Sketch of Adelaide White Call

by Willard Call

This brief introduction of my wife, the mother of fourteen of my children is undertaken with no thought of it ever reaching outside or beyond the limits of her own children.

In addition to the joy of a privilege such as I now undertake, it is a father’s duty to hold up the virtues of his wife before his children in a way that even their children’s children may find pleasure in the acquaintance of their grandmother; and here I pause to observe, that while Addie was blessed with many of the frailties of human nature, it would be well nigh impossible to exaggerate her virtues. It has always been a marvel to her acquaintances how perfectly she has been able to blend honesty, truthfulness, fidelity, gentleness, firmness and sympathy; and while it was perfectly understood that a secret.; confided to her was hermetically sealed in her heart, no one presumed the second time to peddle to her a scandalous story of a neighbor prefaced with the usual “You mustn’t tell.” Few people have more thoroughly enjoyed the confidence of their acquaintances than has she; and there has always been room in her heart and at her table for the aged, the poor and the unfortunate. Ten years of her life while at home with her parents, and thirteen years of her married life have been spent in poverty; but who ever heard her complain.

She was born in Farmington, Utah, December 13, 1868. Her parents were of the sturdy, determined, Utah pioneer type. Their first six children were girls, the father being blind forced the chief responsibility of making the living on Mother White. Her husband and the girls put up the hay, raised a garden, and kept the fences up, while Mrs. White sold the. vegetables, the fruit, the butter and eggs, the chickens, the hams etc. She was an unusually hard working woman. The last three years of her life she was paralyzed; and entirely without the power of speech.

Addie learned to load hay, to dry fruit, to cure barns etc., but she did not have the pioneering experiences of her older sisters; as her brother John was just older than she.

She didn’t have many beaus, for her mother would not allow it; but though she was married before she was eighteen years old, she had twice before then received the high compliment which a man pays to a lady only once.

She and I met first on December 13, 1885, (her seventeenth birthday) she as a student, I in the capacity of school teacher, in the little rock school house in South Farmington. I was under contract with the school board for forty dollars per. But as I look backwards forty years it was the best paying winter job I ever had. I found time away from that unruly bunch of boys and girls to ask this beautiful girl to be my wife. I think she anticipated the proposition and had already given it considerable thought, else her prompt affirmative reply speaks volumes for her ability for putting over big problems with dispatch. But it was quite a different matter when we introduced this all important subject to her family and suggested, as my father had instructed me to do, that the logical time to ratify a. proposition of this kind was right now. While I think Addie’s mother did not seriously object to the proposition, she did protest the time. She thought a year or two years would be soon enough. Orphy, her oldest sister, (still single) thought Addie should be spanked and sent upstairs to bed; and that I ought to be asked if I didn’t have some small business of my own, that I could mix in down at Bountiful. Her brother John scoulded a little; but her father, bless his memory, cast his vote with us and we outweighed the whole White family.

It was not our intention to be married on all Fools Day, but John Taylor President of the Mormon Church had had a lot of personal marrying experiences, so many in fact that the U.S. Marshall was persistent in trying to secure an Audience with our venerable prophet. Brother Taylor wasn’t spending much time in his office for his wits were taxed to avoid giving the marshal an interview. Hundreds of our brethren were in the penitentiary, because they had married more than one wife; and President Taylor preferred life outside of that state institution, though he by no means enjoyed perfect liberty. His signature was necessary to complete our recommend to the Logan Temple; and what Addie’s mother, her sister Orphy and her brother John failed to do President Taylor put over easy. The lack of his signature delayed our wedding three days and we were married on Thursday, the first day of April.

A large company and a long fast-day meeting in the Temple delayed US and we did not get out early enough to take the last train for Bountiful where we knew our wedding reception was in progress. My father, a trained minute man, who had not learned to postpone an appointment said, “The hour has arrived the guests have gathered proceed with the celebration.” and so we bear the distinction of being one couple who didn’t attend their own wedding reception.

Addie went with me on the farm: she had a baby, then she had another baby: and then she had another baby and from then on for twenty-five years we each had a baby in our arms. She made it possible for me to attend the L.D.S. University two years. That institution was then known as the Salt Lake Stake Academy.

Girl though she was, her care of her family would challenge the experience of older women. She knew what to do in time of sickness. She knew how to feed and clothe and care for her babies. Her life was given to her family, their health, their training, their education. Her pleasures, her privileges, her opportunities never were more than secondary. During the illness of our fourth baby, Jesse, and when we realized that our prayers and faith were the ties that bound him to earth; and when her mother-heart had reached the limit of endurance because of his extreme suffering she knelt by the cradle with the baby’s father and said, “O Lord let it be as thou hast designed.” Then Jesse peacefully died and from her broken heart Addie was heard to say, “God is my friend.”

She had one other similar experience with little Afton, our fourteenth baby, who was only two weeks old; her little body lies under a foreign flag in the soil of Old Mexico.

When her husband was honored by a call to preach the gospel in England she felt that the compliment was half hers and I can’t tell how for twenty-six months in my absence she fed and clothed and cared for herself and four children and kept our little home together but when I returned I found no debts to pay. When this country entered a war with Spain and her husband volunteered, with her approval, she neglected to tell him that they were to have another baby. Some three months after he left home, her husband learned the truth from a fellow soldier whose wife had written the news.

Her ideas of the life hereafter are that the rewards will be commensurate with the willingness with which we comply in this life with the known will of our Heavenly Father. That there will be a specific reward for the proper living of each known lay. But no punishment for those who haven’t lived these laws because the opportunity was denied them. That in our hearts we must accept the revelations of the Lord, then content ourselves with the promised rewards of the laws we live.

Adelaide White Call (born Dec. 13, 1868) passed away December 15, 1957 Funeral services were held Dec. 19, 1957 at 12:30 P.M., Spanish Fork Third Ward Chapel, Spanish Fork, Utah. Burial was in the Bountiful City Cemetery, Bountiful, Utah.

(Taken from Ray Walker’s Book of Remembrance)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *