Nathaniel Spens Family Heritage


Mary Jane Spens Burnside

                            Aunt Mary Jane

            Written by Ila Brown Jensen, a niece

Of course I have no memory of her birth nor childhood…

‘Tis liker she would more remember mine;

For all her my life her name has been familiar…

Her home we entered many a time.

Her Scottish lilt sang in her speech,

Her light and easy step trod miles each day…

The family…mostly boys but two

(And one of those had passed away)

Demanded much from her two sturdy hands;

Much ironing with “sad-iron” from hot stove…

The many quarts canned and shelved to last year’s end.

Countless trips to Birch Creek for cool water,

Half a mile each way to each long trip.

The fruit…from grape, plum, apple, berries,

Preserved like nectar to the lip.

And, oh! Those dinners that we ate at her house!

For Yuletide or Thanksgiving Day…

Were royal with the roasted birds and dainties,

From new made rolls to pudding steamed…I say!

Her many sons were stout and manly,

Though loud their tongue and harsh their glee,

Serenely came her voice atop them all,

“Oh, Lolly” was her only word of profanity.

Fine sons and daughter crowned her later years

And many a happy, laughing grandchild came.

Reward she must receive for loving care

Of all those who needed her. Blessed be her name.


                         BY:   Thomas LeRoy Burnside

 With eleven children, mother had little time to hold a church position, but

one time she was a counselor in the Relief Society.  Mom didn't have time

for anything.  Many times when I would go to town ( I was a great hand at

staying out late ) it would be one o'clock before I got home, and I would

see Mom in the house talking to herself and giving somebody the devil.  She

would be ironing there and doing her work at that time in the morning.

Mother had a rough time.  You take eleven kids and you have a lot of trouble

in a two room house.  When I was still young, Dad built another two rooms

like across the street. This was an adobe house.  Three of us boys bunked in

one room, and my Grandma Elizabeth Burnside used the other room.


My mother used a great big old coal stove, with a warming oven.  The front

was always open.  My dad would always stick his feet upon the warming oven,

and lay partly on his back on the chair.  Pretty soon, you would see his

pants start to smoke.


My folks had it pretty rough with water in those days.  My grandmother

Elizabeth spent all of the last part of her life with us  (six or seven



My mother had a good sense of humor, and about all the money I ever got was

Mom getting it from Dad.  She would get me 25 cents for skating.  This would

buy one good hour of skating about every week.


Mother was a very hard worker.  She had nine sons, and many times she would

be out chopping wood, picking up chips, and we would be sitting around

talking.  She figured it was a woman's job to work hard.  She loved to come

to California.  Her's and Dad's last days were mainly spent in Sacramento.

"Get out of Utah's winters,” she always said.  "Sunday was the worst day

of the week, because you couldn't mop floors and clean."  She didn't knit or

crochet, she just worked and cleaned.  She is what you would call "dirty

clean"  She would buy material and get my wife to sew it for the other

daughters-in-law.  She died in 1954.

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