Ellen Melissa Done (wife of Amasa Lyman Jones) A Pioneer History


Woodland Hills, United States

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Ellen Melissa Done was born in Santaquin, Utah 14 December 1867. Her father was a carpenter and helped to build the now historical Manti Mormon Temple. Her mother worked odd jobs to supplement the family income. The gcurrent pay for a week of doing house cleaning and laundry was .50. Ellen Melissa’s mother never shirked an opportunity to add to the family sugar pot. In addition to laundry and cleaning she offered to milk the cows and churn the butter as well as other odd jobs the families may have. Her weekly earnings stayed around 3.50 per week.

When Ellen Melissa married Amasa, she told of the wedding ceremony and dinner being held at the family farm. The Jones family were quite the jokers and promptly after dinner grabbed the bride and groom and locked them in the bedroom. Their clothes had been hidden and the windows were nailed shut, so there was no escaping in the dark. She wasn’t used to such rauckus behavour and never let an opportunity pass by without telling how she felt about it! Amasa built her a brick home on the east end of Santaquin, Utah, and people are still living in it to this day (2008).

After living in Santaquin for a few years they moved to Old Mexico to colonize an area there. So they and two other families hired a freight car to send family, cattle, machinery and household goods to Old Mexico. The men went by wagon with the supplies. Times were hard and hot in Old Mexico and it was very difficult for Ellen Melissa. Amasa was a large and strong man and was able to get many of the prime building jobs. He made good money and everyone there wanted to take part in his good fortune. Ellen Melissa said it was pitiful that some of the people there had to live mosty on greens or anything else they could get, so most of the townsfolk managed to come by the Jonses around dinner time to enjoy the meal that was freely given there. One of Ellen Melissa’s endeavors was to provide meals and do the laundry for all the men working on the buildings in Old Mexico. She worked hard, and at the end of each day there wasn’t usually a place to sit down or any food left for her to eat. Amasa was a good hearted man and couldn’t turn town anyone in need, except maybe his wife.

In 1904 they moved back to Payson, Utah, shortly after that the lawlessness in Old Mexico became rampant, and those that had stayed were driven from their homes, many were killed and property was taken by the Mexican Government.

Amasa bought the Jesse Knight farm out west of Payson, UT Their nearest neighbor at that time lived at least a mile away at the San Pedro Railroad Station. It was at home that they spent many farming years, raising their family of seven. They were much by themselves, so they associated together more than most families. There were plenty of books, songs, music, talks, spelling bees, ideas and ideals were discussed. Ellen Melissa told her son Will that he could have his sister Dora (he was her baby tender), so through all the years there was a very close bond between Dora and Will. There were many many a time they had almost perished on the long drive to and from town in the winter, over the frozen rutted roads, if it wouldn’t have been for Amasa’s “make up songs” and and sly tickles and squeezes on the kneed to make them wiggle and get warm.

Ellen was the conscious backbone of the family, she was smart and thrifty; the bulwark for all their lives. When anything was needed, she managed to get it, if it were possible. Besides being a farmer’s wife and all that implies, she raised chickens in incubators to sell. She raised and picked geese and sold the down (a real luxury at that time). She made butter to sell. Her earnings were the only cash income off the farm, everything else was “scrip”. Later she had a milk separator and she sold cream. Then she was able to buy a rug and carpet loom and the rugs she made were still good after 40 years of use in many of the citizens homes.

Ellen passed away on 10 February 1925, and without her to rely on no one seemed to be able to pick up the pieces. Amasa died a short time later and the children began their lives as adults.

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