BY JENNY GOLDSBERRY
“Our mother was a very devoted mother and nurse to us and always took very good care of us, so we survived many tests and trials.”
The Child family, starting from the end of the 19th century, contracted many ailments they were lucky to survive. Some of our readers today might understand what it’s like to survive a dangerous diagnosis. While the Childs descend from English and German roots, they still managed to have some “luck of the Irish” to help get them through their ailments.
Emma Clydie Olmstead Child was the matriarch of this ailed family. She was born on February 26, 1889, at the intersection of the Rio Grande Western train track and what is now 5600 South. She went to school in a single-room schoolhouse that stood where Roy Elementary is now. During her day, there was not a dancehall in Roy, so they held dances in this tiny schoolhouse.
At age 17, she married Abiah Wadsworth, and, together, they went by the names Bidy and Clydie. Their first date was on May 30, 1905, at the Weber Academy graduation, and they were married by December 5, 1906. Luckily, they wrote their life histories down before they died in 1986, so their story can be shared in their own words.
In 1918, with five children at home, the whole family came down with the flu. This was the Spanish flu epidemic that swept across the whole globe at the time.
“We almost lost some of the children, but with the help of the Lord, we saved them all,” Bidy wrote.
Ellis Hyrum Child, their fifth child, would later write in his own personal history: “Our mother was a very devoted mother and nurse to us and always took very good care of us, so we survived many tests and trials.”
Even that would be an understatement when this family’s history is examined. The three eldest children, Thelma, Ralph, and Fred, all got pneumonia at very young ages; the first two also had Typhoid fever around the same time. Fred nearly died of pneumonia from working out in his family farm, picking tomatoes. Ralph would have long-term effects on his kidneys and heart from the experience. But all three would live well into their nineties.
Ellis was riding in the back of the truck as a kid, when it pulled into the garage, and he hit his head. The blow fractured his skull, but he recovered. He would go on to live almost 100 years.
When Ellis’s younger brother, Leslie, was around four years old, he fell into a stream. It carried him away, dragging him under a bridge. His family pulled him out before he drowned.
Later in life, Fred was breaking his horse, when it fell over onto his foot, breaking the bones inside. Somehow, he was able to heal and never had any issues running or walking after that.
Bidy was in his forties when he had his teeth pulled out. Clydie wrote that he nearly died from the loss of blood. He couldn’t work on the farm with the rest of the family, so she stepped in to help.
Just a year after that, the historic hailstorm of 1930 hit Weber County. At the time, their farm was in Riverdale, and the storm destroyed 10 acres of tomato plants. The storm also knocked over 19 electrical towers and obliterated 16 hay barns.
Finally, they settled on a home and 20 acres of farmland in Roy with their seven children. Their descendants and relatives still live in the area, although mostly in Riverdale, where their first farm was. Fred, Thelma, and their parents would live out the rest of their lives in Roy. Ellis ultimately moved to Pleasant View for the rest of his life.
Do you have a family history story to share? We want to hear from you! Call Jenny Goldsberry at 801-624-9652.