Sunday, June 7, 2009

Emily Rufi Frazier Part 1

Emily Rufi Frazier
b. 22 Jul 1886, Salt Lake City, Utah
p. Jacob Rufi, Anna Margaretha Tuck
m. 14 Jun 1906, Woodruff, Utah
husband. Frank Union Frazier
d. 15 Sept, 1972, Woodruff, Utah
b. 19 Sept, 1972, Woodruff City Cemetery

“Emily” was her mother’s choice of names. The name means industrious. Could her mother have known then how Emily would emulate the meaning of her name throughout her life.

Emily joined siblings Ann, Agnes, and Jacob, as the 4th child of Jacob and Anna Margaretha Tuck Rufi. The young family lived in a small adobe home at 244 South 9th East in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was easily spotted by the Shoemaker sign that hung in front announcing Jacob’s trade.

Within four years David and William arrived. Jacob and Annie were the parents of six children under the age of ten. Their home was a busy well ordered one; everyone taking turns in the vegetable garden and tending the rabbits they raised.

The children attended Webster Elementary and Bryant Junior High Schools and the family belonged to the 11th Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Late in her life Emily recalled with fondness Sunday afternoon walks to the tabernacle with her mother and brothers and sisters.

Jacob gave each of his six children a small ring, but Emily lost hers. He was a very strict and extremely thrifty man. Each of his children had two pairs of shoes; a thick sturdy pair for school and daily wear, and a thin soled finer pair for Sunday best. Always neat and careful in her appearance, Emily would leave the house wearing her thick heavy shoes as expected. Later she changed into the Sunday best shoes she’d hidden beneath her coat.

From her youth she could be trusted to get the work done. On wash day as her father left for the field, he would call to Emily, “keep things going.” And she did, all of her life.

Jacob worked as a shoemaker for ZCMI for many years. One of the most anticipated events of the year was the ZCMI employee outing at Saltair. On these occasions the entire family accompanied their father, who would yodel the many songs he’d learned back home in his native Switzerland.

During her youth, Emily did not like her father announcing his profession to the world in the form of a “shoemaker” sign in front of their home. From 1902-1904 Emily attended the University of Utah where she met a young man from back east named Frances Curtis. After making a date with him she tried to explain where her house was. Much to her dismay he already knew, “it was the one with the Shoemaker Sign.”

To help meet her expenses while attending college she began dipping chocolates for Sweet Candy. It was a line of work she did not like doing.

The fall of 1905 found Emily in Woodruff, Utah helping her sister, Annie Rufi Frazier. Annie had married George Frazier and given birth to her first baby, a boy she named Frances. It was during Emily’s stay in Woodruff that she met and fell in love with George’s brother, Frank Union Frazier.

The Frazier brothers, Frank, Charlie, and George, were sheep ranchers. And they made up the local orchestra. With Frank on the coronet, Charlie on the clarinet, and George at his violin, the brothers spent many an evening in the Putman Hall at Woodruff bringing music and entertainment to their community.

(To be continued)

From an 1968 interview with granddaughter, Bessie.The picture of Emily is 1916. Frank Union and another brother, Albert Frazier, from Glenn and Helen Rex Frazier collection.


  1. I love the part about hiding her shows under her coat. Somethings never change:)

  2. I did not know the Frazier men were musical. I love the picture of the school. I think I remember it, especially the bell tower and it seems like it had a wooden slippery slide.