Harriet Hoyt Cox (1904-1984)

harriet hoyt cox 



written January 5, 1981

 I was born March 4, 1904, in Orderville, Kane County, Utah, in my parents. home just three weeks after my father died. My parents were Josiah Miller Hoyt and Ellen Alice Spencer.

I had seven brothers and three sisters: Nellie Louise Fackrell, Israel, Howard Orson, Fredrick Cross, Edith, Josiah Miller, Jr., Timothy, Annie Cross, Edward, Ervin, and Vincent. Howard Orson and Vincent died when they were young children. Nellie married Randolph Proctor Fackrell; Israel married Charlotta May Stolworthy; Fredrick married Inez Heaton; Edith married John William Henry; Josiah Miller married Orpha DeMille; Timothy married Lola Hinton; Annie married Ambrose Mason Cannon; Ervin married Emma Prisbrey; and I married Melvin Eugene Cox.

Father had two wives, my mother Ellen Alice Spencer and Mary Ellen Meeks (Aunt Ellen). Father and Aunt Ellen had six boys and five girls. Seven of them died before they were six years old. I only remember four. Eva died when she was eighteen. Clarissa was thirty-four. She married William Heaton and had several children. Mary Jane Hoyt Crofts and Eleanor Angeline Jorgensen (Aunt Ellie) lived to raise large families. My other brothers and sisters, except the two who died as children, all lived to see their grandchildren.

When I was named, I had a long cream colored satin dress; I think it had lace on it. When they told me years later that I had never seen my father, I said "Yes I have, he handed me to my mother when I was just a baby. We were on a green grassy knoll." That picture has stayed in my mind all my life.

I didn't know my father, but I had the most wonderful mother in the world. I loved my mother and all my brothers and sisters. I loved Aunt Ellen too and her children that I knew. My family was so good to me and no one could have had a sweeter, nicer mother than mine.

Mother was always honest in dealing with people. She sent me to the store when I was very small. When I came home, I had more money than when I left besides what I had bought. She sent me right back to the store with all the money and a note saying what the mistake was. It was a good lesson in honesty and one I have always remembered.

Our family always went to church and I always liked Stake Conference if President W. W. Seegmiller talked. He was an interesting speaker. We always had good books and magazines in our home. We always had the church books and magazines and we enjoyed reading. We had The Youth's Companion and American Ladies Home Journal.

I remember the first phonograph we ever had. It was a Columbia machine. We played it so much I could hear music even after it was turned off, or so it seemed. I like music of all kinds (except loud, noisy music). Some of my favorite songs are the songs mother used to sing and the primary songs and hymns. Mother used to sing "Grace Darling", "A Little Girl of Seven", "On a Dark Stormy Night", and many others. I loved to hear her sing. Some of my favorite songs are "Always", "Memories", "The Lords Prayer", "The Lord is my Shepherd", "Angry Words", "I Know That My Redeemer Lives", "Rock of Ages", "That Old Gang of Mine", "Home on the Range", and "Red River Valley".

Jose taught me the song "A Picture in a Golden Frame". One day I was singing it and he asked me not to. The fellow he had heard singing it was there and he wasn't sure he had taught me the right tune, but I still liked the song even if it wasn't exactly right. I always used to sing while I worked; it made work easier.

As far back as I can remember, mother always took me to church and sent me to primary and then to M. I. A. She always managed some way to see that I had nice clothes. I still remember a little blue furry coat. I know now it couldn't have been easy for her to take care of her family.

My brothers used to carve out little heart and diamond shaped boxes with fitted lids to give to me out of thick bark from trees. If there was a dogie lamb, I remember them bringing me one occasionally. Jose brought me a little white fox terrier dog. I called him Drift. Of course he was the cutest dog that ever lived. He went everywhere with me before I started school.

Before I was old enough to go to school, I went on a trip to Burley, Idaho to see Aunt Nellie. We went to Marysvale on the mail buggy. Then we went on the train. In Pocatello, there was a lady I thought was really pretty. She must have paid attention to me. She bought me an ice cream cone. It was the first ice cream cone I'd ever seen.

We visited Aunt Nellie. Then we went to Aunt Malita's. She was Mama's sister. She had two cute little girls. Uncle Ren gave me a box of candy. It was a purple box with purple ribbon on it. It amazed me to think that things like this stay in your mind so long where things probably more important slip right through.

Some of my very good friends before I went to school were my cousin Lynn Esplin, and Elva Heaton and Henry Carroll. Henry used to come pick me up nearly every day and take me for a horse back ride. I would ride behind him on the horse. I know we were real young, but we were very good friends. In the winter, when the snow had frozen over, he would take me riding on his sled in the field down below Orderville. He came over nearly every morning to get me. On the hill where Heaton's lived, they had a track. When it was the most fun was when it would snow quite a little bit and then freeze. (We could ride from the top of the field clear to the creek and pull it back and go down again). We also rode horses a lot. I never did go with Henry when we grew up, but we have always been friends.

Other very pleasant memories of my childhood were going to the meadow. When spring came, the meadowlark would come to the fields behind our home. When they started to sing, we knew spring had come. Right behind our house was a big patch of wild roses. I used to go out and play in that a lot. Ervin, Annie, Tim and I used to go around our field gathering asparagus. Nothing ever tasted better than that asparagus. I think the fun of gathering it made it taste better.

One of my favorite things to eat in the spring was pickwood greens. It's just a weed, but it's an exceptionally good green. We ate lots of potatoes and gravy. People raised their own things and I used to wonder why some things don't taste as good now as they used to. I think one reason is we used to get them fresh out of the garden and that makes them good.

The creek ran at the bottom of our field and when it was very cold it froze over and we would skate. We didn't have skates; we just skated on our shoes.

Climbing the clay hills in front of our house was also fun and when we climbed over Sugar Knoll that was really an accomplishment.

Every spring mother used to walk with Annie and I and Ervin up the ditch bank along the hill to Carpenters Farm to pick violets. There was a big patch of them. It was always fun to get a big bouquet. There were always wild sweet peas and lady slippers and Indian paint brush that we could gather, too. Then we would stop at Heaton's farm on the way back to visit Sister Sarah Heaton a very good friend of mother's.

On school trips we went to Red Hollow where the sand was so beautiful and white and the ledges were pink and red. It was fun; there was a long, smooth rock slide.

On Easter we would go out on "the sand" between Orderville and Kanab. The whole town would take a picnic and have a party. I would imagine they had horseshoe throwing and things like that.

Later on the 4th and the 24th of July, they had lots of boxing and wrestling matches and horse races all up and down the street.

Some of the fun games we used to play were "Blind Man's Bluff", "Run Sheep Run," "Hide and Go Seek", "Jump the Rope", and "Hop Scotch." (The toes of our shoes were always frayed where we had kicked the blocks) or we played jacks and marbles. I couldn't remember it, but Aunt Annie said mother bought one bicycle and they shared it. One of the things we used to have a lot of fun with was stilts and sleighs. I never did get on any stilts that were very high. I wasn't very good at balancing.

I don't remember ever disliking a food. Maybe we didn't have enough food and we just ate what we had and were satisfied.

I always had a birthday party. They were always fun. One that I remember the most was when we lived in the big white house below town. During school, I remembered that it was my birthday. I thought mother had forgotten so I invited my whole class (10 or 12) to my party. We had the muddiest mud you have ever seen. Actually I think the mud was six or eight inches deep. We waded through the mud and I told mother she had forgotten my birthday. She wasn't prepared. She hadn't even been thinking of a party. As always, she rose to the occasion and rolled out some pie crust cookies and baked it and put pink and green icing on them and served them with lemonade for my party. We were all very happy with the refreshments. She didn't say a word about being put out with me and I guess I just took her goodness for granted. She never let me down nor scolded me. (I've thought so many times, would I have been so patient?) I don't think I was that patient with my children, but because I always had birthday parties as a child, I did have birthday parties for my children. Melvin said he never did have a birthday party until he married me.

Mother must have read fairy tales to me because had a big ditch that ran back of our house. One day I took a half shell of a walnut and put a pollywog in it and sailed it down the ditch and I was sure it would turn into a fairy like Thumbelina did.

The first time I think mother ever left me , I must have been about four years old. She had to go to Richfield as a witness on a trial. Sister Blackburn, our next-door neighbor, would come pick me up bodily and take me to her home until Edith and Annie got home to watch me. Then Ed Carroll and Lillie Bowers took me to the store sometimes, when my brothers and sisters were at school (that was fun too). Mother brought me a little pale blue furry coat that I loved.

I used to play with Elva Heaton (Terry) my cousin . We played with rag dolls. Mother rolled up a piece of white cloth about six inches wide. When it was rolled really tight, she painted a face on it and put yarn hair on them then made dresses for them. We loved them as though they were real dolls. I only remember having two dolls. One had a china head with black painted hair. The other one when I was older had a china head and hair with a kid body. Her name was Lillie.

Mother always made me a new dress for Christmas. I know we used to go out close around Orderville and get a tree. We decorated it with paper chains and strings of popcorn.

When I was five or six, maybe younger, Ervin would let me play mud horses with him. He was always so artistic in the things he made. His mud horses were always the best ones. His friends, Lester Blackburn and William Carroll played mud horses with him too. When they came to play, he would coax me to go to the house by giving me one of his horses. William's horses always had little pointed heads and Lester's horses had big heads and thick necks but of course Ervin's were just right. He really was an artist. He built nice little fences and barns for his horses. We had a big apple tree in our lot and that was where all the play corrals and barns were. We used to play with corn cobs for cattle. One night we were branding the cob cattle by the fireplace and set the scarf mamma had on the mantle on fire. It's a good thing mamma was home to put out the fire and put a stop to our branding.

My brothers and sisters were always teasing me about being spoiled because I was the baby, but they were also very good to me. Elva and I went to a little dance. I remember Jose coming in and picking me up and dancing with me in his arms. I thought that was great. When Elva and I were only four or five, Aunt Lucy and mother dressed us both as little red riding hood for a children's costume dance. When we got home, Elva told me she was the prettiest little girl there so I asked my brothers if she was. I must have been sure even then who they would say the prettiest little girl was.

Mother's favorite expression on preparing was: "Even the squirrels knew enough to prepare for winter, so people should know that they should prepare."

One of her favorite expressions if made excuses when we didn't want to do this and we didn't want to do that was: "Well, you can excuse yourself right out of heaven if you try hard enough".

We would scrub the clothes on the washboard in the tin tub. Then we would boil them and then take them out and rinse them two or three times. They came out clean. But I don't know if they'd be cleaner than now.

And I remember kerosene lamps. We used to have kerosene lamps and studied by them all the time. I remember mother had over the mantle something like the curtains that drape down.

One of the comforting things I can think of when I was a child was we had a great big chair. It could have had rockers. I used to get the earache quite often and Grandma would heat pillows in front of the fireplace or by the stove and sometimes they heated flat irons and put them underneath and packed them around me. Whenever I was sick, I remember how comforting that was to get in that chair and be taken care of.

I remember when we had the measles and nothing tasted good. We had a peach tree just when peaches were coming on. I thought they'd taste so good and they went out and got some for me and they tasted like they had sand in them. Every bite tasted that way because my mouth was all broken out.

When I was eight years old I was baptized in the creek that runs through Orderville. Sterling Seegmiller baptized me.

We had an old rock schoolhouse. The first day I went to school with Lareta Cameron. Her father, Ben Cameron, was principal of the school. My first teacher was Emily Esplin Adair. I always like her. One of my favorite teachers was Mona Paterson Heaton. She was so fair with all the kids, it didn't matter to her who you were; it was what you could do. As in most small towns there were only a few people that were considered good singers so they were always given the parts. When Mona came to teach, she put on an operetta. Everyone started saying who could sing and could be best for the parts. She didn't listen to them. She put us all in a circle and made us all try out. She had students singing that didn't even know they could sing and they were given main parts. Then she was the one that went to the school board to get cooking utensils so she could teach us to cook. I named my oldest daughter after her.

I went to school in Orderville until the ninth grade.

When we got older we went for hay rack rides and sleigh rides with the horses. We used to go up to Factory Lake. We had corn and chicken roasts. We even used to go over to Uncle Ed Lamb's for parched corn.

Then there were dances and horse races. We didn't have picture shows, or T.V., but we did have good times just visiting and having dances. I remember going to Alton to a dance and to Glendale and Mt. Carmel to dances. Some Kanab kids used to come to Orderville to dances but I never remember going to Kanab to a dance.

I think how much fun we used to have and we spent very little money. We didn't have it to spend. Our home was always a gathering place and had lots of parties. Tim, Annie, Ervin and I all ran in the same crowd as we grew older because Orderville was a small town, so it took most of us to make a good group.

Mother was fussy about who we went around with. Our home wasn't the nicest house but it was a home where everyone was welcome and liked to come.

When Mother told you to do something, you knew she meant what she said . The worst I ever felt was one afternoon I was home alone and Mother was over across the creek to Grandma Bench's (?). Leo Wood and Carlos Chamberlain came with a car and asked me to go with them to Glendale. I said, "Let me run over and tell Mamma where I'm going." They said, "Oh, we'll be only gone a 1ittle while and there's no need for that. She won't worry about you. She'll probably see you get in with us." Anyway, I went with them and didn't get home until way, way late that night. She was waiting out at the gate. That was one of the worst punishments, to think that I hadn't told her. If I had told her, she wouldn't have been worrying. I knew she had probably been out looking all over and worrying about me. I don't remember her scolding me or being grouchy or rough, but she had ways of letting you know what she expected of you.

I don't remember who my first boyfriend was. I didn't go out except maybe to a kid dance until I was 16. I remember the first boyfriend I had a terrible crush on, but he didn't know it. He was a lot older than I was. His name was Earl Lamb. For a long while he was my "boyfriend." Della Covington, my best girlfriend, had a "boyfriend." We'd talk about that we were going on dates with them. It was all imagination. We couldn't have been more than 12 or 13.

I had a happy childhood. Even though I grew so much taller than most of the girls and a lot of the boys during my teens and was very self-conscious. I used to feel bad because my feet were so much bigger than Grace Esplin's; she was five feet tall and I was five feet eight and a half inches tall. At that time, I thought my feet should be the same size as hers.

When I was sixteen, I went to Marysvale and stayed a little while with Edith and John. Edith and John were very good to me. They took me fishing with them and Frank and Ralph. They took me to a circus in Richfield; the first one I had ever seen. I was really thrilled about that. One of the girls sang a song that I kept singing because I thought it was pretty, but John wouldn't let me sing it; he thought it was immodest. I still remember the song and I can't see anything any more shocking about it now than I could then. I don't know if this is the title but it was "Tell Me Why Nights Are Lonely. Tell Me Why Days Are Long."

I remember another thing about that trip to Marysvale. A pretty girl worked in the drug store. I thought she was pretty special. She had a bright red flannel dress with a stiff white peter pan collar and a black bow tie and long sleeves. When I got home, Annie made me one just like it. I even wore my hair the same way this girl did - parted in the middle and pulled back just as tight as I could get it then, big ear puffs over each ear. I have a picture of me in that outfit.

Mamma and Edith and Annie always made me pretty dresses. Some of my favorites were a pale blue Chinese silk jumper dress with a white lace below. I also had a dark green jumper that I wore with the same blouse. Then I had a wine colored wool serge dress that I wore for a long while. Another favorite was an "Alice-blue" Chinese or Japanese silk dress with lace panels over the front and back. Edith spent hours embroidering a hat for me and I wouldn't wear it. (I'm not very proud of that).

Annie and Edith embroidered my graduation dress from eighth grade. It was white voile with deep scallops all around the bottom and around the top and sleeves. Then they embroidered roses in each scallop with beads for the leaves. It was a pretty dress and took a lot of work to make it. Some of the other beautiful dresses mamma and my sister made for me when I was in high school were a pale pink wool dress, a peacock blue satin dress with medallions of silver beads around the skirt and on the ends of a wide sash. Then there was another pretty bright rose dress with silver beads. My high school graduation dress was pale pink crepe with a lot of beading on it.

They were such beautiful dresses and made with such love and care. I wish I could tell Mamma, Annie and Edith all again how much I love and appreciate them for making them for me. I used to like to wear Annie's dresses. She was six and a half years older than I was. She was smaller than I was but her shoulders were broader so I could wear her dresses. The ones I liked best were a satin crepe dress and a black two-piece satin dress. I felt so grown up in her dresses when I was sixteen or seventeen.

It's funny, but I can't even remember any of my coats but the little blue one Mamma brought me from Richfield when I was four years old.

Some of my favorite boyfriends were Frank Carpenter, Pard Olsen, Thell Clark and the one I liked, but he didn't know I even grew up because he lived next door, was Lester Blackburn. I never did go out with him. Melvin told him years after we were married that I had told him Lester was my favorite, so Lester said to me, "Why didn't you tell me? I still thought you were just a kid until you got married."

I was about 14 when Tim went to the First World War. He used to pick me up with one hand and put me up in the air. He was always so strong.

I had never been out of Orderville except the few places I have just mentioned until I was eighteen years old and Annie and I came to St. George for me to finish high school. We came with Mother in a wagon to the top of Zion's Park. Orpha was with us. We walked down the trail and one of her relatives picked us up and took us to Rockville. Orpha's suitcase had been put on the little box and sent down the cable at Zions. It had fallen off and her clothes were scattered all over the mountains.

I'm sure Jose and Orpha must have taken us on to St. George. We rented a room at Will Brooks' home. He and his wife were so good to us. I remember Walt was only ten or twelve years old. We lived there the first year then the next year Mother came down with Elva and me. She came down to live with us. Ervin came for a while, but I can't remember for how long. We lived at 391 South Main (this was written January 5 , 1981) too long ago for me to remember very many details only that it was at this time I met Melvin.

I have always been interested in Primary because it is especially designed for training and teaching our children the principles of the gospel and because of Aurelia Rogers, my great aunt. She recognized the need for this organization for the children. The programs given by the primary children have always been outstanding. The primary officers and teachers work so faithfully to put these programs on. I remember on the last rehearsal, we would be so afraid the program would be a failure, but the children always did their very best and put on outstanding programs pleasing both their teachers and their proud parents.

Some church positions I have held are Sunday school teacher, primary teacher, M.I.A. teacher, second counselor in the primary, stake M.I.A. secretary for nine years, ward Relief Society president for nine years. I was a Temple ordinance worker for five or six years in 1977.

I have loved all the work, but relief society president and temple ordinance work have been the most wonderful work of all.

As M.I.A. secretary, I was called first to work with Pres. Itha Tobler and counselors Gladys Corbett and Nila McQuaid. Then Sister Corbett was president with Ott and Nita Ivans as counselors. Dorothy Noel was the next president. I can't remember her counselors. Then Irene Brooks was president. I enjoyed working with all of them, but Sister Corbett was outstanding and I admired her very much.

Anna Taylor, Katherine Larson, Marilyn Roundy, Jim Andrews, Wayne Whitehead, Don Watson, and Bruce Stucki were really super to work with. Norman Cox was the young men's secretary. Norman and I both enjoyed working with this group.

My counselors in Relief Society were Irene Talbot and Misha Holt. Then Irene Talbot and Leona Pearce. Then they were Irene Talbot and Eleanor Slade, then Cleo Atkin and Geraldine Dean. My secretaries were Rose Barlocker and Desca Peede. I have loved every one I have worked with.

Sane of my favorite books when I was young were, The Secret Garden, Michael O'Halleram, The Girl of the Lumberlost, Little Women, Tom Sawyer, and many others. We always had the Church Magazines and the Youth's Companion.

The first grownup book I read was When a Man's a Man, by Herald Bell Wright. Then all of Zane Gray's books and lots of other books. One of my favorite books was The Fair God, a history of Mexico. I like to read autobiographies. I have read the scriptures and I'm reading them all again and enjoying them more than I ever did.

Shows I have especially like are "Smiling Through", "The Robe", "The Life of Chopin", "The Life of Johann Strauss","The Sound of Music", and "The Ten Commandments." I like Opera and some classical music.

Some of my favorite actors and actresses were Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Allan Ladd, Clark Gable, Jimmie Stewart, Robert Young, and Robert Taylor. I guess I liked most of the old actresses and actors. I never go to the shows anymore.

Some of my favorite piano music is the Straus Waltzes, The Polonaise by Chopin, Claire Delude, Somewhere My Love from Dr. Chicago, The Sting.


"Elva and I and Clarence Cannon and Gilbert Moss went for a ride in Gilbert's Model T. And going up Diagonal it tipped over. None of us were hurt but
Melvin come along and picked us up and took us home. When we got out of the car he squeezed my hand.  When we got home I told the ones I was with that
that was the man I was going to marry-- and I DID!"     ("Memories of Harriet Hoyt Cox")
Melvin and his car Harriet Harriet

Harriet and Melvin

Melvin Melvin Cox

Harriet Hoyt Cox's Journal Entries

Dec. 29, 1973

LoLeta and Harold took Arlene to BYU. I went with them. LoLeta stayed for New Years. Mona invited us to dinner with Diana and Doug. We had a very nice turkey dinner.

We had a family home evening at my home New Year' s Eve. There were eight of us present. We played Rook and had a lot of fun.

I enjoyed our Home Evening Group very much. It's something to look forward to each week.

Wednesday, Jan. 2

Irene asked me to take her place at the Temple this evening. I enjoyed doing this because I got to meet new people and do work I haven't done since last May.

I love to work in the Temple, everyone is so nice and friendly. I especially like Sister Dobson and Sister Heaton from Cedar City and Alice Mitchell from Parowan. We all work on Tuesday night. I also like Maxie Clark and the rest of the group.

Thursday, Jan. 3

I bought a book, The Night of the Seventh Moon, by _____________. I read most of it Thursday.

Friday, Jan. 4

We had a lot of snow last night. We are always happy to have all the moisture we can get.

Norman said Curtis pulled the clock and a set of gold plated birds I gave them off the mantel. The birds were broken and part of them hit him in the face and gave him a few black and blue marks. Thank goodness he wasn't hurt any worse.

Saturday, Jan. 5

I put a lot of papers and things away, vacuumed the floors and did some cleaning in my bedroom. At two o'clock, Norman took me to the Beauty Parlor for my appointment. Afterwards, I walked to the store and Norman brought me home.

That night Norman, Mary, Risa, Mona and I went to Joyce' s sister's reception at the Cameo Room. It was very nice and I got some good ideas for a picture grouping.

Sunday, Jan. 6

I stayed home from Sunday School but went to meeting. I fasted until four o'clock.

Wrote a few letters, watched TV and read.

Monday, Jan. 7

I made my bed, ate breakfast, vacuumed the floors.

Called Orpha and Ruth Leany on the phone. Watched two soap operas, paid my bills, and visited Geri and children for a long while.

Started crocheting a cap for one of the kids.

Went to a family home evening at Golda's. I always enjoy them. We have such a nice group.

Tuesday, Jan. 8

I didn't wake up until much too late. Ate my breakfast and dinner together. Watered my plants, did some crocheting, watched TV. Got a letter from LoLeta and one from *Katie.
*A Hutterite girl grandma met while visiting Lorna and Lowell. Grandma sent Katie cards, letters and gifts until she died.

Went to the Temple a half hour earlier than I was supposed to. I forgot they had changed the time. I always enjoy my work at the Temple. When I came out, I met and talked to a Greek lady and her son. She had wanted to go in the Temple to pray but was very nice about not being able to. They told me about their Church and I explained about ours. They were very nice people.

Thursday, Jan. 10

I watched Curtis this morning so Mary could go to Relief Society. She has to stay home so much to keep him from catching cold.

In the evening, I took Irene' s place at the Temple. They are so nice to me and give me the easiest jobs so I won't get tired. I surely love Sister Whipple. She is so considerate of everyone.

November 1974 was one of the saddest months I have ever had in all my life.

December 13, 1974

We did have a lovely Thanksgiving. We ate at Norman's and Mary's. There was 22 of us-part of Mona's, part of Norman's. LoLeta didn't feel like coming. All of Lorna's family was here.

Ervin died in June of this year. We will miss him very much. I love all of my brothers and sisters.


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It is not to be reprinted or used for commercial purposes without written permission.

Copyright 2005 -Harriet Cox Family

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