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Marguerite "Reta" Mathis Meeks
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Birth: Sep. 10, 1894
New Harmony
Washington County
Utah, USA
Death: Mar. 20, 1980
Salt Lake City
Salt Lake County
Utah, USA

This story comes from the MATHIS MOUTHPIECE, not sure right now what year, or who wrote the story.

This year we would like to give a special salute to aunt, sister, cousin, and friend Marguerite [Reta] Mathis Meeks. Reta is dearly loved by all who know her. She has been the backbone of the Mathis family organization by being the chief researcher and genealogist. She has been assisted financially by contributions of members of the family organization. But many diligent and persistent hours, days, months and years have been generously spent by her in accomplishing what sge gas. The twelve generation chart that she brought to the reunion is a guide to the scope of her accomplishment. She also states that most of the work has been solemnized in the Temple.

Reta was born the 10th of September in New Harmony, Utah to George Henry Mathis and Ann Louise Pace. George Mathis was the son of Henry Mathis and Elizabeth Hubschmeidt. She was the third child in the family of four children born to this couple-- Hazel, George, Reta, and Carl.

When Reta was three years old her father died [1897]. He was a young man, only thirty-four years of age. Two years later her mother married Francis W. Taylor. Two more children were born to this union--Beatrice Gertrude and Francis Preston. The family moved to Loa, Wayne County about this time. Preston was born in [Loa] Reta was eight years of age when they moved to Loa.

The life and occupation in this beautiful new high country was cattle and farming. All worked hard to survive. However, the new father, who had always liked to roam, wanted to move on to the Uinta Reservation and wanted mother to go along with him. She did not want to go so remained in Loa and obtained a divorce; She kept all the children and worked hard to keep the family together. George carried most of the responsibility of running the farm. The other children would get up at five o'clock in the morning and take the cows out to pasture to be returned in the evening... It seemed that her mother could do everything, cooking, sewing, making quilts, making soap, gardening, and most of all, making butter and cheese. At one time they were milking 100 cows a day [by hand]. They had large vats and would, make 100 pounds of cheese a day; also 100 pounds of butter. Butter and cheese sold for 10 cents a pound. They sometimes put the butter in salt brine and preserved it for the winter.

The only water they had they hauled in barrels from the Spring Creek canal that came through town. The cows and other animals also drank from and waded in this canal. Every year there was a siege of typhoid fever.

Reta helped George ride for cattle on the range. She recalls happy memories of Fishing in the creeks that led to the reservoirs and lakes. In the spring the fish would go up the stream to the mouth of the lake to spawn. They were so thick they had to scare them away so the wagon could cross the stream. They would reach down and catch the fish by hand. She admitted they did some fishing "out of season".

On one occasion the Forest Ranger came to their home and caught George cleaning the fish. He looked him over and also the mother preparing the supper. Then suddenly he said, "Well, hurry up and cook those fish and I will help you eat them. Another time, while riding with George for cattle, she was wearing large, full, cut black bloomers. They had elastic in the toand in the legs. This was another good fishing day, but they had no place to carry the fish so they stuffed them down her bloomers legs after she got on the horse. Her legs were bulging with fish when they met the game warden. He looked and looked at her--the fish were wiggling--then he burst out laughing. She never lived this one down. Whenever they met, he kidded her about it.

Reta attended grade school in Loa and became the youngest girl to graduate in Wayne county. She desired further education so it was decided she would attend high school in Price, Utah. She traveled by wagon to Richfield and rode the train through Sanpete, Co. to Thistle and on down to Price. She stayed with Uncle Jim Mathis and Aunt Mary Ann [Mame]. She would help Aunt Mame with the cooking and housework and then attended school. The children all loved her and would try and follow her to school. She would have to take them back or send them home. She attended school for three years then graduated. She would return home in the summers.

As a young lady she worked in the Loa-Co-op and was also deputy county clerk. She taught school for two years in Grover and Loa.

It was interesting how her courtship began with Ruben Meeks. She had known him most of her life but hadn't given him much thought because he lived in Bicknell, and hated rival community. One Sunday morning, as she was going home from church, her cousin, Ray Blackburn, stopped her and said, "How much would you give me for a date with Meeks?"

" Twenty five cents if he comes--my dog if he stays!"

Evening came, and time passed on--no one came. She had known or he wouldn't come. Finally, there was a knock on the door and there stood Ruben, all dressed up. He said, "Is there a girl waiting here for me?"

I--I guess so-- I'm waiting for someone."

Thus it began. They dated through the winter and in the spring [April 18, 1917] they drove a buggy to Richfield then caught the train and rode to Salt Lake City to be married in the Temple. It was Wednesday--they only performed marriages on Wednesday! There were thirty six being married that day and they were thirty-second. They were in the Temple from 7:30 a.m. to 3:35 p.m.

They returned to live in Bicknell--one place she had vowed she would never live. Ruben was a cattle man and a rancher. When asked what she did after she was married, she replied, "Cooked for hired men."

When she was twenty-nine years of age her sister Hazel Ivie died leaving five children Eva 12, Vee 9, Mathis 6, Marguerite 3, and Faun, 1. Reta took all of the children and cared for them. Later the father again and took the three older children, but let Reta and Ruben keep Marguerite and Faun and they raised them as their own. They were later legally adopted.

When they had been married for ten years, Ruben was called on a mission to the Central States for six months. They didn't release him for two years.

After coming home his aged mother came to live with them. She was bedfast for eighteen months before she passed away.

In 1957 Reta and her husband filled a twenty-two month mission to the South West Indian Mission in Gallup, New Mexico. This is the north east corner of New Mexico and very beautiful country.

They bought their beautiful new home on 2045 Atkins Street, Salt Lake City, in 1959. They traveled back and forth between their two homes in Loa [I believe they mean Bicknell in this story, correction Coreen] and Salt Lake, until January 29th, 1966 when uncle Ruben passed away in Salt Lake, following surgery.

As well as the many hours spent in doing genealogical research, Reta has been a faithful and consistent temple goer.

She always raised a beautiful garden in the back of her home. Is an excellent cook and always has some 'goodie' on hand if anyone should call at her home. Her home has been open to many that have come her way and needed a place to stay.

Reta has always been proud of her two girls Marguerite and Faun. Marguerite was married and lived in the Los Angeles area. She passed away a few years ago and was buried in the Salt Lake cemetery. [correction, Marguerite was not buried in the Salt Lake City, Cemetery believe it was Memorial Gardens of the Valley out South]

Faun is married to Garth Westenskow and lives at 2188 Atkins Ave. just a couple of blocks down from Reta. Garth is doing research at the University of Utah. Faun teaches Spanish in the High School. She takes many student tours to Mexico--'come 'n go! Faun's daughter is married to Enrique Moreno. He and Marilyn have four boys--ages 6 to 12. They are now living in Mexico City. The Moreno's have a lovely home, are busy with the Church. Enrique is bishop of the ward. Marilyn is deeply involved in Relief Society work besides being the mother of the ward. She is teaching the sisters how to cook with wheat, to can etc. The boys are learning Spanish and attending a church school. Because of the family ties in Mexico City, Reta often flies down and visits. She has enjoyed the scenery and climate. She says people are joining the church by families down there. Faun's son Evan Garth is living in Ogden. They have one son and one daughter.

Marguerite's children, Larry and Coreen are both well. Larry is going to a therapy school in Huntington Beach, California, and Coreen lives in Dallas, Texas.

Reta, we all love you and wish you a speedy recovery. You are an inspiration to all of us.

As I said, I am not sure who wrote this, it may have been her half-sister, Beatrice Gertrude Taylor, and I will look into it. 
Family links: 
  George Henry Mathis (1863 - 1897)
  Ann Louise Pace Mathis (1868 - 1943)
  Reuben Meeks (1890 - 1966)
  Faun Ivie Meeks Westenskow (1922 - 2008)*
  Hazel Mathis Ivie (1888 - 1923)*
  George Mathis (1890 - 1934)*
  Elda Mathis (1892 - 1892)*
  Marguerite Mathis Meeks (1894 - 1980)
  Karl Pace Mathis (1896 - 1982)*
  Beatrice Gertrude Taylor Brinkerhoff (1901 - 1984)**
  Francis Preston Taylor (1902 - 1951)**
*Calculated relationship
Note: 14 missing, D News to March 15
Larkin Sunset Gardens Cemetery
Salt Lake County
Utah, USA
Plot: Garden of Devotion 172-A-2
Created by: Redriver
Record added: Jul 06, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 93135479
Marguerite Reta <i>Mathis</i> Meeks
Added by: Lynn Fischer
Marguerite Reta <i>Mathis</i> Meeks
Added by: Lynn Fischer
Marguerite Reta <i>Mathis</i> Meeks
Cemetery Photo
Added by: John Warnke
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

- Ryan D. Curtis
 Added: Dec. 1, 2013

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