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.

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