Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Charlotte Maria Hall Foulger (1855-1938)

Charlotte Maria was the first girl born to her young parents, Selina DeGrey and John Charles Hall. She was born one warm day in June. The 28th day of June in the year of 1855, to be exact, at, Dudley, Worcestershire, England. Her mother was happy to note the arrival of this small daughter, but her missionary father barely had time to leave his work to give Charlotte Maria a fond welcome.

Charlotte Maria's appearance had been preceeded by a fine young brother who was but a baby but who could be "big brother" to her. She was unaware of anything except her food and sleep and if it did not come to her promptly, she voiced her opinions, loudly. Charlotte Maria had three brothers and one sister, namely; Charles Alma, John Thomas, and William Brooks.

Something else of which Charlotte Maria was quite unaware was the hustle and bustle at Grandmother DeGrey's home as she made preparations to go across the wide expanse of the Atlantic Ocean to America. Charlotte Maria gurgled and cooed as precious plans were made, even while a degree of animosity and resentment met the Hall and DeGrey families wherever they met neighbor and friend, because of their association with the "Mormon Church."

So when her father's mission in England, which extended for five years, was completed, Charlotte Maria and her brother, Charles Alma were bundled together and the family boarded the sailing vessel, "George Washington", which soon left the dock for America. The trip was made in twenty-one days instead of the usual six weeks. On their arrival in Boston, they were met by Grandmother DeGrey and her children, who had preceded them to America by about nine months.

Charlotte Maria's father had received a foot injury during the voyage, so the family was compelled to remain in Boston for about one week. Then the group of nine traveled by train to the Missouri River, which was indeed another new phase in Charlotte Maria's life as a young pioneer daughter.

At Iowa City, Charlotte's father, John purchased one wagon, one yoke of oxen, one yoke of cows, and what provisions and supplies he could with the combined savings. They joined other saints going to Utah and traveled in the Jesse B. Martin Company.

Again, Charlotte was oblivious of the fear and hardship experienced by her elders as the company moved slowly across the plains. Each day was much the same to her: a mother's lullaby, blissful slumber to the rhythm of the wagon wheels, the lowing of the cattle and the mumble of the busy men, women, and children during the warm summer days.

The companies of saints, as they traveled across the plains, were organized well. The wagons traveled two abreast when practical.

Each evening when camp was made, all the livestock was kept inside an enclosure formed by locking the wagons together. All the wagon tongues were placed inside with the fore wheel of one wagon locked in the hind wheel of the next wagon. At both ends of the corral thus formed were gateways. The gateways were always carefully guarded. Many pioneers slept in their wagons, but there were tents carried along and these were pitched near the wagons on the outside, the whole camp being patrolled by the guards all night. Because there were nine in the Hall and DeGrey families and only one wagon, some of them were compelled to sleep outside in their tent.

Sometimes the camp would be made near a lake or river, and in this case, the corral would be formed by the wagons being locked in a half moon shape from two points near the water's edge. The pioneers became proficient in driving their wagons at night to the exact position to be locked in the circle.

After the first days were passed, Charlotte's father, as did all others, found it quite an easy task to strike camp, and when the order was given for the day's rest, it would be but a short time when all would be in readiness for the night, and out of the level prairie would arise the mimic city.

To Charlotte, who was beginning to notice everything and to get into all sorts of mischief, the camp fires in the evening with everyone singing or dancing around them, were the bright spots of the long trek westward.

Then the long journey was over! They were home at last! As the group met new friends and neighbors in the first weeks after their arrival, there was no time for thoughts of homesickness and regret. With thankfulness to their Heavenly Father for His protection, Charlotte's father and mother set about to the task of preparing the necessities of winter. Those who were already established lent a helping hand to the Hall family, and soon there was a buzz of activity as thought of a permanent home took shape.

However, when the call came from the church a few years later for the saints to go to Southern Utah, Charlotte Maria's parents offered their support. In the year 1861, the family moved to Rockville, Utah. As a temporary lodging until a more permanent residence could be established, her father built a dugout near the Virgin River. Sometime later the dugout was flooded by the unpredictable river and another dugout was fashioned on higher ground safe from the river. Later a new adobe house was built.

While her father and mother were engaged in the task of feeding and clothing their family, and helping in the community growth, Charlotte Maria was growing and developing into a lively, sweet-dispositioned child. Her activeness and continuous stream of chatter made her a lovable little girl. Even so, from childhood Charlotte was no stranger to adversity and hardship. As soon as she was old enough she gained a sense of responsibility and was obedient in helping in the home and on the farm wherever a young girl could.

She anxiously awaited the date of her eighth birthday. On that day, June 28, 1863, she, with a group of other young people of the same age, was baptized in the Rio Virgin by her father. She was confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on the same day by Henry Jennings.

Schooling for Charlotte Maria was a problem and a worry, same as it was with other pioneer sons and daughters of that day. Capable and qualified teachers were practically unavailable. Inadequate housing facilities caused an over-crowded condition as children of all ages were grouped in one large room. The different classrooms were improvised by the use of curtains hung as partitions. Charlotte, consequently, received the majority of her learning and training at home under the tender and watchful guidance of her parents.

When she was but a young girl, her mother left Rockville and returned to Salt Lake City with some of her brothers and sisters. However, Charlotte Maria and two of her brothers chose to remain with their father and "Aunt Kezia".

There was no glitter and swank to the comely main street of Rockville; no neon lights blazing forth their messages and greetings and no many-storied buildings reaching for the sky. Only the sturdy mulberry trees, which lined the street, the familiar hitching posts and the honey-rock home, framed by trees and flowers, made up the main street of Rockville. For the faithful who toiled and built, the street was a sign of progress and security, while for the young, the street was a meeting and greeting place. Charlotte Maria loved her "main street", her friends, and her home. She worked unselfishly in her home and, whenever she was called to do so, in the community. Life in a pioneer community was not without entertainment and social life when pioneers, ever from the very beginning of the Church, were very mindful of the arts, music, drama, etc.

So Charlotte enjoyed the Virginia Reel, quadrillo, and other popular dances of the day. The weekly dances were greatly anticipated by Charlotte because she loved to dance. Dainty, shy girls could then swing into the arms of their favorite "tall, dark and handsome".

During her young girlhood there were no serious conflicts with the Indians. Instead, the Indians became good friends of the white man and was willing in many cases to trade their goods for food with the Saints. Charlotte learned to speak the language of the Indians who were settled near the southern part of Utah.

When she reached the age of twenty-one, she felt the responsibility of being with her mother and helping her since she was alone, so she went to Salt Lake to be with her mother. Soon after her arrival, both she and her mother secured employment at the Lion House for President Brigham Young. They were working there at the time of his death.

Charlotte enjoyed her work at the Lion House because there was always a hum of activity. Twelve of Brigham Young's wives with their children lived in the Lion House as one large family. In the southwest end of the basement was located the dining room. Then came the pantry, next the kitchen, and, in the rear, the laundry. There was also a small room at the end, beyond the laundry, which was used as a nursery school for the younger children. On the east side of the basement were the cellars for milk, vegetables and meat. Then there was the weaving room and beyond that was a recreational room. Here the young folk had the opportunity not only for pleasure, but for development in music and dramatics. On the second or main floor there was a beautiful prayer room and also the private rooms of each of the wives. Upstairs were located the bedrooms for the older children.

After her return to Salt Lake City, Charlotte Maria met Herbert John Foulger. They fell in love and were soon married in the Endowment House on October 11, 1881 by Joseph F. Smith. Charlotte was twenty-six years old when she was married and it was a happy day for her, a day she had anticipated and planned for many weeks and months and even years. The blessings of the temple marriage were a source of strength and comfort to her in the months and years of trial ahead of her.

Every girl of that day began planning for her marriage when yet a very young girl by sewing dainty pieces, making quilts and clothes which were set aside for her new home and new life. Most every family owned a few sheep. Many of the pioneer girls sheared the sheep, carded and spun the wool, weaved the cloth, and made their own dresses. Necessity caused those women to learn the art of weaving and carding and even pattern making. Charlotte was no different from most young pioneer daughters. She learned how to manage a home and how to make many of the items which go to make up the necessities of a home. She was blessed with elders who knew how to make and was taught by having to assist her parents.

So when Charlotte Maria married she was a capable and ambitious young woman. During the course of her marriage she bore seven children, two boys and five girls. She was a kind, generous mother and worked untiringly for her family.

Besides her family and home which kept her busy, she was very active for many years both in the MIA and the Relief Society. Whenever she was asked she willingly gave of her time that others might benefit through her efforts. She loved to dance and enjoyed music, so she found much pleasure in her MIA work. One of her sons, Ernest Charles Foulger, was sent to fulfill a mission in the Swiss and German Mission. She was thankful for her son's opportunity and was happy to sacrifice in order that he might be able to complete honorably his mission.

After thirty-nine years of happiness in her marriage, her husband died from a heart attack, on December 13, 1920. Then she was left to herself to manage a home. Her children were married and old enough to care for themselves. She enjoyed their companionship and the activities of her grandchildren.

One of Charlotte's granddaughters, Miriam Foulger Cromar, who often visited her grandmother in the company of her father and family, says, "I always liked to be around my grandmother Foulger and enjoy[ed] her kindness to me. She loved children, all children, particularly her grandchildren and always managed to see that they were well-fed. She was kind and loving, and on one occasion she gave a Christmas party for her fourteen grandchildren. She loved to give gifts to her grandchildren and found happiness in their laughter and chatter." She had a total of sixteen grandchildren, two were born later.

At the age of eighty-three, Charlotte Maria died on July 20, 1938. During her life she had found much joy in her family and in the service of her church. To know her was to love her and she will long be remembered by her numerous descendants.

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