Service-Military, Church, and Civic Efforts

Douglas D. Alder, “Service - Military, Church, and Civic Efforts,” in Dixie Saints: Laborers in the Field, ed. Douglas D. Alder (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2017), 237-290.


If there was anything that bound the people of these villages together, it was their membership and activity in their church. Not all of them were devoted believers. Some were not involved in church at all, but most were. The LDS Church was the center not only of worship but also of entertainment, compassionate help, health care, burials, celebrations, and some of the education. The most demanding service was when people were sent to serve full-time missions outside the Great Basin area. Men were often called to leave young families while they proselytized in distant lands for two or three years. Families usually had to work the farms, support themselves, and send their husbands and fathers some funds because their missionary service was voluntary, not reimbursed by the Church. Young men and some young women were also called prior to being married. Single young people, married men, older couples, and some older singles (widows and widowers) served in Europe, the Pacific, and most parts of the United States and Canada.

Equally demanding was a call to preside over a ward or a stake. Members of bishoprics, stake presidencies, and high councils devoted many hours every week for several years to their congregation members, also as volunteers. Other callings included teaching in the various Church auxiliaries, providing music, and visiting all of the members each month. Some people spent many hours serving as temple workers or patrons, especially in their later years. The Church members supported each other in health problems, and the elders were regularly called to give blessings, as were patriarchs. Members of the Relief Society were in charge of preparing bodies for burials, as well as many other forms of service. Most of all, everyone was a neighbor; all were bound by friendship and brotherhood. Sharing with those in need was the norm, including with American Indians and anyone passing through. Some people in these communities were not active in religious matters, but they were an integral part of the village or town.

Each of the various towns needed citizen service—mayors and council members, water canal company directors and committee members, postmasters, cemetery sextons, election judges, road builders and maintainers, and school board members. Almost everything the town needed was dependent on volunteer service.

Of the seventeen people who reported in their interview that they served in the military, mostly during World War I, none went into detail about their time in the military. There was one important man from the St. George area who did serve, but he was not interviewed. His name was Nels Anderson, and he is mentioned in detail in two or three interviews of others (see Joseph Alma Terry, VOR File 69-102). At age twenty-nine, after teaching at the LDS Academy in St. Johns, Arizona, Nels voluntarily enlisted in the army. He was much more mature than most of the American troops. He decided to keep a diary, even though the military leaders discouraged the practice for fear such a book would fall into the hands of the enemy. Nels protected his diary, which survived up to today. It has recently been published.[1]

Anderson’s diary mostly tells about the daily life on or near the front in France in 1918, but also describes some training weeks in England. His account is insightful. In his diary he captures what many men from Utah, Arizona, and Nevada experienced if they got to the war front in France. To vent his frustrations, he wrote letters home, some of them to his adopted families in Dixie and some to his colleagues and students in St. Johns, Arizona, or his fellow students at BYU. In one letter he commented: “Several of the fellows are reading the Bible. It seems that men will swing over when they are in danger. They are humbler and more prayerful once they are face to face with the stern reality. This isn’t general, but it is true of many of the fellows. It is good to turn ones thoughts to God in case of danger but it is better to have done that before. A fellow has no time to pray when a ship is sinking; he must act then. His praying should have been done before.”[2] He goes on: “I had quite a talk with some fellows this morning on Mormonism. It is surprising how little some fellows know about us. He told me that he heard the Mormons believed in free love. He was surprised when I told him that marriage was the most sacred ordinance in our church.”[3] Another account was more reminiscent: “These light houses along the [English] shore make me think of Sam Brooks. His dad was born in a lighthouse somewhere along this coast.”[4]

In another letter he wrote, “I attended a good service this evening. After service the chaplain urged the fellows to join some church before crossing the channel. . . . He was a very liberal preacher.”[5] A more practical comment Nels made was: “I have new reasons for being thankful that I am an American. . . . I am thankful too that I don’t use tobacco.”[6]

Here is a more detailed account of his constant searching for comrades from his Utah-Dixie homeland and their Mormon values: “I was fortunate in finding 353 Inf as I hunted up some of the Arizona boys who were with me at detention camp. I found Guy Rencher, . . . Johnny Slaughter, . . . [and] Lehi Smith. . . . I got to see two Mexican boys from Springerville: Salazar and Padilla. Smith says they are good soldiers. Smith and I walked about town. I broke my last $1.00 to buy a book for a diary.”[7] Memories were also an important way to keep links with the homeland. On Utah’s Pioneer Day, 24 July, Nels wrote in his diary:

If I were back home I would have a big time today. They may be having a celebration as it is but I am satisfied they are not having the good time they would have if the boys were home. 10 year’s ago today I went to my first pioneer programme at Enterprise. I heard Grandpa Woods speak of his journey across the plains and the entrance of the pioneers into Salt Lake Valley, July 24, 1847. I was impressed with the talk. It was not a sermon as much as a plain talk of experiences. I found myself in love with the old man and in sympathy with the people who suffered such hardships that they might build homes out there in the desert where the howling mobs would not molest them.[8]

For LDS servicemen in all wars, being with fellow believers was important. Here is an example from one who later became a significant author and government official soon after his military experiences in Europe:

I put in for a pass this morning [and] no sooner had I got the pass till I was put on a detail to carry powder. I carried my share quickly and beat it. I started off toward a place called Neuf Chateau to get trace of the 342 machine gun outfit. There is where Bushman is. I ran upon his outfit quite accidently. He has been less than 3 miles from here all the while.

I ate dinner with him and then the two of us started for (Rimaucourt) We were lucky to get a truck and the result was Bush and L. L. Smith and I were together all afternoon. We couldn’t stay long as I had 4 miles and he had 6 to get back to our outfits for retreat. Bush and Smith both come from Snow Flake [Arizona] so they had quite a reunion. Smith is very homesick. He was married only a week before he came to the army. It is just 3 months ago today since the three of us met at Holbrook to entrain for Funston. It did me good to meet those fellows today. We agreed that we could get more joy from living our religion than any other source especially at this time of uncertainties.[9]

Then there was the future. Nels tells how they made plans: “Last night I had a good visit with Bushman. We talked over the school proposition. We decided that the officers training would not teach us anything useful so we thought that if we got home in February or March we could go back to school at home and finish with a few hours to the good.”[10] That is what he did. Nels graduated from BYU as student body president and went to the University of Chicago for a master’s degree, NYU for a doctorate, and then began a long career with the federal government. He wrote a landmark book, Desert Saints, about the Mormons and later became a professor of sociology in Canada and lived to age ninety-three.

The stories of the fifty-four people quoted in this study who served LDS missions are included in their interviews, whereas those seventeen individuals who served in the two world wars merely mentioned their service and did not give details. Of the group of missionaries, seventeen who served were women, some as wives, some as widows, and some as single women. The men included many who were young and single, but several were married, whose family stayed at home and supported the father in his service. Some men went in later years.

The missionaries were not professional clergy men; they were not salaried. They were self-supporting, although they depended largely upon the hospitality of the people in their area. It was called “travelling without purse or scrip.” If they were married, their family at home had to support itself and even send some money to the missionary. Often their local congregation helped them. The missionaries’ purpose was to proselyte and convert people in their assigned area to join the Church. They worked closely with Church members in those lands to build up congregations and help people become devoted to the restored gospel. Many of those people then immigrated to the United States, sometimes reestablishing contact with the missionaries. The missionaries usually served two years, but some stayed longer and some for a shorter period. Some had to learn a new language. Many experienced considerable rejection and had to examine their message closely. It was a time of major growth and sacrifice for missionaries. Their experience as missionaries clearly introduced them to the idea of service, and that service often continued throughout their life.

Mormon missionary work began when the Church was founded in 1830. By 1900 missions existed throughout North America (including Mexico), northwest Europe, and Polynesia. In 1901 President Lorenzo Snow renewed the emphasis on taking the gospel into all the world. Heber J. Grant of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles dedicated Japan for the preaching of the gospel that same year. Francis M. Lyman, also of the Twelve, dedicated the lands of Africa, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Palestine, Poland, and Russia for missionary work. The result is that some of the people interviewed for this study served throughout the world.

An extensive focus of volunteer service was the village LDS Church. It was completely run by a service mentality; no one received pay. Virtually all active members had some kind of responsibility—teaching classes, visiting families, singing in the choir, helping the bishop, giving blessings, taking youth on outings or coaching them in athletics, putting on drama productions, cleaning the Church building and repairing it, preparing diverse celebrations, and even building Church facilities. All of it was service, even done by the Daughters of Utah Pioneers, the Sons of Utah Pioneers, and the Chamber of Commerce. Everyone was involved. In these interviews, almost all of the folks mention some sort of service in which they participated.

Community service is much more difficult to describe. It is not difficult to understand that each of the villages where these people lived had to maintain a water system, support a school with a school board, set up a city council and mayor, create a cemetery, construct one or more parks, build roads, choose a justice of the peace court, erect a post office, hold celebrations with music and bands, and maintain religious congregations. In addition, there were wider efforts from organizations such as the Red Cross, the Daughters of Utah Pioneers, and Sons of Utah Pioneers. Some people served larger constituencies, being members of the state legislature, the Chamber of Commerce, or the Farmers Association. Most of this service was voluntary. Certainly the extensive service in the LDS Church was all voluntary and included most of the members of the congregation. It included serving as a bishop or one of his counselors, leading the Relief Society (women’s organization), teaching Sunday School, leading or teaching in the Mutual Improvement Association (youth organization), visiting all the families each month, attending to priesthood responsibilities, and more. All organizations needed community service. It was taught to the youth and expected of all community members.

An important book by Edward Banfield, The Moral Basis of a Backward Society, was written about this service in Mormon villages. The author lived a short stint in Gunlock, Utah, where he keenly observed the Mormon village system. Then he did an extensive study of village life in southern Italy. He began the study by describing life in a Mormon village. Quoting the Washington County News, he listed the public events that were happening that month: the fund raisers, the recreational activities, the library matters, and so on. It was clear that there were opportunities for all to serve and opportunities for all to benefit. Then he turned to examining the Italian villages. Such public service did not exist there. Certainly, public service is not unique to Utah, Nevada, and Arizona, but it is clearly crucial to the entire Mormon experiment in the Great Basin and the areas nearby. The people who were interviewed and included in this study are examples of the life of service as well as the life of hard physical labor.

For example, water was essential in every village, but it was scarce. It had to be regulated so that all people had access to it. The common experience in the western United States was that those settlers who arrived first claimed the water. Others who arrived later had to work out deals to get some of it. That was not the Mormon system. A History of Washington County: From Isolation to Destination devotes its seventh chapter to the subject of water.[11] It quotes extensively from Elwood Mead and Ray Palmer Teele’s work Report Irrigation Investigations in Utah.[12] The chapter on the basin of the Virgin River is by Mead’s assistant, Frank Adams. He says: “The type of institution in the Virgin Valley is essentially cooperative, as it is elsewhere among the Mormons. . . . If water for irrigation is to be distributed, the only way the settlers know is to work together until each man has his rightful share. Thus it is that a forbidding country has been made fruitful where individual effort would have failed. . . . The farmer of the Virgin River is the farmer of small means and modest wants. Yet his 5 acres of alfalfa is his fortune.”[13]

Adams discovered that the farmers of Washington County had not filed their water claims with the court recorder. Water, under the laws passed by the territorial legislature, was distributed by the county selectmen (now called county commissioners). These men served as the ‘guardians of the streams’ and were charged to distribute the water with equality and fairness based on the demonstrated need of the farmer.”[14] The local village farmers were not worried about anyone coming in and claiming their water because everyone in the village worked together and would not allow it. Nonetheless, Adams urged the farmers to file on their water with the government.

The reason for including these academic studies is to emphasize that water was central to the villages and their development of dams, canals, and ditches, as well as their sense of equality. No one was allowed to preempt water. It was regulated by local water companies and a water master in each village, who were all volunteers.

The building of the Hurricane Canal, the La Verkin Canal, the Enterprise Reservoir, and the Washington Fields Dam are examples of huge efforts. The Hurricane Canal began with one hundred volunteers led by James Jepson of Virgin and John Steele of Toquerville. Over a decade the workforce dwindled to about a dozen. Eventually, Jepson convinced the LDS Church to grant them modest funds to finish, and it led to the founding of the city of Hurricane and eventually the opening of two thousand acres south of the town to major agriculture.

The story of the Enterprise Reservoir is a parallel process. Orson Huntsman lobbied for years in the western part of Washington County and finally won the approval of the St. George Stake presidency, despite the opposition of some citizens, to build a reservoir that would divert the water of Shoal Creek away from Hebron and onto the desert so that it could support the proposed community of Enterprise. With the support of the presidency and Anthony W. Ivins, volunteers rallied to the project along with a promotion committee that included Thomas Judd, James Andrus, Isaac C. Macfarlane, Zora P. Terry, George M. Burgess, and Alfred Syphus.

Alder and Brooks comment: “Huntsman was not an aggressive capitalist. Rather than seek profit from investment, he hoped to benefit a whole community and only be one of those who gained access to water and land. The initiative and persistence of Orson Huntsman, the sustained and skillful labor of Chris Ammon [the builder], the support of stake leaders, the investment of scores of local people in the Hebron/Enterprise area, and the foresight and resources of Anthony Ivins and many others brought about a marvel, the Enterprise Reservoir.”[15]

These stories illuminate the big communal projects, but there were daily small ones that were the lifeblood of each community. Post offices were located in almost every village. They had a part-time postmistress or postmaster. Mail was not delivered to the homes; people came to the post office to pick up their mail. The result was that the post office became a social center and the person behind the counter knew everyone in town and often passed on messages. The village cemetery was managed by a sextant and other volunteers. The roads were sometimes built by volunteers. The town council members were volunteers and they had many responsibilities. The county sheriff was paid, but he often appointed volunteer deputies. The canal companies were composed of volunteers. The town school board members were appointed volunteers. They had to build or maintain the schoolhouse, hire the teacher, collect the tuition, and help the teacher find housing. The town survived on community service.

During the period of these people’s lives there were two world wars. Men were drafted, and some volunteered. About a hundred from the Utah Dixie area served in World War I for the short period of 1917 to 1918, and about one thousand served during World War II from 1940 to 1945.


The following interviews of these people include comments about all these kinds of service.

Military Service

David Orin Woodbury

David Orin Woodbury was born on 30 April 1895 in Salt Lake City, but he grew up in St. George, where he graduated from Dixie Academy in 1915 and then went on to do two years of college there, concluding in 1917. His father, John T. Woodbury Jr., was a teacher at the college. The son became a school teacher after his military service and then became a contractor. He also served a mission to England. After his short career as a teacher, he began a long career as a contractor, building homes and businesses in St. George, constructing an annex for the temple, and remodeling the temple and its grounds. He built the West Ward chapel and then worked in Mesquite, Boulder City, and California on commercial buildings. He built five dwellings in Zion Canyon and many business facilities in St. George and Enterprise. In this excerpt from his interview, he gives a very realistic view of his experience in World War I: “In 1918, after I received two years of college at Dixie College, I volunteered to [serve] in the [United States] Army. My father told me there was a call for 250 Utahans to go to the University of Colorado at Boulder to receive special training in electricity and safety work. Frank Harmon and I volunteered to go and take this training. We had two months training and were learning Morse code and how to operate the radios that we had at that time. They were very inadequate [compared to] today’s standards. We didn’t send a voice [transmission]; all we could send was a telegraph signal. We had to learn to send our messages that way.

“After two months, we were sent to Camp Dodge, Iowa, where the Eighty-Eighth Division was ready to go across the sea. The way it was set up, they put fifteen men in each regiment; I was placed in headquarters company with three or four infantry in the same platoon. [Early in] August, we landed in France. We continued training for about a month. From there, we started towards the central Alsace front [in France]. While we were in France, I was taken ill with the influenza that was sweeping the world at that time.

“After about a month, we continued on and we finally landed in Hicken, a small village in central Alsace. In order to get there we had to walk and carry our packs of approximately sixty pounds. I was so weak from the flu that I could hardly walk. At one of the villages [where] we stopped along the way, my buddy Herman Winstead and I went out around the town and found where we could buy a few eggs. We took them to cook and offered to share them if he would cook [them]. It seemed like it was a terrible recuperation there.

“We went on from there to the front. I was stationed in the company headquarters as a radio operator. There were three men [who] were stationed there: [Corporal?] George Forshee and I handled the station. We each took four-hour shifts. My shift started at 12:00 noon and went until 4:00 p.m. and [from] 12:00 midnight until 4:00 a.m. The other men took the other shifts. Our equipment was a storage battery, a coil, a wire around a wood core, a wire attached to a gleaming crystal, and a telegraph key. Messages were sent by using the Morse code of dots and dashes.

“One day while I was off duty, I went with a runner to the front lines, which were on top of a small hill ahead of our station. When I arrived the sergeant was going out to check the outposts, so I went with him. We were going along the middle of the trenches, and a German airplane came flying over. We heard a burst of machine-gun fire from the airplane. When we arrived at the outpost, the soldier said that the bullets had kicked up dirt into his lunch, but had missed him.

“The first night in Hicken we were billeted inside old buildings. We always kept our gas masks close at hand. When I went to bed on the floor, I put the mask by the side of my bed. In the morning it was gone. I found it at the end of a rat hole with the sling pulled into the hole and chewed up a bit. At the rear of the house where the radio station was, we found a garden that was ready for harvest, with vegetables, potatoes, carrots, etc. We got a fry pan and some lard from the cook and had French fried potatoes and other [items]. In a small village nearby, we found someone in town with cabbage all shredded and ready to make sauerkraut. The people evidently had been driven off before they had time to finish.

“One day, two other men and I were sent to regimental headquarters to take a telephone for repairs. We had to walk the distance of fifteen to twenty kilometers. On our way back, a car came up behind us on the way toward the front. We hailed it down and asked for a ride. It stopped very quickly. The [men] did not say a word, but they let us get in and ride. They were in French uniforms and we assumed that they were French soldiers. We got to the town Hicken in the front. We passed them through the guard and sent them on their way.

“Afterwards, I got to thinking that probably these were German spies who were trying to get back across the front. The intelligence they took back was one of the things that stopped the war. It was not too long after that, that the war ended.

“Later, we were moved to the Western Front [in France]. We passed through the town of Nancy and Toules, and on to a small town called Merville. Here, we [received] our own battle packs which consisted of reserve rations, ammunition, and very little else. We waited for three days to receive orders to move up. The orders never came, [but] at 11:00 a.m. on November 11, 1918, the armistice was signed. We got the word out; we worked the balloons in the woods. We were listening to the continuing artillery bombardments, but at 11:00 a.m. it started to taper off until it stopped.

“In a short time we were moved to a small town called Treveray [France]. We waited here for six months for a chance to come home. In May 1919 we sailed for the United States in a small vessel called the Henry R. Lowery. On our trip home we became very seasick after a short distance out. It took eleven days to cross the North Atlantic and to be back on our own soil. We were sent to Camp Hamilton, Long Island [New York]. While here, we [received] passes and went into Atlantic City [New Jersey]. At the YMCA we met Clinton Larson [high jumper from BYU] and Creed Haymond on their way to Europe to participate in the Olympic Games. We were mustered out at Fort Russell, Wyoming, on June 13, 1919, just thirteen months from the day I enlisted.”[16]

Frederick Cheney Van Buren

Frederick Cheney Van Buren was born on 26 September 1882 in Manti, Sanpete County, Utah. He taught school in Beaver County. He reports his experiences during World War I. “I was in the Utah National Guard for two years. It was a cavalry unit then. We were bivouacked at Fort Russell in Wyoming. We had a mean horse that we called ‘the Kaiser.’ He finally got away and stepped on a board. He put two men in the hospital [who were] trying to take that board with the nail out of his foot. We let him go and they caught him afterwards. I think they killed him. I don’t know.

“Once I was trying to curry him when the major came along. He swore at me and said, ‘Private, don’t you know anything about horses?’ I stepped back and saluted him and said, ‘Not that kind, sir.’ He said, ‘Give me that currycomb.’ I gladly handed it over to him. He went up [to the horse] and swore. He slapped that horse on the ribs with that currycomb. The horse whirled and kicked him right in the back of the hip. [It] broke his hip and knocked him about fifteen feet. He didn’t say any more. I suppose he went to the hospital, and they fixed him up. He learned the hard way.

“This was during World War I, and we didn’t leave the United States. I shot two years in the national rifle matches. One year was in Fort Perry, Ohio, and the other year was in Caldwell, New Jersey. We were shooting on the 1,000-yard range, and the wind was blowing about thirty-eight miles per hour cross range. Nobody was hitting the target, let alone the bull’s-eye. When it came my time to go down on my target, I followed a lady who was shooting with her husband, E. T. Crossman. He was the rifleman for the Winchester Repeating Arms Company of New Haven, Connecticut. She got up before he did. I heard him say he was going to hold on the bull’s-eye and let it hit where it pleased. He shot, and they pulled my target that I was going down on and marked the bull’s-eye on it. I thought that the wind was blowing his bullet off sixteen feet, so I went down and aimed at the bull’s-eye on his target. I made nine straight bull’s-eyes, which was the highest score made on the rifle range that day out of 3,800 fellas, but it was just a dunce’s hunch. I happened to hit it right.

“They offered me the rank of captain to see if I would make another enlistment. I told them I wouldn’t go back if they gave me the whole army. I had had enough. My life’s occupation has been in physical education.”[17]

Benjamin Bringhurst

Benjamin Bringhurst was born on 7 June 1891 and lived much of his life in Toquerville, where he went to school in the old church. In his later life he was on the town council in Toquerville. He tells of his military experience in World War I. “My cousin Stanley Duffin and I joined the United States Army. We were stationed at Fort Douglas [in Salt Lake City] quite a while. Then [we] moved to Camp Kearney [in San Diego, California], and from there we went overseas [to Germany].

“We started out for Glasgow, Scotland, [but] after a while [we received] word that we were going to Liverpool, England. We landed in Liverpool, England, late at night, and it was raining like pitchforks. The British were there to haul us to camp, but our colonel wouldn’t let them. [He] made us walk in the rain all night. Finally, we [arrived at] the camp. I remember a sand-rock wall that was built around there, and it was caving in. [There were] some little pup tents—it was sure storming. [There were] little straw mattresses the shape of your body from your head down to your feet. We laid on [those] for the night. They got [us] something better the next day.

“[After] a while, [we] went across the English Channel over to France. I was giving all the boys a sandwich as they came on the boat.[18] When it was over, an [African American] told me, ‘When they catch your life jacket they will court-martial you.’ I said, ‘Have you got one for me?’ He said, ‘I will get you one.’ And he did. We were on the English Channel all night long because we had to dodge the mines. Finally, we landed [at] La Havre, France. I was cooking for the boys, and after a while, I [came down with] influenza. Colonel Webb wanted me to go to the hospital; I told him I didn’t want to go to the hospital. I said, ‘If you will let me stay outside in the hot sun, I will get rid of the flu.’ I didn’t want to go [to the hospital] because there were so many [soldiers] dying from the flu there. He said, ‘If you are not better by morning, we will have to take you in.’ I went behind the stables where we kept the horses and sat in the sun. [I] just sat there all day long. I didn’t want anything to eat, but I did drink coffee [and] it helped me. He came by the next morning and said, ‘How do you feel?’ I said, ‘I am doing all right. I am helping in the kitchen now.’ He said, ‘Okay.’ I [stayed] out of the hospital, and I think it saved my life.

“We took food down to the German prisoners along the shore, who were fenced in with wire. I had to take my turn going down there to take their food. The end of the war soon came, and we were released.”[19]

Homer Young Englesteadt

Homer Young Englesteadt was born in Denmark and immigrated to the United States and came to Panguitch, Utah, and later Orderville, Washington County. He went to a one-room school in Mount Carmel through his eighth grade year and then four years of high school at Murdock Academy in Beaver. He had spent a summer herding sheep on the Arizona Strip, but then World War I came. “I was in the first draft in World War I. My brother just older than me, Clarence, was called. He had just [been] married. I [convinced] him to let me go in his place; I kind of wanted to go with the first bunch anyway. I had been out [with] the herd all summer and had quite a bit of money. I just felt like it was my turn to go, and I wanted to go. We had such a nice bunch to go with.

“We had to all meet in Kanab. It was twenty miles over to Kanab, and you couldn’t go on horseback. If you went, you had to go with the mail run. It was a little buggy that took you a long while. That morning I borrowed a horse from Mr. Landon—a nice horse—to ride over there. I can just see him over there now, bidding me good-bye. You didn’t think of it in those days. He was the only one [who] felt bad; I didn’t feel bad.

“We went to Camp Lewis [Washington], and we were there first. There were just a few barracks built there then. It became a big camp, a very good camp. We had a set of very good officers. It seemed like everything clicked for us. Soon after that, we started to drill out. I was put in charge of the machine gun [group]. We had a little squad. We would always be out by ourselves. Then we soon [went] overseas. I had [a] sixteen-man group; we were in charge of the machine gun. We had a machine gun battalion, we called it. Ours was a squadron. The machine guns were to protect the heavy artillery from the airplanes; that was our job.

“We were trained so you could tell the speed of the airplane, about how far it was, in just a second. You had a little [scope] you sighted to. It was quite a thing. I had a group of sixteen men there, [and] they were just perfect. You didn’t have to tell them to do anything. I was a corporal, but they gave me all these men. We called them a platoon in those days. They were so good. Whenever there were any military funerals or a man died in their outfit, they would have me give the military funerals for the boys. I remember one trip we buried thirteen [who] died with influenza. There were a lot of them [that] died [from] the flu over there. They would get [very] sick. I never had [any] of it when I was over there, not even a cold all the time. I was in the military about two years.”[20]

Grant Zenis Keyes

Grant Zenis Keyes was born on 14 February 1895. He lived in Sevier Valley, Ogden, Pioche, and St. George. He had seven siblings—two died as babies and a brother who died at age twenty-five. He married Janet Bracken on 20 October 1919, and they had seven children. Reflecting on his life, he said: “The brother [who] was eight or nine years older than I was killed in France in World War I . . . June, the oldest boy went to Texas on a mission in about 1901 or 1902. My brother and I both went to France in World War I, and I was the one [who] came back.

“We went together to Camp Lewis in Washington.[21] We were there for about three weeks and [were] given all kinds of shots. [One] day, they gave us [a shot] and called us out in line. Shots affect lots of people. We were standing in line, and he [Pete] passed out. You could see them [standing] and then all down the line, and they packed them in. They told all those [who] were [standing that] they were being transferred to Camp Kearny [San Diego County, California].

“The fellows [who] passed out stayed there at Fort Lewis, and he was one of them. They were put in the 91st Division, and we were attached to the 4th Division. We were [at Camp] Kearny until August 4, and then sailed overseas. He was put in the 91st Division. We went in [enlisted] May 26, and he was shipped overseas July 3. That was not much training. We went into the trenches September 26, and he was wounded September 29 and died November 10, 1918, the day before the armistice was signed.

“I was more fortunate. I was with the 145th Heavy Field Artillery from Utah. There were 1,135 [soldiers] from Utah, from there up to 1,500; most of them were from Idaho, and a few from Montana and maybe Colorado. It was called the 145th Utah Heavy Artillery.

“We did not see actual combat. We were fortunate in that way. In World War I [nearly] all of the artillery was horse drawn. When we got over there, our [unit] was one of the first to be motorized with caterpillars. We were trained; they would give us orders to retreat, [and] we could be moving in about two and a half or three minutes. We were trained on caterpillars instead of horse-drawn machines. We were all ready for the front lines, expecting a call any minute, when [we] were called out one morning about ten o’clock and told that the war was over. That did not make us feel unhappy. B. H. Roberts, you have read his [books], was our chaplain. We [arrived] back in Hoboken, New [Jersey] on January 4 [1919, and] it was January 29 [1919] before we were released at [the John A.] Logan College there.”[22]

Earl Tolton Harris

Earl Tolton Harris was born on 7 November 1889 in Beaver. He tells his experience in World War I: “Three days after we were separated and sent to our outfit, I was never far away from the front, but that I could hear the guns roar until the armistice was signed. I was there around four months up at the front. I was in the 2nd Division. They were shock troops, and they had to be shocked about every third day. The United States Marines were in the 2nd Division, one regiment, I mean. I had all kinds of experience at the front. We would get back far enough to delouse us once in a while. We would have to have new clothes. We never were out of the hearing of guns. I was there just as they stopped the German drive on Paris, France.

“We were right there where the Germans were retreating so fast that they weren’t putting up any resistance. The Germans were coming down the highway four abreast in closed columns. We couldn’t get up the road. We had to get out in the fields. We couldn’t get in with the artillery. We had engineers and the light machine guns and they were up in position ahead of the Germans. The Germans were coming down the road in formation. The scouts sent word back that there was someone just ahead of them. They started to deploy and came up over the ridge and our machine guns just mowed them down. When I went to the outfit, they stopped on the road about a half mile from our camp. I could walk back to my camp on dead Germans from there and not step on the ground. They just slaughtered those Germans. That was the turning point.”

Harris remained in Europe for four months before returning to the United States. His lengthy report tells much about horses. He was experienced in managing horses before the war, but did not want to continue to manage them in the army. He tried to get out of it but was often pulled into the horse side of the army. He told several fun stories about that.[23]

LDS Mission Service

Charles “Charlie” Richard Sullivan

Church service was central to the lives of many people in southern Utah. One of those services was going on a full-time LDS mission. Charles “Charlie” Richard Sullivan is one example. He went on an LDS mission to the southern states just two weeks after he married Grace Lenzi McAllister in January of 1900. He tells a story that undoubtedly influenced his decision to serve a mission: “My father would let me go out on the Arizona Strip with him. I went out there with him when I could not ride a horse alone. It was about twenty-five miles out there. When we went out to ride, brand calves, or look for cows, we would take a wagon and take some food along with us. We might stay out there for a week or ten days sometimes. I was not big enough to ride a horse, so I stayed in camp and was a camp tender. . . .

“I learned how to cook a little out there. One time I thought I did not know what to cook. I thought, ‘I will cook a little rice.’ We had tin [pans] to take out there with us, so I put on a pot and put some water in it and some rice in it. . . . Before long I had more rice in the kettle than I had water. So I took some rice out and cooked some more rice. Anyway, I learned you did not need much rice when you were going to boil some rice. It took mostly water. I learned how to cook rice, potatoes, and onions.

“When I was twelve years old they ordained me a deacon. It took twelve deacons to make a quorum. We had a quorum; I was in the first or second or third quorum. We were down in the Virgin River one day having a little fun. They were building a dam across the river to turn the water out so it could water the crops. Before this, I had been going out with my father occasionally, and I was just a camp tender.

“My father said to me one day, ‘I think maybe this trip out we will take a horse and saddle for you.’ I said, ‘That will be fine. I would like to be a good cowboy.’ In the meantime, I had been going out with him [and] just sitting around. At night, as a rule, the cowboys would have to get their horses hobbled. They would sit around the campfire and tell about experiences they had had. One night, [one] of the men [who] was a good Latter-day Saint said, ‘Today, fellows, I was so mad that I just did not know what to do about it. If I had sworn at those cattle I was afraid you would laugh at me because [of] the way I handle swear words. I am not used to swearing. If I had been a little more used to swearing, I would have sure sworn today. We had those cattle in a bunch of oaks and I could not get them out.’ I thought to be a good cowboy you had to learn to swear. We had some cowboys [who] were pretty good cowboys, and they knew how to swear. I thought, ‘If I am going to be a cowboy, I have to learn how to swear dramatically.’

“We were down swimming at the [Virgin] River one day. Every time the fellows would come around—I was about the [youngest] one there—they would splash water on me, and I would swear at them. It happened this day that the president of our deacons quorum was there swimming with us. He was a few years older than most of us were. He [took] me off to one side and said, ‘Charlie, I was surprised at you today. Here you have just been ordained a deacon, and you hold the priesthood. To hear you swear like you were doing does not become a deacon very well.’ So there I was between two hot waters. If I was going to be a good cowboy, I had to learn to swear. If I was going to be a good deacon, I must not learn how to swear. My family did not swear much. So there it was. I either had to be a good cowboy or a good deacon. . . .

“I thought that over quite a bit. What has helped me all my life is what that president of that deacons quorum told me about deacons: deacons held the priesthood, and priesthood holders [should not] swear. I had to study about that. I went to my priesthood meetings and tried to learn what deacons had to do. We had to work differently than what they do now. We had coal-oil lamps. It was the deacons’ chore to keep those coal-oil lamps filled with oil and the chimneys clean. We would have to do that every Saturday to get ready for Sunday. I was getting a little older and a little wiser all the time. I finally decided that I would rather be a good deacon than a good cowboy.

“I never regretted that. That one little incident changed me. I do not know what I might have been if I had kept on [trying] to be a good cowboy. I finally decided I would be a good deacon. I quit swearing. I have tried to keep from swearing.

“I have been a good cowboy. There was one time when I was growing up that I did not think I had to get off a horse for anybody, that I could do anything on a horse anybody else could do. We had a lot of cattle there. My father was a pretty good cattle man; he handled them well. It took a lot of good judgment to handle a lot of cattle. I have worked all my life with cattle.”[24]

Harmon Gubler Jr.

Harmon Gubler Jr. was born in Santa Clara on 24 September 1880. He had eleven siblings and went to school in Santa Clara and Cedar City and eventually attended BYU in Provo. He tells about his mission experience: “I went to Switzerland. I was over there a few days short of two and a half years. When I [arrived] in the mission field, Levi Edgar Young was the mission president. I [came] in there after dark. I went alone from Liverpool [England] to Zurich [Switzerland]. I got there and I found the place. When I [arrived] there, President Young said, ‘I do not know where I am going to send you, Brother Gubler. I have not decided where to send you. Do you want to go any place around here for two or three days? Next Sunday we are going to hold a conference in Bern [Switzerland].’ The headquarters were in Zurich. He said, ‘If you have a place you want to go for two or three days, you are welcome to go and see what you can see.’ I said, ‘I have a cousin [John Wittwer] here on a mission. He is here somewhere; he is supposed to be [here]. I would not mind going to see him.’ He said, ‘He is down here about forty or fifty miles. You go down and stay with him for two or three days if you want to. Be over in Bern for conference. I will tell you where to go.’

“When he told me he did not know where he was going to send me, he said, ‘I might send you to Berner Oberlands.’ That was out in the county [where there are dialects]. He said, ‘How would you like to go to Berner Oberlands?’ I said, ‘I do not know anything about Berner Oberland. All I know is that they have four or five [returned] missionaries over in Santa Clara. They tell me they have a different language in every town. When I [come] back from my mission, I want to study languages and German is going to be one. I do not think I can learn German up in the Berner Oberlands.’ He looked at me kind of funny. I said, ‘I will tell you one thing. I will go any place you want me to go. If you want me up in the Berner Oberlands, that is where I am going. I told you why I did not want to go up there, and that is the reason I do not want to go.’ He said, ‘It would be nice to go up there and look at those glaciers during the winter. It is nice country up there.’ I said, ‘That might get old, looking at those glaciers all winter.’ When we [came] to Bern, he said, ‘I am going to send you up to Berner Oberlands.’ I said, ‘Okay, that is where I am going then.’

“In ten months he was released, and I was still up in the Berner Oberlands. I thought I would stay there for the rest of my mission, but in about three weeks, I was transferred to another town. I was glad to get out of [there]. There are a lot of nice people up in the Berner Oberlands, but they did have a mess in their languages there.

“I studied my German. Some of the older men [were] a little sarcastic and asked me why I didn’t talk like they talked up there. I would tell them [that] they could not say much. I told them I was going to go to school. The women were nice; they did not bother me. The girls tried to help me learn German; some of them tried to give me German lessons. They did not know German too well, but they did the best they could.

“I got along in the Berner Oberlands. I made a lot of friends up there. I did not make many converts. I did not make many converts anytime when I was in the mission field.

“When I was there, I preached. I preached Joseph Smith to them. I preached the restoration of the Church. I did all I could to help them. I [had] a lot of friends. I was in one little town there called Burgdorf. My brother-in-law [John Hafen] had been there and another young fellow from Salt Lake City. He was a [boy] about eighteen or nineteen years old. They took them out and sent me up there. I had been there. When they told me to go up there, I told my conference president that I did not want to live [there]. I would rather [live where] the missionaries were living. We were living out in the sticks over a cow stable. They had the cows in the bottom, and the family lived upstairs. They had a room upstairs where they held church. That is where they lived too.

“I told them I did not want to live out there. I wanted to get up in town and be around the people more, and I would see more people. He said, ‘You can go up to town, but you [will] have to pay rent there.’ I knew that. He said, ‘That is not all. If you want to get a room in town, get a room there and hold church in town.’ I said, ‘That suits me.’ He said, ‘We will pay for the church, but you [will] have to pay for your room.’ I said, ‘That is all right. I expected to pay for it.’

In that town I did not have very many people, but I increased my numbers. I had over about sixty-three percent increase [in] numbers. I was there eight months alone. Once in a while a missionary would come in and maybe stay after church or something like that. I was there alone.”[25]

Glen Wilcox Steed

Glen Wilcox Steed was born on 26 July 1896 in Farmington, Utah. He spent his early life in Farmington and other towns in northern Utah. Later in life he lived in Rockville, Washington County, where he was interviewed. As a young, single man he went on a mission to the eastern states. That is where he met Della Elizabeth McCune, who was also serving as a missionary there. Following their missions, they began a courtship and were married. He reported: “We went to New York City, having been called to the Eastern States Mission. Elder Bitter and I were sent down to the Northwest Virginia Conference with headquarters in Fairmont, West Virginia. I spent a couple of years there roaming the hills [of] West Virginia. In the winter we would work the towns, and in the summer we would go out without purse or scrip and try [to] live off the land. Sometimes we were lucky and [could] get green apples. We met a lot of fine people. We had a little church at what is called Smith Creek now, a short distance from Franklin, West Virginia. In the spring and fall we would make the trek from wherever we were [during] the winter or summer for conference. We would always have a nice time getting together to talk about our experiences.

“I remember one time we were having a baptismal service, [and] there were two or three people being baptized. I thought it was a good idea to have a general airing [meeting]. We tried to get the word around and started before the baptism. There must have been 100 or 150 people gathered. They called on an Elder Neilson from Canada to give a talk before the baptismal service. He got up and got really excited, [and] was quite enthusiastic about his talk. He said, ‘Persecution, we thrive on it, we invite it.’ When he was finished, they called on Elder Wilkerson from Lovell, Wyoming, to give the prayer. While he was praying, someone hit him in the forehead with a rock. He went up to Elder Nielson afterwards and said that it was all right for him [to] brag about thriving on persecution, but he would like him to take it, not have it passed on.

“It was while laboring [in] Clarksburg [West Virginia] that I met my wife. We had three elders there at the time. Elder Pace was our conference president; they called them conferences in those days. He had received word that there would be two lady missionaries. One would stay with us and the other would go to the Southwest Virginia conference [with] headquarters in Charleston, West Virginia. We [received] the word that they would be there on a certain train at a certain time. The conference president and I went down and met the train that they should be on, but no lady missionaries were on it. We asked about other trains and they said that there [were] no others coming from that area. We went home and decided that something must have come up [and] that they [were not able] to make it.

“The next morning we were holding church; we had a hall rented over a café. We had to go down early in the morning and sweep out the cigarette butts, carry out the spittoons, and get ready to hold church. We had seven or eight people who always came to church. While I was giving the lesson, we heard a commotion at the door. There was a little hole in the door that you could push open to see if you wanted to let the people in for the lodge. We notice that it moved, and in came the two lady missionaries. One of them was Della [Elizabeth] McCune, and the other was a Sister Snow from Snowflake, Arizona.

“We abided by mission rules. I wasn’t thinking about girls anyway, and she wasn’t thinking about boys necessarily. There was Ida Hunsaker there from Ogden, Utah, before the girls came. She heard us tell about going through the Smoke Holes on the way down to the church in Ziegler [West Virginia]. When President [Walter P.] Monson, our mission president, came down to the conference, the girls asked him if they could go through the Smoke Holes with some of the elders. He said that he thought it would be wonderful, that those people had never seen any ladies from the outside world. He thought it would be a splendid [event]. There was nothing we could do but try to take them through. [Since] I had been through several times, the conference president asked if I would [take] them through. When the weather broke and it was time for us to meet for conference at Ziegler, we started on this [journey], which [would] be like 150 miles. We went as far as we could on the railroad to Petersburg, West Virginia.”

Steed recounted a lengthy story about their adventures trekking through the mountains, often with no roads. It took them hours, but they finally arrived at the home of a family named Shirts, who were friends of the missionaries but not members of the church. This family lived out in the back country, where they hunted possums and coon. The Shirts hosted them for three days. The sister missionaries helped Mrs. Shirts with her sewing.

“They called it Smoke Holes because it was so removed from any course of travel that, during the Civil War, there would be deserters and guerilla groups who [went] back in there. There were saltpeter mines in there, and they would mold their bullets. You could look across the country and see a swirl of smoke and knew there was someone [in] there, but it was rather risky to go and see who. They called it the Smoke Holes for that reason. So this country was rough this way.

“Whenever we went through there, we had to sing until we couldn’t sing any more. They loved to have us sing. We always held meetings; they called [them] gatherings. They had to hear some preaching. They passed out the word through grapevines, which were quite effective. The people live back in the woods and to go in there and try to find the people, unless you knew the trails, you would be at a loss. . . . Word went out like wildfire, and that evening they came down and gathered around and listened to them sing until they couldn’t sing any more.

“While [we] were there, [we were aware] of conditions [and how the] people were desperately poor. The men would get a little flour by going out in the valley to work for fifty cents a day. That is still biscuit country down there and they had to have biscuits for every meal.

“After two years in West Virginia, I was transferred to Vermont and spent five months there. [The] headquarters were in Burlington [Vermont] on Lake Champlain. [I] went to Barre [Vermont] and was there off and on for a while. They sent Elder Anderson and me down to Bennington [Vermont] for two or three months. Afterwards, we were released and came home. The flu [1918 influenza epidemic] was pretty bad, and when we [arrived] home they didn’t even have conference that spring. On the way home we visited the Hill Cumorah [Pageant in New York] and enjoyed the trip there very much.”[26]

Della Elizabeth McCune Steed

Della Elizabeth McCune Steed was born in Nephi on 23 June 1895 and lived several places, including Springdale. She was called on a mission from Nephi right after high school at age nineteen: “I was called to go to the eastern states. It came as a shock to me. I was not interviewed or anything. I had no idea [I was going to be called on a mission]. I received a letter in the mail; that was the only [way] I knew about [the] call. I went to the mailbox, and there was this large envelope from the Church. It was calling me on a two-year mission. I guess my bishop had sent my name in, but I had not been interviewed or told anything about it. I really wanted to go.

“My first call was to Baltimore, Maryland, for one month. Then I spent six months in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. From Pittsburgh I was transferred to Lynn, Massachusetts. I had a sick spell, and President Monson transferred me to the Joseph Smith farm in Vermont. Brother and Sister Brown were there in charge of the farm. I spent a month or six weeks at the farm recuperating from this illness that I had. My companion was an elderly lady—Marie Hasselman. She was in her fifties. At the time I was assigned to go to her, all the other missionaries said, ‘We feel sorry for you, an old maid like that,’ but she was a wonderful person. She was one of the most wonderful people and was most understanding. She had been a guide on Temple Square for years. She had great understanding and knowledge of the gospel. I let her do the talking. I felt that I was so inexperienced and she had had so much experience.

“In our tracting, we met a wonderful man and daughter. His wife had passed away. He was a state senator in Massachusetts. He was a very brilliant man. We visited him all the time. He was a man who would ask questions. [He would] draw you out. I was a young girl and had not had as much experience. I would sit by and let this sister, Marie Hasselman, answer the questions. They [were] wondering if I could talk [or] if I knew anything.

“When she was transferred, I had a new companion. She was a new girl from the West to start with me as a missionary companion. How I dreaded to go back to these people. We arrived at his home, and as usual he and his daughter were there. He started with the questions. There was a question, and I would answer.

“[Then] here comes another question. He was testing me because I had been so quiet with my other companion. There would be another question. Finally, he came with a question. He asked me about his son who was serving in Germany. He said, ‘My son, if he kills somebody, is he going to be held accountable?’ A verse came to me from the Book of Mormon, and I repeated it to him. I said, ‘Your son is fighting for the right.’ I think it would be with him as it was [with Nephi]. I will never forget this Mr. Quinn. He sat down as I was answering, [and] he leaned out of his chair toward me. His face began to open up into a smile. I sat back. He said, ‘My goodness, you have come through. You have it in you. You had never said a word while Sister Hasselman was with you. I wondered if you knew what you were doing, but you have it in you.’

“Later, President Monson sent word that he was going to keep me another three months. He wanted me to take vocal lessons in Boston. He wanted me to study before I came home. He thought, with my voice, that I should study. Then the World War I broke out, and I received a call from him to prepare to go home.” Della recorded that she met her future husband, Glenn Wilcox Steed, who was serving as a missionary, but they did not communicate romantically. She thought he was not interested in her. Their romance did not begin until they were both home.[27]

Milo Golden Campbell

Milo Golden Campbell, born in Escalante in 1909, told an incredible story about his son Cline: the boy nearly died at birth but survived miraculously. The father said: “He [received] his [mission] call to Japan. On this call, I [received] a special letter from President David O. McKay. It said, ‘Brother Campbell, your boy has been handpicked through a circle of prayer for a special mission, and his headquarters will be in Japan.’ We felt good about the [call]. I knew that he was that kind [of boy]; he was always the kind of boy that if you could steer him in that direction, he would go. When he [arrived in] Japan, it was the first time we knew that he was called into Korea. [He was] one of the first missionaries to establish that mission permanently. There had been a few missionaries in there all right. While he was there, he had a lot of trouble [convincing] himself that he was a missionary. He was there [and] almost came home a time or two through trouble he had with different ones. [He had trouble with] mission district presidents and missionaries. Finally, after he was there a year, he was sent up to Pusan [South Korea]. He called it a kind of a little jail town. He finally gained his testimony [there]. The greatest words that ever came to me [were in a letter that came from him], ‘Dad, now I know what I am here for.’ He filled a great mission there. He baptized over thirty [people] into the Church and [performed] marriages [for] a few [of them]. He came back into Korea and was the district president. When he came back home, he joined the [Utah] National Guard and was picked to be a chaplain. He went back there and spent a year. Now he is home again. He is a great speaker.”[28]

Frank Barber

Frank Barber was born in Centerville, Utah, in 1882 and later lived in Hurricane, Washington County. He quit grade school when he was eleven years old and went to work on the farm. “My daddy came here from England broke. He had to [find] a new job of some kind. He [received] fast offerings from the ward, and he [received] part of the fast offering that the other fellow didn’t get. So I quit school and milked cows. I milked twenty-two head of cows with my hands for eleven dollars a month. The Davis County Nursery was operating in Centerville. [The] Smith brothers were running it; they were neighbors of mine. Three men came in there and bought out [the] Smith brothers, [and] I worked for them for thirteen years.

“One day I went down alone to Centerville. Centerville was my home in the heart of Davis County. I went in the house, looked up on the shelf, and there was a letter marked Frank Barber, from Box B. I took the letter down and it said you are due to be ready for the Central States Mission on such-and-such a date. I hadn’t been up there to work, and I had missed a week and I didn’t have time, so they gave me an extension of a week to get my teeth fixed up and [for] me [to get] ready to go.

“I went to Salt Lake City and reported and readied myself. I only had 140 dollars. There was a carload of Mormon missionaries on their way to the field. Four of us went to Cheyenne, Wyoming, and were transferred back into Kansas City, [Kansas]. The other forty went all over the world.

“When we [arrived at] Kansas City, they took all our money away from us. When I left, they said this is without purse or scrip. I had 1,100 miles to go. The Central States Mission included Texas and Louisiana and those places. I was sent to Sherman, Texas. The clerk there gave me a grip full of books and a package to take to the elders [who] were there. I could hardly shut the grip because I couldn’t get all [the items] back in. I only had eleven dollars in my pocket. When I [arrived] down there, I got off the train at Sherman, Texas, no instructions, no schooling, no elder training, nothing but walk out in the field and change your overalls and get ready and go. They sent me alone to Sherman, Texas. I didn’t have any more sense than to think some Mormon elder would grab me by the arm and take me home. But when I [arrived] there I didn’t know anybody, and nobody knew me.

“I sat on a bale of cotton all day. I [had] a sandwich when I was starving, [but] I dared not spend my money. I sat there until midnight, [and] one of those southern cyclones came up over the country and roared like a ball of fire. All of the bricks in the chimney came down. Furniture was shaken to pieces. There was a little central depot. They came running in there and said, ‘Where are you going? We are leaving here.’ Of course, I didn’t want to sit all alone in that failing house. Something said to me: ‘You go around the back of this house and see what you find.’ There were two horses prancing, scared to death, hooked to a cab. The thought struck me [that] the man was asleep in the cab; ‘go wake him up.’ I woke him up, and he took me uptown. I got off and sat and looked out the window until daylight. Then I went back down to the depot for fear some Mormon elder would come to get me. That is all the sense I had at that time.

“We didn’t have any training like they have now, so nobody came. In the afternoon of the second day, a young man came up to me. We [began] talking, and I told him who I was and what I was waiting for. I looked at my watch and wondered if I better sell it and go back to Independence, Missouri. He said, ‘Come down and see us. We usually shoot Mormon elders.’ My heart came up in my mouth, and I took his address. The next morning, I took a little train and went down there. It had to go up and down in the mud. It could hardly travel. I could walk as fast as it could go. When I got off at the depot, it was just evening. The sun was just setting. I stood there and asked about this young man. They said, ‘No, nobody [is] in this country that we know of [by] that name.’ So there I stood. An old man walked up to me [and] took me by the arm. He said, ‘You look like you are lost.’ My voice quivered, and I knew I was about to shed a tear. He said, ‘Come, go with me. I will take care of you.’

“So he took me across the road. He and his wife [had] a rooming house. He showed me a room. There was just a board partition; there wasn’t any plaster in it. He took me and showed me my room. He said, ‘Make yourself at home, and I will get you some supper.’ He [brought] me a beautiful, lovely supper, and I sat there and ate it. While I was eating it, he went outside and gathered in all of his friends that he could find on the street and in the homes and said, ‘We have a new man here. We want to hear some Mormonism. Come on over.’ The house just filled right up to the door. Can you imagine me preaching a sermon to that bunch of men? I could sing a little. I sang ‘Oh, My Father’ [and] ‘An Angel from on High.’ I told them a little here and a little there as I could think about it. When I [was] through, we went to bed. It was nearly one o’clock in the morning before they left.

“I slept just through the room from the old man and his wife, and after we had been to bed a half an hour or so, they started in. ‘Poor boy. Poor boy.’ They kept it up until broad daylight—‘poor boy.’ Can you imagine me sleeping under conditions like that? As soon as daylight came, I was up and out on the street. He got me breakfast, showed me around the town and was good to me, just like a father. He was good to me, and I stayed there two days. I wrote to the office before I left for Sherman. I said, ‘I am without money. If I don’t hear from you in the next two days, I will be back to Independence, Missouri.’

“I went up the third day and [received] some mail, and there was my letter, telling me that there were eight Mormon missionaries working in that city [Sherman, Texas]. I didn’t know it, and they didn’t have enough sense to tell them [I was] there. I went back down to the old man and told him, ‘I will have to go now. I have the information where I [am] to go.’ He looked at me. He helped me pack my grip. Halfway to the depot, he sat it down and said, ‘I can’t go any further.’ Tears were rolling down the old man’s cheeks, and he just cried like a baby. He and his good ol’ wife left me just that way, and I never [could] get back there. I found those eight missionaries.”[29]

Lafayette Hall

Lafayette Hall was born on 31 December 1888 in Rockville, Washington County. He went to grade school there and then went to Dixie College, where he graduated from high school and played basketball. While in high school, he dated Mary Bertha Wood Hall. He said: “She had a lot of fun that way [with me and] was game for anything. We got along [fairly well]. I went with her that summer, [but] did not get [serious] at all. In [the] fall, I was called to go on a mission.

“I had heard quite a little bit about the hardship [the missionaries] had in some places. I was not anxious to go. I was bashful and did not think I could do any good, so I was not anxious to go. They finally talked me into it. When I decided to go, I would go where they sent me. I did not care if it [was] the end of the world. I did not see how I could do any good. I guess they picked out the safest place [where] I would fit in the best—right out in the Ozark Mountains, out where it was too rough for most of the elders to go. That is where I liked it, so that is where I went on my mission. I remember there were some elders [who] got up in there and one fellow they used to move around quite a bit. They saw a fellow way back in the woods, the sticks. He said, ‘Are you fellows lost?’ I guess he knew who we were. ‘Aren’t you lost?’ I said, ‘No, we are Mormon elders.’ He said, ‘I guess you are not lost.’

“Yes, he had likely kept them before. On that mission I had a lot of good experiences. We learned how to be diplomatic, [and we] made a lot of friends. I did not baptize anybody, did not convert them; I just made friends. That was about it. I had the ground and made a lot of friends, but I was not anxious to convert them, to baptize them anyhow. I want[ed] them to be converted before I baptized them. I thought they ought to know more about it. I could have baptized one [person]. I did not have anything to do with converting him. The mission president called and told us there was a couple [who] wanted to be baptized. So we went up and saw them. I had a young companion with me. ‘You can baptize if you want, I [will] not. They are not ready.’ He said, ‘The mission president told us to go baptize them.’ So we baptized them.

“I had a good pair of legs then. I could walk with any of them out in the Ozarks. I had a good line. I could generally find a place to stay. We got that route depending on the people, and when we would get in we would generally stay with friends. [We were] careful; we did not try to antagonize them. I went in the area in two places where the elders had been mobbed. There was one man [who] lived in our ward. He did not fit in, and a mob [went] after him. He had a bullet through his hat while it was still on his head. We were the next elders in there, [and] some of them were a little hostile, but I treated them like I treated a mustang. I was careful first until I could get them [to] where I could handle them. They responded [fairly] well. I never had any trouble; I could have had all right a time or two, if I had said the wrong word, but I learned not to say the wrong word. Always say the right word.”[30]

Joseph Fielding Hardy

Joseph Fielding Hardy was born on 30 October 1908 in Bunkerville, Nevada. He graduated from high school there and later studied civil engineering. He described being called on a mission: “I guess the reason I was so old (twenty-five) [was because] I was inactive. I didn’t go to church for several years. I had a habit of smoking like a lot of young fellows fool around and get into. I would take a little drink when we would go to a dance. A schoolteacher from Providence, Utah, came down to teach school here. I started to go with her and [with] her encouragement I quit my habits. The last smoke I ever took was on December 23, 1932. [In] March 1933 I [received] my mission call to [the] eastern states [from] President [Heber J.] Grant.

“I enjoyed my mission very much. I will relate another experience that I had. There was [a] lady [that] I did not help convert; the lady missionaries converted her. She could not speak; she lost her voice, [but] she could write and listen. Through reading the literature [she learned that] if you join the Church and [are] baptized, these signs should follow. One of them was she could speak and could do these things. She asked for a baptism with the purpose that she could get her voice back. She told us that after it was all over. I hosted the baptism, and her faith was so great [that] we elders [and] the missionaries [wished] we would have had that much faith. Before the baptism, we went [by] ourselves and prayed that we would have the faith that the lady could have her voice back after baptism.

“They baptized her, and we drove about sixty miles from where she lived, Newberg, New York, to Poughkeepsie, New York, where they baptized her. They came back to her home and confirmed her in her home. She tried to speak, but she could not speak, but she could play the piano. She started to play and was singing Church hymns. Finally, she turned to the song ‘Catch the Sunshine’ and started to play and sing it. Nobody sang but this woman. I met her twenty-five years after I had been on the mission. I went back and she could still talk—and I mean talk! That is another experience I had [of] the healing power of our Heavenly Father.”[31]

Alvin Hall

Not all who were called on missions served for two years. Alvin Hall, born on 17 October 1890 in Rockville, also lived in Hurricane after it was founded fifteen years later. He went to grade school in Rockville, but went to Hurricane for the eighth grade. Then he completed high school in St. George and studied a year at Utah State Agricultural College in Logan. He married Ann Pickett, 19 December 1916, in the St. George Temple and was active in the Church all his life. He was ordained an elder when he was married at age twenty-six. He was the father of seven children. He served in several Church callings, including president of the high priests quorum. He reported: “Our bishop kept telling us that the high priests [would] be expected to furnish a mission [fund]. They asked us in priesthood meeting class who would donate towards a mission. Some ran out [of the room]! Most said they could give so much, [which was] maybe five dollars. I agreed to send five dollars to anyone who could go. [The] bishop kept asking me who I thought would be good to go [on a mission]. I made some good suggestions. All the while, I was talking myself right into it. Two of those high priests each gave five dollars for one month. That was it, but the Lord provided and we had money to spare. We got along okay. That was all right; I [received] the blessings.[32]

“[My wife] still had two children here at home. She stayed [home] to take care of them. I went to [the] West Central States Mission, [with] headquarters in Billings, Montana. I spent four months of the time in Minot, North Dakota. It was the highlight of my life. It was wonderful! I loved the mission president. I hit it off with him. He was an old stockman [and] we could talk the same language . . . I had a lot of respect for President Sylvester Broadbent.

“I did not baptize one person [in those six months]. There was an older man [who] knew the gospel and had good faith in it. He wanted to be baptized and wanted me to baptize him. I kept telling him not to put if off too long and [that] I was ready. He could not quite [leave] his tea and coffee alone. He said he would not put off too much [longer]. One morning they found him dead in bed. So I did not even baptize one person while I was out [on my mission]. I felt like I did more good with the [young] elders than I did with anybody else. [I did well], especially for me.

“[I did] not [lose] financially or otherwise. I had one thousand dollars and had my debts well paid. I asked my wife if she could do [it] for six months on four hundred dollars and she said she thought she could. That would leave me six hundred dollars [total, and] one hundred dollars a month. Some of the elders, one or two, used to try to borrow money of me. I told them, ‘I had just about enough to go on and not a cent to lend.’ I used to go to the bank up there once a month and write out a check for the amount that I needed for that month. I had the money here in the bank when I left. I would not lend to them. . . . So I told them I was keeping the rules.

“The mission president wanted me to stay longer. I said, ‘I just made arrangements to leave for six months. It would be nice to see my wife.’ He said, ‘You can have your wife here. I will furnish you with all the means you need.’ I said, ‘I just made arrangements with the older boys to be gone for just six months.’ If he would release me, I thought I ought to go home then, so he did. I would have liked to have stayed. I really enjoyed the work, and he treated me so good. I [later] served on two stake missions at different times.”[33]

Local Church Service

Serving as a full-time missionary was an intense form of Church service. There was another type of Church service, and that was when members were called to serve in their local congregations as a choir director, scoutmaster, Sunday School teacher, ward teacher (similar to a home or visiting teacher), priesthood quorum leader, clerk, member of a bishopric, or any of a number of other callings. Some callings required only a few hours a week, while others, such as bishop, were much more demanding.

Joseph Alma Terry

Joseph Alma Terry, born in Mesquite, Nevada, in 1886 tells of his life on Terry’s Ranch, near Enterprise, Utah:

“I have [always] tried to be active [in the Church]. I was appointed bishop of the ward. That is a funny incident the way it came about. I [received] a letter from the stake presidency on Wednesday evening. It said: ‘We will be up to Enterprise to hold [a] conference meeting and set you apart as bishop of the Enterprise Ward. It just upset me. I was thrown right up into the air. I could not control myself. I did not know what in the world to do. I was not prepared [to be] a bishop. I could not figure out how in the world they had ever come to locate me in such a position as that, because the bishopric was quite a prominent thing. At that time, the Clover Ward over there belonged in our district here and we had to visit over there. There were one or two families [who] still lived up in Old Hebron. Our Terry Ranch [was] up there. I told my wife, ‘I will have to turn that down. I cannot accept it.’ She said, ‘We will pray about that and we will see what to do about that.’

“I had a wonderful [wife as] helper, the most wonderful companion that anybody could ask for. We went on, and still I had not made up my mind. The stake presidency came out, and they drove here to my place. I met them, and they said, ‘We will go over and open the meeting and set you apart as a bishop.’ ‘No,’ I said, ‘I could not accept that. Do not [plan] on that.’ The two counselors were wonderful friends. The stake president was set in his mind all right. He was not going to change any. The two counselors kept encouraging me. We went over to [the] meeting, and they took me up on the stand with them. I had been active as a Seventy in the ward and visited around a lot. They took me up on the stand, and after the meeting opened, they said they had come to reorganize the ward and make me bishop. I just practically wilted. I did not know what to do, but I could not turn it down then the way it was [presented]. So I accepted it.

“I was bishop for fifteen years. I do not know whether they did not want to make a change or whether they could not find anybody [who] would accept it or not. But I went on!”[34]

Janet Bracken Keyes

Janet Bracken Keyes was born on 18 April 1897 in Pine Valley. She married Grant Zenis Keyes and had eight children. She tells briefly about her Church and civic service: “I was Primary president for a number of years. I was first counselor in the Relief Society under two different presidents here in Central. I gave the literature lesson for about twenty years. That was here at Veyo since we joined the Veyo Ward. I have belonged to the Daughters of [Utah] Pioneers. I joined the Andrus Camp in St. George and [attended] for several years. I really enjoyed that. I was on the March of Dimes [committee] a couple of times. I was postmaster for several years.”[35]

Gilbert Delos Hyatt

Gilbert Delos Hyatt was born on 26 July 1889 in Parowan and lived in Cedar City, St. George, and Central. He had twelve siblings. He married Mary Laverna Holt in 1915, and they had six children. He taught school for five years in Central and then became a dentist and practiced in Parowan. He extolled the example of his father: “He was a good man. He was honest and always taught honesty to his sons and daughters. At times, he would draw them together and give them lectures. One particular incident [was when] we were out in the woods getting firewood. We had one valuable mare that Walter Mitchell offered 150 dollars [for]. Father would not take that for her, although that would have paid his debts. We all chastised him for not taking it. He said, ‘Well, you know that she has this distemper, and she might have died. Then if she did, how could I have ever repaid Walther Mitchell for her?’ He was too honest to take advantage of a sale when the mare might have died. Yes, he taught us strict honesty at all times.

“My wife was interested in [the Church] more.[36] She influenced me partly, and then the home missionaries had some influence. We had two missions to the Shivwits,[37] Indian[s] northwest of St. George. My wife and I [served missions there]. I was superintendent of the Sunday School in Sevier County for a while. In St. George, I was secretary of the high priests quorum for a couple of years. I was also a teacher in the high priests quorum in Sevier County. Now I go to the temple often. I have enjoyed Church work.”[38]

Mata Gubler Ence

Mata Gubler Ence was born on 8 October 1897 and lived in Santa Clara, Pine Valley, and Ivins. She married Herman Ence and they served on the Shivwits Reservation: “I was president of the Relief Society for four or five years.[39] Then I was president [of the Relief Society] up on the [Shivwits] Indian farm. It was in the stake then. I was the first Primary president in Ivins. I was Primary president twice and Relief Society president on the Indian farm and in MIA to the Indians. We had the best time of our lives. We were in with Brother and Sister John Smith. She was a beautiful singer. He played the piano for me to dance, and we had more fun. My husband had turkeys, so we gave them a big turkey supper for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Then they would dance. They liked my man. Now, whenever they (the Indians) see us, they always holler hello to us.”[40]

Melvina Belle Hammond Bringhurst

Melvina Belle Hammond Bringhurst was born on 5 August 1887 in Toquerville. She had six siblings. She married Henry Bringhurst on 20 March 1907. They had four children who lived to adulthood and three who died as babies. They loved Toquerville; they lived, farmed, ran a store, and raised a strong family there. She related briefly her Church activity: “[I was the president of the Relief Society for] thirteen years. [I was] secretary in Primary and secretary in Relief Society [and a] counselor in Mutual. I think I was [a] counselor in the Mutual twice. [I was] counselor in the Primary twice. I have taught some Sunday School classes and have been a visiting teacher for the Relief Society for a long time.”[41]

Laura Stucki Gray

Laura Stucki Gray was born on 1 September 1903 and lived in Santa Clara and Veyo. She married Mathew Gray on 26 December 1929 in the St. George Temple. They had three children, one of whom died at birth. She was always active in the LDS Church and made the following comments about her service: “We have always gone [to church]. We always went down in [Santa Clara] too. We go to church now in Veyo, seven miles from here. When I first married, I was a counselor in the Relief Society. I think Ramona was about one-year-old. Matt would take care of her when I went to meetings. I took her [with me] most of the time, but sometimes I would leave her home.

“I was a Sunday School [teacher] for years. I can’t tell you how many! I was work director and [prepared] the visiting teachers’ lessons in the Relief Society for several years. My sister was president of the Relief Society [at one time]. I have been the representative in Veyo for the Relief Society Magazine for about fourteen years. I have also been a visiting teacher. Matt, Ramona, and I used to be in a choir they had in Veyo. I belonged to the Singing Mothers in Relief Society.

“I have [worked] at the [voting]-poll [booths]. I have collected fees [donations] for various [community] drives.”[42]

Matthew “Matt” Gray

Her husband, Matthew “Matt” Gray, reported a similar lifestyle. “Yes, I have worked to help this community develop the town of Central. I worked on [the] pipe and water system for about three or four miles, up to the end of the mountain over here and up to the head house up here. I helped build a trench. I helped in the development of roads in the community. I helped in everything if they need[ed] any help. I built my life right here. I also work in the Church. I have done temple work. I work in [the] baptismal [room] right now. I have to go see the bishop and get the teenagers and take them to the temple for baptismal. That is my job every third month. I also have done some [ordinance work].

“I have been a member of the superintendency of the Sunday School and was superintendent of the MIA. I have been on the town board for years. I have been in on all the activities [that went on in the town].”[43]

Nina Venice Spendlove Stratton

Nina Venice Spendlove Stratton was born on 8 May 1912 in Hurricane. She went to high school and graduated there. She married William Cumon Stratton on 3 October 1933 in the St. George Temple, after a five-year courtship. They spent their life farming and raising cattle. She tells of a life of Church activity: “I was a teacher in Primary for a while and then in the presidency. I was in the presidency of Mutual. [I was] in the presidency of the Relief Society. I was not the president. [I was the president] in the Primary and the MIA. I taught theology in Relief Society for a while. That was one time [when] I had to keep studying. I taught Sunday School. I was chorister in Sunday School once. I was chorister in junior Sunday School. I have been [junior Sunday School] coordinator for a few years. I have worked in the junior Sunday School for seventeen years, but it was a year or two after I started that they asked me to be the coordinator. I have done a lot of work in the Relief Society too.

“We were called to go on a short-term mission to Northern California in 1962 and 1963. [It was] in the winter. We spent all our time in San Jose. We took Susan with us [and] she went to school. It was a time when they had to send old folks on missions because all the young men were in the [military] service. We really enjoyed it and made a lot of friends. We just got [involved], and our six months were up. We were able to baptize a few people, [but] not as many as we wanted to. It has been so long that I have forgotten. We heard about some [who] were baptized after we left.

“When we came home, they put him in as president of the stake mission for a while. We were both stake missionaries and then somebody else was put in [as] president. [I went to the temple] with the Primary class, [and] we baptized for the dead. We used to go down quite often. Then we were called to be ordinance workers. I did a little knitting for the Red Cross during World War II. That is about all.”[44]

Lydia Amelia Barlocker Hunt

Lydia Amelia Barlocker Hunt was born on 18 August 1893 and lived most of her life in Enterprise. She and Nephi Hunt were married on 10 September 1912 in the St. George Temple. He worked on the Ivins ranch near Enterprise. Her father, Alfred Barlocher, had raised fruit in Enterprise and did a lot of peddling. Lydia and Nephi had eight children, two of whom died: one was stillborn and the other died at age three. She reported on her Church activity: “I was [the] first counselor in Primary for three years and twelve years as a teacher, that would be fifteen years. I taught Sunday School for twelve years. Sometimes I had the same students in Sunday School and Primary classes. It kept me hunting a lot of stories to tell them.

“I was attendance secretary in MIA for about three years. I have been a Relief Society visiting teacher for around fifty years. My husband was in the presidency of the Genealogical Society [of Utah]; I was his secretary. We were in for three or four years. Then he and I did home teaching too. I also taught genealogical work. I have done around 1,400 names in the temple and have done lots of sealings; I never kept track of those. I will be seventy-six [on] August 18, 1969 and I go down [to St. George] every Thursday morning and come back after the first session in the evening. I do three names a day, and I do some sealings in between. I love temple work.”[45]

Amelia Cooper Woodard

Amelia Cooper Woodard was born on 3 September 1896 in Panguitch. She had a tough life because of the illnesses that decimated her family. She overcame typhoid fever as a child. She married Art Woodard, and they had four sons. One son, Dale, had a bad heart and had to be cared for, but he grew to adulthood. Then her husband died in 1934. He had sheared some wet sheep and got pneumonia and died at age forty-four. She had to raise the four boys and did so by cleaning houses for people and bringing their laundry to her own house to wash. She earned one dollar a day. Her sons grew up, and three of them served in World War II. Through it all she was active in the Church. She recalled: “Opal Hatch was president of the Primary when I was her second counselor. Then I was her first counselor for a while. That was during the war when they didn’t send any instructions. They sent a little packet out, and we had to build [on] that. We had a good [and] successful Primary. I enjoyed every bit of it. She and I taught Sunday School for ten years together. We enjoyed that too.

“I taught religion class when I was young. Not long after I was married, I taught religion class. Becky Orton taught with me. She is ninety-seven [now], or maybe more than that, but she is that old anyway. We had a nice religion class, but they took that out of the schools, and you can’t teach that anymore. We taught for two years, [and] that was a good experience.

“Then they called me as a stake missionary. Minerva Worthen and I were together for two years as stake missionaries. She was older than I, but she had always been a close friend. We had a nice experience. There weren’t too many people [who] were not Mormons in our town at that time. We visited and we learned more than they did. We really enjoyed it. We had one lady [who] wasn’t a Mormon. I worked for another lady [who] was her neighbor, and they weren’t Mormons either. We visited their homes anyway. She had two little boys, and she sent them to Sunday School. This one little boy enjoyed it. She made sure that they couldn’t be Mormons, but she sent them to Sunday School anyway. We had to give [a] two-and-a-half-minute talk. This one little boy was [very] interested in Sunday School. He wanted to get right in and take part. I asked him this day, ‘Would you like to give one of the two-and-a-half-minute talks?’ He said, ‘Yes, but my mother won’t let me talk about old Joe Smith.’ I said, ‘Have I taught you anything about old Joe Smith?’ We had been [teaching] the Ten Commandments. He said, ‘No, I don’t think you have.’ I said, ‘Do you think your mother would let you give a two-and-a-half-[minute] talk on honor thy father and mother?’ The next Sunday he was up here at nine o’clock, ready to go to Sunday School with me. He was tickled to death!

“I have been a teacher in Relief Society ever since Blair was a baby, [except when] I have had some sick spells and worked out of town. I was literary class leader with one of my neighbors, Sue Walker, for about six years. I still work in Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. I am secretary now [for Garfield] County. I was elected city recorder. I have served one year of a two-year term.”[46]

William Malen Cox

William Malen Cox was born on 21 October 1896 and lived in Pine Valley. He concluded his interview with these comments: “I would like to say this about the Church. The Church made me. I didn’t have a great deal of education, except what I [received] in the Church. They taught me how to conduct a meeting; they taught me how to stand on my feet and talk; they taught me how to organize and handle [a meeting]. Being a bishop, I learned a lot of things and it enabled me after that to do the things in civilian life that I did. The fact that I made a good success of being Farm Bureau president and being president of Washington County Cattlemen enabled me to be elected to the Utah legislature.

“Let me say this, the way to happiness, the way to progression, and the way to lead a good life, is to follow the teachings of the Church. Make the Holy Bible your guide, be honest and help your neighbor. Joseph Smith said this statement when they asked him what a good Latter-day Saint was. He said: ‘He is first a good husband and father, he is second a good neighbor and he is third, a good member in his community.’ I have tried to guide my life by that. After I went to the temple a few times and recognized what the vows of consecration meant, I have never refused a call of my Church. Whatever they asked of me to do, I did. I have never refused a donation to my Church. When I could contribute, I did it. I believe I have lived about as happy a life as the average man.”[47]

William Vaughn Jones

William Vaughn Jones was born on 7 January 1900 at Holt’s Ranch near Enterprise. He attended a one-room school in Gunlock and then went to Pine Valley. He reported an interesting thing about his health: “I had a bad cough most of the time, and I would have to take a swallow of this cough medicine often. I might mention that one of the things my stepmother did for me was one of the best things that could have happened to me. We were limited in space in our living quarters, and quite often it was necessary that we boys sleep out in a tent, or some place in the open. I think that was the best thing that could have happened to me, and I overcame the cough.”

William spent forty-three years working for the Dixie Power Company. He was very active in the Church during all those years. “I was [the] first secretary of that group and later president of the elders group.

“We accomplished some things during that time. We sent a man on a mission. For that small group it was quite a struggle. Then I was made ward clerk in the Veyo Ward in 1935, when Bishop Andrew Seitz was made bishop. Since that time, I have been clerk, counselor, and ward clerk. When I was bishop the first time, I had a full twenty-four-hours-a-day job. I could be called out anytime during the day or night, so that was a little harder for me to serve as bishop. I think I got along fairly well. But it has been much easier in my second term because I have been retired most of the time. While I work just about the same and don’t get paid for it, I still can stop when I want to and can do the Church work that I need to do and put off other things. So it has been a lot easier for me to handle the bishop’s job in the second term than it was in the first term. However, both times I have enjoyed the work. There are a lot of headaches to it. There is a lot of work to it. But there are a lot of things that compensate for all of those situations. I have enjoyed especially my closeness to the young people of the ward. In my interviews with them and the way a young girl comes up and hands me her tithing, I feel so warm inside at the look that she gives me when she hands me the tithing. There are a lot of things, I will tell you, which compensate for all of the headaches and of the extra work that a bishop has to do.”[48]

Isaac Ervin Riddle

Isaac Ervin Riddle was born on 21 June 1894 in Manti, but spent his life in Escalante, Cedar City, and Las Vegas. Much of his life was devoted to Church service. After he married Abby Smith and had three children, he decided he wanted to go on a mission. His wife and children stayed with his father in Escalante for three years, while he served in Oakland and San Francisco. He was the conference president for an area from Carmel to Eureka. His mission president was Joseph W. McMurrin.

“I fulfilled a very honorable mission there. I came home in the spring of 1923. From then on, I have had constant activity in the Church. I have hardly been relieved of one responsibility until I have been given another one. From 1923 to 1960 I was active continually. I remember being selected to be counselor in the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association, and the stake MIA, immediately after I went back to Cedar City. In a year, President William R. Palmer elevated me to be the superintendent of all the stake MIAs. Finally, in 1939, President Palmer asked me to be bishop of the newly organized Fourth Ward. During that time, we promoted genealogy and things of that sort. We had a committee of twenty-four people in that ward. We used to come down in great swarms to the St. George Temple.”

Riddle will long be remembered because he was a successful fund-raiser. “There was a six-thousand-dollar debt hanging over the ward building from 1930, when it was built, to almost 1940. The bishop, who was Samuel L. Leigh, called a meeting. I was always a hand at talking and suggested we form a committee, have some big dinners, and raise some money. It wasn’t long before we were out of debt and had the chapel paid for. The next thing after we got it out of debt and dedicated, was the institute. They had to have someone to be chairman of the institute and so President William R. Palmer asked me to be the finance chairman. We went on having these five-dollar dinners. We would hold them two nights [a week] with three dinners a night. We fed as many as 1,800 people. We gathered up our half of $300,000 to build that beautiful stake house on Ninth Street in Cedar City as well as the institute.”[49]

Civic Service

Civic service was essential to community life. Each town needed a mayor and council. There had to be postmasters and water boards, street builders and cemetery sextons. The villages did not have budgets for this work and depended on volunteers. There was a huge need for women to volunteer for things like the Red Cross and historical societies as well as work as midwives. Although these interviewees did not dwell on these matters, they did mention them.

William Brooks

One example is William Brooks, who spent most of his life in civic service. He was born on 23 April 1881 in St. George and spent his life there. He completed high school in St. George and worked in Modena and then went to BYU with his brother, George Brooks. He married Nellie Marie Stephens, who he met at Woodward School as a student. They had six children, two of whom died very young. After Nellie’s death he married Juanita Leavitt Pulsipher, who was widowed after she had one son. They then had three boys and one daughter. He narrated his civic service:

“I served eight years on the city [of St. George] council—[two] four-year terms. I was elected to the [Washington] County clerk’s office. I was unopposed the first term. The second year I [was] on the Democratic ticket and was elected. I was never defeated after that. I served two two-year terms and one four-year term. I had opposition, but I never was defeated. I had been the county clerk for a number of years, [when the commissioners] thought that one man could run the assessor’s office and the sheriff’s office. The county commissioners combined the two offices and appointed me sheriff and county assessor.

“It was a hard job; it was a tough job. I was the sheriff for seven years. I was appointed by the commissioners, then I was elected twice by the commissioners and didn’t quite finish the last term when I was appointed the postmaster, where I served for twenty years. [The sheriff job] was very interesting. I liked it better than I thought I would. I would get up in the morning [and] go to work. I might be in Idaho or I might be in Arizona the whole night. It was a lot of traveling. I had to have a new car every year. The roads were rough and hard to travel. [I was] allowed ten cents a mile [for expenses]. I could keep my car with the fees that were paid in mileage.

“John Cottam and I were in the bishopric together here. We had a good ol’ bishop. He used to caution us all the time, ‘Don’t be too careless,’ and he was right. We would generally be [careful]. Prohibition was very popular at that time. We teamed as the [enforcers] of the law, John and I did. John was less cautious than I was. He would go when he was called. He was the city officer, and I was the county sheriff. They would generally call me if it was the county sheriff’s job [or] call him if it was a city job. I would always go with him, and he would always go with me. If there was a car coming, he knew where I would meet him over at the summit, [and] he would always go with me. We would go out and meet them, and we would generally stop them.

“Frankie Wilson was one of the very prominent bootleggers. We got word that he was coming from Mesquite, Nevada. We went out on the road to get Frankie. He was a nice little fellow, and we pushed him out of the road and stopped him. ‘I’ll be damn! How the hell did you know I was coming?’ I said, ‘We have friends down this way, and we knew about it.’ He wanted to know, ‘I know, but how did you find out? You know I come whistling along the road with fifty gallons of white eye on my buckboard. There wasn’t anybody in the world [who] knew about it.’ I said, ‘We got word out while you were whistling on that barrel of whiskey, and we came out and met you.’ He said, ‘That is not surprising. If you want to, take it. I know what the law is.’ We took him into St. George and put him in jail, and he served his term until he could pay it out. He paid it out and went on his way. All his good friends [helped him]. We had lots of [times when] it worked out that way.”[50]

Theresa Cannon Huntsman

Here is a woman’s tale of community service. It is from Theresa Cannon Huntsman, who was born on 20 October 1885 in St. George. She also lived in Enterprise. After teaching school for five years, she married Lamond Huntsman on 3 May 1914, and together they had six children. Her father was the president of the St. George Temple. Theresa was a dynamic and active woman: “I was the literature leader for fifteen years [or more in Enterprise]. I was the theology teacher for a good many years. I have lived away [for a while] so that there was a time I was not active. We lived [for] seven years out in the desert and seven years up at the ranch. Part of that time I could not go [to Church]. I did teach some [classes] in Sunday School, but not too much. I was [the] theology teacher [for the adult class], and I was really needed there. I taught Primary some there. I was the chairman of the girls committee when they organized that. I filled two stake missions for the Church in Enterprise.

“When my mother-in-law [Mary Ann ‘Terry’ Huntsman] was crippled [and] in a wheelchair, I took care of her for thirty-six months. I was the town clerk [in Enterprise] for eighteen years. When grandma died, at age ninety-four, I was town clerk, taking care of her, had most of the children at home and was a stake missionary.”[51]

Emma Bradshaw Cornelius

Emma Bradshaw Cornelius was born in Woodruff, Arizona, to a family of seventeen children. She married her second husband, Henry Cornelius, on 1 May 1914. She had ten children in total. She gave a brief account of Henry’s civic work: “He was quite active in civic affairs in [the town of] Virgin. He helped to develop a canal and was president of [the Virgin Canal Company] for several years. In earlier times, he did a lot of [work on] the Dixie Springs project. They were going to put it up here [in] Virgin. He helped on that [project]. He helped survey the Kolob Reservoir [on Cedar Mountain above the Virgin River]. He worked on the Hurricane Canal when he was a boy. He had more interest in the Hurricane Canal than most anybody when they finished it. He sold his interest here and traded for homes up in Virgin because he liked [the area] up that way.”[52]

Alvin Hall

Alvin Hall (mentioned in another chapter) was born on 17 October 1890 in Rockville. Here his comments are included on civic life: “I have been [very] active in the Republican Party. I do a lot of canvassing for the party, [and I] attend the meetings and support the ticket. I have some good friends who are Democrats. I also worked during Peach Days [in Hurricane], when we used to put on Peach Days. I worked on the [Church] welfare farms quite a lot. I told them [something] in priesthood meeting not so long ago. I said, ‘I have never refused a job in the Church until it came to thinning peaches.’ I just told them that I was too old for that kind of [activity].

“I have done a lot of the work [for the fair]. I was not the leader, [but] it did not bother me at all. I [would] just as soon somebody else would have those leadership positions. It felt good to work on [programs] that I believed in.”[53]

Glenn Waite

Glenn Waite was born on 27 Janury 1906 in Bunkerville, Nevada. He graduated from the eighth grade there and then went to high school in nearby Mesquite but would spend his senior year in Fallon, Nevada, where his brother taught. He went there so he could play on all of the athletic teams. He spent much of his adult life in manual labor, but later on he held public office. He reported, “When I was in the town of Bunkerville, they only had one or two government jobs, or county jobs, civic jobs—justice of the peace and constable. Those two more or less ran the affairs of the town. The crimes that were committed there were taken care of by the constable and the justice of the peace. I ran for the office of justice of the peace and [was elected] and [served] for four years. In the four years I was in there, I married only two people in the town of Bunkerville and had a half a dozen cases to try. I was called three or four different times to act as justice of the peace in Las Vegas. The first time, I was there for Saturday and Sunday. The first Saturday that I was in Las Vegas, I married sixty couples. [During] the two days [I was] there, it was close to a hundred couples that I married [as] justice of the peace in Las Vegas.

“That was about the average [number of marriages] they were [performing] at that time. They [had] in the neighborhood of 10,000 or 12,000 couples married there a year. I was called down several different times to act as justice of the peace. I was on several trials there as a judge. It was good experience to be [in that] position, where you could have the lawyers come in and argue their cases. [Then] you would then have to decide which was right and which was wrong. You had to know a little about the law to be able to do this. It was a good experience that I had in those four years [when] I was justice of the peace.”[54]

Lillian Orton Cox

Lillian Orton Cox told about the service of her husband, Leroy Henderson Cox. She worked in his law office and could observe it firsthand: “My husband, through the services he had rendered to his political party, was appointed to [be] a member of the Board of Regents of the University of Utah. He held this office for eight years, until [George Dewey] Clyde was elected [governor]. He [served] under Governor [J. Bracken] Lee. Frequently, I went to Salt Lake with him, and there was always some nice [event] to go to. I was all for moving to Salt Lake. I did not care whether we made any money or not. I just wanted to be where there were nice people to meet and nice things to do.

“I participated a good deal [with him]. He was admitted to the Utah State Bar in 1924. He served as county attorney in Washington County from 1924 to 1928. He served as judge of the Fifth Judicial District [for] eight years, beginning in 1928. He was elected [to the bench] at the age of thirty-two. People raised their eyebrows. How could such a young man take such a heavy burden? Something happened in Fillmore that changed their mind. It was at the time when all the banks were going broke. People said, ‘He will never do anything about so-and-so [because] he is in the same political party.’ That did not turn out to be true, because Roy was a man of principle. It did not make any difference to him. If that had been his own brother, he would have given the same decision. The man was taken out of his position in the bank. The banks were going broke. It goes to show that you cannot judge a man by his age.

“He was the city attorney for twenty-eight years and was on the utility commission for sixteen years. Church-wise, he was not home too much. He was superintendent of Sunday School. He was [an] officer in Mutual [and] participated as much as he could.

“[They] had decided to build the Kolob Reservoir. He was [involved in] a great deal of paperwork that had to be done on all these affairs. When it was away from here, the court clerk [took care of the paperwork], but there was a good deal of paperwork when he had [cases] come up here.

“When we came back from Chicago and we decided to settle in St. George, he became interested in the water situation as it was at the time. The gophers would eat holes [in the ditches], and the water would waste. It was his idea that they cement the ditches so that they would not be losing that water. It did not happen all at once. He was a board member for over twenty-five years for the St. George Valley Irrigation company and the St. George and Washington Canal Company. He was secretary and attorney for the Dixie Project and Development Association Incorporated.

“He was president of the Virgin River Water Users Association from the date of its organization. He was secretary and treasurer for Kolob Reservoir and Storage Association from the date of its organization. He also wrote up all the necessary papers for the Ash Creek Project. It has never amounted to much until this year. If you went over where the Ash Creek waters are, [it] is full of water this year.”[55]

Clarence Jacob Albrecht

Clarence Jacob Albrecht was born on 7 April 1904 in Fremont, Wayne County. As a boy, he herded sheep. He farmed for many years, and raised a family with his wife, Elizabeth Delilah Albrecht. They raised six children (one died as a child). He served in several Church positions, including bishop. His civic life was singular: “I was elected to the Utah State Legislature for the 1949 session. I was green as grass! This was kind of wished on to me because I didn’t know anything about politics. The fellows came up to my place and said, ‘We are going to run you.’ I said, ‘I am not a Democrat.’ They said, ‘You can. We are going to run you anyway.’ I didn’t take any part, and the first thing I knew, here came a paper stating that I was on the Democratic ticket for state representative from Wayne County. I knew I would be defeated because the person who had been the representative was our stake president, and he was a good man. But I didn’t do anything. I went to two or three meetings. I never did go out and talk or stump or campaign. I don’t know what happened, but I was elected.

“The fifty-first session came along, and I ran again. I didn’t have any opposition. When I was elected in 1951, we had thirty Democrats and thirty Republicans. We sat up there for four days and nights, and we couldn’t organize. Every time we would vote, it would be a tie. Governor J. Bracken Lee was hollering his head off at us. On the morning of the fifth day, I stepped to the mike. This was definitely an answer to [a] prayer. I didn’t realize until it was half over what I had done. I had prayed that something would happen and we would get going, because I thought it was a waste of time and money. In my proposition, I proposed that the Republicans should have their choice of people by electing Clifton Kerr from Tremonton as speaker of the house, and that the Democrats should have their choice of four major committees. I had lots of mean things said about me and a lot of good things said about me.”

Clarence did not run in 1953 or 1955. “I thought I had had enough. About the first of September of 1956, I was down in my meadow irrigating. Here came about ten men down to the water on Sunday morning. They said, ‘We are going to run you on the Independent ticket.’ He was elected and ran again in 1959. A few years later, he and his wife retired to St. George, where they ran a motel. That is where he was interviewed.[56]


These three categories of service—military, church, and community—give a broader view of these people, their interaction with others beyond their family, and their work. The issues surrounding military service show that both young men and married men served; some married men even had children at home. The war was well under way before the United States entered. The men went through basic training and some received specialized training. The lateness of the United States’ entry meant that they arrived in Europe near the end of the war. They experienced life in England, France, and Germany, but some did not ever leave the United States. In both the homeland and in Europe, many of the troops faced the worldwide flu epidemic. One report mentioned fifteen deaths from flu in one unit. Another told of a soldier who avoided going to the hospital because he felt he was more likely to die there. Very similar things were occurring in the homeland.

Another observation was that some of these troops experienced the beginning of motorization. They were trained to support the artillery. With equipment drawn by horses, the soldiers backed up the cannon and long-range guns. Soon, motorized tractors arrived and they quickly adapted to a much faster support work. Despite such improvements, they still had to delouse their sleeping quarters regularly. There were some who had children who fought during World War II.

The reports these people gave about their Church service gives a picture of how the whole community was involved. Though some people did not attend, they were part of the community, a community whose values were closely attached to gospel principals. It is clear that there was a difference between male and female roles. The men were called to the priesthood, almost all of them. This meant that they presided at Church functions. The bishop had both spiritual and temporal responsibilities. The LDS bishop is the equivalent of a pastor, but the Church has no paid clergy. The calling was very demanding. Nonetheless, some men remained in that office for several years; one even served for fifteen. It must have occupied twenty or more hours a week. Because it was an unpaid position, the bishop and all other men serving continued their normal occupations to support their families. Male members also carried out ward teaching, which meant they visited a few families each month and reported their visits to their quorum leaders. The boys became Aaronic Priesthood holders at the age of twelve and went with the older men on ward teaching visits. They also carried out other assigned responsibilities. In many cases, that included physical labor. The aim of the bishops was to assign every member over the age of twelve a calling in the ward.

Women comprised the membership of the Relief Society. The duties of this organization included visiting all the women each month. The Relief Society president was the key figure in helping the bishop with welfare needs of families in difficult circumstances. The Primary was a teaching and activity program for children up to age twelve. It was entirely led by women and held midweek. Ladies led the young women in the Mutual Improvement Association, also held midweek, and often directed the choir. Women were the main workers in genealogy research and were active in temple work. Men participated in the temple also. These interviews show that women served in Church callings during their whole adult lives and were participants in the programs as youth also. They reported that they enjoyed their service as a sisterhood.

Serving as full-time LDS missionaries was the most demanding calling in the Church. Like all other callings, this was volunteer service even though it was full-time. The norm for this calling was that young men would be called to serve, though occasionally, a young woman was called. In the earlier decades, most of the missionaries were married men, a tradition that continued after 1900. Several of these interviews described family fathers serving for two years at a distant place, while their families had to support themselves. Funding a mission was a challenge; families carried the main responsibility, but sometimes friends also contributed. Some of the young men were assigned to labor without purse or scrip.[57] It meant that they depended on members in their area, investigators, or friends to feed them. Those missionaries have many tales to tell. Others tell that they received about thirty dollars per month from their families for their support.

It is interesting to note where they served. Most were called to labor in the United States. One served in the Southern states, one in Texas and Louisiana, three in the eastern states, one in North Dakota, one in the Ozarks, one in Alabama, and one in the central states. Two served in Switzerland and one in the new efforts in Japan and Korea. It is clear that the LDS Church missionary efforts were concentrated mainly in North America and Europe. The service in the developing nations came later.

Missionaries reported fascinating experiences, some spiritual, some adventurous. These experiences included considerable opposition. Some missionaries were attacked. A few were even jailed. They often had to find their way alone in a strange land. Some reported the kindness of people who were not Church members in helping them.

Those who reported community service included both volunteer work and paid service. The latter included being the town postmaster, though in the villages the pay was minimal and usually for women. There was a report from Will Brooks, who served full-time as a sheriff. Most of the positions were held by volunteers; a major position was managing the irrigation system. Reservoirs, canals, and ditches had to be built and inspected, and the water-turn system had to be regulated. This work was for men and some gave their life to it. The building of the Hurricane and La Verkin Canals were decade-long efforts, involving scores of men. There had to be a justice of the peace and a town council. Three reported serving in the state legislature. The county fair and the Hurricane Peace Days also needed dozens of volunteers. Some served as a cemetery sexton. This effort to maintain thriving communities was not unique to the Mojave Desert residents: It is a vital feature of American life. The involvement of these people in this way is just one more example of how they were implanting that American system in this location, despite its arid challenges.

This completes the personal statements of a portion of those interviewed. Hopefully the reader has employed historical skills, reading these statements critically. Now we turn to a statistical analysis of the 425 people interviewed.


[1] Nels Anderson, Nels Anderson’s World War I Diary, ed. Allan Kent Powell (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2013).

[2] Anderson, Nels Anderson’s World War I Diary, 35.

[3] Anderson, Nels Anderson’s World War I Diary, 36.

[4] Anderson, Nels Anderson’s World War I Diary, 37.

[5] Anderson, Nels Anderson’s World War I Diary, 41.

[6] Anderson, Nels Anderson’s World War I Diary, 41.

[7] Anderson, Nels Anderson’s World War I Diary, 59.

[8] Anderson, Nels Anderson’s World War I Diary, 66.

[9] Anderson, Nels Anderson’s World War I Diary, 69–70.

[10] Anderson, Nels Anderson’s World War I Diary, 148.

[11] Douglas D. Alder and Karl F. Brooks, A History of Washington County: From Isolation to Destination (Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1996).

[12] Elwood Mead and Ray Palmer Teele, ed., Report of Irrigation Investigations in Utah (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1903).

[13] Frank Adams, “Agriculture Under Irrigation in the Basin of Virgin River,” in Report of Irrigation Investigations in Utah, ed. Elwood Mead and Ray Palmer Teele (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1903), 212.

[14] Douglas D. Alder and Karl F. Brooks, A History of Washington County, 187.

[15] Douglas D. Alder and Karl F. Brooks, A History of Washington County, 180.

[16] David Orin Woodbury, VOR File 68-006.

[17] Frederick Cheney Van Buren, VOR File 69-098.

[18] Benjamin was a cook and helped feed the soldiers he associated with.

[19] Benjamin Bringhurst, VOR File 70-054.

[20] Homer Young Englesteadt, VOR File 69-185.

[21] On 18 July 1917, the national army camp at American Lake, Washington, was named Camp Lewis in honor of Captain Meriwether Lewis, commander of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

[22] Grant Zenis Keyes, VOR File 69-175.

[23] Earl Tolton Harris, VOR File 68-103.

[24] Charles “Charlie” Richard Sullivan, VOR File, 69-097.

[25] Harmon Gubler Jr., VOR File 69-042.

[26] Glenn Wilcox Steed, VOR File 69-010.

[27] Della Elizabeth McCune Steed, VOR File 69-009.

[28] Milo Golden Campbell, VOR File 68-109.

[29] Frank Barber, VOR File 69-161.

[30] Lafayette Hall, VOR File 69-177.

[31] Joseph Fielding Hardy, VOR File 69–080.

[32] Alvin accepted a call to serve for six months.

[33] Alvin Hall, VOR File 69-136.

[34] Joseph Alma Terry, VOR File 69-102.

[35] Janet Bracken Keyes, VOR File 69-174.

[36] Gilbert became more active in the Church when they moved to St. George.

[37] A band of the Paiutes.

[38] Gilbert Delos Hyatt, VOR File 70-050.

[39] This was still while they lived in their home ward.

[40] Mata Gubler Ence, VOR File 70-029.

[41] Melvina Belle Hammond Bringhurst, VOR File 70-078.

[42] Laura Stucki Gray, VOR File 69-173.

[43] Matthew Gray, VOR File 69-169.

[44] Nina Venice Spendlove Stratton, VOR File 70-044.

[45] Lydia Amelia Barlocker Hunt, VOR File 69-118.

[46] Amelia Cooper Woodard, VOR File 69-153.

[47] William Malen Cox, VOR File 68-050.

[48] William Vaughn Jones, VOR File 69–163.

[49] Isaac Ervin Riddle, VOR File 68-090.

[50] William Brooks, VOR File 68-101.

[51] Theresa Cannon Huntsman, VOR File 69-115.

[52] Emma Bradshaw Cornelius, VOR File 70-016.

[53] Alvin Hall, VOR File 69-136.

[54] Glenn Waite, VOR File 69-106.

[55] Lillian Orton Cox, VOR File 69-124.

[56] Clarence Jacob Albrecht, VOR File 68-042.

[57] Luke 22:35.