Life Story of Effie Maude Simpson Oviatt 1881

Life Story of

Effie Maude Simpson Oviatt


Effie Maud SimpsonEffie Maude Simpson (called Effie) was the third of eleven children born to Henry and Rosella (Grover) Simpson.  She was born August 17, 1881 in Farmington, Davis County, Utah.  Since the two children born before her had died in infancy Effie was raised and known as the oldest child.

Her father, the son of Thomas and Martha (Brailsford) Simpson, was born May 4, 1852 in Byron, Nottinghamshire, England.  Her mother, the daughter of Thomas and Emma (Walker) Grover, was born March 1, 1860 in Farmington, Davis County, Utah.  Henry and Rosella were married September 5, 1876 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah.

When Effie was three years old the family moved to Egin Bench, Idaho where they lived until she was seven.  The family then moved to Parker, Idaho, a little town four miles west of the county seat at St. Anthony.  She attended school here in a little log schoolhouse about two miles from her home with E. Z. Carbine as teacher.  He once promised Effie and her other school chums that if they could go three weeks without whispering in school he would given them 5 cents.  No one knows if they got the money or not, but knowing school children they probably couldn’t make it the three weeks without whispering.

Effie Maud Simpson - Birth CertificateEffie’s cousins, the Flints, lived just across the road from her and they would walk home from school together.  Many times they would run away and leave Effie to walk past the graveyard alone because they knew she was afraid.  While attending school, mother and her cousins invited a crowd of girls to her home for a quilting party.  They all arrived, much to Effie’s mother’s surprise, to find no quilt.  They had the party anyway, which was what they girls had wanted in the first place.

When the town of Parker was laid out, Effie was just fifteen years old and she used to ride to school in a bobsled with eight or ten other boys and girls.  While still attending school, Effie’s girlfriend, Ann Jackson, taught her how to crochet.  One day there were crocheting in school behind their big geography books.  When Ann had finished her project and Effie saw what it was, forgetting where she was, she said, “Oh! It’s a mouse!” out loud and they both ended up standing in the corner.

All of the kids in the neighborhood would gather up the discarded limbs from the pruned raspberry bushes and pile them up.  Then after supper they would light them on fire and play hide and go seek.  One of the hired men used to play with them and when it was time to go home they would make him be “it” and instead of hiding all the kids would go home and leave him standing there.  It was around this time that Effie met Parley Oviatt.  He and his brother Jack came to Parker to live with their uncle after the death of both their parents.  Effie was about sixteen years old.

Effie’s cousin, William Flint, often took the whole gang to dances in his sleigh.  When he was ready to go he would stand on his porch and yell.  Then all the kids in the neighborhood would wait at their front gates and he would come by and pick them up.

Danny Carbine often took the kids to school in his sleigh.  One winter morning he told the kids he would give them a merry ride down the main street of Parker.  He went around a corner so fast that they sleigh tipped over.  When they lifted the sleigh up ten kids crawled out, no one was injured, but their lunches were scattered amongst the hay.  For several days after that, whenever one of the kids looked at each other they would start to laugh.  This is how Effie traveled to school for several years.  In April 1898, when she was seventeen years old, Effie started working for the Fletchers.

She worked here all summer, going home only once a week.  While working here she got her first letter from Parley Oviatt.  He had moved to Utah and she had moved to Rexburg, Idaho shortly after where she batched with her sister Pearl and a friend Chloe Stoddard (Rice).  Her boyfriend then was a Mr. Barnes.  After she had lived here for two months Parley came to see her.  Her cousin Bertha, on her way home from Portland, Oregon, stopped in to see her as well.

Maude's HandwritingOn her first trip home she came with her girlfriend, Mary Kerr, for the weekend.  While she was at home Parley invited her to a dance, which they attended, arriving in a sleigh.  Effie then returned to school and Parley to his job of sheep herding.

During the Christmas holidays Effie and some of her girlfriends met a chum of Parley’s.  They were all anxious to meet him so Parley introduced him under a false name.  He later wrote and told Effie about it.  Effie returned to school and worked for Fletchers again.  She used to ride horseback, and many times Parley’s sister and brother-in-law, Phebe and Chan, would be there.

While working at Fletchers she became engaged to Parley.  They were engaged about one year then they broke up and she returned to school at Rex Academy in Rexburg.  Parley came to see her and they became engaged again.  In the spring she went to work for Ann Jackson’s father and the engagement was broken again.  One Saturday night she went home and Parley coaxed her not to go back to work.  She agreed and they became engaged once again.


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