Meeks, Mary Jane McCleve, [Reminiscences], in Juvenile Instructor, Mar. 1932, 136-37.
The United Order has long ago passed on but those who lived it still remember the wonders accomplished. Out of its name came Orderville which lives on in Southern Utah. The writer chanced to visit this place recently and through the courtesy of Bishop Edward Carroll was enabled to interview Mary Jane McCleve Meeks. An elderly woman was walking briskly up the street and the Bishop said: "That's Sister Meeks." The scribe ran to catch up with her, and found a tiny, white haired smiling faced old lady whose appearance belied her 91 years. She bid the writer welcome to come that evening to interview her at her old fashioned home, but excused herself hurriedly as she had chores to do. The sun was sinking fast in Utah's southern wonderland and hearing the good old soul retried early the trip was not long postponed. An aged cottage covered with vines and with the ever present flower garden in front welcomed the visitor. He rapped gently and hearing no answer called out. A tiny voice replied, "come in." With hesitancy e traced the echo, if such it could be called, to the bedroom. Lighting a match and then a candle he beheld the saintly face of Sister Meeks in her bedcap and white nightgown. The interview started much to the amusement of the writer's baby boy who had come along as chaperone. "How old are you," was the first question? Then followed Sister Meeks' story which she can better tell herself. "I was born in Belfast, Ireland. Aug. 21, 1840, daughter of John and Nancy Mcleve—one of a family of ten children. We sailed for America in April, 1856, after joining the Church in the Old Country. From Boston we went to Iowa and then crossed the plains in the second handcart company, Daniel McArthur being the captain. We hauled camping provisions in the carts. These were each on two wheels with a shaft to draw it with. No better outfits were available at that time, and rather than wait to procure wagons, horses or oxen, we chose to come this way before it got too late to reach the valley before winter. Some would push and some would pull, which gave occasion for the noted song, the words of which were recently printed in The Instructor. "One day when we started up a large hill a little boy named Elliker became sick and could not climb. When we camped that night the captain went back but could not find the lad, who had been left to rest, and he was never heard of again. "At another time the company stopped to do washing. I was 16 and was wringing out clothes in the stream. A fine buggy drove up. A man jumped out and asked me to go for a ride. I said, "No, thank you." He asked me if I had any folks. I said. "Yes." The other man who was in the buggy said, "Take this handkerchief and tie over her mouth and throw her in." Just then father and sister appeared and the men put whip to their horses and drove away. So you see even in those days men wanted to take young girls for a ride. "Father died tow days before we reached the valley and was buried on Bear River, near Evanston, Wyoming, where today there is a lonely grave. We arrived Sept. 26, 1856. I was put out with a family named Gifford to work and earned enough money to buy a calico dress which cost a dollar a yard. "I was married Nov. 12 to Dr. Priddy Meeks who was 61 and I 16. It was love at first sight, even though he had three grown girls older than myself. President Joseph Smith the prophet had told Mr. Meeks he should go to Zion and marry a young girl and raise a large family. Ten children blessed our union.