The Old and the New—Harriet Ellen Forbes Adams

From the Layton Third Ward Advisor—February 1960

Above (pictured) is Layton Third Ward’s oldest and newest members: Mrs. Harriet Adams, 89, and the little son of Frank and Evelyn Williams, 3 weeks old and too young to even have a name. Eighty nine years and worlds of experience separate these two people.

Harriet Ellen Forbes Adams was born 30 August 1870 in a tiny log cabin, the daughter of John and Hannah Sheen Forbes. She went to school in the old Dawson Hollow School. She had to help her mother because her father died when she was only eight years old. She herded cows barefoot, and later, on horse back.

She married Andy Wright Adams March 8, 1893 in the Logan L.D.S. Temple. She helped milk cows and made butter which was traded for groceries. She has been a visiting teacher in the Relief Society for many years. Andy died 2 June 1950. She has lived alone for six years, is an excellent cook, and does her own cleaning and ironing. She is the mother of three children: Hazen Adams, Zilla Sessions, and Vida Rouche. She has ten grandchildren and thirty great-grandchildren.

When Sister Harriet came into the world back in 1870, things looked very different than they do to the little Williams boy in 1959. Ulysses S. Grant was president of the U.S. The Civil War was just over and the country was busy with reconstruction. Alaska had just been purchased from Russia for $7,200,000. The Transcontinental Railroad was just completed and the "steam cars" were only about a year old in Utah. Sixteen Presidents have guided our country through good times and bad since then. In 1870 Napoleon III was deposed as Emperor and France was declared a Republic. In 1873 Colorado became the 38th State. In 1874 Disraeli became the Prime Minister of England. Baby Williams’ mother answers the phone when it rings four times. Harriet Adams was five years old when the telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1875. It wasn’t until 1881 that the first telephone line was built between Salt Lake and Ogden. In 1884 a toll station was put up in old Kaysville. If Baby Williams sees Indians, they will be educated ones, but Harriet was six when Custer and his men were wiped out by Sitting Bull no the "Little Bighorn." That was in 1876, the same year that Queen Victoria was proclaimed "Empress of India." In 1879, the Atlantic cable was extended to connect the U.S. with France. In 1880, gold was discovered at Juneau, Alaska. In 1883, the Metropolitan Opera House was opened in New York City. In the ‘90’s, labor unions came into being and Idaho and Wyoming became the 43rd and 44th states. In 1892, Lieutenant Robert Edwin Peary established that Greenland was really an island. In ’93, the U.S. Marines helped depose Queen Liliukolani and raised the American flag over Honolulu. In 1895, 80,000 Armenians were massacred by the Turks, the Nobel Prize Foundation was established. In 1896, Utah became the 45th state and the Klondike Gold Rush was touched off when gold was discovered in Alaska. 1898 brought the Spanish-American War and the sinking of the "Maine." Also that year, Roosevelt took San Juan Hill, Dewey took Manila, the Philippines were ceded to the U.S., and Hawaii was annexed. In 1902, Queen Victoria died and Edward VII became King of England. The U.S. Reclamation Service was established, bringing the beginning of large scale irrigation projects. In 1903, the Wright brothers made their first flight at Kittyhawk, and the first subway was opened in New York City. In 1906, the earthquake laid waste to the city of San Francisco, and Mahatma Ghandi began his campaign of passive resistance in India. The Pure Food and Drug Act was passed in 1907, and Oklahoma became the 46th state. New Mexico and Arizona completed the 48 in 1912, the same year that the Titanic sunk and 1,595 persons lost their lives, and Mt. Katmai in Alaska blew off its entire upper cone in one of the major volcanic eruptions of history. In 1914, the Panama Canal opened and World War I began in Europe. The U.S. entered the war in 1917, and in 1918 it was "over over there." Automobiles replaced "old dobbin," and in 1919, the League of Nations was the big news story. In 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment was passed. The Roaring Twenties brought "speakeasies," short skirts, the Charleston, and the stock market crash of ’29. World War II, in 1941, ended the years of depression following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The atom bomb on Hiroshima ended the war and ushered in the Space Age. Television swept the country and the Fabulous Fifties brought satellites circling the globe, shots to the moon, atomic submarines, and the International Geophysical Year. Alaska and Hawaii came into the Union to make an even fifty states.

All these wonders Sister Harriet’s eyes have beheld in her 89 years. What wonders will this young baby’s eyes see in the next 89 years? Rocket ships to the moon, the planets, the exploration of the solar system? Perhaps. But let’s hope they see also and end to war, the conquest of disease and suffering, and a better world.

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