Tuesday, January 21, 2014

52 Ancestors Week #3 Emma May Layton 1917-1940

Emma May Layton about 1919
Emma May Layton, daughter of Harry Wilford Layton and Emma Reay, was born July 16, 1917, in Central, Graham County, Arizona.  She was the tenth child in a family of thirteen children. May was in poor health all her life. Emma had what as known as the "World War Flu" before May was born. So, when May was born, she had a bad heart and at ten days old, she went into convulsions. She had so many of them and they were so hard that the doctor told Emma that May couldn't possibly live. May did live...but it left her with brain damage. Doctor after doctor in Arizona, Utah, and California examined May but none seemed to be able to help. 

May was a beautiful baby with dark eyes and lots of dark curly hair that Emma could curl over her finger in ringlets. When the doctor first saw May he begged Emma to give her to him. He promised he would love and take good care of her and make sure she had the best of everything. Emma couldn't give up her baby. 

May grew to be a beautiful child. She was loveable. She enjoyed children and especially loved to rock for hour upon hour one of the babies of one of her brothers or sisters. She liked to do dishes, set a table for a meal and could pick out the pajamas of the younger children...Britt, Freda, and Nadine. May never got them mixed up. 

Emma always kept May dressed lovely. This seemed to be a must and May loved nice things. One day Emma found her putting on all her dresses, one on top of the other. It was hard to get them off without tearing them. 
Emma May Layton about 1922

In 1928 May wanted to go to school so Emma made arrangements for Nadine to go to school and take May to class with her. Prudence Fyffe was the teacher in that first grade classroom and May loved her. She called her teacher "My Fyffe". One day while May was in school she went into convulsions. May never wanted to go back to school again. "That school made me sick" she would say, so Emma didn't insist on her going back. 

Later, in 1932, May went to a special school in Phoenix. Here they taught her to use a weaving loom for making rugs. At the school May had her own chores to do and learned to make her bed and work in the kitchen, which she loved to do. May soon tired of this school and wanted to come home. Harry and Emma went to Phoenix and brought her home. 

May was never left alone and someone in the family was appointed to look after her. One morning Emma sat down to the sewing machine. She had quite a lot of sewing to do and didn't want to be disrupted. As Emma was sewing, she felt a prompting to go to the backyard. She stopped and again the prompting came. Leaving her sewing, Emma walked to the back door. There, on the side of the well, little fingers were gripping the edge. May was going down the well to get a drink. She had already dropped the granite cup in the well and she was going down to get it. Terror and anxiety struck Emma, but with care and a prayer in her heart, she put her hands over the little hands of May, and brought her up into her arms. 

At one time, Luke, Chris, May, Britt, and Nadine had the measles...all at the same time. The children were put in the large dining room so Emma could keep an eye on them. May got up and went out the front door. Emma found her in the yard. It put a scare into Emma because it was believed that children with measles must be confined in a semi-dark room and at an even temperature, so they wouldn't take a cold and get pneumonia or blind their eyes. 

May was a nervous child but she was good to take her medication, which was a concern. Emma didn't want her sick, but May always seemed to be in good health. 

There was a school teacher, Wilford Hamblin, who was interested in May and would ask about her often. He said the human body made a physical change every seven years. May was in her late teens at this time and Mr. Hamblin said May would make one of her biggest changes upon reaching her 21st birthday. In her 21st year May began to fail in health.
Emma May Layton

Now, it was geting hard to get May to take her medication. She lost interest in the grandchildren and babies. She used to carry pennies in her hand and no matter what she did she had that penny. One day she asked for a match box. Her loose "pe-nies" were put in the box with her other pennies, tied in a large handkerchief. May handed them to her mother saying she didn't want them anymore. 

May never asked for the pennies again. This was the spring and she died June 1, 1940. May loved life as she knew it, but was ready to go back to her Heavenly Father.

This story can be found in the family publication "Emma, Posterity and You", Compiled by Freda Layton Allred, pages 52-54.  Freda and May were sisters.

Thursday, January 16, 2014


My Doggie Boy went to Heaven today. He was 12 years old and the last one was pretty rough on him. He will be sorely missed around here. RIP Beau Beau.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

52 Ancestors Week #2, Laura Kay Norton Francis

Laura Kay Norton when she was about 16 years old.

 When I was growing up I knew I had a Great Aunt Laura who died before I was born but that was all I knew. My grandmother, Ida Norton Layton, kept a photograph on the wall of her home of her sister, Laura, yet never spoke of her much.  I heard many years later, in hushed tones, that Aunt Laura had died young of breast cancer.  Those words struck terror in my heart. Even though no one in my direct family has yet to share her diagnosis, the thought of it is always in the back of our minds. 

Laura Kay Norton was the daughter of John Edward Norton, Sr. and Mary Etta Webster. She was born January 1,  1908 at Central, Graham, Arizona, United States. She was the fifth of nine children.  Her siblings were John Edward, Jr., Frank Lloyd, Ida Isabell, Hazel, Henry Dee, Elbert Riley, Erma, and Velda Norton. Central is a very small farming community in Southeastern Arizona. She attended school there along with her siblings. She lived at home until the time of her marriage.  I wish I knew more.

Laura was married December 24, 1929 at Globe, Gila, Arizona,  to John Peery Francis of Flagstaff, Coconino, Arizona.  The young couple moved to Flagstaff and made their home there. J. Peery Francis was a Deputy Sheriff in 1935 and then the Sheriff of Coconino County at the time of Laura's death. They had one son, John Peery Francis, Jr., known as John.

Laura at home enjoying a visit with her sisters Hazel and Erma.

Laura first became ill about four years before her death, and grew steadily worse until death mercifully released her from suffering Saturday evening, June 5, 1948.  She died in her sleep at her home in Flagstaff. She was survived by her husband, 12 year old son, parents, brothers and sisters. Her obituary states "She was a loyal wife, a loving mother, and a faithful, generous friend."

P.S. Cousins have shared their memories that Laura's sisters and sister-in-laws each took turns spending time in her home caring for her since her husband's time was limited due to his being sheriff .  My Grandmother, Ida, rode the bus up from Central along with her two-year old son and his tricycle for an extended stay. My Aunt Gayle shared this:  "Great story, now it makes sense to the stories of Elbert getting lost in Flagstaff on his tricycle when he was 2 and also riding his tricycle home from the bus at midnight and refusing to leave it in bushes till next morning. Always wondered why they went to Flagstaff."  My mom, Velma Jean, said that when they returned home from that trip, Grandma wanted to leave the tricycle in the bushes and return for it in the morning, but Elbert was NOT having any part of that!! Hence the ride home at midnight, lol!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks # 1 Ida Norton Layton

Amy Johnson Crow posted this challenge.
Who's up for a challenge? I've started "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks," a challenge to blog (or write somewhere) once a week about a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biographical sketch, a research problem -- something specific to that ancestor. You know you want to write more about your ancestors, so let's encourage each other to do that! http://www.nostorytoosmall.com/posts/challenge-52-ancestors-in-52-weeks/

I am going to see how this works out! I am starting with my maternal Grandmother Ida Isabell Norton Layton 1903-1996 from Central, Graham, Arizona, United States.  She loved Family History and shared it with me. She could remember the dates and places of every father, mother, brother, sister, child and grandchild.  She could pull that information out of her memory, anytime she was asked.  She told me that she  always wanted to write the story of her family but didn't think she was a good enough writer to do it, so it didn't get done.  She collected lots of genealogy through the years though, so that is going to help  link the stories together. When the Central, Arizona Centennial was approaching the town decided they wanted to publish a book to commemorate the event.  It has the town's history and life sketches of the Pioneer settlers and the then present-day residents.  Grandma Layton was one of the old-timers called upon to share her experiences and verify those of others.  Here is one of the stories she shared.

Shivaree of Ralph Layton and Ida Norton, Lloyd Norton and Vera Cluff

Many couples married in the early part of the century were subject to "shivaree" pranks.  This old tradition has fortunately died out.

31 December 1921 the double wedding of Lloyd Norton and Vera Cluff, Ralph Layton and Ida Norton was "shivareed".  The ceremony was held at the home of of John and Etta Norton, parents of Lloyd and Ida.  Only the parents and grandparents of both couples were invited.  While Bishop Edsil Allred was performing the ceremony, all the brothers and sisters and cousins gathered outside the window and stared in.  Sister Emma Layton, Ralph's mother, reached up and pulled down the window blind, but that did not seem to help much.  As soon as the ceremony was over, Ted Norton gave a loud shrill whistle.  The shivaree crowd rushed in and grabbed Lloyd and Ralph.  Vera and Ida rushed into the bedroom, changed their wedding dresses, and made it to the car only to be pulled out.  The crowd drove off with the grooms, leaving the brides standing in the road.  After leaving Ralph and Lloyd stranded that night at Link Ferguson's goat ranch some 30 or 40 miles away, the group returned.  They had warned Lorenzo, Wallace, and Jessie Jenkins, Zola Claridge, and others who happened to be playing for a New Year's Eve dance in Klondyke that evening, not to pick up the grooms and bring them back to Central.

In the morning, Ralph and Lloyd went to the road and waited for the band to come along.  The grooms caught them on a hill where the Model T had slowed, trying to get up the hill.  They jumped on the running boards of the car and rode a little way until the men in the car finally said to them, "Well, you might as well get in."

Back in Central, New Year's Day being Sunday, Vera and Ida attended Sunday School and Sacrament Meeting.  About 4 o'clock in the afternoon, the disconsolate brides started walking toward the center of town.  They were met by their husbands who were driving Ralph's father's car.  The girls jumped in and the four of them did not return to town until after midnight.

( A Century in Central 1883-1983, page 67-68, excerpt)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Here is the first rose of the spring in our garden! There is only one so far, but it is a beauty. Can't wait for it to be all bloomed out. Yellow roses remind me of my Grandpa Layton, they were his favorites.

Sooo long ago...

I guess it has been awhile since I was here. I will get busy and post something new real soon!!