MARTHA FUHRMEISTER BENNETT - Writes a Short Sketch of her Life -- Feb. 13, 1916
A sketch of my life and my childhood days as I now remember them.
I was born March 25, 1857, in Dubuque, Iowa. There my parents embraced the Gospel. Elder William Albrant was the missionary who called upon my parents and converted them to the Gospel. I was then born.
As soon as everything was convenient, my parents then made the journey across the plains. They had a good outfit to take them on to Salt Lake where they made their home. Father helping to lay the foundation of the Salt Lake Temple. My sister Mary, soon after visiting in Salt Lake, lived with President Brigham Young's family. With his advice, she was married to Henry Maudsley and soon moved to St. George. With her writing and pleading for father and mother to come, father finally consented to go and see the place. So father and Albert, my brother, started for Dixie in the fall and as father found lots of work and stayed all winter and during this time he sent word to mother to sell out. So she went to President Young, he let her have a span of mules and a wagon. I don't remember what else he let her have, but we had a good lot and a two-room house. Of course we left the house behind.
In the Spring, father sent my brother and brother-in-law to move us down. I was then seven years old. I remember crossing the Sevier bridge and what a gloomy feeling it brought to us as the bridge was very shaky and it was storming. Another instance that happened on the road, I have forgotten the place, but it was bare, no wood to be found. It was then that my brother-in-law proposed having a ham bone boil and some dumplings made. Mother said there was no wood. So he sent my sister and myself out to get some buffalo chips and the wind was blowing so hard and filled my eyes with dirt so I couldn't see and instead of putting it under the kettle, I dropped it in, or on the lid and I went to get it out and the lid tipped and let some in the kettle. My brother-in-law was the one to get it on his plate. They wondered about it?? No one could guess who the guilty one was until years after I was married when I told them all how it happened.
I don't remember just how many days it took for us to go to St. George. I remember we came in on the west side of the town. We went over what they called the "Devil's Twist?' It sure was a twist. Mother and we children walked into St. George ahead of the teams. As we came out of the narrow and facing the town, we met a crowd of young men and women. Mother asked them if they knew where Maudsley's lived. One young lady spoke up, "Yes, I'll take you right there." I can well remember what a happy meeting it was. In those days people lived in tents and sod houses. The next day we moved on our lot, pitched our tent, and made the best of it with the rest of the pioneers to make the desert blossom as the rose.
In those days when the Indians were hostile father was called out to go after Indians. How we hated to see him go and we cried. When Father spoke to us and said the Lord would protect us all from the hand of our enemy. After father was gone, mother called us all in and we had prayer. Then we felt better, and the Lord certainly did answer our prayers because he returned home safely. Later he was called to go and build a fort as a protection against the Indians. (This was Fort Pierce). It seems father was ever ready for any call that was ever made of him, and all for the Gospel's sake. And mother in all ways went hand in hand with him. She was one of a cheerful nature in her day, although she was called on to pass through many hardships and trials.
It can truly be said about mother that she didn't rust out, but wore out. And I trust that this may be said of me. I have in all ways felt that I might perform my part of the program that the Lord has prepared for me. So far I have not been a public worker, in a way -- not having an education, I have felt backward, but I have tried to do my part toward rearing my family in the way they should go and I have pleaded many times with the Lord in their behalf. And if there is anything more that the Lord has for me to do I want to do it. I would be useful in my day. I remember when a girl at home how my desires would go out to the poor people. If I saw anyone in need I would ask my mother if she had anything to give them. She always granted my request and I hoped that some day I would be able to do good in that way. While we haven't always been blessed with plenty of this world's goods, I have always been willing to share with the little I have had.
I feel that I have been blessed with a life companion that has been equally willing to grant me my great desires toward helping and administering to those who stand in need. This was only prayer when a girl, that I might have a companion who would be one with me through life, and the Lord heard and answered my prayer. I feel that it was the will of the Lord that we came together and that we were one for another.
A COPY OF A LETTER WRITTEN BY MY MOTHER (MARTHA FUHRMEISTER BENNETT) TO HER CHILDREN JUST PRIOR TO HER DEATH.:
My Dear Children, I will try to say something to you as I promised on Thanksgiving Day that I would write it.
I felt so overcome in my feelings with the love and respect my children showed toward us. And I want to tell you I do appreciate kind deeds from you my dear children. It makes me feel that my labors have not been in vain. You have started out right in getting married. You have gone to the House of the Lord to be married for time, and all Eternity.
And now I want to say to you, Be faithful. Don't forget the Lord, and when trials overtake you, don't forget to bow the knee to supplicate your Heavenly Father for He will help you. He knows what we need before we ask him, but he desires us to be humble. So I want to say to you, Pray always lest you enter into temptation. My whole desires have always gone out towards my children and I still feel after them and I still pray for their welfare that they will live upright lives. Now I want to bear my testimony to you that I know that the Gospel is true. I have had many testimonies. You all will remember when Pa was on his mission -- the condition we were in, how the Lord blessed us in our labors. Blessed us in health and with the necessary means to send Pa and when he returned we were out of debt and enough bread on hand to do us for a year.
Now we can see that the Lord will hear and answer prayer. So I say, Don't forget your prayers. Be faithful to the end of your days. And I feel to ask the Lord to bless you all, your families with you, they have all become dear to me as my own. Those tender little branches -- how dear they are. Watch them with care. Amen.
Submitted by Leah B. Christensen
A SKETCH OF MY MOTHER'S LIFE By Leah B. Christensen
Martha Magadalena Fuhrmeister Bennett, my lovely mother, was born in Dubuque, Dubuque Co., Iowa, 25th of March, 1857. She was the seventh child of Frederick Christoph Fuhrmeister and Christine Sophia Magadalena Lindau, Fuhrmeister. (After coming to America her father was known as Frederick Wm. Foremaster.) Martha's parents were converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ in February 1857 by William Albrant. Aunt Mary Maudsley, mother's oldest sister says in her journal, she and her father were baptized in February 1857, but grandfather Fuhrmeister says in his record he and Mary were baptized Apr. 1857 and grandmother in May 1857. On our Family Group sheets we have accepted grandfather's record, and according to the church records this is correct. (This is
in agreement with the findings of Josephine Jones who checked the Church records).
In Apr. 1859, the parents started with their family for Salt Lake City, Utah. When they arrived in Genoa, Nebraska, the father bought a city lot and built a house on it. Here another child was born to them on 14 Apr. 1859. Martha's father being a stonemason by trade started work on the Salt Lake Temple, when they arrived there on 28 May 1859.
Two children were born to them in Salt Lake City, Elizabeth Loise, 29 Feb. 1861 and David Joseph 1l Mar. 1863. Elizabeth Loise died 5th of Sept. 1861 and was buried in Salt Lake City cemetery.
Called by the leaders of the Church to assist in the settlement of "Dixie" they moved to St. George, Utah in 1864 and grandfather assisted in the building of the Tabernacle there and also the Temple. I have heard my mother say he was excellent at his trade as stonemason.
In 1874 Samuel Bennett of Holden, Millard Co., Utah, was called, with others from Millard Co., to work on the St. George Temple. It was while working as stone cutter (he also helped to haul timber from Mt. Trumbull) that he met and fell in love with Martha Fuhrmeister and they were married the 17th of Jan. 1876 by Daniel Hammer Wells in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City, Utah.
They traveled to Salt Lake City by team and covered wagon in bitter cold January weather and deep snow. Father had to get out and "buck" the snow in some places before the horses would venture on. Aunt Jane, my father's sister accompanied the young couple on this trip.
Samuel and Martha made their home in St. George, Utah. Here three of their children were born -- Jane Sophia, who died at the age of two years and was buried in the St. George cemetery, Mary, and Martha Elizabeth. They then moved to Holden, Millard Co., Utah, June 3rd, 1881 where the remainder of their children, Samuel, Josephine, Ida, John, Joseph, Leah, Rachel, and Artemesia, were born. In this quiet little town they lived for forty-six years, or until the time of their death.
They knew many privation years, crop failures, panics etc., but still father was a good provider and mother stood staunch and true by his side, scheming and saving to make the best use of everything.
Each Spring my father with a group of other men in our little town, would go away to Wyoming or Nevada to shear sheep, returning in time to plant the Spring crops. When Samuel was old enough he went with father.
Mother carded wool and made quilts, sewed carpet rags and had them woven into carpets to cover her floors -- she always put fresh clean straw under her carpets when she did the general house cleaning in the Fall and Spring. Likewise, her bed ticks were filled with straw fresh and bright. Sometimes we saved the brightest husks from the corn in the Fall and they were used to fill bed ticks.
She knit the socks and stockings for her family and made their dresses and shirts, and made her own soap. She learned how to spin too, when she was a girl. Her butter and cheese, we thought was the best in the world. Mother was an excellent cook. They raised their own pork, beef, mutton, chickens, and milk cows. She even raised a few geese for her feather pillows. Father owned a ranch and some small fields so that we had our own hay and grain and always had a good garden. My mother's flower garden was the envy of the town and the pride of her family.
The children had the regular children's diseases as they were growing up. Mother was our doctor, father did his part too. In 1892 the children had typhoid fever this was such a trial for them as they nursed each one tenderly for weeks and weeks. Our sister Martha lost her hair with this fever and she had to learn how to walk again. It was during this time of the fever when her ninth child was born. Poor dear mother, weary from work, worry, and sleepless nights. What a debt of gratitude I owe to her. I was the ninth child.
Mother and father gathered the wild herbs and knew the medicinal value of the leaves, and roots, and even the bark of the trees and made them into teas, concoctions, poultices etc. as they were needed in rearing their family.
In 1902 father was called by the church authorities to fill a mission to Great Britain. He sailed from Boston on the S.S. Commonwealth, Sept. 10th, 1902 and landed in Liverpool Sept. 18th.
During the two years which followed mother made many sacrifices. Samuel, the oldest son, who was nineteen went out west (Nevada) to work, Martha worked for Alonzo A. Hinckley in his store and in the home. Mary, the eldest of the family had married two years previous. Mother and the rest of us worked and saved at home. Through mother's wise management and the blessings of the Lord, we kept father on his mission and had the things we needed to sustain ourselves.
Our mother saw that everything was tithed. The Bishop said to her one day, "Aunt Martha, I don't believe the Lord expects you to pay tithing while Sam is in the mission field." But she knew she was receiving a blessing by paying her tithing so continued on, that she might not be deprived of a blessing which was so much needed at this time. When father returned home we were out of debt and had enough flour on hand for a year.
Mother was very refined in her manner, charming, and unassuming. She loved her home and Family and had no time for idle gossip. Never did I hear her find fault with Church Authorities. Her great desire was to instill in the hearts of her children - honesty, trustworthiness, and purity of thought. She taught by example.
We children were taught at our mother's knee to pray for those things which would help us to develop into honorable men and women. We were taught to be grateful for the things we had.
The sick and home-bound were never forgotten. We children carried many a carefully prepared "dainty" to them. And when smallpox struck every family in town with the exception of our own and a neighbor through the field, mother prepared many meals which we children and father carried to the homes placing them on the milk benches outside so they could get them after we left. We were taught to work, "an idle brain is the devil's workshop", she would say.
This good mother's schooling was very limited. Her first school master was Karl G. Maeser, and she always spoke so very highly of him. She was very fond of reading poetry, conference reports, good stories, and kept up with world affairs through the newspapers. I think she was partial to the New Testament .
Martha Fuhrmeister Bennett died Sept. 27, 1927 at Holden, Millard Co., Utah and was buried in the Holden Cemetery.
She was loved and respected by those whose lives her life had touched.
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SAMUEL BENNETT - 1853 -1932
Samuel, the fifth child to be born to John Bennett and Jane Roberts was only 10 when the family arrived in Salt Lake Valley in 1863. He too could remember much about their homeland and the life of a sailor's son. He could vividly remember the long walk beside the wagon , the hardship's, of trying to grub out a living out of the dry desert earth. Herding the cows as they searched for each blade of green grass, was just part of his chores of the day. He was part of a family who had gained faith in a living God, who were willing to struggle and endure, accepting the Lord's measure, while hoping for better conditions some day. Samuel joined the family in their love for music and took his part with his bass voice as the family joined their great talent in song. Many a home evening was spent singing and blending their voices.
In 1874, Samuel and Dave Turner planned to go to Oregon, mostly for adventure, but of course if they could find work they would take it. They had their covered wagon packed with bedding, what few clothes they had, and good supplies. From the sides of the double-bed wagon box hung their kettles, skillets, fry pans etc., for cooking their meals over the campfire. On the rack extending from the back of the wagon was a goodly supply of hay and oats for the horses, with nose bags for feeding the grain. This was Sunday and they were to leave the next morning.
His mother tried to persuade them not to go but as young fellows filled with the spirit of adventure they had made their decision. That afternoon the boys were both in Sacrament meeting when Bishop David R. Stevens arose and announced, "We want Samuel Bennett and Dave Turner to go to St. George to work on the Temple." At the close of the meeting Dave said, "Well, Bennett what are you going to do"? Samuel answered, "I am going to St. George”. Dave was disappointed but after a moments thought he sided in and said, "Well, if you're going I’m going too." So these two young men, together with Murry Fisher, and brother and sister Niels Tueson of Scipio, rigged up a back-action covered wagon with six horses and supplies and went to St. George to work on the temple.
Responding to this call proved to be a wonderful blessing to Samuel. It marked a more sure way for his future life. Many testimonies came to him while engaged in the glorious work of building this House of the Lord. According to Robert Ashby’s book about people of Holden, he stated that "Samuel Bennett helped move the baptismal font by oxen to the temple". After some research by Ruby Morgan on the subject, she found the following article printed in the Deseret News, dated Aug. 29, 1932, which reads in part:"Finally the baptismal font and oxen were finished; now came the great task of transporting them, in sections, by rail and ox team from Salt Lake City to St. George. Fifty-six years ago this month I was one of a company of young men who delivered the baptismal font for the St. George Temple. We were instructed to guard our loads carefully and not to exhibit them to anybody except the bishops of the wards along the way, and people the bishops might permit to see them.
“We traveled along with soldiers going to Beaver on foot. We passed and repassed them often and almost had to fight to keep them from snooping in our wagons. Some of them believed we were loaded with a cannon. The John D. Lee trial was on at the time and there was a great deal of excitement and many wild rumors. But we held to our course and carried out our instructions.
“Everywhere along the way we were royally received and entertained. Some of the way it was so hot that we traveled at night for the benefit of our oxen. It. reached 119 1/2 degrees in the shade. Our oxen nearly died. Every time they heard a stream of water we had all we could do to keep them from stampeding.
“We did not leave for the return trip till we saw the font safely in place. As fast as they unloaded us the pieces were put in place and bolted together. Apostle Orson Hyde went in and saw the font in place and came out weeping with joy. He thanked God that he had lived to see another font in place in a temple of the Lord. He said this people would never be driven from the Rocky Mountains. I believed him, for I had heard him prophesy before”. (by C. L. Christensen, Moab, Utah).
At the time this font was moved the railroad went as far as York, which was located approx. where the Santaquin hill is. It was most likely then, that Samuel brought his oxen to York to meet the train. He was assigned as a stone-cutter and he also helped to haul the heavy timber from Mt. Trumbull, and it was while he was thus engaged, that he met Martha M. Fuhrmeister, one of the beautiful daughters of Fredrich W. Fuhrmeister, who he afterward married in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City, Utah. They traveled by team and covered wagon to Salt Lake in bitter cold weather with plenty of snow. Samuel would get out and "buck" the snow in some places before the horses would venture on. His sister Jane accompanied the young couple.
His daughter Leah Bennett Christensen writes the following:They made their home in St. George, Utah, where three of their children were born--Jane Sophia, who died at the age of two years and was buried in the St. George Cemetery, Mary, and Martha Elizabeth. They then moved to Holden, Millard County, Utah, where the remainder of their children, Samuel, Josephine, Ida, John, Joseph, Leah, Rachel, and Artemesia were born. Here they lived for forty-six years, or until the time of their death.
In November, 1884, father was called to work in the Young Men's Mutual Improvement Association, in the Holden Ward, as Secretary to Johnathan Bennett. In 1890 the Association was re-organized and James Jens Stephenson became President and Samuel Bennett lst councilor. He served in this capacity until its re-organization in 1892. He also served in other capacities and in 1902 he was called by the Church authorities to fill a two years mission to Great Britain; being set apart September 2, 1902 by Apostle Rudger Clawson. On Sept. 10 he sailed from Boston on board the S. S. Commonwealth and landed in Liverpool Sept. 18. He was assigned, by President Francis M. Lyman to begin his labors in Norich or (Norwitch).
My parents made many sacrifices during the next two years. My oldest brother, Samuel went out West (Nevada) to work, Martha worked for Alonzo A. Hinckley both in his home and in his store in Hinckley, Utah. (My oldest sister Mary had married two years' previous). Mother and the rest of us worked and saved at home in order that we might sustain father in the mission field. The blessings of the Lord were upon us and we usually found sufficient to eat.
Mother was always seeing to it that everything was tithed. The Bishop said to her one day, "Aunt Martha, I don’t believe the Lord expects you to pay tithing while Sam is in the mission field”. Mother was almost indignant, she said, "Bishop, nobody must keep me from receiving that blessing”. And so she continued to pay tithing on everything and thus instilled into us the desire to yield obedience to the requirements of the Lord. During that time our crops prospered and having no granary in which to store them, mother and the boys built bins in one corner of the kitchen.
Shortly after father left for his mission one of his boyhood friends, “Sam Memmott" from Scipio, took his grist to Fillmore to be ground into flour, and on his way back home he stopped and brought a large seamless sack full of flour into mother. He said, "Sister Martha, I was not able to get to Sam's farewell party, so now will you accept this sack of flour?" Brother Memmott didn't know that we had scraped the bottom of our flour bin that morning and that we knew not where the next was coming from. After Brother Memmott left, mother sat down in her rocking chair and with the corner of her apron wiped away the tears of gratitude that flowed freely down her cheeks as she said, "Children, the Lord will provide". At another time Andrew Stephenson rode his horse out to see us and brought two 50 lb. bags of flour.
Father was very zealous in his missionary work, walking many miles a day to keep appointments and to bear his testimony to those who had not heard the Gospel, among them were those of Royalty such as Lord John Woodhouse, the Earl of Kimberly, and others. He bore testimony to us that God was with them in their work. On more than one occasion the mob gathered to rotten egg them, roaring like mad bulls, but each time the Lord dispersed the mob and they were unharmed. There were testimonies of the sick being made well through the power of the Priesthood and the dead being restored to life by that same power.
In 1904 he was released from his mission and on May 21, 1905 he was ordained a High Priest by Apostle Francis M. Lyman and was sustained and set apart as first counselor to Bishop Anthony Y. Stephenson of the Holden Ward, in which capacity he served for twelve years."
Samuel Bennett played a prominent part in the founding of the town of Delta, Millard County, Utah. On March 24, 1906, a convention of the citizens of Millard County was held in Fillmore, Millard County, Utah, to consider utilizing the waters of the Sevier River. Samuel Bennett was one of the five directors who were authorized to perfect the organization of the new company. The organization of the new company included Frederick R. Lyman as President with Samuel Bennett as Treasurer and Orvil L. Thompson as Secretary. Samuel Bennett was Trustee. He subscribed for 80 shares of capitol stock for $400. 00. On Jan. 14, 1907, Edgar W. Jeffery was made Secretary--Samuel Bennett was to be acting Secretary and continue as Treasurer.
He was very active in proposing and assisting in the building of the U. B. Dam (Utah's Big Dam) and spillway and in laying off the new town. He had charge of the canal work and of the survey work and did much of it by tying a red handkerchief to a spoke of his buggy wheel and counting the revolution, spending many hours at this. He was highly commended for his patience and accuracy. He was diligent and honest in his responsibilities in this program.
Whatever Samuel Bennett was called upon to do he did to the best of his ability. It was his way of life. Samuel and Martha Bennett instilled into their children the principle of integrity and honesty, and devotion to the work of the Lord. They taught them to be loyal to their country and to every worthy cause. Twenty-five of their grandsons served in World War II, one of them Bennett Abbot, gave his life on the Battlefield in France.
Up to the present time (Feb. 1956) twenty of their children and grandchildren have filled missions at home and abroad and many of them have filled and are at present filling leading positions in the wards and stakes of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Martha M. Bennett died 27, 1927 at Holden, Utah. Samuel Bennett died Dec. 17, 1932 in St. George, Utah, while engaged in Temple work. Both were buried in the cemetery at Holden, Millard County, Utah. They leave a large posterity. Ten of their children are still living. I have found joy in preparing this history and wish to thank those of my brothers and sisters and others who have contributed in any way.
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