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.

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