Sadie Bevan at age 15
MEMORIES OF MY BELOVED SISTER
Sadie Bevan Christenson
by Dora Bevan Wright
My first memory of Sadie is when we had been in Canada about five or six years. We arrived there, I believe, in September of 1899 when I was five months old. We lived for a time in Sterling which was near the line between Canada and the United States. Then we moved to the town of Raymond and Dad built the second house there. The first house was built by the Rolfson family.
Sadie was five years older than I and always my baby sitter. She was always so sweet and patient with me and in all our life together I can't remember her ever speaking a cross word or losing patience.
We lived in Raymond until I was eight years old, when we moved to a ranch at the foot of the Rocky Mountains and we stayed there for four years. During this time Sadie and I did not get to go to school but taught ourselves on the ranch.
Our mother was an expert cook and that is where Sadie learned her cooking skills. For the first three years, there was no one anywhere near for me to play with, and so I learned to read and to have imaginary friends. Sadie would come out and make a regular store for me by using mud and making me things to sell such as mud loaves of bread, cakes all decorated with leaves and flowers. Also mud pounds of butter, cookies, candy. She made me paper sacks and scales and she would cut out coins from cardboard and mark 5¢, 1O¢, 25¢, etcetera. Then she would buy from me and I learned arithmetic that way. We went fishing together, and gathered wild strawberries and raspberries, huckleberries, choke cherries and wild raspberries. The climate was too cold for fruit trees but Dad would buy us cases of apples all wrapped in paper and so red and pretty. We got oranges in cases sometimes, but mostly apples.
Sadie and I would smuggle paperback novels into the outside toilet and read while there, then hide them as our mother did not want us to read them. Sadie learned to play our organ and we sang together a lot as a family. Our sister, Alice Anderson, had married and was still Iiving in Raymond. She was nine years older than Sadie and fourteen years older than me.
Sadie went to visit Alice in Raymond and helped care for her oldest children then very young, Thelma and Bevan. While she was there, the water from the well they were drinking became contaminated and both Alice and Sadie got typhoid fever. For some reason, Will and the children escaped it. Will was worried and he went and brought Sadie home. We were 30 miles from the nearest town and doctor and in those days with a team and buggy it was an all day trip. Dad didn't want to leave us alone on the ranch. He had so much faith and always gave us blessings and administered to us day or night when we were sick. Sadie got worse and worse even with our prayers and his blessings and she was out of her head and imagined there was an eye on the chair by her bed and would scream for Dad to take it away. Our nearest LDS ward was 15 miles across the Kootinai River and we never were able to go, as far as I can remember, but we were members of record and the one Saturday night Sadie was so sick that Dad knelt by her bed all night with his hand on her head and if he took his hands off, she would scream. We all prayed so hard that night and early Sunday morning a man rode in on horseback and it was the Bishop of the Mountain View ward and he said "Bro, Bevan, what do you need?" When Dad told him of Sadie's sickness, he called us all together for family prayer and then he and Dad gave her a blessing and she was able to sit up and from that minute, she began to gain her strenth. We all know that God had sent our Bishop. But it took a long time and she lost all her hair. Alice was also getting over the same sickness and Will brought her to the ranch with the two children and Dad put her to bed in one room and Sadie was in another. Both were still pretty sick and very weak and had to have a lot of rest. So I had to take the children away from the house all day and care for them. When they became stronger Dad carried Alice into Sadie's room and let them be together in the bed. They were so weak that when they laughed they would cry, but they enjoyed being together.
When we moved to the ranch there were no neighbors except some bachelors who lived on nearby ranches. Old Schoto Reed who was so shy that when he came he would chew on his old red bandana and scratch his head. And there was the well educated Rankin brothers who lived near by. They would visit us often. There were others and they were all in love with Sadie. She was so beautiful and sweet and there were many dances up at the Waterton Lakes and except for a few married women, she and I were the only girls and even I danced a lot. A couple named Hansen kept a boarding house for the men who worked at the saw mill and the loggers who floated the logs across the river to the saw mill. All would be at the dance and all our family would go. At midnight Mrs. Hansen served a big supper and then the dance went on all night. Sadie was the belle always and never got tired. I would go to bed after supper and just in time for the chores Dad would drive us home in our buggy.
Our brother, Joe, got acquainted with girls from Mountain View and brought one or two of them to the dances which helped out quite a bit.
Just before Sadie had her 17th birthday, a family of Christensens moved to a place where we went for our mail called Twin Buttes. It was only a little store and post office in ·a home but that is where we rode on our horses to get the mail once a week and what few supplies we needed.
Once a month we took mother's butter to Cardston to trade for groceries.
We became acquaihted with the Christensen family and their son, Lyde, who was almost 18 years old. He met Sadie and at once began coming to our ranch to visit her. He had a beautiful black horse named Prince and he would pay me to rent my pony so they could go riding. Sadie always rode Prince and sometimes he would leave the horse at our place and hitch a ride home. One time Sadie was riding the black horse and I rode my pony, Bluecher, to go for our mail. We had to pass through a narrow lane and something scared the black horse and he started to run. Sadie was a good rider and she stuck with him but my pony couldn't keep up. But after a while the Prince caught up with a wagon load of hay and couldn't pass it on the narrow lane so he had to stop and I caught up with her.
It was a thrilling ride with no harm done. This romance became serious and they decided they wanted to get married. That meant that we had to travel by buggy and wagon 30 miles to Cardston. We had to cross the Kootinai River and it was high water time. But Mother sent and got Sadie a beautiful dress and we all got ready for the trip. Mother, Joe, Sadie and Lyde went in our white top buggy and Dad and I rode in our wagon with a high spring seat. The Kootinai River was high and part way the horses had to swim. We had to prop up Sadie's trunk to keep the water out of it . We also had to cross the Belly River near Cardston but it had a bridge.
In Cardston, we went to the home of our good friends, the Browns, and the wedding ceremony was performed by the Bishop in their home.
Sadie looked so beautiful and Lyde so handsome. Dad and Mother didn't want me to go back to the ranch without Sadie so they sent me on down to Raymond to stay with Alice until they could sell the ranch. It was soon sold and they came to Raymond and bought a home there. In the meantime Sadie and Lyde went to live in Calgary which was considered a big place in those days. I believe Lyde's parents were living there too.
It was not long after this that my mother's father wanted her to move back to Tooele and take care of him. So in the Spring of 1912 when I was 13 years old we left Canada to make our home in Tooele. In all Sadie's married life, neither my mother, father or I ever had a chance to visit her in any of her homes. But she moved to California when the children were growing and came often to conference and she brought Rose and Wanda with her and when Lillian was about due, she came and Lillian was born in our home there. She was delivered on Mother's kitchen table, and of course Bob was born in Sacramento.
I remember she left Bob home with Rose to care for on one Conference trip and was so worried about him. She wrote often to me and we always exchanged Christmas packages.
When our Mother lost her memory due to her long blood poisoning in her leg, Sadie came to Tooele to help Alice and I take care of her.
I went from Blanding with my four children, Ted, Dorothy, Bevan and Willard who was one year. Sadie and I enjoyed taking care of Mother with Alice's help. Later we took Mother to Provo to the hospital as she had completely lost her memory. That Fall when Sadie came to Conference she had a heart attack while in the Tabernacle. She went home but was never well again as you all know. Sadie died January 1, 1941 and our Mother died in October of the same year.
Alice had Mother in her home then and she and I were at her bedside when she died.
In all my 82 years I have never known a more lovely woman or one with a greater testimony than my dear sister. She was so faithful in the church and had such a strong testimony. I was with Lyde and Rose, Wanda and Bob when she was I sealed to her husband and to this part of her family. I am so happy that the others have since been sealed to both of them.
This account was preserved by Fern Gillette and passed down to her son Paul.
To read Sadie's essay, "My Birthright," click here:
To read Sadie's last letter to her sister Alice, click here. To read Lyde's autobiography, click here. To learn more about Dora, click here. To return to the Christensen Family index page, click here.