Sketch of the Life of Evelyn Pratt Woods

by Mary Lambert Taggart

Evelyn Pratt was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, August 7th, 1856, the youngest daughter and last child of Apostle Parley Parker Pratt and Ann Agatha Walker Pratt.

After her marriage to Francis Charles Woods, November 11th, 1873, in the Endowment House in Salt Lake, they lived in Salt Lake for some time, when her husband’s work took them to Malad, Idaho, where they purchased a ranch not far from an Indian Reservation.  The Indians were accustomed to coming and going rather freely.  One day as Eva was drying dishes, she unknowing flipped a dish towel in the face of a squaw, who had entered so quietly she was unaware of her presence.  The Indian woman became very angry and stamped out of the house to return in a short time with her buck and several others.  She finally succeeded in mollifying them by feeding them well, and hastily explaining that it was a mistake.

In the winter, much of the time the snow became so deep the children were unable to get to school.  (Eight children were born to them in Malad).  Eva held regular school hours and taught her children as well as the children of adjoining ranches.

Her husband, Frank Woods, went to Malad to construct many of their first buildings, as an architect and builder, and being thus engaged, was away from home a good deal of the time.  In his absence, Eva took care of the farm, animals and all, with never a complaint.

She was a true lady, in every sense of the word; gracious, loving, thoughtful, well versed in etiquette for all occasions, very particular as to dress, manner and correctness of speech, very strict, and at times could be very stern, if the occasion demanded it.  To earn her approval was always worthwhile.

She was methodical and neat, a very good cook and housekeeper.  My mother could never remember seeing her when she was not immaculately clean, even though she’d be digging in the garden, cleaning, or doing outside chores.  She always had a flock of chickens she loved to care for, some fine Jersey cows and a horse named Dewey was a family favorite who at times pulled the family surrey. 

Eva was well versed on the names of flowers, shrubs and plants, both wild and cultivated, also herbs.  She knew the names of, and location of the planets and stars, the different kinds of clouds and their formations, and much about lightning and the cause.  She was resourceful and levelheaded, as well as being an excellent nurse.  For these reasons she was called upon often by neighbors and friends in times of stress and illness.

She held the office of President of the Relief Society for years.  She held many other offices in her Church, being called upon very often to accompany vocal and instrumental numbers on the piano, having a very good ear for music.  Loving all nature, she always had a large variety of plants and flowers both inside of the house and out.  Her kitchen had a deep bay window, built low, and filled with plants and flowers above which hung several cages of singing canaries.

Quoting mother: “How well we remember visiting with Grandmother (Ann Agatha Walker Pratt) and riding through the streets of Ogden (where the family moved from Malad about 1889) riding behind old Dewey in the Surrey we would watch for the things of interest along the way, and all of the electric signs would fascinate the children, especially the one at Boyle Furniture store where the lights flashed from one chair to another giving it the effect of a rocking chair.  Then we would go on out past the Ogden River Bridge, which we always called ‘The Ice Cream Bridge’, to the place where they sold home-made ice cream in great big cones for 5 cents.”

Evelyn was the mother of thirteen children.  Only one of these is living today (August 20, 1957).  All of the family seemed to have a tendency toward High Blood Pressure.  Mother lived just two days short of 70 years, which was the longest any of the family had lived.  Some of the deaths were startlingly sudden; Aunt Leona died suddenly after her arrival home from a day spent in the Salt Lake Temple with her husband; Uncle Charley had just been home from the New Zealand Mission, over which he had presided, and had given his report at the General Conference in April, when on a Saturday afternoon, he decided to transplant a small tree in his yard.  He had just done this, when he was stricken and fell dead; Aunt Tad (Claribel) was giving a lecture on music, being very prominent in that field, at the Art Barn in Salt Lake, when she fell to the floor, dead; Athleen and Edna died very young, one while in the process of bathing her baby; Uncle Harold had been at work all day, the day he passed away, and Uncle Lowell, stricken in the afternoon, died before the day had ebbed.

The Woods family were all stalwarts in the church.  Very active, all left posterity; families that have been a credit to their wonderful grandmother.  All of her children but Uncle Kenneth were married in the Temple.  His endowments were lovingly done for him by Cannon Lambert the day of his marriage.  He served in the World War as an Ambulance Driver and saw many horrible things occur that made him very reluctant to ever mention his experiences in the service of his country.  We had the privilege of having him live with us at our home for over a year, and we loved Uncle Ken as dearly as anyone we ever had touch our lives.  He was an intelligent, gentle natured, generous person, whose life was ruined because of the dreadful disease of alcoholism, which had its beginning during his years of service.  Many told mother, who had him in their employ that he could have commanded any wage, with his ability and intelligence, had it not been for the curse of drink.

The last day of Grandmother’s life was a very busy one.  She seemed so restless, baking bread, painting woodwork, arranging her home so that there could be another apartment.  She requested of her children who were still at home to be sure that things were always spic and span.  She slept well that last night.  Members of the family who had become worried because of her actions during the day, kept watch over her, but all seemed to be well, until she awakened in the morning, choking.  She died almost immediately.  The Doctor pronounced it Cerebral Hemorrhage.  If she had lived, she would surely have been a paralyzed invalid, because of this stroke.

She wrote her testimony and instructions to her children before her death, and died before she quite completed the one paper; she surely had a premonition of her death.

Eva was never one to shed tears, although she missed her husband very much; his passing having been several years previous.  Her hair which was black and curly had not grayed at all.  Her eyes were blue.

After her death, which occurred on August 16th, 1917, it was found that she had left the above mentioned letters to the members of her family, as well as instructions as to what should be done with all the property and belongings; she had prepared all her burial clothing and had everything arranged for the event of her passing.

These documents, for they can be called that, speak more for the life of this wonderful mother and saint, than any words that we might find to describe her; they follow this short sketch, the material for which, was given me by my mother, Mary A. A. “Mollie” Woods Lambert.

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