ARIZONA PIONEER MORMON Page 1CHAPTER I
SO WROTE the prophets of old. In fulfillment of the divine plan such men as my father accepted the Gospel as restored by the Lord through the modern prophet, Joseph Smith, and came from far and near to the "mountains of the House of the Lord" and literally made the desert "blossom as the rose."
In compliance with the request made by father in his journal, that his posterity "keep records of important dates of family 'ups and downs'," and in response to frequent requests made by my children that I write for them information about my own experiences in life, I am beginning this work with my daughter Pearl acting as my scribe and helper.
I have no ambition to tell the world of our experiences--such would be vanity indeed. But deep in my heart, I do desire to bear record to my kindred and to my posterity of the goodness of God unto us, as shown in the unfolding of our family life.
Whatever is of value in our experiences could be paralleled, we may safely say, in many of the Latter-day Saint families whose forebears were converts to Mormonism and who obeyed the law of gathering to Zion.
I was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on September 7, 1851, being the eldest child of David Udall and Eliza (King) Udall. (For a more detailed history of their lives the reader is referred to the appendix.) My father and Brother John Vickers and their families crossed the plains together. On reaching Salt Lake City they met Benjamin F. Johnson, from Nephi. He persuaded them to locate in that place. The authorities of the Church, only the year before, had decided to colonize Salt Creek (later called Nephi) in Juab County, Utah, one hundred miles south of Salt Lake City, and families were called by Brigham Young to begin the settlement. Joseph L. Heywood was given charge of the work and he and his family and Timothy B. Foote and Z. N. Baxter were the first families to arrive on the present site of Nephi on September 25, 1851. Charles Sperry and family soon followed, and other
very early settlers were the families of John Davis, William Cazier and Isaac Grace. President Young and party visited the place and camped on the creek about two miles from the mouth of the canyon. About twenty families lived there through the winter of 1851-1852. My father and family arrived in Nephi September 1852.
When Brother John Vickers and father arrived in Nephi, they rented a farm and a one-room house from Brother Johnson and both families lived in this house and slept in their wagon boxes for the first six months after reaching there. Laughingly father often said that all his earthly possessions at that time consisted of one yoke of cattle and the running gears of a wagon. The adversities endured together by the Vickers and the Udalls cemented a friendship that endured as long as father and Brother Vickers lived, both attaining a ripe old age.
In thinking of my childhood days my mind is crowded with the names of many old friends and neighbors. With true affection I recall the McCunes and Claridges and Footes, the Bryans and Oakleys and Wrights; the Kendalls, the Grovers and Sparks and Goldsbrough, the Caziers and Harleys and Baileys and Andrews and Millers and Pitchforths, the Blackburns and Booths and many others.
These men and women and their boys and girls built the town of Nephi in the shadows of majestic Mount Nebo, which stood always as a friendly sentinel guarding the valley. Land was surveyed, cleared, plowed and planted; streams were diverted, roads were built, logs were brought from the canyons and with adobes made into houses and barns; trees were set out and fields and orchards fenced.
In the early days of Nephi the people lived within a fort which was built for the protection of the settlers during the Black Hawk Indian War. The fort wall, which enclosed nine city blocks, was about twelve feet high, six feet wide at the bottom, and two feet wide at the top. There were gates at the north and south sides through which the highway from Salt Lake passed. In war times the men went in groups to the fields or canyons as the need required. The women stayed close within the fort with the children.
Throughout each spring and summer, except in times of trouble with the Indians, the boys herded the sheep and cows in the foothills. We ate sego roots as our herds and flocks grazed on the blue grass. In memory, I can all but hear the morning chorus of lowing cows and bleating sheep. The flocks and herds were small but each family had them, for they were very essential to the sustenance and comfort of the people. Within the humble homes mothers and daughters carded and spun and wove and stitched. My sisters used to say they owned the best spinning wheel in town.
After the day's work was done, we children played our games of "hide and seek" and "steal sticks" and "pop the whip." When nine o'clock came we were called in to go to bed.
How splendid was that simple life--free from profanity and, drink and vice! These things were truly unknown to us in my childhood.
For a few months each winter we attended a private school. I remember well my teachers--Thomas Ord, William R. May and Andrew Love--none of whom believed in "sparing the rod" as many of us boys could testify
Dances were held frequently, old and young participating with wholesome abandon to the tune of good old Brother Sperry's fiddle. One winter we had a dancing master and my sister Mary and I were proud when we took first prize for waltzing. Town dinners were held periodically in the Church and later in the Social Hall. On the Fourth of July and on Pioneer Day, the "24th," love of country ran high and hearts beat fast to martial music and flags flying. Always there were parades in which Brother Timothy B. Foote was a conspicuous figure in uniform. He was a veteran of the War of 1812 and also had served as one of the Prophet Joseph's bodyguards in Nauvoo. Church activities played an important part in our lives. Frequently we listened to the General Authorities-President Young, Heber C. Kimball, George A. Smith and many of the apostles who told us the story of the beloved prophet so recently martyred and of the trek of the saints across the plains.
Yes, we had our work, we had our fun and we had our religion. It was a living, burning reality to many of us youngsters that God through Joseph Smith had restored the Gospel of old, had organized His Church according to revelation and had established Zion in the tops of the everlasting hills. We had a conviction that we belonged to a great Cause and that we were needed. With many of my companions I was fired with a determination to carry on the work of redeeming the desert, and of giving to the world the message of the restored Gospel. This determination became the guiding star of my life.
The first clear recollection of my own life is associated with my mother. She took my hand and led me over a narrow footbridge across Salt Creek, as we were on our way to attend Sunday services in the little church within the old fort walls. Then I remember father's coming to my bedside to tuck me in and "Whip Jack Frost Out!" Sometimes in the night he came to us children to reassure and quiet us, for we were in constant terror of Indians, and often awoke in the middle of the night, frightened by dreaming of them.
I was the eldest in our family. Mother's health was not good, so it fell to my lot as a little boy to help with the housework. Occasionally father took me to the field to pull weeds or help, fight grasshoppers, but usually he left me home with instructions to take good care of mother. She was a beautiful woman, 'always gentle and kind. She died when I was eleven years old. Eliza was eight, Mary was six, and baby Joe was not yet two. Only children deprived of a loving mother know the loneliness that can come into young hearts. It was some comfort to me to remember that I had willingly helped her with the many home duties incident to pioneer life.
After mother's death, father's second wife, Aunt Elizabeth, cared for us for about two years. Then father married Rebecca May and she moved soon after with the four of us children into the little white adobe house that had been my mother's first home. Aunt Elizabeth became the mother of a large family and she and her children remained in the two-story white house that father built on the opposite side of the lot--the house in which mother lived for a time and died. Aunt Becky, as we called her, had no children of her own, but she was a true mother
to us, and to her dying day her home was our home. All my life I have been deeply grateful to the two good women who mothered us. I remember with admiration father's patience and kindness; and how often with a droll sense of humor and a quiet little whistle or an apt quotation from the Scriptures, he settled our family difficulties.
We were a busy family. Aunt Becky was skilled in needlecraft. Aunt Elizabeth was a painstaking housekeeper; the girls learned to do housework, to card and spin and weave and sew. During my teens I did heavy work in the fields, logged in the canyons, and went on trading trips to Tintic and to Pioche, a mining town in Nevada.
In my boyhood we did most of our teamwork with oxen. About the only farm implements we had were digging forks, hoes, spades, shovels, plows and drag-harrows. I recall with pride even now the day when Brother Vickers and John Wright and father brought the first threshing machine to the valley. Brother Wright went to the Missouri River for it. It was a four-horsepower Pitts machine colored yellow. About this time these same brethren brought in a horsepower cane-mill and father made molasses for the family and for sale. Before the advent of the threshing machine in our valley we threshed our grain in a very primitive fashion. Oxen or horses tramped the grain on hard ground; the straw was then thrown off the threshing ground by means of a horsepower cylinder, after which a hand fanning mill blew the chaff from the grain. I am happy to recall here that father had me help him each year in taking our tithing grain and hay to the bishop. There is, in my opinion, no better way of teaching children the law of tithing. The bishop was always
Considering the drudgery of farmwork as we did it then, our repeated losses of crops from late and early frosts, from drought and nonproductive soil and from losses caused by grasshoppers, I wonder that men's courage did not fail. I am reminded that in Juab County we did not have the fertile, well-watered soil found in the adjacent counties of Utah and Sanpete. My farming experiences in boyhood were similar to those of my later years in St. Johns, the latter being more disappointing even than in Juab County. During late years I have rejoiced in the success of dry farming in and around Nephi.
Speaking of grasshoppers reminds me of long; hot days spent in trying to exterminate them in order to save our crops, We had several ways of doing this; sometimes we dug a trench all around a small patch of grain and filled the trench with running water, then men, women and children walked through the field toward the water with long willow withes shooing grasshoppers into the trench. This method was employed before the grasshoppers were old enough to fly; the water floated them into sacks suspended here and there in the ditch. Later the sacks were emptied and the grasshoppers buried. Sometimes we made a windrow of last year's dry straw and in the evening drove the grasshoppers into it. We then set fire to the straw. Still another way was dragging the young grain before the grasshoppers could fly. This drag was made of a small pole, sixteen to eighteen feet long, wound round with willow withes and drawn by a horse. Boys rode this pole, the weight of which killed the grasshoppers.
So many memories of my boyhood come back to me that I shall go a little more into the details of my personal experiences.
When I was sixteen years old, father permitted me to work part of the winter on the Union Pacific Railroad, which was then being built at Devil's Gate in Weber Canyon. We thought it was the coldest spot on earth. I worked on the grade with a wheelbarrow. With the money I earned I bought a yoke of steers and named them Pat and Roy. They were the pride of my boyhood days.
While I was working on the railroad, my little sister Emily, Aunt Elizabeth's daughter, died. I was very fond of Emily and grieved over her death. Soon after I returned home the Lord gave me an unsought-for manifestation. While I was working in the back yard one day, Emily appeared to me for just a moment. I was not thinking of her at the time, and it was all so sudden and yet so natural, that I spoke aloud telling her to get out of the way of a cow. This experience impressed me with the reality of life after death, and it has been a comfort to me throughout my life.
My first freighting trip alone was to Eureka in Tintic Valley with a load of lumber handled by two yoke of cattle. I made this trip before going to Weber Canyon, and I remember bow I wept silent tears after kissing Aunt Becky, little Joe and my sisters goodbye. On this trip I lost my way; during the night there had been a heavy fall of snow, which made the intercrossings of roads look alike. I had no idea I was lost, and called out to some freighters as they jingled past me after dark, "How far is it to Homans-
ville?" A man answered, "My boy, you are going the wrong way." I gave the snappy retort, "Thank you, sir, I guess I know which way I am going." I traveled a long distance before finding the man was right, and as I retraced my way, I had plenty of time to let that lesson sink in.
In the '60's and the early '70's, I made, four winter trips from Nephi to Pioche, Nevada, a distance of two hundred fifty miles each way. I drove four or five yoke of oxen hitched to two wagons, trailing one behind the other. Usually' two 'or three such outfits made the trip together. We were loaded with flour and grain, about a ton being allowed to each yoke of cattle.... By traveling from early dawn until far into the night, it took approximately six weeks to make each trip, as the winter roads were often heavy with snow or mud, and we could travel only an average of ten miles a day. Watering places on this road were scarce, and it was necessary for us to carry water in barrels on the sides of the wagons. After walking all day the cattle took constant prodding and so we seldom rode; it was no easy task to feed and water our animals. We fed the oxen with nose bags and doled the water out to them from the barrels, a bucketful at a time. During the night they grazed on grass, sagebrush and other scrub growth, often wandering miles from camp, giving us a good jaunt after them before we could continue on our way next morning. Between Fillmore and Pioche there were no towns nor villages and many nights our only shelter was that of a cedar tree or the wagon under which we slept. We wore jeans and overalls with no underclothing, but by wrapping our feet and legs in gunny sacks and with the exercise necessary in driving the cattle along, we managed to keep reasonably warm. Trudging
along beside our wagons we cracked long buckskin whips and called out "Gee" and "Haw" with youthful joy--for we were happy in the joy of achievement. "Old Pat and Roy" and the other oxen and I traveled many a mile over that "long, long trail" of which boys dream.
In 1870 when I was nineteen years old father was called to fill a mission in Kanab in the extreme southern part of Utah. The first year my sister Eliza went with him as his housekeeper. She there met and later married Ammon M. Tenney, an associate of Jacob Hamblin, Andrew Gibbons, and later, President A. W. Ivins, in the Indian Missionary Work. The next year Aunt Elizabeth went down to Kanab with father and lived there until father was released to go back to Nephi in 1875.
During father's five-year stay in Kanab he held me responsible for looking after the home and farm in Nephi. About the time he went away, father turned all our Nephi property into the United Order in accordance with the plan then being tried out in the Church. This lasted about one year and then our bishop, Joel Grover, was authorized to release people from this system of living and to give them back their property.
I recall an amusing incident in connection with my experience, in the United Order. A man in our town in charge of the farming placed me over a group of boys. One day while I was, irrigating, the ditch went dry and I followed up the ditch to See what had happened. It turned out that a man who had left the Church had taken the water out of his turn. He and I had words and finally came to a hand-to-hand, tussle in which it. happened that I, being a husky youngster, threw the fellow into a deep hole in the ditch. Always after that the boys referred to
the incident as "that time when Dave Udall rebaptized Billy Harwood."
An irrelevant but interesting thing here comes to my mind: Brother Thomas Wright sent in early days to Australia for some alfalfa seed which he planted. The seed grew and for many years he had about a half acre of alfalfa, the first in Nephi; but it did not become popular very soon because the people did not like the "hay that bloated cattle."
At one time while father was in. Kanab, I had an illness so serious that he came to my bedside--a distance of over two hundred and fifty miles. The illness began, I am ashamed to say, by a contest in eating green corn. A boy friend and I, who were plowing in the field, camped over night and had little else to eat. We began this contest in fun. It may have resulted in my having appendicitis, unknown in those days. At any rate I ran a fever for some time and was. very ill. I feel smothered now as I recall the daily sweats a good neighbor woman gave me--sweats induced by placing nearly boiling hot corn around me. Is there a moral in this story for hungry, growing boys?
I recall only two or three pleasure trips in my childhood. After mother's death father took the four of us children to Salt Lake City to have our pictures taken. We still have the old daguerreotypes. While in the city I saw my first big fire; the Daniel H. Wells' barn burned to the ground on what is now the Z.C.M.I. corner. A few years later I went to Payson to see a circus and after that I recall a short trip to Provo. These little pleasure trips stand out as bright spots in my childhood, such events being few and far between.
Tender memories fill my soul and make me feel that this chapter of my childhood and youth is inadequate. Among other things I might have told more of the kindness of people to us during mother's last illness. I recall seeing her grow thin and pale. She had us children do a little more and more of the work. I remember that she
taught me to make bread during that time. When her illness became serious, Dr. Matthew McCune, a homeopathic physician, attended her most faithfully. He was well-trained as a medical officer in the English Army and had embraced the Gospel in Calcutta, India. He was the father of the well-known Alf and Harry McCune. With
gratitude I remember the tenderness shown mother by our good neighbors, Sister Beanies, Grandma Bryan, Sister Bigler, Aunt Mary Pitchforth and many others--even the old Indian squaws who made daily visits to our home inquiring of mother's welfare.
After mother's death father's grief was deep, and this coupled with the results of an accident while breaking a horse brought him near death's door. It was the only year of his life when he was unable to work.
Many kind and good things might be said of father's two faithful companions, Aunt Elizabeth and Aunt Rebecca. They were thorough converts to the Gospel and untiring in attending to their duties in the Church and in their homes.
Frequently in my boyhood I went to mother's grave to pray, as by her knee I had learned to depend upon my Heavenly Father. Truly, in the shadows of Nebo my aspirations were kindled, my ideals took form and my character was developed.
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