Crossing the plains in the same company in their migration to Zion were Henry Aldous Dixon, recently from South Africa, and Sarah DeGrey of Dudley, England. Both had accepted the Gospel and had joined the church in their respective homelands. Romance blossomed soon after they met. They were wed and together they planned a home in the "top of the mountains", where peace from persecution and security from molesting mobs could be found by all who sought them.
There was a large family of fine sons and daughters born to them. Like most of the saints, this particular family had their trials and struggles in their efforts for existance in this desert land. It was their united effort to meet the problems of life that brought the Dixon family close together and made them loyal to each other, both in sickness and in health.
One child, Maria, of whom we tell this story, was born five minutes past 9 o'clock on the night of January 5, 1872 in Provo, Utah County, Utah. She was blessed and given her name on January 13, 1872 by her father, Henry A. Dixon. Through most of her life she was known as "Aunt Rye" to all those who knew and loved her.
She received her schooling in Provo. Her first lessons in readin' and writin' were received in the little old adobe school, now replaced by the Lester Taylor home, under the watchful eye of Mrs. Oakley, her teacher. Later she attended the West School, which stood where the Pioneer Park is presently located.
Her father died when Maria was only twelve years old, leaving two wives and thirteen children. The hardships and burdens increased with the loss of her beloved father, but she was able to continue her schooling. She was a member of the first class at the old Parker School, with George H. Brimhall as her teacher. She finished her schooling at the Brigham Young Academy.
Because of necessity of her desire to accomplish much, Maria worked for Robert Skelton in the Provo Book and Stationery for many years prior to her marriage, and became a successful sales and business woman.
The desired life in the thriving communities of Utah was the family life, consequently, Maria married the man of her choice, Arthur N. Taylor, on May 9, 1894 in the Salt Lake Temple. She was but a young lass of twenty two, but she turned her heart to the task of building a comfortable and happy home and rearing a family. Many were the happy times and the sad times which came to this family.
In October, 1900, Maria's husband left her at home with three young boys, Arthur, Lynn, and Elton, to care for while he filled a mission in England. It meant extra work for her, but so much happiness for them both because they knew it was the Lord's work. So, happily, Maria worked hard to make it possible for her husband to do his missionary work.
In 1902, Maria left her children in the care of her mother and went to England to join her husband. She, too, served as a missionary for six months before their return to their home and family. Those were happy, busy days for them both as they carried on with their work with diligence and much faith.
When they returned to Provo, they bought a fruit and dairy farm on the Provo Bench. They knew the farm would help train and develop the young bodies and minds of their boys. During the summertime they lived on the farm and Maria had her first experience as a farmer. Later the fruit farm was sold and the family acquired property at the mouth of the Provo River and Utah Lake. Besides the farming of sugar beets, they opened up a resort center and again, Maria showed her business abilities. She taught her children many valuable lessons in business management.
In all of their ventures and endeavors the Taylor family worked as a unit and cooperation was uppermost in the minds of both parents and children. Their church activities were of much importance to them. To be a cheerful and willing worker in their church, helped each family member to be a cheerful and a willing worked in the home. Maria was especially active throughout her own life. The Gospel was as precious to her as her own life.
In 1913, she was a counslor to Mary Davis in the Third Ward Primany. When the ward was divided, she was called to take Sister Davis' position. Maria then served as President of the Third Ward Primary for ten years. After being released from the primary, she served for twenty years as the Theological teacher in the Relief Society. She was treasurer of the Utah County Camp of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers (DUP) for two terms. In June, 1939, she was elected historian of the 4th and 6th camps of the DUP, and later served as historian of the newly created Camp Provo.
She wrote many histories of pioneer families of the Provo Third Ward. Maria was very happy in this work and the records she made will continue down the stream of time to give later generations a
story of their progenitors.
In 1937, Bishop Eves called Maria to help organize the "Widows of the Third Ward". Her mother, Sarah Dixon, had previously been chairman of this same group. The organization raised funds through the sale of quilts, rugs, and pies, which paid for the carpeting and the electric organ for the Third Ward.
Maria and her husband were active in all church activities and were sincere in their desire to do the work of the Lord. Six of their sons filled missions in various parts of the world.
After the death of her husband in September, 1935, Maria bravely carried on and dedicated the remainder of her life to genealogical work. She worked in the Third Ward genealogy group for years. She spent many wonderful hours in various Temples and the genealogical research rooms.
Her social life was full from the time of her childhood until the day she was stricken to her bed. She loved all people she associated with and helped many who were in need. Wildwood, in Provo
Canyon, where Maria spent her summers, was one of the bright spots of her life. It was there that she entertained friends and relatives from far and near.
One of the proudest moments of her life was Mother's Day, May 11, 1941, when she opened the
Sunday edition of the Provo Herald and saw her own picture on the front page, with the caption "The Typical Mother of the Day" underneath it.
She died five minutes to twelve, noon, Monday, February 17, 1947 at the Latter Day Saints Hospital, leaving a posterity of twenty three grandchildren and the following children: Arthur D. Taylor, Bishop of Provo Third Ward; Lynn D. Taylor, former Bishop of Pleasant View Ward; Elton L. Taylor, President of Carbon Stake; Henry D. Taylor, President of Sharon Stake; Alice T. Nelson, Wife of Dr. Elroy
Nelson, Denver, Colorado; Clarence D. Taylor, Provo; and Ruth T. Kartchner, wife of Dr. Fred D.
Kartchner, Hawaii. Kenneth, who was the youngest son, died and was buried on his twenty seventh birthday, November 3, 1940. One brother, Arnold Dixon and two sisters, Mrs. J. W. Dangerfield and Sarah McConachie, also survived.
These words were penned by Maria as the closing lines in the history of her life which she wrote in 1940. "I am so grateful that I have seven of the kindest and dearest children anyone could wish to have to bring joy and comfort to me in my declining years; in fact, I feel that / am one of the most blessed women in the world."