Monday, October 8, 2012

Harriet Lendora Brakefield Conder

Harriet was born April 3, 1855, in Linden, Tennessee, the daughter of Mary E. Dickson and Lemuel Brakefield. When she was 6 years old, her father enlisted in the army to fight in the Civil War. While he was in the army he contracted measles and pneumonia and died. Her mother remarried in 1865 to John Kirkpatrick.

On 30 Nov 1872 in Perry County, Tennessee, Harriet married George "Henderson" Conder. Though he went by Henderson, his close friends and family called him Henry. The two settled on a farm along Spring Creek.

On 21 February 1881, Henry and Harriet were baptized into the LDS Church by Elders Hyrum Belnap and James Eardley.[1] Harriet's brother had joined on a few weeks earlier, and Henderson's brother Jim had joined two years earlier. Eventually several of the Conder brothers joined the Church, and Harriet's mother and stepfather joined too.

Most of the Conder brothers lived in Perry County, except Jim who lived just across the county line in Lewis County. In 1883 three of the brothers moved to Obion County, Tennessee, to take advantage of work there; Anderson, Thomas, and Henderson. Of course Harriet went with them. Three of her children were born in Obion County. When one of the brothers, Thomas, was hung for murder in 1889, the family decided it was time to move on. Harriet's mother and step father lived in Sanford, Colorado, and many of the saints from Tennessee had gathered there too. So they decided to join them.

They only lived there for a short time before they moved across the state line to Aztec, New Mexico. They eventually bought land in 1897 and after Henry passed away in 1915, Harriet continued living on that land with her son, Boyd, who had never married.

Her grandchildren fondly remember her love of horses. She owned a side saddle and a beautiful white horse, that even when she was old she'd ride it to visit her grandchildren. No one recalled how she got on the horse, but when she arrived, they'd rush to help her off of it. After she died the saddle was donated to the community museum in Aztec.

She was a kind and sweet grandmother. She kept her hair up most of the time as was the style at the time, but took it down to let her grand daughters comb it. They described it as sandy brown, long enough for her to sit on, and silky smooth. The texture she claimed was from her homemade soap.

When Boyd died she moved to American Falls, Idaho to live with her daughter, Della Baker.[2] It was while living with her daughter in 1949 that she made a recording describing the events of the Cane Creek Massacre which took place at her brother-in-law's home in 1884. Her granddaughter Dessie helped prompt her for the 4 minute and 44 second recording.

Henry, Matilda (their youngest) and Harriet Conder in 1902
In 1953, at the age of 98, Harriet passed away. She had been ill for sometime. Her remains were flown by plane to Aztec, New Mexico, for burial near her husband.

[1] This date comes from the Autobiography of Hyrum Belnap. New Family Search has a confirmation date of 1 January 1880.
[2] In all they had eight children.


Montserrat said...

Now that would be an interesting recording to listen to!

BruceAllen said...

Ah, the teaser! Next week.