What my Great-Grandmas taught me about Property Rights
For me, there was nothing better than growing up on a ranch in rural Southwest Idaho and living next door to my great-grandma Carrie. Most days after school, I would hop off the school bus and head directly to her house. Among other things, she taught me to cook pies and biscuits, to sew on her treadmill sewing machine, and to appreciate the experiences and history of my elders.
I will forever cherish the stories my great-grandma would tell me of her fascinating life. She had grown up in Nebraska in a middle-class family that was hit hard in the great depression. She told me of riding a stagecoach out west and getting to ride shotgun next to the driver when she answered an ad as a 17-year-old to be a prairie schoolhouse teacher in the Idaho wilderness.
I was also told stories of my great-grandma Mattie on the Givens side of the family and the town and business she built. Grandma Mattie was left alone to raise 4 sons in the Idaho desert, and yet she built a commercial hot spring, hotel, school, and community in the late 1800s–1920s. Great-grandma Mattie also took in pioneer children who had been orphaned on the trip west, and provided them home and education.
Despite Mattie’s work in building her business and community, at that time in history, because she was a woman, she could not own the property in her own name. At one point in 1889, a man moved onto the property and tried to claim the land as his own. Thankfully, Mattie’s brother realized what was happening and was able to ride quickly and file a homestead claim in his own name at the nearby Silver City.
Shortly thereafter, he deeded the property to Mattie in a document that survives in the Owyhee County recorders office to this day. This transfer made Mattie Givens likely one of the first women in Idaho to own property in her own name, 30 years prior to getting the right to vote.
This ownership provided security to my great-grandma Mattie and her family and she was able to continue to build and expand Givens Hot Springs in her name, passing it down to her sons. My parents and siblings continue to live on the property and run Givens Hot Springs to this day.
Property ownership is fundamental to the stability of families and businesses. Much of what my great-grandma Mattie was able to accomplish was because she owned her land. Much of the security that I provide my children, is because we have a place to call home.
I am running for the office of Salt Lake County Recorder because I believe more needs to be done to ensure your private property rights, especially when it comes to one's home. In a time of such instability, that reassurance is a critical stabilizer.
The Recorders Office must do better to ensure its obligation to the residents of Salt Lake County.
Candidate for Salt Lake County Recorder