Pearl Clawson Bennett

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The Story of

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Branch President .

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14 15 16 17 17 18 18 19 19 20 21 22 23 23 24 24 25 26 26

Pearl’s Early Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
3 4 4 4 6 7 7 7 8 8 9 11 12 12 12 13 13 14 Birth and Childhood Years . Childhood Home .
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List of Photographs and Maps .

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The Family in the Rock Pile “Go Away, Big Dog!” . Baptism The Move to Idaho . Midnight Train

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Finding the Diaries . Spiritual Heritage Polygamy.

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Heritage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
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Pearl’s Father George Washington Clawson . Flour Mills . 50th Wedding Anniversary The Christmas Tree .

Dishwasher for Hire . Tragedy at the Mill .

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Courtship & Marriage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
“Oh, the bliss of all that day” . “You don’t like it, do you?”. Thunder and Lightning .
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Pearl’s Mother, Jeanette Orilla Clawson .

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Pearl’s Husband, Stephen Nathaniel Bennett 10 “The Indians have me!” “If you can, I can” Making a Living . Cattle Rancher .
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Pearl’s Adult Years. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
Starting a New Life in Canada Pearl & Stephen’s family Return to Idaho Henry, Idaho
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“Nestled Next to My Heart” .

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The Move To California . Report Card .

Snowbanks and Beggars Coyotes .

Scriptures or Shakespeare? .

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Life in Henry, Idaho

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26 27 27 28 28 28 29 29 29 30 32 33 33 34 34 35 37 38 38 39 40 40

A Community Effort . Church Activities .

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“Life is a Blessed Gift” Meadow Creek Homestead Water Fight Pack Rat

Community Activities .

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Settling Down in Charlo . Visiting Dignitaries . The Broken Arm .

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The Meadow By Night . Frozen Clothes . Influenza

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Sibling Protection Training . Inflammatory Rheumatism Gibson, Idaho

The Old Folks Parties Los Angeles, California . A Final Road Trip List Of Favorites . Characteristics .

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What Pearl was Like . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
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Good Times In Gibson . International Night . Making Music . S.P. Sorenson .

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Community Service Gregarious . Self-Aware Spiritual . Passing . Dedication.

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Drama, Music & Literature A Spirit of Giving .

Musical Lambs and Predatory Pigs . Chief William Penn . Pocatello, Idaho . Charlo, Montana

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The Boarding House & Selling Cider 38
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Absolutely Sure .

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It Began With a Picnic. Starting on a Chapel .

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Discovering More of the Story .

Help us tell Pearl’s Story


List of Photographs and Maps
Click on a caption to go to its picture

§ Fourth of July parade in Blackfoot, Idaho 33 § Clawson Bennett singing, age 41⁄2   34 § Stephen R. Bennett with Fritz the Sheep   35 § A visit to Billy George and his wife   36 § Chief William Penn   37 § Map of Charlo, Montana and vicinity   39 § Organizing a branch of The Mormon Church in Charlo, Montana   40 § The Bennetts begin building a home   42 § An outing to the mountains   43 § Poster advertising a play, “Girl Shy”   44 § Guests at an Old Folks Party   45 § Family gathering, Los Angeles, 1938   46 § Pearl with daughters, Vilate and Maude   48 § A Pearl Clawson Bennett collage   48 § The Bennett family   51 § The mothers of the Charlo Branch   52 § Flower card from Pearl’s funeral   53 § Cover of Pearl’s funeral program   53

§ Pearl’s 5-Year Diary   4 § Family tree back to Pearl’s grandparents   6 § Pearl’s father   7 § Pearl’s mother   8 § Stephen Bennett, age 20   10 § The Charlo, Montana Branch   15 § The Clawsons, children older   16 § Pearl Clawson, age 6   17 § Pearl & friends at Ricks Academy   19 § Pearl and her older brother, George   20 § The Clawsons, children younger   21 § The Mormon temple in Salt Lake City   23 § Blanche Bennett, age six months   24 § The Bennett family   24 § House at Raymond, Alberta, Canada   25 § Pearl Bennett at Lava Hot Springs   30 § Map of Gibson, Idaho and vicinity   32 § Children eating watermelon   33

We had to include a biography of some sort in the Pearl Bennett Project. In the process of scanning Pearl’s two main diaries followed by her photographs, notebooks and pieces of memorabilia connected with her life—the pattern of her life seemed to speak to us. Pearl spoke to us, over and over. Her belief in the power of friendship, of Christ-like service and joyful living in the face of all trials and obstacles spoke to us. We felt compelled to attempt to organize and share what we’ve learned about this remarkable Pearl’s 5-Year woman that we have come to Diary admire and love so much. We hope you enjoy the story of Pearl Clawson Bennett. As we’ve uncovered Pearl’s story this project has progressed through several revisions. If you have any information, photos or documents relating to Pearl Bennett that you’d be willing to share we would consider including them in a

planned second CD-ROM . See the 8 contact page 9 for more information. Marcile Whitehead Stettler, granddaughter April 2003

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Finding the Diaries
By Marcile Whitehead Stettler

Since the Pearl Bennett Project CD-ROM started with the decision to digitize two of Pearl’s diaries,

the story of finding those diaries is a good place to begin her story. Pearl’s fourth child, Vilate (rhymes with ‘the plate’), was my mother. When Vilate had to move from her home of forty years she asked me if I would like some boxes of old Relief Society magazines and Improvement Era’s, publications of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or the Mormon Church. I was teaching a monthly Relief Society lesson at the time and was always looking for useful material for my lesson so I took the boxes home. As I got to the bottom of one of the boxes, I found two small, green books. The more tattered of the two books had the words, “FIVE YEA R DIARY” stamped on the front cover; the second volume had the words, “DIARY 1937” stamped on the front cover. When I opened the diaries I realized with a rush of excitement that these were my Grandma Bennett’s diaries that she had kept for six of her last seven years on earth. She died in 1938, one year before my mother married.

I had in my hands the words of the grandmother I had known only through my mother’s stories. My mother had told me many things about Pearl Bennett and always said, “Oh, I know you would have loved her!” All during my childhood I remember having a burning desire to know my grandmother. As I sat holding Pearl Bennett’s diaries, I had a strong impression that these family treasures should be preserved and eventually shared with her descendants. As I read and reread the diaries I gained new insights into my grandmother and found a great love for her growing inside me. I ached when I read of her struggles and sorrows; I rejoiced to feel of her faith in God and her strong belief that life is meant to be joyful. It has been so exciting for me to find and read the books preserved on this disk—and now to share them with you. On 11 December 1932 Pearl wrote: “I wish I were as lofty as some of my thoughts. I’ve always wanted to write some thing worth while.” You did write something worthwhile, Grandma, and now we’re sharing it with the world.

Spiritual Heritage
Pearl liked to tell her children about the family’s roots in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, especially George Ellen Manhardt Joseph Lee 8 Laurinda their connections to Joseph Smith, the Washington Clawson Robinson Maria Atwood 9 founding prophet of the church. She described how her maternal grandfather, 8 Joseph Lee Robinson 9 , studied under Joseph Smith in the early Mormon George Washington Clawson Jr. Jeanette Orilla Robinson seminary known as The School of the Prophets; how her paternal grandfather, George Washington Clawson Sr., was at the prophet’s side when he was jailed in Missouri and how her maternal great grandfather, Pearl Clawson Bennett Elisha Atwood died guarding Joseph Smith. The faith and spiritual strength of these ancestors were important to Pearl and she delighted in teaching her family about them as part of her testimony of the truthfulness of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
Pearl’s family tree back to her grandparents


Polygamy Pearl’s grandfather, 8 Joseph Lee Robinson 9 , accepted Joseph Smith’s instruction to enter into plural marriage. Grandfather Robinson was a devoted member of the Church and took each of his five wives only after receiving the prompting of the Holy Spirit in the matter. Joseph’s posterity included noted Church leaders, W. O. Robinson, Stephen L. Richards and LeGrand Richards.

an Elder in the Melchizedek Priesthood of the Church. At age twenty-two he married Jeanette Robinson in the Salt Lake Endowment House, a building used for performing sacred ordinances while the Salt Lake Temple was being built. Flour Mills George wrote of his career, “Since my Marriage I have built and Operated Flour mills. Altogether I have built and operated about 30 mills. This type of work took me away from home much of the time. I have also donated my labor on six churches at different places.” George took great pride in his craft. Pearl’s sister, Maude, remembered their father going to California to be part of the housing building boom following World War I only to leave after a couple of years, disgusted by building standards too low for his tastes. In his career he built flour mills in Mesquite, Nevada; Spokane, Washington; Ucon, Idaho; Rexburg, Idaho; Ririe, Idaho; Firth, Idaho;

Pearl’s Father George Washington Clawson, Jr.
George Washington Clawson Jr. was born in Draper, Utah in 1860. The family moved first to Salt Lake City, Utah and later to Farmington, Utah where George worked in his father’s wheelwright shop at age fourteen. After taking some cattle to Idaho for his father, George Jr. teamed and freighted between Kolton, Boise and Idaho City, a mining town in the mountains above Boise. In July of 1882 he returned to Farmington where he was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and ordained

Blackfoot, Idaho; Shelley, Idaho then another one later in Shelley when the first one burned down. Even to this day, the extremely fine particles of milled flour make fire or explosions an ever present danger in flour mills and grain silos. George also built a gold mill and a courthouse in Seattle, Washington; a courthouse in Montpelier, Idaho; an academy in Farmington, Utah and churches in Belvedere, California and Charlo (pronounced ‘shar-low’), Montana. 50th Wedding Anniversary In 1932—the year Pearl started her 5-Year-Diary in Charlo, Montana—her parents were preparing for their golden wedding anniversary. During the preparations for the celebration George was stricken with angina and double pneumonia, conditions so serious that the celebration was called off. Unfortunately, he received less than adequate medical care and the circulation in his right leg deteriorated to the point that the leg had to be amputated. Pearl’s parents moved in with their daughter, Ida, where they were living

when George 8 passed away 9 three years later. Pearl’s diary entries about her father’s passing are brief but poignant. Even years later she records a deep tender grief at the memory of her father’s passing.

Pearl’s Mother Jeanette Orilla Clawson
One of the few surviving impressions of Pearl’s mother, Jeanette Orilla Robinson Clawson, comes from Pearl’s sister, Oral. Thinking back to her childhood in Utah, Oral wrote: “We used to love to sit on the floor and listen to Mother tell us Bible stories and sing to us. She was a wonderful Mother, her Heavenly Father blessed her with the gift of singing in tongues. I have been relieved of much pain many times through her faith and mine in her.” Oral also remembered her mother having to make do to keep the family fed while her father was away following his trade of building flour mills. “Mother had to care for us children while he was away.” She wrote. “I know

that some times all we had to eat was the fruit and bread and molasses, but it didn’t seem to hurt us any.” Another impression of Jeanette Clawson comes from Pearl’s youngest sister, Maude. Considering that Jeanette was fourteen years older when she had Maude than when she had Pearl, there’s a good chance the two girls would’ve remembered their mother differently. Nevertheless, with little else to go on, this passage from Maude’s memoirs is priceless: “Mother had a sober disposition and was very superstitious. She had the gift of healing, using herbs as her father taught her to do. There was rarely a doctor in the towns where we lived, so she was a real blessing to her family and to the people of the towns. She helped women in childbearing, and washed, dressed and laid out the dead. Her people were of the Quaker [Friends] faith, originally from England. They emigrated to Connecticut before coming west to Utah and Idaho.” Maude also remembered, “. . .my mother was extremely modest about her body and taught

her daughters to be the same. Their clothing was voluminous and revealed nothing.” The Christmas Tree Late in 1908, Pearl and her husband, Stephen, and their first two children, Blanche and Maude, traveled down from Alberta, Canada to visit her parents over the Christmas holiday. While they were there Jeanette helped Pearl deliver her third child, a little boy they would name, Stephen, after his father. Pearl’s sister, Maude, was almost eight years old at the time and later recalled: “Pearl and my older sisters prevailed upon Mother to let us have a Christmas tree. We had never had one before as Mother thought it was a heathen custom and would bring bad luck to the family. Almost to prove her point I came down with chicken pox. Just as I was getting better, I got the mumps on both sides and was very ill. Pearl’s baby was born and the two of them had to

be isolated from the rest. I was just recovering when I came down with the measles! Chicken pox, mumps and measles! It’s a wonder I survived! To compound our troubles, Pearl’s husband came down with the mumps and was dangerously ill. In his delirium he insisted on having my bed. Mother put a bread board between two chairs and that became my bed. Mother could not stand the situation one minute longer and insisted that the older girls get rid of the Christmas tree—the first and the last one we ever had! Mother, always superstitious, was convinced it was the cause of all our problems.” On 20 February 1936 Pearl pasted an old 8 photo 9 of her mother on a sheet of notebook paper and penned the following tribute: “To day as I write this it is Feb 20, 1936, many years later than when this picture was taken. And I have a great desire to pay tribute to a very good woman that has been tried, tested and proven. To day she is 75 years of age.” The following year, Pearl made several entries in her diary in which she worried about her mother’s failing health and

longed to bring her to California despite the Bennetts’ destitute circumstances. Finally, on Thanksgiving 1937, Pearl noted in her diary a large family Thanksgiving dinner at her sister, Marie’s, house in Santa Monica. With a glow of satisfaction no doubt made complete by the presence of her mother Pearl concluded, “We arrived at our home at 12 o’clock [midnight]. Having had a full day of association with our loved ones and appreciation for life.” Pearl would not live to see another Thanksgiving with her mother. Jeanette continued living in poor health with her daughter, Ida, for another seven years before passing away in 1945.

Pearl’s Husband Stephen Nathaniel Bennett
Stephen Nathaniel Bennett was born in Cannah Quay, Wales, England in 1877, making him ten years older than Pearl. When Stephen’s mother passed away three weeks after giving birth,

Stephen Bennett, age 20

Stephen’s father gave the newborn to his childless sister, Katherine. At birth Stephen weighed just three pounds; he was so small that his father presented him to his aunt on a pillow. In 1884 Stephen’s foster father, Thomas Hewitt, joined the Mormon Church in England. The family followed the pattern of new converts in Europe and sailed to America to be with the main body of the Church. Stephen was eight years old when the family arrived in New York on a ship owned by the White Star Line called The Arizona. They made their way to Utah and settled in Holden, Millard County. “The Indians have me!” Vilate Bennett included in her father’s life sketch the following pair of stories from his youth in Utah. “When Father was between the ages of eight and nine this happened. He always went to church with his father, or I should say, uncle, and always sat by him. This Sunday night he asked if he might go down to the Co-op store and stay until time for church. His father consented.

So when he arrived at the store he met a fellow who was four years older than himself, John Mitchell, and two Indians with braids. The old store had a porch on it and Dad hung on to one of the posts. Knowing that Steve was afraid of Indians, John asked, ‘Steve, how would you like to go with these Indians to their Wickiup?’ Steve swung around the post and said, ‘I won’t go—’ and began running as fast as he could go with one of the Indians following him now and again. When Steve arrived at the church door the Indian left him. With the meeting just beginning Steve burst into the church and ran screaming to the stand. The people all arose and were very excited, wanting to know what had happened. Dad yelled, ‘The Indians have me!’ The people felt sorry that he was so frightened. You see—they had read and heard so many stories of the Indians that it was hard to believe that they were harmless.”


“If you can, I can” The Mormon faith follows a code of health called the Word of Wisdom which forbids drinking tea, among other things. This coupled with the British tradition of drinking tea which followed the early Saints across the Atlantic, makes for a wonderful moment of faith and the power of example in the second story. “When he was sixteen he [Stephen] was very ill with typhoid fever. His aunt promised the Lord that she would give up the thing she loved most if he would spare the life of Father. One day when a neighbor, Lily Crosslin, was there to see how Steve was, Steve’s mother said, ‘I’m going to quit my tea, as I love that most of all.’ Steve said, ‘If you can, I can,’ and Lily said, ‘If you two can, I can.’ And to this day they haven’t touched it.” Making a Living As a young man Stephen worked as a rancher then attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. After finishing his university studies he went to Canada to work. According to his daughter, Vilate, “Here he had many

experiences with bad men and cattle men. He made many friends in Canada. He made quite a little money.” From there Stephen and his brother, Thomas, moved to Shelley, Idaho where they went into the mercantile business. It was Thomas’ wife who later introduced Stephen and Pearl at a church dance. Cattle Rancher Stephen’s daughter, Vilate, remembered that her father loved horses and cattle; as a young man in Canada he became prosperous raising cattle. After they were married Pearl and Stephen moved back to Raymond, Alberta, Canada where in Pearl’s words, they “made lots of money and lost lots” raising cattle and dry farming. From Raymond the Bennetts moved back to the United States where for the most part the family farmed in Idaho and Montana for the next twenty-five years. When the Bennetts lived in Gibson, Idaho Stephen got a job for several

years as a ditch rider with the irrigation authority of the Fort Hall Indian Reservation. When the family lived in Charlo, Montana, Pearl made several entries in her journal about Stephen’s work—once when he and a son went off to work with a bailer; once when he went off to help harvest sugar beets and a time that surely troubled Stephen when they decided to sell a horse so they could buy chickens. These were hard times and the family relied on a large garden, a cow and as many as three hundred chickens to eat. The Move To California Broke and unemployed, the Bennetts moved to California late in 1936 hoping for a better life. They lived with friends for six months while searching unsuccessfully for employment. At the age of fifty-nine Stephen enrolled in the Frank Wiggins trade school to learn to be a custodian. Even when he graduated with new skills, employment was still hard to find and only temporary when it came along. He became

discouraged and sick under the stress. Pearl tried to encourage him the best she could, even prod him along; in the end she ended up enrolling in the trade school herself. After Pearl’s death, Stephen eventually landed a managerial position in Los Angeles with Deseret Industries, the welfare arm of the Mormon Church. Stephen apparently had found his niche; he excelled at management and thrived in this job for many years afterwards. Scriptures or Shakespeare? According to Vilate Bennett, her father could be strict, having been raised in the ways of the old country. He believed that things should be a certain way—such as placing the silverware correctly and neatly at the dinner table—and he expected the family to abide by his expectations. Vilate remembered her father frowning on reading materials other than church books or scriptures. He also believed that everyone should keep busy. For a free spirit like Pearl

who counted Shakespeare as her favorite poet, this posed an interesting challenge. She loved telling and reading stories from the classics to her children—and she loved her husband. When Stephen returned home Pearl would quickly hide any books they were using and remind everyone to look busy. On balance, Pearl enjoyed studying the scriptures and other church materials and was by nature an industrious soul. Report Card In Charlo, Montana Pearl wrote a report card of sorts on her husband’s character in her blue notebook—and the marks were high. She wrote, “At this writing he [Stephen] has been married 28 years and his wife has never heard him profane. He uses neither tea, coffee, liquor, or tobacco. He prays, exhorts, begs, and commands that the Saints who labor under his leadership live their religion. He is morally clean and mentally straight. Six years of service he gave to Uncle Sam. He has always been prayerful and honest and has never refused to pay an honest debt.

His wife and family love and honor him for his stick-with-it-ness and his courage in doing what he knows is right under any and all circumstances. He is small of stature with piercing blue eyes, black hair. His teeth through life have been even and beautiful. He has never had much patience with people who are weak in their morals. He is blessed with discernment. He has had a wonderful memory for remembering faces. He has always liked the poor man best. He never tells vulgar stories.” Even when she became frustrated with Stephen’s occasional discouragement and lack of success in finding employment—and at times she got extremely frustrated—Pearl always came back to writing something positive about her husband. Branch President During eight of his nine years in Charlo, Montana, Stephen served as branch president of the Charlo

branch of the Mormon Church. Unlike a paid clergyman, he filled this assignment as an unpaid lay leader. Not only was he struggling to feed his family but he also labored for the spiritual welfare of the other members in the Flathead Valley as well. Once when several men in the branch made vicious verbal attacks on Stephen’s character, Pearl recorded that he took it quietly, humbly. They later came to ask his forgiveness but it

distressed Pearl that the head instigator was later put in as the new branch president when Stephen was eventually released.

Pearl’s Early Life
Birth and Childhood Years
Pearl Clawson was born to George Washington Clawson Jr. and Jeannette Orilla Robinson on 26 March 1887 in Farmington, Davis County, Utah. Pearl noted that a friend of her mother suggested her name: “Zina D. Young chose my name, Pearl, (calling me a little smoked Pearl. My eyes and hair being so dark.)” Pearl was the third of nine children: 1. Ellen LaRinda Clawson was born 16 April 1883. She married William Hardy Fowers on 13 December 1900. 2. George Robinson Clawson was born 4 April 1885. He died on 26 January 1903.

The Charlo, Montana Branch of the Mormon Church, circa 1930. Pearl’s father directed the construction of the chapel which was shipped in from Washington State in precut pieces. Prior to construction of the chapel the group met in the local schoolhouse. The chapel was used for many community activities besides Mormon worship services.

3. Pearl Clawson was born 26 March 1887. She married Stephen Nathaniel Bennett on 17 April 1905. 4. Ruby Clawson was born 15 February 1889. She died on 20 June 1890. 5. Oral Clawson was born 12 March 1891. She married Joseph Wilford Peterson on 25 December 1911.

6. Ida Clawson was born 23 September 1893. She married Edward C. Phillips on 22 December 1920. 7. Ray Clawson was born 14 January 1896. He married Veva Harker on 18 May 1942. 8. Marie Clawson was born 18 September 1898. She married Earl S. Simons on 16 April 1917. 9. Maude Clawson (she went by the name Marjorie because she wasn’t fond of the name Maude) was born 3 January 1901. She married Frank Casey on 9 March 1926. Childhood Home During her childhood years Pearl’s family lived in Farmington, Utah in a large, white, two-story house. Pearl’s sister, Oral, remembered, “My Grandfather Joseph Lee Robinson built it for two of his families when they arrived in Utah after crossing the plains. After his families had grown up and moved away my mother and father lived in one part and mother’s brother Jedediah Nephi Robinson lived in the other part.”

The Clawsons Back row L to R: Ellen, Pearl, Ray, Ida, Oral. Front row L to R: Maude (or Marjorie), George, Jeanette, Marie. Missing from the photo are George R., who was born two before Pearl but died in a flour mill accident at the age of eighteen, and Ruby, who was born two years after Pearl but died from scarlet fever at the age of sixteen months.


Pearl fondly recalled her early home: “A five-room house painted white set back in the trees with a big front porch and a well in the back—one of those old-fashioned wells with two barrel buckets on either end of the rope. And the water was great. The fruit trees were many, all kinds. The big shade Pearl Clawson, age 6 Farmington, Utah trees in front with the little elderberry tree by the fence and the big walnut trees at each end of a lot. Many times while living in that home I have picked mulberry leaves for my mother’s silk worms. My mother’s wedding dress was made of the silk my dear old Grandmother Robinson made. She raised the silk worms, spun the floss with the silk and made the dress. After mother had worn her wedding dress she sent it to St. Louis to the fair. But it was never returned.” Pearl’s sister, Oral, remembered, “The Mulberry trees had large white and blue berries.

They were very good to eat. One of the older children would climb the tree and shake the berries down. We would hold our aprons out to catch them.” The Family in the Rock Pile Pearl’s daughter, Vilate, preserved a wonderful pair of stories about her mother as a child in Farmington. “She [Pearl] would go day after day down a certain path to play. So, one day Grandfather followed her to see what was so fascinating to her. Well, she had a rag rug covered over a family of blue racers. She would tap them on the heads with her fingers and call them by name and say, ‘No! No! You go back under your blanket.’ Well, needless to say she was called to lunch very soon, and Grandfather slipped out and went down and killed them before they decided to kill her.” “Go Away, Big Dog!” “When Mother was about 5 years old, she was sent to get some yeast start from the neighbor

in Farmington, Utah. It was evening and on her way home she saw what she thought was a big dog. He met her face to face. She stomped her foot, clapped her hands and demanded, ‘Go away, big dog!’ and he cleared a high fence. When she went home and told her Mother, Grandma said, “A dog couldn’t do that.” That night they were having a barn dance and social and the men heard the cattle stirring below and they went down and killed the largest mountain lion ever seen around those parts.” Baptism Pearl was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or Mormon Church when she was eight years old. The ordinance was performed by Jonathan D. Wood in a big creek in Daniel Miller’s pasture in Farmington, Utah, just east of the Lagoon amusement park. Pearl wrote in her 8 scrapbook 9 about the occasion, “The day was warm, with bees humming and birds singing. I was dressed in

a black and white striped dress ‘Mother Hubbard style.’” Following the Mormon tradition of baptism Pearl would have been immersed completely under the water. Often times a creek would be dammed up temporarily to create a body of water deep enough to accommodate the ordinance.

The Move to Idaho
When Pearl was twelve years old her family moved from Utah to Shelley, Idaho where her father built and operated a flour mill on the banks of the Snake River. There she became known as Pearl the Miller’s Daughter. She found a lifelong friend, Lottie Shelley, in the new town. Pearl’s daughter, Vilate, wrote that “It was at Shelley she [Pearl] met her girlhood chum, Lottie Shelley with whom she never had a quarrel. She and Lottie always played on the same side in games, dressed alike and went to Ricks Academy together.” The girlhood chums became kinfolk when Lottie married Pearl’s cousin, Jed


Robinson. Decades later Pearl noted Lottie’s fortysixth birthday in her diary.

from her friends she took the midnight train to Utah with all of $1.50 in her pocket. (Later after living in Canada for a number of years, Pearl would find herself homesick for Shelley and her family and friends who lived there.) When she arrived in Salt Lake City, she was greeted with open arms at the home of her uncle, Jed Robinson. After writing to her parents, Pearl spent three months in Utah having “a grand time” including excursions to Salt Aire and Lagoon. It wasn’t until later that she learned of the great distress she had put her parents through. Dishwasher for Hire

Friends at Ricks Academy, Rexburg, Idaho. L to R: Mary Robb, Edna Jenkins; Pearl’s chum and future cousin by marriage, Lottie Robinson, Mary Miller and Pearl Bennett. The date on the back suggests a possible explanation for the unusual costumes: “April 1st, 1903”

Midnight Train In Shelley, Idaho Pearl not only missed everything about her life in Utah but she found her new surroundings wanting. She later wrote that she “despised the lonely little old frontier Saloon town.” So much so that at the age of fourteen on a bet

Some time after coming home from Utah, Pearl suddenly decided that she wanted to make her own living. With much persuasion and many tears she at last was allowed to go nine miles away to the town of Idaho Falls seek her fortune. She found a job at a restaurant washing dishes for $3.00 a week. She recalled meeting railroad men, saloon

bums and a boy about her own age who came to the parlor of the restaurant to practice the piano. The last would have been of special interest to Pearl as she played the piano and liked boys. After three weeks of washing dishes her fortunes changed. She later wrote that after she “accidentally put scraps from the table into the soup stock for the next day things didn’t go so good. With very red chappy hands she gladly took her pay in silver dollars—9 whole ‘Wagon wheels’”. She took her silver dollars and went shopping—a little something for each member of her family with just enough left over to cover the train fare home. Tragedy at the Mill On 26 January 1903 tragedy befell Pearl and her family. Pearl’s brother, George, with whom she was very close, was working as the night miller at his father’s flour mill. George was eighteen years old, stood six feet in height, weighed one hundred seventy pounds, had blue eyes, and light brown hair.

Pearl’s daughter, Vilate, recorded the story: “George had slept all day and had only been at work one-half hour, when he was caught in a belt and thrown into the main shaft of the mill. Every bone in his body was broken. He was Pearl and her older brother, hanging by the cords of George, who was killed at their father’s flour mill, circa 1902 his leg to the main shaft, head down. His body had been thrown with such force that new wheat spouts were torn out completely. The only part of his being that was saved was his face: his cap had fallen over it and saved it from being mangled like his body was. Grandmother [Pearl’s mother, Jeanette] lost her mind for three days. Mother [Pearl] was so shocked that she had St. Vitus’ dance and was unable to talk for many weeks; she could not eat or walk as her tongue would swell so.”


While Pearl remembered never being the same after the accident she nevertheless had recovered enough by the following year to attend Ricks Academy in Rexburg, Idaho with several friends and cousins.

Courtship & Marriage
“Oh, the bliss of all that day” In one of her notebooks Pearl lists thirty-eight young men friends or beaus as she calls them. The first name on the list is Lottie’s brother, Thomas; the last name on the list is Stephen Nathaniel Bennett a young shop keeper in Shelley, Idaho. The next sentence following the list says it all: “The last the best of all I met—loved—and married him.” In December 1904, Pearl was introduced to her future husband at a Leap Year ball held at the old hall in Shelley. Stephen and his brother, Thomas, ran a mercantile business in Shelley and Thomas’ wife, Kate Bennett, made the introductions. When Stephen asked Pearl to dance, she explained that the only dance she had free on her dance card was a plain quadrille. This was a popular old country dance performed by four couples that later evolved into the square

The Clawsons, L to R: Marie, Oral, Ray, George, Jeanette, Ida and Maude. Missing from the photo are Pearl and her older sister, Ellen, who had married and moved away. Pearl either would have been attending Ricks Academy or living in Raymond, Alberta Canada as a new bride. Pearl received this photo as a picture postcard from her sister, Ida. Shelley, Idaho circa 1905.

dance. They danced the quadrille, which Pearl remembered being much too “hoppy” for such a romantic moment, and Stephen asked her out on a date. The hours preceding that first date remained etched in Pearl’s mind as much as the date itself. She remembered: “Oh the bliss of all that day. I sang – laughed – danced – worked – played the organ – hugged my daddy – kissed my mother a half dozen times – drank a dozen glasses of water. In fact I don’t know all I did do. Just because I knew Steve was coming. He came a little early but I had been ready for hours. We went to the show. It was The Two Orphans, played by John S. Lindsay. Of course I cried a little and he wanted to hold his hat to catch the tears. Then he put his hat over my hands and held them during the rest of the show. I think we must have loved each other from the first. I know I thought he was the best man I had ever met. He said he loved me the first time he ever saw me, and he wondered what I would think if I knew he had such thoughts because

he was 27 and I was 18. We saw each other most every day for three months.” “You don’t like it, do you?” Then one night when Stephen came to call he announced that he’d been to Idaho Falls and had something to show Pearl. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a ring with an opal and a couple of tiny diamonds set in it. She paused, greatly disappointed that it wasn’t the diamond solitaire they’d talked about earlier. He smiled, put the ring on her finger and said, “You don’t like it, do you?” Pearl wrote later that “all of her air castles came tumbling down.” The ring was attractive enough, but she wondered if this lesser ring was an indication of what he’d be like as a husband. Stephen said, “Here, give it back to me—you do not like it.” Pearl took off the ring, trying to hide her disappointment and said, “Oh it’s alright, I guess.” They sat for a moment suspended in strained silence.


Then Stephen reached into another pocket, pulled out a beautiful jewel case and handed it to her. There was the diamond solitaire she had her heart set on. Pearl later wrote, “He was looking into her eyes. ‘Well, how does this one appeal to you?’ Tears came quickly—not so much for the value of the ring—but—if—yes if he could choose such a beautiful ring then he surely would be like that in other ways and after all it was a grand thing to be sure again and ten times more in love with him.” Thunder and Lightning Pearl wrote, “Just before we went down to be married, my friends gave me a bridal shower. It was a terrible night. The thunder and lightning was so bad and the rain fell in streams so everybody stayed all night. Then when we left on the train they showered us with rice and oranges. I kept my hat that I wore at that time and as I was showing it to a friend years later I turned it over and rice fell out of it on the floor. 17th of May 1905 we took the train for Salt Lake City and were 8 married 9 in the Salt

Lake Temple by John R. Winder. We had a swell room at the Cannon House. We got out of the Temple at 4:30. I can not describe my feelings. I was rather shaken and I felt like I wanted to laugh and then cry. As a child Pearl attented the dedica- But he was so sweet tion of the Mormon temple in Salt Lake and good it wasn’t City, Utah then returned to be married there when she was eighteen. so bad after all. I really believe he was the most perfect man in the world, that is he was in my eyes. We returned home to Shelly and they had a big reception for us at home.”

Pearl’s Adult Years
Starting a New Life in Canada
In August of 1905 the newlyweds arrived in Raymond, Alberta, Canada where Stephen had

connections and plans to go into cattle ranching. Pearl remembered: “I was so happy and I was so sick and everything was so new and strange. Steve thought if I went up on a big cattle ranch for a change the hills would do me good. So we spent six weeks with an old gray headed couple living in a log cabin with a spring of cold water bubbling out of the side hill into one of the rooms and running out at the side under the logs. The old lady’s name was Polly and the man’s name was Rone. Polly was very deaf and smoked a pipe. But she was very clean and the best cook that ever hit a cabin.” “Nestled Next to My Heart” Life at the cabin seems to have helped Pearl. She wrote, “I was better when we went down to Raymond again and I began to sew. For I was expecting something in the future and I knew it was nestled next to my heart and I knew it was his and mine. So on March 29, 1906 at

25 minutes to 11 on Wednesday she was born to us —a beautiful black headed baby girl with big blue eyes and she was the very image of her daddy. We had her named before she came. Blanche is what we called her. Oh yes she was well worth all the sickness and pain I went through to get her.” Pearl & Stephen’s family While they lived in Raymond, the Bennett family grew by another three children, Maude, Stephen

Blanche Bennett, at six months old. She is wearing a little white hood made by a family friend, Nell Hunter.

The Bennett family, L to R: Stephen N., Pearl, Blanche, Maude, Stephen R., Vilate, Clawson, Bryant. Charlo, Montana circa 1930.


R. and Vilate. The Bennetts went on to raise a family of six children: 1. 8 Blanche 9 Bennett was born 29 March 1906 in Raymond, Alberta, Canada. She married Lebro Charles Conti on 26 October 1937. 2. 8 Maude 9 Bennett was born 30 June 1908 in Raymond, Alberta, Canada. She married Alexander Joseph Tubbs on 1 October 1925. 3. 8 Stephen 9 Rouse Bennett was born 7 January 1911 in Ucon, Idaho. He married Thelma Gallup on 7 November 1929. 4. Pearl “ 8 Vilate 9 ” (rhymes with ‘the plate’) Bennett was born 31 October 1913 in Raymond, Alberta, Canada. She married Reed William Whitehead on 12 June 1939. 5. 8 Clawson 9 Hewitt Bennett was born 17 July 1917 in Shelley, Idaho. He married Elma Grey on 18 July 1936. 6. 8 Bryant 9 Boyd Bennett was born 30 May 1928 in Charlo, Montana. He married Theresa May Dale on 14 January 1952.

Snowbanks and Beggars Coyotes The year after Blanche was born the little family moved out on a ranch. Pearl recalled, “In the year 1907 we lived on a big ranch out on Milk River in Canada. It was the hardest winter Canada had known in 30 years. All I could see was snow banks and beggars coyotes and parkpines. It was so cold for two weeks that it froze all the cattle’s tails off. The cattle would walk over hay and bellow. It registered 42 degrees below zero, this is the facts. We lived there a year and a half then moved to the next ranch six miles away.” Besides cattle ranching the Bennetts also tried raising grain on a fourteen hundred-acre dry farm, but, as Pearl put it, “The year was dry and our Pearl with her first three crops failed.” Summing up children standing in front of their home in Raymond, their fortunes in Canada Alberta, Canada. L to R: Pearl noted simply, “We Maude, Pearl, Stephen R. made lots of money and and Blanche, circa 1913. lost lots.”

Return to Idaho
With Pearl homesick for family and friends in Idaho, the Bennetts moved from Canada back to Shelley, Idaho for several months then in fairly quick succession moved to a little town seven miles away called Goshen; then back to Shelley; then to Sugar Row; then to a facility called the Government Dam or the Blackfoot Dam and then to Henry, Idaho. Pearl’s daughter, Vilate, remembered Sugar Row as the place where the family first owned a newfangled device called a phonograph: “It was while we lived here that I remember my parents getting new furniture and among the things was an Edison phonograph. It was wonderful, we thought.”

things in the face of boredom, frustration and emotional drought. Life in Henry, Idaho “Life in Henry for Six Months The mail wagon comes at noon— ‘exciting’ Go in the store, ginger snaps on shelves. lovely. Come back home, take care of kids, grand Work day after day with nothing to work with, great. Sunday comes and you sit and hold your crossed hands, and talk about your neighbors. You get kids off to school, wash dishes, sweep floors, dust, bake scrub, iron, darn, and mend. Go to a dance, get your feelings hurt by everybody in general and nobody particularly. ‘No church,’ ‘no theaters’ ‘no club’ no meetings. Get the [Soda Springs, Idaho] Chieftain once a week, read the news you have already written. No magazines, no books, the piano, and not many friends. Few letters and

Henry, Idaho
The next stop for the family was the little town of Henry, Idaho, near what is today Gray’s Lake, a marshy national wildlife refuge noted for its population of sandhill cranes. The Bennetts’ stay in Henry is noteworthy for a page Pearl wrote about her experience there. In it she affirms her determination to keep going, to make the best of

d— little loving, and a pain in your back and a pain in your ‘heart’. Is it any wonder that it’s hard to be good. ‘So here goes nothing’” For a woman of Pearl’s talents, free spirit and love of the desserts of civilization, Pearl knew what it was like to struggle just to stay alive. She wrote a short melodrama entitled, 8 Her Awakening 9 that we’ve included in the Scrapbook section of this C D - RO M . The setting and situation of the heroine in the story bear some resemblance to Pearl as a young wife and mother living on cattle ranches in Canada. While this type of story was popular in America at the turn of the 20th Century and we’ve found nothing to indicate that Pearl was ever tempted to escape life on the frontier—the story does offer some insights into how she may have felt and is consistent with her belief in choosing the right course at all costs. “Life is a Blessed Gift” Four pages after she wrote about the challenges of her life in Henry, Pearl recorded what appears to

be a quotation expressing the power of cherishing life, of living life well: “Life is a blessed gift and if we knew its worth how we might profit by it. Would we find contentment no matter how hardly fate may deal with us. Because life is opportunity and opportunity rightly used is progress and progress is exaltation and exaltation happiness. Today is ours and it is only today we have. What is distant we are approaching. Let us make the most of what is here about us and with us. And by reason of the development today finally, so we will enjoy what is in our path as we come to it.”

Meadow Creek Homestead
In the summer of 1918 the Bennetts got the opportunity to prove up a homestead roughly forty miles southeast of Shelley in an area called Meadow Creek. The family planned to dry farm and raise

sheep to support themselves. Pearl’s sister, Oral, and her family filed a claim on a 360-acre parcel of land next to the Bennetts. In her life sketch, Pearl’s daughter, Vilate, captured some of the best existing details about life on the homestead. She wrote: “We lived in the quakenasps in a log house. I remember when going up there, a sheep herder let my mother and the children sleep in his sheep camp over night as it took quite a while going with a team and wagon. Water Fight I remember while there my mother was very ill. And one day my brother Steve and my sister Maude decided to have a water fight and they used all the water in the spring. Then, somehow they set fire to something and when Mother got up and ran for some water there wasn’t any. So they had to beat the fire out. Pack Rats I remember the pack rats would come and my oldest sister Blanche would hold the coal

oil lamp and my dad had to jab them with a pitchfork. He knew they were coming because they would always knock and then come in and take something shiny, but they would always bring something and leave it in exchange. The Meadow By Night The next summer my father had to leave and my brother went down across the meadow to get a little lamb. My mother told him not to stay and play too long with a boy that lived there because he wasn’t to come home in the dark. Well, time passed more rapidly than he thought and it was very dark. When he came to the meadow, the coyotes and other wild animals were howling. So, he put his hand over the little lamb’s mouth so it wouldn’t cry out. All this time Mother was praying that he would be safe. Mother said she heard a knock at the door and he called out softly, ‘Mother’, and she opened the door and was so thankful that her prayers were answered.

Sibling Protection Training One day my brother, Stephen, took me down the path past a big rock cliff to play, and all of a sudden we heard the call of a wildcat. He was so frightened he just ran up the path and there he met Mother. She said, ‘Now I made the sound of the cat to see if you would protect your little sister and you ran away leaving her to be eaten.’ He never forgot that because the rest of his life he was always standing up for his sisters and up to people who he thought were trying to put his friends down. He always wanted to do his part to protect others. Even though he was short, he was strong and muscular. Frozen Clothes While living there, my parents had to ski over the mountains to the government dam to get supplies. They would also fish while there. One day my mother fell into the icy water and they didn’t have any other clothing with them. They decided that if they kept moving and her clothes froze on her

she wouldn’t freeze or get pneumonia. So they skied over the mountain to the homestead with her clothes frozen on her. My parents could both ski quite well as it was the only way they had of traveling in that area. I remember two things that happened while they were skiing. My father put a box on his skis and carried me in it. I rode on the back of his skis. One day Mother was coming down the hill through the trees and we had 2 or 3 little pups. They came bounding through the snow and Mother couldn’t stop quickly enough and she and the pups went end over end. Inflammatory Rheumatism The summer before this I think what my mother had was inflammatory rheumatism and nearly died. They took her to Lava Hot Springs and my oldest sister and dad went with her. My brother Stephen and my sister Maude stayed with a couple up there and they took my brother Clawson and I to my mother’s parents in Shelley, Idaho. I remember Grandfather and Grandmother took

us on a train to see my mother and when we saw Mother, we didn’t know her. She was so thin and had lost a lot of her beautiful long hair.”

Pearl Bennett, center, at Lava Hot Springs, Idaho. Today there are health spas in eastern Europe built around mineral hot springs that tout their waters as a cure for inflammatory rheumatism.

Influenza The fact that Pearl nearly died not once but twice in two years out in the middle of nowhere surely made this an intense, remarkably trying time in her life. In the spring of 1919 the entire Bennett family was stricken with influenza. At first no one dared even to go in to check on the family, leaving them to fend for themselves. Finally a pair of saviors appeared: Pearl’s brother-in-law, Wilford Peterson, and Pearl’s lifelong chum,

Lottie Robinson came for a week and nursed the family back to health. In the midst of the crisis it appeared they might lose Pearl. On the evening of what she believed might be her final day on earth she wrote a short 8 farewell 9 to each member of her family. As death’s door seems to open, witness Pearl opening her soul, revealing a deeply devoted wife and mother focussed on the well-being of those she loved: “March 25th 1919 Tomorrow is my birthday. I’ve just been sick. My lungs are filling. I may not live to be 32 years old. And to you Steve I would say before I go, I have tried to do my part in our marriage contract even if I have failed in some things. But you know I have tried, so of course that helps. Be good to our children and please stop and look into their little troubles before scolding. All children quarrel so give them your love and please keep them together, & may God bless you & help you.

Blanche dear Blanche. So much of my life’s hopes are in you. I know you won’t fail me even if I am gone from you. You have always had to be a little mother and maybe God planned it that way. Remember Blanche girl, I’d rather see you buried that have you do a wrong, but I do want your life to be happy. Ask God to guide you and follow your conscience and you will win. Maude my little Maude. I can not endure the thoughts of leaving you. You need me so much. And I am worried for you. Can you be sweet enough to follow Blanche and do as papa tells you and be good to your little brother and sisters. And pray and pray in earnest and God will help you. Stephen my little man. I love you so much and I am sure you’ll grow to be great good honorable man, and be a comfort to your father. Papa loves you very much and you and papa must be chums. Tell him your troubles and he will comfort you. And if God will let me I will come to guide you sometimes. Little Pearl Vilate. You are so small. You won’t remember me long, but oh I love you so

much and I wanted to live to guide and teach you and pray for you. When you are a little older papa can tell you that more than anything in the world I want you to always be a lady. I pray that those that take care of you may understand your little heart and treat you kind. Clawson Hewitt, ‘my baby’. I’ve prayed so hard to our Father in Heaven to spare you to me and now I’m leaving you to the cruel world. You’re a very affectionate little fellow. When you love one you love with all your heart. Be wise in your love. Love God most, and trust in him to guide you. I want you to do wonderful things in music. In fact I expect you to be a very great man. And always remember your mother asked God for you before you came and she thought big thoughts while you were growing next to her heart, and oh boy how I love you. Your wife and mother, Pearl Bennett”


Gibson, Idaho
Pearl did live to see her thirty-second birthday and to move back to civilization. In her scrapbook she noted that the Bennetts received the title to their homestead in 1919 and sold it for $1300.00. From Meadow Creek the family moved back to Shelley for a short time then on to Gibson, Idaho, located southwest of Blackfoot, Idaho on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation. Like the homestead at Meadow Creek, Gibson has disappeared; all that’s left of Gibson today is a sign of the same name standing by the railroad tracks and an old cemetery. In Gibson, Stephen Bennett found employment as a ditch rider for the Fort Hall irrigation district, enforcing the water rights among the local farmers. Pearl also found employment in the area as a teacher, cook and musician at the Fort Hall Indian School, a position she thrived in and found rewarding.

Today the only thing left of Gibson, Idaho is a sign standing by the railroad. Gibson was located near the Snake River Bottoms, a rich, river lowland area long favored by Native American peoples, white fur trappers of the Dutch East India Company, white settlers and today’s outdoor sportsmen. The Bottoms was a favorite destination for church socials and outings in Pearl’s time.


Good Times In Gibson Vilate remembered all sorts of happy family activities in Gibson. She wrote: “While living there [in Gibson] Mother had people coming to eat all the time. Fourth of July parade in Blackfoot, Every summer we Idaho, circa 1920 had relatives come for Easter and every holiday. I remember they had our family sing at the celebration of all the little towns about and we always had new clothes for the 4th of July, and we would go to Blackfoot or somewhere and see the parade. We had many wonderful picnics. Mother used to fill a baby basket with goodies she made, and she made home-made root beer, and we would put melons in children eating watermelon the cold streams.

We went to Lava to swim a lot. It would take all day, as the cars didn’t run quite as fast. We used to go to the Bottoms also with other families. When winter came our parents went to town and bought new clothes and winter underwear and high shoes. In the summer sometimes they went to Utah and brought home lovely fruit—peaches, melons, etc. Mother & Dad played ‘Run My Sheepy Run’ and ‘Steal Sticks’ and ‘Fox and Geese’ & Hide and Seek with us. One day my mother slid down the top of an old shed and got a big sliver and the Dr. had to remove it. While there, she had her appendix and tonsils out.” International Night Pearl also applied her creative knack for entertainment to adult activities. “While in Gibson,” Vilate wrote, “Mother thought up a plan to help entertain the married couples. She said, ‘Let’s put the names of countries in a hat and draw, and whatever country we get we will cook


the meal, dress and have songs and atmosphere.’ So it turned out to be a great success.” Making Music Making music was an important part of life for the Bennett family. Vilate Bennett remembered Gibson, Idaho as a place where everyone in the family sang or played music: “When I was 6 years old, I made up an Indian dance tune as I had been to many dances and Mother would have me play it on the piano for people when they came, especially our Indian friends. Clawson [her brother] used to sing with us and alone at many celebrations. The people would throw money at him as he was just 4 1⁄2 and just would sing his heart out. Clawson Bennett, Some of the songs we used the young singing to sing were, ‘Who Killed Cock wonder, age 41⁄2 Robin’, ‘My Dear Waikiki’, and “There Was A Man named Angeline”. And my Father sang in a concert garden, ‘Who Put The

Overalls In Mrs. Murphy’s Chowder’, and ‘Rose Is A Southern Lassie’. Mother and him sang ‘Two Little Boys In Blue’ and ‘Mama Dear, I Want My Papa’, ‘Baggage Coach Ahead’, and Dad sang ‘Letter Edged In Black.’ We sang all the popular songs of that day and quite a few character songs. Mother accompanied us, also my Sister Blanche. Mother played by ear. She could play piano, organ, guitar, banjo and violin.” Pearl inherited a tradition of singing from her parents. For a list of several dozen songs that Pearl remembered her parents singing as she was growing up in the late 1800s, see her 8 diary 9 entry of 12 February 1937 on this C D - RO M . Musical Lambs and Predatory Pigs Animals also figure in Vilate Bennett’s memories of her family living in Gibson, Idaho. “We had a pet sheep called Fritz,” she wrote, “And he would run races with us and seemed almost human. I remember we had a pet lamb that would go put his front hoofs on the piano keys when

Mother would play. One day when my cousins, Lucille, Theo, Moriece and Virginia Robinson came, the lamb got too close to the pig pen and an old bore caught him and started eating him. My Dad took a crowbar and tried to Stephen R. Bennett with stop him, but he had eaten Fritz the Sheep. the little lamb’s stomach & killed it. We all felt so bad. My dad had to kill the boar as he said he was too dangerous for we children to be around. We also had a rooster that would jump at us and peck we little children’s heads. So, one day Mother got tired of this, so that night we had chicken for dinner. We had a magpie. My folks split his tongue so we could teach him to talk. Well, he died one day. So we kids had a funeral for him. None of them wanted to Pray, so they said, ‘You do it.’ So I did.” Vilate also recorded the death of two animals a bit more important to the family than a talking magpie. “My Father brought two pure

bred horses down with him from Canada,” she wrote, “One named Pearl after my Mother. It was a Clydesdale. One called [Jennie, a sorel mare] was hit by a train, and one called Pearl died which really upset my Dad.”

S.P. Sorenson One of the few people outside the Bennett family that we know anything about was Stephen’s boss, S.P. Sorenson, the watermaster for the Fort Hall Reservation. Vilate Bennett remember Mr. Sorenson: “Our old boss—or I should say, my Dad’s old boss—while living near Fort Hall, was a dear friend to my parents and we children. His name was Mr. S.P. Sorenson and he used to go on picnics and all with us. He took many pictures of us.” Mr. Sorenson appears in one of our favorite photos on this C D - RO M : Pearl, friends, children and Mr. Sorenson visiting a Shoshone Bannock gentleman named Billie George and Wee-to-watsi his wife. In her life story Vilate Bennett offered

A visit to Billy George and his wife, Gibson, Idaho circa 1920. Pearl taught at the Fort Hall Indian School for several years.

10. Billy Carter, twin brother to Wilma Carter and daughter of Laura Carter 11. Laura Carter, cousin of Pearl 12. Lottie Robinson, girlhood chum and later cousin of Pearl by marriage 13. Virginia Robinson, Lotties’ daughter

1. Pearl Bennett 2. Vilate Bennett, Pearl’s 3rd daughter 3. Stephen R. Bennett, Pearl’s first son 4. Billie George, also known as Topuda Breechcloth 5. Clawson Bennett, Pearl’s 2nd son 6. Maude Bennett, Pearl’s 2nd daughter 7. Wilma Carter, twin sister to Billie Carter and daughter of Laura Carter 8. A.P. Sorensen, family friend of the Bennetts and Stephen Bennett’s boss 9. Wee-to-watsi, wife of Billy George


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9 12 13

11 10


a possible insight into the photo when she wrote, “Mother assisted Dr. Wheeler, the government doctor delivering babies and helping the Indians.” Perhaps Pearl and her party were visiting her friends, Billy George and Wee-to-Watsi. Chief William Penn Beginning with her days in Canada as a new bride, Pearl developed a tradition of respect and friendship with the Indians where ever she lived including her Shoshone Bannock neighbors near Gibson. Vilate continued, “While living in Gibson, one day my two oldest sisters, Maude and Blanche, decided to run away. So they packed a suitcase and Mother said, ‘Goodbye’, and they went across the sand and when they got tired they sat down to rest. Along came the Indian Chief William Penn. He said, ‘You run away from your home?’ And they said, ‘Yes.’ And he said, ‘You go back. You shouldn’t be out here all alone. You will get into trouble.’ They said, ‘Oh, Mother don’t want us. She said goodbye to us because

we quarrel.’ He said, ‘You go home. Your mother will be sad if you leave her.’ He thought a lot of Mother because she was on the school board and he went to her and said, ‘Benny’, as her name was Bennett, ‘You love your children?’ And she said, ‘Yes.’ And, he said, ‘I love my children. I live close to the school, but they want to send my children to the Indian school.’ He said, ‘My heart is heavy. Can you help me?’ And she said, ‘Yes, I’ll do what I can.’ So, his children and their cousins were allowed to Chief William Penn a friend of the go to the Gibson School. Bennetts in Gibson, Idaho, circa The girls Maude and 1920. Blanche said they were hungry. So they decided to go home after he talked to them. Vilate also remembered Chief Penn sometimes having to arm himself when he came to visit the Bennetts: ‘We had geese, and one year

they nested under our front porch. Whenever a stranger came into the yard, that old gander would really go after them. William Penn, the Indian Chief, used to carry a big stick whenever he came.” Running a Boarding House & Selling Cider Vilate Bennett continued. “While living in Gibson, Mother moved to Blackfoot for a while and lived in the Kennedy Home and took in boarders and sold cider, as there were orchards all around the house. The Miller Brothers who had bees and sold honey, and two of the Kennedy Brothers Archie and Forrest boarded with us. Mother took my oldest sister, my brother Clawson and I with her, and Maude and Steve stayed with Dad to take care of the garden and the animals. They would come to see us on the times they could.”

oldest Bennett daughter, Blanche, was living in California with her grandparents. The remaining members of the family lived in Pocatello until Stephen lost his ditch rider job to another ditch rider and it seemed like a good time to move again.

Charlo, Montana
From Pocatello the family moved to the Flathead Valley in western Montana to the town of Charlo. The years in Charlo, Montana saw Pearl’s drama talents unfold as she directed plays that drew audiences from all around the Flathead Valley. She was active in community affairs and grew spiritually. The Charlo years saw Stephen serve as the lay spiritual leader of Mormon Church in the valley. This even as he struggled in difficult times to feed his family by farming. Vilate Bennett’s memories of Charlo offer a useful background reference to her mother’s 5Year Diary included on this C D - RO M . “When we arrived at the Flathead Valley,” she wrote, “We thought it was a very beautiful valley. But, where

Pocatello, Idaho
Around 1922 the whole Bennett family moved to Pocatello, Idaho, south of Gibson. While living in Pocatello, Pearl and Stephen’s second daughter, Maude, married Alex Tubbs. At the time the

we went was Charlo, a wide spot in the road so to speak. We had dinner with the Real Estate man and later went out to a house across from Glandons.”

It Began With a Picnic As the Bennetts met the other residents of the Flathead Valley it became apparent that there were a number of families in the area who were also members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In the summer of 1926 a picnic was organized at McDonald Lake to explore the possibility of organizing a branch of the Church. The following Sunday an informal Sunday School organization was set up with Stephen Bennett agreeing to serve as one of the counselors to the president, I.W. Pierce. The group wrote to William R. Sloan in Portland, Oregon, president of the Northwestern States Mission and presiding officer of the Church for the Flathead Valley area. In response, on 21 November 1926 President Sloan came to officially set up a Mormon Sunday School organization for the valley. The meeting was held in a Northern Pacific railroad car and resulted in Stephen Bennett being called to serve as the superintendant of the Sunday School. By April of the following year there were enough members of the church to have President

Sloan return to organize an official local branch, holding the second meeting in a railroad car. At this meeting Stephen was called to serve as the branch president of the Charlo Branch.

Sloan was the President of the Mission. Father contacted all the people and they decided to build a church. But, no one started, so Dad had a horse and an old scraper and he started the basement alone. One day an old tramp came along the railroad track. He stopped and gave him a hand. Then, after that some of the men helped.” Discovering More of the Story Finding the following account remains one of the dramatic moments in our search for Pearl Bennett’s life story. Charlo residents, Grant and Verna Hogge provided information about the early Mormon branch in Charlo to Julie Wright, a student in the history program at the University of Montana. Julie created a website about Charlo which we found. Thank you, Julie! Julie appears to have a connection to the Bennetts . On 5 August 1934 Pearl noted in her diary that she invited Julie’s great grandfather, Edwin Bingham, and his wife over after church for dinner followed by strawberries

Organizing a branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or Mormon Church in Charlo, Montana, April 17, 1926. L to R: Blaine Bauckman and his wife, Stephen and Pearl Bennett, William R. Sloan and his wife. Pearl is wearing a favorite dress that features a pleated ruffle at the back of the neck.

Starting on a Chapel Vilate Bennett remembered the times. “We met in the old school house. President William R.

and ice cream. Another entry noted that the Binghams cut some wood for the Bennetts. On 16 August 1934 Pearl noted that twenty-one members of the branch traveled in Edwin Bingham’s bus to a church conference in Butte, Montana. It’s a small world. A Community Effort A builder by trade, Pearl’s father, George Washington Clawson, directed the construction of the Mormon chapel in Charlo. According to Julie Wright’s account, a “pre-cut building was shipped from Washington, but the members still had to donate their labor and money to construct the building. Many community members were so glad to have the influence of a church in Charlo that they also contributed to the work and finances. In May 1929, it was completed and Joseph F. Smith Jr. from Salt Lake City dedicated the building. The members came many miles by horse and buggy over rough roads.

Community Activities The Church building became an activity place for the entire community. Movies were even shown once a week. Under the direction of James L. Eddington, who replaced Stephen Bennett as Branch President in 1935, the ward decided to add a gymnasium. Once again, the members and community came together to construct a building. Edwin Bingham had moved his family to Charlo by this time and he and his son worked together on the gymnasium. The new addition made possible a whole new variety of activities—roller skating every Friday night, plays, dinners, dances, basketball games, and the yearly highlight was the Green and Gold Ball. Church Activities The building was used for work as well as play. The Charlo Women’s Relief Society, formed in 1927, used the building for work days. They were taught how to care for the needy, home-making skills, and general knowledge. The Charlo Boy Scouts were excited to have a building where they

could meet and additional leaders that instructed them. The Children’s Primary gathered to sing, play, learn public speaking, and be instructed in the Gospel. The Young Men and Women’s Organizations were encouraged to meet in the uplifting atmosphere of the church for their socializing.” Settling Down in Charlo While the chapel was being built the Bennetts built a house of their own. “In the meantime,”

The Bennetts begin building a home three miles south of Charlo, Montana. L to R: Bryant, Pearl, Vilate, Lindy the dog, Stephen and Clawson Bennett. Pearl noted that the Bennetts moved into their new home on July 21, 1933 and that the windows and doors were installed after they’d moved in.

she wrote, “We had built a house out on an 80acre farm, Spanish style. Until it was built, we lived in a ‘lean-to’ house and Dad built a barn and chicken coupe. One day, while living there, they had a twister and it went around where they were building the house and took the chicken coop up in the air and it landed on Dad’s new hay mower. It’s the only twister we ever had there as the climate is like Washington State, only we had more sunshine. We had many good times and many bad times while living in the Flathead Valley. We made many friends, and the girls from our town went with the boys from the other places just like it usually happens. The grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence. I played in many community plays and one year took the lead role. These shows were sponsored by the town and directed by my Mother, and one year by Lynn Cooper, as Mother was ill. This was done to raise


money to build a gym for the high school and the community. People came from all over the Flathead Valley and even out to see the shows. We had a lot of name bands play at the dances at the Post Creek Pavilion. It was a large hall made on Post Creek.

Visiting Dignitaries While living in the Flathead Valley, my parents were privileged to have President Joseph Fielding Smith come and talk to Father about helping to settle the Saints there. Father had just told him the wind doesn’t blow much here and the climate is like Washington only it doesn’t rain as much and we have quite a lot of snow, but is just lays on the fence posts. Well, just them a whirlwind came up and President Smith, who was an Apostle at that time, said, ‘Who was it said the wind didn’t blow here?’ They were also privileged to have President David O. McKay and Rudger Clawson and President 8 William R. Sloan 9 and others in there home, and many, many missionaries as Dad was Presiding Elder for over 8 years. My father was gone so much that he lost his home and had to move to town. While living on the ranch, we had coyotes all around at night and some mountain lions were seen in the mountains. My Brother Steve worked on the Crazy Horse Dam and Reed,

An outing to the mountains, circa 1922. L to R, front row: Stephen Bennett, Pearl’s husband; Jeanette Clawson, Pearl’s mother; 2nd from right, Pearl Bennett. Behind and to the left of Pearl is her third daughter, Vilate.

Clawson and Steve all worked on the Mission Dam above Saint Ignatius.” The Broken Arm On 8 December 1933 Pearl broke her arm playing a game in the church basement. The next day she went to the neighboring town of Polson for an x-ray and learned that the elbow had been shattered. Experiencing excruciating pain by now, she traveled to Missoula, Montana to see a Dr. Harry C. Smith. An operation to remove the ball of the elbow plus two inches of arm bone was scheduled for a month later. Always on the lookout for a ray of hope even on dark days, Pearl wrote on 1 January 1934, “This day finds me with a broken limb and a sad heart. But maybe all will be well—?” The big day finally came. When Dr. Smith had finished the operation he cautioned Pearl that she would never be able to raise the altered arm over her head again. She stayed in the hospital for ten days, sick at first but greatly cheered by visits from friends and relatives. Some brought

fruit and some brought flowers, but knowing Pearl it would have been their company that warmed her heart and helped the healing to begin. When she returned home Pearl refused to accept the verdict of not being able to raise her arm over her head. She made up her mind that she was going to be able to brush her own hair again and worked incessantly until she proved the good doctor wrong. The Old Folks Parties On 14 April 1934 a three-act play directed by Pearl Bennett entitled, “Girl Shy’ was presented in the Charlo gymnasium. According to the 8 poster 9 printed to advertise the event, admission was either fifteen cents or twentyfive cents per person; lunch cost twenty cents per person and a dance featuring The

Tormentors cost thirty-five cents per person— followed the play. For a small rural community with few outlets for entertainment and gripped in the Depression this must have been a wonderful event. What is even more remarkable is that the play and dance evolved into a means to a higher end. On 26 March 1934, Lulu K. Curtis, secretary of the Old Folks Party committee in Charlo wrote in the committee notebook: “Some time ago Mrs. Bennett coached and staged a play ‘Girl Shy.’ She also had a dream, how nice it would be to have a party for the ‘Old Folks,’ so having mentioned this to her cast—they kindly consented to give their play at Round Butte and Moirse in order to create a fund to finance said party—this they did—and it is through their efforts that this plan originated.” Beginning in 1934 Pearl spearheaded an effort to treat the old folks in the area to an annual day of entertainment and recognition. In the front of the committee notebook she explained her vision for the project: “The purpose of the Old Folks Day is to provide annually a banquet

The guests of one of Pearl Bennett’s Old Folks Parties. The purpose of the parties was to honor and entertain the senior citizens of the valley. Charlo, Montana, circa 1935.

and a day of entertainment for widows, widowers. And all people sixty years or more of age. The party is sponsored and arranged by people of the community who have at heart the interests, wellbeing, and happiness of their old folks.” Mrs. S.N. Bennett Charlo Mont May—1934 Further into the notebook we read about a dance the following year. “A dance was given June 1st 1935 as a means of helping finance the 1935 Old Folks Party. The Tormentors and Red Jacket Orchestra furnished the music free of charge. Received

from supper and dance $ 37.07.” The effort was repeated in 1936 for a third party. Each year prizes were awarded for the oldest man and woman, the couple married the longest and the couple with the most grandchildren. Each year all the guests were made to feel important and appreciated.

Los Angeles, California
The end of 1936 found the Bennetts broke and unemployed. After eight years of service, Stephen also had been released as the branch president of the Mormon Church in Charlo, Montana. On 18 November 1936 Pearl noted in her diary, “Left for California. Hope to live there.” No further entries appear until 31 December, 1936 when she announces, “We are living in Calif. Have had a grand time and hope to be able to live here. Spent Xmas with Blanche [her oldest daughter] in San Diego, Calif.” The Bennetts had high hopes of connecting with some of the prosperity enjoyed by family and friends in the Golden State.

Family gathering, Los Angeles, California, 1938. Back two rows, L to R: possibly Ida Phillips, Pearl’s sister; Jeanette Clawson, Pearl’s mother; possibly Edward Phillips, Ida’s husband; Vilate Whitehead, Pearl’s daughter; Reed Whitehead, Vilate’s husband; unidentified gentleman; Frank Casey, Pearl’s brother-in-law; unidentified gentleman. Middle row: unidentified young lady and little girl; Pearl Bennett, Stephen Bennett; Front row: Dennis Casey, Pearl’s nephew and Frank Casey’s son; Michael Casey, Pearl’s nephew and Frank Casey’s son; Bryant Bennett. This is one of the last photos taken of Pearl Bennett; she passed away in 1938—the year this photo was taken.


For six months the Bennetts lived with those family and friends while searching unsuccessfully for employment. Eventually they decided they simply had to move into a place of their own even without significant employment—and moved into a small apartment. Pearl fell in love with California. California was full of people, full of culture, full of energy and full of natural wonders. Pearl gathered her many relatives in California together for a large, joyous family reunion. She didn’t let the Bennetts’ meager circumstances stop her from jumping into the rich opportunities for genealogy at the Los Angeles City Library. Yet California proved to be bittersweet. Pearl and Stephen continued to struggle in search of employment. Not even going through the custodial program at the Frank Wiggins trade school would guarantee them stable income. Pearl’s daughter, Vilate, had serious medical concerns; Pearl’s mother, Jeanette, was in failing health and Pearl herself was would pass away from cancer in California.

A Final Road Trip On 28 July 1937 Pearl left LA on an extended road trip through the western United States. It isn’t clear from her diary what this trip meant to Pearl or how she reconciled the cost of the trip with the family’s desperate financial straits. What is clear in hindsight is that this would be the last time she would see most of the places and people she saw on the trip; in eight months she would pass away. Perhaps sensing a closing of her time on earth Pearl wanted to give everyone one last hug. She wrote: “Made a 4000 mile trip through Montana, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, California, Oregon and Washington going up the coast from San Diego to Portland, Oregon. The trip cost me actual cash $45.00.” Pearl traveled by bus and train, staying with friends & kinfolk along the way, renewing old friendships and relationships as she went. On 22 August 1937 Pearl wrote in her diary, “Attended second Sunday School in Charlo. [Montana] In the evening they gave me

a little party and presented me with a cut glass basket for flowers. Mrs. Laura Olsen and Nell Johnson were sponsoring it.” The following day in the middle of a rain storm she boarded the bus for the final stretch of the trip home.

What Pearl was like
As Marcile Whitehead Stettler was growing up, her mother—the Vilate Bennett quoted throughout this biography—liked to tell her about Pearl. Vilate described Pearl having brown eyes, brown hair and standing about five feet four in height. She remembered her mother as an active, creative soul—something of a free spirit—who loved being with other people, a charitable, spiritual Pearl, center, with daughwoman. ters, Vilate, left, and Maude,
right. Sugar Row, Idaho, circa 1915.

A Pearl Clawson Bennett collage. Clock-wise from lower left: Pearl with her baby sister, Marie; Pearl with her first three children in Canada around 1913; Pearl with her family shortly before she passed away in 1938; Pearl’s signature from her 1937 diary; large image, taken in a photo booth in the 1930’s; & Pearl at Ricks Academy in 1903.


List Of Favorites
Vilate, wrote down a list of things that brought Pearl joy in her short life: Favorite Poet .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Shakespeare Drama Cinderella “When I Leave the World Behind” “Have I Done Any Good In the World Today?” “Though Deepening Trials” Lilacs, violets and chrysanthemums Fall Ben Bernie White and peach Hot rolls & fried chicken 8 Grandmother Robinson 9 Biography of Mark Twain by Albert Bigelow Paine Marie Dressler, William Powell, and Janet Gaynor Apples & raspberries

Favorite Hobby Favorite Songs

Favorite Fairy tale .

. . . . . . . . . .

Favorite Hymn .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Favorite Flowers . Favorite Season .

. . . . . . . .

Favorite Radio Programs . One Man’s Family & Ted Malone Favorite Announcer . Favorite Colors . Favorite Foods Favorite Book .
. . . .

. . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Favorite Relative .

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

Favorite Movie Stars. Favorite Fruits .

. . . . . . . . .

Community Service Pearl liked to involve herself in community events. On 19 December 1932 she wrote, “Served soup at the High school, not so hard to do this year, Every thing becomes easier with a little knowledge of the same.” She describes mixing up six different kinds of soup for the students in eight-gallon batches every day for a week. In another entry she reports collecting $18.10 for a Red Cross drive. And yet another entry records Pearl finishing a twenty-six hour marathon stint as judge of the US presidential election of 1936 in Charlo, Montana. Drama, Music & Literature Pearl’s daughter, Vilate, remembered that in spite of her mother never taking lessons Pearl played the piano by ear. She loved acting, teaching acting and directing plays; she was fond of going to the movies. Vilate remembered her mother giving

8 dramatic readings 9 , which were dramatic monologues—as a form of entertainment at church and community functions. Vilate grew up to continue the tradition of dramatic readings and passed it down to her daughter, Jeanene. Gregarious Pearl loved being with other people. Family photos show her with her arms around the shoulders of the persons on either side of her. On 25 September 1935 she noted that her husband, Stephen, had gone to harvest sugar beets. Then, referring to her seven-year old son, Bryant, she wrote on the following day, “Bryant and I are alone it isn’t a good feeling to be all alone. I love people, lots of them. I dislike solitude.” When people paid a visit to the Bennett home Pearl let them know they were welcomed and appreciated. Her daughter, Vilate, remembered Pearl always opening her arms wide and exclaiming, “Oh, look who’s here! . . .so glad to have you.” Then she would invite them in and “even if they had nothing to eat but bread and

The Bennett family, Charlo, Montana, 1927 on the occasion of Pearl’s fortieth birthday. L to R: Stephen R., Vilate, Pearl, Stephen N. and Clawson. The last member of the family—Bryant—would be born the following year.

milk she would make it seem like a banquet and they were invited to stay.” Vilate remembered that “Visitors never noticed if a banquet wasn’t available because they enjoyed Pearl’s company so much.” A Spirit of Giving Not only did Pearl like being with other people, but she felt the need to be of service to them. Whether she was serving as a mid-wife, teaching 8 school 9 at the Fort Hall Indian Reservation in Idaho or occasionally baby-sitting a neighbor’s

children, she seems to have believed that she could make a difference in the world. In the true spirit of service, Pearl helped out even when it didn’t make sense to help. On 11 November 1934, she recorded how three fellow members of the church accused her husband, “of being a crook, and abused him terribly.” The following day she wrote, “I went to see old W. G. Homer, [one of the accusers] he is a bad wicked man. I told him he was a mockery to the Holy Priesthood.” Then she finishes the entry with a statement that speaks volumes about her character when she says, “I’ll watch his kids.” Self-Aware The path to enlightenment begins and ends with self-awareness. On 9 December 1932 Pearl quipped, “A Diary is rather a nice bit of sport – put your real thoughts on paper – No ones business. They will read it when you’re gone and call you an ass a fool or what have you.” Witness a soul moving forward, then, when Pearl confided on 13 December 1932 in her diary,

“I love clean people, clean homes, clean beds, clean Sunday, clean thots, and yet every little while my thots “hit the gutter.” Or this bit of self evaluation jotted down four years later in her spiral notebook: “When some one hurts me badly I wish I could be big and good enough to go to them and say why did you wish to hurt me? I want you for a friend as I need all my friends— If that did not make peace I would like to be able to say—Well I’m going to go right on liking you and being a friend—But I’m not at all like this person I would like to be. I usually say—Well—who gives a dam?” Spiritual Pearl’s life was anchored by a spiritual foundation. Many of her diary entries refer to fellow church members, church meetings or church-related activities. Several entries end with a plea for divine strength or assistance. Pearl’s spiritual depth is suggested in the entry of 14 December 1932 when she writes, “I never feel puffed up over anything clever I do, only grateful that I could

do it. Just gratitude to God that he has stood by me all the way.” Several of her diary entries note the faithful payment of tithing or one tenth of the family’s income to the Church. Even when this left the family temporarily penniless, Pearl felt that it put them right with God. On 22 December 1935 she described one of these leaps of faith when

The mothers of the Charlo Branch of the Mormon Church in Charlo, Montana. According to the note on the back of the photo, this was Mothers Day 1932. Pearl is three rows up in the middle of the group; her daughter-in-law, Thelma, is on the front row on the right.


she wrote, “Paid up our tithing to the very penny which leaves us with absolutely no money to start the New year on, and no Job.” Like their pioneer forefathers the Bennetts put their trust in God, believing that he would provide. Absolutely Sure Three years later, on 30 October 1935, Pearl made a simple yet profound claim: “A change seems to have taken place in my being I am absolutely sure Jesus is the Christ – and he is the Way.” Could it be that this new awareness, this spiritual knowing was connected to Pearl’s time on earth coming to an end? Pearl noted the death of beloved American folk philosopher, Will Rogers, on 17 August 1935. Two months later, on 17 October 1935 she noted the passing of Elsie Talmage Brandley, whom she greatly admired, and wrote, “It seems to me the brightest and best people are all being called home. I’d like to stay until I felt sure of my worthyness to meet God.” When that day came for Pearl two-and-a-half years later in 1938, the

world lost another of the brightest and best people, and she undoubtedly was ready to meet God. For a glimpse of Pearl’s devout and lyrical soul see the handwritten 8 poem 9 , “If I Could Be the Woman of My Desires” in the scrapbook section. Passing On 27 April 1938 Pearl passed away from cancer in Los Angeles, California; she was fifty-one years old. Her youngest son, Bryant, was nine years old. Pearl’s daughter, Vilate, took care of her brother until she got married and moved away from home the following year. Vilate recalled the financial Top, flower card from Pearl’s sister, Ida, and her
family. Bottom, cover of the funeral program held for Pearl. Los Angeles, 1938.


pressures of her mother’s death. “I worked for a sign company in Hollywood,” she wrote, “To help pay for my wedding dress as Father was having a hard time to pay off Dr. bills and all for Mother’s death. Some of the Brothers and Sisters helped him pay it off.” Bryant grew up with few memories of the mother that brought him into the world but he loved Vilate dearly and always considered her his mother. He grew up with his father in Los Angeles. As a young man he served a mission in Argentina for his Church and eventually served in the U. S . Army.

Help us tell Pearl’s story
Your memories, photos and memorabilia of Pearl Bennett could help us more clearly tell her story. Since all but one of her descendants are separated from her by at least two generations, our connections to her are tucked away in boxes, photo albums and fading memories. We invite you to send us your Pearl Bennett stories, photos and memorabilia. We would consider your material for a second, expanded version of the C D - RO M . We would scan or photograph your material—handling it with the utmost care—and send it back within a week of receiving it. If you have access to a scanner and a CD burner you could also scan your photos/ memorabilia at 300 dpi and send them to us on a CD. Marcile Stettler 6401 Oreana Dr. Boise, ID 83709 (208) 376-0178

At the release of this C D - ROM , Bryant Bennett is the last living member of the family that Pearl and Stephen brought into the world and loved and sacrificed for and taught. We dedicate this project to Bryant Bennett.

Bryant & Theresa Bennett


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