Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mabel Pett

  • Mabel Arminta Pett 
  • Born: October 15, 1898 Ogden, Weber, Utah
  • Died: January 5, 1935 Tremonton, Box Elder Utah
  • Related through: Erin's grandmother Margaret Udy

Mabel was born in Ogden at home. Her family moved to Ophir, Utah when she was two years of age. Her father went to work at Edwards Dry Good Store as a butcher. George and Dell Pett Edwards owned and operated the store for many years. Dell was Mabel’s aunt. The store was a typical old time country store having hardware, groceries, clothing and everything else that the miners would want to buy. Ophir was a busy mining town located up one of the canyons southeast of Tooele and east of St. Johns which was the nearest railroad stop.

Mabel always had the responsibility of tending her younger two sisters. There was a small creek that ran close by their small frame home that they played by and washed in during the summer. In the spring there would be a large amount of water run off the steep mountains.

When Mabel was eight years of age the family moved to Brigham City. They bought a half block of land on 6th North and 4th to 5th East. They built a small frame house on the corner of 6th North and 4th East. The barn and pigpen was on the 5th East side of the lot. They planted all kinds of fruit trees and grew all kinds of berries. The girls hated to pick the gooseberries, they had so many thorns on the bushes and the berries were so small.

Her father opened a grocery store and butcher shop on North Main between 2nd and 3rd North on the west side of the street. Mabel didn’t work in the store as she preferred doing the housework at home and the cooking. Her mother was a very good cook and she passed this art on to Mabel. Mabel was on of the best cooks I know of. Many a good meal I have had to her and Austin’s home.

Mabel was baptized in Brigham in the old Tithing Office. They had a baptismal font in this building where all the children went to be baptized which was a big improvement over the North Pond.

She first went to school in the old 4th Ward Amusement Hall, which had one large room made of adobe bricks. Wires were strung across and curtains pulled for different classes and rooms. This building was located on 3rd North and 1st East.

For Junior High she went to the Whittier School that was located on 2nd South and 1st West. It had rooms and two floors with a steeple on top and a bell. She went to the old Box Elder High School that was located on 4th East and Forest Street. She walked to all her schools in all kinds of weather. When the snow was deep a neighbor, by the name of George Freeman, made a snow plow with two boards and made a path for all the children in the area to walk in. They used to have a lot of snow blizzards on the flat that would fill in the path and make large drifts to climb over. But they had fun doing it.

Mabel had all the childhood diseases that were common in those days, measles, whooping cough, chicken pox and diphtheria. Her sister Lucille had scarlet fever but she escaped that one. She and Lucille both had typhoid fever, Mabel having a severe case. There was no city water down that far out of town so all the people living in the flat (as it was called) got their water from an irrigation ditch. They people had asked the city to put water down there but refused. While Rae Pett was nursing here two sick little girls she decided she would fight to get the city water down there to them, so she and Dr. Pearse put up a fight and won the battle. A hydrant was put on the outside of the house and they were very thankful for it. Her mother was a very talented practical nurse and it was all that good nursing that brought all her children through these diseases.

After Mabel graduated from high school she went to work in the County Courthouse as the Assistant County Recorder. Her cousin Rilla Pett was the recorder. When Rilla moved to Salt Lake City wither family, Mabel was appointed County Recorder until the next election. She ran on the Republican Ticket for County Recorder and won the election. 

By the time she went to work her brother had grown up, so her drover her to and from work in a one seated buggy they had purchased to deliver groceries in. They had a horse named Nell for many years, she pulled this buggy around for them. They all loved this horse like a member of the family.

While Mabel was attending high school she met a good-looking man from Riverside, Utah named Austin Udy. He came to Brigham for his education as Box Elder was the only high school in the county at the time. They started dating and going out together. After graduation and while she was working Austin continued to court her driving in from the Valley in this Page automobile.

When they were first married they lived in a small three-room frame house in Riverside with a water pump in the pantry, but no bath and no electricity, but they were very happy.

Mabel and her mother were very close and they missed each other very much after she moved, but they talked on the phone and visited each other often. The Pett family was very close, they all got together for all the holidays and it was usually out to Mabel and Austin’s for Thanksgiving. In fact, after I got in the family it seemed to me every Sunday dinner was like a Thanksgiving feast at either Mabel’s or her mother’s, both of them being such good cooks without much effort.

Mabel and Austin moved into the south side of the Udy home and his mother lived on the north side. Mabel was very good to her mother-in-law and helped her in many ways. After her death Mabel and Austin rented her side for a year and then used the whole house themselves. I remember how excited and thrilled they were when they got electricity.

Mabel’s first child was born in the little house and it was a most difficult birth. The doctor has such a hard time delivering the baby that it died during the delivery. Mabel was ill for quite some time after. Austin took her to her mother to nurse and take care of her. Between her mother and a doctor her strength returned, but it took quite some time for her sciatic nerve that was damaged to heal. She had a limp for quite some time.

When Margaret and John came along she went to Brigham and stayed with her mother and Dr. Pearse delivered the babies without much trouble. When Joyce was born it was another difficult birth. She was born in the hospital in Tremonton. However, Mabel died of complications following childbirth eight days after Joyce’s birth. 

Mabel and Austin were very much in love and lived a very happy life. They both liked the farm and the raising of animals and produce. Mabel always kidded Austin about having such an easy life sitting on a tractor and riding around all day on the dry farm. Once when his alfalfa was ready to harvest his brother-in-law, Carl, came over and asked him to harvest his that day. Austin was so good natured he said yes and did Carl’s.  That night a hail-storm hit Austin’s place and wiped out his crop. He swore never again would he be such a good Joe.

One day we went out and Austin started laughing and said they had started a new fad of serving parsnips with ice cream. They had a Farm Bureau dinner and each of the ladies were to bring something. Mabel and Clara Welling were in charge of it. When they served the dinner the had overlooked the breaded parsnips a lady had brought so when they served the ice cream and cake they put the parsnips on the plate too. Austin was sure teasing her about it.

Mabel and Austin both had a great sense of humor, love and compassion. They always made you feel welcome in their home. Bud and I both loved them very much.

This history was written and compiled by Viola Pett, sister-in-law and Lucille Pett Rees, sister. Copied and printed by Christine W. Mooney, granddaughter, June 1978.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Arthur Robert Castleton

  • Name: Arthur Robert Castleton
  • Born: May 16, 1868 Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Died: January 31, 1956 Malad, Idaho
  • Related through: Dan's grandmother Melva Castleton

Arthur Robert Castleton was born May 16, 1868, in Salt Lake City, at 736 Second Ave. They lived in the 20th ward in the LDS Church.

His mother was Francis Sarah Brown of Pulham Norfolk England. His father was James Joseph Castleton of Lowestoft Suffolk England. Their home where he was born was a sun dried adobe made of dirt from the same lot on which it stood. It was on the corner, the first Castleton Store was part of the same building. Arthur was the seventh child of the family. Arthur's mother and father had crossed the plains, walking every step of the way. His mother rode only one-half of a day in a wagon drawn by oxen. They arrived in Salt Lake in October and Dec 29th of the same year (1863) Jim was born, while the neighbors held umbrellas over the bed because rain washed the mud through the dirt roof above the bed.

"We were a wonderful family. We really enjoyed each other. We'd sing together, work together, pray together and play together. Father would sit on the old back porch and listen to his family until midnight. All would sing, even I though a very little boy." Arthur played a tuba and alto horn, Jim played baritone, George played violin (he died at age seventeen), Will played flute, Frank played cornet, Charley played bass fiddle (He was one of the best in his day) and Wall played the triangle in the band and the organ. "We had a good time."

As a little boy Arthur carried vegetables from the garden into Brigham Young's home. Arthur's father   was Brigham Young's gardener. Arthur said his wives were, "Dandy women." He remembers Brigham Young ruffling up his hair and asking whose little boy he was. Grandfather said he was James Castleton's boy. Brigham Young said, "You're Jimmy's boy, well he's a fine man."

Brigham Young had upper and lower gardens. His lower gardens were west of State Street, down to the tithing offices, where the church offices now stand. The upper gardens, east of State Street were mostly apple orchards, they raised hundreds of bushels of apples. He also owned an apple and cherry orchard and a walnut grove down on 12th South. Arthur wound pick the fruit and he and Jim, his brother would carry it to market.

Arthur first went to school in a small room taught by Mrs. Tollet, then the free school was started at the 21st Ward, his teacher was Hyrum Barton, he was crippled. He used slates to write on and he got to the third reader. They had to buy their own books. He learned the multiplication tables under Mrs. Tollet and he had never forgotten them.

They went to Lindsay Garden or Fuller Hills on school excursions. They had swings, croquette sets and dances, all of which they paid for. Mark Lindsay used to make ice cream and Arthur would help him freeze it for a dish full. He said Mr. Lindsay was a good saint; he had two wives and always went to church. The boys would ask him for beer. He would yell that he wouldn't sell beer. Then he would motion to them to come in the back and sell it to them. If they wanted to play ball on Sunday, they would have to go way up in the foothills, where they had a good ball diamond which they called the Ben Brickeny flat, Arthur loved to play ball.

Arthur was baptized in the old Endowment House in 1877 by John Keddington and he thinks Andrew Burt confirmed him. The old Endowment House stood on the northwest corner of the Tabernacle block. He was baptized again April 29, 1890 before he went through the Logan Temple at the time of his marriage.

He went to Sunday School in the 21st Ward for eight years and never missed once. He mashed his toe during this time but he went to church anyway so he could keep his perfect record.

Arthur attended the old University of Deseret when it was located on West Temple. He went to school two or three years, but didn't finish as his father became ill and he was needed at home.

He said he always had a lot of girlfriends. He said if there is such a thing as love at first sight he had it when he saw Nellie. He told Jane Rackham, an English girl who made her home with them, that he was going to make a "mash" on that little English girl, whom he hadn't met, and some day he would marry her. Ellen (Nellie) Woolley used to go past the store and he would watch for her every day. If she came into the store, he would give her a piece of candy. He didn't really meet her until she moved into the 21st Ward with her parents. They became friends as they always went out in gangs. He finally got the courage and asked if he could take her to a dance at Lindsay Gardens. He played baseball that same night so he changed his clothes at her house. As soon as they left, her sisters dressed up in his baseball suit, they were always cut-ups.

Arthur said up until the time he was married, he had to get home by ten o'clock. He stayed a little later for a dance, never until midnight. He remembers Grandma coming up to Grandpa Woolley's place to see why he hadn't come home. Grandma Castleton got him out of bed to go with her to find his brother Jim several times.

They had a happy courtship, belonging to the same ward. They both loved music and sand in the ward choir. They also sang in the tabernacle choir.

Arthur proposed to Nellie by her old gate, they had gone together four years when he asked her to marry him and were engaged another year before they were married. He gave her a ring shortly after they were engaged; it was a single garnet with two pearls in a gold setting.

They were married in the Logan Temple, 29 May 1890. They went to Logan by train. The officers at the courthouse wouldn't issue them a marriage license because they thought Nellie was too young. They called Salt Lake City to prove she was old enough and so they had to wait until the next day. They hired a horse and buggy and rode up Logan canyon on what they called their honeymoon before their marriage. Brother Marriner Merrill was president of the temple at the time of their marriage. This was a happy day, they knew they would be together forever.

When they returned to Salt Lake City, the 21st Ward brass band of which Arthur was a member was at the railroad station to meet them. They took Nellie and Arthur didn't see her until the reception, which was held at Grandma Woolley's home. It was a wedding dinner, a hot meal, ham, roast beef and chicken, vegetables, puddings and pies, with ice cream and cake before the guests went home. Everyone was invited, friends, neighbors, relatives and the brass band. Nellie's dress was a thin white material with orange blossoms for her bouquet, and Arthur gave her a gold necklace as a wedding present.

Arthur worked all the time at Castleton Brother's Store, 736 Second Avenue and received $40.00 per month as wages. They rented Mrs. Dover's house for six months and then built their first home on 12 South and 7th East on a piece of ground that was part of Brigham Young's old apple orchard. It was a three room brick house to which they later added a frame kitchen. There were large trees in front of the house and a white picket fence all around the yard. It was in this house that their first five children were born, Arthur Jr., Harold, Wilford, Ruth and Melvin. Ralph was born at Grandma Woolley's home.

They felt their wages enabled them to live in comparative luxury. They bought a beautiful bedroom set for $55.00 and used the chest of drawers all through the years of their married life. Their first stove was a small Charter Oak stove (not a range) with a reservoir, but it was a good cooker. However, a story is told of one of the cakes that came from this oven was so hard that Uncle Tom Woolley who was visiting them threw it against the wall and it bounced back and mother began to cry. I believe they were all a bunch of jokers.

It was while living in this house that Arthur received a call from the First Presidency of the Church to go to Canada to help build the canal from Lethbridge to Cardston. Bishop Jenson of their ward did not want him to go because of what he was doing in the ward music, and all his friends told him he must not go. He believed in being obedient to the call of the authorities, so he went to Canada.

Uncle Art remembered the preparation to go; he wrote that he had a companion, Angus Davis. "A wagon, horses, and a lot of other equipment were all loaded in the box car at a siding on the D. & R. G. Western Railroad not far from our house. It was all very exciting for us kids. Finally everything was loaded and a freight car was picked up by a passing train with father and Mr. Davis in the car. Mother and we kids who were left behind were rather sad that night.

Dad thought Canada was the most beautiful country that he had ever seen. The grass was abundant and he said he got sea sick walking in the waving grass. The ground was most fertile, the vegetables were delicious, and the potatoes were the largest he had ever seen. Arthur thought that he would like to live here always.

They arrived in Canada late Saturday night and expected to unload their horses and cows from the freight cars early Sunday morning. Bishop Bradley sent word that this must not be done, because Canadian laws would not permit anything to be done on Sunday. The Red Coats would arrest them if they did. They arrived in Canada in April and worked during the summer months. The Stake President with them was Ted Wood, he was a very fine man.

Arthur was filling slush scrappers when one of the horses gave a lunge and the scrapper handle hit him in the side and he was plunged forward and hit a large boulder injuring his spleen. He lay for about six weeks in his tent.

One afternoon, the other six men had gone into Sterling, it was Saturday and they wouldn't be back until Sunday afternoon. They had killed a beef and left it hanging in a well to cool. Not twenty feet away, Dad was lying in his tent; he could hear a pack of wolves at the well trying to get the meat. Dad lay on his elbows watching the wolves fight, scared to death wondering what would happen to him. They fought for the meat until they killed each other, he felt very blessed as they could easily have killed him.

He sold his horses and all his equipment so he could have money to live but, he didn't have enough money to get home. Dr. Young came from Salt Lake City, looked at Arthur and said he must get home at once. Elder John Taylor said he must go home but did not give him the money to go. (Arthur had idolized John Taylor, but became a little bitter and it was many months after he returned home before Nellie could get him back to church) An English convert, a Brother Schut came to his tent and told him he could lend him the money to go home but needed to be paid back soon because he wanted to build a house before winter set in. Dad said he would send the money to him the day he got home, and he did. Dad was sick for better than a year. Bishop Jenson was wonderful to him, he told him that he should never have gone to Canada. Dad still felt good about obeying the call.

In Salt Lake City, each child of the family could tell of many incidents about living there. They had a great bull mastiff dog that played with the children. Dad looked out on the lawn one afternoon and the dog had Ruth's arm in his mouth. Dad immediately gave it back to Uncle Tom and the dog was sold to the circus for $50.00. The family was accustomed to taking rides into the pleasant surrounding country with their horse and buggy. On one of these rides Harold fell out and lay in the road. They went on some distance, then asked, "Where is Hallie?"Artie explained, "Oh he fell out way back there." They went back for him and found him just lying on the road, unhurt. On another occasion, when the boys were climbing trees in the front yard, Art fell and was caught by the seat of his trousers. A passerby rescued him and took him to the house with the remark, "Why do you have children if you can't take of them?" About this time Arthur and Nellie celebrated their tin (10 year) wedding anniversary. Relatives, friends and neighbors came from all around to help them celebrate.

It's funny to think of herding sheep down the streets of Salt Lake City. What is now 21st South was at that time 12th South Street. This street extended East up through Parley's Canyon and was the road that led up to Heber City. Grandpa told how he and another man drove his first herd of sheep down this way from Heber City in 1896.

In 1903, Arthur sold his home in Salt Lake, and with much prayer but without seeing the place first, moved the family to Pleasant View, Oneida County, Idaho. He was sorry afterward and would have returned to Salt Lake City, but Nellie would not hear of it. She said she liked it there; they made the move and must stick to it, besides it was a good place to raise a family. They lived in one log room and slept in a tent until they could build one large brick room, a pantry and a closet. They bought the land from Billie Price, a cattle buyer in Samaria. John Thorpe originally owned the ground. Jonathan Hughes from Farmington, Utah helped lay the brick for the house. Dad gave the bed to the set they had bought when they were first married, to a very poor family in Pleasant View. Dad also gave this family a cow. According to mother, Dad said he had just lent it to them but the cow never came back. When it came time for Dad to pay his tithing, he had no money so he took the only cow the family had and gave it to Bishop Hyrum W. Jones. The bishop credited him with the cow, and then told him to take it home and use the milk for the family. Later things opened up in such a way that Dad was able to buy the cow back from the Bishop and this completed the paying of his tithing.

Grandpa returned to Salt Lake City and worked for Castleton Brothers Store during the winter months to aid with the family finances. Nellie went back to Salt Lake for the birth of their son Ralph. She stayed at Grandma Woolley's home.

They had many hard times in Pleasant View. Crops were destroyed by frost; life was hard in this desolate area. Arthur often became depressed and his dear Nellie always knew ways to cheer him up, she was a constant support all their years together. Their ward was small in numbers and covered a wide area. They met in the one room schoolhouse. Grandpa donated part of his land for a new meeting house and practically the entire male membership pitched in to build it. It was brick and cement and the young boys and men put in some real hard days mixing cement. They were all proud when it was finished.

Many members traveled a long distance by horse and buggy on poor roads. Arthur and Nellie always had quests for dinner so they wouldn't have to drive back and forth between meetings. They always had plenty of chickens, eggs, milk and butter. Arthur had a wonderful garden full of vegetables.

They didn't have an organ or piano in their church so Grandpa would often haul their organ to the church. He would pump and lead as little Ruth would play; her legs were too short to pump the organ herself. Often he would be working in the fields, tie his team to the fence at the church and run into the primary to lead singing.

When he was chorister on the Stake Board he would visit all the wards. Riverside, Utah was part of the stake in these early days. It was 25 miles away so when he visited there they would leave early in the morning, about 3:00 a.m. They would heat rocks in the oven, wrap them in paper and quilts, put them in the sleigh and drive in the cold and snow to be there for Sunday meeting. He was always prompt. "If you're a minute late, you're stealing the Lords time."

In about 1913 they sold the farm at Pleasant View and homesteaded a dry farm at Holbrook. Holbrook is few miles west of Pleasant View and about 20 miles west of Malad.

At first there was no water on it, they hauled water in barrels from a mile away. After the barrels were full, a board was placed across the top of the wagon box. On one occasion Dad sat too close to the end and fell off the wagon, hit the wheel, and broke a number of ribs. It was twenty miles to Malad to the doctor and we had to wait until the doctor could drive out to us. Dad really suffered and was some time recovering from this.

Soon we dug a well and put up a windmill. Our home was a frame lean-to, we had a few sheds and stables. We had some fine neighbors, the Vanderhoofs and the Charley Wilcox family. We had some good times in this little farm community. We had our family orchestra, the church and our music brought us all very close together.

Holbrook was a real isolated area so they also had a home in Malad and the children attended school there. The home in Malad was on the hill about four blocks north on the road leading to town. This was a home where friends were welcome, and he had a beautiful garden. Here the children went to school, Dad was Justice of the Peace for 13 years, he worked in a hardware store, called out numbers each Wednesday night at the picture show on bank night, and I thought he must have the loudest voice possible.

Grandpa loved sports. He loved to play horseshoes; he was exceptionally good and took the game seriously. Even when he was too old to pick up the horseshoes, one of the boys would pick it up for him to throw and he could usually beat the game. His sons would rather go to a baseball game with their father than any other person, because he was so much fun.

His son Melvin said "Dad taught us children to sing and was happiest when he had a group of young folks around him singing. He was choir director in every ward he was in. He inspired people to sing and when he got up to lead, you'd better sing!"

Granddaughter Melva Castleton says, “As little girls, Maxine and I would visit them for a summer vacation. This was such fun as Grandpa and Grandma would meet us at the train station and take us to their home in the rumble seat of their little one seated coup, Model A Ford. They were jolly and fun loving, they made us feel like they loved having us there. Grandpa would always get up early, he would always be singing loud and call out to us and get out in his garden early. Grandma would giggle and they always joked around. While we were there we played a lot of Pollyanna, would go to a movie, go out for ice cream and visit all the cousins.

Arthur around 1940
They used to come to visit us in Tremonton. Grandpa worked in our yard which he thought was a lost cause. (It was) He would chop out all the hollyhocks, he said they were weeds. I loved them and told him our Heavenly Father made them.

He always went over to see our other Grandpa, Grandpa Getz, who lived across the street from us. He called him Brother Getz which always tickled us because we knew their differences about religion. Grandpa Castleton was very friendly and jovial, and Grandpa Getz very quiet and serious. They were so different but I believe really enjoyed each other. They would talk and go to the pool hall where Grandpa Getz would have his beer and Grandpa Castleton soda pop. They visited a long time, now I wonder what they talked about.”

Aunt Elaine wrote that Grandpa stands out because of the way he treated grandma. To him she was a delicate beautiful queen to be loved and cherished. He always kissed her every time he left the house and again when he returned. He could be very harsh and stern with any wrong doers but with her he was very gentle and kind.

He had great self-discipline and desire for perfection. His yard was so well cared for and beautiful. He wanted things done right and set a good example.

Uncle Leonard says his best memory of Grandpa was that he was such a great gardener; he had wonderful vegetables and the most beautiful flowers imaginable. He loved roses and had all kinds. I remember he had babies breathe which he would put in with the other flowers, making gorgeous bouquets. He always watered with the irrigation ditch and sometimes had words with neighbors as they would sneak water on his day.

Dad said caroling at Christmastime and New Years Eve was always a special occasion. We would practice for weeks on the carols and then pile into a big bobsled, filled with hot rocks to keep us warm. We would go to Samaria, Cherry Creek, Pleasant View, and then back around Malad. Mother always went with us. Dad was the happiest one on the sleigh.

One of his greatest qualities was his complete honesty and respect for justice. Uncle Leonard said one time when Grandpa was Justice of the Peace he and another young man were brought in before his father for breaking the speed limit. Leonard said he was fined a stiffer sentence than the other young man. Grandpa said, "He would never let it be said that he was any easier on his own son, who should have known better, than he would on anyone else."

Grandpa became quite senile and needed a lot of care the last few years. Dear Aunt Ruth and Uncle Don carried most of the load but the family rallied round to help. I know Uncle Art who lived in Salt Lake and Daddy regularly sent a check to help out. Uncle Harold and Daddy went up each week to spell off Aunt Ruth. They said he had hardening of the arteries of the brain; it may now be diagnosed as Alzheimer’s. He was unable to get around so at least he didn't run away. He was very mixed up; he would often go on about outrageous things.

He loved to talk a lot about living in Salt Lake and his father being Brigham Young’s gardener, how he as a little boy talked to him and delivered vegetables to his wives, who were "dandy" women. To the very end he loved to brag that he sang in the Tabernacle Choir and had seat #84.

He passed away January 31, 1956. I will always remember Grandma being held up to his casket, scolding him for leaving her. They were wonderful sweethearts to the very end.

Life story as told to Hilda Howard Castleton. Grandma Melva Castleton made some additions. Thanks to Grandma Melva for sharing it with us.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Robert Crookston Jr.

  • Robert Crookston Jr. 
  • Born: March 6, 1855 Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Died: February 6, 1928 Logan, Utah
  • Related though: Dan’s grandfather Lynn Crookston

My father Robert Crookston, Jr. was born March 6, 1855, in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was the fifth child of 11 children born to Robert Crookston Sr. and Ann Welch. When he was four or five years old his family moved to Moroni, Utah, and when he was eight years old his family moved to Logan, Utah, where his parents stayed the rest of their lives. His father built a log house on North Main Street a half block north of the courthouse and it was here where he lived until he was married.

He learned responsibility at an early age and was hired by Moses Thatcher to watch his cattle. The ranch was located on Bear River west of Preston, Idaho. He lived in a little log cabin all alone. One day he found an Indian boy about his same age huddled among the cattle to keep warm. He had scarcely any clothes on even though it was cold weather. He couldn’t communicate well enough to explain where he came from and why he was there. Father motioned for him to come into the cabin to get something to eat. He shared what clothes he had with him and his food. They became good friends and he stayed until spring. He was good at catching fish from the river and supplemented their food with fish all winter. Father called him Indian John. Since he had no home, father showed him where to go across the river on a toll bridge and how to get to the Washakie Indian Reservation west of Logan. He gave him his own pony to ride. Indian John and Dad remained good friends all their lives. Whenever Indian John came to Logan, he would come by grandfather’s home to visit and borrow dad’s gun to go hunting. Grandfather and grandmother were always good to him and gave him flour, bread, etc. Father was the only one he would take hunting with him as he said everyone else was too noisy.

Father liked animals and was good to them. He spent a good deal of his time taking care of them and working with them. A horse fell on his leg when he was a young man and broke it. It gave him trouble the rest of his life. He limped from rheumatism.

In the settling of Utah the church would issue land to its members. Grandfather wanted his boys to learn to build instead of farm so he got only 40 acres located west of Logan. Dad was the only one home to work the land. Grandfather was working the rock quarry. They planted 10 to 15 acres and the rest was hay land. They planted grain and sugar beets. Father also worked at the quarry at the same time. The rock was selling for about $1.00 per load. There was no cement so everyone used rock for the foundations of their homes.

When father was 26 years old he married Rosabell Pitkin, age18, in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City on October 10, 1881. Their first child, a son named Robert Young, was born in Logan December 17, 1882.

Father took his wife and small son Bob and went to Rexburg, Idaho to homestead. He made a box with screen wire over it for Bob to take his cat. He also took a hive of bees with him and a few chickens and a cow. After clearing some land and planting it, he went freighting to Great Falls, Montana, (the nearest waterway port) and Corinne, Utah, (nearest railroad depot) while waiting for his crop to mature. They lived in Rexburg, Idaho, five or six years under very trying circumstances before returning to Logan.

While in Rexburg 3 more children were born in the family: Annie (July 6, 1885), Nicholas Lee (July 6, 1887), and Agnes (Feb 12, 1889). After returning to Logan six more children were born: Elease (Feb 1, 1891), Frank Byron (June 22, 1893), Carlton (July 18, 1896), Clement (Apr. 13, 1898), Ruth (July 7, 1900), and Vernon (Nov 4, 1903) making a total of ten children.

After coming back to Logan besides getting logs from Logan canyon for firewood, father did team work around town and worked the farm again. After the train came through Logan he would haul freight from the depot to the stores uptown and do any other work he could find.

In the early days the mountain on the south of the river of the mouth of Logan canyon ran right down into the river. The only way to get up the canyon was by horseback, fording the river. Soon after Logan was settled, Brigham Young advised them to clear a road up Logan canyon. Help came from around the nearby settlements, even as far away as Garland and Brigham City. 

It was no little job as the mountain was mostly solid rock. Finally they built a narrow road against the river. It remained that way until I was a big boy. The road department has been picking away at the mountain ever since. Now there is a wide two-lane highway. Whenever the men wanted to go to the canyon they would meet at the mouth of the canyon until there was more than one outfit so they could work together and have good security. 

One time when we were still living at McNeal’s dad went to the canyon to get wood in the wintertime. He was bringing a horse and a mule on a sleigh. The weather was cloudy and threatening so no one else came. After waiting a while he decided to go alone because his family needed wood. He did not return home as usual, but we all went to bed anyway. About midnight there was a noise on the doorstep. One of the boys went to investigate and found the team with the gray mule pawing on the doorstep. Father was seated on a the front running gear of the sleigh wrapped in a camp quilt which was frozen stiff so he could not even move. We asked him what happened. He said a small snow slide pushed them into the river. We asked him how they got out and he said that the gray mule dug them out and brought him home. We never found the other half of the sleigh. Father was only frost bitten and in a few days was recovered enough to be able to go again. He always felt like the gray mule saved his life.

One of the early recollections was the death of one of father’s workhorses. It was big horse that father got from the circus. He traded a mule for it. One day it just laid down in the barn and died. Father had to take the side of the barn to get it out. Serge Bodrero brought over a big team of black horses with a big flat bed with small iron wheels. They dug holes in the ground and buried the hind wheels, so that the team of horses could pull the dead horse right up on the wagon. The team then pulled the wagon out to the holes and took the horse away.

When I was a small boy, father bought the Kartchner property at 434 West 2nd South, Logan, Utah, where we built our home. There was two-story house on the property that was moved up near the college. Grandfather Crookston helped father lay the foundation using the rock from grandfather’s rock quarry at the mouth of Logan canyon. The rock was blue limestone. The rock used in the construction was much larger than needed, so it was a sure foundation. The house was built about two feet off the ground. Most of the lumber was made from logs that dad had cut. Uncle Nick supervised the building but my brother Lee did most of the work. It was a two-story home with two rooms down stairs and two above. Later two screen porches were added and an additional room on the west that was used as a summer kitchen. Here mother canned her fruit and did the laundry.

The lot was about an acre, so we had plenty of room for a barn, corral, garden and orchard. The orchard consisted mostly of apple trees with a cherry, pear, prune and several plum trees. Later my brother Byron built us a root cellar behind the house. Father always kept a milk cow, which I learned to milk at an early age, and horses or mules, chickens and a sheep. Every spring we would get a lamb and feed it until winter and then butcher it. Mother used to card the wool for quilt bats. We had a well with a pump just south of the house. There was always a stream of water flowing in front of the lot on the north and also at the south edge of the lot, both were used for irrigation. The back half of the lot was lower than the front, going down a small hill. The barn, corral, and garden were below the hill with the house and orchard level with the street.
Robert Crookston Jr, and Rosabell Pitkin
The cooler we used to keep our food cool was a box under a tree out in the yard in a protected area. It consisted of a frame covered with burlap and the burlap was hanging in pans of water. The breeze blowing through the wet burlap cooled the food. It was used mostly for milk, cream and butter. Soon after ice delivery was available we purchased an icebox that was located in the hall between the main house and the summer kitchen. The iceman delivered ice several times a week. He would come in and put the ice in the icebox and tear out a coupon from a book previously purchased and hanging on a nail be the icebox.

We often supplemented our food with fish and game. One winter dad came home from the canyon with a load of firewood on top of which he had several small deer. In order to keep some of the meat after it was dressed and cleaned we salted it down in a wooden barrel buried in the ground in the shade of the cherry tree. The meat was good, but the cherry tree died later from the salt. The rest of the meat we froze and ate or gave it away.

Father was a kind person and would often see that the widows had free firewood. My brother Bob said that often when he came home from school father would have a log tied on the bobsleigh and the team hitched up ready to go. Dad would instruct him where to deliver it and he was told not to talk to anyone.

After his house was built father gave the team to this brother-in-law Plesant Farmer as he would be working the farm while father worked for the coal mines east of Salt Lake City. His job was to care for their horses and mules. He left one horse at home to pull the buggy so we had transportation while he was gone. We also had a telephone installed, which was a great help for mother. She used it to order all our groceries. They were always delivered to the house and charged to our account. The bill was paid monthly. Having the telephone made mother feel more secure when father was away.

I remember once when father came home on a visit while still working for the mines, he took Carl and me fishing down in Little Logan River by the Fairgrounds. He carried us across the river on his back one at a time. Carl and I played on the bank while he fished. He caught two or three small fish.

After father returned from working in the mines, Mother got him a job working for Utah Power and Light Company driving a team of horses and taking care of all their horses. He worked there until he died.

Men from Bear Lake used to bring large suckers they caught in Bear Lake to town to sell. They kept them in tubs of cold water and sold them on Main Street. Dad would often buy one on his way home from work.

He was a very quiet person and not very outgoing. He only talked to others when it was necessary. He was a practical person, could see what was needed to be done and would do it. He believed in the gospel and kept me on my mission after my money was gone. He was an honest, hard worker, and lived on meager means all his life.

Dad was about 5 feet 10 inches tall, was stocky built, but never heavy. He had dark brown hair and part of his life he wore a moustache.
He was not very active in attending church. In his later life only attend Stake High Priest Quorum meetings and funerals. He died in the hospital from pneumonia following an operation at the age of 73 on June 2, 1928. After he died, mother lived on his life insurance until her death at the age of 76 on April 23, 1940.

This life sketch was written by his son Clement Crookston.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

James William Madson

  • Name: James William Madson
  • Born: December 9, 1912 Elkorn, Oneida, Idaho
  • Died: July 1, 1994 Layton, Davis, Utah
  • Related: Erin's grandfather

James W. Madson, a son of John and Annie Clark Madson, was born December 9, 1912, in a little log house on their ranch in Elkorn. He was the fourth child of the family of 11, having seven brothers; Earl, Jack, Orville, Rex, Grant, Park and Orlin and three sisters; Hattie, Elva and Amelia Ann. His oldest brother Earl was killed while helping a neighbor pull a well. His youngest brother Orlin was killed in a car-pedestrian accident.

He attended elementary school in Elkorn and boarded in Malad for his first three years of high school, then drove back and forth to Elkorn during his senior year, as there was no school bus service.

Being raised on a farm, James learned early in life what hard work and long hours were. However, he was left with the responsibility of managing a farm and helping his mother raise his six younger brothers and sister when his father died suddenly of a heart attack when James was 17 year old.

In his boyhood days he attended church in the old Elkhorn schoolhouse and was secretary of the Sunday School. Later the little branch moved to St. John and he served as a counselor in the Sunday School for seven years under Arch Harris and one year under Harold Jones. When Harold was put in as bishop, James was sustained as Superintendent of the Sunday School and served in this capacity for seven years with Jim Pierce and Tom James as his counselors.

James and Idonna
He married Idonna Nuttall, September 18, 1940, in the Salt Lake Temple. After his marriage his mother leased the farm to him and she moved to Provo. In 1949 James and Idonna purchased a house in Malad and lived in town for nine years. When he was able to purchase the family farm he moved back to Elkhorn where he has since resided. He and Idonna were the proud parents of five sons, and had seven granddaughters.

Bishop Madson has always been a devoted church worker. He was set apart as a Seventy by Elder S. Dilworth Young and was secretary of the quorum for two years and he also served on a stake mission for two years.

He was an outstanding scoutmaster in the 3rd Ward in St. John, dedicated to the boys he taught, serving 13 years in this capacity. He served as counselor in the Malad Stake Sunday School for four years and was released from this position when he was called to be the bishop of our ward.

He was set apart as bishop by Elder Boyd K. Packer January 19, 1964. He chose Gene Edwards and Kenneth Kent as his counselors. After Kenneth’s death in 1965, Dale Baisdell was sustained as second counselor.

Bishop Madson always found time to go the temple and attend the educational programs sponsored by the church. During his nine years as father of the ward he performed 19 marriages, presided at 33 funerals and 14 missionaries, besides Adrian Jones, Joe L. Williams and Clark Madson who were already in the mission field, have been called to serve the Lord. He was released January 21, 1973, and has since been called to be the State Explorer Leader.

He was also active in civic affairs. He was Soil Conservation Supervisor for six years and president of the Oneida County Farm Bureau for two years. He reads a lot and keeps informed on the affairs of our nation. He has always felt that we should be interested in good government seeing that the right men are put in public office.

One of his favorite hobbies was trap shooting. He took first place in a Round Robin Shoot and third place in the Utah State Preliminary Handicap Shoot. He excelled in this sport but because of lack of time and the shoots generally being held on Sundays he gave the sport up.

The annual deer hunt always finds the bishop with his sons in the mountains enjoying this sport and always successful in getting their deer.Another hobby he has acquired this winter is snowmobiling.

Truly, Bishop Madson is a good Christian, devoted to his family and dedicated to his church. Many of the miles he has traveled have been in the service of the Lord and his fellow men.

A day never dawns lest it retires
Into the past with the twilight hours,
Taking with it all deeds well done
Reaping the harvest, and, to follow the sun,
Thus Bishop Madson from day to day,
Planted the harvest we reap today,
Bringing the sun when the day was gray
For forget-me-nots all along life’s way.

He never grew tired of his noble chore,
Other folk’s burdens were not a bore,
But a priceless problem he might erase,
Bringing new hope to a troubled face,
When the grounds of faith were sown with doubt
With the hoe of love he thinned them out,
Bringing a harvest of hope and joy
That time itself cannot destroy.

In the dark of night when the hour was late
You would see him come with his noble mate
To a saddened home, where death had brought
Tears and heartache, their love they got.

A bishop we know is only a man,
He scatters good deeds to his fullest span
Side by side with a tireless mate
Who has given her all, regardless of fate.

Their work has been tireless, their service long,
Their devotion outstanding, their efforts strong,
Giving their all with a friendly smile
Willing to go that extra mile.

We love you and thank you for all you have done
Making our ward the very best one.
We shall always remember the years and the days
That you were in office, and offer our praise.
And so now in parting we ask once again
That the Lord will be with you,
And to that our Amen.

This article was written by someone from grandpa's ward for a ward newsletter. She gave it to us at his funeral. I don't remember who this woman was but I would like to thank her for writing such a great article and poem. If anyone remembers who this was let me know and I can credit her properly.