One of the Saints early doctors was Sophie Mathis. She carried a brown bag of medical instruments wherever she went, one of which was an instrument called a Schrepta. What is a Schrepta?
a. A scalpel
b. An instrument to measure the pulse
c. A Forcep
d. An instrument to relieve high blood pressure
C From the comic books her grandparents would buy her
The following is about two of the midwives who attended the mother of a little Presbyterian girl in Idaho’s isolated Gray’s Lake Area. The family later moved to Utah where little Alice Creger grew up, married and lived a productive life. In her later years, she joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was from her deathbed at the age of seventy-four that her narration, “Alice and the Midwives,” evolved.
“I remember another early time when I was seven-in the wintertime when the snow was deep. Mother was sick then, and she was in bed. One evening after Dad got supper for us, he told me that when we got through eating, to get my brothers ready for bed and to wash the dishes. Then he took off in a hurry, out of the house.
“The next thing I knew I heard my mother holler. She wanted me to get the blanket that was on the oven door. So I did. Then she told me to turn back the covers, reach down, and get a little baby that was down there. She wanted me to wrap it in the blanket and bring it up to her. Well, I tell you that was an experience I never forgot! I got the little baby, and when I got it up to where I could see, I took a peek at it. It was a little girl, and she had the most lot of black hair. She was real small, but she sure was cute.
I was so happy I could hardly do anything. But I went out and got Evan ready, then put him to bed. Harold, he was just poking along, getting himself ready. I had just finished the dishes when in through the door came a little old lady who looked just like a witch. She didn’t have any teeth in her head, she was cross-eyed, and her nose and chin about met. The hair on her head was iron black with gray hairs all mixed together and knotted, and she had a shawl over her head, tied under her chin. She was looking at the wall and asking, ‘How are you doing, honey?’ I looked over there, but didn’t see nothing, so I guessed she was talking to me, and I told her. Then she said, ‘Where’s your mother?’ I said, ‘She’s back in the bedroom, but you can’t go back there.’
“‘Oh, yes, I’ve got to go back there,’ she said. I started screaming for her to stay away, but she wouldn’t listen to me. She went tearing back to that room, and I got so excited that I thought I was going to die. I jumped off my chair and ran out into the yard where I told Dad, ‘There’s a witch in there. I have a brand new baby sister, and she is going to do something to her!’ He told me that it was just Mrs. Nounan and to quiet down and go back inside.
“Why, that was the biggest shakeup. I would have sworn that she looked just like the pictures that were in the comic books that Grandpa and Grandma brought us from Idaho Falls. And those were all about a witch.
“Well, she was a good old lady. She brought the baby out, all washed and cleaned up, and she even let me hold her. May was a beautiful baby, and I was sure proud of her. But I tell you, that was one hair-raising experience for me!
Lesson Committee, Museum Memories-Daughters of Utah Pioneers, (Salt Lake City, Talon Printing, 2010), 2: 29.