Eliza Jane Bird was born July 13, 1877 in Clover Valley, Lincoln County, Nevada. She was the youngest of 8 children and the older boy and girls humored her, because she was the youngest. Her father was Taylor Reeves Bird and mother was Alice Stokes. Her father was a sheriff there at that time. She used to go to the adult dances when she was quite small. Her father and Clarence played the accordian well and they all liked to jig dance.
When Eliza Jane was six years old, they moved to Ashley Valley, or what is now Vernal, Utah. We can see them with their furniture packed in covered wagons and going along the wagon roads (and some time there was not much road) driving their cows and horses.
When they went places it was by covered wagons. After moving to Ashley, Eliza Jane went to school and in those days they had one teacher for the whole room of children. They had a little one room log cabin house for the school. They did not have nice school desks like they have now. They cut out some boards by hand to have one long one for a seat for about 5 or 6 pupils to sit on and another for them to write on. They only had one book to study out of. They studied reading, writing, and arithmetic. Brother Stringham was their teacher for a number of years.
The country was called Ashley Valley until about 1891 then they named it Vernal. In Vernal and the mountains around, there was lots of snow in the winter time and weather got real cold. They used to ride in sleighs pulled by one or two horses when the went places.
When Eliza Jane was about 10 or 12 she had to milk the cows and also had to go to school in the deep snow. She used to ride horses. In those days the women rode side ways and had side saddles. They sure could ride. She became a good horse back rider.
Eliza went to lots of dances, because she had older brothers and sisters to go with her. She was a good dancer and was real good looking.
When she was 14 her sister Alice worked for Don Colton and Eliza used to go there quite a bit. There she met Hyrum Henry Taylor, who was also working there. They liked one another from the first. He used to call her his little red bird because she wore such a cute little red dress.
One day she was going after the mail on a horse and passed the lime kiln where the men were burning bricks and the men said, “Hyrum there goes your girl.”
They soon began to go to the dances together. Eliza’s father liked Hi Taylor because he was a good boy. They had to go 10 miles to the dances and sometimes they would ride a horse, her on sideways behind him, or in a two-wheeled cart pulled by one horse. Other times they would each ride a horse, and in the winter they sometimes rode in a sleigh. The day finally arrived when they were to be married, July 24, 1892. She had just turned 15 years old. Little did little Eliza Jane know about what lay before her. This young man she married was honest and saving.
To make this brief, Eliza Jane bore her husband 13 Children, 7 girls and 6 boys. After they were married, through sickness of her husband, she kept the family a great part of the time from starving. They lost everything they had and had to start anew in a new country away from relatives, and friends, and had to live among strangers.
I am going to relate one story to show what she had to do at times in hard times.
In the year 1901 the oldest little boy Clarence was ailing for a while and they did not know what was the matter with him. He became quite sick and they found he had the walking typhoid fever. They were up night after night with him for he was out of his head and it took one or two people to hold him in bed.
They sent May, Ida, and the baby away to the neighbors so they would not take this dreaded disease. They stayed with their aunt who was visiting with them. There aunt left so the children were put with a neighbor woman till one of the little girls came down with it. Then another woman took the baby to care for. Next father and Violet came down with it. They were very sick. There was no one but the mother to take care of them. People were afraid of it and help was scarce.
There was about 10 head of cows to milk two times a day and the milk had to be taken to the dairy once a day, for this meant bread and butter for the family. Four sick people to take care of besides other chores of washing and other things that needed to be done. This dear mother never took the sickness. She was up night and day and when the children began to mend they were poor puny little things, and almost bald headed where their hair had come out with the fever. They were asking Mamma, “Give me some bread, I’m so hungry,” or “Mamma give me something to eat, I am starving.”
Day after day for weeks this went on and as they got so they could walk, she had to hide the food, (because with this sickness they could only have certain things to eat and just a certain amount of it.) She was not always there and they would make themselves sick eating. One time Violet thought she knew where there was something good to eat so she climbed up on a chair and looked way up on the cupboard, but it wasn’t there. Little May was crippled in the lower limbs till she could hardly walk for months.
Then a day came two or three months later when the fever was over and most all was up but the father (and he was sick for a long time after) so they brought the baby home. The woman who had the baby loved her and gave her lots of play things. They had her for about two months, and the baby had forgotten her real Mamma. When her real mother grabbed her in excitement and love for her she screamed and cried for her other mother. How it hurt her real mother to think the little dear, her own baby, had forgotten her. But in the next room lay the father and he called to her and she ran in to him for she recognized his voice. While in with her father the lady went home. What a rejoicing there was in that household that day to all be back together again. Gradually the father got better but it was months before he could walk. He had to go on crutches or on his hands and knees.
She broke horses to work and wild cows to milk. She plowed and harrowed and planted grains of all kinds. She irrigated hundreds of acres of land with ditches and cut hay and stacked it . She did about everything a man does on a farm. She has run a binder and cut grain, she helped to build the big brick house on the farm and dug a cellar with a scraper and plowed out ditches. She raised chickens and pigs, calves and cows, and horses. She hauled the milk to the creamery, cooked and did the family washing by hand. She nursed the family many times in sickness and she was never sick. She was always happy. When all would be cranky and cross she would have a laugh or a joke to make us feel better.
She loved her religion. She joined the Church of Jesus Christ Sept. 28, 1898 in Mesa, Maricopa Co., Arizona. She has seen the sick healed through faith and prayers. She loved to go to church, ant to attend Relief Society Meetings and Sunday School. She had a pretty good education. With all these 45 years of responsibility and trials she went through, she will be 61 years old July 13, 1938, and looks as young as her youngest daughter.