MARY SUNBEAM SHULER was born on 18 April 1878. The family
lived in the Tintic Mining District, where her father James Fayette Shuler
worked as a miner and her mother Mary Ann Warthen Davis Shuler ran a boarding
house. Mary was the third of their seven children. She also had an older
half-sister Lutitia Davis ("Lu"). Shortly before Mary was born, the
Sunbeam mine had been opened, which promised to be one of the richest in the
district, so "Sunbeam" became her middle name.
HENRY FAIRBANKS AND MARY SHULER
She married Henry Fairbanks in 1899. He was the son of Henry Fairbanks
and Mary Elizabeth O'Hara. They had three children:
JENNY FAIRBANKS (b. Aug 1900)
MADGE FAIRBANKS (b. Jan 1902)
BYRON FAIRBANKS (b. Jul 1905)
Henry Fairbanks died in 1918 during the flu epidemic.
The flu epidemic of 1918-1919 killed about 22 million people worldwide.
It is in the Guinness record book as being the third worst "disaster" in
world history, after only the black plague and the Mongol invasions, which both
took place in the 1300's.
It seems that Payson was especially hard-hit during this epidemic.
Mary's youngest brother Dave also lost his wife, on the same day that Henry
died. Dave was left with three small boys. For a while Mary and her children
moved in with her brother Dave's family
so that "Aunt Mary" could take care of the three little boys.
At this time, her daughter Jenny was 19, Madge was 16, and Byron was 13,
but Jenny and Madge became more like aunts or big sisters to the Shuler
boys instead of cousins, and they always stayed very close.
JENNY AND MADGE FAIRBANKS -- ABOUT 1918
Later, to the grandchildren and great-grandchildren, these two ladies were
like aunts. We often went to visit them, and sometimes stayed overnight.
They really loved children and made a big fuss over them, and liked to
spoil them. Byron was killed in an accident at age 26, and Jenny and
Madge never married, so the Shulers were their closest relatives.
They lived in Sugarhouse for a while, and later in a little house in
Rose Park. Jenny died of cancer in 1961 (even though I was only 3 when
she died I remember her quite well and what a nice lady she was).
Madge lived there until 1981, and although she had lost the full use of her
legs in an accident in her 20's, she was a very happy, outgoing person
and everyone loved her. She had a big sense of humor, and a sunny
personality which went with her red hair. Many people used to come to her
house every day, and she did manicures and told their fortunes (read
palms and did personality profiles based on their birthdates), but it
was really just an excuse to get to know people and listen to their
troubles, and tell them positive things. She loved people and they
knew that she sincerely cared about them, so she really brightened up a
lot of people's lives.
Madge's cousin Bish (Howard's younger brother) lived in the house with her
after his wife died, since Bish's only son, Dennis Dave ("Denny") Shuler,
lived just a few houses away with his wife Colette and their two
daughters Susie and Michelle. Denny had no sons, and also his two
daughters have no children, so Howard and his half-brother Hal Shuler
were really the only ones to carry on the family name in future generations.
Their other two brothers had died young. There are not very many Shulers
in our line in Utah. As mentioned, Great-Grandpa Dave Shuler also had two
brothers who died young, and only one brother, George Shuler, who married
and had children.
by Karen Bray Keeley
by Sandra Shuler Bray