page 259



(A sketch written by her son, Don)

IDA HUNT UDALL was born the 8th day of March 1858, in a covered wagon at Hamilton's Fort, near Cedar City, Utah, the first child of John Hunt and Lois Pratt.

Upon call by Brigham Young they were returning to Utah from San Bernardino with a Mormon caravan which included John's parents, Captain Jefferson Hunt and Celia Hunt; Ida's grandmother, Louisa Barnes Pratt, and other members of their families, when the baby was born. Her maternal grandfather, Addison Pratt, first Mormon missionary to be sent by his Church to the Islands of the Pacific (1843), had remained in California.

It was no accident that Captain. Hunt, an ex-soldier of the Mormon Battalion, and his wife Celia, a practical nurse, were present at that time and place to welcome Ida's advent on earth. They knew in advance there would be an increase in the family, but it was following the call of the Mormon leader to return to the mountains and help repel Johnston's Army that caused them to be in that particular locale.

page 260 

However, little did they know of this infant's future, of the dynamic force she would exert on the lives of her friends and posterity, and that she would be the one to first chronicle the stirring events of Jefferson Hunt's career, a dramatic story of the American frontier which is now being published.


Early in life Ida showed a natural bent for winning friends. Also, her love of immediate relatives later proved to be uncompromising and as constant as the flowing of time itself. These attributes are well exemplified in Grandmother Pratt's book, "Mormondom's First Woman Missionary," wherein she gives the following account of a trip made with Ida to Salt Lake City:

In the year 1865, I went the second time to Salt Lake City, taking with me my granddaughter, Ida Frances, and

              page 261

my Island boy, then able to drive the team. Ida F. was eight years old. She had yellow glossy hair, of unusual dimension for one of her age. She was self-possessed and amiable, neither bashful nor rude, always obliging. If she were invited to sing, she would never wait to be urged, as little girls generally do, but would seem pleased to contribute something to the enjoyment of the company she was in. We spent a week in President Young's family; be called her his girl, because of her complexion; she so much resembled several of his children.

Ida lived in Beaver, Utah, until she was 18 years of age, where she attended school, kept books for the Beaver Woolen Mills, sang in the choir and was one of the community's leading ladies in junior socials and dramas. Being thoroughly schooled in the three R's, and having these accomplishments along with a charming personality and musical talent, she went into the territorial schoolroom as a teacher at an early age.

During most of this period her father, John, was the sheriff of Beaver County, and from his experiences she got glimpses of the seamy side of early pioneer life. Beaver was the center of a great mining country and also was surrounded by Indian territory, and very often there were desperate characters at large to be arrested and tried.

One of the most important events occurring in Ida's life was her migration with her family to Arizona in 1877. Up to this time only a few people migrating from Utah to Arizona came by way of Pierce's Ferry on the Colorado River, which is located south of St. George , Utah.

During the entire journey Ida drove a team of horses bitched to a light wagon in assisting her family to reach its destination. When her company arrived at the Colo-

page 262 

rado on March 20th, part of them took a moonlight ride on its muddy water in an improvised boat. It was the most delightful experience of a long, hard trip. The strains from Ida's guitar accompanied by the sweet tones of the melodious voices of Ida and her sisters filled the deep, rock-walled gorge, accustomed only to the Indians' chant and the mating birds' call, with divine music never heard there before. This event is recorded in her diary which is held by the Udall. family as one of its valued possessions.

After the crossing the road passed through the Walapai Indian country and merged with the old Santa Fe Trail, now known as U. S. Highway 66, near Peach Springs, Arizona. John Hunt and his family came by this route into Arizona mainly to determine for the Church whether it was a passable and feasible route to travel. However, the great mass of pioneers coming to Arizona from Utah came via Lee's Ferry on the Colorado.

John, with his family, then consisting of his wife, six daughters and two sons, temporarily settled at Cebolla (near Ramah, New Mexico), and after hauling freight in New Mexico for the government for two years, where Ida learned the Spanish language, settled in Snowflake, Arizona. There he became the first bishop and Ida continued her school-teaching career in a one room schoolhouse.

Nearly four years after the Hunts had settled in Snowflake the paths of David K. Udall and Ida Hunt crossed. Both being convinced of the truthfulness of Mormonism and converted to the divine nature of patriarchal marriage, they were married in the St. George Temple, May 26th, 1882. It should be noted here that Aunt Ella Udall,

page 263

David's first wife, was in St. George at that time and consented to this union.

All three parties came from homes where the father had more than one wife. Therefore, being reared in such an atmosphere, which had proven wholesome to them, it is quite natural they could espouse the same doctrine without moral trepidation.


page 264 

No doubt Ida was imbued with the philosophy, like most second wives, that a woman and her children could obtain a more complete fullness of glory if she married a righteous man as a second wife than she could by marrying a second-rater as a first wife. A reading of Ida's diary reveals that she considered David a much superior man to any of her single male suitors.

With this marriage began a family life which, in its first decade, was to become so hard and burdensome that only those who had been previously tempered in the fires of adversity and had an undying love for each other could endure it. The same year David and Ida were married Congress passed the Edmunds Act greatly strengthening anti-polygamy laws, and just as soon as the act was approved the government began its first serious efforts to suppress this practice.

Ida started her married life in St. Johns where David lived, but the threat of subpoena or arrest compelled her to seek refuge in relatives' homes, first in Nephi, Utah, and later in Snowflake, Arizona. This encompassed most of the time during the period between 1883 and 1892, as she did not want to be where U. S. Marshals could serve subpoenas upon her requiring that she testify against her husband.

This life of seclusion was a very trying experience, as Ida spent most of those years without the benefit and presence of her husband to help rear the children, accompany her to dances, socials and to Church. But through all those persecutions and vicissitudes she did not falter one bit in the belief that right would finally assert itself in her case; nor did the cheerful personality she possessed

page 265

Standing: John H., Pauline, Grover and Jesse. 
Seated: Gilbert, the mother and Don.

page 266 

ever leave her. Some of the predominant characteristics of her life that friends still remember were her charming sociability and cheerfulness, and her ability to make other people happy. It. is a family tradition that associates and neighbors who gathered around her from time to time were legion, coming from all walks of life. The appraisal of Ida's character made by her Grandmother Pratt when she was a child of eight held true throughout her entire life; truley, she was a self-possessed, amiable and radiant personality.

Ida was a wonderful mother to her six children, and her family government was, that of love and firmness. She fixed future goals for each child and inspired them with confidence to be good citizens.

In her fiftieth year, seven years before her death, Ida suffered a stroke (cerebral hemorrhage) which paralyzed the left side of her body. However, she remained ambulatory through those fearful years of affliction and uncertainty, refraining as much as possible from imposing her infirmities and troubles on others.

During this period her daughter, Pauline, and sonin-law, Asahel ff. Smith, lovingly cared for her most of the time either in their own home or in a nearby home where they gave her every attention and comfort. Asahel was a generous and kind man who seemed to fully understand her troubled condition, and Pauline gave unstintingly of her time and means in showering upon her mother the loving care she so richly deserved. It should also be remembered that Aunt Ella graciously waited on Ida and gave much time and attention to her needs when she was living in the family home at St. Johns. All the

page 267

children feel deeply indebted to them for rendering this wonderful service to their mother, who was such a necessary and integral part of the life of their father. Ida's philosophy of life seemed to be: "Why should we add to the misery of others through our own afflictions? No matter how heavy our loads, there are others far worse off than we are." She believed that afflictions came about by reason of man's inability to cope with them, that God is Love, and that the surrender of her life was God's Will.

On April 26th, 1915, while in the home of her daughter, Pauline, at Hunt, Arizona, Ida was again stricken and was taken instantly by the Lord without further prolonged suffering.

Next Part:  XV  Ida Hunt Udall  (part 2 of 2)

Previous Chapter:  XIV  Ella Stewart Udall

Main | Contents | Book Cover | Title Pages

Arizona Pioneer Mormon:
David King Udall: His Story and His Family, 1851 - 1938

Published by Arizona Silhouettes
Tucson, Arizona