home after a wonderful summer doing genealogical work."

"In June 1948 Milton and I were called on a mission to the Hawaiian Islands. Our farewell was held at the Payson Third Ward Chapel on Friday evening, October 8. All of our children were present at the farewell. On October 11 we entered the mission home. On October 21, after spending eleven days in the mission home, we left Salt Lake City, Utah for San Francisco, California. Because of a strike in the shipping industry, we were transferred to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and departed from there on November 1, 1948 for the Hawaiian Islands."

"Almost two years were spent doing missionary work in the Hawaiian Islands. We were located at Laie on the island of Oahu. Our time during the day was spent at the information bureau of the Hawaiian temple, in tracting and visiting homes, and in looking after the Lanilui Mission Home. Our time in the evenings was spent filling tracting assignments and in going through the temple and doing ordinance work for Hawaiian dead. (See letter to Pres. George Christensen.)"

"We feel that our work in Hawaii has been a pleasure and a dream come true. Milton is quite convinced that we were especially called here. Milton wrote the following in one letter home. 'President E. Wesley Smith gave me a wonderful blessing and I am convinced that there was a valuable purpose in our call to these Islands of the Sea. It fulfills the promise made to your mother in her patriarchal blessing that she would carry the message of truth to the world. Her father died thinking this part of Leila's blessing would not be realized. God's ways are not always understood by man, but they are never frustrated or rendered untrue if spoken under the influence of the Holy Ghost by the priesthood-holding servants of God.'"

"While in Laie, Apostle Cowley administered to me and he said, 'The desire of your heart is to hear again and that desire will be fulfilled as you yet have a greater mission to fulfill. God bless you in all your righteous desires and be faithful and the blessings of Heaven will be with you.'"

"On August 21, 1950 we sailed from Hawaii. Among those returning on the Lurline with us were President George Albert Smith and his party. They had been on the Islands during the Centennial celebration. While coming over on the Lurline, I went to President Smith and told him my blessing by Apostle Cowley and said that I wanted to shake his hand; that I really desired to hear so I could do a greater work; and that I knew he had the power to help me. He took hold of my hand and told me to be faithful and 'that blessing would come true ' and 'I add my blessings upon you that you may yet do a greater work; continue to be faithful and you will be blessed.'"

"On August 26, 1950 the Lurline docked at Los Angeles harbor at nine-thirty o'clock in the morning. Here we were met by Margaret, Arch; Cheri, Caroline, Mr. and Mrs. Millett, Milton, Rhean, and Milton Mac."

"Before returning home to Payson, Utah, we traveled to Santa Barbara to visit with Rhean and Milton and then to Chico, California to see Win and Carol and their family. We arrived back home in Payson, Utah September 1, 1950."

[Typed version of preceding narrative completed December 14, 1950 by J. Milton Beck Jr. and Rhean Beck in Santa Maria, California.]

"On June 11, 1951 Milton had a heart attack while working in a field. He was on a horse-drawn mowing machine when he died in a sitting position. The horses had turned out into the alfalfa and were eating. Before his death, a neighbor on his way to lunch had waved to Milton, and Mlton waved back. When the neighbor came back from lunch, Milton was in the same place. So he went and checked, and Milton was dead. I was inconsolable. His funeral was held on June 14, 1951. Milton was taken to Spanish Fork and buried in the cemetery there. I had a headstone made for both of us."

[Above details of the death of John Milton Beck were provided by his daughter Margaret Leila Beck Millett on March 22, 2006.]