The Story of My Life by Anna Elizabeth Rinderknecht Nuffer

Anna Rinderknecht Nuffer

Another entry from “We of Johann Christoph Nuffer, also known as: Neuffer, Nufer, Neufer,” The book was published in April 1990 by Dabco Printing and Binding Co in Roy, Utah. I will quote from the book itself.

“Written October 17, 1933.

“I will begin with my grandmother on my mother’s side, what I remember my mother telling us as children.  My grandmother was a lover of music and she became acquainted with a young man who was very good looking a good singer with curly hair.  He was a poor boy and my grandmother’s parents were well to do.  It seems that they opposed their marriage for that reason.  But they were married anyway.  I do not remember his given name (Ulrich Ramp) but my grandmother’s name was Ann Elizabeth Bauman Ramp.  They lived very happy although they were poor, and for disobeying her parents she was disinherited which made it very hard for them.  In due time, they had a baby boy, and then a baby girl, who was my mother.  I do not remember what became of the boy but they made a great deal of the baby girl.  The father did work whenever he could.  It seems like there always has been hard times for some from the very beginning.

“Everything was going as well as might be expected until father died very suddenly, which caused the mother to go to work in some kind of a mill.  She was unable to take care of the children and, as is the custom in some countries, she let some well to do people take the little girl and raise her.  They sent her to school where she had a good education.  Her name was Anna Barbara Ramp.  She lived with those people for many years.  Her mother would come to see her whenever she could.  She was a great lover of all children and when Easter time came she would get eggs and color them as nice as she could just for the pleasure of giving them to children that she knew.  She was yet a young woman when she died.

“Then my mother, when she was a grown woman, worked in a tred mill which belonged to the people she lived with.  They also had children, some her own age.  They thought a great deal of each other.

“In due time, she met some Mormon missionaries and became very interested in their talks, after which she became a member of the church.  During this time she became acquainted with Jacob Rinderknecht, who later became my father, but she didn’t come to America for a number of years after that.

“Jacob Rinderknecht had a family when my mother first met him which he brought to America in the early sixties.  They lived in New York for a while, then came to Utah.  The family consisted of Father, Mother, a daughter and a son (some children having died in Switzerland where they all came from).  They settled in Providence on the very spot where my brother Jake Rinderknecht now lives.

“All this time my mother was working in her country trying to save enough money to come to America.  Finally the time came when she landed in New York.  Then she came across the plaints with ox teams and walked much of the way.  When she arrived in Salt Lake City, the missionary that she was so good to over in Switzerland was to meet her and take her to Southern Utah.  This he never did.

“Jacob Rinderknecht happened to be there at the time, having had a chance to go to Salt Lake City with someone that drove an ox team there from Providence.  So he got her to go home with him.  Later they made a trip to Salt Lake and were married in the Endowment House.  She was then 36 years old and one of Utah’s Pioneers.  She was the second wife.  I have heard her tell what a terrible, hard life she lived.  At that time she lived in a dugout in a bank, or hollow, that used to run through the lot which is now filled in.  I think that was where I was born.  The first family had a log house and after the first wife died, my mother moved in.

“When I was 4 years old my father gave me away.  Not long after that he died.  I don’t remember him very well.  He was 62 and very poor.  He may have done this and meant it for my good, but my poor mother fought hard for me.  I was older than my brother, Jake, and then a pair of twins; one, my sister, still lives.

“My father gave me to some English people of Providence who adopted me.  They were well to do for those times.  They had buried all their children while babies, and they seemed to take a liking to me.  They said I was so pretty, and I guess they were right as I can remember that I had long ringlets, my hair being curly and how hard it was to comb.  Once, when I played with the neighbor’s children, I got lice in my hair.  My hair had to but cut off close to my head and I was glad because then it was easy to comb.

“At first I rather liked my new home but when I wanted to go back to my mother they said no.  As I got older I would run away and go home, then they would take me back and I would cry for days.  I wanted to go home and my mother did everything she could to get me back, bu no, they watched me so close that I didn’t get a chance very often.  I always had the feeling that I would get back sometime.  They would lock me in a room and if my mother came to see me they would say I had gone somewhere.  Many a time they would see her coming, then they would take me out the back door and hide me somewhere.

“As I grew older, they gave me all kinds of hard jobs to do such as going after the cows that had strayed through town and if I didn’t find them or came home without them they would send me to bed without supper in a dark room, or would lock me in a dark cellar for an hour or so.  They had so many ways of punishing me that I couldn’t them all.  One time, I was trying to jump a ditch of water and fell in backward.  I was scared to go home so I sat around in my wet clothes.  One of the neighbors told on me, then they took my clothes off, got a gunny sack, cut a whole for my head and some for my arms, then put that on and locked me in a small closet that I couldn’t stand up in, and without any dinner.  They left me there all afternoon while they went away.

“I had about 4 years of this life which was anything but a happy one.  It was the rule those days that the ones that could afford it should go to conference either in April or October.  At one of those times, the only man that I can remember calling father, the one who had adopted me, went to Salt Lake.  His wife and myself stayed home and did all the work about the place.  In due time, he came back and I suppose he was very happy although his wife did a lot of crying and was very unhappy.  At the time I didn’t quite grasp the thing or what it was all about but at last it came out.  He had married another woman while he was in the city and she was soon to come and live with us.  Can you imagine what a trick to play on his first wife?  So one fine day she came.  She had not been in this country very long.  She had come from London and rather a nice lady, a dressmaker, I think and as soon as she found out about me she wanted them to let me go to my mother, but I did not for a long time.

“So they finally got things settled and the house was divided and each woman had her half.  Then I had more chores to do.  And in due time there came a baby son which was the king of the house.  When he got old enough I would take him out in his carriage as they called it.  One day one of the wheels came off.  Then I was scared and ran back to the house to get help.  I really was expecting a whipping, but not that time and soon everything was all right again.

“One Sunday all the children in the neighborhood were in the street playing.  I was inside my fence looking on.  I wanted to go out with them so bad that I got up enough courage to go to the house and ask if I could go and play.  Then the second wife said, yes, you can go home to your mother if you want to.  It surprised me so I couldn’t believe they meant it, so I went out and when I got int he street, which was a straight line and in the third block was my mother’s place, I just ran every bit of the way.

“I was, at this time, about nine years old and had started to school.  My mother was so glad and yet she was afraid to believe it.  I had quite a time trying to make her understand as I couldn’t talk German anymore, but I soon learned.  I stayed but I was always on the watch.  If any of them had come after me I couldn’t have been found.  I was very happy at home again.  But one evening here came my adopted mother with an interpreter to talk to mother and try to get me back.  She cried and begged me to come.  I wouldn’t go near her for fear she wouldn’t let me loose.  She promised me things but it did no good.  I wanted to stay with my mother, brother and sister.

“I was so poor and thin that my mother would cry when she saw my thin little body, but I soon grew big and strong and was large for my age.  In due time, I used to go back and see my adopted parents.  As I got older I went back and worked for them.  They were candy makers and sold candy to the stores in Logan.

The book then seems to transfer from the autobiography to the biography of Anna Rinderknecht Nuffer by an unknown person.

“In Hedingen, Zurich, Switzerland lived a girl Elizabeth Bauman.  She was a jolly happy girl with a good home and many friends.  She kept company with Ulrich Ramp, a young man with pretty curly hair.  He was a fine singer.  These two people were very much in love with each other but Elizabeth’s parents who were well to do disapproved of their marriage and threatened to disinherit her if she married Ulrich, but this made no difference.  They were married and lived happily together in spite of being very poor.

“A baby girl was born, which they named Barbara.  When she was two years old, her father died suddenly.  This was a terrible blow to this young mother.  Her parents were bitter and did not help her, so she had someone take care of her baby and went out to work.  When Barbara became of school age her mother had her put into a home of well to do people who put her through school.  Her mother died shortly after and these people cared for her until she was grown.  They treated her kindly and she loved them very much, (and later had Temple work done for them).  These people owned a threat factory and Barbara worked there along time.  She had many friends.  She heard of the Mormon Elders and went to their meetings which seemed to impress her greatly.  She would walk many miles to go to their meetings and would give the Elders all the money she could spare to get food.  She was insulted by her friends when she joined the Mormon Church, but she saved her money to go to Zion.  One missionary from Southern Utah fell in love with her and promised to meet her when she arrived in Salt Lake City.

“She crossed the ocean in an old Sailing Vessel.  There were many bad storms which kept them back.  After eight weeks they landed and crossed the plains with ox-teams in the year 1866.  Grandmother walked most of the way, she being young and strong.  I remember her telling of her breaking her garnet beads, which she prized very highly, on the yoke of the oxen.

“After the long walk across the plains with all the hardships of those Pioneer days, scarcity of food, sickness and death, their faith still unfaltering, they finally reach Salt Lake Valley.  But in her sorrow the good Mormon Elder sweetheart was not there to meet her as promised.  Imagine a young girl here along without relatives.  She did get disappointed badly but not discouraged.  She worked for other Pioneers for her food.

“Jacob Rinderknecht, a pioneer living in the little town of Providence, along with other men, went to Salt Lake City looking for a young wife.  He saw Barbara a fine rosy cheeked strong young lady and decided she would be just what he wanted so he persuaded her to go back with him, offering her a home, so she married him in the Endowment House in 1868 and walked back to Providence with him.  Here she was introduced to his first wife and family.

“Jacob Rinderknecht was in his sixties and Barbara 36.  She lived in a dug-out and his first wife was in a log cabin on the old Rinderknecht lot at Providence, Utah.  There were four children, one died when very young.  When Emma was quite young, her father died, his first wife died several years before.  This left the mother to care for the children.  She had a garden which supplied her with vegetables, a few hens, and a cow which kept the family.  She had a churn which the whole settlement borrowed, and she was noted for her good yeast.  She wanted her girls dressed as fine as she could so she hired Sister Campbell to crochet lace for their petticoats and pants, as father (Jacob Rinderknecht Jr.) told me for he would take the eggs to pay for the lace.

“She was a real tithe payer, always went to church, although she understood very little English.  She taught her children high ideals, love of music, honesty, industry and faith in God.  She was fond of her Grandchildren and went to see them at least once a year.

“She endured many hardships but she never lost her faith.  She said many times she thought God was her only friend.  When her children were sick she went for the Elders.

“After her husband’s death, Jacob, a small boy, took the responsibility of caring for the family.  The girls worked hard.  Annie worked for Frank Madison.  Emma worked hard, she went to wash for people in Logan so Jacob could buy horses to run a small piece of land.  He went up Logan Canyon when 14 years of age all alone and got enough lumber to build the frame house for his mother.

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