Bridging Generations

Ancestors and descendents of Joyce Verla Pratt and Mark Richard Berrett

Archive for the category “harriet lydia brown”

My Aunt Doris

Doris Berrett

Doris Berrett Wright 1922 – 2019

My Aunt Doris died January 30, 2019.  She was the sibling next to my dad in family order and was four years older than he was.  With her death, Dad is now the last of Tom and Hattie Berrett’s children still alive.  Theirs was a large and spread out family with the first child born in 1903 and the 8th (my Dad) born in 1926.

mark and doris berrett

Mark and Doris Berrett – about 1929/30

Doris Berrett - 1945

1945 – “To Mark Richard — Love, your Sis”

Doris on mission 1946

Doris as a missionary in 1946

Aunt Doris’ death has left me with a feeling of loss that I didn’t expect.  She and I didn’t spend a lot of time together, and in my adult years our interactions were limited to family reunions or visits with my dad to her apartment in a senior residence facility.  As I’ve thought about these feelings, I’ve realized that my sadness comes because Aunt Doris was my last living link to generations of strong Brown/Berrett women.   I never really knew my Grandma Berrett who died when I was only 10, and the generations before her I am acquainted with only through old pictures and written histories they left behind.  Aunt Doris was living proof of the strength, faithfulness and love that my ancestral grandmothers shared.  And I loved her for that!

Mark, Myrtle, Maurice, Doris, 1989

Berrett Siblings, 1989 – Maurice, Myrtle, Doris, Mark

It’s humbling to realize that with Aunt Doris’ passing, I have become one of the current generation of strong Brown/Berrett women.
I hope I can make them proud.



Picturing a successful marriage

Berrett, Harriet & Thomas wedding

Hattie and Tom Berrett – 7 May 1902

For as long as I can remember, I have loved this photograph of my paternal grandparents, Harriet Lydia Brown and Thomas Francis Berrett, on their wedding day.  The original, on display in my dad’s living room, is a round, metal picture, and I’ve always called it a tintype, having no idea if it really is.

Hattie was 18 years old and Tom was 20 when they were married on 7 May 1902 in the LDS temple in Salt Lake City, Utah.  They didn’t travel any distance away for a honeymoon, but quietly settled into the important business of homemaking and farming on part of his father’s farm.  The Berretts had 8 children, 7 of whom lived to be adults, and they had been married 55 years when Tom passed away in 1957.

I love the way Grandma Berrett is sitting, leaning towards her adored husband.  She looks confident, calm, and at the same time, just a little bit spirited.  I only knew my grandmother as an older lady – serious, proper and reserved.  But this picture reminds me that she was once young and in love and probably bubbling with personality.  Her dress and head piece are beautifully simple, and I’m assuming she and/or her mother made her ensemble.  I love to think about her picking out the fabric and trim to make the perfect dress for her special day.

Remember that creating a successful marriage is like farming:
you have to start over again every morning.
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.


All my Children

We were introduced to Tom and Harriet Berrett’s family in this post about their homes, so now it’s time to get acquainted with their 8 children, of whom my dad is the youngest.  The oldest son, Don, was born in 1903 and the youngest, my father Mark, was born in 1926, so a huge age spread exists in those siblings.

  • Donald Thomas –  17 January 1903 – 8 November 1986
  • Lee Brown – 2 December 1904 – 17  January 1905
  • Norma Ione – 5 March 1906 – 16 May 1985
  • Grant Edward – 4 October 1909 – 9 October 1973
  • Maurice Allen – 29 January 1912 – 5 August 2003
  • Myrtle Harriet – 31 October 1916 – 12 July 2012
  • Doris – 27 August 1922 –
  • Mark Richard – 22 March 1926 –

Enjoy these pictures taken through the years.

Berrett Family 1908

about 1908 – children Don and Norma

Berrett Family abt 1912

1912 – Norma holding Maurice, Don standing, Grant sitting

Tom & Harriet Berrett 1918

about 1918

back (L to R):  Don, Harriet, Tom, Norma
front(L to R):  Maurice, Myrtle, Grant

Berrett family 1929

about 1928

back (L to R):  Grant, Norma, Maurice, Myrtle, Don
front(L to R): Mark, Harriet, Tom, Doris

mark and doris berrett

Mark and Doris – about 1930

Have you taken a family picture lately?

. . . devoted to her family

USU graduation

Harriet Lydia (Brown) Berrett with her son, Mark Richard Berrett, at the time of his graduation from Utah State University – June 1953

In honor of her 132nd birthday, here are some remarks shared at her funeral by Grandma’s friend Myrtle Barker.

“Sister Hattie was born on April 11, 1884, in North Ogden, and here she lived all her life except for 1 1/2 years when they lived in Tremonton.  Her childhood days were just like any childhood, but there was a lot of hard work and she completed her school in the elementary grades in the North Ogden School.

“They were parents to eight children, one baby passed away, so they reared to manhood four sons and three wonderful daughters.  What a wonderful family they always were; always devoted to each other and to their father and mother.  

“She always loved music and when she was younger she used to sing quite a bit in duets and quartets and she would sing solos.  She would get Ellen (her sister) to sing and one song they sang so beautifully that I remember was “Mistletoe Bough.”

She was always devoted to her sisters, Ellen [Berrett] and Emily Folkman.  Always ready to give a helping hand to anyone who was in need, even when her husband was ill for so long.  She loved her home and she loved her family.  She was a good housekeeper and an excellent cook.  Just last summer I spent an afternoon in her home and she had been bottling peaches and pickles.  She had always been taught thrift.  She had always been devoted to her family and proud of their accomplishments.  She like to work hard and she liked to see things well kept.  She like to work out of doors.  I don’t know of a woman in North Ogden who has be invited to as many quiltings.  She was a wonderful quilter and always such good company.  The last few years she has done a lot of hard work.”

She has left us a great legacy.  Happy Birthday, Grandma Berrett!


“Harriet Lydia joins Brown Family”

130 years ago on April 11, 1884 Harriet Brown’s birth, although a significant event to her family, didn’t make headlines in the local newspaper.  In fact, that happy occasion in the Brown family wasn’t even mentioned in the Ogden paper!  The editors and publishers of the Ogden Daily Herald had much more important news to share with the growing community.  Advertisements for spring goods, baking powder, and guns all got front page coverage, along with accounts of some gruesome murders under “Telegraph Tidings.”

A glimpse into the news of that day:

Ogden Daily Herald April 11, 1884

Ogden Daily Herald
April 11, 1884

And just to highlight a couple of articles from the inside pages.

"Rescued From Death" How could you not buy this product?

“Rescued From Death”
How could you not buy this product?

Attention young ladies of the Young Ladies Mutual Improvement Association

Attention young ladies of the
Young Ladies Mutual Improvement Association


Harriet Lydia Brown Berrett circa 1952

Harriet Lydia Brown Berrett
circa 1952

Happy 130th Birthday,

Grandma Berrett!


Down Berrett Lane

Mark Berrett in his childhood surroundings Berrett Lane  - (600 East), North Ogden, Utah

Mark Berrett in his childhood surroundings
Berrett Lane – (600 East), North Ogden, Utah

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.

Tom and Harriet's first home  (picture taken about 1950)

Tom and Harriet’s first home
(picture taken about 1950)

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).

Brick home adjacent to farm picture taken 2010

Brick home adjacent to farm
picture taken 2010

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

Brick home in 1947

Brick home in 1947

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.

Tom and Harriet's last home on Berrett Lane

Tom and Harriet’s last home on Berrett Lane

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!

Be grateful for the home you have, knowing that at this moment, all you have is all you need.”
Sarah Ban Breathnach

Young love – 1900’s style

Hattie and Tom Berrett 7 May 1902

Hattie and Tom Berrett
7 May 1902

Hattie was 18 years old and Tom was 20 when they were married on 7 May 1902 in the LDS temple in Salt Lake City, Utah.  They didn’t travel any distance away for a honeymoon, but quietly settled into the important business of homemaking and farming on part of his father’s farm.

Tom had a great knowledge of soil preparation, cultivation and irrigation and used that knowledge and experience to ensure an abundant harvest.   In addition to his farming, during the grain harvest he worked with a crew on the threshing machine.  Because his crew did grain harvest throughout the area, at times it was necessary for Tom to be away from home for a week at a time.  When the harvest required Tom to be gone, Harriet handled all the chores, milked their cows, fed the pigs and looked after the chickens, in addition to keeping up with their garden.

I suppose that during those weeks when Tom was traveling, the days must have seemed long and tedious to the young bride.  Harriet’s brother recorded that when the threshing crew was working in North Ogden, Harriet liked to watch the crew move through the fields around her home. I can picture her watching from a respectable distance, careful to not be in the way, but anxious and excited to see her new husband working so competently alongside older men.  And I love to imagine her giggling and flirting, just a little bit, if he happened to glance her way.

Young love crosses all generations!





Young Hattie Brown

Siblings - Emily Elizabeth, Nephi James, and Harriet Lydia Brown circa 1888

Siblings – Emily Elizabeth, Nephi James, and Harriet Lydia Brown
circa 1888

Born April 11, 1884, Harriet Lydia Brown was the 6th child born to Thomas B Brown and Eliza Brown White.  Each of her parents had been married previously so she was actually the 17th child born into the family.  At the time of their marriage, widowed Eliza became the plural wife of  Thomas and lived in a polygamous marriage until the death of his first wife, Jane White, who was actually the sister of Eliza’s first husband, John White.

Got all that? Don’t worry – hopefully the confusion will clear up in future posts.  At this point it’s enough to know that Harriet was born into a large pioneer family, and both of her parents had arrived in Utah from England – Thomas in September, 1855 and Eliza in October, 1863.

Eliza Brown in front of her home in North Ogden, Utah

Harriet’s mother, Eliza Brown in front of her home in North Ogden, Utah

Harriet was born at home, in the first brick home in North Ogden and grew up working with her parents and siblings both inside the house and outside on the farm.  The family farm was made up of many apple, peach and plum trees as well as a large patch of raspberries, blackberries, gooseberries, and black and red currants.  Eliza, Harriet’s mother, dried and sold lots of fruit to add to the family income.  Harriet spent countless hours peeling and quartering peaches and apples and spreading them out on the shed roofs or homemade scaffolds to dry.  In addition, she picked and cleaned gooseberries and currants for making jam and jelly and helped bottle lots of fruit for winter use.

Much of the raspberry crop was sold to a man who took them to Ogden and liked them fresh every morning.  The usual price was 50 cents for a case of 16 cups, but occasionally they could get as much as 75 or 80 cents a case.  The income from the fruit was often spent on clothing for Hattie and her siblings, and she always looked forward to a new dress for Christmas.

From the time she was about eleven into her early teens, Harriet was responsible for milking four or five cows each morning and evening.  On sub-zero mornings in winter, milking those cows before breakfast was no job for the faint-hearted or weak willed!

Hattie started school in the old adobe schoolhouse in North Ogden.  She took her school work very seriously and really wanted to learn all she could. In the evenings after the outside chores were done and the supper dishes cleaned up she sat beside the coal stove and  studied by the light of a coal lamp.  She graduated from the eighth grade with honors just a few days before her father passed away.

As she grew older, Hattie went to do housework in the home of Edwin G. McGriff.  She did housework including washing and cooking for wages of $1.25 a week plus her room and board.  Mr. McGriff wanted to raise fruit on a commercial scale, so he hired  a number of men to help with the business.  Some of those men boarded at the McGriff home, and their meals and laundry were part of Hattie’s responsibilities.  The wash water had to be carried from a distance and the clothing had to be washed by hand on a scrub board.  The long-legged underwear worn by the working men was grimy with dirt and sweat and usually required extra tubbing and scrubbing.  Hattie’s arms must have ached from that awful work!

In the days of her childhood, of course there were no movies, radio, or television to entertain Harriet and her friends, so they made their own fun and recreation.  Summer holidays brought fun in races and other sports, followed by patriotic programs in which many of them took part.  In winter time, sleigh riding was  a popular activity, either on hand sleds, toboggans, or in bobsleighs.  All over town on winter nights one could hear the jingle of sleigh bells and see young people sitting on straw in the bobsleighs, covered to the neck with quilts with hot bricks to keep their feet warm.  I suppose those of us who have only sung “Jingle Bells” don’t really have any idea of the thrill of “dashing through the snow” while listening to the bells “jingle all the way.”

Hattie and her friends often attended a singing school on Thursday nights, which became a center for a lot of socializing and probably some flirting as well.  In addition the young people had a lot of house parties at which the played games and sang together, and occasionally had a molasses taffy pull.

And it was because of social events such as those that Harriet began a sweet courtship with the handsome Tom Berrett.

Grandma Berrett

My Grandma Berrett

My Grandma Berrett

Harriet Lydia Brown Berrett
11 April 1884 – 16 May 1963

My Grandma Berrett died in 1963 when I was just 9 years old.  Because I was so young when she died, and our family had lived in Michigan for a number of years, I have just a few vague memories of her.  I suppose we visited my dad’s family in Utah every year or so, but I don’t remember much.  As a result, I anticipated that as I recorded the family history here, I’d simply share what others have said about her.  But when I began to read what others have written about her, I realized that I do have a connection with my Grandma.  Time and distance may have prevented me from having the same kind of relationship with her as I did with my Gram, but I do feel a closeness to her as I remember my childhood visits.

And so I don’t forget the few memories I have, here are 10 things I remember about my Grandma Berrett:

  • The table in the corner of the kitchen was where we ate meals at Grandma’s house.  Hanging above the table was a painting of some children burying a dead rabbit.

    I'm not certain that this is the same picture, but hers was very similar

    I’m not certain that this is the same picture, but hers was very similar – source

  • Several tables in the living room and dresser tops in the bedrooms were very simply adorned with lace doilies that Grandma tatted (or crocheted?)
  • Grandma’s hair was quite gray, and she always had it pulled it up in some kind of little bun on the back of her head.
  • She was a gentle and soft spoken woman.
  • Grandma Berrett never wore slacks, and always wore sensible black lace up shoes.
Sensible black shoes

Sensible black shoes

  • As we usually visited in the summer, she often bottled countless jars of fruits and vegetables during our visit.  I’m sure some of those jars made it back to Michigan with us.
  • Breakfast was huge at her house, and always included some form of “mush.”
  • She was 70 years old when I was born, and seemed quite old to my little girl self, but she stayed very busy in the kitchen and around the house.
  • A bowl of bread and milk was a regular menu item at Grandma’s house.  I think it was most commonly part of a Sunday night supper.
  • When we were leaving her house to return to Michigan on one occasion, she stood in the driveway and got teary-eyed at our departure.  I felt a connection to her as I realized that she loved us, and we were part of her family.
Grandma Berrett standing in the driveway of her home on Berrett Lane

Grandma Berrett standing in the driveway of her home on Berrett Lane

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