Edna Margaret Porter

Edna Margaret Porter was born April 18, 1886 at Centerville, Utah, the daughter of Aaron Benjamin Porter and Rebecca Poole Porter. She was the sixth child in a family of twelve children. The children were Aaron, Janette, William, Ethel, Susie, Edna, Mary, John Rawlston, Milburn, Dora, Vera, and Nathan. Mary died at birth.

Her childhood was spent in Centerville where she attended the public school. Her father had a large herd of dairy cattle and I am sure the children’s lives revolved around the farm home. Theirs was a typical Latter-day Saint home, their father being bishop of a ward for several years and their grandmother, Rebecca Porter, serving as president of Centerville's first Primary Association from 1880 to 1900.

Edna was sixteen years old when her parents moved their family to Idaho. They arrived on New Year's Day of 1900 and settled on a farm at Burton. She attended Rexburg’s public school and received her first business training at Ricks College. Her father died of pneumonia four years after they came to Burton and she was compelled to go to work to help support the family, leaving her schooling unfinished.

She worked a year for the Keller Implement Company and then she went to Salt Lake where she lived with a sister and attended the L.D.S. Business College. Shortly after that she obtained a position with the Bell Telephone Company as a stenographer and worked there for three years.

In the summer of 1908 Edna came back to Rexburg where she worked at the Consolidated Wagon and Machine Company. She also served as the first telephone operator in Rexburg.

That fall she met John Hegsted, who had been elected Assessor and Collector of Fremont County, which then comprised all the territory of the present counties of Fremont, Madison, Jefferson, Clark and Teton. Edna was chosen Deputy Assessor. Their interest in each other developed into love and they were married on November 10, 1909 in the Salt Lake Temple.

They made their home in St. Anthony, which was then the county seat, and it was there that their first child, Jack, was born August 14, 1910, and two years later a baby girl, Margaret, who died at birth on October 9, 1912.

John Hegsted had purchased 160 acres of land in Salem near the home of his father and when the county was divided and Rexburg became the county seat of Madison County, he moved his family to that farm and lived in the small house on the property.

They immediately began plans for building a home. For some time they debated whether to build in Rexburg or on their farm, two miles north of Rexburg. They chose the farm and built a fine rock home there beside the small original house. Following the death of her husband, John Hegsted's mother, Christena, lived in this little house beside them for many years. In this permanent home the remainder of their family were born as follows: Mark on March 25, 1914, Barbara on April 9, 1917, Helen on August 25, 1919, and Beth on September 30, 1924.

This farm home became a paradise for children for John Hegsted loved animals and soon had a collection of shetland ponies, pigeons, guinea pigs, guinea hens, cats, dogs, Canadian geese and various other things at different times. Of course there were cows for the boys to milk, and chickens and pigs, as well as a large garden and orchard. The farm was run by the Japanese family of George Kusaka, and John Hegsted continued to work as County Clerk until his death on September 26, 1930.

            At the age of 43 Edna faced the responsibility of raising her family alone just as her mother did before her. The Depression of the '30s was just beginning and the next several years were hard ones for everyone, and especially hard for a widow with a family to raise and educate.  Edna got a job clerking at The Mart, a department store, but soon moved on to a better job as bookkeeper in the Liberty Department Store.

In 1937 she was elected to the office of Rexburg City Clerk, and she served in this position until 1946.  The year 1946 ended a long period of loneliness when she married Henry Alonzo Brown, a former schoolmate, on November 7.  They spent their summers at his farm home in Plano and moved into his Rexburg home on West Main for the winters.

Edna loved people and she had a host of friends. She was always active in the Church. Her first church position was secretary of the Mutual Improvement Association in the Burton Ward in 1905. She served in the presidency of the Relief Society in the Salem Ward and later in the Rexburg First Ward. She was president of the Y.W.M.I.A. in the Rexburg First Ward for several years and served on the Rexburg Stake M.I.A. Board in 1935 and 1936.

Edna developed an early appreciation for green growing things when her parents nursed and maintained one of the first lawns around their home in Burton. When her father died it was her mother's wish that a lawn be grown around her husband's grave, and it was often Edna's task to haul water to keep the small plot of grass green.

Through the years gardening was a great source of satisfaction to her. During her later years she and her husband, Lon Brown, spent much of their time at their Plano home planting and tending their large flower garden and vegetable garden. Iris and roses were her special hobby and she acquired and enjoyed a large collection of choice named varieties.

A stroke forced her to give up her gardening activities and so she and Lon moved permanently into their home in Rexburg where they enjoyed a few more years together before a heart attack took her life on July 27, 1959 at the age of 73. She was buried at the Rexburg Cemetery in the family plot beside her husband.