Annie Sophia Willardson Ware (1875 – 1962)

Biography of Annie Sophia Willardson Ware,

by daughter Vashti Ware Nordfors

BIOGRAPHY OF ANNIE SOPHIA WILLARDSON WARE Written by her daughter Vashti Ware Nordfors On April 23, 1875, in the town of Ephraim in Sanpete County, Utah, was born a lovely dark haired baby girl to Christian and Ane Katrina Sorenson Willardson. She was the first child of the young mother who was 26 years of age and a third wife. Christian, who was 65 years old had children almost as old as his wife. His daughter, Christine, was less than four years younger than Ane Katrina. At the time of Annie’s birth, Christian was the father of 17 children, nine living and eight who had died as infants. He also adopted two children. Annie had one sister, Evelina Sarinda, who married Lester Braithwaite, and Peter Vincent and John Homer. This made Christian the father of 23 children. Annie was born as what they called a “blue baby” with a defective heart valve. She was inhibited somewhat in many physical activities of youth. It was marvelous that she accomplished so much during her life. Annie was privileged to attend the dedication of the Manti Temple at the age of thirteen. President Lorenzo Snow offered the dedicatory prayer. In 1890, when she was 15, President Wilford Woodruff had a revelation, known as “The Manifesto,” concerning the discontinuance of polygamy. Her mother went into hiding, and the children could talk to her only from the sidewalk through an upstairs window, with strict instructions to tell no one of her whereabouts. The home was that of Anthon H. Lund who became a counselor in the First Presidency. While in her late teens, she went to Salt Lake City where she worked in homes. She met James Russel Ware, a handsome young man from Manti, and in due course they decided to marry. Annie wanted to be married while she was still 21. President John T. McAllister married them April 22, 1896 in the Manti Temple, the day before she became 22 years of age. Their first home was in the southern shadows of the Manti Temple. The home is on the east side of the road, on the northwest corner of the first block as you start up Manti’s main street from the north. James continues to help his father on his farm that was located just below the Temple hill to the northeast. It was here that their first child was born. They named her Annie Leah. Two years after James and Annie had married, Ane Katrina’s family moved to Brooklyn, a small settlement just south of Elsinore in Sevier County. Until 1900 this settlement was a branch presided over by a presiding elder. On December 31, 1900, it was organized into a ward and James was chosen as 2nd counselor to the Bishop. He served two years. He also served there as Sunday School Superintendent. Two of their children were born in Brooklyn, Samuel Russel on January 1, 1900, and Eva Ardella on May 2, 1902. I don’t remember even being told where their home was in relation to the homes of Uncle Pete, Uncle John or Aunt Rinda’s – maybe Uncle John lived in their home after he married. In 1902 the family moved to Monroe. They operated a grocery store for a time. The home they lived in was built onto the store. I remember it even though I was young. When they moved to Monroe, they rented the red two-story brick house east of town – where I was born. Then they lived at the store. The home was added to the store and it has been remodeled several times. The second store also had the home built onto it. Mother could tend store and still be in her home as a bell sounded a customer’s arrival. We lived in this home from about 1913-1914 until 1917 when they built the home they lived in the rest of their lives. James was called as a counselor of the newly organized North Ward. The day before Christmas in 1907, James left for a mission to Norway, leaving Annie with her four small children. Erma Vashti was just three years old, having been born on December 20, 1904. Annie felt that the Lord called and she would do her best. When daddy left for his mission, the family moved back to the red brick home. That is where our childhood memories are. Bravely facing her new responsibilities, she milked cows summer and winter. She sold cream and butter. She had a good reputation as a butter maker. She roomed and boarded schoolteachers and shared her home with a family named Beck. They had come to Monroe to promote the Hot Springs enterprise. They intended to hatch and raise chickens, do truck gardening, and promote swimming and bathing for health purposes, but met with failure. Annie found time to serve in the Relief Society. Among her special duties were the gathering of wheat donations for wheat storage and the gathering of Sunday eggs. Families were encouraged to donate to the Relief Society eggs that were laid on Sunday. I remember how pleased my sister and I were when we were trusted with that duty. Annie had many unforeseen problems and experiences. Eva was stricken with St. Vitas Dance and was unable to attend an entire year of school until she was in high school. Twice her little Vashti was very ill, once with pneumonia and once with spinal meningitis. Each time there was fear that her life would not be spared. Many other problems and experiences seem too personal to record, but Annie felt that the Lord blessed her as she met the many challenges. When James returned from his mission, he resumed his agricultural activities. Two years after his return, on June 12, 1911, a baby daughter, Anetta was born to them. James was bedfast for one entire year, suffering from inflammatory rheumatism, so it became necessary for him to hire his farm work done. He served as town marshal for two years. He decided to go into the mercantile business again. He came to realize that farming was in his blood and bought another farm and also managed the Monroe Roller Mill. When Russel became old enough to help manage the farm, James again bought into the mercantile business. He was very civic minded and also an ardent church worker, and at all times Annie gave her full support to him and kept the “home fires burning.” On February 23, 1918, this couple was blessed with a son, Calvin Willardson Ware. Russel was 18 at this time, so this birth made the family very happy. Annie supported her husband as he served in two bishoprics, served as Sunday School Superintendent, YMMIA President and as a home missionary, visiting the various wards in the stake. Support also came as he served his three-year mission to Norway, as bishop of the Monroe South Ward for six years, as a counselor in the Stake Presidency and as Stake President for nine years. In 1923-1927, shortly after the Daughters of Utah Pioneers was organized, and there was only one camp in Monroe, Camp Monroe Mountain, Annie served as First Vice Captain. Also, she served many terms as Chaplain. She honored her pioneer heritage as long as she was able, and she was happy to take her turn and had many meetings in her home. During the nine years her husband served as Stake President, many of the General Authorities enjoyed Annie’s generous hospitality. At that time it was customary for the visitors to come on Friday and stay until Monday. Annie managed to serve delicious, home cooked meals and never missed attending the many meetings. Orson F. Whitney and James E. Talmage, members of the Twelve Apostles, came t her home several times to enjoy her good home cooking, homemade bread and good, cool Jersey milk as they visited neighboring stakes and as they came to visit relatives. Elder Whitney had grandchildren living with their grandparents, Thomas and Annie Ransom, parents of Leah Whitney. Elder Talmage’s daughter, Elsie, married Aunt Mary Willardson’s brother, Harold Brandley. In her own handwriting, Annie had recorded the names of 25 General Authorities who had enjoyed the hospitality of their home. Usually the wife, and sometimes the members of the family, accompanied the General Authorities. She was also hostess to some f the auxiliary board members. She entertained five presidents of the Church: Heber J. Grant, George Albert Smith, David O. McKay, Joseph Fielding Smith, and Harold B. Lee. The last two were not presidents at the time of their visits, and David O. McKay was a counselor to President Grant at the time of his visit. A list of General Authorities who were guests in their home, as recorded in her own handwriting follows: Stephen L. Richards and wife, President Heber J. Grant and wife, President David O. McKay and wife (visited as an Apostle and as the Prophet), Rudger Clawson, Reed Smoot and wife (also US Senator), President George Albert Smith, George F. Richards and wife, Melvin J. Ballard, John A. Widtsoe and family, Joseph F. Merrill, John Wells, Orson F. Whitney, Levi Edgar Young, Anthony W. Ivins, John Taylor, J. Golden Kimball, Rulon S. Wells, Rey L. Pratt and children (Eva’s mission president in Mexico), David A. Smith, Hyrum G. Smith, Church Patriarch, Andrew Jenson, Church Historian, President Joseph Fielding Smith and son, President Harold B. Lee, Elsie Talmage Brandley, General Board of YLMIA, Annie Grant Cannon, General Board of YLMIA Annie served on the Relief Society Stake Board for 17 years, 1924 through 1941. She served under four presidents, Nina Hanson, Ada Anderson, Anetta Christensen and Jetta Margardson, all sisters from Elsinore. She thought it was a rich experience to make friends among board members and sisters of the different wards. Her wisdom and advice was welcome wherever she went. She headed the Work Day department. Annie was visiting teacher for many, many years. At the completion of her church service, she found new responsibilities and joys in family association and grandchildren. Her home continued to be a gathering place for family dinners. Many picnics were enjoyed during the summer months. Thanksgiving was a must, as was Christmas when we all gathered to celebrate daddy’s birthday. Treasured memories of James and Annie, and of their home, exist for their children and grandchildren. On April 23, 1946, James and Annie celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary. By this time, two granddaughters had married and presented them with a great-grandson and a great-granddaughter. One granddaughter and the first two great-grandchildren share a common birth date – October 25. Although they had busy lives of service, our parents provided us a home of good family relationships. As we grew up, we were always supported and encouraged to use every opportunity to develop our talents. Visits, dinners, and picnics with relatives were enjoyed. It seemed like mother stayed at home every 4th of July to cook dinner. Our home always seemed to be the logical gathering place. Our parents cultivated friendships with families, both in Monroe and Richfield that endured through two generations. Their friends were our friends. Annie was noted for her good cooking – nothing fancy and usually made by using their own produce. Her family especially remembers her fried chicken, chicken soup and dumplings, ice cream, coconut cream cake, lemon meringue pie, old fashioned sweet soup, exceptionally good homemade bread and biscuits, and sugar cookies. Her butter was second to none. They sold cream and butter to be used in ice cream making to the café and drugstore for years. We had a herd of six Jersey cows and a separator that separated the cream from the milk. All of the grandchildren have cherished memories of the experiences and fun they had at their grandparent’s home. They played games, enjoyed the red delicious apples, peaches, plums and other fruits and fresh vegetables and melons from grandpa’s garden. What fun they had watching the blue spruce tree grow from a tree so small they could see the robin’s nest and watch the eggs hatch, until it became a giant. They also remember how they liked to watch grandma make soap in the large grass kettle on an outdoor fire. She made nice hard, white soap that really cleaned the clothes. Mother was an immaculate housekeeper. She loved nice things and cared well for them, as reflected in her home and its possessions. She was very fastidious about her person, always clean and neat in appearance. She enjoyed nice clothing in the fashion of the day. The “Articles of Faith” were a great influence in her life, especially the 13th article, “We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed we may say we follow the admonition of Paul. We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things and hope to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” She was a collector of poems, articles, stories, and character building thoughts. Sixty members of her family honored her for her 86th birthday on April 22, 1961. Her five living children, 22 grandchildren, and 20 great-grandchildren were in attendance. The celebration was held in the Annabella Recreation Hall. Eva, her daughter, died one month later. James died on December 28, 1949, three days after his 79th birthday. Annie lived alone for 13 years in the new home they had planned and built together. In December of 1957, she developed diabetes and had to have an insulin shot every morning before breakfast. A daughter traveled from her home each morning to give her the shots, thus making it possible for her to remain in her home which she desired so much to do. She did fine taking care of herself and her home, but did spend a few weeks, a week at a time, with her daughters. She was able to maintain her home except for the last month of her life, two weeks of which were spent in the Richfield hospital. She was relieved April 6, 1962. Russel died on March 27, 1960; Eva on May 26, 1961, and mother on April 6, 1962. Our family had a funeral each spring for five years. Calvin died on September 17, 1971, and Leah died on January 24, 1979. We often commented on the unusual surnames of the companions each of the children chose – Rickenbach, Parsons, Tobiason, Nordfors, DeSpain and Hamil. What a challenging heritage to leave a family – a challenge, which should be accepted with gratitude.

Source:  Family Search Memories


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