I remember visiting the North Ogden Museum for the first time. I love stories of the past and there were a few stories told that day that left an impression on me. Florence Manning’s story was one of them.
Florence was a teacher in North Ogden for many, many years. Someone from the museum said it was around 70 years; however, we weren’t able to verify that. Florence was born in North Ogden to Newman H. and Esther Barker. After graduating from the 8th grade in 1908, she attended Weber Academy in Ogden, Utah. While there, she met Nephi Heber Manning from Slaterville and was later married to him. He was going to school to be a draftsman. Florence’s father told them that they could have a wedding party or take $25 to help get them started. They took the money.
Florence described her husband as tall and “extra good looking” with dark hair and blue eyes. He was “jolly” and nice to be around. He had a wonderful tenor voice and often entertained audiences between acts of plays or at church meetings. He was a model for the boys just younger than him.
A year later they had a cute 8 pound baby boy. They named him Melvin Nephi Manning. Life was so good. They were living in a cute one room house next to Florence’s parents. The views around their home were breathtaking. One morning, Nephi went out to the barn to feed his horses. After feeding them he had to cross through his father in-laws horses to get out of the barn. A couple of them were fighting, so Nephi waited until he thought they were done. As he crossed their paths, he was kicked in the stomach by one of them. Back in those days there was nothing anyone could do to make him better, he knew he would soon die of his wounds. He was so sad that he was going to leave his sweet family. He kept kissing Florence telling her how sorry he was that he was leaving. He died four days after the accident. Florence was a 22 year old widow with a two-month-old baby. She never married again. She raised her baby (Nephi) and taught the children in North Ogden.
Florence was an adventurous woman. She loved Yellowstone, camping, hiking and taking pictures. If you have a chance to visit the museum you should check out her photos. There are hundreds of them detailing her adventures and life. I am so impressed with her years of service and especially how independent she was.