Bertha Arminnie Porter White
Life in Orderville
Bertha Arminnie White (Minnie) was born on January 17, 1887 in Orderville, Kane County, Utah. She was the daughter of Francis Lysander Porter and Mary Maria Hoyt.
Minnie grew up living United Order, in Orderville, one of the towns that Brigham Young setup to live United Order. Of all the communities he set up Orderville lasted the longest and was the most successful. All the people would eat in one common room together. The ladies worked together, rotating chores such as cooking, cleaning, gardening, laundry, teaching the children and many other jobs that were assigned to the ladies. The men would mostly work on jobs outside, like logging, building homes, gardening, the woolen mill, telegraph linemen and the mill…etc.
Minnie’s father was the historian, director, secretary-treasurer of the Order, and ward and stake clerk. As historian he wrote an excellent and much used history of the community. He continued to serve on the Board until the year 1900. One of the main jobs her mother had was to teach school.
The United Order in Orderville was incorporated on July 14, 1875 and functioned for a period of twenty-five years.
Bertha Arminnie (Minnie) was 12 years old when they discontinued living United Order.Minnie was heartbroken and missed it very much. For years she prayed and searched for a time when living United Order would be set up once more. She felt very strongly that someday she would be given the opportunity to live it again.
Career and Marriage
Minnie took a nurse training course in Salt Lake City and received her diploma as a nurse in 1909.
In 1910 Minnie moved to Shelly, Idaho where she was hired by a man named John Elbert White to clean house and take care of his children. His wife had just died and left him with 7 young children, the youngest was 2 years old. Minnie was 22 at that time.
As time went by, John asked Minnie’s father if he could ask her to marry him. Minnie also felt strongly that she should marry John and she accepted. They were married in the Logan Temple on May 3, 1911.
John White was a very successful man who lived and loved the Gospel. They lived in Idaho and 5 of Minnie’s 6 children were born in the Basalt and Plano area. They moved to Pipe Springs in Arizona in 1923, Rula was born in 1925.
Rula was a sickly baby and John had Sciatic Rheumatism. Minnie took them to Salt Lake to the hospital and was gone for 8 months leaving her children with Johns oldest daughter and her husband. She lost Rula October 3, 1928 and her husband John Elbert White February 6, 1929.
When Franklin D. Roosevelt became president, he started the welfare program, Minnie got a job as a welfare nurse. She also received a widow’s pension of $7.50 a month, after the death of her husband. Minnie moved back to Idaho to be near her brother, Israel Porter.
In about 1934, Sister White’s brother Israel was sworn in as Mayor of Basalt, Idaho. Sister White was the town clerk, and Brother Bill Whitmill was the Constable. After town meetings they would stay and discuss the gospel, along with Bills brother-in-law Burke Frandsen.
One day Bill Whitmill moved away from Basalt, Sister White didn’t know where he had gone, and a few months later she met him in Firth and asked him where he had moved to. He said that he joined a group in Bountiful who had the same beliefs that they did and were living United Order. He said that Brother Elden was the leader and he would be coming to Kimball in November. Brother Bill Whitmill invited Sister White to the meeting.
Minnie believed this was the work she had been looking for since she was a girl, so she asked Brother Elden if she could join. He said they were not taking new members at the time, but maybe later.
On January 17, 1936 (which was her birthday), Brother Elden Kingston and Brother Marion Brown, came to her home and said if she was still interested in joining, she could and she became a member as a widow.
Minnie was a midwife so her job was to go to the homes of women having babies, she would stay with a family before the mother delivered and help them out, would deliver the baby, and then took care of the house and family until the mother was able to take over. She delivered many children over the years.
When she wasn’t busy delivering babies, she cooked for the beet crew, some men on the dry farm and the men digging potatoes at Elmo, Utah. She also worked at the storehouse and the grocery store. Minnie was always willing to go wherever she was needed.
Years later Minnie had a strong feeling and a dream that helped her to decide to re-marry. She re-married Brother Marion Brown in the later part of her life.
Sometime later, Brother Elden asked Minnie to go to the dry farm in Idaho to cook for the harvest crew and she was very excited to go and be a part of the family. After the harvest she was on her way back to Bountiful. Someone gave her a lift to Pocatello to visit her daughter Olive. She got a lift back to Kimball with a friend of Olive’s. When they got there some girls were going to a school dance and their car stalled on the highway.
Olive’s friend was helping them, and Minnie, Jeanne, and a local girl were standing on the ditch bank by the road. A car driven by a young man that had been drinking struck and killed Minnie and broke the leg of the local girl.
They took the girl to the hospital and Minnie’s family thought Minnie went with them, because she was a nurse. It wasn’t until they got back from the hospital that they realized she was missing. They found her glasses on the ditch bank and searched for her, they found her body downstream. She had been killed instantly by the drunk driver.
Bertha Arminnie Porter White died November 3, 1945 in Basalt, Idaho at the age of 58. After the funeral Brother Elden spoke of Minnie’s loved for life, and of the tragedy that took her too soon. She is buried in Basalt, Idaho next to her daughter Olive and Olive’s husband Harold.
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