By Delbert L. Stapley, Member, Council of the Twelve, Church of

Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

"I have read the MEMOIRS OF DAVID KING UDALL with intense interest and increasing admiration for a true and faithful stalwart in Mormondom. I enjoyed the acquaintance and friendship of this good man and always recognized his sterling worth and choice virtues. Reading the chronicle of his life, however, has increased my appreciation for him and the great contributions he made to building the Church and Kingdom of our God on earth and in giving leadership to colonization and the development of natural resources for the good and blessing of the people over whom he presided.

"He possessed a quality of faith that builds strong character. He was firm for principles of truth as the story of his life reveals, and was always obedient to authority. From early manhood his life was one of service and devotion to the Church and its people, and not without considerable personal sacrifice. He willingly gave up personal opportunities to answer the call of his Church and adopted state. He possessed rare qualities of leadership and each call and experience prepared him for a greater mission.

"He stood at the head of his family in true patriarchal dignity and governed his family in kindness, love and righteousness. He was an ideal family man, enjoying the love and confidence of his wives and posterity. Truly he was a man, like Nathanael of old, without guile and always true to the trusts and responsibilities that came to him throughout his life.

"The record of his life and achievements carries not only a profitable message for his children and their posterity but for youth everywhere. The faith, works, obedience and devotion of David King Udall stamp him a great leader, loved by our Heavenly Father whom he so diligently and righteously served all the days of his mortal life. I commend the book for its practical and stimulating lessons on the full life which brought satisfying and rich spiritual rewards for faithful and devoted service."


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Elder Spencer W. Kimball, the other Arizona member of the Council of the Twelve, reviewed the manuscript.
    Two excerpts from his letter follow:
I knew David K. Udall. I regarded him as an outstanding character possessing in large measure the many qualities which make men great, but not until I read the 'Memoirs' was it revealed to me what made him great. To be subjected, as was he, to the almost continuous disappointments and fiery trials is to subject one to a test from which weaklings do not emerge. Tribulations divide the weak from the strong. David K. Udall seemingly never faltered. The weak and unstable revolt and become bitter at life; the courageous tighten their belts, grit their teeth and move from one triumph over difficulties to another."

*  *  *

"David K. Udall grew in my estimation from great to giant size as I read of his triumphs over almost impossible difficulties which would have discouraged smaller men to the point of destruction and failure. As I have come to evaluate men, he was a real success, having triumphed in the real and important things of life."

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Hon. Clifford C. Faires, of Globe, Arizona, formerly judge of the Superior Court of Gila County (now in retirement), was asked to read and evaluate these "Memoirs." Excerpts from his comments follow:

"After, reading the beautiful introductory lines by Hughes Fawcett I became fascinated with the spiritual side of the narrative.

I must employ adjectives to express my amazement and interest in all that the 'Memoirs' contain. Sharing the precious words with which it is replete, coupled with the unfolding of a truly sainted life is honor indeed, and the writer will always cherish the friendly ties prompting your entrusting the 'Memoirs' to me for 'evaluation.' I would not essay or be so bold as to suggest any change whatever in the simple tale of your family life, which mirrors the 'pattern of faith' marking the name Udall in Arizona as synonymous with integrity and unpretentiousness.

"May I touch upon some of the delightful incidents so happily told, such as the admixture of molasses and letters, hive of bees on portage, 'Manna from Heaven' in the form of sack of bread, cookies and butter. 'Carrying the Mail' chapters are truly an epic.

"One of the most beautiful sentiments expressed in the narrative follows: 'The children's attainments are to me now as a beautiful tapestry which the mothers and I hoped would result from our family weaving.'

"Your father's life was enriched by noble thoughts and deeds. Truly a man dedicated to God. Only parents endowed with remarkable spiritual attributes could have reared so distinguished a family. You of the younger generation of the Udall family have a heritage second to none."


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Mesa, Arizona 
      June, 1930 
My Dear Children and Grandchildren:

Today I am beginning the narration of the simple tale of our family life. I shall compile and write it especially for you; also, for any of our kinfolk or friends who may be interested in it. If you follow our story through, you may be able to trace therein the pattern of faith by which we of my generation lived; by which we founded and developed the Mormon communities which are now your homes.

My father, David Udall, began our story with the writing of the "Preface" to his journal in St. Louis, Missouri, nearly eighty years ago, a few months before I, his eldest child, was born. He was then a young man twenty-two years old. He and my mother, Eliza King Udall, had embraced Mormonism in England and were on their way to Zion--to Utah in the Rocky Mountains.

Father's journal, which is before me as I dictate these words, is bound in cardboard. Some of its leaves have been resewed into their places by devoted bands now gone to rest. The paper and ink show the touch of years--years which give more meaning to father's brief, but precious words.*

You, my children, are living in a new age, but you, too, will have your frontiers to explore, your divides to cross, your own deserts to subdue. Most important of all, you will have home and state problems to solve that will challenge the pioneer blood that runs in your veins. Trust in the Lord, be true to yourselves and all will be well with you.

    My love and blessings are yours always.
David K. Udall 
Written in my office 
in the Arizona Temple. 

*The preface referred to, with a condensed summary of his journal, appears as an appendix to this volume.

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1930-1933, INCLUSIVE

Written by Pearl Udall Nelson at Father's Request
August 1933

About twenty years ago father asked me, if, when he had time, I would help him in writing a sketch of his life. I promised.

In April 1930, while the folks were in Salt Lake City at the time of the Centennial jubilee, father said he would like me to write for him that summer. The last of June I went to Mesa where father and mother remained for a month after the Temple closed. We had a happy month there. It was like going back to girlhood days with no cares or worries, just enjoying mother and doing all I could to help father.

We transcribed Grandpa David Udall's journal and wrote father's memories of his childhood and youth, "In the Shadows of Mount Nebo"; also we wrote about Aunt Ida coming into the family. We did this in father's beautiful office in the Temple. That first morning, before we began the writing, father put his hands on my head and blessed me for the work.

Before the 24th of July we started for northern Arizona and were: in St. Johns for several weeks. We wrote long hours every day in the guest room in the old home. We wrote the "Early History of St. Johns" from the Ward Record, Book A, and from father's documents and papers, supplemented by his memories and comments. I had anticipated that one summer would accomplish the writing father had in mind for me to do. But when my Joseph came to take me home, father and I had made only a bare beginning. When we parted father was hopeful and happy and said, "Well, daughter, we shall continue our work in Zion next summer."

The summer of 1931 father and mother spent with us, in Salt Lake City, occupying our apartment "five" where father found ample shelf and drawer space for his precious papers. He systemized the arrangements and I think all summer long he knew every time I left a paper out of its place. We made excerpts from father's Missionary journal, Aunt Ida's journal, and copied many old letters.

While going over the letters we found a big bundle stuck

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together with molasses--father's prize molasses from St. Johns, a bucket of which had been packed for the journey in a box with the letters. The bucket leaked a little and the molasses had to be gradually soaked away before the letters could even be unfolded. That job fell to mother. For several days she sat patiently hour after hour with a damp cloth and a bucket of water rescuing what father called their "sweetened memories." It was a study to watch mother's face as she read again the letters she and father wrote so long ago. An occasional tear rolled down her cheek, but most of the time she smile as she read, and wiped away the molasses.

The summer of 1932 brought our dear ones to our home again. Erma's daughter, Mary Sherwood, came with them to do the typing. We spent most of the summer transcribing into our manuscript the letters, papers and documents pertaining to father's prison experience. It was all a series of heartthrobs to us, for even I could remember many of the events. Reliving the prison days was depressing to father and mother.

We continued our labors during the summer of 1933. Father and Mother stayed with David and Aurora in Salt Lake City. Charlotte Sherwood was our typist.

Throughout our writing father's memory was very clear. Whenever possible, be brought in first-hand copy of events written at the time they occurred. However, connecting links had to be made from memory and he called on mother to verify his own recollections. Her excellent memory was a real comfort to him. When both agreed, we felt satisfied. He avoided extreme statements. His story, I would say, is authentic. I took father's dictation in longhand. I could write about as fast as he cared to speak. We assembled all materials from journals, letters and records. When the copy of a page or two was complete and approved by father, one of the girls typed it. The typed copy was then checked. I make this explanation of our method of working, for the historical accuracy of his history was very important to him.

That he had the instinct of a historian is proved by his painstaking care in preserving through so many years and so many moves the material embodied in this sketch.

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Long, long delays in completing the family story have seemed to be unavoidable. We sustained our sorrows and our losses; the big fire in our home in 1934; mother's death in 1937; father's death in 1938; Aurora's death in 1939; Pearl Harbor and then the years of war with no typist available and no heart for writing.

Father was never definite as to the method of getting his material into the bands of our family for whom be wrote it. He said a number of times, "that responsibility rests on you children. I have done the best I could for you in compiling this material. Now use it as you see fit." Probably I have felt the responsibility of doing something about this problem more than anyone else could feel it, because father called me to do the work and charged me many times not to permit our material to be scattered because it might be lost.

Father sensed keenly that it is a delicate thing to lay bare on the printed page the beating heart of one's own family, yet his story does just that. That we may understand why he was willing to have it published, let us keep in mind that he, our loving father, compiled this book for us and ours, not for the world nor for the strangers therein. Through this volume, we, his descendants, and his kinfolk shall keep with us the valiant spirit of father and our mothers; the uplift of their example; the benediction of their love as in this changing world we go our ways of life.

Let me say in closing that in our four summers' work, father's favorite hour for dictation was four o'clock in the morning; and I loved it. More than twelve years have passed since I wrote the last page for father. As plainly now as on those summer mornings, I can hear his light step across our living room and his gentle knock on my bedroom door with the words softly spoken to avoid awakening Joseph, "Well, daughter, what about our work this morning?"

Practically all of the comments--hereinafter appearing as foot notes--were written by me.
Blessed happy memories!

Pearl Udall Nelson 

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Levi S. Udall. and Louisa Lee Udall

It was felt the 384-page manuscript so painstakingly prepared by Pearl, under father's direction, was too voluminous for publication. Hence, after Pearl's death on April 7, 1950, the undersigned were commissioned by the other members of the family to abridge and rearrange the record, because as originally written the story had frequently been thrice-told. Parts of five summer vacation periods in the White Mountains were spent in this labor of love. Accuracy has been preserved and no vital history deleted. To the scholar who desires to peruse the original manuscript, four copies are extant.

We gratefully acknowledge the many helpful suggestions of our brothers and sisters. A special word of tribute and appreciation is due the loyal secretary, Phyllis Brizzee, who carefully checked, compared and typed the manuscript. Her efficient help has been invaluable. 

Levi S. Udall 
Louisa Lee Udall 

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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