Life Sketch of Retta Copen Hiibner

A nice history written by herself…

Mendon Utah Logo

Retta Copen Hiibner

Retta Copen Hiibner was born November 3rd, 1886 at Two Mile Creek, Kanawha County, West Virginia, about eight miles from Charleston West Virginia. My father, Henry Floyd Copen was born September 4th, 1860 in Kanawha Co., West Virginia and died in Mendon, Utah, November 28th, 1926. My grandfather Copen was Vinton Z. Copen. He was born July 3rd, 1822[a] and died December 5th, 1914 at Kanawha County West Virginia. My Grandmother Copen was Sarah Ann Sands, born August 18th, 1837 and died August 28th[b], 1918 at Kanawha County West Virginia. My fathers grandfather was John Copen who was born July 7th, 1791 in Braxton County Virginia and died June 14th, 1851. His wife was Rebecca Cobb Copen who was born August 5th, 1796 and died May 10th, 1881. James Sands and Barbara Ellen Mace Sands were my great grandparents. Grandmother Sands lived to be 100 years of age.

My Mother, Agnes Miller Copen was born October 27th, 1863 at Monroe County, West Virginia. She is living in Mendon, Utah at the present time. My mothers father was Peter Miller who was born in 1822 and died 17th April 1877 at Kanawha County West Virginia. His wife was Mary Drummond who was born August 19th, 1824 at Monroe County., and died May 6th, 1892. She was the daughter of John and Sarah Drummond and a sister to Judge W. W. Drummond who persecuted the Mormons in Utah.

I was born in a one-roomed log house at Rocky Shoals near Charleston, West Virginia. I was the second child. The first child was my sister Ivy Alafair who was three years older. She died when five years of age from Whooping Cough. I had it too but not very bad. My sister Flora Edna just two years younger than I died when ten years of age from Diphtheria. I had it very bad but got over it all right.

I started to school when ten years of age. My sister Flora was eight and Denver was six years. We had to walk one mile to school. Many times we were forced to wade the creek or climb hills. We went to this school for five years. My teachers were Mr. Will Mundy, Mr. Tyre, Mrs. Morris and Mr. High. We then went to Two Mile Fork, Kanawha County. My teachers were Mr. Ready and Mr. Harkins. I was always a good pupil. I remember spelling the entire class down. I carried fourteen books to and from school.

In the summer of 1906, Lizzie Hiibner and I went to Charleston to Sumer School. We took a Normal Course and expected to teach school. But when it came time for us to take our State Examinations we were both quarantined with the Measles. We boarded with a Mrs. Jefferies.

I was married to George Hiibner April 17th, 1907 at my fathers home. Pastor J. E. Kieffer of the St. Luke’s Lutheran Church officiated. My husband was a member of the “Seven Day Adventists.” There were fifty friends, relatives and neighbors at our wedding. I had twelve beautiful pieced quilts which I had made myself. We built a home. My husband cut the logs and helped build it at Mink Shoals. Later we built two frame rooms and a porch on to it. We lived here eight years. Our four oldest children were born here.

After my marriage I studied the catechesim of the Lutheran Church. I was confirmed a Member of this Church on May 30th, 1909. My Pastor presented me with a Prayer Book on the day of my confirmation into the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Charleston, West Virginia. I have the book now. My husband and I would go with a fine team of horses on the white top to Charleston to attend Church, a distance or eight miles. Once a year the Pastor would give us the Sacrament, just a bit of bread and sip of wine. I was sprinkled when I joined the Church. My three children, Odie Marie, Frona Estel, and Luetta Mildren were sprinkled and became members of the Lutheran Church.

In the winter of February 1912 Elder Jeremiah Baker of Mendon and Elder David Cheney of Blackfoot, Idaho, two Mormon Missionaries called at our home. They asked if they could hold a cottage meeting there. We told them they could. During the evening they told us the world had been in darkness for 1800 years. We sat up late that night and talked about it. Elder Chugg of Ogden and Elder Hansen of Canada were the next L. D. S. Missionaries who came. My husband came in from his work. Elder Hansen and Chugg explained the first four principles and ordinances of their Gospel. They said, “You will be baptized before we see[c] you again,” and we were. The minute we first heard of Mormonism we were impressed and felt it was true. Elder Cheney and Cox would often help me do my supper dishes. During the time they would tell me about Utah. I was especially interested in their descriptions of the Temples because of a dream I had had.

In 1904, I had a dream. I thought I was in a large building and was in the upper room, I was working for someone. I asked Mr. Teal what he thought. He said maybe I would be a servant to my husband but as soon as I came to Utah and began working in the Temple I knew that was the meaning of my dream.

Ben E. Rich was President of the Eastern States Mission. He was succeeded by Walter P. Monson. Some of the missionaries I remember are: Elder D. C. Stuart; Davis; Wiggins all of Ogden, Milton Noble, a seventeen year old boy of Millville, Elder Mayberry of Hooper; Thomason of Kaysville and Elder Baer of Millville, Brown of Lehi, Swapp of Provo and Tyler. They would eat and sleep at our home.

On June 9th, 1812, my husband, myself, Bertha Miller, Lightburn Edens, Otis Myer, Bessie Edens, John Mays and others were baptized and confirmed members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints at Two Mile Creek. John Mayes, a neighbor, who had always smoked a pipe threw it away and asked to be baptized. Elder David Cheney baptized us and Elder Len R. Bailey confirmed us. It was a lovely Sunday afternoon. A group of our neighbors and friends sat on the opposite bank of the creek and laughed and scoffed at us.

We would walk a mile to the L. D. S. Church to go to Sunday school and meeting. My husband would carry Odie on his back and Frona in his arms and I would carry the baby. I always enjoyed the Testimonies[d] Meetings. Every one present would bear their testimony.

One cold winter night when the snow was deep, Luetta had a severe pain in her side. We did everything we could for her but it didn’t seem to help her. Finally George went to milk[e] the cows. A knock came at the door. I opened it and there stood Elder Wiggins and Elder Peter Douglas Sorensen. They asked if they could stay all night. I told them to come right in as we needed them. They administered to Luetta and Elder Wiggins said, “Luetta, you will get better now.” She nodded her head and was soon fast asleep. She was well in the morning. The Elders had been asked to stay at my father’s, Henry Copens but they said they were going to Georges. An Uncle Lightburn Edens walked part way with them and he asked them to stay with him but they refused. The Lord was directing them to our home to administer to our daughter. Another time Wayne had Membranous Croup. He was very ill. George telephoned to Charleston for the Elders to come. Through some misunderstanding two Doctors came instead. They were nearly frozen. They stopped at John Hiibners and thawed their feet out. They came to our place about midnight. They rode horses and when they knocked at our door we were surely surprised to see them. They were surprised when we told them we were waiting for the Mormon Elders. They didn’t even charge us for the trip. Wayne was better in the morning.

In 1915 we sold our farm and home and together[f] with my husband, four children, and[g] my father and mother, my sisters Dollie and Opal and brothers Monte and Floyd and Mr. Alonzo Holmes we started for Utah. We traveled three days and two nights. We came to Mendon, Utah September 24th, 1915 and stayed at the home of Elder Jeremiah Baker. We stayed with him a few days, then lived at the Lallis home for a month. My folks moved to the old Abraham Sorensen home and we moved to the Elias Davis home. We rented here from October till March and then bought the home where we are still living. Our children Vira, Okey Leonard, Glenn Grant[h], George Calvin and Dorothy have been born in this house.

Vira was our first baby born in Utah. When she was eight months old she had Eryseplys. Doctor E. S. Budge could do nothing. The Elders administered to her and she was healed by faith.

I have been a member of the Relief Society for ---- years. I have been a visiting Teacher for --- years. I have always been a member of the Sunday School. I was a Primary teacher of the 2nd group for several years. On July 1930 I was put[i] in the Primary Presidency of Mendon Ward. This position I now hold and enjoy my work.

We were sealed in the Logan Temple June 14th, 1916 for time and all Eternity. Our children Odie, Frona, Luetta, Wayne and Vira were sealed to us. All of our children have been baptized in the Logan Temple.

I am the mother of nine children. Odie is married to Byron Muir and is the mother of two children Boyd and Gretta Marie. Frona who is secretary of Y. L. M. I. A. Luetta who is secretary of Primary Association. Wayne who is our oldest son and holds the Aaronic Priesthood, Priest. Vira who[j] will graduate from South Cache High School in May. Okey is a Teacher and attends South Cache High School. Glenn is a Deacon and is in the 7th grade. Calvin died of[k] Heart Trouble at three and one-half years of age in 1927. Dorothy, my youngest child, is six years of age.

On August 8th, 1932, my mother, Mrs. Agnes Copen, Bishop D. C. Stuart and I were hurrying to Ely, Nevada to the bedside[l] of my brother Floyd Copen. He was very ill with a ruptured appendix. About thirty miles from Grantsville we ran head-on into a truck. Bishop Stuart was killed and I lay unconscious form three a.m. until nine a.m. They took us to Grantsville where first aid was administered to us. Then we went to Salt Lake. George and Arthur Kidman came to Salt Lake and we came to Mendon arriving here at three a.m. Nearly everyone in Mendon came to see me. They could hardly believe I was alive. I am always[m] sure the Lord felt that my mission here was not finished.

I have always been an ardent Temple Worker. I have done endowment work for the dead for eighteen years. I have been baptized for several people. I have also helped clean the Temple.1

Retta C. Hiibner


footnote line

1. Life Sketch of Retta Copen Hiibner, Retta Copen Hiibner, 1934. [Please contact Paul Housley for additional information on this family at Used with permission.]

[a] This year was difficult to read. Other records show it as 1822.

[b] This date was difficult to read. Other records show it as August 28.

[c] Spelling correction to ‘see’. Original was ‘wee’.

[d] Spelling correction. Original was ‘Testomonies’.

[e] Spelling correction. Original was ‘mild’.

[f] ‘together’ may have been crossed out.

[g] ‘and’ may have been crossed out.

[h] The ‘t’ on Grant was penciled in. It looks like the original was ‘Grand’.

[i] Spelling correction. Original was ‘pup’.

[j] ‘who’ may have been crossed out.

[k] Spelling correction. Original was’if’.

[l] Spelling correction. Original was ‘beside’.

[m] ‘always’ may have been crossed out.