Esther "Etta" Mariah Hanks Fowlke

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MAY 27TH, 1959





Today I am honored in being asked to represent our family in paying tribute to our Mother, sister Esther Mariah Hanks Fowlke, who is commonly known to her many friends and loved ones as "Etta." If I many direct your thinking for just a few short minutes, may I introduce you to the lives of mother's father and mother, and to their father and mother. This is fitting and proper. One then may understand more clearly why this dear sister has been endowed with extra strength, courage and fortitude.

Mother's grandfather was the well known Ephraim Knowlton Hanks. He was a scout for Brigham Young and was a prominent individual in Utah history. He being known as a brave and courageous man who seemed to know no fear of the elements or the Indians. As a young lad he joined the United States Navy, and was assigned to the U.S.S. Columbus ship. It was while on board this ship that an unusual experience happened to him. A strange man dressed in a gray tweed suit came down to where the sailors were working at the pumps. He seemed particularly interested in Eph and encouraged him to return to his home after he had completed his three years enlistment. This gentleman was a stranger to the members of the crew'. His manner was strange, in as no one saw him leave the ship, yet he could not be found. Latter when Eph joined the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, he had real reason to believe that this stranger was one of the three Nephrites. Who directed him to turn his wandering footsteps homeward, to await a mission there? After arriving home he married Harriet Decker, a sister of Clara Decker, one of Brigham Young's wives.

A friendly relationship grew between he and Brigham Young. Ephraim was a willing servant to Brother Brigham, who responded to many dangerous assignments. Eph was endowed with the gift of healing to a marked degree. He performed many healings with the use of consecrated oil and 'by exercising the power of his Holy Priesthood. This same gift of healing was given to his son, Mother's father, William C. Hanks. Ephraim was able to provide food for the starving saints. Latter in his life he was accompanied by the same stranger in the gray tweed suit on several dangerous assignments that were assigned to him by Brother Brigham. He was given permission by Harriet to marry a second wife, Jane Capener. A little later he married a third wife, Thisbe Read.

Soon after his marriage to Jane, he went to Utah Lake, about thirty miles south in to Utah County to catch a load of fish. In the evening he stayed with a family by the name of Brown. Being very tired, he retired for the night, but could not go to sleep. His mind kept thinking of the handcart that was long overdue. He well knew of the terrible blizzards and the hard trail that lie before them. Winter had set in and he knew of many hardships which would confront the traveling company. He finally fell asleep, when suddenly he was aroused by someone calling his name. "Ephraim," he stirred and dozed, again he heard his name called. Being very tired he dozed once again. The third time his name was called out in a sharp tone. He answered, "Yes, yes, is there something I can do for you?" He heard a clear voice say, "That handcart company is in trouble, will you help them out?" Eph jumped out of bed hoping to see the messenger, was it; could it be the man in the gray tweed suit? Whoever he was, he left a message that Elder Hanks thoroughly understood.

Ephraim entered the Salt Lake Valley about daylight. He was met by a messenger just dispatched by President Brigham Young, asking him to come and assist the long overdue handcart company. The messenger as well as President Young was surprised to find him already back in the city. President Young laid his hands on Elder Hank's head and gave him a priesthood blessing. Elder Hanks and other men started their journey over the mountains with their light wagon and loaded with supplies. The snow became so deep that they found it necessary to leave the supplies and wagon by the wayside. He then left his companions and started the journey on horseback. Alone he faced many hardships, losing his way in the blinding blizzard. He finally found his way back to the main trail. After traveling a short distance he was amazed to see a large buffalo standing in full view. Taking his gun from his saddle, he drew a bead, pulled the trigger and the large buffalo dropped in the deep snow. Eph took time to skin part of the buffalo, then cutting from the carcass as much meat as he could strap on his pack animal. Then he slashed the tenderloin strips from along the back bone, tying the tenderloin strips on his saddle and continued his journey.

In a few miles he sighted the Martin Handcart Company located along the Sweetwater River. When the exhausted, starving and partly frozen pioneers saw this lone rider coming towards them, they fell to their knees and thanked God. Before Eph could unite the tenderloin strips from his saddle, the emigrants had eaten most of it raw. Elder Hanks went among the Saints anointing them with concentrated oil and giving them Priesthood Blessings. There was great faith manifested and such a revival of spirits that many were healed instantly. Some of the pioneers had been carrying frozen limbs for days, but now they had faith strong enough to have their frozen body parts amputated without pain by this humble elder.

Ephraim was the father of twenty six children, seven children by his first wife Harriet, seven children by his second wife Jane and twelve children by this third wife Thisbe. In his later life he became Patriarch of the new Wayne Stake. He died on the morning of June 9, 1896 and was buried at Cainsville with great devotion and honor. The Salt Lake City local news referred to the funeral in these words: "Such a sweet heavenly influence was there that one did not feel to mourn. Those present testified it was beyond anything they had ever witnessed. It made one think as Apostle Paul said, 0 death, where is thy sting? 0 grave where is thy victory?"

Nymphas Coridan Murdock, mother's grandfather on her mother's side was one of the more prominent business men of Charleston, Utah. He was bishop of the Charleston Ward for many years. In fact his love for his ward members was so great that he donated to Charleston their first ward chapel. The folks of Charleston held great love and admiration for him and his family.

Mother's father was William Capener Hanks and her Mother was Eunice Louisa Murdock. They were parents of ten children, all born on the Hanks Ranch located in Charleston, Wasatch County, Utah. Mother's father taught school and managed his farm. Their chief income from the farm was in their dairy cows. He was in partnership with his father-in-law, Nymphas Coridan Murdock, and his brother-in-law Joseph Murdock. Their joint businesses were the Charleston Creamery and The Coop Store located in Charleston. These proved to be successful enterprises as long as they operated them. When Mother was seventeen years of age, her parents moved their residence to Burnt Fork, Wyoming.

Mother's mother was the daughter of Nymphas Coridan Murdock and Esther Mariah Davies. Eunice Louisa was actively engaged to caring for the sick, delivering babies and preparing the dead for the community. She was a beautiful lady with black hair, large brown eyes and heavy dark eyebrows. My mother had some of her lovely facial features. Eunice Louisa was loved by the folks in the community for her endless service to all mankind. She was a devoted member of her church, paying a full tithing and a Sunday School Teacher for fourteen years prior to her moving to Wyoming.

The summer prior to my mother's birth, her parents operated a saw mill in Daniels Canyon. Eunice Louisa cooked for the employees, while her father operated the mill and supervised the worker. The yearly Fourth of July Celebration in Charleston was highlighted by the large batches of ice cream made by their affectionate "Aunt Lue" for the community members. William furnished the ice that was stored in saw dust at the saw mill during the winter. Their children names were: William Nymphas Coridan ­known as Corey, Hattie Josephine, Ephraim Frederick, Ester Mariah, Alva Murdock Hanks, Joseph Edwin, Reed Hamilton, Charles Clyde and Eunice Elisadore.

It is interesting to note that Cory was injured in a blast that occurred in the mine that he and his partner had leased. Cory picked up a box of dynamite caps that had been placed in the sun to dry. His own words were, "I picked up the box, until my dying day I shall thank the Almighty Creator for the last glorious look over the mountains and cliffs." It was with a slight bump of the caps when everything changed with a roar. Explosion, Yes! It had happened. I found myself lying on the rocks about fifteen feet from where the explosion occurred. I immediately rolled over and stood up, calm, sane and collected. My hands were gone, my eyes were blind, darkness loomed and blood streamed. This was a terrible experience in the lives of my mother's family. Her parents cared and loved Cory with all their might. The family members devoted endless hours to caring for their blind brother. I remember mother telling my she would read for many hours to Cory at a time. The story of David Copperfield was one of his favorites. His grandfather Murdock helped him with extra financial aid and all the folks in the little community of Charleston were very kind and helpful to him. Cory attended Leland Stanford University in California for thirty months. N. C. Hanks as he was known by, authored two books after his extended illness due to the life shattering explosion in the mine. His mental attitude was affected by the drugs the doctors used to kill the intense pain he was suffering during his extended healing period. The books he authored were: UP FROM THE HILLS, publishes in 1921 and DAYS OF NAUGHTY MEN -GRIP OF NATIVE SOD -WOULD YOU LIVE IT AGAIN?, publishes in 1938. His vocation was lecturing throughout the United States and various areas in Europe.

My mother was born on October 16, 1888 in Charleston, Wasatch County, Utah. She received her education in the Charleston Grade School and graduated from the eighth grade. In her early teen's she helped nurse new mothers and their babies. Her main hobbies were reading, sewing and dancing. She especially loved to dance at the Midway and Charleston Dance Halls. Mother was a graceful dancer and enjoyed being the "Belle of the Ball," and was popular with the young handsome lads in the valley. In fact it was at the dance that she met my father.

She was active in church activities common to all young Latter Day Saint girls of that particular era. Early during her married life she was President of the Young Women's Mutual Improvement Association. Mother moved with her parents to Wyoming in 1906. My father went to Wyoming and asked for permission to marry his sweetheart. They left Wyoming and was married in the Salt Lake County Building on July 3, 1907. Mother was eighteen and my father was twenty two years of age. My parents later received their endowments and was married in the Salt Lake Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah, on March 7, 1923.

They made their home in Lindon, Utah County, Utah, the birth place of my father's parents. They became the parents of nine children, seven girls and two boys: Lucille, Flora, Eunice Mae, Ernest LeGrand, Mildred Elizabeth, Durmont Hanks, Winifred Hattie, Lois Elaine, and Ola Jeneal. Mother was devoted to her children, they came first in her life. She was known for her clean tidy children. Her home was kept clean and in order at all times.

My parent's love for association with friends and neighbors carried over into their married life. Their lifelong friends were: Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Harper, Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Ash, Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Fryer, and Mr. and Mrs. Ray Gillman. They entertained at each others' home with dinner parties.

Mother was charitable with her neighbors and folks who had less than she had. clearly remember as a young child taking fresh baked bread, homemade butter, and fresh buttermilk in our little wagon to the older members of our ward in Lindon. One interesting story Mother told us of an older lady, Sister Mangelson who during a bad storm left her home and followed the fence line down to mother's home to see if she and her little ones were safe. A great example of her charity was her inviting my father's aging two sisters and one brother to live in our home during the last months of their lives. They each died in our home and lay in state in our parlor. Mother's youngest sister, Eunice lived for a time at our home. Mother was able to manage the affairs of her large family and limited means to share with others in need.

Yes, Mom was a great cook, she became famous for her delicious pies, hot baking powder biscuits and a special mustard mixture. She made all of our clothing and taught her daughters to sew. We each knew how to clean the house and make bread.

My mother is courageous, loving, sympathetic, virtuous, resourceful, thrifty, and persistent. If you combine these qualities together you will see the combination that has given my mother her strong character.

It is only fitting that I should mention briefly some of the highlights of my father's life. He was in partnership with Roy Greenwood from American Fork in the Sheep, Lamb and Wool Business. They owned a mountain range in Morgan, Utah. Their large herds were of the pure cots wool stock coming from England. He also was in the produce business along with farming twenty acres of land.

During the more prosperous years of his life, he was often referred as being the largest tithe payer in the Lindon Ward for many years. My father held the Priesthood of a Seventy in the Melchizedek Priesthood, in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.



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