James Cordon Casson Cahoon 1847-1918

James Cordon Casson CahoonJames Cordon Casson Cahoon was the son of William Farrington Cahoon and Mary Wilson Dugdale Casson, and was known as Cordon. There have been some questions regarding the spelling of the name “Cordon”. In his father’s journal the name is spelled “Coradon”, but he spelled the name “Condion” in his own record book. Church records show the name “Cordon” and that is the usual spelling among family members.

His mother’s name was Mary Wilson. She was the daughter of Elizabeth Wilson. Her mother married William Dugdale when Mary was just a year old. Mary married James Casson in Blackburn, Lancashire, England. They had two daughters, Sarah and Hannah, both of whom died when they were about a year old, Sarah dying in England and Hannah in Nauvoo, Illinois. Mary and James joined the LDS church in England, and immigrated to USA, James died in Nauvoo, but nothing is known of the cause of his death.

After the death of her husband, Mary married William Farrington Cahoon as his second wife. They were they parents of four children, James Cordon Casson Cahoon (md. 1. Ellen Spencer Wilson, 2. Martha Hannah Braithwaite), Samuel Casson Cahoon, Mary Ellen Casson Cahoon, and George Edward Casson Cahoon. Cordon was born 9 October 1347 at winter Quarter;,, Pottawatomie County, Iowa, while the family were inroute to Utah Winter Quarters, near what is now Omaha, Nebraska, and was a very important part of Church History. His father and his uncle Daniel and their families remained there until 1849. They arrived at Emigration Gap 23 Sept. 1949. His parents lived in Salt Lake for many years and died there as respected people. Cordon was brought up in Salt Lake City, where he learned the trade of carpenter.

He married Ellen Spencer Wilson June 27, 1868. She was the daughter of Thomas and Margaret (Lockwood) Wilson. In 1869 they moved to Manti, Utah where he followed his trade with success.

In 1890 he was engaged in the undertaking business, having a neat hearse and a general line of undertaking supplies. He served as City Sexton for six years. He owned a 25 acre farm south of Manti and a residence in Manti.

Ellen (Wilson) Cahoon died in Manti, June I3, 1880, having given birth to six children: Margaret Ellen (md. Leonard Adelbert Shomaker); James C. (md.Barbara Dietrich); Hary Miranda (md.Joseph Hall); and George Edward (md. Anna Louisa Alder); Eva and Ellen died as infants.

Cordon married May 12, 1831 Martha Hannah Braithwaite. She was the daughter of Robert Braithwaite and Harriet Amelia Bemus. She had married Robert Kenner who had deserted her about two months after their marriage. She had a young son, Frank Kenner. She was about thirteen years younger than Cordon.In 1901 Cordon and his family moved to Canada. They bought land in the Beazer district on Lee’s Creek that was homesteaded in 1898 by Joseph A. Young. The Cahoons lived there long enough to have the honor of creek crossing (between Leavvit and Beazer) named for them which is still known as “Cahoon Crossing”.

Cordon and his family moved to Cardston where he had a home on the south hill. This home was later bought and remodeled by Murvyn Quinton who is still living there (1993). His house had two rooms upstairs and two or three downstairs, and a lean-to built on the back. It was quite a nice home as houses were at the time. It was warm and comfortable, furnished adequately, with lots of crocheted doilies; chair back covers, etc., and always scrubbed clean — a nice homey place to go. Thelma Court, a granddaughter, in writing about them said ” It seems grandfather was too busy making a living to have much time to play with us, but we loved to visit him, and always like to go to his house to visit. The Christmas I was two or nearly three years old he built a cupboard for my play dishes. It was nice, and one of my favorite playthings. We three girls, Annie, Ellen and I all played with it. I brought it to Raymond when Geraldine was small and she played with it as long as anyone plays house. After she was married and had daughter, I repainted it from a dull grey color to a soft petal pink, and her girls have played with it since. I think the cupboard is my fondest memory.”

DeRaunz Cahoon wrote: I remember Grandmother Martha, when she lived with her son Leonard on the quarter just north of our farm in Leavvit. She was the only grandmother I knew as father’s mother died June 13, 1880, and grandmother Alder died Oct. 21, 1915 also in Manti, long before I made my first trip to Utah- I worked for Uncle Leonard for a dollar a day, one summer, getting up at 5:30, taking the cows from the school section on foot to his corral where we milked the, separated, fed the calves and pigs before breakfast, worked in the hay from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., then I would get the cows while Uncle Leonard took care of the horses. Often we would eat supper before milking then I would take the cows back to the pasture on my way home. I remember one evening I returned to their place at dusk frightened as some wild animals were making strange noises, I thought near my home. Grandmother convinced me that it was just some coyotes howling on the hill just south of home, and that I need not be afraid. I was brave enough to walk home, but was still afraid. The coyotes were waiting a chance to attack our sheep, Grandmother was kind to me, considerate and prepared good meals on time, kept her home clean, and was a good grandmother.

I remember grandfather Cahoon because he came to build the addition on our house, (the parlor, stairway and two upstairs bedrooms) before I started school. I remember I would climb the ladder to help him. He would give me a hammer and tell me to go over in the corner and pound nails in a block of wood. He was kind, protected me from falling, and would spent time with me after work, but I could never understand why he didn’t need my help.

After he finished the house he built us an outhouse. Ireta told me later that grandfather called this his masterpiece, as he didn’t think he would ever live to build another house. (Kitchener and Lervae are still trying to determine who is going to inherit it.) He used the best of materials; siding to match the house, lined inside, regular door and high window, and well painted. It was a three-holer with lids, and a step below the small hole.

Then to my delight he let me help build a birdhouse which was mounted on top. He would watch me as I climbed up to watch the bluebirds make their nests inside. That bird house was my pride for years, and I rescued it before Lervae got the out-house.

After grandfather’s funeral, when I was eight years old, I watched at the train station while they put the casket in a metalcovered box and soldered the lid on tight. Father then went with the body to Manti, Utah for burial. I worried how he would ever get out of that metal box at resurrection time.

I also remember visiting grandfather’s homestead on Lee Creek between Leavitt and Beazer. It was a large frame house with an upstairs, barns, and rows of trees for a windbreak. I was amazed at how Aunt Delia could pull fish out of the creek. I didn’t like to watch them die on the bank. Then she would take them to the house and cook them, carefully taking all the bones out before she would let me eat them. That was a beautiful spot under the hill, but when I returned a few years ago, there was nothing left there but the rows of trees.”

Mary Martin Coombs wrote,” I don’t remember my grandfather Cahoons as I was only a few months old when he died, so all I know about him was what mother and Reed Olsen has told me.

Mother said as a child she was quite sickly and she loved green onions. In the summer as the onions grew she would take a pair of scissors and cut off the green tops and pour vinegar water on them to eat. Mother told me she helped grandpa plant the two rows of elm trees that grow on the flat by the creek crossing, which today are very large. As a little girl I remember coming to Leavitt and crossing there with the team and wagon; for a while the shell of the house was still standing, the roof was most gone though.

Reed Olsen said Grandpa had a loud voice which you could hear a long ways. One day Uncle Cordon (a teenager) wouldn’t get up when he was called. Reed said they heard a splash and a yell. Grandpa had dumped him in the creek.

Grandfather took potatoes, carrots, onions, turnips and beets up to the miners in the pass with a team and wagon. He grew these vegetables on that flat by the house.

When Grandpa made coffins, mother said he lined them with velvet. He would give the scraps to her and a cousin to make doll clothes. She said the white velvet coat I had on as a baby was made out of one of the scraps”

Cordon Cahoon was a tall thin man with grey eyes, white hair and a beard. He was six feet tall and weighed 160 lbs. He had a big booming voice, and his family said that they didn’t need a telephone when they lived in Beazer. All he would need to do was stand on the hill and holler and they would get the message in Cardston. He had a good singing voice, and he also called the square dances at Beazer. He was good to grandmother, but he did embarrass her many times. One time he was singing on a program at one of their celebrations. He forgot the words to the song and grandmother prompted him. He looked at her and said, “Who is singing this song, woman, you or me?” then he went on to finish the song. In those early days, it was quite customary to call someone from the congregation to come up and speak in Sacrament Meeting. Grandfather had been dozing when he was called to come up and speak. My dad nudged him and told him he was supposed to say the closing prayer, which he promptly did.

It was a short Sacrament Meeting that day, Grandfather had a quick temper, and when he was angry he used language not found in the best dictionaries. My mother had been raised in a home where the word “darn” was almost considered a swear word. She said after she was married and was closely associated with grandpa she wondered what kind of family she had married into. However, as she learned to know him, she really learned to love and respect him.

Cordon and Martha Cahoon were the parents of nine children, all of whom were given the second name of “Casson” for his mother’s first husband. I told my mother that I now knew where the “Cussin’ Cahoons” came from. Their children were Martha Amelia (md. Francis Franklin Neilson); Lillian (died m infancy), William Farrington (md.Augusta Luyckfasseel); Stephen (died at age 18), Leslie Casson (md.Mary Leavitt); Orah Casson (md.Harold Lester Martin); Leonard Cassoon (md.Alice Haslam); Delia Casson (md.August Lenz); and Cordon Casson (md. Eva Workman).

Cordon died September 30, 1918 and his body was taken back to Manti for burial by his son George Edward. Mary Coombs said: “As a little girl I lived with my grandmother Cahoon quite a lot. When mother worked m the hospital to get her midwifery under Dr. Ellis Shipp, I rocked in grandma’s rocker many hours with my story books and dolls. Up on the south hill Grandma’s house had two rooms downstairs, two rooms upstairs with a lean-to porch on the north side. The east end of the porch was used for storage and was separated about half its length. There were doors on the north and a door from each room opening on the stair landing of the two rooms downstairs. I used to play with my dolls on the stairs. I was in grade one when I had chickenpox in Grandma’s east room where she lived in the winter. She always slept on a feather tick covered with a white wool blanket trimmed in pink and covered with another white wool blanket and feather tick in winter. In winter she wore a long flannel nightgown and knitted bed socks.

Grandma was a tall, thin lady and I can still see her in a navy blue coat and black hat when she went to town. She always wore an apron and when she went visiting it was white trimmed with embroidery and lace. She loved to knit, embroider, crochet and quilt. When she lived in the west side of town and they had quilting bees, they tried to get her and a Mrs. Leavitt together. Each one marked the quilt differently.

In her wood shed she always had grease for making soap. She grew a large garden every year. Bottled green beans in a salt brine, made pickled beets, mustard pickles, mustard bean pickles and green tomato mincemeat.

Grandma always had home-made ginger snaps. Sometimes when she made bread she would send me for some live yeast down at the neighbors. A cup slopped pretty bad for a little girl to carry, also I loved the taste of it, but I got back with about threefourths of a cup.

She taught me to knit,embroider and crochet. In the winter when she baked whole onions and squash I loved them very much and many meals I ate on the little drop-leaf table which I have today although it is, badly worn. I still have her pot cleaner and as a child loved to clean the kettles with it. “Land sakes” or “my stars” were the words she used when she was perplexed. I can never remember seeing her cross or angry.”

Martha Cahoon lived in Cardston many years after the death of her husband. She married Mr. French who had a wooden leg. She lived in a house in the west side of town, after his death. Her step-daughter, Mae Hall, lived not far away and checked on her almost every day to make sure she was all right. She spent the last few years of her life with her son, Leslie and his family at Leavitt. She died February 25, 1944, and is buried in Leavitt, Alberta cemetery.


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