Monday, June 9, 2008
Alice Maude Hall Langston (1864-1922)
Apparently written by Myrtle Kezia Langston, Alice's fifth child, though this is unconfirmed.
Alice Maude Hall was the fourth child born to John and Kezia Hall, and because the two babies born prior to her coming had died, Alice Maude brought great joy to the hearts of her parents. She was born on April 5, 1864, just about three years after her parents had arrived in Rockville, Washington County, Utah. Her parents had been quite well and established in Salt Lake City and her father was planning to go into business with his brother, Thomas, and manufacture the "Hall's Canker Medicine." Then in response to an urgent call for volunteers to develop and build in Dixie, her parents moved "bag and baggage," thus permitting Alice Maude to be born and reared in a rural community.
Her childhood was a normal, carefree period, although she remembered of sharing the work in the fields with her brothers and sisters. She used to watch enthralled while her mother would spin and weave material from which their clothes were made. All wearable pieces cut from old clothes brought from England were saved and used as trimming on the home-made clothes she and her brothers and sisters wore. To have a dress, even one of dark blue or green, with a bit of lace or ruffle trim was the nicest thing which could happen to a young girl, except for a birthday party.
When she was eight years of age, she was baptized a member of the Church. To her, that occasion was the first important stop in her life. Now she felt she was beginning to grow up. She, like all little girls, went through the stage of "paper dolls" and "make believe." For a young girl to pass through her childhood without tasting of the pleasure of making dolls from the corn cobs and corn silk and the pine cones was a shame. Alice whiled away the pleasant summer hours in the shade of a giant tree, or the cold winter days before the fire by activities typical of those pioneer times, which oft times was quite different from the recreation and play of the children of this modern day.
Although her school days were short in number, Alice Maude was very studious and always took advantage of the time she was in school. She had three teachers who were remembered in later years -- Jacob Terry, Henrietta Cox Stout, and Mary Stocks. The latter two teachers taught in Hinckley for a while. Through the guidance of such teachers, who performed their duties to the best of their abilities under the prevailing circumstances, Alice received a fair beginning to her education. She advanced in knowledge through her own initiative to the extent that she taught school in Duncan's Retreat, which at that time was a new but very progressive community. She roomed and boarded in the homes of Sister Mary Ann Wright and Emma Reeves during the time she was teaching.
Alice Maude was one of the fortunate ones who received musical training from her father on the organ, which graced their humble home. She progressed quite rapidly and served as ward organist for many years under the leadership of Hosea Stout. He praised her highly and said, "No one could be found who was more loyal and faithful to her duty and those whom she served." When her own family came, she taught four of the children what musical information she could, and they in turn served very competently as organists in their respective wards.
Some time prior to her marriage, she took a course of study in obstetrics and nursing under the tutorship of a mid-wife, Mrs. Norton, who lived in Washington, Utah. Her own mother was gifted with an understanding of nursing and doctoring, acquired through necessity. So Alice Maude often went out among the sick with her mother and also did some nursing alone, but never did it as a profession.
The religious training she received at home from her parents struck a chord within her and she had a great desire to serve whenever the call came to her. After the St. George Temple was completed, she frequently went there to work with her parents. She also received her own endowments during this time of her life, so it was natural enough to go through the temple when she was married.
When she was but a young woman, she was asked to be president of the Y.W.M.I.A. in Rockville. Her duties in this capacity and as organist in the ward kept her very busy, nevertheless, love found its way into her heart. She had had a number of opportunities of becoming a plural wife, but her love was bequeathed to another -- Jacob H. Langston. After a short courtship, she and Jacob were married in the St. George Temple on October 1, 1884, when she was but twenty years of age. It was a happy, beautiful day for her, and now she had passed another extremely important stage in her life.
There seemed only one thing to mar the gladness of that day. During the time she had studied obstetrics, she had been told that she would never be able to bear children because of a deformity. Naturally, this information was an avenue of concern and worry to her, especially now that she was married. She never became completely discouraged and often thought to herself that God would bless her with children if she had the faith and through righteous living. Later her graet desire was culminated when she, through fasting and prayer, became a mother to nine five sons and daughters. She fulfilled her destiny and privilege as a mother with never a thought of such things as birth control, even though much of her life was spent as an invalid. Her only regret was that she was not able to accomplish other work which she had wanted to do.
She and her husband later moved to Hinckley where several of their children were born. She was a helpful wife and good mother regardless of her being in ill health. She was always anxious for her family to work in the church, more so because of her own inability to do the work she had desire to do. She did her part by excusing the members of her family from household duties and tasks which she felt were less important at home in order that they might perform their work in the church organizations.
When two sons were called on missions -- Alma to Germany and Hungary and Charles to Tonga in the south seas -- her joy and happiness seemed complete. Even though they were not financially able to send two sons on missions, both boys were able to go through much sacrifice and effort from the rest of the family. Alice always felt that the Lord blessed their efforts to the extent that means were provided to fulfill their part of the mission calls even when it seemed quite impossible. Sorrow came to the family even in the midst of this happiness, when word was received that Charles had passed away during an influenza epidemic. He had left his earthly mission seemingly incomplete and gone on to a greater calling.
Through her church work and her family, she was able to still the aching emptiness in her for her son. She was secretary in the Relief Society under the presidency of Sister C.A. Allred. She served as a Relief Society teacher, a Primary teacher, and later served on the Relief Society Stake Board with Sister Mary C. Lyman in the Millard and Deseret Stakes for a number of years. Her work in these respective positions kept her busy but very happy. She was a woman of high ideals; she disliked anything cheap and vulgar. She enjoyed good humor, but if ever an offensive story or joke was told in her presence, a look of disgust was immediately expressed on her face. One of her closest friends said of her, "She was as pure in mind as any woman I ever met."
She was always honest and faithful in her associations with her neighbors and friends. She was greatly respected by all who knew her and worked with her. Alice Maude was a good and kind mother to her children, always imparting patience and love with her advice and teaching. Even in ill health, she had born nine fine sons and daughters, and had strived to be a faithful wife and companion to her husband.
When Alice's health began to get worse, she went to Salt Lake City where she could constantly be under the care of the doctor. She was not confined to her bed so she was able to spend most of her time working in the temple. After she returned to her home, she went to Dixie to visit some of her family. Because they consistently urged her, Alice Maude finally consented to have two major operations in an effort to regain her health. She spent the next few years in quite good health.
Then in the year 1922, Alice was stricken with partial paralysis and was very ill for about six months. Just a month before her death, President A.A. Hinckley gave Alice and her husband a recommend to get their second anointings in the Manti Temple. To Alice, this was a wonderful privilege. To her family after she had passed away, it seemed a fitting benediction to her noble life. Whenever Alice spoke or thought of that glorious visit to the temple, she seemed overjoyed and well satisfied.
One week after she and her husband had returned from Manti, Alice passed on to a greater life. On that day, July 18, 1922, her children and husband felt keenly the absence of a fine woman -- mother and wife, and the friends of the family paid homage to a woman with kindness of heart and generosity for all her acquaintance. Those who remain behind this day will long remember Alice Maude for her fine qualities which easily overshadowed the faults and failings she may have had.