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Bertha Isabell & Baby Boy Rogers Preston
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Birth: Dec. 18, 1879
Arizona, USA
Death: Nov. 2, 1922
Graham County
Arizona, USA

Daughter of Joseph K. and Josephine (Wall) Rogers.

View online death certificate.

View online birth certificate of baby boy.


Written by Maida Preston Allred, daughter of Bertha, 30 May 1973

I feel it a great honor and privilege and pray I can tell you what little I remember of our wonderful mother. Fifty-two years ago at a young age of forty-three, Mother left us to go home to our Father in Heaven, leaving five living children: Milton, Maida, Lloyd, Donald and Vergil Preston. Two daughters, Josie and Delsa, had preceded her in death. I was only thirteen and was the eldest at home. Our brother Milton was working in California.

Bertha Isabelle Rogers Preston was one of the first white children born in Pima, Arizona (then Smithville). Some people like to say she was the first because she was born 18 December 1870, exactly nine months from the time the first Mormon families came to settle along the Gila River, having been called to do so by President Brigham Young.

I know very little about Mama (we all called her Mama) in her young growing-up years in Pima. She used to say there were five girls: Eva, Nancy, Helen, Bertha and Emma, all daughters of J.K. and Josephine, who were old enough to work before any boys came along to help. So these young girls learned to do everything--field work, housework, and domestic work for the small sum of 25 cents per day. They then took their pay in beans, flour, sugar, etc., collecting very little cash. Mama must have proved herself to be a good cook while she was still very young, because most people who knew her always asked me if I could cook like my mother (I wish I could).

Our father said Mother was a real homemaker and could make a home even in a tent. She was a young, strong, healthy, wonderful mother. All my memories of her are fond, sacred ones. My goal has been to try and be such a mother as she was. I feel Mama has been a guardian to her children that she left behind, especially me. She surely taught us all how to work and to be proud of what we did, regardless of how small the task might be.

At the age of twenty-two Bertha Isabelle Rogers married Millard Fillmore Preston on 1 May 1901 in Pima, Graham County, Arizona. They lived for some time in the old red brick house which is still standing on the Ray Alder farm. Here they farmed, punched cows, and did general hard work to make ends meet.

Our father and mother had two children, Milton and Josie, when the Canadian government and the Latter-day Saint Church encouraged young married families to go north to homestead. Frankburg is near Cardston where many LDS families settled.

In 1906 our father went to Frankburg and Mother soon followed with the two children. Frankburg was a small Mormon community where most of the homesteaders lived, going out on the rolling sections of land, sharing equipment and planting grain. After some time each family moved its house to the individually owned homesteads where all seemed to prosper.

I remember our home was five miles west from Frankburg and the Church house, while to the east of us, just three miles, was the school house, the post office, and the railroad. I feel my parents must have had some of the same pioneering hardships there that Mama's parents had when they came to the Gila Valley. In addition, my parents had the extreme cold weather with snowdrifts and blizzards to endure.

I remember going in a box sleigh from the ranch to Church. The meetings would last all day with duties for all to perform.
After Church we all ate round big tables with the children at one table and the adults at another. It was lots of fun. The sleigh ride was an experience. All of us wore our warmest clothing with quilts wrapped around us; we were huddled over hot covered fire brick with a tarp pulled tight over the top of us. Father, Mother and Milton sat on the open seat on top. In my childish way I wondered why we had to have that tarp over us because we couldn't see where we were going. But as always, that was our mother's way of protecting us against the extreme cold.

I remember Mama baking bread and taking it out of the oven in the evening when we were ready for bed. The next morning the steam had frozen and the loaves of bread were just like hard, cold brick. Also, when she would wash our clothes and shake them out to hang them on the line, they would freeze. The long winters must have been real hardships, but the spring, summer, and fall were beautiful. They were worth all the troubles the winter months had brought. I remember Mama getting us up from our beds during the night in the summer time to watch the Aurora Borealis. We would stand in the yard with our feet bare and in our night clothes watching these giant fireworks shooting across the sky, showing beautiful, bright lights and all the colors of the rainbow. Mama said she hoped that her children would always remember this God-given picture.

Milton tells the following interesting story about Mama, how good and how far she would go to help carry the load to make life more plentiful and financially better for all of us: "Our father with twelve to eighteen other men, had been hired with their team and wagons for six weeks work building a dam or railroad bridge to be completed while the weather was good. This work was some distance from their homes. Later, Mama took us children with her to take more clothes and bedding to our father. On arriving at the camp, we found the men standing around hungry after a hard day's work because their Chinese cook had gone to town that day and had failed to return to prepare their supper. The foreman asked Father if Mama would consider stirring up a meal for these hungry men, promising that he would pay her well. Mama was at no loss fixing plenty of food for that bunch of hungry men for the supplies were plentiful. In no time at all they were eating their supper. Mama stayed for three days and nights and cooked all of the meals for these men. At the end of this period of time the Chinese cook returned after a drunken spree, but the men petitioned the foreman to replace the cook with Mama. The wages were so good that Mama couldn't refuse. Our folks made a clean sweep that six weeks; they all worked. Our father worked with wagon and team; Mama did the cooking she so loved to do; Milton at age eight and Josie at age six washed all the dishes in large galvanized tubs; Delsa and I were too young, in fact I was still sitting in a high chair. Wit the job finished and well done, the foreman loaded all the extra supplies into Daddy's wagon with much dried fruit, sugar, flour, rise, beans, etc., that would last our family a long time."

In that same year of 1910, Dad and Mother went to the Salt Lake Temple for their endowments and all of us children were sealed to them. That also was when this family group picture was taken; the only one we have as all others were either lost or ruined from the flash flood that destroyed a trunk of treasures, pictures, letters, records, etc.

While Mama was living in Franklin (might this be a mistake as it was called Frankburg on the previous page???) , she had a very dear friend she loved like a sister. Like Mama, this friend Maida Riston, had left her own brothers and sisters in the USA to settle in Canada. They each had children about the same age. When I was born Mama gave me her dear friend's name, Maida. They enjoyed each other's company working and rearing their children together. Years later, about the time our family moved back to Pima, the Riston family moved to Salt Lake City. The bond of friendship continued over the years and when our sister Delsa May died in August 1920 at age thirteen and Stanley Riston, age thirteen and son of David and Maida Riston died in December 1920 in Salt Lake City, these two were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple. Delsa and Stanley had known each other and played together in Canada. This temple work was completed not long before Mama passed away. Now the love and friendship of Mama and Maida Riston is really bonded.

The day our brother Donald was born, 2 September 1914, was a memorable day for me. Milton, Josie and Delsa were at school in Bryant. Lloyd and I were at home, being too young to attend school. As I was the oldest child at home, Mama asked me if I thought I could walk by myself to take a note to our nearest neighbor, Mrs. Olson. We could just see the top of her house from ours. I had never been there before but was thrilled that Mama would let me go alone. I felt so happy and so grown up; I was five years old. I took the note and started the one and one half or two mile trip while Father went after the doctor. Imagine the faith and courage Mama must have had to be left alone in child labor until help could come. When Mrs. Olson and I returned, we found that Father and the doctor had arrived in time to deliver our brother Donald. Mama was so proud that I returned safely, she told me I could hold my little brother. He was just one hour old. She said she hoped I would always remember that day and I have.

Four of us children were born in Canada: Delsa, Maida, Lloyd and Donald during the ten years from 1906 to 1916 that our family lived there. Then the world was at war, Grandmother Josephine Rogers was very ill with cancer so the family decided to return to Pima, Arizona, where Mama could help care for her mother.

I think and wonder so often of how many of us today would or could have the desire, faith and courage, to sell all one's earthly belongings and travel by train one week and arrive in Pima just one month before baby Vergil R. Preston was born 7 May 1916. Mama had all the qualities: ability, faith, knowledge, love of family and courage. All my memories of Mama are fond, sacred ones. My prayers have always been to try to be the kind of mother she was.

While we were traveling from Canada and were waiting on the railroad platform during train changes, Mama had all of us young children stand right in front of her at just arm's length away. If we did stray further away than that, she just reached out and pinched our arms a little without saying a word. We knew that if we were pinched that we were getting a little too far away from Mama. She has protected me that same way all my life. I will dream of her and she will pinch me. This awakens me and I know that I am doing something Mama would not approve of.

Back home in Pima our parents built our new home, the one Rodney Alder lives in now. This should have been the beginning of a better life for all, and it probably was for the first year, but the next five years brought much sorrow and many deaths in our family. First Grandma Rogers' death on the 18th of February 1917. Mama's new house was not finished soon enough to help care for her mother. Over the next few years I heard Mama say many times that they should have stayed in Canada. On 13 August 1920 Delsa May died with double pneumonia and blood poisoning at age thirteen. On 18 March 1921 Josephine Preston Allred died just six weeks after giving birth to Kenneth, who later died on 25 May 1921.

One year and seven months after Josie's death, our mother passed away at age 43 laboring to give birth to a 9-pound baby boy, who never lived to know his earthly mother. He was buried in her arms. No one knows the hardships and sorrow that falls on a home of young children when their mother has been called home to do a greater work unless he has experienced that sorrow. Mama was all prepared to fill that higher calling. When we were living in Canada, Mama said she was lying down nursing one of her babies when her father, J.K. Rogers, called to her. She told us she turned over and there stood her father as plain as day and he said to her, "Bertha, I have come for you to take you home with me." Mama said she begged her father to let her stay with her little family and he answered, "All right, Bertha, but the next time I come for you I will take you."

He must have come for her because after Mama's two daughters passed away, she just worked harder and cried more. I really think she was not only prepared to go, but that she wanted to. I was with her one day when she drove to Glenbar, and she hated to drive, to visit Uncle Peter McBride. She asked him to sing one special song at her funeral. He teased her and promised to do so, if she would first sing at his funeral. He sang the song at her funeral and told the audience that she had requested it.

I wish I had known and understood more at that time. For the two weeks before she died, she would talk to me about every day things a girl of thirteen should know; about growing into womanhood and about the baby that was coming soon; about how much she would be depending upon me, the only little girl she had left, to help her. I didn't realize then that she was trying to tell me she wouldn't be with us much longer. It took some years for me to fully understand the things she had told me.

The morning of the day she passed away, Mama fed us our breakfast, packed our lunches, curled my hair and then said, "Maida, this is the day. The baby will soon be here. You hurry home from school and remember all I have told you." When I returned home after school, Dr. Platt and Grandma Craig were with Mother. She suffered many hours. After nine o-clock that night, Daddy came in the kitchen where I was keeping water boiling and asked me to get the boys up because Mama wanted to see us. We went to our mother's bedside, she opened her eyes, looked at us, said nothing, and then closed her eyes. I thought she was just going to rest, but Mama never opened her eyes again. She had gone with her father to our Father in Heaven.

I have found it difficult to express myself fully in trying to put the memory of our dear mother into words, but I feel it has been a labor of love to pay tribute to our dear mother, Bertha Isabelle Rogers Preston, and to feel her sweet presence so near to me. It is my prayer that all of Mama's children will strive to reach our own exaltation and to join and have our dear wonderful mother with us all again.
Love to all. Amen.

It is a truly wonderful tribute written by her daughter. Notice that it tells about Josephine and her death too.

The above story graciously shared by Janet Larson Dansie
Family links: 
  Millard Fillmore Preston (1879 - 1952)
  Josephine Preston Allred (1904 - 1921)*
  Delsa May Preston (1907 - 1920)*
  Maida Preston Allred (1909 - 1985)*
  Donald Reed Preston (1914 - 2007)*
*Calculated relationship
Note: Date of death on headstone is in error with date of death on death certificate.
Pima Cemetery
Graham County
Arizona, USA
Plot: SEC B-BLK 02-LOT 02A-SITE 09
Created by: Mike H
Record added: Mar 10, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 18326660
Bertha Isabell & Baby Boy <i>Rogers</i> Preston
Added by: Mike H
Bertha Isabell & Baby Boy <i>Rogers</i> Preston
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Jeannie Wood
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

- Janet Larson Dansie
 Added: Oct. 15, 2010
May You & Your Son Rest in Peace.
- Arlena Boggs
 Added: Oct. 13, 2010
~ Rest In Peace ~
- Mike H
 Added: Aug. 21, 2010
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