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Emma Jane Howland Comish (1849-1917)

From "Comish Family History", chapter 10

In Primary interesting Biblical, or other, stories were read or told. These had an ethical tinge. In fact, they were chosen deliberately to convey the desirability or truthfulness, honesty, industry and obedience and other equally important morals. Deportment in all its various forms was explained and impressed upon the plastic minds. Songs were sung and memorized. And to encourage the trainees, they were sometimes permitted to perform at parties, or in Sunday School, in front of their elders. Emma Jane loved this work and put much effort into it, She was rewarded by noting the progress of the children and receiving warm praise from their parents.

The Relief Society offered Emma Jane, along with the other, church ladies, an opportunity to exercise their social abilities. The women laid out the dead, washed and clothed them for burial, for the professional undertaker had not appeared on the scene at that time. They answered the call of the needy, supplying them with food and clothing and fuel. They visited the sick and offered words of encouragement to them. They took turns on giving lessons on the Gospel. Occasionally, they even ventured into literature. A member was assigned to treat the life and works of some famous author. Quilting bees were held. Once or twice a year, the ladies gave a dinner party at the Church House. To these parties their husbands were invited to partake of delicious foods and listen to the specially prepared program. Emma Jane entered into these activities, enjoying them immensely.

At the evening of life, the Comish mother moved into her new house in Franklin. Here, by preference she lived alone, but some of her children lived nearby to assist her when needed Unfortunately, rheumatism attacked her hands and bent her fingers out of shape. From this ailment, she suffered excruciating pain. Despite the pain, she insisted on doing her own housework and kept the place neat and clean. She proudly combed her beautiful black hair, hardly tinged
with grey. She parted it in the middle, braided it and wound it into a bun, which she wore toward the back of her head. She groomed herself becomingly and continued to go out socially, especially to church meetings. Apparently, she kept completely alive to the people and things about her to the very last. At the age of 69, she died with rheumatism of the heart.

One tribute to her is found, given in a newspaper, covering her funeral. Here it is:

"Mrs. Emma Jane Comish died December 24, 1917, of rheumatism of the heart. The funeral was held here (Franklin) December 27 and was attended by practically all the grown people of Cove and Franklin. "Mormons" and non-"Mormons" alike turned out to show their respect for her memory. The services began at 1 o'clock, Bishop S. C. Parkinson presiding. Prayer was offered by Cecil Woodard and the benediction by Robert G. Lowe. Mrs. Nora Daines and Miss Hazel Larsen sang solos. The speakers were Bishop H. L. Blair of Cove, former Bishop L. L. Hatch (of Franklin), Thomas Durant, and Bishop S. C. Parkinson.

"Mrs. Comish was the daughter of Martha D. Howland and Henry Howland and was born in Ogle County, Illinois, January 14, 1849. In 1852, she and two of her sisters, Helen Packer and Martha Nash came to Salt Lake City with their mother, their father having died on the plains. The family resided in Salt Lake till 1860 when they moved to Franklin, where Emma J. Howland married Robert Nephi Comish in 1865. Ten years later the couple moved to Cove, where Mrs. Comish proved up on a homestead and devoted devoted herself to the rearing of a family in which labor she was very successful. For eleven years she was President of the Primary Association of Cove and for nearly as long, she was in the Presidency of the Relief Society, and a teacher In the Sunday School.

"Mrs. Emma J. Comish was the mother of ten children: Joseph N. Comish of Mountain Home, Utah; William H. and Myron E. Comish of Grace, Idaho; George F. Comish of Franklin, Idaho; Mrs. Peter Whitehead (deceased); Mrs. J. C. Larsen, Jr. of Lewiston, Utah; Robert C.Comish of Grace, Idaho; Mrs. William Robinson of Franklin, Idaho; and Newel H. Comish of the Oregon State Agricultural College, Corvallis, Oregon. She also is survived by two sisters and a brother: Mrs. Helen Packer of Showlow, Arizona; Mrs. Robert Parsons of Blackfoot, Idaho; and Don Hickman of Eureka, Utah. All the living children, together with the second sister attended the funeral." Deseret News, Jan. 5, 1918.]

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