Utah Historical Quarterly
home every week to cook, clean, wash, and do whatever she could do to help the family members. She also adopted a boy from a reform school whom she raised from age seven to seventeen when he went on his own. Matilda pursued her life's work despite handicaps. She was, according to Bert Hales, "stricken with rheumatoid arthritis when a fairly young woman. Her hands were all misformed, but she would come and do so much for us. I can remember at the end of the day she would be so tired that she could hardly walk home."^ Later in life she was not able to wear shoes because of her deformed feet but had to wear slippers even to attend church. In addition to her many family responsibilities, Matilda became a midwife and nurse. The minutes of the Deseret Ward Relief Society for November 6, 1902, report that Sister Alice Moody spoke of sending Sister Matilda Hales to learn to be a nurse. She was willing to help those in need. Sister Marie Damron thought Matilda was the one that should be sent to be a nurse for this ward. Sister Matilda Hales was nominated and voted as the one to be a nurse. Sister Fannie Cropper spoke a few words and encouraged the sisters to pray for Matilda. Brother Hales spoke on the same subject. . . . Victoria Black was chosen to go get donations for Sister Matilda Hales. 2nd Counselor Sarah J . Hales spoke of sending someone to be a nurse.
However, the December 4, 1902, minutes record that "Sister Damron spoke for some time about the nurse they had chosen . . . said it had all fallen through. "^Â° Apparently, the Deseret Ward members could not agree on whether to send someone to learn nursing or midwifery, so the plans for Matilda were postponed until the issue was resolved. The minutes record no mention of when it was decided to send Matilda to Salt Lake City to study midwifery, but a nephew, Ralph Crafts, believes it was in 1904. Although the Deseret Ward Relief Society had agreed to assist with the expenses, "She went and paid all her expenses," explained friend and neighbor Myrle Western Bennett. "She wouldn't accept any help from the ward."^^ Matilda was always very proud of the fact that she had had the opportunity to study under Dr. Ellis R. Shipp. It is difficult to say how much Matilda was influenced by her mentor or if the similarities were due to Matilda's upbringing and the influence of her religious training. Whatever their origin, definite similarities in their philosophies regard-
9Bert Hales interview. loRelief Society Minutes, Deseret Ward, Deseret, Utah. iiCrafts letter; funeral eulogy by Myrle Western Bennett, Deseret, Utah, October 3 1 , 1957.