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A Brief History of the Life of Anna Mary Elizabeth Huber Hafen

A Brief History of the Life of Anna Mary Elizabeth Huber Hafen
By her daughter Eliza Hafen Gubler

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A Brief History of the Life of Anna Mary Elizabeth Huber Hafen
By her daughter Eliza Hafen Gubler

Anna Mary Elizabeth Huber Hafen was born 17 April 1862 at Aarwangen Canton Bern, Switzerland. Her parents were Andreas Huber, born in Thurgau Switzerland, and Anna Gygax, born in Schwarzhaüsern, Bern Canton, Switzerland.

When Anna was about five or six years of age her father got hurt. He fell from a 5 story house. His condition was serious and he was compelled to remain in a hospital for two years. When he did get well he was mentally defected. He never seemed to take any responsibility in caring for his family and his wife tried very hard with her four small children to support the family.

In a few years after Andreas returned from the hospital another baby was born to them. His condition didn't get any better so the doctor advised Anna, his wife to separate from him. The doctor said he was capable of working and he would at least support himself if he were left to do so. After much thoughtful consideration it was decided this would be better so the family was separated. They never had a home so they moved to a different apartment, and tried very hard to make a go of it. It was impossible for Anna, the mother, to meet the rent and support her family, so after much consideration she was again compelled to separate her family. She let her relatives take the children and she worked in a private home, taking care of a family who had lost their mother. Most of her children were well taken care of but Anna Mary was moved several different times. It seemed because she was a little older the parties where she stayed expected too much work from her. The children's names were: Anna Mary Elizabeth, Maria Elise Ann, Karl, Maria Elizabetha, and Amalie. Finally the man whom Anna worked for said she could bring part of her family there to live.

The relatives who had the baby girl and the boy refused to let her have them, and they were so happy and contended Anna decided to leave them with these folks. She had the three girls live with her. At the age of 14 Anna Mary became very sick with brain fever, and after she recovered it was discovered that she was left deaf in one ear.

Finally the man with whom they lived wanted Anna to marry him, but her children opposed it so they decided to go and live by themselves. Anna Mary was 16 years old at this time and she secured a position in a cotton factory where she worked until she came to America. When she first started to work her wage was very small and whenever there was a day off or after work she would go in the woods and carry wood for about 3 miles to keep the family in fuel.

It was while working at the factory that she heard of the Mormons. She was invited by a girl friend to attend their meetings. She became very interested in this religion and on February the 27, 1882 she was baptized by Elder Theadore Baer. She had much to contend with as she was the first member of her family to become a Latter-day Saint. Her mother would hide her clothes and did everything she could to prevent her from attending the meetings of the Mormons.

Different mission-aries visited their home, until finally Anna promised to attend one of their meetings. She became interested and attended quite often. At this time John G. Hafen labored as one of the missionaries in Arwangen. He asked Anna to attend conference with him at Bern. She accepted and while at this conference she became converted to the Latter-day Saints religion. He later baptized her into the church.

At this time John G. Hafen fell in love with Anna Mary and he asked Anna if a way were provided for her daughter to come to America, if she would consent to her coming. Anna realized it would be a real hardship because Anna Mary was the main support of the family, but she promised John that she would let her come. After John returned to America he sent money for Anna Mary to come also.

Anna Mary had never heard of nor seen her Father for years, but when it was rumored around that she was coming to America he heard about it and came to see her. This was about two months before her departure. She told him of her plans and he said it was alright with him if she felt she would be happy and contended. She came to America with John Stucki who was returning after fulfilling a mission for the L.D.S. Church, in 1884.

She never saw or heard of her brother from the time they were separated as children until a few years after she came to America. One of her sisters wrote her and told her they had located him, and that he was married, but had no children. In later years she heard of his death.

Anna Mary arrived in America the first part of September 1884, and was married 13 November 1884. John G. being a polygamist took her to live with his second former wife, Mary Ann. The next March, Mary Ann had a baby and Anna Mary did the house work and took care of her family.

On July 15, 1886 Anna's first child was born, a boy they named August. She was very happy. On November 25 of the same year she awoke in the morning and found him dead. He must have smothered in the bed clothes. This was an awful blow to Anna and everyone tried to comfort her the best they could.

The next year Anna was given a home of her own. On October 30, 1887 her second child was born, another boy whom they named William. When the baby was about 6 months old John G. moved them to Littlefield, Arizona. She lived in a wagon box the first summer and he built her a one room adobe house across the river where she lived alone with her small baby the following winter. The next year they moved to Bunkerville and lived in a one room adobe house with a dirt floor and a dirt roof. On August the 8th, 1889 her second child died. January 8, 1890 just 5 months later her third child Joseph, was born. The next year John built her a two room house where she lived quite comfortable. On September 17, 1891 another baby boy was born to Anna whom they named Heber.

His mission on this earth was short also and he died Aug. 1892. Anna worked hard to make a living for her family, she picked cotton from early until late while the cotton was in season and did many other hard tasks. On February 5, 1894 another boy, Samuel Franklin was born.

One winter Anna was asked if she would board the men who were building the church house and she gladly did so, in this way she got the means to buy her flour, wood, and groceries. She was very often complimented on her fine cooking.

January 15, 1897 Anna was blessed with a baby girl. She was very much thrilled although she almost lost her life when she gave birth to Eliza Anna. When Eliza was one year old, John moved them to Washington, Utah where they could be closer to him. He being Bishop of the Santa Clara Ward, spent most of his time there with his other two families. October 27, 1899 Anna gave birth to another girl whom they names Jeanette and on January 20, 1902, her last child, Walter, was born.

Anna worked very hard while living at Washington. She raised a fine garden and sold vegetables. She used to take the small children with her to sickle grain from early until late. She had all the responsibilities about the home also. It was while she was out choring that Jeannette got her clothing caught on fire by the fireplace when she was three years old and Eliza took her by the hand and ran for help which cause the flames to burn more rapidly. All that could be done was done to save her life but she died November 22, 1902, after suffering for three days. This was a great sorrow to the family. A few months later, Anna heard of the death of her mother in Switzerland and this along with the death of her child was almost more than she could stand. She never had a relative to go to for sympathy but she had many friends who were very good to her.

Anna lived with her family in Washington for nine years. She always tried to attend church duties and spent much time caring for the sick. She always seemed the happiest when she could help someone else. They then moved to Santa Clara in December 1906.


While living at Santa Clara, as long as Anna was able, she helped take care of the sick. She also helped to prepare bodies for burial for many years. She always attended her church activities and spent much time working in the temple. She worked in the temple with her husband for about eight years. She was baptized for over a thousand persons and did endowment work for many but never kept an account of what she did. She always considered this work the happiest time of her life. Another sorrow that came into Anna's life was January 11, 1927. Her son, Joseph's wife, Emma, died leaving him with four small children, the oldest 10 years of age and the youngest two years. Then the same year, May 28, Joseph died, leaving these four small children orphans. The two oldest, Andrew and Dorothy went to live with Emma's sister, Lois Huntsman and family and her brother Tom Truman and his wife Olive took Anna and Donald to raise.

John G. died May 4, 1928, leaving Anna a widow at the age of 66. At the age of 78, she still kept house for herself and did her own cooking while living with her daughter, Eliza, but in a room by herself.

Anna enjoyed having her grandchildren around her. She always had sugar cookies for them.
Anna became lame in one leg and it was hard for her to get around in her latter years. She didn't get out much after that but enjoyed so much when someone would come visit her. Her neighbor, Mary Hunt, being from Switzerland, was always a good friend to her and they enjoyed many hours together talking in Swiss, as it was much easier for both of them than English.

Anna Mary Elizabeth Huber Hafen died May 15, 1944, at the age of 82. She was buried in the Santa Clara Cemetery.

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