Matilda Roberts Bodily
Compiled by Oneta H, Hyde, with a few comments by Dorothy H. Gilbert.
Matilda was the daughter of Levi and Harriett Ann Hefford Roberts, born 2 January 1854 in Kaysville, Davis County, Utah. She was the seventh of eight children. Her brothers and sisters were: Henry, Caroline, Phebe Ann, Marinda, Harriett Ann, Mary Jane and Lucy Ellen. The Roberts family had very little of the worlds goods, but they were a humble and happy family.
Matilda’s parents became members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in England and came to America in the forties. Her father, Levi was one of the guards of the Prophet Joseph Smith in the troublesome times in Missouri. Levi was also a member of the Mormon Battalion. The family were among the first to leave Nauvoo when the Saints were driven out. They lived at Council Bluffs, Iowa for two years while preparing to cross the plains. They arrived in Salt Lake City, Utah in the fall of 1850 and lived there a short time, then moved to Kaysville, Davis County, Utah.
Matilda grew up and was educated in Kaysville. In was while living here that she met and married Edwin Bodily in the Salt Lake Endowment House on 25 January 1875.
After their marriage they moved to Fairview, Idaho and homesteaded in the north part of the settlement. She helped her husband as best she could to get started. The worked hard in getting the land ready to plant. They worked very hard for several years. They planted and took care of a large vegetable garden. They had been married just over ten years and had five small children when her husband, Edwin was called on a mission for the Church to the then Northwestern States Mission. A daughter Harriett Matilda was born a short time after Edwin left for his mission.
A relative of the family, Edwin’s brother William’s son, William Edward, helped run the farm while Edwin was gone, but Matilda and small children had to work hard and carry on while he was away. Henry, the eldest, was only about ten years old, so Matilda had many responsibilities with the farm and raising her small family. She would walk to Bear River, five miles away, to take the cows and get them again each evening, leaving the children alone while she made this trip. They separated the milk, so she had to wash the separator each day, and she would churn the cream into butter, and take it to Franklin to the store to sell. She was very diligent in having family prayers when her husband was away, and in the later years of their married life he was away with the sheep much of the time.
Matilda was a good housekeeper. She has a large house and always kept it neat and clean and had plenty of good food to eat, especially home made bread. While Edwin was Bishop for so many years, she always prepared dinner on Sunday when the Stake Presidency came to Fairview for Ward Conference. She always made lemon pie for which she was noted for making so deliciously. She made the crust of butter, as Brother Geddes, the Stake President, preferred it.
Matilda was a counselor in the Relief Society and was a Visiting Teacher for many years. She also worked in other offices in the Church.
The first few years of her marriage, she would make a trip to Kaysville to her parents home each fall by wagon, to get their winter’s supply of fruit. They would dry most of it by spreading it out on sheets on the floors of the upstairs of their home. After many years of hard untiring labor, Edwin had a wonderful large orchard and had every kind of apple, plums, pears, and even a few peaches, berries and currants. This fruit was bottled, dried, or given away. Every one of the children after they were married and had homes of their own, got their years supply of fruit from this orchard each year.
Aunt Robenia commented that Grandmother was always home when the children came home form school. She remembers Grandmother driving the horse and buggy and taking the children to Franklin to visit her sister Caroline Oliverson. She also remembers their visits to Uncle William and Aunt Delilah Bodily’s and the good pigeon pie they would have while there. They killed pigs each fall for their supply of meat, and Grandmother would render the lard, make sausage, head cheese, and cure the hams and bacon. She made all their laundry soap from the mutton tallow (Grandfather having large flocks of sheep, they always had plenty of mutton.) They had an old buck sheep who walked on a treadmill to turn the washing machine. They also had the first Delco plant in the area to furnish electricity for their home.
Matilda was the mother of thirteen children, and has been known to have said, that she would take all the children the Lord would give her. She did not raise all of her children to maturity as four of them died as small children, and one son, Robert, was killed in a farm accident, when he was fourteen years old, so she did have many sorrows and sadness in her life. It has been said that on the morning of Robert’s death, he asked for a piece of pie for breakfast. Grandmother refused, stating that pie was hardly appropriate for breakfast. A few short hours later he was crushed to death under a large land roller of Brother Ether Rawlings. Grandmother chastised herself and felt so terribly bad to think that she had refused him the piece of pie.
Matilda was a small petite woman and did not have the best of health. After the death of her husband on 24 March 1923, she lived with her children until her death on 23 February 1925. She was 71 years old at the time of her death. She was buried in the Fairview, Idaho Cemetery.
The children of Edwin and Matilda are: Henry James, Effie (died as an infant), Edwin, Levi, Robert (died when 14 years of age), Christopher (Chris), Harriett Matilda, Robenia Vida, Wilford, Emma (died as an infant), Lynn Roberts (died as a child), Delbert (died when an infant), and Myrl LeRoy.