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About Aseneath Musette Bingham (Madsen)
Eulogy of Aseneath Musette Madsen Bingham, Compiled and given at services September 4, 1956, 2:00 PM by Vera Berryhill
My brothers and sisters, again it is with great humility, and for the fifth time in that many years, I have occupied this position, three of them for members of Aunt Zettie’s family, in which I have had the honor and privilege, which I deem a choice and select one, of giving a sketch of the life of one of my kinsmen, and paying a last and loving tribute to them.
I am grateful for the prayer that has been offered in behalf of we who are to take part in the services, and I also seek the Spirit of the Lord to abide with u s, that what may be said and done will be according to His desire of us.
The fourth child in a family of ten, Aseneath Musette Madsen Bingham, daughter of Louisa Welker and Christian Madsen, was born January 18, 1875, in Bloomington, Bear Lake County, Idaho. At the early age of eight years, in company with her parents and several other Latter-day Saint families, Musette began a journey, which brought her to the Valley where she has spent the remainder of her mortal life.
In early September of 1883, the Madsen’s, Welker’s, Jacobson’s, and Greenhalgh families, all of whom are pioneers of this Valley, packed their personal possessions into covered wagons, and driving their livestock, started the long trek to a part of this country, quite unknown to them, yet promising in its spacious valleys of fertile farm land, Arizona.
The journey from Idaho was a hazardous one, the roads were narrow trails, there were mountains to be climbed, swift rivers to cross, down through Utah, across northern Arizona, still southward, wending their way, enduring the discomforts of inclement weather of the approaching winter, and with great fear of raiding Indian bands, the wagon train of stalwart pioneers arrived in the Gila Valley late in November, three moths after the trip began.
The Madsen family found shelter in a house on a farm near the Gila River, later moving to an adobe house on the Beebe tract of land where the present Odd Fellows Home is located. Brother Madsen found and purchased a most choice spot of land, for it was located in what promised to be the center of a fast-growing community. Here he erected a lovely home for his family, a home that because of its beautiful surroundings of stately silver-leafed popular trees, yellow rambling roses, and fragrant lilac bushes, became a show place in Safford. The present Greyhound Bus depot and buildings around it stand where the Madsen home once was.
Here in these pleasant surrounds, Aunt Zettie, as she is more familiarly known, grew to womanhood, attended the local school in a building where the Thriftee Market is today, learning the three R’s, and fundamentals of the primary grades.
On December 22, 1896, Aunt Zettie was united in marriage to Hyrum Smith Bingham, in the home of her girlhood. She and Uncle Hyrum began their marital life on a small farm south of Grandfather Bingham’s home in Layton, where the intersection of 8th Avenue and Relation Streets cross. As time passed, other land was purchased and after the birth of their first child, a son Glen, a well-constructed brick home was built at the corner of 11th Street and 8th Avenue.
In this home the family lived and grew to four, when a daughter, Fern, came to bless it, bringing into the lives of the other three, great joy, love, and pride, for truly Fern brought this to her parents and brother.
Through her love of the beautiful, Aunt Zettie kept her home neat and immaculate. Dirt never remained anywhere near her. Even her yard was kept swept clean and was as tidy as the interior of her home. The cellar with its scrubbed shelves loaded with fruit for the family winter supply, received the same attention that the house did.
I had occasion to visit in that cellar many times. As a young girl, it was my duty to take butter and eggs to town, and on the return journey, I often stopped into Aunt Zettie’s for a cool drink of water, but more often it was to be treated to a cool drink of freshly churned buttermilk, kept in that clean cellar.
It wasn’t only Aunt Zettie’s house that was immaculate; she herself was always neat and trim in her personal attire. Her hair well groomed, and freshly starched dresses, are some of the things I remember well of Aunt Zettie. I recall that often when we stopped to take her somewhere, she would always feel that she didn’t look presentable, and would mention that her hair wasn’t quite right, sensing also that her body was bent, she felt that she didn’t look as nice as she would have liked to. As I looked upon her this afternoon, I saw her clothed in the same immaculate perfection that she so much enjoyed in life.
As the years passed, the brick house became too small for the growing children, and the present home was constructed, and upon its completion, Aunt Zettie’s dream of long standing had become a reality, and she was overjoyed and very proud. Yet in that home I saw experiences of great happiness and grave sorrow, endured by the occupants. For one by one, death has invaded and taken a loved one, the first and perhaps the greatest tragedy was the sudden death of Fern and her infant daughter on February 8, 1945, which left its mark of sadness upon them all, a sadness which never was overcome, nor did it vanish from the home or their individual lives.
The ranks were again diminished, when on May 3, 1951, Uncle Hyrum was called home, leaving Aunt Zettie and Glen, two very lonely and sad people. For Aunt Zettie, crippled as she has been for many years by arthritis, until walking has almost been impossible at times, life became a great burden. She disliked being dependent upon others, yet her many friends and close relatives were so willing to do any errand or task to make her life happier, and to ease her burden.
When death struck again, just 18 months ago, on February 5, 1955, and her only family tie was severed in Glen’s death, truly Aunt Zettie felt she had been indeed forsaken. To face life alone without anyone of her immediate family was like asking the impossible of her, and I believe it was then she really longed for her own passing, even so much so that she prayed for it, asking the Lord to spare others the burden.
She sensed her weakened and crippled condition keenly, and she has earnestly hoped she could also go, especially since suffering a slight stoke several months, she feared she would be stricken and become a bed-fast burden to others. This she did not want.
Since Glen’s death, and obsessed of a great fear of being alone, Aunt Zettie’s sister, Mrs. Sylvia Elledge, ahs been her constant companion, giving kind and tenderly the care that Aunt Zettie required, although see too was in very poor health, and should have been nearer her doctor. Her sister Bertie, also handicapped by illness in her own family, has assisted in all that was possible to make life happier for Aunt Zettie, sparing nothing for that purpose. They both have truly been faithful and devoted to their sister in her crippled affliction and her sorrows.
On Wednesday, August 11, what Aunt Zettie had feared occurred, and she suffered a critical stroke, relapsing into a coma, and was taken to the hospital where she passed away at 1:00 AM Sunday morning, without regaining consciousness. Death had for the last time entered her life span.
She is survived by two sisters, Mrs. Bertie Branch of Safford, and Mrs. Sylvia Elledge of Phoenix. On the Madsen side of the family there are six nieces, and three nephews who survive her, Mrs. Dorothy McMorrow of Honolulu; Mrs. Thelma Riess, Santa Barbara, California; Mrs. Gladys Beals, Mesa; Mrs. Evelyn Eubank, Los Angeles; Miss Louise Madsen and Miss Aileen Elledge, both of Phoenix; J.D. Rollins, Corona, California; Dan C. McKinney, Tucson, and William Madsen of Valley City, North Dakota. On the Bingham side there are 14 nieces and 8 nephews who also mourn her passing.
With the death of Aunt Zettie, the original Madsen family of ten children, and the Alonzo Bingham family of 9 sons and 4 girls, with their respective wives and husbands, are nearing the close of the familiy’s chapters. Sister Branch and Sister Elledge of the Madsen family, with only one on the Bingham side, Mrs. Dora Bingham Taylor, of Turlock, wife of the late Lester Bingham, remain.
Our pioneers are fast leaving us, and with them we lose their sound and stable counsel and guidance. But as we mourn their passing here, I can well imagine the wonderful rejoicing that is taking place beyond the veil. What a home coming it must be for Aunt Zettie, to be united with her parents, brothers and sisters, and especially with her husband and her beloved children and grandchild. Her sojourn here is finished, a place has been prepared for her, and her welcome over there is overwhelming, I am sure.
In closing may I repeat a poem I found among Glen’s personal papers, which must have meant something to him, and which had impressed Aunt Zettie for she often spoke of it after his passing.
The Departure of a Human Soul:
Sometime at eve when the tide is low, I shall slip my moorings and sail away, with no response to the friendly hail of kindred craft in the busy bay.
In the quiet hush of the twilight pale, when the night stoops down to embrace the day and voices call in the water’s flow, sometime at eve when the tide is low,
I shall slip my moorings and sail away.
Through purple shadows that darkly train over the ebbing tide of the unknown seas, I shall fare me away with the dip of a sail, and a ripple of water to tell the tale of a lonely voyager sailing away to mystic isles where at anchor lay, the crafts of those who have sailed before, over the unknown seas to that unknown shore.
A few who have watched me sail away will miss my craft from the busy bay, some friendly barks that have anchored near, in silent sorrow will drip a tear, but I shall have peacefully furled my sail in moorings sheltered from storm and gale, and greeted the friends and loved ones who have sailed before, over the unknown seas to that unknown shore.
May we each cherish the sweet memory of Aunt Zettie and the part she has played in our lives. May the Spirit of our Heavenly Father abide with each of us to bring peace and serenity, that we may so live that when we also fold the cloak of mortality, our welcome will be as joyful as she is experiencing over there at this time, is my prayer, and I ask it humbly in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, Amen.