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Utah Historical Quarterly

no matter how tired or sick she felt herself.'' Christensen remembered that as a young girl she fell off a ladder and scraped her shin on the head of a rusty nail. It was a painful wound and soon became infected. "Every day, all summer long, I went to Aunt Till's house and she treated my leg. It was slow in healing and I remember how patient Aunt Till was with me and how she spent time pouring sterile water on the sore to loosen the gauze that was stuck to the raw flesh." In the fall of 1917, when Christensen's three brothers were stricken with typhoid fever, Matilda was always there to help. The two youngest brothers recovered, but the oldest did not survive. The following year, Christensen said, the flu epidemic kept " A u n t Till . . . really busy going from one house to another. I don't understand how she kept going as long as she did. Sheer will power, I suppose." Later, " W h e n my mother contracted typhoid fever in the fall of 1924, and was bedridden for two months before her death. Aunt Till came every day to offer help and advice, although my sister Hulda and I were adults, capable of taking care of our mother. I believe Aunt Till knew mother was sicker than we realized. "^^ Even when Matilda was not the midwife she came when there were delivery complications. After Rose McCuUough had her first baby and got blood poisoning, Matilda was called to take care of her. She stayed night and day, never leaving until Rose was well. Rose's mother cared for the baby until Rose was well enough to do so. Mr. McCuUough was concerned about paying for Matilda's services, but she told him not to worry. He called her an angel of mercy and said that he would always be grateful for her assistance. If it had not been for the excellent care Matilda had given Rose, he doubted that she would have lived.^^ Most of Aunt Till's memorabilia were destroyed when the old family home burned to the ground in January 1960. A few items in the possession of another niece were destroyed when Deseret was flooded in 1983. Some of her effects that remain were stored in an old shed; they include patent medicine bottles. It is not clear now if she ever used the contents for her patients, but the labels of two of the bottles— revealing large alcohol components—are especially interesting in view of the fact that she was such an ardent teetotaler.^^

27Christensen letter. 28Interview with Myrtle Western, Deseret, Utah, March 1986. 29Bottles in possession of author.

Profile for Utah State History

Utah Historical Quarterly, Volume 55, Number 3, 1987  

Utah Historical Quarterly, Volume 55, Number 3, 1987  

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