History of Permelia Julia Drury Matkin
(By Arlie Matkin Bodily Rawlins Matkin)
Permelia was born on December 2, 1853 in Springville, Utah to Julia Ann Zimmerman and Charles Horatio Drury. He died in 1859. Permelia was only 6 years old. There were 3 children in the family. Permelia, Charles and Horatio George Drury. Later on they moved to Hyde Park, Utah.
When they were small it was very hard times so the children tried to help by going along the fence and picking off the wool that the sheep had left there going through the fence. They took gunny sacks and went into the fields after harvest and gleaned the grain that was left on the ground, then after they took it home they trampled on the sacks to get the grain out, then they poured it from one thing to another to get the chaff out after that was finished the wheat was ground by hand and that provided them with flour for the winter, for which they were very, very grateful.
Permelia was self educated, having gone only to the first grade. She was one of the first school teachers in Lewiston, Utah, and Fairview, Idaho. She taught in a building made of logs. It was long, and just one room. It was built facing the east. It was 3/4 mile west of the old church house corner in Fairview. (Hazen Drury remembers this and told me some of the other accounts in this history.)
On December 14, 1882 she married Samuel Matkin. He was a polygamist and she was the second wife. They had three children. Orson was born in 1883 and died in 1884. Blanche was born in 1884. George Quayle was born in 1887. They were married in the old Endowment House in Salt Lake City, Utah. When the children were small he left them and the first family and went to Canada with a third wife.
She had to work very hard. Her half sister Rozina, then married to Albert Talbot, was homesteading a place in Swan Lake, Idaho, so they helped her get 160 acres on the west side of town up on the foot hills. Only 50 acres could be farmed. It was all done by horses and hand plows. George was just a small boy, 9 years old but he helped clear the land and cut the logs to build the log house. Rose and husband helped them. She had a few cows and pigs. She made cheese and butter and at that time had molds. Later she got a separator and then she sold the cream down to Preston. She fed the skim milk to the pigs. The milk house was over the little stream to keep it cool. They took the cream to Preston once a week to the Jacob’s to sell it. Jacob’s was north of town. They would turn the cows out in the day time and have to go find them at night. Many a time they would spend hours finding a new born calf that the mother had hidden. Some times there would be a bad thunder and lightning storm, sometimes it took hours to find them.
She had 2 dogs named Bozen, a big Newfoundland and another they called Shep he was what they call blue. She always let Shep go and bring in the cows at night. Blanche was up in Cottonwood helping her uncle Al milk the cows in the summer, her mother would tie a message around his neck and he’d take it up there and never fail. He’d take lunches and drinks, and even money in a syrup bucket to the store for groceries. Blanche thought that Bozen was bringing a message and tried to get up to him but couldn’t, next morning when they went out there were some mountain lion tracks. This dog used to carry all the wood in for them (one stick at a time). When they sent lunches they had to put the lid on tight or he’d eat the bread. He liked to chase porcupines. He’d wait until they reared up then he’d grab them by the throat and get the quills stuck in him and he’d cry when they were pulled out. One time when Hazen was herding cows he got aggravated at a heifer and set Shep on her a time or two, then he set Bozen on her. He ran up and grabbed her by the nose and flipped her over. These dogs were very well trained.
When they farmed they’d plow about 6 hours and have to let the horses rest. They would plow part one year and part the next, always early the next year, 2 or 3 acres a day was all they could do. They always had plenty of grain. Tom Allen and others would always stop off there on their way coming or going and let their horses rest a few days. Anyone who wanted to stay was welcome.
George had a black mare named Pet. She was balky, she’d go up the hill and stop so he’d put a stick of wood under the wagon wheel until she got ready to go again. Blanche had a pony that she called Stockings. She rode her to the store and to church and everywhere she went, even to school.
She bought some socks that were salt and pepper color for 5¢ a pair, they were men’s socks at that, her dress was long so no one could see them. One time she sprained her ankle and was walking with her knee on a chair trying to feed the cows and all the other work. Hazen Drury was up visiting so he gathered sage brush and made tea for her to soak it in.
Her brother Hazen did help her a lot, but Charlie never did. Hazen and Charlie did make her cupboards and flour bins that would hold up to 500 lbs.
The old house up there had a stairway up on the north side. Lots of times the silverware or anything shinny would disappear and later on they would find them up where the pack rats had taken them. They were about the same size as rats, but slimmer and more like weasels. The old house up there had hand woven carpets and they had pictures made with feathers that was the big thing in those days.
She lived with Blanche and Chris after they were married and had a room of her own. She spent her time helping with the children and other things. She worked in the church as much as she could often times going Relief Society Teaching. She was about 5' 7" tall and heavy set. She wore her dressed medium length and rather loose fitting and cotton stockings. That was the style in those days.
The things I remember about my grandmother were that when I was a little girl she could carry me up the stairs to bed on her back. She would carry me down in the morning, she taught me to say my prayers. After my parents moved to Lewiston in 1935 my grandmother lived with us and I liked to sleep with her because she had this big old feather bed and she would fluff it up. I would help her clean up her room and her old cupboard was always very, very interesting and fun to rearrange things in it and dust it. It had a lot of fancy carvings on in. She told me about when they used to fill a straw bed each fall after the thrashing was done that would last until the next fall. They had to do with what ever they had.
I spent many an hour visiting my grandmother. She was special to me. She had a very lonely life, being alone for so many years and her health wasn’t very good. She did a lot of hand work like knitting and crocheting. She took one or two magazines. One was the Path Finder and Women’s Home Journal that had fancy work in it. She passed away at our home in Lewiston, Utah at the age of 82.