Margaret Elsie Booth
by Junius C. Banks
Margaret Elsie Booth, the
sixth in a family of eight, the children of Richard
Thornton and Elsie
Edge Booth was born at Alpine, Utah, September 1, 1859. Her parents were
English converts to the Church, who saved from their meager earnings over a
period of ten years enough money for their immigration. The father was a cripple
having deformed his legs through long years of operating a foot driven weaving
loom. There were four children in the family as it set sail from the old country
in May 1857. Three weeks were spent on the ocean. They outfitted for the trip
across the plains at Council Bluffs. A fifth child was born during the trek
at Big Sandy, Wyoming. The first winter in Utah was spent in Salt Lake City.
In the spring of 1858, the family roved to Alpine where a "dugout"
home was their first shelter.
Margaret Elsie was the
first child to be born to this family in Utah. She was raised to womanhood in
a home where progression, unselfishness, sympathy, faith, and love prevailed.
In her girlhood she took a large share of the household responsibilities. She
completed the schooling offered in the little rural town of Alpine and two terms
at the Brigham Young Academy at Provo.
Margaret was a favorite
among her associates because of her cheerful and fun-loving disposition. Her
ability to entertain made her welcome in any society.
An account of her marriage
and the various moves of the family are included in her husband (Christopher Hackett)'s history and
so will not be repeated here. She had unbounded faith in her church and filled
many responsible positions with ability and devotion. She was counselor in the
first Y.W.M I.A. in Alpine; first counselor in the Alpine Stake Primary, President
of the Alpine Ward Primary, President of the Alpine Hard Relief Society; counselor
in the Arimo, Idaho, Relief Society; a choir member for many years; theology
leader in the Lehi Fifth Ward Relief Society. She with her husband did much
endowment work for the dead.
Margaret was sorely tried
and tested during her husband's mission absence. She was left with a family
of eight children and another to be born. May was married at this time and Edna,
eldest in the family, was teaching school at Lehi. Without her earnings, small
though they were, the mission would have been very difficult, more so than it
was. Edna kept out of her check each month barely enough for her own expenses.
The remainder, which was the lionís share, was sent to her father or
given to her mother.
Margaret Hackett's home
was always open to either relative or stranger. Although in the most modest
circumstances she offered the visitor the best the home afforded. She was kind,
sympathetic, generous. Her true nature came to the front in her care of the
sick. She had qualified as a practical nurse and as such her services were much
in demand in the small community where she lived as there was no resident doctor
there. Her chief service was in connection with maternity cases. Often in emergencies,
she was the soul attendant. She was also called upon for all sorts of illnesses
following in the footsteps of her father who for many years was Alpine's only
practitioner. He served without pay and furnished medicines gratis as well.
Although Margaret's charges were moderate in the extreme, many failed to appreciate
her services by paying her fees. Whatever she lacked in medical skill, she made
up in the cheerful and optimistic spirit she brought into the home.
Another severe test came
to Margaret with the death of her son Richard who died in France at the close
of World War I just as his regiment had been given orders to embark for home.
He had contracted influenza. What gave Margaret most grief was that her son
was buried on foreign soil. She never regained any appreciable peace of mind
until the body was brought home and interred in the Alpine cemetery.
Due to a diseased goiter
Margaret developed heart trouble which ended in her death at her home in Lehi,
June 29, 1930. Burial was also in the family plot at the Alpine cemetery. Her
surviving children included the ten listed in her husband's history with the
exception of Richard.