Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Emma Emilia Gindrup Thompson

Emma Emilia Gindrup Thompson
Emma Emilia Gindrup was born in Salt Lake City on March 12, 1872.  She was the second daughter and third child of fifteen children of Sarah Andersen Gindrup and John Gindrup; Sarah Amelia, John Einot, Emma Emelia, Marie Christinia, James Joachim, Louis, Harold, Dagmar Julia, Edyth Josephine, Nelson Alexander, August Peter, Laura Augusta, Jennie Utana, Arthur Lawrence, and Hazel Selena.  Just one year earlier in 1871, Sarah and John had lost their first son and second child to death.  Later, out of the seven boys Sarah bore, they would lose five sons – four of them all within less than a year of their birth.  The other son, August Peter, died at just six years old.  All eight girls lived to maturity and had their own families.  The children were brought up in the LDS Church and were taught the Church’s teachings.  After becoming an adult, Emma continued to live by these teachings; they would become an important part of her character.
Emma grew up in Salt Lake City like her future husband, William Jr., did.  In 1873, just a year after Emma’s birth the family resided in the Twentieth Ward.  Records show that in 1874 the family lived on the south side of Birch on the corner of Garden, which was still in the Twentieth Ward.  In 1879, the family lived at the Southeast corner of Fruit and Beech.  By 1884, they were living at 34 South 10th East.  From 1885 until at least 1892, their home was on the corner at 175 South First West in the Fourteenth Ward.  Other buildings on this square block were residential homes, boarding houses, the Continental Market, the Continental Hotel, the Masonic Hall, a Railroad ticket office, the Reporter Power Printing, the Fourteenth Ward Assembly Rooms, the New York Cash Store that contained notions, dry goods, and millinery, a blacksmith, a Billiard place, and the Clark, Eldredge & Company store.  Clark, Eldredge & Company is the place that Emma’s future husband, William, worked at for sixteen years.  He was working there at the time Emma and William met.  The current Salt Palace now stands on the block that was at that time, such a commercial area for the citizens of Salt Lake City.
As Emma grew to maturity, one of her passions was dressmaking.  She would design her own patterns for dresses and clothes.  She once made seventeen dresses in one month (during the first month of marriage) for her sisters and friends.
Emma was a beautiful, but a small woman, not over five feet tall; she was very petite.  William, her future husband, once described her as having “doll-like hands.”
Emma’s sister, Marie, was the one that introduced Emma to William Thompson Jr.  Marie, just sixteen month younger than Emma, had met William first and had dated his for a while.  Marie broke a date with William, so William asked Emma out.  That began their courtship which resulted in their marriage in the Logan Temple on October 21, 1891.  Before they were married in the Temple, Emma and William both were rebaptized about a month before they were married.  Rebaptism was more of a symbol of rededication of a member’s desire to live the laws of the church.  Often the saints in Utah would be rebaptized before going to the Temple before marriage.  Later, in 1897, this practice was discontinued.

Emma remained close to her family even after she grew up and married.  Her brother Arthur, a dentist, was a frequent guest while she lived in Salt Lake.  Every year in early September on Peach day, even after Emma was married, Emma and her own mother, before she passed away, would go and visit her brother, James, and his family in Brigham City.  Brigham City at this time was like a big orchard and grew many fruits.  Brigham City was especially known for its peaches, and would five out free fruit to the people who came to visit for this special day.  As her own children got older, Emma would take one of the children by train up to Brigham City.  Her children had fond memories of traveling by train, which was at that time a luxury.
William and Emma’s first home was in the Sugar House area of Salt Lake Valley, on 2006 Terrace Ave. (now called Douglas Avenue).  They lived there for twelve years, and it is the place that seven of their children were born.  By 1911, the home was torn down.  The area remained basically a residential area about five miles from downtown Salt Lake City.
Before their first baby was born in 1893, Emma had several miscarriages.  The midwife told Emma she lost her first baby because of her peddling on her sewing machine.
Also, at one time while Emma was pregnant, both Emma and William got sick with smallpox.  Although smallpox has been completely eradicated in the United States, smallpox took many victims in the 1800s.  From this highly contagious disease, Emma and William first got a high fever then broke out in rashes.  These rashes were little pimples that eventually would fill with pus and later popped, leaving behind deep pitted pox marks over much of the body.  Along with a high fever came chills, severe headaches, and backaches.  Because of the smallpox, Emma lost her baby, but was very fortunate to not lose William and her own life as well.   After fifteen months of marriage, their first child was born.
In March of 1906, William was called to the California Mission by the First Presidency of the LDS church.  Often, married men with families were called to serve at that time.  The practice of the church back then was that only a select amount of men, and even fewer women were asked to serve a mission.  William left behind Emma and five small children, under the age of thirteen.  William knew that the sacrifice would not only be his, but his families’ as well.
Emma felt every day of that mission, but 1,000 miles away in Utah.  Emma took on the hard task of not only raising five children, but also supporting those children with food and necessities.  Because of Emma’s hard work, she would later suffer from health problems.
The families’ resources were $4.00 a week, and Emma was able to support the family on that small amount.  The children also worked hard to help with chores in the garden, where the family raised fruits and vegetables to eat, and in taking care of the cow that supplied their milk.  To help support the family, seventh-grader Myrtle worked after school and on Saturdays at Murphy’s Candy Factory.
When the family got word of the San Francisco earthquake, they were naturally very worried about the safety of William.  Like other saints in Utah, Emma set about baking as many loaves of bread as she could to send to the homeless survivors of the quake.  William couldn’t help much while he was in California, but he did send supportive letters to Emma and the family.  William tried to keep his letters cheerful, and sometimes teased Emma about some things.
Later in her life, Emma developed Dropsy.  The water was gathered around her heart and she was literally drowning.  There was a point when Emma was so sick that the doctor told Anona and Marian that their mother would not last through the night.  Just one of her legs weighed fifty pounds because of all the water retention, and Emma was a petite woman.  But Emma wasn’t ready to die.  She said (of the doctor), “I won’t die to please him.”  She had her daughters call their bishop, James H. Yancey, so that he could give her another Priesthood blessing.  Through her strong faith and the power of the blessing she survived the night.  The skin on her legs cracked open and the water slowly dripped from her for several weeks.  It was a very painful time because the water that leaked out of her would scald and burn her legs.  They had to keep her legs wrapped in gauze bandages to keep it from burning her.  For those weeks, Emma would sit in her special chair while her legs slowly drained.
Somewhere in the middle of Emma’s ill health the Depression hit Blackfoot.  Money was ever tighter, but Emma’s faith did not falter.  The bishop came around at one time to offer a ton of coal and cheer up Emma and her family.  She informed the bishop to keep his coal for someone who was really in need.  Emma had seen that the Lord had never let her down before, so she didn’t fear the future.
Emma slowly became an invalid by 1932 and 1933.  Emma’s health may have gotten worse, but her disposition never changed for the worse.  She was still very kind and soft spoken, even with the grandchildren.
Emma’s body finally gave up, and she passed away on June 8, 1934.  She was taken down to Salt Lake City to be buried beside her husband.
Excerpts from “The Thompson Tale” by Danielle Batson

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