Friday, June 17, 2011

Happy 149th Birthday, Margaret Muir Hatch (1862-1946)!

Anna Cramer's grandmother

Daughter of Scottish pioneers, Maggie was my grandmother's grandmother.

The eleventh of twelve children born to Scottish pioneers (with dozens of half-siblings from her father’s other wives), Maggie was raised in Bountiful with traditional frontier training in housekeeping and farm duties.  She loved to read any book she could find, was an excellent speller, and was schooled by her stepmother Lucy Darke, a gifted English woman.

Muir family, Maggie seated on left
Maggie wedding 1882
Maggie remembered chasing the grasshoppers and swinging slatted bonnets at them to drive the hoppers onto piles of straw the boys made and then burned.  One of her childhood chores was to scrape horseradish, which was bottled into vinegar.  She also plucked goose down and made a playhouse with her sisters in a grove of locust trees.  She participated in the first choir in West Bountiful.  Maggie always loved her flower garden, and once she made a sunflower costume for a masquerade ball she attended.  Maggie and William met at a party and were married in the Endowment House. Her parents invited a hundred guests to their reception at her mother’s home.  William would accompany her to dances, but not participate—he “had no music in his toes.” 

She and William were early settlers in Scipio, joining William’s uncles who had pioneered the area.  William farmed, and Maggie sewed special deerskin gloves from Indian leather for his tender hands.  They mourned the death of two daughters, and frequently returned to Bountiful by both covered wagon and train to visit and bring back seeds and shrubs (after which trips Maggie sometimes cried).  Maggie taught Sunday School, served as a Relief Society counselor over wheat projects and burials, and served as the stake YWMIA president for twelve years.  At that time the stake included all of Millard County, and Maggie made her ward visits driving her own horse and buggy.  In the late 1890s, she had a bad fever that made all of her hair fall out.  She wore a skull cap until it came back in, black and curly. 
Maggie in the middle

Maggie loved beauty and many entries in her diary tell about a beautiful sunny day, a wonderful snowstorm, or a special snow ride.  She preserved currants, and knit stockings by coal oil while the children studied around the table.  William and Maggie visited the sick and went everywhere together.  They had their remaining teeth pulled and false ones fitted in their kitchen by an itinerant dentist in the early 1900s.  She always saved any special tidbit of food for William, and honored him.  The 4th of July and Christmas were celebrated in a big way, with parties and dancing and stage plays.  They put on a special program to honor President Snow when he visited Scipio.

Maggie outlived her husband by decades and lived in her Scipio home for sixty-one years, minus a few years where she lived in Ephraim while her youngest girls (as well as a neighbor girl whom she sponsored) attended high school and college. While in Ephraim, Maggie worked many hours in the Manti Temple, and later also worked in the Salt Lake Temple for several years.  In 1930, Maggie took a trip to California with her son, saw Hollywood, “Old Mexico” and Chinatown, and stayed with relatives there for several months.  
Maggie in the back, Anna Cramer seated bottom left, I think

She was remembered for establishing habits of good health, and for being possessed of a sound mind, thrift, industry, and good character.  One relative said she was one of the sweetest women he had ever met, gracious and loving.  Her daughter said that her pioneer mother had conquered hunger, sorrow, suffering, and sacrifice, and was well-qualified to comfort and teach. Maggie taught her children the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the true way of life: to love much and to give much, to be humble and clean.

Since she loved beauty so much, I would give her a bouquet of flowers today.


  1. great photos! sounds like a wonderful lady!

  2. I'd give her a book of poetry: sounds like the kind of thing she might enjoy.