Friday, June 15, 2012

Calvin Wheeler

     Calvin Wheeler was born 14 August 1840, at Augusta, Maine, the son of Levi Wheeler and Mary Ann Wilder Arnold .  He was the second son and child of five children.  Levi Lincoln, born 22 August 1838; Calvin born 14 August 1840; Elmira Jane born 15 May 1842; George Walton born 30 March 1844 and Melissa Ann born 19 April 1847.  He was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints 15 September 1854.
     When he was about 14 years of age, his father got the gold fever, so he took his family and started west.  They moved first to Illinois and while there his mother passed away and is buried at Paw-Paw, Lee Co. Illinois.  When he was 18, they came across the plains.  While traveling he received a leg injury which he called “a snag”.  The leg was hurt by a stick.  It didn’t heal and for years he had a running sore on it.  Calvin acted as a body-guard for Brigham Young, was what they termed a minute-man ready to go at any time.  He tells of helping fortify Echo Canyon at the coming of Johnson’s Army into Utah.  Lot Smith stopped Johnson’s Army by fortifying the canyon.  He had only 40 men but kept them riding around a hill and some pushing rocks down the hill- thereby deceiving the enemy, making them think there were more than the scant 40 men.  Lot Smith rode into Johnson’s camp and commanded them to surrender and when asked by what authority he said pointing to the few men who could be seen; “By the authority of my men.”  They thought that because of so many men they were defeated.  Lot set fire to their wagons, and the Army retreated saying “the hills are fulls of Mormons.”  They also set fire to the range and grass to keep the Army out.  He also tells of putting straw around the homes in the valley, in preparation of setting fire to them in case the Army did come into Salt Lake City.  They would find it just as desolate as did the saints when they arrived in the valley.  Later a delegation from the Army came into Salt Lake City to investigate the Mormons and found their records and everything in order, and they had been misinformed as to the condition that existed in Utah. 
     His boyhood days were spent working much of the time to gain a living and necessities of life, as was true of all, in those early pioneer days in Utah.  The family settled in North Ogden and he worked with his father Levi in the Ogden Canyon cutting timber.  They would cut the logs and float them down the river.
      Calvin had very little opportunity to attend school, but gained much of his education through experience.  He was able to read and write and was pretty good with figures.  About all he did in his last years was to read.  This he did by using a hand reading glass.  He was a good dancer and enjoyed sports, horse back riding, bowing, and wrestling, which he was able to do well.
     He never went to church much until he married his second wife.  After, he did take an interest in church, he went all out to live it, he paid his tithing, took part whenever he could, and always encouraged his children to attend church and take part.  Three of his sons filled missions, David, to the Southern States; John Andrew to Texas; and Jacob Archie to the Indians. 
     On 16 September 1860 he married Julia Elizabeth Bidwell.   To this union were born four sons, Joseph born 2 September 1862; Calvin Jr. born 22 March 1865; Robert born 14 November 1869; and Levi born 11 May 1871.  This couple were sealed for time and all eternity on 3 March 1865.   On 26 September 1871, Julia passed away leaving Calvin with four small children, the baby being only three months old.  He was taken and raised by his aunt, Mrs. Moore.
       It was necessary for him to hire a housekeeper.  About two years after his wife’s passing, he hires Marion Hutchinson to care for his home and family.  A year later on 13 January 1873, Calvin and Marion Hutchinson were married.  Calvin thought that since officers were watching the Mormons to see that they did not marry in polygamy that they had better be married by the Justice of the Peace, so that they might have a certificate of marriage in case any trouble should arise, certificates were not given in the Endowment House.  The Salt Lake Temple has not yet been finished.  About two and one half years after their first baby, David was born, they went to the Endowment house, where they were married.  That made all of the children, except David, Born under the Covenant.  It was not until David went to the temple, before going on a mission, to the Southern Sates, that they went and had him sealed to them.  To this union was born 12 children.  David born 15 January,1875; Thomas Hardy born 10 December 1876; Agnes born 14 December 1878, and died at the age of thirteen months; Beniah born 29 November 1880; John Andrew born 25 September 1883; Jacob Archie born 24 October 1885; Mary Melissa born 23 February 1888; James Ira born 13 March 1890 and died at the age of three years; Stella Almira born 8 March 1892; William Riley born 6 October 1894: Austin Marion born 21 Nov 1896: and Mable born 30 April 1899. 
     Calvin had a cattle ranch on the Promontory and it was good business in those days.  They lived in a little two room house while in North Ogden.  He has provided his family with a pretty good home in the spring after they were married, they moved to the ranch on the Promontory.  Grandmothers remarks that it was a “lonely” old place to live.  While living there Calvin herded cattle for Sid Stevens.  Due to a very severe winter they lost a lot of cattle.  He was sued for this but nothing came of it.  He also herded cattle from Farmington to Curlew valley west of Malad for Miller and Turner for several years.  Calvin Jr. and Levi helped on this project.  Levi had come home to live with his father when he was 16 years old.  While living on the Promontory he together with his boys cut and sold cedar posts.  This is where David, who was then 12, had his first experience driving oxen.
     In the fall of 1887, or early spring 1888, Calvin traded his property in North Ogden for a ranch in Mapleton, Idaho.  He took his family and started for their new home.  The snow was deep and it was so difficult to travel that they only got as far as Collingston, Utah, where Melissa was born, and they had to stay until spring.  In the spring they moved into their ranch in Mapleton, while here he engaged in farming, cattle raising, and operating a sawmill in Cub River Canyon, with the help of his brother, George.  They later sold the saw mill to Hank Palmer.  After that Calvin bought cattle for Thomas R. Thorton, and with the help of his son, David, drove the stock to Big Piney, Wyoming on the Green River and delivered them to Mr. Palmer.
    In those days the early settlers had many varied experiences with the Indians. Grandfather tells of one encounter, he and his brother George, had with them.  Once while away, their oxen strayed off, when they went to hunt for them, they came upon a group of Indians holding a dance and chanting to drive away the evil sprits from one of their members who was sick.  The Indians were not always friendly, so they sure were worried as to how they would be accepted.  They had some bread with them, which they gave the Indians, which pleased them.  As a result the Indians gave them a bucketful of service berries and helped them locate the oxen.
      Calvin was associated with the Indians a great deal during his life and learned to speak their language.  In fact his pet name for Mable was “Poosie” an Indian Expression.  Just three days before he passed away, when Mable gave him a drink of water, he looked up at her and said, “My Poosie”.  That was his last word to her and he went into a coma shortly after.
      Mabel also tells how she and her brothers would scamper if they ever saw their father come out of the bedroom barefooted, for he could and would nip them with his toes.  He could pinch us well with his toes as he could with his fingers.
     Calvin and Thomas Durrant bought a prospecting claim in Logan Canyon.  It didn’t amount to much while they had it, but later those who worked it were able to make it pay off.  He now turned the farm over to his boys and spent much of his time prospecting in the surrounding hills for gold, also in the Colorado Hills, and it seems that he had contacted the mining fever which he never did get over.
      He came upon the Snake River on different occasions to do plaser mining.  Once he had his son, Robert, with his son, David, and he washed gold together with them along the Snake.  After David returned from his mission he accompanied him and his wife Ida, to and worked in the timber.  Grandmother would not go with grandfather on these trips but stayed home to help the boys with the farm.  Calvin did not stay away very long at a time, but would come home and then go again. 
      In 1899, when Mable was just six weeks old, he took Ben and went to the Klondyke in search of gold.  They hadn’t been there very long until Ben got homesick and wanted to come home, he wouldn’t come alone, so they came back together.  While there, Calvin was able to help a man to safety and was credited with saving his life.  He was a jeweler from Logan, Utah, and as a reward gave Calvin a beautiful pin for his wife, and some gold earrings for Melissa. ’Tis said he forgot to mention his new baby girl, Mabel, so she didn’t receive a present.
     In 1907 they moved to Preston, Idaho, where they lived until the spring of 1912.  On April 12 of that year they moved to Moreland, Idaho, where he used his homestead rights and filed for a 320 acre dry farm, located about 10 miles west of Moreland.  He sold his place in Mapleton and bought a steam engine, plows and machinery to operate the place.  They lived on the dry farm during the summer.  They did not do so well after the first two years on this venture, so Grandmother boarded school teachers and boys managed the farm. [This dry farm is now owned and operated by Glen Hurt, who irrigates it with sprinklers.  The water is obtained from deep drilled wells.  The desert is now certainly blooming as a rose.]
      They now lived in their little new five room home in Moreland.  On their lot they had a small orchard and raised apples, plums and small fruits.  Grandmother, who was always ambitious worker, and tried to do her part to maintain the family, canned fruit and pickles to sell to the desert people. By now Calvin’s health was beginning to fail and he was not able to make much money at it.  Calvin passed away 5 June 1920 at 5:55 am in Moreland, Idaho, of Prostrate gland trouble.  He is buried in the Moreland Cemetery.

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