Muriel (Aiken) Smith
Life and Work
Muriel Smith was born on March 13, 1905 and began being active in the Millet United Church at a young age. As she grew up she grew to be “Millet’s Quintessential Woman.” She was active in her community and devote in her religion. She was essential on her farm to do chores, decorating, maintenance, and caring for her children. She was the strong support system behind her husband and embraced every situation with grace and strength.
Muriel married John Angus Smith on October 24, 1935 in Millet United Church, and they were blessed with 4 children, 7 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren. Family was always Muriel’s main priority. She encouraged secondary education for 3 of her 4 children; enjoyed seeing them married and building lives of their own. She entertained numerous family gathering throughout the years, providing large meals and accommodations. Her seven grandchildren have very fond memories spent on the Millet acreage.
Muriel was a representative for Fairfield’s and Sons Wool Blanket Manufacturing Co. Community members would collect clean woolen scraps, bring them to her where they were weighed and an order form filled out for various types of new woolen blankets. These blankets prices were then reduced due to the exchange of woolen scraps. Muriel then boxed the scraps and sent the by Canadian Pacific Rail to Winnipeg, Manitoba. She received a small commission for her work – usually in the form of new blankets. She had to ensure the scraps were pure wool and did so by a “match test” as wool does not ignite like cotton, linen or rayon.
The protestant work ethic dictated that hands should not be idle; therefore Muriel did sewing, knitting, braiding rag rugs, hooking wool rugs and dyeing materials for these rugs to fill her spare time. As a life long member of the Millet United Church, Muriel joined the Ladies Aid and the choir. She was active in fund raising and providing physical and emotional support to its members. She provided home baking and invitations to dinner to people alone during the holiday seasons.
After John’s death in 1975 Muriel assumed the responsibilities of paying taxes and insurances, looking after rental properties, maintaining the home and car and caring for her youngest son on her own. She remained in her home until her death in 1983. Fittingly, John and Muriel are buried in the Millet Cemetery.