Friday, November 16, 2012

Mary Ann Hilton and William Asa Speirs

Mary Ann Hilton was born 17 November 1879 in Salt Lake City to David Allen Hilton and Margaret Burt Hilton.  She was the first daughter and second child for her parents.  Mary Ann was the "pet" of her grandfather Hilton.  He had a very special bond with his granddaughter.  He gave her a lovely black child-sized platform rocking chair and she also received all of the special attention that a doting grandfather could give her.

William Asa Speirs was born 26 November, 1877, in Tooele, Utah to William Harrison Speirs and Mary Jane Walters Speirs.  When he was 3 years old, the family moved from Tooele to Bennington, Idaho.  He attended barber college in Chicago when he was 22 years old and then accepted a position with his relative, Matt Lyon, in his barber shop in Salt Lake City.  He met Mary Ann as he worked in Salt Lake.
Mary Ann’s father and mother were against her marrying Wm. Speirs and her father actually disowned his daughter, but true love conquers all and the two were married on 6 August 1903.
Mary Ann and William became parents with the birth of their son, Frank Hilton Speirs, in 1904 and then again with the birth of a daughter, Mable Virginia Speirs, in 1906.  Both children were born in Salt Lake City.  In 1910 the family moved to Montpelier, Idaho.
Mary Ann was a wonderful cook and to her granddaughters it seemed like she was always cooking something.  Frankie remembers that she made the best macaroni and cheese – loaded with butter. 
Mary Ann was known by her granddaughters as Mama Speirs, and Papa Speirs was what Wm. Asa was called.  Mama was always very loving and kind to her granddaughters.  Her granddaughters remembered that she always had salt and pepper hair.
Mary Ann’s father, David Allen Hilton, was a warden at the penitentiary in Utah.  Papa Speirs always wanted to witness an execution.  He begged his father-in-law for an opportunity to see an upcoming execution.  He was granted his wish.  He attended the execution and he nearly passed out.  He never asked to go again.
Papa and Mama had an old Oldsmobile that shimmied.  One time they went to Salt Lake area to visit Mama’s sister.  Going up Logan Canyon, a steep grade, the car shimmied so much that it went off the road into a snowbank.
Papa and Mama rented for years and years.  Papa didn’t want to own a house.  Finally they decided that they would buy a home on Jackson Street in Montpelier.  They bought their home for $2500 and they paid cash for it.  Mama was a very good housekeeper.  She kept a nice, clean home.  Her home was comfortable and a nice place to be.  Mama and Papa kept a nice yard and always had a big bed of tulips next to the house. 
Mama liked to do needlework and crocheted beautiful things with small, even stitches.  She put quilt tops together and was exacting in her needlework.
One of the things that Papa liked to do was hand-tint photos.  In the days before color photography, he would make lifelike, painstaking colorings of the black and white photos.  When he became a widower, he spent hours and hours cutting photos from magazines and artfully arranging them in scrapbooks.
The couple often went to the canyon for picnics where Papa collected rocks.  Papa loved to fish and took his boat out on Bear Lake as often as he could.  They loved to go for Sunday drives and up into the canyon to see the deer.  Papa would go hunting with his son, Frank.  Several times they drove to Jackson to see the elk herds.
Every Saturday Mama would send a scrambled egg sandwich with Papa because he had no time to eat.  She would always watch out the window at the end of the day and look for him to come walking home.  As soon as she spotted him she would put the meat on to cook, so that he would have a delicious supper ready for him.
Both Mama and Papa had their family roots in Scotland.  The stereotypical Scottish trait of frugality must have influenced Papa a little bit more than his wife. When her grandchildren would come to visit, they never left empty handed.  They always were given candy or money by Mama Speirs.  She would whisper to them not to tell Papa about the monetary gifts.  She was a generous grandmother.
As Mary Ann grew older she was heavier and found it hard to get around.  She developed diabetes and suffered from its effects.  She was hospitalized for approximately one week and passed away 7 April 1956 at the age of 76.
 In his later years, Papa helped out some friends who owned the Arctic Circle by working for them doing odd jobs.
He was relatively healthy older man.  He cooked for himself and stayed active.
When he was 92, Papa would often walk to town and stop in to see his friend Eddie who had a little barber shop.  Eddie was also quite elderly but still cut hair in his little shop.  The two of them were probably the 2 oldest men in town and they had a lot in common, both being barbers and both living in Montpelier for a long time.  When Papa arrived at the shop, Eddie would take a break and go get the two of them a donut while Papa waited at the shop and watched for customers.  The two of them would visit and enjoy their donuts.  One day Eddie returned with the donuts and found Papa sitting in a chair and he had passed away.  He must have gone quickly and peacefully.


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