Ann Leavitt Baker - Notable Women Ancestors

Ann Eliza Leavitt Baker
9 Feb 1858 - 3 Jul 1933
Samuel Leavitt Baker
26 Jun 1856 - 15 Aug 1935

The Inscription on the Plaque honoring Ann Eliza Leavitt Baker reads as follows:

In loving memory of Ann Eliza Baker, 9 Feb 1858 - 3 Jul 1933. A great humanitarian whose life of service for her fellow man has inspired and blessed many.

She traveled these hills and valleys and nearby towns to deliver hundreds of babies and care for the sick. No storm was too severe to stop her. She walked, rode horseback, or went by wagon, and on many occasions, rode miles on a stoneboat. She raised her own family of 11 children, and was the President of the local Relief Society for 26 years. Her long and loving devotion and service to humanity is unexcelled.

Presented by those who were first spanked by this gracious lady.

Ann & Samuel Baker & Family

Excerpts from Alice Baker Kraft's writing:

My mother, Ann Eliza Leavitt was both on the 9th of February 1858 in Wellsville, Utah, the second child born in all Cache Valley, for Wellsville was the first settlement in the valley.

Her father, Thomas Rowell Leavitt and her mother Ann Eliza Jenkins, were pioneers of Cache Valley, having built the first house in Wellsville.

During the 37 years residence there, Thomas Rowell Levitt served 25 years of them as constable, marshal and sheriff respectively. With his brother-in-law Jacob Hamblin, he served as a missionary among the Indians.

Ann grew up in a home of love and harmony. She was married to Samuel Baker the 18th of September, 1876, in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City.

The Baker family settled in Mendon, and here when father (Samuel) was a very young man, he built a comfortable rock house, dug a well and planted fruit and shade trees. When his house was completed, the parents of both thought that Sam and Ann Eliza were too young to marry, and they should wait a year. With this in mind, father let one of his brothers move into this house, rent free. This arrangement proved an unhappy one for all concerned, for shortly afterward when father obtained a job with the railroad, he and Ann Eliza were married with the consent and blessing of both parents, the brother refusing to move, forced the young couple to rent two rooms in the upstairs of Uncle Albert Baker's home, where they lived for several months before they could move into their own home.

While at Uncle Albert's, mother became pregnant with her first child. At night after dark, she would slip out of the house, take baby clothes off Aunt Jane's clothes line to cut patterns to make her own baby clothes, then put them back, so that no one would suspect.

Six girls were born to father and mother in Mendon, Utah. On May 21, 1890, Samuel and Ann Eliza and their 6 daughters left Utah for Canada. The tip to Canada was one of pleasant times as well as hardships, driving their horses, cattle, pigs and taking chickens, seeds, household furniture and provisions.

The trip was not without incident. Annie, seven years old, ate some wild yellow sweet peas she picked along the way and became violently ill. They were camped too far from any town to get help. Mother was prompted to make her drink warm salt water and kept giving it to her, forcing her to drink until she threw up, emptying her stomach. Relief came almost instantly.

They fished and hunted for fresh meat and each night closed with songs and story telling. Grandfather Thomas Rowell Leavitt, knowing he could not have two wives in Canada, sent Aunt Hattie off on the train to Utah before coming to meet this part of his family to guide them through to Cardston. That first winter was spent in Uncle Andrew Archibald's yard where they pitched a tent, banked it good with sod, boarded it up on the inside and spread straw covered with gunny sacks fastened down for a floor, to fight the cold Canadian winter.

Samuel hauled logs from the mountains to build his house the next summer. They lived in Cardston five years and while there, their one and only on, Samuel Leavitt Baker, Jr. was born October 17, 1891.

Samuel and Ann Eliza bought 160 acres of land in Buffalo Float (now known as Leavitt) located 7 miles west and a little south of Cardston, in the shadow of Old Chief Mountain. Here Samuel built a large one-room log house, with lath and plaster on the inside and weather board on the outside, which he painted pink with brown trim. Later another large room was added. A well was dug east of the house, a granary was built some years later and also a big barn with a lean-to, to house the cattle and horses.

There were lean years, and prosperous years. Some years the grain froze in the fields before harvest. Some years it was too wet to harvest. Winters were bitter cold and all merchandise had to be freighted from the nearest town, Lethbridge, 56 miles away by team and wagon - an all day one way trip over bumpy prairie land. Samuel would haul freight off and on to make a few extra dollars. He had a huge black fur overcoat made from cowhide which kept him from freezing on these long frigid trips.

In the fifty below zero weather, school would be closed. During these periods of being home-bound, there was the usual jangle among the children at home. Father would settle the fuss in a hurry. The one guilty of starting the quarrel was made to lie down on the floor by the heating stove, with father's sock feet on us. If we squirmed around, we had a gentle reminder from the foot to keep quiet. On these occasions father would read aloud from the Scriptures, an hour at a time - a real punishment.

Ann Eliza was a frugal homemaker. She made exquisite handmade lace, hand knit socks for the family, quilts and hand woven wall to wall rugs. She decorated her home with pictures of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, Queen Victoria, and all the family pictures of grandparents, uncles, aunts and our sisters and brother. For warmth, a thick layer of straw was laid under the carpet, which was tacked down tightly over it. We had one prized piece of furniture - a marble-top bureau with a mirror and side pieces for lamps and candles.

Mother was such a good cook. She kept steamed wheat on the back of the stove for breakfast and her steamed puddings, mince and pumpkins pies, corn bread, pickles, ice cream frozen in a bucket, were only a few of her specialties. She made the best cheese and butter in the country. She cured and smoked hams, made corned beef, preserved gallons of berries and mushrooms. Once for a Leavitt Ward reunion, Mother roasted a whole suckling pig and put an apple in its mouth. As we were ready to eat, Mother was called out to deliver a baby and she left without a bite of food or word of complaint. Each year we had a big vegetable garden which supplied all our fresh goods and enough to preserve for winter.

Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years were joyous times. Everyone had a hand in the preparations - stringing popcorn and cranberries for the tree, making candy and goodies. Our stockings were always filled with peanuts, an orange, apple and candy.

Theirs was a talented family. There were no expensive musical instruments, but we harmonized our voices without. We would have family programs of singing and reciting and story-telling, and often entered the local contests.

Mother was widely known for her willing and able service at the bedside of the ill and sorrowing. Though she bore and raised eleven children of her own, she always had time to leave her own duties to care for others. She had a special talent to know just what to do and, of course, she was often inspired to know what to do. Mother brought more than 600 babies into the world without ever losing a mother or baby - a record most doctors would be proud of.

When Zina was about four years old, she and Elsie, Lottie's daughter, were playing on the bank of the coulee that ran near the house. The water was quite shallow in places but there were deep muddy holes. Elsie fell into one of these holes. Zina ran to the house crying, "Elsie fell in the coulee!" Mother and Lottie rushed frantically to the bank where they could see only her little feet sticking out of the water. Lottie pulled her out with not a spark of life in her body. Mother grabbed her, laid her on the ground, head down, and rolled her. Water ran out of her nose and mouth, mother praying as she worked. She then put her mouth over the child's and breathed, keeping this up until after what seemed like eternity. Elsie finally gasped and began to breathe. For days she lay almost helpless, but through faith and the goodness of the Lord, she lived.

One bitter cold night in a raging blizzard, a sleigh drove into our yard. It was after midnight and we were all asleep. A man struck the door yelling, "Mrs. Baker, come as quick as God and his angels let you." Father jumped out of bed and while mother dressed, father wrapped the hot rocks he had taken from the oven, in a gunny sack. These rocks were always kept hot in the wintertime to keep her feet warm on such occasions as this. He put his big black fur coat on her, and she was gone with her black satchel. Mother said they traveled the rest of the night. The man couldn't find his way, and the roads were completely covered with snowdrifts and a cold wind was blowing the snow in their faces. At times the sleigh would be on a side hill and feel as though it would tip over. Finally, Mother said, "Stop trying to guide the horses. Let them find their way home." This he did. It was daylight when they reached his home on Lee's Creek near Beazer. His wife met them at the door - her baby was not born for 2 days. We didn't see Mother for over a week and didn't know where she was, or whom she had gone with.

Following the extraction of a lower molar tooth, Mother began to have trouble with pain and swelling in her jaw, to the point where her tongue would swell. This she treated by placing hot poultices to the inflamed part. After a few days an abscess would form, open and drain, before she could get any relief. On examination by a Dr. Ormsbie, she was told she had cancer, that it was too near the jugular vein to operate. This pain caused her extreme suffering through the years. One day an Indian woman named "Buckskin" came to our house. Mother was in great pain and could scarcely breathe from the swelling. Buckskin appeared so excited when she saw Mother's suffering, but no one could understand what she was trying to tell them. Ernest Bates could speak the Blood Indian language so Charlotte ran to ask him to come and interpret. Buckskin said she could cure Mother for a sum of $25.00. This Mother agreed to, but if there was no cure, no money. The Indian woman left and returned with a roll of blankets and a sack of different kinds of herbs. She chewed the herbs in her mouth and spat them on Mother's jaw, evenly distributing them over the affected part. Then she used a long pipe stem and blew cool air on the herbs, moving it around gently. Finally, Mother went to sleep. Every hour or two, Buckskin would soften the herbs, repeating the process. Between times she would roll up in her blankets on the floor and rest. In two days and nights the swelling was gone. Mother paid her the money and she returned to the reservation. A few days later, Mother felt a sharp sliver under her tongue. She sterilized a needle and looking in the mirror, she pricked the place and pulled a bone a good inch long, sharp as a razor. Mother was never bothered with that again.

A scarlet fever epidemic struck our community and the Baker family did not escape. Charlotte, Annie, Esther, Sam and Alice were all stricken with the dread disease. Annie was in a serious condition, delirious from the high temperature, and her throat so badly swollen she would go black in the face from choking spells. Dr. Brant was unable to come through the heavy snow and drifts, so there was only one means of help - faith and prayer. Father placed his hands on her head and the power of the Lord was made manifest in that prayer, for she immediately began to get well. As he finished praying, Annie started to pray. She told the Lord if he would spare her life that she would do all the good she could for the rest of her life. She lost all her hair, her skin began to peel, and her finger and toenails fell out. In a short time, though, she completely recovered. Her nails grew back and her hair came in shiny and curly.

Mother always said, "There is nothing impossible with the Lord, if it is his Divine will." Mother had complete and sincere faith in God. Her respect and obedience to those in authority in the church was paramount. She always knew that her prayers would be answered, and I think that she instilled that faith in every one of her children and all those who knew her well.

In the year 1914 Annie was critically ill. She had been operated on for what appeared to be an ovarian cyst. She was home only a short time when she was returned to the hospital. Mother was called and spent days at her bedside in Lethbridge. A second operation proved to be a diseased gall bladder. This was removed, sent to Edmonton for a pathological examination. The report came back "cancer." Through Mother's great faith and that of her family, a miraculous healing took place. Annie lived for another 45 years.

There was no greater reward that could come to Samuel and Ann Eliza than their calls to be Temple workers at the completion and dedication of the Alberta Temple in 1923. Here was another kind of service, love and devotion given willingly and freely. On Christmas, 1927, Sister Armenia Lee, Matron of the Alberta Temple paid this tribute to Mother:

My dear Sister Baker, I esteem you as one of those noble women who have made the world better for your having lived in it. You are one of those whose memory will live in the hearts of others for the good you have done. Your sweet motherly kindness and abiding faith in God and your fellowman has led many to better lives. You have heard and ever heeded the call of the sick and poor and dying. Words of comfort and cheer have ever passed your lips to those in need of a blessing. As you have done these things unto the least of the Master's children, you have done them unto Him.

Father and Mother moved back to Cardston in 1923 to fulfill their temple assignments, which they did for several years, regardless of their deteriorating health. Mother's legs had bothered her for so many years, she was hardly able to walk at times. Her back often pained her, too, until it was a struggle for her to move, yet she carried out her duties, having faith that the Lord would bless her as she served Him. Father's leg was discovered to have hardening of the arteries and was very painful to him. In 1928 they moved in with Hattie, their youngest daughter, and her husband Heber G. Jensen, to be cared for. Hattie would rub Mother's back and legs to ease her suffering, then rub Father's leg to comfort him, even though her own back ached from the bending over and stretching during her pregnancy.

In 1931 Father's leg had deteriorated to a point where he was told it must be removed - an operation which left exposed nerve ends so sensitive to touch and temperature change that he could hardly stand it. Hattie devised a padded sock to fit over the stump to ease that problem. Father found it every hard to use crutches and get around as he wanted to.

In 1931 Mother was also operated on for an internal condition which proved to be a malignant ovarian cyst. While still in the hospital, she had a cerebral hemorrhage which affected her thinking and her memory. Hattie cared for them both, attending to their needs, until Mother passed away July 3, 1933. Father continued to live with Hattie and Heber, though he enjoyed traveling to see his daughters periodically. He passed away in August, 1935. Both Father and Mother are buried in the Cardston Cemetery.

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