History of Charlotte Criddle Gull, by Daughter Harriet Elizabeth Gull Stewart
My mother, Charlotte Criddle Gull, was born in Taunton, Somersetshire, England, November 21, 1847. She was the fifth child in a family of nine, four boys and five girls, born to Henry and Mary Criddle. All were raised on a farm. Even though the farms in England were small as compared to the farms in America, they had the average amount of the material things of life. Mother grew up in a very healthy environment.
My mother, like most English girls who lived in the rural areas was taught to cook and sew at a very early age. She only attended school until she was thirteen, but she was an excellent student and learned very fast. Besides cooking and housework, she was taught fine needle work, which she made good use of in later years. Her first job away from home was at the age of thirteen. She was a nursemaid in a home in the city. As long as she remained in England she worked at this type of work.
Her father became interested in the Mormon faith when the children were still young. The Mormon missionaries were always welcome at their home. My mother was baptized into the Mormon Church when she was eight years old.
In the year of 1866 she in company with her parents, one brother and two sisters, left England for America. One sister and one brother preceded them two years before. It was late in the spring when they sailed. They were six weeks in crossing the ocean, and when they landed they were met by an emigrant train, which was to take them to Utah. The hardships they endured on this trip were enough to try the strongest of men, but they never faltered in their faith and never regretted the move. My father was one of the teamsters in this relief train and when he saw the Criddle family, he recognized them as the family he had seen in a dream some time before. He asked permission for them to ride in his wagon. They had many harrowing experiences on this trip across the plains, the saddest of which was the death of their father a short time before reaching Utah. The friendship between John and Charlotte deepened on this long trip across the plains and shortly after reaching Utah, they were married.
Their first home was in Cottonwood where they lived for one year. Times were hard for all the Saints. They harvested very little, what with hoppers, crickets, and other pests. Father gave up farming and hired himself out to other farmers in order to provide for his wife and her family. Their wages were paid in produce most of the time.
The second year of their marriage they were sent along with a group of other Saints to Meadow, a place about two hundred miles south of Salt Lake City. There they took up farming again. They got along very well in this new location and by the time their second child was born they had built them a new home. How well I remember the little adobe house that stood in the rear of the big brick home that they built later on. The great open fireplace was a joy to sit by on a cold winter evening. It was on this same fireplace that Mother showed her skill as a cook. Everyone marveled at her skill in turning out such wonderful things in the old bake oven.
She did not have to cook very long on the old fireplace for Father bought her the first cook stove that came into Meadow. She also did a great deal of sewing for other people, doing it all by hand. She was adept at making beautiful baby clothes, which were in great demand. Again, she was fortunate for she had the first sewing machine in the valley.
Besides raising a big family, she was a very active church worker, being the first Relief Society Visiting Teacher to be set apart in the ward. Each year my mother and father made the trip to Salt Lake City to attend Conference. We looked forward to their visit each year for they stopped over with us in Benjamin where we lived after my marriage. The children enjoyed their visit as well for they thought a great deal of their grandparents. They never failed to bring the children some small gifts which were treasured very much.
In later years we moved from Benjamin back to Meadow. My memories are still vivid of the wonderful holiday dinners that we enjoyed at my mother's home. I can almost smell the plum pudding that she would make several days before, besides pies, cakes, and many other delicious things. All the children as well as all the grandchildren were there at these festive occasions. I remember the huge flour bin that sat in the kitchen which had a wide shelf inside that was always filled with good things to eat. To sit down and have a snack was a must with her.
She was loved by every one that knew her. She was always willing to share what she had with others, even the Indians came to her for food, which she gave willingly. She lad a very active life up until the last three years, when she had a stroke. But through it all she never complained or lost her sunny disposition. She died July 7, 1922, mourned by all who knew her.