Down Berrett Lane
I don’t have any idea how many people can lay claim to a street that bears the family name, but the Berretts of North Ogden, Utah belong to that select group. In 1855, Richard Thomas Berrett (Thomas’ father) and his brother Robert moved from Salt Lake City (where they had settled upon arrival from England in 1849) to North Ogden and were among the early pioneers and settlers of that community. As their families grew and other relatives moved to the area, the dusty lane that ran in front of those Berrett family homes became known as Berrett Lane.
So it’s not too surprising to know that newlyweds Tom and Hattie Berrett built their first home “down Berrett Lane.” That starter home was a one-room frame house, comfortable but very modest. Linoleum covered the floor of the entire room, which was the entire house! Because of lack of money and space, their furnishings were not extravagant or showy. They purchased a new three piece bedroom set for $30, and then completed their home decorating with a few pieces of used furniture, perhaps passed along from parents or relatives. Harriet did the cooking on an Early Breakfast coal cook stove which had a small reservoir on the back, which probably gave them the luxury of hot water. The stove filled two needs – cooking and heating the house. They were happy in this little home and looked forward to the time when they would be able to build an addition to increase the size.
The family started to grow with the birth of their first son (Don) in 1903, and during the next two years the young couple was able to add another room to the home. The next 7-8 years brought the births of 4 more children (Lee – who died as an infant, Norma Grant, Maurice), and during this time Tom and Hattie added two more regular rooms, as well as a pantry and a front porch to their home. They both believed in staying out of debt, and as a result only built on as they had the cash to do so. (Side note: this is the same little house where my parents, Mark and Joyce Berrett, began their married life in 1950.)
Not long after this, Tom purchased his father’s farm and orchard and wanted to move closer to the barn and other outbuildings. Tom’s brother, Orson, had a nice brick home adjoining their father’s farm, and as he had recently purchased some land with plans to build a new house, he happily sold the brick house to Tom and Harriet. They lived in this house about 10 years, and added their last three children to the family (Myrtle, Doris, Mark).
My siblings and I remember this home as belonging to Louise (daughter of Don Berrett, granddaughter of Tom & Harriet) and Lee Daniels. I don’t know when they bought it, but I can remember Louise telling me she had lived in it just about all of her adult life. I have great memories of spending the night with my cousin Gwen in her room on the second floor of this house. A few years ago when Louise moved into an assisted living facility, she sold this home, and for the first time since it was built (probably in the early 1900s) it is not occupied by a member of the Berrett family.
Sometime after 1926, Tom and Hattie traded homes with Tom’s sister and brother-in-law, Emily and John Blaylock. Emily and John had built a one and a half story brick home down Berrett Lane just next door to Tom and Hattie’s first home. The two couples worked out a deal, and Tom and Hattie moved their family into the larger brick home. Tom built a barn and other farm buildings nearby and they enjoyed living so close to their irrigated farm land
All of the children, except maybe Don, were living in this house at the time they were married. As the children grew up, I’m sure it was the scene of lots of youthful get-togethers, both planned and impromptu. This was the home where the daughters were courted, and the sons brought girlfriends to visit. It was in this home that Mom and Dad had their wedding reception following their marriage in the Salt Lake Temple in 1950.
During the last few years of his life, Tom’s health failed rapidly, and he was no longer to work and run the farm as he used to. In the spring of 1953, Tom and Harriet sold their farm and the brick home where they had lived for 27 years to their oldest son, Don. In August of that same year, they moved into their newly built, smaller brick home just north of the house they sold to Don. All of their children, except for Grant, were married, so this small and compact home fit their needs very well, and they lived her comfortably until their deaths.
My limited memories of Grandma Berrett are connected to this home. It was here that I watched her can fruit, make bread and crochet doilies. It was in this house that I occasionally watched television on Uncle Grant’s big console model. And it was here that I studied the picture of the children burying the dead rabbit while eating my lunch!