Fearless Females is a series of blogging prompts launched by Lisa Alzo of The Accidental Genealogist.
March 5 — How did they meet? You’ve documented marriages, now, go back a bit. Do you know the story of how your parents met? Your grandparents?
|William "Madsen" & Blanche Theora Barker Piggott|
Grandma Blanche never talked much about growing up, or the time she shared with grandpa; not to me anyway. But thankfully she wrote it all down!
After graduating from Fielding High School in Paris, Idaho Blanche was very close friends with Vera Nelson. Vera lived in Bloomington and Blanche in St. Charles. Vera's boyfriend was Paul Haddock and Blanche was dating his friend Owen Thornock. They were both going to BYU and majored in education.
It was while she was dating Owen that she met Matt. He was dating Elmoyne Ward at the time.
From here I would like to share a few excerpts from her autobiography, in "her own words".
One Christmas holiday when Paul and Owen were home we had a party at Otis and Maude Bateman's home. Matt was there with Elmoyne and I don't know what happened but after that night I knew it was Matt that I wanted. After Owen went back to school Matt and I started going together. He wasn't one to let his feelings show too much (not to me anyway), so it was quite a while before we decided to get married. He always said I asked him to marry me, then he'd laugh. I probably did, in a way. I think he was afraid of marriage because he didn't know if we could make it financially. We had some rough times, but we were making it until he got sick.
....Owen was short in stature and my Dad used to say "I hope you marry someone that can jump across an irrigation ditch without falling in". He liked Owen, but he liked Madsen better.
I liked Matt and even thought his big red 'Ball Brand' overshoes were cute. He was a special person. Everyone liked him. He was honest, had high ideals and morals, and was very ambitious and hard working. He always had time to help someone else if they needed him and would leave his work to go help others. After we decided to get married he went to Logan to make arrangements with Mary Jane Faylor to buy the home that we were going to live in.
Matt was working for Herb Bateman at the time and asked for time off to go to Logan. He told Herb why he wanted to go. After he left for Logan, walking and hitchhiking, Herb decided he wanted the home for his daughter, Mona Rasmussen, so he got in his car and drove to Logan through Immigration Canyon, another route to Logan. As luck would have it, Matt was going to Logan through the Logan Canyon and was able to get a ride through the canyon. He arrived at Faylors and made arrangements to buy the home for one hundred dollars down and one hundred dollars per year for 14 years.
Just as he was coming out of the house Herb Bateman drove up to the gate. He was furious with Matt and told him if he got married he would fire him. He kept his word and when we came back from our wedding in the Salt Lake Temple Madsen didn't have a job.
On September 21, 1933, he and Truman Payne and some other Bloomington boys left for Idaho Falls, Idaho, to harvest sugar beets. On September 30, 1933 I received a letter from Matt. These are some excerpts from his letter to me. "Your letter and parcel sure looked good to an old, married man when he came in from work. The boys want to thank you, too!" (i must have sent some food). "How are you feeling? Is your back any better? You never said a word about your health. You want to know all I've done since I left. Well, I'll do better than you did and tell all I've done. We never left Bloomington until 3:30 p.m. and only had one flat tire from there to Montpelier. We made it to Lava by dark, where we got a cottage for the night. They managed to get me up in time to start about 8:00 a.m. The house we are living in is a two room "shack" with two windows out and so full of lies we are able to have fly stew three times a day".
...."We figure we have made $9.50 each this week."
... "While waiting for Truman to come with the car, Homer Thomas and Neville Thornock came to see us. They say a lot of Bear Lake boys are up here. They also said they saw you to Max Haddock's Missionary Farewell party, (They gave the missionaries a party and dance at that period of time.) and that you were having a swell time. I am sure glad to hear it, but of course it was against your wishes that I should. You n ever mention things like that".
"We will be done with this job about the 10th or 15th of October and will be home if we cannot find another job".
..."If you see Mother and Dad, find out how the cattle and chickens are getting along. See if that steer and heifer have come out of the hills. Tell Dad that I forgot to make arrangements about hay and that if he runs out ask him if he will buy some and I will send him the money. But, if he can make it last 'till I get home I want them up to our place when I get back and don't want to move the hay twice".
"Has Clarence (Poulson) moved in the place yet? Listen, Blanche, don't stay at the place nights alone, please! Blanche, if I could figure out a way of keeping you with me here I would sure have you up here. I guess I am homesick for the first time, for I sure have a longing to go back. Next time I go on a goose chase like this, you go too. Have to close, with love, Matt. P.S. Blanche, I cannot begin to express my feelings to you, but I sure miss you, and oh! so bad".
They were married in the Salt Lake Temple by President George F. Richards of the Council of the Twelve Apostles on August 16, 1933. They had five children, Rodney Barker, twins Merrill William and Carolyn, Joyce, and Jean. I always wondered why grandma only gave the boys a middle name.
They would only have twelve years together. In November of 1944 grandpa began to have health problems. He was weak and tired easily. He was in and out of hospitals, but no one knew what was wrong with him. July 1, 1945 the LDS Hospital in Salt Lake ran more tests and decided he had pernicious anemia which is comparable now to leukemia. He died in the hospital 14 days later.