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(1865 – 1953)


Emma Morse was born of goodly parents on June 17, 1865, at Logan, Cache County, Utah, the daughter of William and Margaret Evans Morse. She was one of eight children: Mary Jane, Annie, Emma, William, Margaret, Rachel, Sarah and Sophia.

William and Margaret embraced the gospel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Wales, their homeland. Her family disowned Margaret and they withstood much persecution for their new religion, but their faith never faltered. They had been blessed with two daughters, Mary Jane and Ann, when they decided to leave their homeland and sail to America. Her mother, who walked all the way, carried Ann, an infant, across the Plains.

They sailed from Liverpool, England, June 4, 1863, on the ship Amazon. They had been booked to sail on the Cylon but at the last minute transferred to the Amazon, according to information recorded on the margin of the ship record. They were present when Charles Dickens visited the ship to write about the Mormons. He had planned to write a negative article, but instead after observation and interviews, his writing was very complimentary.

They arrived in Salt Lake City on August 4, 1863. Weary from their long trip across the Plains, they rested a few days then journeyed on to Logan, Utah, where they stayed with the William Davis family until William was able to purchase a piece of land. There he built a dugout in which their third child first saw the light of day. The new daughter, born June 17, 1865, was given the name of Emma. She was blessed by her father November 6, 1869, the same day as was her brother William. (Logan Third Ward record) She was born in a dugout, which was situated at 4th North and 4th West in the old Third Ward.

[Photo of Parents: William Morse and Margaret Evans]

The family lived in the dugout until William was able to go to the nearby canyon and cut enough logs to build a one-room cabin, in which their fourth child (and only son) was born October 31, 1867. The cabin had a dirt floor and dirt roof, with canvas over the window openings. While living here, William often stood guard all night with a gun, as the Indians were sometimes hostile and stole almost anything they could get their hands on. The men in the neighborhood took turns standing guard to protect their families and property.

When Emma was four years of age, her father went to Samaria, Idaho, and purchased a piece of land where a few Welsh immigrant families had settled. He again cut logs from a nearby canyon and built a log cabin with dirt floors and roof. This time there was no canvas available for the windows. William moved his family to Samaria in 1869. Emma said she remembered her mother sweeping the floor with green sagebrush tied together for a broom. The furniture, fashioned with unskilled hands, was made of rough lumber. Soap was very scarce, so to soften the water for household chores and washing, ashes from maple wood were boiled then left to settle. The resulting liquid was used as a water softener. This water was also used to make soft soap. Sewing was all done by hand. Most people kept a few sheep, whose wool was sheared, washed and carded, then spun into yarn, which was used to make hose, mittens and caps. Some of the yarn was dyed and taken to Brigham City to the woolen mill to be made into cloth for suits and dresses.

Alfalfa was not raised at that time, but wild grass was cut with a scythe for cattle feed. Their grain was cut with a cradle, put on a piece of canvas and beaten with sticks to thresh it. After the threshing, the grain was tossed in the air over the canvas so the wind would blow the chaff away, and then hauled to Honeyville to be made into flour.

Emma, like most pioneer children, suffered many hardships. There was little time for play or amusement, and the only toy she ever had was a homemade rag doll that was very special to her.

There were no wells. All the water had to be carried from the town spring in buckets until William built a water sleigh, or slip, as it was called. A fifty-gallon barrel was put on the sleigh, and sometimes one had to wait in turn to dip the water to fill the barrel, as only two could dip at the same time. A canvas was then tied over the barrel so the water would not spill out while being drawn home by the faithful oxen, Tom and Jerry.

One morning when the family was seated at the breakfast table, the door was pushed open and in walked three large Indians. How frightened they were when the Indians, spying two sharp butcher knives on a shelf, walked over and picked them up! William had been killing pigs the day before with the knives. The Indians stood there talking in their Indian language that no one understood. When their backs turned, little Emma, who was sitting near the curtain that served as a door to the lean-to bedroom that had been added to the house, slipped quietly into the bedroom. Kneeling by the bed with the pure faith of a child, she pleaded for her Father in Heaven to send the Indians away and not let them harm her family. In a short time the Indians left without the knives. This was Emma’s first true testimony that her Father in Heaven hears and answers prayers. She thus gained an undying faith, which became an anchor throughout her life.

She related another experience she had with the Indians. Emma’s mother had sent her to stay with a neighbor lady, lovingly called Old Lady Thorp, who lived alone. They were preparing for bed when a loud rap was heard at the door. The old lady picked up a butcher knife and went to the door. When she opened it there stood an Indian, Old Poke, as he had become known by the settlers. He was really Chief Pocatello, of the Bannock tribe. A frequent visitor in the settlement, he was often drunk. Elizabeth raised her knife and said, “What do you want?” He calmly answered, “Nutting.” She said, “Damn you, take nutting and go,” and she slammed the door in his face, locking and bolting it securely.

Emma often stayed with Elizabeth Thorp. One time she was there when the old lady was ill. She had smoked a pipe for many years while living in Wales and felt she could not break the habit. Emma was given instructions how to fill the pipe, or pip as Mrs. Thorp called it. She told Emma to light the pipe with a piece of wood that had to be started in the fireplace and said, “Lass, you will have to put it in your mouth and draw hard on it.” Emma did as she was told, but started coughing and became very sick to her stomach. Emma’s mother never sent her stay with Mrs. Thorp again.

The light they used was called a bitch, made by pouring oil or grease in a dish with a rag in it that served for a wick. Later they made their own candles. The mattress was made of cloth stuffed with wild hay, or straw when it was available.


           Family of William Morse and Margaret Evans
        Left: Rachel Morse Williams, Margaret Morse Jones,
     Evans Morse, Emma Morse Price, Sarah Morse Williams
Left: Ann Morse Camp, Mary Jane Morse, Sophia Morse Hawkins Anderson,
              Margaret Morse Evans, William Morse

School and church were both held in a one-room log building sixteen by twenty-two feet. There was a raised portion or platform at one end where the teacher’s desk was situated, and where the presiding authorities sat on Sunday. The children attended school only during three winter months, and all the grades were held together in one room with the same teacher. Emma, who had a burning desire for education, studied every spare minute by reading the scriptures and all other available books. She became an excellent speller, winning most of the spelling contests that were held in her village. Even in her declining years she never forgot how to spell. Her grandchildren would say. “We don’t need a dictionary when Grandma is here. She can spell anything.” The school offered only a fifth-grade education, but the readers that were used in the fifth grade were comparable to some of the high school reading of today.

Four more daughters were welcomed into the Morse family—Rachel, Margaret, Sarah and Sophia. Emma and her sisters were often hired out to work for other people. The older girls received fifty cents a week, and the younger ones twenty-five cents.

When Emma was seventeen years of age she married John Evan Price, son of the first pioneer of Samaria. He came to the area in 1967 and helped his father and older brother build the first home in Samaria, which was a dugout. John walked across the plains when he was ten years of age. Very industrious and hard worker, John was ten years older than Emma. With brick made in the kiln in Samaria, he had built a two-room home with rough lumber floors.

Emma and John took a load of wheat in a covered wagon to Collinston to sell, then went on to Brigham City. Leaving their horses and wagon with friends, they caught the train to Salt Lake City where they were married in the Endowment House on March 15, 1883. They stayed in Salt Lake City one night, and then returned by train to Brigham City. With money from the sale of the grain they bought Emma a wedding ring, some furniture and a few necessary supplies.

[Photo: John Evan Price Jr.]

Emma was happy with her new home, and especially enjoyed the spacious porch, which extended across the entire front of the house. The wood floor required scrubbing and scouring, which was done with powdered brick or wood ashes. Later, two more rooms were added along with a summer kitchen, or shanty as it was called. Homespun carpet covered the floors of the two brick rooms. Emma saved every piece of cloth available and tore it into strips that were sewed together and rolled into balls. Her sister, Mary Jane Jones, who was the proud possessor of a carpet loom, made the carpet.

During the early years of Emma’s married life, she knit all the stockings for her family, made her own butter and cheese, and made candles from mutton tallow. Soap was much easier to make as lye became available in cans. The soap was made from grease, lye and water, boiled in a washtub on the stove.

John and Emma decided to homestead a piece of land in Pleasant View, three miles from Samaria. To prove up on the land, they were required to live on it three months of each year. John built a shack on the land, with a partition dividing the living quarters from the grain bin. It was crowded and hot, so they decided to make their bed under the stars, putting the straw tick on the ground. By this time they were blessed with two sons, William and John. One morning when Emma lifted baby John from the bed, she was shocked to see a big scorpion on the baby’s pillow. The experienced so frightened Emma that she would never sleep on the ground again, so they were obliged to move the bed into the grain bin. They were surprised on returning to their home in Samaria to find someone had broken in the house and stolen their silver spoons that were a treasured gift, John’s gold watch and Emma’s wedding ring. She had not been wearing the ring because her hands were thinner and she was fearful of losing it.

John planted an orchard on their land in Samaria when they were first married. In a few years there was an abundance of apples, pears, and plums, all of which were gladly shared with everyone, and were a treat to the Indians who went from door to door begging.

[Photo: John Evan Price, Jr. and Emma Morse]

Yes, it was the constable nailing his sign on the door and gate. It read “Smallpox—keep out.” The Price children had smallpox. When the children were starting to recover, both Emma and John were stricken with the dread disease. Both of them were so sick they were unable to leave their beds. Emma worried about John. He was so very sick and she was unable to help. Finally a brother-in-law, Lewis Williams, took pity on the family and came in, giving John the care he needed. But Lewis took the smallpox home to his family and Emma’s sister, Sarah, lost her baby to the disease. This was always a great sorrow to Emma. She felt so indebted to them the rest of her life. When Emma was still in bed with smallpox she gave birth to her eighth child, a daughter they named Esther. Esther was so covered with smallpox that her brother Will, who was doing the outside chores and caring for the farm, saw her through the window and said she didn’t look human. Everyone expected the baby to die, but she survived the ordeal and lived to raise a family of her own. Emma always said the Lord had a purpose for that baby to live.


Children of John Evan Price and Emma Morse
   Back Row: William Morse, John Morse
   Front Row: Evan Morse, Ruth, Elmer

John suffered an accident when his team of horses became frightened and ran away. As he was trying to stop them, John was thrown on the wagon tongue and suffered severe chest pains. When he contracted double pneumonia it proved too much for his weakened chest condition. He was bedfast for several weeks, and on March 13, 1908, two days before their silver wedding anniversary, he passed away, leaving Emma with ten children, eight of whom were still living at home. Only the older two were married. The children were: William Morse, John Morse, Evan Morse, Ruth, Elmer Vere, Daniel Morse, Margaret, Esther, May Edith and Emma, one year old.

John’s death was a great loss to Emma and her family. When people said to her, “It’s too bad you have these little children,” she said, “Oh no! These little ones are my greatest blessing. They need me. They are my greatest comfort. They are always with me. They make me realize I must go on.”

The sons took turns running the ranch to help support the family. Emma was a hard worker and a good manager. She taught all her children how to work and the value of money, of which there was very little. They did have cows for milk, and chickens for food and eggs. Some pigs were raised so there would be meat for winter. After the hams and bacon were cured, they were hung in the cellar, which was an important storage place in that time of no refrigeration. All perishable foods were kept in the cellar, which was cool in the summer and free from frost in the winter. Bins were built for the apples and potatoes and shelves were made for the bottled and dried fruit. Her children never went hungry. One night Emma heard a noise in the cellar. Taking her coal oil lamp in her hand, she started down the cellar steps, when suddenly a man brushed past her carrying a ham. He never spoke, but she recognized him. She never told her children who it was, but said he must have needed it more than did her family. “He has a large family to feed,” she said, “but I wish he had asked me. I would have been glad to share with him.”

[Photo of Daughters: Margaret and Edith]

Emma never allowed gossip in her home. She said, “If you can’t say something good, don’t say anything.” She would become very upset if her children brought home tales about others.

Emma was called Aunt Emma or Grandma Price by most of the townspeople. Wherever there was sickness she was there. The night was never too dark or the distance too far if she could be of service. Many times she walked three miles to nurse her sister Margaret’s baby, who could not live without mother’s milk. She nursed Margaret’s baby and her own for three months until Margaret was well enough to take care of her own baby. Emma was given credit for saving the baby’s life.

Emma had a natural skill with sick people and became a good midwife. She brought more than a hundred babies into the world, many times with no assistance. For delivery and bathing mother and baby for ten days, the most she received was fifteen dollars. She was often called to assist the young mortician, John Richards, to prepare the dead for burial.

At one time, many houses had signs on them that read “Scarlet fever, keep out!” Emma’s neighbor, her husband’s niece and her family were victims of the disease. Emma left her family under the care of her daughter Ruth while she went to assist Esther Bowen and her family. She was under quarantine with the Bowen family for six weeks. When she came home she gave her family instructions that none of them was to come near her until she had been disinfected. To do this the children were instructed to fill the washtub with warm water and put it in the coal shed with clean clothes, soap and a bottle of Lysol. After bathing and washing her hair on Lysol water, she soaked the clothing she had worn in Lysol overnight. None of her family contracted the disease at that time.

Emma cooked for the herders, sheep shearers, and threshers with the help of her daughters and part of the time with her sister Sophia, who was also a widow. This was seasonal work, but greatly added to the family income.

Prayer was always an important part of the Price family life. Each morning chairs were placed around the table with their backs to the table. Each child and mother prayed in turn, saying the family prayer. Evening prayers were said at Emma’s knee until the child was old enough to say his or her own individual prayer.

When Daniel was in the mission field Emma had sent him money she thought would last for a month, but a letter came saying he needed more money. He had been sent some distance to take charge of a funeral and the money had been spent for train fare. Emma worried because she didn’t know where she could obtain the money to send. The next morning it was Emma’s turn for family prayer. She asked her Father in Heaven for guidance to obtain the money. That day a stranger came to the door and asked to buy a horse. Emma had one horse she felt she could spare, but he was a big, awkward-looking animal she thought would interest no one. The man wanted a good worker and he didn’t care about looks as long as the horse would pull. The horse was an excellent worker, just what the man wanted. Emma was a little hesitant about quoting a price. The stranger seemed to sense it and offered much more than Emma expected. The Lord had surely answered her prayers. What a good example of faith, testimony, and prayer for her children.

[Photo of Daughters: Ruth and Esther May]

Emma was five feet three inches tall with dark hair and a slim build. She was known for her fast walk or slow run. Many people said when they walked with her they had to run to keep up. Her children all learned to run, especially if mother was in a hurry. It was a familiar sight to see Emma hurry by with her apron filled with produce or cooked food she was taking to someone. The Welsh apron was part of the costume and worn by all good Welsh ladies. It was used for many purposes. The white or embroidered aprons with knitted or crocheted lace were worn to Church and on special occasions. Everyone was welcome in Emma’s home. The first thing she always asked was if they were hungry. She then offered them something to eat.

[Photo of Emma Morse Price]

Emma was active in church and community, serving at different times in all the church organizations. She worked on the Relief Society stake board under President Eliza Hall. When Thomas Richards was stake president, he called Emma to two short-term missions in the Logan Temple. She was village clerk when Samaria was incorporated as a village, and also served as clerk of the school board, was active in politics and was the registrar and clerk of elections for many years.


            Children of John Evan Price and Emma Morse:
Back Row: Daniel Morse, Elmer Vere, Evan Morse, John Morse, William Morse
        Front Row: Emma, Edith, Esther May, Margaret, Ruth

Emma saw much history in the making. She saw two sons enter the service during World War One; struggled through the Great Depression, saw many changes, such as the use of electric lights, telephones, radio, airplanes, automated farm machinery and many other timesaving and convenient improvements.

Emma Price passed away Monday, March 16, 1953, after much patient suffering from blood clots, at the home of her daughter and son-in-law, Carl A. and Edith Evans. She was buried March 20, 1953 in the Samaria cemetery, leaving a much-loved and appreciative posterity of 10 children, 60 grandchildren and 108 great-grandchildren. –Edith Price Evans

(Daughters of Utah Pioneers, Lesson for February, 1983)

She always expressed her appreciation for the early settlers of Samaria and felt grateful to them for their faith. She said they suffered every hardship incident to pioneer life, yet they never forgot to worship God and serve their fellow men, earning the title of Good Samaritans. She, like her parents, was truly a Good Samaritan.

I, with my brothers and sisters, feel grateful to God for giving us such a wonderful mother and the examples she set for us each day. It was her way of teaching of God’s way of life. -Edith Price Evans


                    Emma Morse Price and children
Back Row: John Morse, Evan Morse, William Morse, Emma Morse, Ruth, Esther May, Margaret
          Front Row: Elmer Vere, Daniel Morse, Emma, Edith

A few of my memories of Grandma Emma Price by her granddaughter Emma Pearl Price Sterrett:

She was a very religious person, an honest and hard-working woman. She lived in Samaria. That town name fit her well – The Good Samaritan. She helped everyone and also was a midwife. Her husband died leaving her to raise her large family. Her sons, John, Dan and Will took over.

I never remember her wearing short sleeves or a shorter dress. She walked so fast she could raise dust.

All of her children and grandchildren were at her place for Thanksgiving. She always made her fig pudding with lemon sauce, cooked parsnips browned in butter. The children all ate last. One Christmas all of her family were there. She gave each one a gift.

When I was married she took some quilt blocks I had made and finished the quilt. She also gave me a quilt for a wedding gift. This was saved when our house burned down.

I remember going to her home one time when we came from California. We got some genealogy from her. How thrilled she was when we told her we planned on going to the temple.

She did temple work in the Logan Temple until ill health prevented her from going.


Emma Morse Price Born: 17 June 1865 Married: John Evan Price, 15 Mar 1886 He was born 18 Jan 1855.

Their second child was John Morse Price Born: 1 Nov 1886 Married: Ruth Williams, 9 Feb 1907 He was born 27 Mar 1889

[Program for Memorial Service]