Mary Eliza Godfrey
13 April 1898 – 20 September 1920
They returned from the castle to their cottage in the enchanted land to begin their lives together and they were so happy. It wasn't long before something wonderful happened. This beautiful young wife learned that she was going to have a little baby! Her family was so happy and excited because this baby would be the very first grandchild. So in the enchanted land, a beautiful baby girl was born and she was given her mother's name. This is the story of that baby girl. Her life in the enchanted land was almost like a fairytale, except this story really happened.
Mary was such a pretty baby with expressive brown eyes and brown hair and usually wore bangs. Mary was so pleasant and cheerful that everyone in the family loved her. She was baptized on May 8, 1906 by Joseph V. Smith and confirmed a member of the Church the same day by Thomas Morgan.
Mary loved to ride horses and was very good at it. She had a pony named Teddy. One day she was in a horse race with a boy in Clarkston. When one of the towns people tattled to her father because it was not proper for a young lady to be racing horses. Joe raised is fist and said, “She had better win!” She lost. Mary also enjoyed ice-skating and was good at it too.
In 1907, her brother, Ervil, was born
and four and a half years later Alf was born in 1911. This happy
family really enjoyed life. There home always had pretty flowers
around it. Large trees grew on the ditch banks. A good orchard stood
behind the house and a nice lawn in front. Geraniums bloomed in the
window and Liza always had a splendid garden. The feat of
There weren’t very many homes with trees in those days and housewives easily kept track of their neighbors. The children spent many happy hours playing on the lawn while their parents visited.
Mary had many good friends and was a leader among them. Her closest friends, Felicia Heggie and Lucy Griffin, lived a block east of Mary so the three of them of them walked to school together. Mary was an A student in school and graduated from the eight grade, which in that day was an admirable accomplishment. She loved to help everyone, never asking for a job but did her best when asked to help. She loved working in the church too. Mary was the kind of daughter any parent would be proud to have.
Dr. Barson and Aunt Fanny were very impressed with the beautiful way the Mormons laid their loved ones to rest in their white cloths and temple robes. Not being members of the church, they thought the services were impressive and comforting.
There were many debts as Joe had built a new barn and granary. The determined young widow with plenty of backbone and grit wanted no charity. She and the children managed the best they could. Joe’s brother Harry lived a block to the south and always looked after them.
Mary was attractive and very popular. She was attracted to handsome Gover Buttars, the son of a wealthy farmer. He was so pleasant and well liked, a very fine catch for any girl in town. Mary was only seventeen when she and Gover where married on November 15, 1915 in Preston, Franklin County, Idaho. At their wedding supper, which was held in the home of her Aunt Martha Goody, Gover’s father was heard to say, “Isn’t Mary lovely.”
They were actually cousins. Gover’s mother and Mary’s grandmother were sisters. At the time it was against the law in Utah for anyone so closely related to marry. Their Bishop told them that if they went over into Idaho and got married he would give them a recommend to be sealed in the temple. Three months later on February 23, 1916 they went to the Logan Temple were they were sealed for time and eternity.
Before her first child was born, Mary said, “I want to buy the best cloth for my babies clothes because I want to have ten children.” Ervin Daniel was born on October 8, 1916. He was the first great grandchild to Peter and Mary Ellen Barson. The entire family was thrilled. Mary was their first grandchild and Ervin was first great grandchild, some record!
On July 1, 1918 Gordon Gover came to join the family. It was truly a pleasure for Mary to care for her little boys. She and Gover each had a rocking chair. Every night they took Ervin and Gordon in their arms to rock them to sleep.
That fall, the terrible Asian Flu epidemic swept the country. Mary, Gover, and Ervin and the cute baby were all flat in bed with terribly high fevers. Liza went down to take care of the stricken little family. Everyone wore gauze masks. Despite this precaution, Liza was soon as sick as the rest of them.
Church and school was canceled from October 1918 until January 5, 1919 due to the flu. Mary’s cousin, LaRee Barson (Aunt Effie's daughter) who was seventeen at the time, was asked to help take care of the very sick family. Will Shepard, the husband of one of Joe's cousins, called on them each morning to see what supplies were needed. She did her best tending the cute baby and taking temperatures and soon became sick herself. Very few people in town escaped the epidemic, some even died. The funerals were held out in the open and everyone wore gauze masks. A few young men in town went from door to door doing the milking and other chores. Eventually Clarkston lived through the epidemic.
Milton Rudger arrived on September 25, 1920. Soon after Milton was born, Mary hemorrhaged and the bleeding could not be stopped. Again the whole family was saddened as this beautiful young mother passed away. She was laid to rest in the Clarkston Cemetery. Kind Grandma Emma Buttars took the young family into her home and took such good care of them.
After putting their grief behind them, those who were left went on with their lives. Gover met another Mary and she later became his wife. Mary Harriett Bowles, an outsider from Lewiston, was readily accepted and became a valuable member of the ward and was accepted by the Barson Clan. They were married on June 28, 1922 and she established a lovely home with Gover and his sons. Milton lived with his Grandmother Buttars until he was eight.
Gover became a successful, energetic farmer who wanted to improve his future. In 1929 he moved his family to Burley, Idaho. The entire family missed them so much and everyone was very fond of “Mary’s little boys” as they were called.
Mary’s short life was happy and well lived, almost like a fairy tale. She was loved by the entire family and community. Forty-six years later in December 1966, Gover was laid to rest by her side.
The majority of the Story of Mary Eliza Godfrey comes from a life sketch written by her Cousin, LaRee Barson McCauley. Other pieces are remembrances from her brother Alf, sister Emily, Aunt Mattie (Martha Jane Barson Goody), and cousin Tellma Goody Barson. The fairy tale beginning did not come from any of these sources.