PIMA — In today’s society, many women not only hold the family together, caring for the home, spouse and children, but also contribute to the family coffers with outside employment.
During pioneer times and into the 20th century, it was more than a full-time job for a woman to do all the daily things necessary to keep her home running and see to the rearing of her children.
In most areas, men are credited with the settlement and early accomplishments of a community, but for the most part, they could not have been so successful without their fairer partner. One such lady and helpmate was Elizabeth Jane Lamb, who became the wife of Hyrum Wesley Crockett; together they became parents of 12 children, with 10 growing to maturity.
Elizabeth was born Oct. 13, 1889, in Matthewsville, the third of 11 children of Thomas Norman Lamb and Janetta Ferrin Lamb, both hardworking pioneers.
They soon moved to Pima, and when Elizabeth was 5, the family relocated to a ranch nine miles southwest of Pima on Cottonwood Wash, where it was quiet and peaceful and her days were spent rambling over the hills, picking wild grapes and flowers, playing in the trees and wading in the clear stream.
Tom Lamb was a typical pioneer, doing whatever he could to feed and care for his large family. He freighted from Willcox and Bowie to Globe and back. He was a cowboy with a small herd of cattle on his ranch. There was always a need for trapping to protect his livestock, chickens and garden, which he did, selling the hides.
At the tender age of 6, Elizabeth began milking and herding cows. She also helped haul wood and chop it. Weeding the garden was a must, as the vegetables growing there were a major part of the family’s diet. She also assisted with the canning, which was necessary for the winter months’ supply of food.
As she grew older, she helped her mother with the washing and ironing for their family and for others. This entailed drawing the water from the well, heating it on a fire outside, scrubbing the clothes on a washboard, putting them in a big pot, boiling them, scrubbing them again, then rinsing them. Mrs. Lamb was very particular — the whites had to be sparkling before she was satisfied. Then the clothes had to be hung on a line to dry.
Elizabeth did most of the ironing, becoming very good and taking great satisfaction in the finished product. This wasn’t too bad in the cooler months, but hot and miserable in the summer as the flatirons had to be heated on a wood stove.
In her life story, Elizabeth said, “I remember hitching up the team, going to town, getting the wash and taking it back to the ranch. The next day, we would wash and iron the clothes, and the following day, Mother would take them back to Pima and deliver them. I remember many times washing clothes all day for 50 cents.”
After finishing the eight grades, which were as high as the district schools went at that time, Elizabeth came into town, lived with her grandmother, Janetta McBride Ferrin, and worked in various homes.
She related one lasting memory: “I was working for Ethelyn Cluff Saline and was outside her house one day when the train came through Pima. This was the first time I had ever seen a train, and I was so frightened I ran into the house and closed the door.”
Hyrum, known as Hite, was born June 24, 1877, in Salem, Utah, the fifth of eight children of Wilford Woodruff Crockett and Mary Mahala Reed Crockett. The family relocated to Pima in 1883. Other than the two years (1906-1908) he spent in the Southern State Mission — specifically Georgia — the remainder of his life was spent in Pima.
The couple were married Sept. 24, 1908, in the Crockett home, which was a red brick facing north (100 West) on property now owned by this writer. Two weeks later, they left by train for Salt Lake City, where they were sealed for time and eternity in the temple there.
They made their home with Mother Crockett until purchasing the white rock school next door and fixing it into a home, where their first three children were born.
They had purchased 60 acres on the River Road and built a lovely home, moving in November 1912. Hite did a variety of things for a livelihood: He was a cowboy, a farmer, worked in the meat market for Mattice’s, which he and Reece Green later purchased. It was housed in the old Pima Bank building, which is now the museum.
A dedicated, faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he served as a teacher, Sunday School superintendent, YMMIA president, counselor to Bishop Charles Ferrin and Bishop Reece Green.
He gave service on the Town Council and as a school trustee. At his untimely death, which occurred Friday, April 13, 1934, due to cancer, he was serving on the school board and was a member of the presidency of the St. Joseph Stake’s High Priest Group.
With a husband involved in civic and church activities and seven boys, imagine the white shirts that had to be ironed. This was in a day when other household items such as sheets, pillowcases, dresser scarves, slips and aprons all had to be ironed, as well as all their outer clothes.
The social life of Pima revolved around church and school functions, weddings and births. Elizabeth believed in “gifts from the heart.” In the evenings after chores, she would spend hours crocheting beautiful edges for pillowcases, towels and baby blankets, gifts treasured by the recipients.
Equally important to Elizabeth was the fulfilling of her callings in the LDS Church, some of which were: religion class teacher, Primary secretary and teacher, Sunday School teacher, Relief Society counselor and Work Committee member, Stake and Ward Genealogy committees, Ward Sunshine Committee and visiting teacher for more than 60 years. She also filled two stake missions.
When Hite passed away, not only was their home filled with sadness and sorrow, but Elizabeth must have felt overwhelmed and inadequate for the daunting task of raising nine children still at home, with Doris, the youngest, being only 2. Emil and Retta were married, and Elizabeth and Hite had lost 4-1/2-year-old Clayton to the flu in November 1918.
Elizabeth faced the future with faith, determination and a lot of precious memories of having been married to a wonderful man, a devoted husband and father. She was to remain a widow for 43 years, passing away Nov. 30, 1977.
There were many lean times, and the children all contributed by such jobs as carrying the paper, raising chickens, being soda jerks, chopping cotton, working at the theater, babysitting and anything else they could find to do.
The children who grew to maturity, married and had families of their own, all productive citizens in their respective communities were: Emil, Norman, Retta (Lofgreen), Osmer, Dorothy (Nielsen), Kenneth, Nina (Larson), Elmo, Irene (Hancock-Angle) and Doris (Montierth).
There is much more to her life than is found in these lines. She was a very genteel lady, a wonderful cook, a very wise mother and a hard worker. She had a strong testimony of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was not bashful in sharing this with others, along with her sense of humor and other endearing qualities.