Marietta McMullin



(by Wilma Cox Beal)

No one could write the history of Leeds without mentioning Marietta (Etta) McMullin Mariger. Her formal education started in the fall of 1890 in the old Leeds church house and school house combined.

Etta attended school in Leeds for ten years. Each year consisted of five months. She spent twenty-five years teaching school in Utah and Nevada. She taught mostly in South east Nevada where she held a life diploma to teach in the elementary school, and received teachers retirement benefits. During her teaching years, she wrote many short stories. This is probably why she was so well liked as our Literary Leader in Relief Society for many years. She was also the official quilt binder.

In October 1940, she and her husband, Vivian, returned to Leeds to retire. They made their home in Etta's parent's old home, which has been torn down to make way for the new chapel. Etta, with her green thumb, made the surrounding yards blossom as a rose. She had fruit trees, grape vines and beautiful lilac and rose bushes. Everyone wanted starts of her gorgeous Iris.

Etta started the project of putting up new fences and landscaping the cemetery, and this included getting the water piped. Her many persistent letters to former Leeds residents bore fruit, and she lived to see the project completed.

A native of Leeds, Etta was born August 25, 1884. This took her back to the days where she had personal acquaintance with many pioneer families that settled Harrisburg and the mining people of Silver Reef. In fact, she is inseparably connected with the three towns. Her grandfather, Willard McMullin, lived in Harrisburg. Her father, Ira McMullin, lived in Leeds, and the two of them did the rock work on the Wells Fargo Building in Silver Reef.

Because Etta wrote the section on the Leeds Relief' Society in the book "Relief Society Memories of St. George Stake" she was assigned to write the stories of the three towns for the publication of Under Dixie Sun, published by the Washington County Daughters of Utah Pioneers. Etta devoted much time and effort to research, personal contacts and collections of photographs. Disappointed, when her material was so drastically cut in that publication, she put her own life savings into the publishing of Saga of Three Towns. She published two editions.

During the time of all these accomplishments, Etta was often in severe pain. In spite of this, she carried on.

Etta Mariger's book has made a valuable contribution to the recorded history of Washington County and its part in Utah's mining lore. She has left a great legacy, and Leeds has been greatly enriched by her life.

Taken from "Leeds Historical Events in Bits and Pieces" by Wilma Cox Beal
used with permission of Wilma Cox Beal children, 2002