Saturday, December 7, 2013

Susan Eugenia Neff Stokes

Susan "Eugenia" Neff Stokes was born on August 31st 1882 to Bishop John Neff (1838 - 1918) and Ann Elizabeth Benedict (1845 - 1930) in East Millcreek, Utah. She married Jeremiah Stokes Jr. in the Salt Lake Temple on November 10th 1904 and almost immediately left for Chattanooga, Tennessee where President Rich had asked him to take over the Assistant Editor position for the Elders Journal. Stokes had been on the editorial staff during his first mission to the Southern States from which he was released in 1900.

Both Elder and Sister Stokes were assigned to the Mission Office upon their arrival. In addition to his editorial duties Elder Stokes was assigned to attend Grant University (a forerunner of the University of Tennessee - Chattanooga) as well as his regular proselytizing work . Sister Stokes was in charge of "domestic affairs of the Mission home" Periodically they would speak at Conference meetings through out the mission.

In June 1907, after Elder Stokes graduated from Grant University with an L.L.B. (Latin Legum Baccalaureus) the couple returned to Salt Lake where he opened a law practice. His successful law career afforded him the time to pursue a literary career as well. In one of his books, a volume of children's fiction called "Thunder Cave", he wrote a touching dedication for his wife.

To my wife belongs the credit of suggesting that I preserve the original stories from which this volume was developed. It was she who inspired me to take the time from my practice of law to preserve as a memento of "bygone days" the bedtime stories that were fondly linked with the happy memories of the nursery. And had it not been for her, Thunder Cave would have lived only as a memory in the minds of our own children and in the minds of their little associates who were privileged also to hear them. Moreover, I am deeply indebted to her for many helpful suggestions in the finishing of this volume, and for her sustaining interest and her hearty cooperation and encouragement over the long period of time that I have spent in the completion of these stories as they now appear.

In grateful acknowledgment, therefore, of her helpful contribution to this volume, in testimony of her splendid qualities as a wife and mother, and finally, as a memoir of "bygone days" -- that to both of us are replete with cherished recollections of chubby arms, restless feet, hilarious voices, "giant stories," rosy lips, "good night, Daddy" and "good night, Mama," and the vision of tousled heads against downy pillows, tucked in and fast asleep -- I dedicate this volume to her [memory which I dearly cherish].

When Eugenia died on this day Dec 7th, just before Christmas in 1943, he had the dedication modified [as above] for the subsequent edition. Her death was sudden, due to a cerebral hemorrhage. Her obituary describes her as
an active worker in the Church, serving as teacher in the Primary, the Sunday School, the M.I.A. and the Relief Society. She sang in the Ward Choir.


JB said...

This is really fascinating. Susan's paternal grandfather was a convert from my home county in Pennsylvania - I noted with interest each time he cropped up in President Woodruff's journal - and I've sometimes wondered what became of the family later on. Thanks to this post, that's a lot less mysterious.

Amy T said...

These bios are great, Bruce. I am following your entire series even if I don't always comment!

BruceAllen said...

Thanks JB. Making connections like the one you describe is one of the big reasons I post these stories online.

BruceAllen said...

I'm glad you are liking them, Amy.