Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Women Before Me

Jane Smith Coleman

I know I’ve talked a lot about my Dad’s mother, Grandma Stringam.
She died in 1981 at the age of 95. I was privileged, not only to know her, but to actually be able to live with her and my Aunt Emily for several months.
Reading her journals has brought her even closer.
But through them, I’m realizing another benefit. Glimpses of the women who were so influential in her life.
Today?
Her grandmother (My Great-Great Grandmother), Jane Smith Coleman—who was born in Dundee, Forfarshire, Scotland in 1838 and passed away in Teasdale, Utah in 1924 at the age of 86.
This is what Grandma Stringam has to say about her grandmother . . .
“My Grandmother Coleman was a very busy person. She had a small greenhouse, raised chickens with a wood-burning incubator, kept a small general store, was postmistress and ran the only boarding house in the little town. She was the president of the Stake Relief Society (a large women’s charitable organization) and taught Sunday School classes for years.
There was always something that needed to be done there.
Along with all the other things that went on in that household, there was also bee-keeping.
About every two weeks during the summer they extracted honey and that meant that she needed our help.
Grandma would take the slats from the hives and give them to us girls and we would carry them to my mother, who was at the extractor. Mother would use a sharp knife to cut the wax that capped the honey, then she would put the slats in the extractor four at a time. When she turned the crank, the honey would fall out into the tank.
We usually got about fifteen gallons every time we extracted.
It was surprising how soon word of what we were doing would get around, and the children of the town would be there to eat the honey from the cappings.
Another busy time at Granma’s was my Grandfather’s birthday.
Every year, as long as he was Bishop (leader of the local church) she prepared and served a dinner to the whole town.
For days before, we helped her get ready and for several days after, we helped her get things cleared away and tidy.”
Huh. I think I just figured out where I get my love of feeding people!
Grandma Stringam’s journals are a treasure trove of past lives and experiences.
Through them, I’m getting to know and appreciate her and the women in my family line.
Another benefit is my newfound appreciation for indoor plumbing and electric everything.
But that is another story.
There’s obviously a reason I was born now.

10 comments:

  1. Feeding a whole town ... OH. MY.

    Some days I can barely feed myself!

    Wow.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When Husby isn't here, meals usually consist of something gulped down over the kitchen sink. Sigh.

      Delete
  2. Definitely inspirational. And a tad shaming. I am not as busy as I thought. And definitely less diligent.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I often think about and admire women from so long ago, the stamina, the sheer amount of never-ending work they did, humbles me. I think about my easy life with vacuum cleaner, washer and (rarely used)dryer, television, computer and wonder if I would have been able to cope if I had been born into those times. Possibly, but not nearly as well as your ancestors.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I feel exactly the same way, River! I look at all of my conveniences and think I'd never have survived, let alone thrived!

      Delete
  4. Wonder if this Coleman is related to us! Wouldn't that be funny?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would be fantastic, Dixie! I could call you Cuz! :)

      Delete

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