Written by Stella Day Norman, granddaughter
edited by Andrea Norman Lloyd, great-grandaughter
When Grandpa Eli A. Day died November 23, 1943, Grandma Euphrasia did not go to the funeral, but a relative gave her a report of the services. "Humph!" snorted Grandma, "Anyone would think he was an angel. I hope at my death the good will not be stretched so far out of proportion."
They had been divorced for forty years after a polygamous marriage of nearly twenty years. How different were her feelings during their courtship and early married years. She wrote glowingly of him in her diary, "He's so noble and kind, I feel, Oh dear, so imperfect when I think of him." Another entry: "Oh how good he is. I hardly think he cares for me, but can't expect it. His wife is too good, but I care enough for him to make up for both of us." And, "Mr. Day is cute as can be and I like him better every day."
Euphrasia was teaching school in Fairview, Utah, and Eli was her principal. There were only two of them to teach 160 students of all ages, so they had no easy task. She wrote that sharing the problems and being together every day brought her much joy. They soon became more than just friends.
Another of Euphrasia's entries is very revealing. "Shall I tell how I listen for his step? And how my heart bounds as it always does at the sound or the slightest caress? I try not to look for him but I can't help listening. How sweet and full of anxiety love is. Yet it is the sweetest and most desirable of all passions."
It definitely was not a case of love at first sight, however. Her comment after they met was, "He seems nice but is rather mild-looking."
The wonder is that a romance ever blossomed. Euphrasia was a large-boned, tall, strong-willed woman. Eli was rather short, frail and mild-mannered. Besides that, he was married and had a family! But then polygamy was the order of the day in the 1880's. Both Eli and Euphrasia were raised in polygamous families, so it probably seemed natural and right to them.
Euphrasia had many guilty feelings about hurting Eliza, his first wife, and considered her an angel of a woman. She and Eli tried to keep their courtship a secret, but they were the subject of much gossip in Fairview. Once, Eli gave her a beautiful silk scarf, but she didn't dare wear it.
The Manti temple was not yet completed when they decided to get married, so they traveled all the way to Logan, bypassing the Endowment House in Salt Lake. Euphrasia does not give the reason for that. It was a long, arduous trip from Manti to Logan by train and they had to change trains several times, so it must have been very important to them to go so far from home, perhaps hoping no one would recognize them.
The wedding journey, a distance of about 200 miles, began the afternoon of June 26, 1884, when Euphrasia's brother, Amassa, took her to Fountain Green where she spent the night with friends. She caught the train there at ten o'clock the next morning. The lovers did not arrive in Logan until June 30th at 2 A.M. It must have been the weekend for they were not married until July 2nd.
In her diary, Euphrasia writes about the long, tiring journey, the sick anxiety she felt while waiting in the depot at Nephi where she was to meet Eli. (Was she afraid he wouldn't show up?) She thought the temple at Logan was very grand and lovely, but says little of her personal feelings. Was she scared, thrilled, excited -- probably a little of all three. The newlyweds started home July 3rd, but only traveled together to Pleasant Grove, where Euphrasia remained with friends for a few days, still trying to keep their marriage a secret.
Grandma Euphrasia always considered herself a pioneer, although she did not cross the plains. She said that anyone born before the railroad came to Utah was a pioneer in every sense of the word. She was born May 19, 1864, to pioneer parents, Orville Sutherland Cox and Elvira Pamela Mills, in Fairview. The harsh, primitive conditions in Utah at that time, especially in a polygamous family would certainly qualify her to be called a pioneer. The railroad did not come to Utah until 1869.
In 1867 her folks responded to a call to help settle the Muddy River area. Euphrasia said the wind blew all of the time. In fact it blew so hard they "nearly lost their eyes". The climate was warm enough to help her father's rheumatism, but the hot, blowing sand was miserable. It stuck to one's feet like a mustard plaster and you had better not stand in one place for more than half a minute or your feet would be blistered. Euphrasia swore they cooked much of their food, especially vegetables and eggs, beautifully -- by just laying them out in the sun.
On Euphrasia's fourth birthday there was no money for presents so her mother allowed her to go around to the neighbors and ask for a present. She remembered getting an apple from one neighbor and a pair of stockings from another. Later she learned that her mother had hired the neighbor to knit them.
By 1870 her mother decided that the climate on the Muddy did not agree with her so she returned alone to Fairview with her children. The trip home was very difficult. Water was hard to find and when they did find it, it was so full of sand and soda it tasted just awful. Euphrasia said that, thirsty as they were, that dreadful water was almost worse than nothing.
It took a lot of hard work for the family to survive and for the most part, they lived off the land. Everyone in the family had to help in the battle against the elements, even the small children. They had some sheep, which provided many products for the frugal family. They saved the tallow to make candles and the wool provided many articles of clothing. Everyone shared in the laborious process of turning the raw wool into wearable clothing for the family. The four-year-olds would pick the wool, and after the lanolin or oil had been washed out with strong, homemade lye soap, the six-year-olds would card it. The eight-year-olds were big enough to make it into rolls, and by the time they were ten, they could weave the yarn. The older girls, with the help of their mother did the spinning. Since spinning only occupied the hands, they had lessons at the same time so the younger ones could learn while the wool was being spun. They always tried to have it done by Christmas. Then the wool thread could be woven into cloth and the girls could make themselves a dress, sewing it by hand.
Euphrasia was fourteen years old before she had her first store-bought cloth for a dress. She thought the age of miracles had arrived for sure. She could hardly believe the beautiful colors in the material and she didn't even have to make the dye from roots, leaves or berries!
The summer Euphrasia was five years old she went with her sister, Triphena, to visit the Van Valkinbergs. Euphrasia went out to play with six-year-old Joseph. He was a splendid friend and when he went to chop wood, she went to help him. He could cut a stick in two with one blow. Then he would move the stick along and ask Euphrasia where to cut next and she would point. Finally, he didn't ask, but she pointed anyway. Thwack! Down came the ax and off came Euphrasia's index finger on her right hand. A chicken pecking in the yard grabbed the finger and ate it. She didn't cry, even though her mother couldn't be found, but calmly told them how to make a poultice of sugar and rosin. Later, when her mother changed the bandage, she really howled. She said she guessed she had been saving up. The finger had "proud flesh" (infection?) and took months to heal. Euphrasia was quite sick. The bone had no flesh over it -- just skin -- and it was always tender and easily hurt.
Euphrasia and Triphena were teased a lot, as they were growing up, about their names. For example, the kids said when their ma asked Pheenie to do a job she would say, "I can't. It's too hard."
"Try, Pheenie," urged their ma.
"I can't," wailed Pheenie.
"Then you, Phrasia," said their ma.
Euphrasia had a better education than most pioneer children. At fourteen she was teaching a "Dames School." The children paid her a penny a day, usually an egg, a carrot, a squash or whatever their folks could spare. Those who had a speller, a Bible or a Book of Mormon would bring them to school and two or more would read the same book. While she spun, washed dishes and did other household chores, Euphrasia would help them with hard words and tell them stories. She even taught some of them writing, spelling and arithmetic. The next year she was hired by the Fairview School trustees to teach for $25 a month. She thought it quite a princely wage at the time.
She saved up her money and when she was sixteen, she decided to go to the Brigham Young Academy in Provo. Her brother, Amassa, traveled part way to Provo with her on the train. How disgusted she was to find a bunch of drunken miners and rough men traveling on the same train. There was a partition separating the passengers from the conductor, and he kindly allowed Euphrasia to enter his domain. "But, lo!" she penned in her diary, "When I got there a more sickening sight than rough miners met my gaze -- a pair of lovers. I politely kept my eyes riveted on objects outside so as not to disturb them any more than possible. I was never more thankful than when we neared Provo and that couple left the train."
"My heart almost failed me when I saw the other students in their stylish clothes and I began dreading school more and more. It suddenly hit me what a great, green-looking creature I was and how awkward and ungraceful."
However, it turned out to be not so bad after all. She made some friends at the Academy, she was a good student and enjoyed most of her teachers. Professor Karl G. Maeser was like a father to her, so good and kind. He was an excellent teacher as well as a skilled disciplinarian. One day he was late coming to class and some of the rough-neck boys brought in a donkey and sat it in the chair at the teacher's desk. Euphrasia held her breath wondering what would happen when Brother Maeser came in. He just glanced at the donkey and quipped, "That's right boys. When I'm not here, just choose the smartest among you to take my place."
Euphrasia graduated with high honors in 1882, when she was eighteen, and her diploma stated that she was a fully qualified teacher. During the next few years she taught school in Fairview. This was a pleasant time in her life. She took part in several plays, went to dances with her brother, Am, and taught Primary and Sunday School.
Eli Day was an accomplished musician as well as Euphrasia's principal at school. She soon arranged to take organ lessons from him, which she enjoyed very much. After the first lesson, she wrote:
Dear Diary, Guess I'm selfish as a woman can be, for I'd enjoy just such a one every evening.
Even in her diary she was careful to keep her secret, often referring to Eli as "Somebody" rather than by his name. "Somebody stopped by my room today," or, "saw Somebody at church with his dear, good wife."
When she was 20 years old, Euphrasia was voted Queen of the May. She considered herself no beauty and seemed more upset than thrilled with the honor.
May 18, 1884
Dear Diary, I don't see why I need to, but I just feel terribly nervous all day and night. It seems so silly for me to be queen when there are so many pretty girls in town, but they will have their way.
June 8, 1884
Dear Diary, After meeting we went to Sandersons and Ella Hurst was there. The subject turned on polygamy. There was a horrid, warm argument. Ella gave a real strong hint about married men telling how much nicer young girls are than old women. I felt as bad as can be and can only think about the pain Eliza must be suffering.
June 9, 1884
Dear Diary, I could hardly sleep for thinking what a terrible thing it would be if it would happen that I would be the cause of an estrangement between Him and his wife. Had music lesson after school and told him of my feelings, and felt so much better after he talked to me. I feel so happy when we are together, but strangely sad at times.
After their wedding in July, when Eli returned to Fairview alone, leaving Euphrasia visiting friends in the Provo area, she soon became very homesick. She went home July 9th, just a week after their marriage, to her mother's. She said that her joy at being married to her sweetheart could not be compared to anything.
Two days later she moved into a small home of her own, and wrote, "I'm all alone and needed to talk when Somebody came. How pleasant a visit, and how noble is his self-sacrificing wife. He has a cold and I worry about him. He's getting thin and frail looking. I sometimes wonder what I would do if something should happen to him. I love him so, but will trust in God and borrow no trouble."
Euphrasia's second diary has been lost so we know little of her feelings for the next few years. She lived with "Aunt Eliza", Eli's first wife, for a year and worked as her hired girl. They must have had to give up their efforts to keep their marriage a secret, for Euphrasia's first child was born there, June 1 1885, a boy they named Orville Cox, my father. She wanted to name him after his father but Eliza said, "Save that name for me."
It must have been a very difficult year for both wives and probably the beginning of Euphrasia's resentment and the realization that Eliza was only human. Euphrasia had another son, Earl, born March 27, 1887. Perhaps Eliza had some envious feelings, as she had five girls but no sons.
Just as men long for sons, a woman usually wants to have a daughter. Euphrasia was thrilled to welcome a tiny girl to their family in April of 1889. She loved her two little boys and thought them the cutest, brightest children anyone could have. But this baby girl seemed like a special gift from the Lord.
Both Euphrasia and Eli considered each child a great blessing. They had to break the law in order to have children since it was unlawful at that time for a man to "co-habitate" with more than one wife. A baby was proof positive that they had broken the law and they must chance facing dire consequences for daring to commit such a heinous crime. The Federal Government was vigorously hunting down the polygamists and putting them in jail as well as imposing huge fines upon them. Each time Euphrasia decided it was time to have another baby, it took great courage and faith on her part, as well as Eli's.
Many times they were forced to hide from the "feds" or go "on the underground," as it was called. The men were hounded and hunted down like the most despicable of criminals. Since Eli could not stay in one place long enough to hold a job and support his family, both families endured much suffering. Eli served at least two prison terms, along with seven of the apostles, to pay for his children by Euphrasia.
July 2, 1889
My life seems very cloudy and dark at present, but there is an ever-present hope of future peace and glory that lures me onward and strengthens me for every trial that comes. There is so much labor -- labor that seems impelling -- waiting my hands, that I must make these words few and short.
My prayer is that pages of my diary shall show in truest, clearest light the condition of my heart and soul. I also hope that it shall contain unerring words of the deeds of those whom I hold dear and a perfect insight into my husband's soul. I pray that all who may read this in after years, if any should, may feel something of his goodness and perfections -- and if there are any -- of his faults too, and profit by both.
Euphrasia was living with her brother, Almer, at this time, helping to care for his children since his wife had died. She felt needed and appreciated most of the time, but borne down by the situation she was in, as one entry in her diary indicates: "My soul cries to heaven for freedom now, but I may have to cry more earnestly yet."
July 24, 1889
Dear Diary, Eliza became the mother of a boy at five o'clock. I thank God that she finally has a boy. I can feel easier now than ever before. I suppose he will have all of his father's name (which I know I don't do right to resent). I have tried to make myself believe, and have made other people believe, that I didn't want HIS name. But it is the dearest name on earth to me and it is no use telling myself that I didn't want it or writing such things down. At least, I did want part!
On August 3rd Euphrasia's four-month-old girl was blessed by a Brother Rasmussen and given the name, Elva Pamela. That same day Eliza's boy was blessed by his father and named after him. Surely, Euphrasia's heart ached to think her husband couldn't even bless her baby, but the only comment in her diary was the hope that Eli Azariah, Junior, would grow to be as noble and good as his father.
Her stay with Almer and the job of caring for his children, as well as her own, was very trying to Euphrasia, and she began to feel it was a great hardship. She longed for a home of her own and the association of her dear husband.
September 27, 1889
Dear Diary: Sunday evening Eliza sent for me to come up and have a talk, which I did. My heart would almost burst sometimes were it not for such confidence and loving, comforting words. Through the whole of my trials there is an undercurrent of supreme peace, love, and joy which feeds my soul and strengthens me for many, if not all of my trials.
How I do wish I could photograph both words, looks and actions of my cunning little ones. Orville is so droll and wise and Earl and Elva are so cute and sweet that I take ever so much comfort with my little ones. My life seems comparatively sweet. If only it may stay so.
December 29, 1889
Dear Diary: There is a disagreeable feeling of some kind growing in my heart toward Eliza. What it is I cannot tell; not jealousy -- unless it is of Pa's attention to the children. I have been requested not to let them come there when her folks are there. She imagines that he notices mine more that hers. Does she not realize that he is with hers so much of the time and mine so little? I have done as asked so my children seldom see their pa, probably averaging a kiss a week from him. Eliza seldom comes here to see me. It has been over a month now, and probably that long since she let Geneva and Pearl come to play. I don't let mine go there either, although Orville often asks to go. I must try to overcome my resentful feelings.
January 1, 1890
Dear Diary: What will this year bring forth? I hope the freedom of the Saints, but I must hardly look for anything but heavier persecution. I hope I may free myself of some of my evils, loud talking and uncharitable feelings for Eliza, principally. I hope, also, that another year finds us free from debt to all men.
Eli taught school whenever he could and Euphrasia worked at many different jobs to help support her growing family. She taught school when she had the opportunity, clerked in the store, served as post-mistress, hired out as a nurse, and did sewing, among other things.
In March Eli had a chance to teach in Castle Dale. Euphrasia hoped she would be able to follow him there, "where my children won't be ill-treated so much. I will be happy to go away and I am happy in my love."
In May she was thankful to able to move from Almer's home back to her own place. She said it was the most peaceful week she had known in two years.
July 6, 1890
Dear Diary: Husband went to Mt. Pleasant today and took Eliza and all of her children. I didn't even remember my wedding anniversary on the 2nd as He was away, but I feel dreadfully lonely on Sundays when I don't see him around. Eliza complained about missing him on the 4th and thought it was a dreadful feeling, but she doesn't seem to think I have any such feelings. She often goes with him to visit her folks and leaves me as lonely and sad as can be. I have asked him to take Orvie over the mountain when he goes again, for I think it is no more than right that Orvie should ride with his father and be with him sometimes when her children do so much. I love him but am gradually growing to think he is led by Eliza to partiality, and thus am gradually weaning from him.
The last of July the primary gave a surprise party for Euphrasia and presented her with several nice gifts. She worked in the primary for many years and said, "I am so thankful that the Lord has helped me to live that I have the esteem of so many good little children and their parents. I only hope that I may prove worthy of their love forever."
The first of August Eli went to Castle Dale to teach and Euphrasia followed later in the month with her children. When they got there Eli had gone to The Muddy to preach and he hadn't arranged a place for them to live. The only place she could find was an old granary. She moved in with as good grace as she could muster, but felt very desolate and lonely.
On September 6th Eli moved her into a house he had rented for Eliza, who hadn't come yet, so he thought it would be OK for Euphrasia to have it in the meantime. Although it was a bitter pill to realize that she must always take second place, she was thrilled to have a home once more, even though Eli could not openly live with her.
October 8, 1890:
Dear Diary: Last Tuesday after school was out, I went to the Post Office leaving the little ones with Maybell. Elva cried for me but after a little while she got down and played with some dried beans. She put some in her mouth and began to choke on them. Maybell got them out but Elva went into a spasm. Maybell ran a block to get her mother, who spanked Elva and brought her to, but she appeared very sick.
Euphrasia was worried about her, but by Thursday she seemed better. Friday, Eli moved them into a home of their own and in the confusion of moving, Elva got left out in the cold too much. That night Euphrasia went to Eliza's to get a lamp and some other things she needed. Elva was cold and crying when she returned home. Euphrasia fed her and warmed her but noted that her feet were so cold and her face so hot that she was very frightened for her baby daughter. She prayed earnestly and almost constantly that she would be comforted and get better. Then Euphrasia went to bed with her, hoping she would settle down and go to sleep. She felt a desire to go for the priesthood, but didn't dare leave her, nor carry her with her as it was raining and cold.
Elva finally fell asleep and Euphrasia ran for a Brother Jensen, who came and gave her a blessing. The baby slept poorly through the night and seemed listless and low the next day. That night she ate a little supper and nursed quite well and Euphrasia hoped she would soon be her sunny, bright self again. She laid her on the bed and set Orville to play with her while she went to milk the cow. When she returned to the house and was washing her hands, Orville called, "Oh, ma, she's going to puke!" She hurried and then he called, "She's holding her breath."
Euphrasia ran, but found the sweet little thing stiff and every remedy failed to remove the substance she was choking on. She ran to the door and called Brother Jensen, who came quickly and was about to administer to her, but hesitated when he saw she was dying. Euphrasia begged him to give her a blessing, so he did, but the baby never breathed again. Euphrasia couldn't bear to think she was gone and had the two little boys pray for her, but finally had to accept the fact that her darling had left this mortal existence. Brother Jensen went for Eli five blocks away, but when he got there she was gone. He commented that the Lord must have taken her so suddenly to prevent him from exercising too much faith.
The heartbreak comes through in Euphrasia's diary entry several days later:
I washed and dressed her as well as I could with my own hands, as I could not bear the thought of strangers caring for the precious, little, fleshy tabernacle for the last time. I kissed her before she grew too cold to feel natural, combed and curled the pretty gold, brown locks and laid her gently on a pillow to grow stiff.
Orville and Earl cried pitifully and talked earnestly, yet childishly, of her in her resurrection as well as her death. Oh, how thankful I am that I have taught Orville so much gospel truths, for he gives them to Earl and they comfort them both. Their father slept with the boys and I went home with Eliza with empty arms and an aching heart. I pity Mother when she hears the sad news as she doted on Elva.
Elva died November 11, 1890, just 1½ years old.
Euphrasia was taught the gospel from the cradle up and through all her terrible trials and disappointments her faith in the Lord and her testimony of the gospel never wavered.
This was found among her things after Grandma Euphrasia died. It was written in her own hand but it was not dated.
First I believed that Joseph Smith was a true prophet because my parents believed he was a true prophet.
Second, if Joseph Smith was a true prophet his teachings must be the true gospel that Jesus taught and the same plan of perfect progression.
Third, if his teachings were true then it was necessary to pray and to study. Therefore, I did so. This was the beginning of the foundation of my testimony.
Prayerfully and gratefully I went to be baptized when I was eight years old. The first evidence I had was at that time. I had a distinct uplift of my spiritual being, and when the elders placed their hands upon my head to confirm me a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints and said, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost," a thrill -- a quiver -- went through my whole being, as of an electric shock. Then I was sure this was the true Church of Jesus Christ.
Later I doubted. I wondered if the thrill I had experienced had been just a childish joy in a new experience. My mother wanted me to read the Book of Mormon, and she outlined it to me, teaching me how to get the most out of it. She said to read the last chapter first and then pray about it. Then she counseled me to read the Book of Ether because it is a brief history of the earliest people of whom the book speaks. After this she advised me to begin at the first and read the book through. I finished reading the Book of Mormon when I was twelve years old.
I continued to read religious books such as "The New Testament" "The Life of Parley P. Pratt" and of Brigham Young and other biographies of leading men in the Church. I also read some Church Histories.
One day in a sacrament-testimony meeting a Scandinavian man was bearing his testimony. He said that his parents joined the Church when he was a boy and he doubted and wondered if this was the right church and he did not want to be baptized. Then one day, suddenly a remembrance came to him. He thought of all he knew about the Church history, the work and teachings of the Elders, his own parent's conversion. Then he said to himself, "How do I dare doubt that it is the gospel that Christ taught and His Church?" He said he has never doubted since.
Then I said to myself, "This Scandinavian boy could not possibly have known as much as I know about the Church, its elders and its accomplishments. His parents could not have possibly gone through as much as mine have in Missouri, Ohio, and Illinois. They did not cross the plains and pioneer in this region as mine did. If he can say that he does not dare doubt, then surely I should never dare to doubt!"
From that time on I have never doubted. Many, many evidences of the truth of the gospel and proof that this IS the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have come to me. I have had my prayers answered so often that I am afraid to ask for things without saying, "If it is thy will." Sometimes we receive the thing we ask for and it is a detriment to us. So I am careful, knowing that "if I ask I shall receive." I have been healed of sickness by the administration of the elders and by the prayers of a friend. I have seen others healed by the power of the priesthood, and also by the prayers of faith. Some were cases when doctors have said there was no hope for such difficult diseases as cancer, tumors, dropsy, etc. What is even more remarkable to me, I have seen death and its attendant sorrows become occasions of joy and rejoicing.
My testimony now is strong and sure and I am convinced it will continue unless I willfully sin in some way. May the Lord save me from sinning!
May my children and my children's children to the latest generation seek and find testimonies. And may all my relatives and all my friends and all honest people find proof that the gospel is true and live according to their highest lights to the end, is my prayer.
Her creed was, You cannot keep your testimony good and comforting
unless you live the little things.
In Castle Dale Euphrasia worked when and where she could. She taught at the academy, substituting for Eli when he was away on other business, and clerked in the store when they could use her. She was offered a school in Cleveland, a small town about 35 miles south of Price, with a place for her and the two boys to board. She accepted and had about 50 students of all ages. It was difficult going but the school board liked her. One trustee, who visited the school, reported that she was an excellent teacher. That praise warmed her heart and she prayed God to help her merit the praise.
Dear Diary: Nearly all the men in polygamy are now promising to obey the law, but E. A. Day can't see the point yet, and that's a comfort to me. I don't know what rash act I would commit if I was cast off like some poor women are. But I hope never to be tried in that way.
The persecution was fierce and Eli was arrested in April. He told Eliza that he thought there was a plot against him in Castle Dale and he felt that he and Euphrasia should go on the underground to Colorado. How happy Euphrasia was to be the one to go with her husband for once, even though they were running from the law. Her joy was short-lived when Eli told her it was selfish of her to be so happy. She quickly decided that if he didn't want her caresses she wouldn't give them.
Euphrasia was four and a half months pregnant when they started for Colorado and the roads were very rough, sometimes impassable. It took them a month to travel in a team and wagon from Castle Dale to Mancos, a little town in the southern part of Colorado between Cortez and Durango. Yet, Euphrasia commented that it was a good trip.
August 2, 1891
Dear Diary: We received a letter from Eliza which stated that the United States president had pardoned all the polygamists in the pen and no more arrests were to be made. The former is confirmed but the latter we are still in doubt of. What a source of joy, thankfulness and rejoicing if all old offenses are pardoned. We will still have more to rejoice for if we can return in peace, but we will have to live within the law. Ma needs me so bad I guess I could stand it all right. I know I could while Eliza needs him so much. She's at Mt. Pleasant in safety. E.A. will get the cash and send me home on the railroad as soon as we find old offenses are pardoned.
September 24, 1891
Dear Diary: A little boy came to make his home with us. I am so thankful to the Lord for him. We will name him Rye Ereal. E. A. is going home as soon as possible. He expects to move me into the old Jenson home in about two weeks and then he will leave for home. Over a year I shall have to remain here alone unless things change.
Dear Diary: If only my dear husband were here! But I am a widow now. The Manifesto is real. President Woodruff also added that he never expected to see plurality revived, so I must try to gather faith to stand alone in the Church and all other things. Of one thing I am very thankful and that is the bright, noble spirits I have been permitted to bear by so noble a man as E. A. Day, before we ceased living together. I pray for strength to raise them worthily.
April 12, 1892
Dear Diary: I am finally home! I traveled by train this time and the Lord protected me, I think, or I never would have made it. We arrived at the dear old town of Fairview on Sunday about 2:30 PM. A crowd was at the station and received me very warmly. E. A. had written me to be cool to him, and I guess I was cool enough to suit him. I am staying at Mother's.
Their hopes to be left to work out their problems in peace were vain. The "feds" were still watching suspected polygamists and harassing and hounding them constantly. Eli was arrested soon after Euphrasia's return and put under $1,000 bond to appear for trial in the fall. In September he appealed to President Harrison for a pardon and the family fasted and prayed, but his appeal was denied. He was sentenced to a term in prison to pay for Ereal, "that bright, beautiful baby, who was such a joy to and comfort to his mother and all who know him." However, their prayers were not entirely in vain. Eli's sentence was for just a month, plus court costs.
In July of 1893, Euphrasia was able to move from her mother's into a home of her own. In spite of all her good intentions and resolves to do her duty to her "venerable parent", and be kind and tender, she had too strong a personality to be happy living in someone else's home. She was more thankful than she could express to have a little home of her own where her friends could come and be treated as she wanted them treated.
In the late fall and winter of 1895 Euphrasia taught school at Milburn, only gong home for the weekends. It was dreadfully hard work and it started the tongues wagging in Fairview. The gossip was that she had left her husband. On the contrary, she had been wondering if she ought to have another baby.
She wrote in her diary: I had long been reflecting and praying over the subject of whether or not I was doing right in not raising more children. I finally concluded to give nature (or God) a chance while there were virtually no laws against us. Just then Utah was pleading admission into the Union and things were suspended, almost, as to whether it was to be a state or a territory. The government was too busy with that question to worry about polygamists. The chance was taken and nature profited by it.
In January of 1896 Euphrasia decided to go to Provo and take a course in obstetrics. She became very provoked at Eli, who "wouldn't help me in any way, or make it easy for me to help myself. Eliza's baby was sick but that didn't excuse his laziness. Just as soon as he learned that I was pregnant he began being overbearing by trying to make me subservient to Eliza."
May 22, 1896
Dear Diary: Through the winter and March I studied as hard as my delicate health would permit and in April passed my obstetrics examination successfully.
In May when Euphrasia returned home from Provo, she noted that a complete change had come over Eli. From that time until the baby was born he tried almost all of the time to make life easier for her. He was patient and kind and did whatever he could to lighten her workload.
Ellen Heloise was born October 2, 1896 and Euphrasia was so thrilled to have another girl and very thankful that this time she could be blessed by her father. However, her joy was short-lived as the persecutions of the polygamists were soon revived. Again, Eli had to pay for this precious baby with a prison term and a fine.
Euphrasia had to work very hard to support herself and her family and she always felt so alone. She felt it a great burden to always care for them when they were sick, nurture them and teach them constantly and discipline them when they were naughty. She felt she seldom had the support of a loving husband and father. It seemed to her that Eli was never there when she needed him the most and Eliza's children were always first in his affections and considerations.
In the summer of 1897, to save Earl from an unearned whipping, she took him under her arms and shielded him with her body. "This ends our marriage," shouted Eli.
"That's all right by me," Euphrasia retorted, and that very night she applied to her bishop for a temple divorce. It was granted October 29, 1903.
July 13, 1915
Dear Diary: Heloise is past 18 now and is always teasing me to write in my diary, but I am mostly too blue. My life has been such a failure, I am ashamed to write any more here. Let future generations forget if they can. The present generation remembers it too well.
The next few years were so difficult for Euphrasia, she often felt like she just couldn't go on. She worked and struggled so hard to be a good mother and a worthy daughter of God, but she could only see failure after failure. She worried that she would not be able to gain full exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom without a husband. She was married to Mormon Miner for a short time, only to have another failure and they were divorced. Her children grew up and left home and almost seemed to forget about their mother. She felt unloved, unappreciated and unworthy. It was many years before life began to seem worthwhile again.
November 14, 1927, Manti, Utah
Dear Diary: The years have been full to overflowing with sadness and joys. I may someday take time to write more of my experiences, but for now, I prefer to write of the deep joy I have in working in the temple. I came in 1924. My sister, Phena, and I bought a little home for $600, and since then I have worked in the temple most of the time. I no longer suffer with loneliness since I began working in the temple as I did before. All my sorrows seem in a dim and misty past.
The last 20 years of her life brought a measure of peace and contentment, although she still had many feelings of being unloved and neglected. Along with her temple work, she enjoyed doing genealogy, gardening, sewing, quilting, teaching her Sunday school class of boys and girls, writing and visiting with her many friends and neighbors. She made beautiful temple aprons, and satin quilts. Her quilts won her several blue ribbons at the State Fair. She was a talented writer and had many stories, poems and articles published, mostly in the Church publications.
For special occasions she wrote songs, plays, cantatas, farces, pageants, poems, histories and stories. Whenever her songs were sung or pageants or plays performed, they were well received by the audience.
The week of January 23, 1930 seems to have been a highlight in Euphrasia's life.
Dear Diary: This was "Cox Week" and many of the relatives came and we spent time working in the temple. One hundred and two endowments were done, two hundred and twenty children sealed to their parents and forty-four couples sealed. We accomplished more work than any Cox Week since Phena and I have lived here. Quite a contrast to last year when not one person remembered the date. Oh, I was blue last year and this year so elated, until I guess I acted quite silly.
Euphrasia's family was very special to her and she loved them dearly, but often felt neglected and unloved. She once wrote in her diary that Earl had come to see her for the first time in five years. She wrote many letters to friends and loved ones but apparently got few in return, as one entry in her diary reveals: A card from Cora about Amasa meeting Roscoe did me good. Why don't my own kids write??? Dang! I guess a sick mother doesn't count!! And a sick gramma oughta die!! All right -- and now come the tears!!!
She was very thrilled when Orville told her he was building a room on their house just for her. It was especially touching because Orville had such a large family of his own. Heloise also invited her to come to Mesa, Arizona and live with her. She gratefully accepted both those invitations at different times, but was never able to tolerate living in someone else's home for more than a few days at a time.
August 1, 1942 (Euphrasia was 78 years old at this time.)
Dear Diary: Another letter from Heloise. She is urging me to come to Mesa for the winter. I would have to go alone on a bus, a 24 hour stretch in cigarette smoke that makes me sick, and a sudden change from high altitude to low is hard on old hearts. I wrote to Heloise and told her I would think about it. The above is what I think, also, I think that with a good fire I can keep warm right here in Manti!
MY MEMORIES OF GRANDMA EUPHRASIA
"Dora, Stella, come quickly and help clean the house," calls Mother, "The mail has just come and Grandma Euphrasia is coming for a visit."
Dora scampers down from the tree where we have been playing house and runs to the house. I dawdle and take as much time as I can. I am not Grandma's favorite and her visits are no treat for me.
She arrives early the next morning before we even have our beds made. Grandma is horrified! "Dora and Stella, come and get your bed made. Don't you know a woman's first duty in the morning is t see that her bed is neatly made?"
Dora glides gracefully to the front of the bed and begins to straighten the sheet. I stub my toe as I scramble to the back and barely manage to keep from falling down. Grandma glares at me -- I imagine. Dora is waiting impatiently for me to straighten my side of the sheet. I quickly pull it up, but Dora still waits. I wonder what's wrong as Dora gives me a dirty look. Grandma is watching us like a hawk to make sure we make the bed neatly and don't dawdle.
"Pull it even," demands Dora. I tug at it but it looks straight to me. Finally, Dora marches around the bed in disgust and fixes it to her satisfaction. "Oh, go on," she says, "I'll do it myself."
I stumble away in disgrace, as I hear Grandma say, "That's a good girl, Dora."
It's always like this when Grandma comes. Nothing I do seems good enough to please her. I know I'll soon be scrubbing and cleaning like a slave. Grandma is merciless when it comes to dirt and disorder. I suppose it is nice to have a clean house, but I much prefer the relaxed, easy-going ways of my mother. I wonder how long Grandma's visit will last this time. I know I'll probably go to hell for thinking it, but I hate Grandma Euphrasia. I go out behind the chicken coop and shed bitter tears of self-pity.
As soon as the house is in order Grandma will inspect the bedding Then she will start to rip up old clothing to make winter quilts. She even utilizes old overalls. I not only hate Grandma, I hate the quilts she makes. They are terribly heavy and cumbersome. I forget how glad I am in the cold winter to pile them on. Besides, I would rather freeze that have to endure a visit from Grandma two or three times a year. I feel even sorrier for myself and I sob harder.
It took years and some measure of maturity before I learned to love and appreciate Grandma Euphrasia. Eventually, I even realized that she loved me. It was the dirt and the laziness that she couldn't abide, not her precious grandchildren. I gradually began to comprehend the remarkable courage, strength, and faith of this pioneer woman who accomplished so much in her life and who overcame formidable obstacles.
Regardless of how discouraged and depressed she became, she never gave up, but always fought her way back. The Apostle Paul's statement, "Whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth," was a great comfort to her through all of her trials.
"You had better be careful of what you pray for," she often admonished us. "You might get what you ask for!" Then she would give us an illustration: She and her sister lived together for years in Manti. They got along fairly well most of the time, but it was still difficult. Once, Grandma felt that she couldn't stand Phena's sharp tongue and constant criticism for another minute. She went into her bedroom and poured out her soul to the Lord, asking Him to give her some relief. Almost instantly, a sharp pain hit her with such force she could hardly breathe. She was doubled over in agony when Phena heard her cries for help. Phena tenderly helped her to bed and was so kind and sweet that Grandma had no more complaints on that score. However, she was always careful what she prayed for after that.
She recognized her own faults and failings from the time she was a young girl and worked diligently to improve her character. On January 1, 1884, when she was 19, she wrote in her diary. "1883 has just passed out of existence and in looking at my actions I see many faults. One of my worst faults is being cross and impatient at home, and too hasty to punish school children. I have seen this fault this whole year and tried to guard against it. Perhaps I've overcome it partially, but not wholly. I will endeavor to improve in 1884."
New Year's day in 1892 found her with renewed determination to improve her character. "The year began with new resolves, but I would like to resolve every morning of this year to improve a little on the past day. I lack patience with my little ones as much as anything."
In her declining years, Euphrasia was still worrying about not being sealed to a husband. She finally figured out how to have a good man in the next world, but not to have to live with him in this. She plotted with her good friends, the Nielsons, and they agreed that whoever lived the longest would get Grandma sealed to Brother Nielson. He died first and Grandma traveled to St. George and was sealed for time and eternity to Brother Nielson.
My dad, Orville, was furious when he heard about it. He stormed and raged that she should have gotten the consent of her children before being sealed to another man, and said that he was sealed to his dad and would accept no other. Grandma remained adamant, claiming that she had the consent of the temple authorities and it was her privilege to be sealed to the man of her choice.
Our loving, all wise Father will sort out the problem, but I am convinced
of one thing. Grandma Euphrasia was a great and noble lady and has surely
earned a glorious reward in that eternal realm. She died peacefully in
her home in Manti October 7, 1944 at the age of 80. She was alone but there
was no evidence of pain or struggle. Hopefully, she died in her sleep and
has found the peace and serenity that seemed so elusive to her on this
See also: Obituary and Patriarchal Blessing of Elvira Euphrasia Cox Day. who died at the age of 80 on October 7, 1944.WOMAN AND A MAN
by Elvira Euphrasia Cox Day
How does a woman love? Once, no more.
Though life's forever its loss will deplore.
Deep in virtue or deep in sin
One king reigneth, her heart within.
One voice only her heart can call
Back from the grasp of death's enthrall.
One alone by night or day
Moves her spirit to curse or pray.
How does a man love? Once for all.
The sweetest voices of life may call,
Sorrows daunt him or death dismay,
Joys, red roses bedeck his way,
Fortune smile, or jest or frown,
The cruel frown of the world turn down,
Better than wife or child or pelf,
Once and forever he loves himself.