Thursday, June 14, 2012
Joseph Preston Meacham
Born: 25 Paril 1857 ET (Lake Point) Tooele County, Utah
Died 22 May 1937 Hinkcley, Millard County, Utah
He Married: 1st- Ida May Green, 10 Nov 1875 Holden Utah.
2nd- Phoebe Elizabeth Hale, 15 Nov, 1889.
This history is written and submitted by Aroetta Meach TUllis Bishop, Nov. 15, 1975. Author is a member of the Anne E. Melville Bishop Camp West Millard Chapter, Delta, Utah. Joseph Preston Meacham second son of Joseph Meacham, the Patriach, and Mary Catherine Green, was born April 25, 1857 at what was then called E. T., Now Lake Point. His parents were both early pioneers of Utah. His father was born at Thorntion, Grafton County, New Hampshire of a long line of American ancestry from Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hamsphire, originaed from Bristol Soomersetshire, England. Jeremiah and his brother Samuel and their wives were the first of this name to come and they settled in Salem, Essex, Massachusetts about 1640. His father had prepared to come with Brigham Young's first company in 1837, but he was asked to remain to help build Winter Quarters and help equip the saints for the migration west. He came later in the second company, and his mother came with that of Heber C. Kimball, arriving June 18, 1848.
Mary Catherine Green was the daughter of Charles Lamoni Green and Mary Emmoliza Ellis. He was born in Otsego, Otsego county, New York July 24, 1802, and his wfie was born at Canajoharie Montgomery Co. New York, Oct 26, 1805. These parents were early converts to the church being raised not far from where the church was organized in Fayette. Charles was baptized March 7, 1834, as given in a short statement by him recorded in the Sixteenth Quorum of Seventies records, where he stated that he helped to organize a group of sixteen elders and prepared them to gather with the saints. He also stated there that his father was Jacob Green, no mention of his grandmother's name, but that they were originally from Allegany county, New York.
After arriving in the Salt Lake Valley, Joseph Mecham moved to Tooele, Utah where he met Mary Catherine Green, his fourth wife. She helped to make the abodes for their first home in E.T. Gathering rocks from the ground by ox team they made the fence around their property, and hauled post cut from cedars to fence the pasture. They were forced to subsist on greasewood and Sego lilies until the first crops were harvested. Hardly had they done this when they were called by Brigham Young to go and help settle East Weber County. They were among the first settlers there. Their journey took them through Devil's Gate east of Ogden. Hazardous ventures were involved in crossing the Weber River with ox team. Not knowing the condition of the river, long poles were thrust down into the deep water ahead of the team of oxen to sound it's depth and to test for quicksand. The animals were forced to swim with the wagon and this would take them downstream. It was far into the night when they raised the wagon by ropes up the steep bank and onto safe ground. In Milton, Morgan County, Utah, they built their second home. Not only did Mary Catherine help cut and trim logs for the houses, but she did most of the fencing of the small farm there, while her husband cut and hauled the posts. They were able to raise a small garden the first year and obtained meat from the hills for food. Here in the one room log cabin, Mary was left with her two small sons, Heber and baby Preston, while the father returned to Tooele to help his other wives. Winter came on and it was almost impossible to keep from freezing and going hungry. This terrible strain and what she felt was partiality shown to some of the families, was too much for Mary Catherine and she went back alone with her sons to E.T. She seperated from her husband and made her own living by knitting socks and weaving cloth wich she sold to the miners. Later she married a man by the name of Solomon Parker and moved to Nephi, Utah, which was then just being settled. Her parents were here also and they all lived in dugouts until other homes could be built. The following two years their crops were all frozen. Tthe horses and cattle nearly all died of starvation during the long winter. A few were saved by eating the tops and bark of maple trees.
In the spring they moved to Deweyville and were able to sell vegetables to the freighters in route to the gold fields in California. This was the first time they had all the food they wanted to eat. Tthe children's clothes were made from gunny sacks left by the freighters and they felt very blessed to get them. It was at this place that Heber, the oldest boy, was killed. Being a small lad about five or six years of age, he climbed the wheel of a large freight wagon driven by his mother's brother, Nathaniel Green, unknown to anyone and as the wheel went round it crushed his head killing him instantly.
His mother and step-father moved from here to Cash Valley when Preston was about seven years old. Father walked most of the way up hill and down with sacks tied to his feet to keep them from bleeding. At the age of twelve, father went to work on the railroad in Weber Canyon helping the men put in bridge timbers. The next year he went on is own getting passage with some of the men working with him and from freighters, he worked his way down into Salt Lake City and on to Tooele, the sight of his first home. Here, he cut ties for the railroad west of Ogden for the Southern Pacific Railroad. The workers would slide the logs down the canyon when they were cut and father drug them by mule team to the hewing yard. There they were made into railroad ties and hauled to the railroad.
In the meanwhile, his mother and step-father had moved to Oak City, where Mary's parents were then living. Father drove a cow all the way from Tooele on foot to his mother's home so that she could have milk and butter she needed. soon after this, his gradnparents were called to Deseret to help build the Old Mud Fort to protect the settlers from the Indians, then on the warpath. Father carried drinking water to the men who were building the fort and helped tramp the straw into the mud for the walls. This was in 1865. Soon after the fort was completed, his grandmother's Emmoliza Ellis Green, died and was buried in an unmarked grave north of the fort so that the Indians could not find the grave.
While working near Tooele in mid-winter, father left there to return to the camp in Dry Canyon. One the way a blinding snow storm came up, and he lost his way and wandered for hours in the hills through wind and the cold drifing snow until he knew he would have to give up and lay down from exhaustion; but through sheer Irish will and determination hegfought his way through the night and held on. At day break, he followed down the ridge and came to a small cabin belonging to James J. Steel, who took him in. His legs and feet were frozen and for six weeks, Mr. Steel kept him there in the cabin and cared for him until he was able to walk again. From here, father went to Opher, where the first mining camps were established in Utah. In one week he saw this place built into a town of cabins, tents, dugouts, saloons, stores, boarding houses, and mills. He saw the first stagecoach come into this bustling mining camp with with their supplies and baggage. His mother and grandparents had followed th advice of Brigham Young in developing agriculture and establishing needful mills so that the people of Utah could be self-sustaining, for the gerat leader had said, 'We cannot live on silver or gold, but we can live well on the products of the soil.' Father was a large, strong boy active and industrious, and he knew he was capable of doing his part in the struggle for existence. His love for his mother was great since he was the only child and he could not see her go destitute. In the spirng of 1872, he left home to go to Robinson, now know as Ely , Nevada, where the White Pine mining boom was on. Here he became an odd job boy, as he was only fourteen years of age. Then later he drove teams of horses. Some of the friends he had made went on to Pioche and he went with them. This mining camp brought all the riffraff and scum of the Western country here to find work and he saw many of the fights and malicious incidents that went on there. One day, he was walking down the street when two men came out of a saloon quarreling and arguing. They pulled out their guns about the same time and both men were shot-- one was killed and the other was in the hosptial for two months before he died. These revolting incidents sickened him to his soul and he wished many times he was home with his folks. As a result, he only stayed three months, but he was always very careful with his money and saved all that was not needed for food and clothing. The rest he sent home to his mother. He was indeed very to go home and do chores and haul pine logs from Oak City to Deseret- for a Mr. John Marshall. Having no money in the spring for much needed supplies, father was forced to return to Tintic to the mines.
There was no coal. In those days and the smelters burning charcoal in the furnaces. as the railroad was not father south than Ogden, they were forced to make their own. Father found work with James Dimmick, snaking the pinion pines from Tintic hills to make the kilns for burning the needed material. In the summer they burned the charcoal and hauled it to Stockton and Bingham Canyon. It was father's job to deliver this by mule team, quite a job for a fifteen year old boy. He had no opportunity to go to school, so some of the old miners taught him how to read and write at night. Later he worked for a man by the name Richard Golf, who had a contract to sink a mining shaft at the old Greaser mine. He carried water and tools up the mountain about a mile from camp. Gold taught him how to do many things that mining work called for. Finally he developed sore eyes and they became so bad that he was unable to work. An old lady by the name of Brimhall took him to her home and cared for him a long time, but his eyes got so bad that he decided he would try to go home to Oak City. With his blankets on his back, he started out one August afternoon, cutting southeast toward the Sevier River. He walked thirty-five miles before he lay down to rest. He still had many miles to go and his eyes became so bad that he could hardly see his way, and every few minutes he would stumble and fall. As he stumbled and sometimes crawled, he felt that he never would make it. But his iron will and stamina took him in hand he still went on and on crawling the last mile or so home. His mother soon had his eyes well, and he was able to return to Tintic.
With a few dried biscuits in his pocket, he and another boy by the name of Levi Warren, a relative, set out on foot for Eureka. In two days, they arrived there and went to the boarding house and asked for food and was served a good meal. they walked from there to Mammoth and on to Silver City and up to the Diamond Mine searching for work. Failing there, they a for East Canyon or Opher, south and east of Stockton and over the hills. They had a desert to cross here and they knew they would have to make it by night. They found no water at Boulder Springs and no one was there with food. After walking fifteen miles they came to a junction in the road. One way went to Cedar Valley where Johnson’s army had encamped when they came into Utah, the other went to Bates Creek. They were so terribly weak and hungry that they lay down to rest and did not awaken until morning. They knew that they had to go on or die of thirst. They left their blankets and started out at sun-up. Before long their tongues became so swollen that they had to lay down every little while, and finally they gave up and crawled up under some greasewood by the side of the road to die. For four or five hours they lay there in agony and delirium. Then they thought they heard a noise in the distance and soon a peddler with his wagon drove up and gave them some ware, a little at a time, and took them on into Bates Creek with him.
Father was fortunate to find two old miners here who had known him in Ely, Nevada. They had brought a one hundred fifty span of mules to find pasture for. Dr. Bradley was one of the men, and he told the foreman of the mine that father was an orphan and needed help, so he gave him and Warren a job at the mine. It was here that he found out that his Uncle Bill Huntington had some claims to an iron mine in Eureka and then father first met his cousin, Ida May Green. She being the daughter of Allen Madison Green, a brother to father’s mother. He was eighteen and she was thirteen years old, but they were married in Holden on November 10, 1875. They had two baby boys born in the vicinity of the Tintic mining district. George Allen was born December 7, 1876, and Asa on the 10th of January 1879. George Allen was born at Dragon Hollow and Asa was born at Goshen City. When they were age five and three, these small boys contacted diphtheria and died five days apart, the first dying on May 10, 1883, and the other May 15, 1882. What a great sorrow this must have been to a young girl who was to have her third baby in two months! It let Ida May’s arms and her days so empty and both their hearts broken. Dennis Burdell was born July 28, 1882 in Leamington, as they had left the mining district after this tragedy swept their home. Father was elected town marshal here and it was the first public office he had ever held. They were very such happier he(re) as it gave them an opportunity to attend church and other social functions, to have close neighbors and friends. Id’s uncle, Charles L. Green, had moved here from Oak Creek, where he had lived for some time. Their fourth son was also born here on July 22, 1884, and it seemed that God had given them back their two little sons.
By this time many settlers were coming into Deseret, Hinckley and Abraham. Most of these families in Hinckley and Abraham were from the Dixie country, where they were flooded out by the Virgin River. Apostles Wilford Woodruff and Abraham H. Cannon, whom Abraham was named after, took up some thousand acres of ground there and encouraged other settlers to settle on it and it was called the “Church Farm”. Father and Ida built a one-room log house on a large tract of land about five miles southeast from there, nearer Deseret, in the Hinckley Area. The settlers from Stromburgs and the Fullers and the Blacks , to mention a few became their close friends. Verner V. Stromburg was the first man to die in Abraham, and he was buried in the Hinckley cemetery. His wife and three children later moved to Salt Lake City. She became a nurse and we have placed a wreath of flowers on his grave every year since he was buried there.
There were starvation times for all and especially those who came without finance. Their crops failed and it was two or more years before they were able to obtain crops for food. Fish were plentiful in the river below. Father took his team and wagon and would scoop the fish from the water with pitch forks and take a load of fish and salt from the marshes on the river to Oak City and trade for vegetables, flour and potatoes.
Three other children were born at the farm in Hinckley, Willa(m) Seth, Howard (who died a year old from drinking lye from a can) and their only daughter, Ida May. In the winter, father was forced to go away to find work to care for his family and Ida May and the children were left alone. He had to buy machinery also with which to cultivate his farm. This was terribly hard on Ida and later she developed dropsy and died leaving four children without a mother.
Father married Phoebe Elizabeth Hal who he became acquainted with while working at Grantsville on the Southern Pacific Railroad. She was the daughter of Aroet Lucis Hale and Louisa Cooke. Nine children were born to this couple, five of which were born in Grantsville. While living in Grantsville, he became city marshal there for ten years and was also deputy sheriff of Tooele County. He had many dangerous experiences with law-breakers and desperadoes of those days. I will here relate one incident that will be of much interest to his descendents.
A lone peddler was driving down Emigration Canyon with a load of goods to be sold to the settlers of Salt Lake City, when he was accosted by two horsemen who dragged him from his wagon, took his money and beat him so badly he was left for dead. These two men were later apprehended by the city officers in a log cabin further down the canyon. These ruffians were on the lookout for the officers and shot one of them on sight. They again made their get-a-way, and went down the slope and hid in a cabin near Coalsville. Here they killed two more men, Captains Daws and Stagg, and a third man crawled to safety. Then the outlaws rode to the outskirts of Ogden and forced the blacksmith there to shoe their stolen horses before going on into Salt Lake City. North of Bountiful they could see officers there approaching and took them by surprise forcing them to pass by while they headed for City Creek Canyon. A posse of four hundred men surrounded them there, but still they evaded them by crawling through the brush. From here they walked on into Salt Lake, where they concealed themselves in a clover bank near Liberty Park for two days and then walked into Murray. Mounting two horses left by cowboys in front of a saloon, they directed their course toward a rendezvous for outlaws in the mountains west of Grantsville, Utah. Father was notified to be on the look-out for them and so was the Tooele Militia. An eight-thousand dollar reward was offered for them dead or alive. A lone man at the Humbug Mine exchanged horses with them and gave them food, and after directing them to a place to sleep, he rode into Grantsville and told father of their whereabouts. By daybreak father and other men he had deputized had reached their camping grounds. The ruffians were just saddling their horses when the men surrounded them. Startled by father’s command to throw up their hands, they plunged into the creek bed below to make another get a way. Father called for Cothlin, the older one, to stop, but instead, he raised his gun to shoot, but his wrist and gun stock were broken by a bullet from father’s gun. George, the younger, who was merely a boy, turned a bend in the creek, and was out of sight. Father called to his men, but they could not hear him. Quickly he made a dummy out of his coat and hat, and pushed it on top of the bushes where it could be seen. Cothlin shot at this and disclosed his hiding place. But this time, the Tooele Militia had arrived and it was decided that Sheriff Gordon, of the group, and father should go down into the brush to get them. Father knew then that he was along and that his life depended on his quick action and clam nerves. Again he called orders for his son to shoot on sight. Cothlin heard him, and crawled down the creek four hundred yards, then he saw the dummy which father had placed closer to him and he threw up his hands, Father was in close pursuit, knowing that his gun was broken, and placed the handcuffs on him. He told Cothlin to warn George to come up out of the brush in plain sight, or he would have his men riddle the brushes. In about three minutes, George came up with his hand above his head. Father kept Cothlin between him and the other outlaw and forced him to turn his back, thus taking his gun and then marched them up the bluff alone.
Later, in their trials they were convicted of murder and sentenced to be shot. When they asked Cothlin if he had anything to say before he died, he just laughed and said, ‘Just give me a piece of Stagg on toast.’ He was shot on the spot where he had killed the two officer, Daw and Stagg. George, being a young man was influenced much by this hardened criminal, so he was committed to life in prison, but was later pardoned. I want to say here that father never did get anything out of this by way of reward money for the capture of these two men.
Before school was out in the spring of 1900, father moved his family to Hinckley in order to plow and plant crops. The writer of this history was then six months old, born September 22, 1899. I am seventy one today and just finishing with the writing of this history.
With two large wagons filled with household goods, several head of horses and eight cows and calves which they drove, they headed south from Grantswille and up the divide to Hickman, where the dry farms were, then south to St. John’s , called Rush Valley, the biggest sheep and cattle country in Utah. Ten miles east of St. John’s was Ajax store, a great stockmen’s mercantile establishment where the wagons were driven underground and into the store which supplied the surrounding country with everything from boots to beans. Corrals and stables were built all around above the ground to accommodate the cattlemen. At first, this store had purchased much of the over-stocked army supplies of Johnson’s Army when they disbanded the camp and the men were called to fight in the war of the South. It was here that mother and father camped the first night. Leaving here they headed for Eureka, Utah. One of the cows of the small heard was white and she gave milk for the children all the way. She as the leader and had a mind of her own on this trip. It started to snow the second night out of Boulder Pass. There was no graveled road, just paths and the wagon bogged down in the mud some places to the hubs. They doubled up the teams and tried to get out of this, but of no avail. The storm became so violent that they were forced to tie the horses to the wagon and turned the cattle loose. Lenard L, the oldest boy, from whom I received most of this information, was then ten years old. He said that he broke open a bail of hay, scattered it under the wagon and with just one quilt, bedded down for the night. When he awoke in the morning, the wagon box was completely covered, and he had to dig his way out. After father and mother quieted the children down, they sat on a large trunk, and each held a baby in their arms all night. The snow was waist deep before it cleared. Lenard rode one of the horses over to the railroad track which was close by and drug over ties to make a fire so that they could keep warm. Some ties were split and placed under the wagon wheels in an effort to get out of the deep mud, but this didn’t help. They looked for the cattle and found them bunched under the wet over-brush completely obscured and sheltered from the cold.
A mixed train came along that morning and the brakeman and conductor offered their help. They wanted to put mother and the children on the train and take them down to Tintic Junction where they could get the train for Oasis, but mother would not leave father alone. So the conductor sent hand cars back to help them out and to their surprise, the section foreman was Robert Slaughter, one of father’s closest friends from Hinckley. They unloaded the wagons and sent all the heavy things to Oasis. Scarcely had the cars gone, when two large teams from the McEntyre Ranch in Tintic Valley drove up. They were the biggest horses they had ever seen and it was only a short one week and during that time they were guests of the McEntyres. They were given comfortable bunk house and all the food they needed. The stock was fed and cared for. Father said, “We were treated like royalty.” The snow was still very deep when they went on their way. The old white cow was in the lead, as usual, but suddenly she dropped out of sight. The road was washed out and the drifts which covered it was twelve to fourteen feet deep. If it hadn’t of been for the white cow, the wagon would have gone into the wash, causing another two or three day delay.
Father had one purebred Habeletonian horse which he had used in his livery stable in Salt Lake City when he was first married to mother. This trotting horses was sure-footed and dependable. He placed a horse blanket and a quilt on her back and mother climbed into the saddle with one child behind her and another in front. The quilt and the blanket were all fastened securely around them and tied. In this way the heat from the animal kept them warm and they rode all day this way, with mother comforting the children, and driving the cattle until they reached Leamington. The creak of the icy wheels of the wagon on the frozen ground sang its weird song all day long and far into the night. Most of the people here had heard of their plight from the railroad men and sent a man by the name of Johnson out to them, and he took them to his home. The oldest son of Delbert Wedd, who was living at that time in Oak City met them at Fool Creek Flatt the next day in a buggy, drawn by mules, and took them to his home there. They met father and Lenard the next day in Hinckley. Mother said many times that they never ceased to pray for help from the time it started to snow until they reached the farm. Tears would course down her cheeks when she related how God had sent help to them out in that frozen wilderness. Their home was a one room log cabin with no stove to give heat and nothing warm to eat, but it was their destination, and they were grateful the journey was at an end. Friends came to their rescue and did so much for them after their arrival and gave her a warm welcome to the desert. Mother said, “I resolved in my heart then that with god’s help, I would do all in my power to repay these good people through rendering service to them during my life in Hinckley.” We children well knew that this promise was fulfilled. One more log room was built on and a lumber room joined the two. The log kitchen of this home had quite a history.
It was during the days of the persecution of the polygamists. When the officer of Prehives, as they called, deputies of the U.S. Marshal came searching for the men in hiding, to keep out of prison, the hunted men would come to father’s house. Father had placed his kitchen stove over a trap door which led down to a tunnel under the house, and then on out into the high brush. The men were let down through this hiding place many times by moving the stove to one side and replacing it. In this way the man could easily escape.
In relation to polygamy, I wish to relate here one incident which append while Lenard and father were working on the first dam in this valley on the Sevier River. This was where Sutherland is now located and where the road dips down as it crosses the channel on the turn north of Delta. Each man had to pay cash or work out his assessment on this canal. One day, as father and Lenard and other men were feeding their teams and sitting by the wagons for lunch, they saw a cloud of dust moving along the canal bank in the distance. As it came closer, they detected a man on horseback. As he drew near, they saw he was barefooted and without shirt or hat, and was whipping the horse to its limit. Close behind were tow other men in swift pursuit. Father could soon see that it was his friend, Will Ruben Black, form Deseret and the U.S. Marshals were after him. Father called for him to ride down into the bull brush along the bank. Then he raised his gun, a Winchester, and drew a bead on the two men. He waved for them to keep right on going up the path to the road, seeing the gun on them, they kept right on, and were never seen in that part of the country again.
The only saw mill in the country was the Lyman Walker Mill in Oak Creek Canyon. All the lumber, slabs, poles and logs used on father’s farm was hauled from there by team and wagon. Lenard and Wesley, then twelve and fourteen, did most of this work, and helped build large stock yards, sheds, corrals and machine shelters. While these two boys were in the Canyon on one trip, they had just crawled into bed when they heard a bur-r-r-r of a rattlers and by the light of the fire, they could see it coming toward them. They dropped a large rock on its head as it came close to the bed. It was the biggest rattler they had ever seen.
Father was a great story teller, and in the evening would relate many incidents of his early childhood and his hard life. One incident he used to laugh so much about was when he was about fifteen and living in Oak City. There was one boy in town who had taken father’s girl out once or twice. They were hauling cane in at molasses-making time, and as they drove into the yard, they passed this boy all dressed up and ready for his date, and they offer hi a ride. The skimming hoe was covered with straw, and they drove the wagon up along the side of it. As the boy slid off, he went right into the skimmings. They had to pull him out to save his life. Well, needless to say, he didn’t go for a girl that night. Father didn’t tell anyone about this incident, but laughed to himself all during the dance that night.
Later, when they had much of the farm under cultivation, our parents would take us up to Oak Creek Canyon. There we would meet John Lovell and Fred Lyman with their families, and we would have a wonderful day or two of fishing and camping. Father and John were boyhood friends, and this friendship lasted throughout the years. We would leave at four a.m. in the morning with team and wagon to go to John Lovell’s place to get fruit and vegetables to can for winter, and we would camp out at night and leave at four a.m. to get home while it was cool. Oak City was a garden center, and all the people on the desert below depended on getting their winter supply, especially potatoes.
Shortly after arriving in Hinkcley to live with mother, father was called to Leamington to aid in securing the Desert Irrigation water from a rancher who lived there on the Sevir River. He had a large ranch and would take all the water out of his ranch and leave the people dry in the settlement below. Three trips were made up there to break the dam and turn the water down. This dam was guarded day and night after that by hired guars. Finally, Frank Slaugther, Bishop black and father went up the river at the risk of their lives. As they rode up to the dam, the boss himself strode out on the dam and threatened any man that would touch it. Father leveled his gun on him and told the other two men to break the dam, and if any man interferred he would shoot the fellow that had cause all the trouble. This man knew that father meant it, and he begged him not to shoot. He never did interfere with the water again. There was plenty of good land in this valley for all the settlers, but the lack of water caused a big problem. It was the same Bishop Black, Johnny Styler, father and others who conceived the plan to develop the large Yuba dam at the Sevier Bridge Reservoir. There were plenty of men that said it couldn’t be done. These men were determined to see this project through, so they commenced the first work on the dam with pick and shovel. Father broke his arm while at work, but drove team and scrapper for two months to finish his assessment. Lenard, the oldest boy, worked with him on into winter. They were there when it was finished. In 1918, when the first World War was on, father was appointed guard at this dam.
In 1912, when the large Delta Dam was washed out by floods coming down the river, the settlers endeavored to save the spill way from washing out on the reservoir between Delta and Hinckley; but this seemed impossible. If this went out, they would lose all their water for irrigation. All hands worked earnestly for hours trying to life the flood gates which held the water back, but to no avail. Anxiously the excited settlers prayed for a miracle to happen. These gates had been put there at a cost of forty-two hundred dollars with months of toil and sacrifice. It meant the utter ruin of their crops and starvation to the settlers. Some large poles were laying near the spill way and father suggested that they fasten some ice hooks to the ends of the poles. Then someone could draw out on them and sway up and down to loosen the gates. Bishop Frank Pratt said it could be done, but what man would over that seething water to try it? Father looked around at the pinched faces of his friends and neighbors, he thought of their homes, their children and their crops. Father went out on the poles with a prayer in his heart for God to help him be successful. He swayed up and down until someone called out that the gates were rising, they were giving. When one gate was high enough to pull out, they fastened the hooks to another, and by the same method, slowly the other gates gave way and were pulled out, while father hung over that rolling, seething mass below. The dam was saved, and father often said that it was the will of God that those gates came out that day and the crops of the settlers were saved along with their homes.
Father was a Ward Teacher in the early days of Hinckley. President of the Millard Stake at that times, made the statement that father had as good a record as any man in the Stake. He also had charge of keeping order in the dance hall land church, and all public gatherings for over ten years.
At day break on the morning of the twenty-fourth of July, the brass band which was so prominent in Hinckley the, led by Brother George Whitehead, would ride all over town on hayracks and serenade the friends and townspeople. They were always rewarded with root beer, cake, pie, hot biscuits or other treats which the settlers had on hand. As our farm was a long way from town, they would always come in the house for a treat of mother’s hop beer which she always made for that occasion, in ten gallon cans. I can remember saying that went around about Brother Whitehead. He was short, full-bellied and would ask his wife when he left home, which did he have on, his shoes or his slippers.
Father and Mother nearly always took charge of the annual fights and skirmishes between the Indians and the Pioneers on this day of celebration. Father usual was the Indian Chief, who with his braves, would descend in horror upon the settlers with tomahawks, bows and arrows, and knives to scalp all who they could capture. Mother was in charge of the pioneers, all decked out in dressing sacks for blouses, with sunbonnets and long full bustled dresses, who would fight like tigers to hold the Indians at bay. After this episode was over, the program would follow in the large adobe meeting house. The chief and his brave had their reserved seat along in the front of the stage on the floor. I can remember seeing father trimming the horses tails and manes and combing the long coarse hair, shaping it into braids for the Indians headdress. It surely was a gala day for all of us in the preparation and anticipation of this annual affair.
Father was always capable and active, industrious and temperate in his marriage to mother. He was much older and realized his weaknesses and lack of spiritual training which he was deprived of in his early young among the miners. Although the never would brag or run from danger, he was always willing to do more than his part. He was very lenient in his judgment of his fellowmen. Never too proud to be poor, and always willing to eat what he had earned and paid for. He had a strong resolute will which kept him moving to the end in view. He accomplished what he set out to do, to live his life well and to do the best he could under all circumstances. The strongest impression which he made on the lives of his children was his exactness. He had a place for everything and everything was in its place. If an emergency called during the darkest of nights, he knew just where he could put his hand on what he needed. Another thing which appealed so much to his family was his ability to suppress his sorrow or heartache. When sore trials came to him such as the death of a loved one, or some serious disappointment, he was always tranquil and calm, commanding forbearance enough to deal with each situation admirably.
With no home life after he was nine years of age, no one to extend a friendly hand except the rough miners and violent element which he was forced into in the early days of Utah, his chances for an education were very limited indeed. His ciphering and reading was learned by the firelight in the evening after the days work was done, with the help of a miner who had known his father and was interested I a homeless kid, but mostly he helped himself. His desire to know and understand facts inspired him to spend many hours in reading and learning to spell. In his later life, as he came to realize that great heritage which he possessed from his noble ancestors, who gave their all for the Church of Jesus Christ and their belief in Joseph Smith, the prophet, he dived deeply into the study of religion and that of politics and history. He was able to converse freely and most intelligently with men of renown and learning and was considered to be a well-educated man by them.
Throughout father’s whole life, he was considered a friend to the poor and needy. Suffering extreme privation and hardships in his youth, he knew what it was to be destitute and deprived of the best things of life. When he saw others in like circumstances his heart went out to them and he did all he could to help. On one occasion, while I was ill and was cared for in my parents home, John Reeve, a very close friend of my parents, came to our home to learn how I was getting on. I had my face to the wall, and while they were talking, they thought that I was asleep. In the course of their conversation, father asked John how he was making out for food in his home. It was the second family which Brother Reeves had raised, being married the second time and he was getting along in years. He didn’t answer this question and after some time, father said, “John, you wouldn’t let those children go hungry while your friends are able to help a little, would you?” Father arose and left the room, and I heard him climbing stairs to the store room above. When they went to his wagon I saw father put two five gallon cans of honey and a hundred pounds of flour in it. Before John got in to drive away, I saw through the window, this good man dry the tears from his eyes and put his arms around father and hug him like a child. All through the years, there was never a hobo or a hungry person come to our door who was turned away without a good meal.
In the early morning after we had moved from our ranch in the southwest of Hinckley to a new home, we would find mother and father in the garden which they never had on a ranch because the ground was not fit for it. The last thing at night, when we were doing up the dishes and evening work, father would read to us from some good book that we were interested in, and exciting love story, history, or the news of the day. In later years after I was married I needed so much help while rearing my family and working in the church that I grew to depend on father a great deal for his knowledge of the gospel and other things. He used to say to me, “When I am called to the other side, there is one thing I wish I could leave you, and that it what I know about the Church of Jesus Christ. Study it, my girl, know it, and live it, and teach it to your family so that you will be a complete family circle in the kingdom of our God.” I pass this great wish on to my children. I have done exactly what he admonished my to do and have found great peace and the promise of the eternal life in this gospel. All of you do the same and joy will fill your soul to the fullest.
Not all his life was filled with drudgery and hardship, for often when father went with the three older boys, Lenard, Wesley and Lumar, to the mountains for poles, posts and wood hauling, they enjoyed the cooking over the campfire and the autumn and winter beauty of the hills. Summer and winter, as the colors turned from green to gold, then gray and to white, it was a time of pleasure as well as work. On their return home, father would often recall and relate his love for the out of doors when he was a boy with mother in Morgan. With twenty cows to milk and separate for cream, a hundred head of dry stock to fee, many sheep and pigs and turkeys to care for, it necessitated the family to be up by four-thirty a.m. There were no graveled roads then, and as we walked, our shoes went down in the clay mud over the tops at times. I can remember holding on to my brother Lenard’s hand all the way, running most of the time, in order to keep up with his giant strides. When we arrived home from school, it was back to chores again and lesson and early bedtime to be ready for another long day.
There were nine children in father’s second family. They were, Lenard Lucius, Wesley Urben, Mary Louisa, Wallace Lumur, Arsetta Hale, Aroet Leland, Kenneth, Phoebe Elizabeth, and Myrtis. The four children who grew to maturity in father’s first family were there and mother cared for them until they were on their own.
When mother worked in the Relief Society, her horse was always hitched to the buggy and ready to go when she needed to. The sisters of the ward saved their Sunday eggs to turn in as payment on material to build a nice hall up in town which now stands just south of the new church. Father helped with the building of this hall, and planted all the trees that are there at present, hauling water in barrels two or three time a week to keep them alive. Mother work in the Hinckley Relief Society for fourteen years. She was given all the help needed, for father and the whole family cooperated in the work at home when she was called to her many responsibilities.
Mother was very artistic in the home and father loved to see her make lovely thing. His choice of all the articles which she made was a wreath that she created out of swan feathers which were taken from a swan killed near Grantsville. From the tiniest flower to the largest ones, it was a creation of beauty, every leaf in its place with never a flaw. It was placed in a pale blue frame with the same colored background and hung in the living room for years and still hands is sister Beth’s home now, as beautiful as ever.
In the summer, we children were given the responsibility of watching the bees. There were around fifty to sixty hives and the swarms would come out in the morning. It was a time of noise and confusion when this happened. It was thought that if water was thrown in the air and the noise of tin pans were heard, they would settle quickly and not fly away.
When father grew older, and the boys had left to make homes of their own, he sold his farm and cattle and became an apiarist. He loved this work and he knew bees. In the quiet summer days he could be seen going from hive to hive, lifting the lids quietly and slowly to see if they were strong or weak, whether the queen bee was doing her work in laying eggs to keep up the life of the colony, or if the honey flow was on or slowing down. After moving into town, he had his apiary, in Leamington, Utah, where the early flowers were plentiful. This was the most fascinating work in the world to me as a girl, and I knew it was for father. Later, when I and my husband, Otto, were married, we worked with father and had an apiary of our own.
Although he was rough and ready in his youth due to circumstances beyond his control, he grew in stature and power as the years mellowed him, and a desire to serve his God and his fellowmen was first and uppermost in his mind. He withstood the heat of the furnace and came out like burnished gold. The adage he left to his numerous posterity was: “That our integrity is never worth so much as when we have lost everything to save it.”
Father was highly respected in his home and his children and grandchildren rendered obedience to him always because he demanded it. He was firm and unrelenting in what he knew to be the best in the rearing of his family. He spoke once and we obeyed. We were taught that from infancy. This has effected me keenly throughout my life in rendering obedience to all that was given by way of law and authority in church and elsewhere. He used to encourage me when besetting problems would be difficult to solve by saying, “You will master the situation, my girl for that is the kind of material you were made from. Your faith and integrity will carry you through, so trust in God.”
Our Heavenly Father prepared him for his declining years. The greatest trial he every had to endure was to give up his responsibilities of a demanding life of hard work. He did, however, enjoy the wonderful trips he was able to take with some of his children into the beautiful scenic wonderlands of the western United States.
But finally he had to give in to a severe heart ailment and was unable to work the last two years of his life. He received the best care that a loving family could give him, and the sweetest and most tender care came from his daughter, Elizabeth, who was not married and still at home. Every minutes of the waking hours during his illness, she was by his side. She understood his pain and suffering and endured it with him. Wonderful memories of a father’s strength, courage, faith, and integrity which he instilled in our hearts that will never die and be forgotten. Through the years, as time marches on, Beth has been sorely afflicted. She has the same qualities of a useful life and a wonderful soul in a frail body. In our hearts, the challenge will forever ring in our fight for right and truth. It whispers unto us to be clean in soul and body and to hold on to the faith for which our grandparents sacrificed their homes and their lives, and gained exaltation through eternity, for there we will meet him.