Life Sketch of Jemima Rachel Forster

My personal link to Mendon's pioneer past. I am so glad to have know her, even if it was just as a youngster, of no more than fifteen. She lives on in my memory still, and I think she always will.

I once tried to name Menodn's newest park after her. The ground belonged to her family and she lived to be the oldest person to ever live in the city of Mendon. At the time of her death, she was 101 years, 3 months and 24 days old. She was known and loved by so many in the community.

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  • Historical Sketch of Jemima R. Forster
  • Aunt Jemima

Historical Sketch of Jemima R. Forster

The sweetest little old lady I have ever talked to in all my life, looks about the age of seventy, spry, with a twinkle in her eye and a happy little laugh. Takes care of her own work and home. Has lived on the same city block all her life. Jemima R. Forster was born in Mendon ninety-three years ago last August 21st. Her brother was the first male child born in Mendon. She remembers the old fort in Mendon, where her parents, along with all the Mendon folks lived when Mendon was first settled. They then built homes in Mendon. The house she lives in now was where she was born ninety-three years ago.

Sister Forster has been a faithful church worker all her life, working first in the Primary. When she was taken from the Primary and put in the first intermediate class in Sunday school, the children cried because she was leaving them. In the summer time she remembers the picnics held on her front lawn for the children, all of their entertaining was home made in those days of the Primary, Sunday school and M. I. A. She was assistant secretary in the M. I. A. for three or four years, then secretary about the same amount of time. Then ward M. I. A. president for twenty years, a total of twenty-nine years M. I. A. service.

“We never missed a meting, the horse and buggy could go through mud and snow very well,” says Sister Forster. She tells of groups of teachers going into their meetings singing songs and telling jokes on the way. A happy group, always in attendance, even though they traveled miles to their conventions and stake meetings. Mendon at the time Sister Forster first began working in the M. I A. belonged to Cache Stake, there was only one Stake in the Valley. Then she belonged to Hyrum Stake for many years. Mendon became a ward in Logan Stake about thirteen or fourteen years ago. When a group of church workers were going to a convention the priesthood members placed spring seats in a wagon to accommodate more people for the trips. In the winter they went by bobsleigh. In the M. I. A. only lesson material was given, they usually had a surprise party once a month for both organizations for their entertainment and amusements. They also had dramatics and Sister Forster was very active in the dramatics of the ward. She also was on the Old Folks Committee for many years.

At the Logan Stake quarterly conference held last May, [1960] she along with Brother [Joseph C.] Sorensen received their Honorary Master M-Men and Golden Gleaner awards, for their many years of outstanding service.1

Veda Sorensen


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1. Jemima R. Forster, Veda Sorensen, unpublished manuscript.

Jemima R. Forster… My Aunt Jemima

Jemima R. Forster lived to be just over 101 years old. She was born in Mendon on 21st of August 1867 and died on the 15th of December 1968. She is buried in the Mendon Cemetery near her father, mother, brothers and sisters. She was unmarried in her earthly life and to the best of my knowledge the last living of the Foster family. I still have a few very fond memories of her. Once she knew who you belonged to, and she was ok with that, you were like family. I remember cutting through the block on her property, on the way to Rulen and Lorna Ladle’s when I was about ten or eleven and playing with Robert Ladle and or Blaine Taylor. She would sometimes catch us sneaking through her lot and invite us in for pancakes and what a wonderful breakfast she would make. She was really good to the little children of Mendon it would seem. We would eat our little feast out in the warm sunshine of the south screen porch that is no longer there, (April 2nd, 1995, Paul Murray removed it three or four years ago when he did some remodeling on the home).

Being the little gentlemen that we were, we would thank her very much for the breakfast (our second of the day) and be off on our way exploring the nooks and crannies of the wonders of Mendon. We would get into the old rock church house and pump the guts out of what was left of the old church organ, then jump around on the old stand and pretend to orate to the crowd. When we were done here we would then walk across the street to the old red brick school house and lift up a board that was supposed to keep us out of the old rock part of the school, on the south side. All I’ll say is that this is what fun was meant to be. Two or three kids in an abandoned school with nothing special to do except have fun. The squeal that you can make on those old slate black boards! We were not mean or destructive more than we needed to be, we just explored a lot. There was a bell tower you could get into if you got up on the roof and etc., the bell was missing when I last looked. The old Mendon town hall and jail sat just out in front and to the south of the red brick schoolhouse and was great sport as well. I can only remember one cell in the jail. They held school in it as well, when they had too many children enrolled at one time.

In 1964 when they took down the old yellow brick church and Bishop, Fred Sorensen had the 1864 old rock church pushed in and used for road fill on the county roads, our hideouts were diminishing. They took down the nice stone outdoor fireplace that the Mendon Wild Life Federation built north of the yellow brick church as well. Someone then bought the ground that the old red school and jail sat on and they took it down in April of 1968, and built the apartments and the current Melanie Sorensen Hatch home (35 North 100 West). I remember crawling through all the air ducts in the ground, while they were building the new red brick church house that we have today. I got into the cement for the footings and had lots of fun pushing the rich black earth back into the trenches that were dug for the footing foundations and duct system. This and the old beet dump shack and railroad cars were some of the other favorites haunts of ours. I also remember the pea vinery and Rondo south of town, but the Oregon Short Line Railroad station were gone before I had a chance to explore it. Aunt Jemima helped to provide the fuel for the little devils that were razing cane in town, as I’m sure she had probably done for years.

I see in my historical readings, that my short cut through Jemima’s block was first blazed by L. K. Wood and friends, prior to my use of it. I suppose that this trail was in use by the kids from the time the people moved out onto their city lots from the old fort. People used to be able to cut through the block, times were friendlier then it would seem. One need not lock up everything…1

Rodney J. Sorensen

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1. Mendon and My Aunt Jemima, Rodney J. Sorensen, 2 April 1995.