Research Updates    New Ancestors    New Stories    Surnames A-L    Surnames M-Z    Home
    Ancestor Pages -  bits and pieces of their lives                                          
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Sarah Luiza "Ludie" Ellis (1875-1946 )

Story of Ludie Part II

by Tami Lynn Hassell Thompson

On arriving in Jacksonville, Florida, Ludie soon discovered that she had actually jumped from the frying pan into the fire, as the saying goes. Uriah introduced his bride to his four children, Palmer, Theodore, Mayner and little Lula.

Apparently after the death of his first wife. his family had suggested that he go on a mission and they would take care of his children for him, which they did. When he returned home he found his farm in a run-down condition and in two months had done what he could to improve things.

Ludie was not afraid of hard work so during the next two years they worked together and soon were out of debt and had the farm in good condition.

Ludie's first child was born on July 6 1898 and was named Wilford Clair. During this time Uriah kept mentioning that he would like to move to Utah. Since he had been on a mission, he wanted to get his family where they could be raised in the Church. He also wanted to be married in the temple. He wanted to sealed to his first wife as well as to Ludie.

Many thoughts went through Ludies's mind about this She thought that if the opportunity came, she would be glad to stand proxy for Uriah's first wife, but she knew that she didn't want to be married to him for time much less eternity.

On the 27th of November 1899, Ludie's second child, Lyman Snow was born. Soon after this Uriah had the opportunity to sell his property. They sold the farm and everything they had.

They put all their earthly possessions in a big trunk which consisted mostly of clothing, then with a roll of bedding and $6,000 they started by train to Utah. How happy they were. They thought their dreams were coming true and that they would soon be in Zion with their six children.

There was plenty of time during the long train ride for Uriah to visit with the other passengers, while Ludie was kept busy taking care of the children. One day he was talking to some men who told him about some Mormon Colonies that had been established in Northern Mexico. He was told that it was a good place to obtain land and get started if one didn't have too much capital. It was also a good place where one could live among other Mormons and an especially good place to raise children.

Right away Uriah decided Mexico would be the best place to take his family. When he told Ludie about it, she was very disappointed. She had been excited about going to Zion but Mexico? From the time that Mexico was mentioned, she didn't want to go to Mexico. In fact she hated the thought of it.

The Hassells arrived in Colonia Dublan in March of 1901. They found a little house to live in. Uriah went to a little store and bought a sack of flour, a sack of sugar and a package of pinto beans. They bought a little stove and a couple of beds and a few dishes. Uriah bought a cow and a load of wood from a Mexican man. (The wood turned out to be green cottonwood.) Thus they set up housekeeping in Mexico.

Ludie picked over the beans and put them on to cook on that slow-burning green cottonwood fire. The smell of those beans cooking was more than she could take and she told her husband they must be poisen. In the evening, the beans were still hard and she was afraid to feed them to the children so she took them out behind the house and dumped them out.

A neighbor lady asked her about the beans and she was told that beans do smell when they are cooking but when they are done they are soft and they are not poisen. That was Ludie's introduction to trying to cook pinto beans.

The country, the customs and even the climate was so differnt from that the Hassells were used to that they had quite a time trying to adjust. One day the Relief Society teachers came to visit Ludie. They asked her how she liked living in Mexico. She tried to be optimistic and tell them that she liked it fine but then she added, "I'm having a hard time trying to cook for my family." After the women left, they sent a child back with a little sack of dried corn and some dried peaches. She could tell that it was corn and peaches but she didn't know what had been done to them or how she should go about preparing them for the children to eat.

Another bad experience they had with food was when Uriah found out that someone had killed a beef and they were selling the beef to whomever wanted to buy it. He went and bought a whole hind quarter. Ludie didn't know of a way to preserve the meat so as the weather became warmer, most of that meat spoiled. Uriah rented a farm and worked early and late trying to make it pay but without the proper farming equipment and due to the scarcity of water, all his efforts were in vain.

In the early summer of 1901 Ludie contracted typhoid fever. She became delirious. Bishop Anson B. Call remembered coming to help administer to her and called the Relief Society sisters to take the children and take care of her.

For forty-one days Ludie lay with a raging fever and although she didn't know what she was saying, she kept repeating over and over, "If I die, don't bury me here." When she finally did get better, all her long black hair fell out and she never completely recovered. She had health problems the rest of her life.

As they had had such a discouraging time in Colonia Dublan, Uriah decided maybe it would be better if they moved up to Colonia Garcia, a new settlemen in the mountains. The following March of 1902 they moved to Garcia. It wasn't easy to find lodging for a family there as the colony was new and everyone who had a place suitable to live in was living there himself. They did get a small frame house on the north end of town, near the bank of the creek, some distance from the rest of the settlement. Right at this point the creek was narrow and the banks were rugged and steep, making it an ideal place, in one's minds eye, for Indians to make their entrance into the settlement.

Unfortunately, terrible Indian stories which had little or no foundation was about all anyone had taken time to tell Ludie about her new surroundings. The mental anguish she suffered the first few months was terrible, since her husband was gone a great deal trying to provide for his family. How she wished they had never left Florida. When her husband did come home, she begged him to take them back to where they had come from. Finally Uriah decided that things were getting so bad that he would have to go to the United States and see if he could obtain employment.

Fortunately, before he left he was able to move the family nearer town on a small piece of farm land. He got the land all plowed up before he left. With the help of twelve-year-old Palmer and ten-year-old Theodore, Ludie put in a crop. They planted potatoes, turnips, squash, beans and a little corn.

Meanwhile they had a very hard time existing. Ludie had flour but little else to feed the children. One neighbor lady told Ludie that she would sell her a two-pound bucket of skimmed milk each day if she would sew carpet rags together for her. They used to sew these strips of cloth together and then braid them and make rugs to cover the bare floor. Ludie would sit and sew those little strips of cloth together all day long to get a two-pound ball of rags to exchange for a two-pound bucket of skimmed milk.

Ludie knew that she would have to ration that flour out to make it last as long as possible. She would make biscuits out of the flour and milk. She tried to feed the children what they needed but she rationed herself to three biscuits a day, one biscuit for each meal. Ludie had an old hen, so she gave the hen one biscuit a day. By selling the eggs she was able to obtain a little salt and now and then other necessities. Uriah was able to obtain some employment and with the first money he sent home, Ludie bought a cow. In the fall they harvested their crop, so living conditions began to improve a great deal.

Before the end of the year, Uriah came home for a brief visit. He told Ludie that he had acquired employment in a loging camp near Alamagordo, New Mexico and he had returned home before starting the new job. He seemed very pleased to find that Ludie had managed as well as she had. He casually remarked, "My, you've done very well since I left you alone. You would make a good widow." Several times during his visit Uriah said, "If anything happens to me I don't want you to take the family back. We've sacrificed too much to get them here where they can be raised under the influence of the Mormon Church."

Uriah went back to his work. There was a lot of cold weather. It snowed a lot and there was a lot of icy cold wind. One day Ludie received word that her husband Uriah had been killed [by a falling tree the 15th of February 1903]. By the time Ludie received this word, Uriah had been buried [in Alamagordo NM] a couple of weeks because communication was so slow.


- Ludie's Story courtesy of Tami Thompson   -

- Photos courtesy of Dwyn Larson

Questions or Suggestions?  Email

Site policy - you may download photos, stories and documents for family use.

- Small-size photos as is: right click then save to your computer   [1" x 1.25" 72 dpi]

- Large photos at higher dpi: contact contributor    or right click and save as is.

- Stories: hightlight text, then copy and paste to your word processing program.

- Documents: right click and save as photos or contact contributor for better dpi resolution.

  Print - no heading (3 pgs)

Related links:
  Ludie's parents
  Ludie's page with John T.
  Ludie's page with Uriah.

  Story of Ludie Part I
  Story of Ludie Part III