A Letter Detailing the Death of Frank Johnson

A lettter to Gramma Emma Francis who must have been visiting Uncle Jack Francis in California.  The letter was addressed to her and Uncle Jack.  It came from Mapleton, Utah from Gramma Louisa M. Johnson.  Uncle Jack’s mother is calling him John.

Mapleton, Feb 24, 1925

Dear Sister Francis, John and all;

I thought you might like to hear some of the particulars of Frank’s death and burial.  He had cut the tops out of the shade trees, west of the house Wednesday; cut the branches in lengths for firewood, and must have got sweaty; then he fed the stock, milked five cows, and then went to a band practice in the evening.  The snow was deep and packed with cold nights.  At 11pm, he woke with a severe chill, called Jennie who built a fire, but could not get warm.  Acute pleurisy set in but he didn’t call me until 9am.  I had hot cloths put on his side.  We gave him quinine pills, but it was a severe and sudden attack of the flu.  He wouldn’t have a doctor; said they had bankrupted him.  Then we gave him a sweat but it went into his right lung.  We kept mustard plasters on continuously every 2 hours front and back.  He finally let us call Dr. Hughs of Spanish Fork who said our treatment was alright, only we couldn’t keep him in bed.  But when the doctor told him to go to bed and stay there, he obeyed him.

Leland’s Alice would care for him for 24 hours.  Then Louis’s Alice the next 24 hours.

I cared for Leland’s children and Jennie for Louis’s children.  They were faithful, never

left him a minute.  We also had watchers to stay with the girls, the two Alices at night, but the doctor told us to keep all out of the room.

We knew it was very serious from the very first, but the doctor didn’t want anyone out of the family there.  Frank said it was wonderful, their care of him and he would remunerate

them when he got up.  Of course, they didn’t want anything and said so – but he told them that they were two angels.  He didn’t eat much and struggled for breath almost continuously, yet the doctor and all of us thought he would rally when the crisis had passed, but it seemed it was not to be for he fell into an infantile, natural sleep on the 9th day shortly after the doctor gave him a hypodermic, but kept turning over quietly this way and that and while Louis’ Alice and I sat looking at him and rejoicing over his rest and happy look, he died and we didn’t know it.  For there was no change of countenance, no gasp, no movement of a muscle –just didn’t breathe.  We thought he must of fainted, but he was gone.  It was a dreadful shock!

Jennie had come home and had been helping all night so she went to bed to get a little sleep.  When we woke her, she screamed terribly.

We sent for Leo and Myrle from school and it was awful to watch Myrle’s sorrow.  She just clung to me and cried aloud.  Leo felt it seemly too.

Wayne came up to see him, didn’t know he was sick, got there 10 minutes too late.  In a few minutes, the house was full of kind friends to help.  Mrs. Davis and Mrs. Carrick just cleaned the two rooms thoroughly taking the curtains home and doing them up.  Toss sent her new rug over for the floor and the undertaker did all he could.  Many, many said they had never seen such a handsome corpse, so smiling and happy.  But with all sympathy the tears from all, the banks of lovely flowers, the band gave a large harp, the brother “the Gates Ajar” – but could not comfort the orphan’s grief.  As his six brother’s carried him, the band played softly Frank’s favorite piece.  The home was packed, all standing with grief with every face.  In the funeral at the chapel, the music was lovely, and the speaking all heartfelt praise.  We wish you could have been there. During Frank’s sickness, he seemed despondent all the time and we tried to cheer him continuously.  He called Jennie to him and asked her to be kinder, and to be a mother to the little ones.  She has treated them alright so far but she stays at Ella’s, Leo at Louis’s and Myrle with me.

We have rented the house for the summer, 3 rooms, and have put the furniture in the north room.  Hugh may come there this winter.  Jennie is attending Sunday School, and also Mutual with Lenore.  She will work in the fruit and beets this summer, and go to high school in the winter.  She seems changed, I am pleased to say.

Uncle Joe and his folks, Aunt Rose Grant, one of her sons and wife came to the funeral  Jennie lost your address and we couldn’t even send a telegram.  Then we had so much  croup and flu right away –nearly lost Toss’s baby.  Louis’s Norma, Leland’s Mary had it and then it was my turn.  I am just convalescing and write in an arm chair.  You may send this letter to Josephine if you will.

Frank’s financial affairs are in bad shape, taxes not paid, $150 due on the car.  We sold enough stock for the funeral expenses, a memorial stone, and there will be a guardian over the children; Elmer or Hugh, I think.  Leland tends the stock, does chores, milks. and has rented the farm.  The stock will be put on the mountain in April where Elmer and Hugh will look after them.

We have had oceans of letters from friends and relatives from Idaho, Nevada, over the state, and a piece of lovely poetry – a tribute from Mrs. Mary Kendall which I will read to

you if you stop over on your way home.  Hoping all is well with you in that land of sunshine and flowers.  I remain your friend, Louisa M. Johnson


PS  The snow is gone.  It was two feet deep all winter, very cold.  Bryan’s wife is home again


Aaron Johnson – Faithful Steward (born June 22, 1806)

There is a 600+ page book that was done by Alan P Johnson. To buy it it costs $150. However, if you are interested in reading it you can view the entire book online
Click here to be directed to this book.

Other histories of Aaron Johnson Sr:


Jennie V Johnson Harding 1908

The Life History of


…. By Jennie V. Johnson Harding

Jennie as a Baby I was born on the 7 day of July 1908, in Taber, Alberta, Canada, in a little small house in the northern part of Taber.  I was born on my Uncle Ted Francis’s birthday.  And a few years later my cousin, Harold Russell was born on the same date, then many, many years later my Grandson, Richard Taylor was born on that same date.  So Uncle Ted says that is a famous day.  Uncle John Henry Russell left for his mission that same night.  His Mother attended my Mother at the time of my birth.  My mother almost lost her life, and I was almost strangled to death, because the chord had wrapped around my neck.  After I was born and revived and my Mother was out of danger, I guess my Father was very much relieved.

When I was blessed, I learned that my Father carried me up to be blessed under his arm like a sack of potatoes, and my mother was very amused.

My parents and I lived in this little house, happily for another year and one-half.  At this time my father was called to go on a mission in West Virginia.  My Mother took me and moved in with her parents, while my Father was away.  Aunt Josephine and her little girl, Norma were already living with them while her husband was away on a mission.  She worked in a store while my Mother took in sewing.  My Father paid his own expenses on his mission.  He had saved up quite a bit of money and he had also sold his property before he left.  He also purchased a piece of land in Mapleton, Utah.

I can’t remember much of my life at this time, but I have been told about several things that I did.  I wasn’t too proud of these things, but I guess they were part of my life.  Uncle Ted tells me that one time Norma and I were playing with the water hose and he tried to take it away from us and we turned the hose on him and so he got all wet before he got it away from us.

Aunt Emma Peterson said that one time my Mother was out to her place visiting with them and all us children were dressed in our Sunday best clothes.  Francis and I found an old can of rusty grease that we rubbed all over us.  So when our Mothers found us we were quite a mess.  We just didn’t stop at rubbing grease in our nice clothing, but in our hair as well.

My Grandfather Francis used to have a lot of horses, and he had one big stallion that I was very much afraid of.  I called him “The Stompy Horse.”  (I guess because he was always stomping, and snorting, and he seemed so big and powerful.)  I would never go out in the yard if the horses were let out.  I always checked carefully before I went out.  One day I asked Grandpa if he was going to turn the horses out soon and he said no.  I wanted to go out with Grandma to feed the chickens and gather the eggs, so I went out with Grandma, and while we were in the chicken coop, I heard a terrible racket.  When I looked out, Grandpa had let the horses out, and they all came out snorting and stomping and rolling and kicking up their heels.  It was very frightening to me, because I didn’t know how we were going to get back into the house, and Grandpa was laughing.  I thought he had pulled a dirty trick on me, and I was mad at him.  So after he had driven the horses back in the barn, Grandma gave me the buggy whip and told me to go and give Grandpa a whipping.  So I went over by the well and whipped him as hard as I could.  He jumped and yelled and did some fancy dancing and the first thing I knew I was laughing at his funny antics.

I remember I was complaining that my tummy hurt, and so Grandma got out some castor oil, and tried to get me to take some, but I wouldn’t.  So she put this dish up in the cupboard that had the castor oil in and told me not to touch it.  When she left I kept wondering about this stuff.  Was it good?  What did it taste like?  Why didn’t she want me to touch it?  So my curiosity got the best of me and I just had to know, so I got the dish and took it all down before I realized how nasty it was.

I must have been a real smart-alec kid, and it is almost embarrassing to me to know that I was so eager and anxious to perform before everyone.  My Mother said I would stand up on a chair and sing and recite as long as people would listen.  In fact some people would pay money to me to get me to do it.  Probably my Mother thought it was cute.

When my Father finished his mission about two years later, my Mother and I went down to Salt Lake City on the train to meet him.  It took at least 3 days to go on the train then, but we were going down to meet my Father, after such a long absence.  It must have been a wonderful reunion.  We went down to Mapleton, Utah, and I understand we stayed with my Fathers parents until we could get a place to live in.  I can remember some of it, because I remember going to my Grandparents home, and we moved into a red brick house just down the road from my Grandparents home.  Now this red Brick house belonged to my Uncle Hugh and Aunt Margaret.  They let us live in the big front room for a year.  During that time my Father started building our home on our place, I used to love to go there and play around in the house as my Father worked.  I also played with my cousin Lois Johnson.  They lived right by Grandpa and Grandma Johnson.  There was another little girl I played with.  She lived right across the road, and her name was Lucy LeRoy.  I had a lot of fun with her, they had such a big house with huge pine trees in their front yard.

One time Lois’s Mother gave her a wonderful birthday party.  There were so many exciting things to eat.

We moved into our new home by the time I was 4 years old.  My Mother put lace curtains on the windows and we had a beautiful rug on our living room floor, and nice furniture and brass beds.  My Mother was a wonderful housekeeper and a marvelous cook.

My Mother had a little baby boy who was still born.  This baby was born October 1, 1912.  It seemed awful to me to see that sweet little baby lying there so still and cold and we were very saddened.

Jennie, Myrle Leo 2We did enjoy our new home and soon my parents planted many things around it.  Trees, lawn, flowers, roses, gooseberry bushes, raspberries, currants, and fruit trees of all kinds.  We had a big orchard with apple, cherry, pear peach, plum and all kinds of fruit trees.  We had a big porch with banisters on the sides and as I grew older I used to run and leap over them onto the ground.  We had a cement sidewalk that went all around our house out to a cistern my Dad made in the back yard.  The cistern was so neat because you would turn a crank and a chain would go around that had little cups on it and the full cups would come up and empty as they tipped toward the spout.  Then the empty cups would go down again and fill up while the full ones would come up and empty.  In later years my Father built a washhouse right by the cistern.  There my Mother would do her washing and canning.  She had a stove out there and table and there was a cellar underneath the washhouse where we kept all our vegetables and winter apples.

My parents took me to a circus in Provo one time, and I am told that an ice cream man came around and wanted to sell me an ice cream cone but my Mother said, “No.”  But this man was not to be outdone, so he whispered in my ear and said, “Cry for it.” So I did and I got it.  I think I must have used this method quite a bit in my lifetime.

My Mother was going to have another baby and she was so worried and homesick for her Parents that my Father decided that we would all go to Canada for the winter.  On December 15, 1914, my brother Leo Frank was born.  My Mother was very sick and my Father was very worried about her.  Grandpa Francis was teaching me a song.  It was, “Oh dear Doctor my son John.  He went to bed with his britches on, one shoe off and the other shoe on, O dear Doctor my son John.”  I went about singing this song until my Father said in exasperation, “If you sing that song again, I will give you a spanking.”  Grandpa whispered in my ear and said, “Sing it again.”  So I did and I got into a lot of trouble because of that.  I don’t think Grandpa thought I would really get a spanking, he was very sorry but I didn’t know if I should ever trust him again or not.  He was a lot of fun and I sure loved him.

My Mother was sick most of the winter and I suppose my Father had his mind on her most of the time.  One time as he was going to a meeting in the buggy and I was sitting in the back I fell out and he went on without me.  So when I came in the meeting crying he was very surprised because he had never missed me.

I made friends while we were in Canada that winter.  They were the Hammer girls, Norah and Mata.  They were wonderful friends and I remembered them when I came to Canada in 1927.  Mata had polio when she was a young girl and so Norah pushed her around in a kind of baby buggy.  They had a real little playhouse where we had play dinners and they had a neat swing with two seats on either side that you could sit in and rock back and forth.  We used to spend many happy hours playing there.

Grandma Francis had a big folding bed that I thought was so neat.  In the daytime when it was made up it was a lovely piece of furniture, but at night you could let it down into a comfortable bed.

In the early spring we took our new baby and went back to Utah.  That next fall I started to go to school.  I liked school very much.  One day my Aunt Margaret came with her little boys to visit my Mother.  I knew they would be doing exciting things.  They were going to Spanish Fork and I wanted to go because I knew they would be buying candy and I wanted to go so badly.  My Mother said I must go to school.  I started out reluctantly so she got a little switch and helped me out.  I walked along until I saw my Mother go back home then I walked along slowly.  When I passed Harmers I noticed their little girl outside playing house, so I went in and played with her all afternoon.  I didn’t dare go home that night so I circled around through the field and came up behind the barn.  I crawled up on the chicken coop and I could hear my Mother telling my Father how worried she was about me.  He came out to do the chores and discovered me so he pulled me down and took me to the barn and went to the house to get the razor strap and gave me the worst spanking I ever had.  I was very broken hearted but I learned a good lesson.  Before I went to bed that night, Aunt Margaret brought out a big sack of chocolate bars and let me choose one.  It was sure wonderful to have Aunt Margaret come to see us.

The irrigation ditch ran right by our house full of mountain water.  It was the most wonderful place to play.  Big tall, beautiful trees grew by the stream, grass grew on the banks of the stream and moss in the top of the ditch, and it had little waterfalls and pools that looked deep.  I used to spend so many pleasant hours playing there dreaming my dreams and in my vivid imagination I used to pretend that was a great big stream.  It was always shady there and cool.  When I was a little older I used to read by that stream, do my fancy work or crochet, the sounds of the water trickling along, the rustle of the tree leaves, and the birds singing.  Oh to go back to my childhood and to feel as I did then.  As I go back there year after year and view these places.  The little ditch is not there anymore; it has been replaced with something more modern.  The trees are mostly gone, the one big tree that I favored so much, and climbed in and had my little secret places in it.  It was all so much a part of me.  Our house still stands but it has been changed and remodeled and the orchard has been taken out but you can still tell it is our home where we were so happy with our Parents.

My Father purchased some homestead land, along with his father and brothers, on top of a mountain, up in Spanish Fork Canyon, just above Thistle.  We used to go up there and stay for a week at a time.  My father built a little one-room cabin.  We cleared the land of sagebrush and willows so we could plant crops of grain, hay and potatoes, and we ran cattle and horses also.  Then during the summer the men would cut cedar trees for fence posts and sell them.  There was a big precipice at the end of our farm and I used to walk down there, looking down into the Spanish Fork River and the road and the railway running alongside of it.  Sometimes when there was a lot of run-off there would be a waterfall over the cliffs.  I thought it was such a beautiful sight.  The wood ticks were plentiful, as well as rattle snakes.  One time I found as many as five wood ticks in my navel.  It sure was a creepy feeling.

When I was quite young my father would go to Billy’s Mountain a lot and leave us home alone.  My Mother used to do the milking when my Father was away.  One night she had just come in from milking the cow and was at the stove to build a fire for the preparation of supper when she heard the cat meow for some milk.  She had taken the lid off the stove and she left it to take the cat some milk.  As she was coming back she had just stepped in the kitchen when all of a sudden our house was struck by lightning.  It came down through the roof making a big ugly hole in the ceiling.  I was in the other room rocking the baby.  It made a terrible noise.  We were all terribly frightened.  My Mother said a ball of fire circled the room several times and then went out the door.  She came and got the baby and we knelt down and my Mother thanked our Heavenly Father for his protecting care.  I remember how safe I felt when my Mother prayed.  We couldn’t sleep very well that night because of the terrible scare.

We used to often visit my Mothers Uncle Joseph Francis and Aunt Annie in Lake Shore, Utah.  They lived near Utah Lake and we used to have many good times down there.  My Father used to say, “Well, lets go down to Lake Shore and hear Uncle Joe laugh.”  And that’s just what he did because he really was a jolly man.  When he laughed it was a real belly laugh and just made a person feel good all over.  (Some of his children have the same kind of laugh)  Aunt Ann used to cook marvelous meals and since they had such a big family with most of them married, with children, we children always had to wait for the second table.  We would be so hungry and most of the time all the good things were gone, like gravy and dressing, but it still tasted good because we were so hungry.  It was a lot of fun to play with the children.  After dinner sometime, Uncle Joe would take me by the hand and take me across the street to his store.  He would get behind the candy counter and say, “Now Jennie what will you have?”  I would pick out the kind of candy I liked and he would put it in a sack.  I felt so important.

One time we were down there on a picnic, by the lakeshore.  After the picnic, my parents, along with some of the other parents went out on the lake in a boat.  The women all had their nice hats on.  After they had gone, Gem Rose and I got into an empty boat at the shore.  Wendel Francis came along and pushed us out on the lake and so we kept floating farther out on the lake.  We were frightened and of course crying.  Our parents discovered us so they rowed over to us.  My Father got me and put me on my mothers lap and one of the men got in the boat with Gem to row it back to shore.  My Father sat down quick on one side of the boat and it started to tip so he jumped to the other side and it went right on over.  We all got a nice ducking at the bottom of the lake.  I remember my Mother kept hold of me but I went down with my mouth wide open and I thought I swallowed half of the lake.  Anyway, we weren’t too far from shore, so there was no serious accident.  But as we got out of the lake we looked back and there floating away on the lake was all the ladies lovely hats.

On the 28 of May, 1916 my little sister Myrle was born and I was thrilled and happy to see her.  I had wanted a sister so badly.  When I looked down at this little baby, I knew my prayers had been answered because I had prayed that I would have a sister.  Mother was happy and I knew my Father was too.

My playmates at this time were Fred Murry, Nelda and Marie Jensen and Stella Hatfield.  Stella was older than I.  I think I liked to play with Fred best because he liked to do the things I liked to do.  I guess I was a tomboy because I lived to climb trees, jump from the hay loft, run fast and leap over the banister of our porch onto the ground and I think I got to be quite expert at this.  (I went to Fred Murry’s funeral and when I was introduced to the family, I told them my name used to be Jennie Johnson.  One little granddaughter spoke up and said you must be the Jennie Johnson he mentioned in his history.)

Stella had some brothers, one by the name of George.  He was deaf and dumb and it was hard for him to make himself understood.  He sometimes talked by sign language and he could write what he wanted.  He could only squawk out hideous sounds and he used to go quite crazy at times.  For many of those times the Hatfields used to come over to our place to get my father to help calm him down.  I used to be so afraid because sometimes he had dangerous weapons.  Once he chased me home with a pitchfork.

One night when my father was not home, we heard him coming because he was making those awful noises.  My Mother had locked the doors but we were still afraid, so we all knelt in prayer.  My Mother prayed for a long time asking the Lord to bless George and calm him down so he would go home.  She really prayed for our protection.  He finally did calm down and went home.  We had a hard time to going to sleep that night but we were so thankful that George had left.  My Mother always remembered to get us on our knees and to thank our Heavenly Father for the blessing.

When I was 8 years old, my Mother bought me a nice dress; it was white and all eyelet lace.  I thought it was really elegant.  Also she bought me an expansion bracelet and a locket.  Then she curled my hair and put a pretty ribbon in it and then we had our picture taken – my brother Leo and I. I suppose the big occasion was my baptism because about this time I was baptized in Hobble Creek.  About the most I can remember was that I was so scared to get in that creek but I also did realize it was a very special time.  On the 6 of August, 1916 I was baptized.

My parents had our home dedicated.  I do not remember this too well, but we sure loved our new home.

Leo and I were playing one day while our parents had gone to Springville.  We crawled in a two-compartment wardrobe that we had.  I put Leo in one side and told him to latch the door when I got in.  Then we were locked in these small compartments and I realized I could do nothing about unlocking it.  We were soon going to suffocate so I tried to tell Leo what to do but he got so panicky that all he would do was scream.  So I started screaming too.  Fortunately a neighbor was passing by and they came to our aid.  Our Parents were sure out of patience with us for doing such a dumb thing but I think they were also grateful too that we were found by the neighbor.

I went to Eureka one time with my Mothers Aunt Hannah and her daughters, Stella and Ruby, and I stayed for a week.  I had a wonderful time.  I went to shows and they bought candy and gum and taught me how to properly chew gum.  They were so good to me.  I made friends with a nice little girl and she had so many wonderful toys.  I had never seen so many toys in all my life but I did get very homesick so one day they put me on the train and told the conductor to take good care of me and sent me to Springville.  I felt very important going up those streets all alone to find my Uncle Wayne’s place.  I bounced my ball all the way there.  Aunt Ann thought I was very brave.  Uncle Wayne hitched up their fancy surrey and took me to Mapleton.  I was so happy to see my dear family again.

I used to always help my Father in the hay each summer.  He had a lot of hay to put up each year and it seemed to me like we put up hay all summer long.  We had a 10-acre piece of land close to our home and we used to get 4 cuttings off it, so it kept me tromping hay all summer long.  We had a good friend, Willy Snow that gave us an open invitation to go in his peach orchard anytime and get a hat full of peaches to eat on the way home.  My father nearly always raised a lot of watermelon and cantaloupe each summer and we would feast on them on the shady side of the haystack.  When Grandpa and Grandma Francis came to visit us, Grandpa used to go with us and get on the load and tromp.  He was so heavy he could make quite a dent in the hay so I didn’t have to work quite so hard.

Jennie, LeoWe often had time to take fishing trips up in the different canyons and many times we stayed overnight.  That was so wonderful to camp out under the stars at night to be able to hear the trickle and murmur of the brook all night long and hear the horses as they chewed their hay and stomped around.  I loved this more than anything else we ever did.  My Father loved these fishing trips and the fish and all the food tasted so good.  My Mother loved it too.  She would put the baby in a box and she would read or do some kind of sewing or fancy work.  It seemed like they were peaceful, lovely times.  One day as I stood by the stream, I saw a beautiful flower float by in the water.  I wanted to reach it so I grabbed hold of a limb and leaned out.  Before I realized it there was a big long snake on the branch and I had hold of it.  I let go of it right now and went plop into the water.  My Mother thought I was sure clumsy.

We had wonderful Christmas’s at our home.  My father loved to play Santa Claus.  He was always the town Santa Claus and he enjoyed this so much.  Then he always found a suitable time to visit his own family.  He always sounded so jolly and real, and Santa used to play such tricks.  One time he hung his stocking (and I hadn’t noticed but there was a big hole in the toe.)  The next morning all the goodies for the stocking were on the floor and the stocking was empty.  One time my mother couldn’t find any knives and forks and later we found them all in my Dads stocking.  No one would ever know what they would find on Christmas morning.

My father loved to make furniture for us kids.  One year he made a beautiful desk for me and a table with a drawer in it and a lovely upholstered chair for my little sister Myrle.  One year I was sure I heard Santa coming with his reindeer.  I heard him say woe to the reindeer as I heard him repeat all the reindeer’s names.  I heard him stomp in the house and the rattling of sacks as he filled the stockings and I heard him say “Ho, Ho,” and leave.  I heard him as he got in his sleigh and spoke to his reindeer and the bells jingling and the pawing of each little hoof.  I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight, “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!”  My Dad was out doing the early morning chores when this happened.  I was so sure it was Santa himself that later that day I went out to look in the snow and sure enough there were sleigh marks, and little reindeer hoof marks, so didn’t I see and hear?

On the 12 of April 1918 Grandfather Francis died.  My mother took Leo and Myrle and went to Canada.  She stayed for about a month and we got so lonely without her and the children.  My Father was taking the lead part in one of Grandpa Johnson’s plays and it was required of him that he had to make love to the beautiful heroine in the play.  I was so upset by it, that I thought he was falling in love with her really.  So I wrote to my mother and told her that her husband was falling in love with someone else.  That brought her right home.  I’ll never forget how glad we were to see them.  I loved my little sister so much, and my little brother.

My father was the leader of an orchestra.  He played the clarinet and he used to travel quite a bit with the orchestra.  One night mother went with him.  This was after we had our new car.  My Father was one of the first ones in Mapleton to get a car.  We sure liked it.  Well my Parents went to this dance in Salem, they also took another couple with them.  When they were coming home there was a terrible blizzard and they could not see any length ahead of them.  My Father asked the other man to drive while my father rode on the running board so he could direct him in the driving.  When they came to the Spanish Fork River there is an immediate sharp turn and before my father saw the turn the car was already heading down the embankment straight for the river.  He put his breaks on but they did not hold and they slid into a spindly tree and it held the car so that it did not go into the river.  They all got out and had to wait in a hotel until morning when they got someone to pull the car out.  When the children woke up the next morning and realized our Parents hadn’t come home we felt pretty forsaken.

My father loved to play the clarinet and we loved to hear him.  Some of his favorite pieces were Felex Mendlessons, “Spring Song”, “Kathleen Mauvaurneen,” and he loved to sing “Asleep in the Deep.”  He loved band music and was always a member of the band of the town that he lived in.  He was a wonderful comedian.  He gave many readings and could give them without ever cracking a smile.  He took many parts in plays.  He seemed to love doing this and yet off the stage he was very shy and quiet.  He was also very good at mimicking other people in their dialect of talking.  I can remember how he would get my mother and I to sing “Kathleen Mauvaurneen,” while he played on the clarinet.  He sure liked to sing that song.  When my Grandfather Johnson put that play on in Taber, that is where my parents met, for my father was the hero and my mother the heroine.  No wonder they loved that song so much, because that was also the name of the play, “Kathleen Mauvaurneen.”

My mother had four years of university.  She taught school for two years, she was also shy and quiet in company.  She had a very strong faith; it just seemed to radiate from her.  She was a beautiful seamstress, did beautiful hand embroidery and often took in sewing.  She made many of the wedding dresses for the young girls of Mapleton.

In the summer of 1919, we went down into Carbon County to a little mining town called Storrs, where Uncle Hugh and his family were living.  My father rented a nice tent for my mother and small children to stay in.  This tent had a board floor and it was boarded up on the sides.  There were little small lizards that would run around all over the tent, inside and out, and they worried me a lot.  My father warned me to sleep with my mouth shut so that they wouldn’t run down my throat.  I went with my father and Uncle Hugh back in the mountains.  Some of the most beautiful mountains I have ever seen.  We pitched our tent on the side of a mountain.  (Here I would like to insert some of my writings and experiences in the Timber.)

“The sounds in the forest will always be very dear to me.  In the stillness there comes the sounds of the birds singing, the chatter of the chipmunks, the flutter of the leaves on the trees, the rippling sound of the brook, the cracking of a twig.  It seems that all these sounds echo through the great stillness that you are aware of.  Here is the grandest place to meditate in all this splendor and beauty.  Pretty flowers grow among these stalwart pines.

Now I think that they cut these trees down mainly for mine props but it may have been for lumber too.  First of all I think they got the order from some company to supply the poles.

The procedure started with scouting around in the mountains for the best place to work, then they would set up camp close by.  They cut these trees down with an ax, chopping on one side and then on the other side.  There was a trick to felling the tree in the direction they wanted it to go.  Sometimes if one is standing on the opposite that the tree is falling the trunk could jump back and hit a person, this is caused by the tree falling and hitting other trees as it falls.

There is just nothing to equal the sound of chopping on a tree in the forest as the sound echo’s through the forest and then the final splintering of the tree as it swooshes and the call of “Timber,” as it falls and crashes through the forest.  Then comes a lot of work cutting all the limbs off and part of the top, making a nice big pole.  One year the company my father was delivering the timber to, had requested that he peel the bark off and that really did take a lot of time.

After the tree was cut, my father usually prepared three trees, and then he secured a chain around them, hooking the chain on a single tree on the harness of a horse.  It was my job to ride the horse on the drag trail, (as we called it, the poles hitched on to the horse was called a drag.)  I had to be very careful that the drag didn’t get caught on a stump or a tree, and if this happened I had to back the horse, sometimes loosening it, but sometimes I had to unhitch the horse and poles and put the horse on the other end of the poles or go back to get my father to help.  I was to take the drag to a clearing in the forest that we always called a “landing.”  This was close to the road and this is where I lined the drag up to the other poles and left them.  This is where the wagons came to load and deliver the poles to their destination, either a railway car or a mine.  Sometimes it was really hard to loosen the chain from the drag or to get it out from under the poles and in the event I would hitch the end of the chain to the single tree and let the horse pull it out.  Then I returned for another drag.  Sometimes I had a lot of time as I waited for my Father to get the drag ready.  I always had plenty to do, reading, sewing doll clothes, fancy work or crocheting, so I never was bored.  In fact I loved it and this truly was a nice vacation for me.  My father had to work very hard and he didn’t get much rest but I know he loved being in these great forests as we lived so close to nature, enjoying all the activities of the forest.  It was definitely the kind of life I always dreamed of living.

It was about 1918 or 1919 when we first started going in the timber.  My Father had gone before this with his brothers but it was about this time that we all went as a family.  I remember it was about a year before my mother passed away.  Uncle had been living with his family in a tenement building in a little town named Storrs, this was in Carbon County, just west a few miles from Helper and Castle Gate.  This town was a booming mining town.  Probably Uncle Hugh had been working in the winter months.  The mine needed props, my father and Uncle Hugh became interested so they scouted around for a good place to work in the timber.  My father rented a nice tent in town for my mother and small children.  This tent had a wooden floor with wooden walls half way up then a tent over that and necessary living necessities.  As I lay on the bunks, I could see the little lizards running around all over the tent and sometimes they would get in the tent so my father told me never to sleep with my mouth open because one of these little slimy creatures might run down my throat.  You can be sure I tried hard to keep my mouth closed.

My father, Uncle Hugh and I traveled up to the forest grove on the mountain where we made a camp, pitching our tents and making a corral for the horses.  This was where we lived all summer long and cooked our meals on a campfire.  This was the life I loved.  My father had bought a whole can of pop; we would put it in the cold springs so it would be cool.  Every morning we would get up early, harness the horses and go to work.  We had occasional forest fires in the area.  We never knew when we might have to pack up our camp and get out.

Jennie4One day we went scouting for more good groves of timber and we traveled far back into the mountains, it was the most beautiful country I had ever seen.  Meadows with grass growing as high as your waist and beautiful flowers, some I had never seen before.  My dreams from then on were always that I could live in that beautiful area.  When we came back to our camp we saw that there had been a forest fire.  It had burned all the timber that had been gathered by some other man, all his summer work gone up in smoke.  Our camp was still standing and we were so grateful.

One time when we were working we noticed a forest fire close by but we were not too concerned and we went back to our work.  Suddenly this terrible forest fire was upon us and as we looked, it seemed that we were almost surrounded.  We did find an opening as we hurried our horses out.  They were terrified and we did have to run our horse fast over an area that had been burned and was cooled somewhat, but we got safely out.

One day my Father said we needed a supply of groceries and he thought that I could go down into the town.  This would leave him free to work all day.  He also said I could take a big long pole down to the mine.  He instructed me where to take it and then I was to get the groceries.  I could also go to the ice cream parlor for a treat.  I hitched this big long pole on our old gray horse; his name was “Dick.”  Then I started on my way.  As I went down the road leading down the mountain, there was a steep part of the road with a sharp curve ahead.  I was really worried about this and I tried to keep the pole as close to the inside of the road as much as I could but as we went around the curve the pole slipped off over the side of the road and started pulling the horse down the steep incline.  I was terrified.  I could see a herd of goats off to one side with a herder and I called loudly for help but he didn’t seem to notice me. Finally Old Dick got a footing and he stopped sliding but here we were way off the road on a steep shale incline.  I got off the horse and with great difficulty we got back on the road and I was so grateful.  Then we traveled on to Storrs.  I delivered the pole to the mine and got the groceries and packed them on the horse and went for my treat at the ice cream parlor.  (I wonder now why I didn’t visit my Mother.  She must have gone back home.)

That year I earned $30.00.  My father gave it to me in silver.  He had made a little box with a lid on it and he had made compartments for nickels, dimes, quarters, fifty-cent pieces and silver dollars.  I felt very important.  I paid my tithe and my mother persuaded me to buy a dresser and there was enough left to buy a beautiful doll.

When we were at home one night my friends all got together and had a surprise party for me.  We sure had a lot of fun.

On June 28, 1919 my Mother had another baby boy.  Mother wanted him named Samuel.  We were all so happy with our new little baby.  I slept in my Mothers room on the floor so I could hear if she wanted something in the night.  My Father was sleeping in the tent outside on the morning of the 4th of July.  I woke up at 3 a.m. and was listening to the cannon shots for the big celebration, when all at once my Mother screamed, “Jennie, the baby is dead!”  Oh it was a terrible shock.  He had died of a bad heart and it was just so hard to understand.

Next spring my Mother was expecting another baby and she was not well.  She was very worried.  She talked to me one day and told me many things she thought I ought to know.  She told me she was afraid that she wouldn’t live through this confinement.  I cried because I couldn’t bear to see her leave us.  When it was time for her to have the baby she was so terribly sick and the doctors could not do anything to help her.  They had sent for another doctor from Provo, a specialist.  I had been thinning beets all day so I wouldn’t think too much about my poor Mother.  We children went to a neighbors and I remembered how I prayed for my mother outside.  Late on the 27 of May 1920 my Mother passed to her rest and peace.  The baby, a girl, was still born.  My father was so grief stricken he just walked up and down the road.  Grandma Francis, Uncle Ted and Uncle Jack came and after the funeral, Grandma Francis wanted to take my little sister home with her but my Father couldn’t let her go and we would all have missed her so much.  She was the sunshine of our lives and believe me we needed that more than ever.  We started trying to get along without our mother.  I had never worked in the house much with my Mother because I was always helping my Father most of the time.  Aunt Alice came over and tried to teach me how to make bread and other things.  We couldn’t seem to get along, so we went over to Uinta Basin and brought Grandma Johnson back with us.  Grandpa followed later.  (Actually I think they wanted to get back to Mapleton.)  Grandma was 70 years old at that time and she was not well so it was very hard on her.  She had to lie down so often so my Father built a little bunk for her to lay on in the kitchen.  Grandma’s potato soup was so good.  After a while the work got to be too much for her and so my Father built a home for them just the other side of our orchard.  I learned to cook and keep house and do the washing and ironing etc.  Myrle and Leo helped.  My Father loved chocolate ice cream and we used to invite someone in to enjoy it.  We went to shows often and vaudevilles in Provo.

Jennie - 2 yrsThe first winter after my Mother died, I stayed with Aunt Margaret who lived in Payson, Utah.  Uncle Hugh could not be home that winter as he was working somewhere.  Aunt Margaret hated to stay alone with her young children.  She lived four miles from town and so we had to ride on the bus for three miles and walk one mile to get to the bus.  In cold weather Aunt Margaret used to take us in the buggy and would meet us at night.  I was rather shy and so it took me a long time to get acquainted.  I loved to stay with my Aunt.  She was so good to me and while they were very poor, she did all she could to make things pleasant for me.  I’ll never forget the wonderful lunches that she made.  I could hardly wait until noon so I could eat my dinner.  Her bread was heavenly.  It was really a rough winter for her.  She would have to get up so early and make the fires, get us children up, and while we were getting ready for school she would go out and milk the cows, get the horse hitched up to the buggy and then drive us one mile to the corner, and then meet us at night.  She used to drive into town once a week for groceries and it was usually on primary day because she taught a class at primary, and she could also get her family to primary also.

One day I was very sick after I got to school.  I felt so desperate and alone.  I didn’t know anyone I could go to, I didn’t tell my teacher so finally I walked to a ladies place that I knew was a good friend to my Aunt because she worked in the primary too and today was primary day.  When I knocked on her door I was so afraid and I didn’t know what I would do if she wouldn’t help me.  When she came to the door I started to cry, she was so nice she took me in, wrapped me in a warm blanket, gave me a hot water bottle and some hot soup.  I thought she was so wonderful and I was so grateful.  Aunt Margaret came in town that day for primary so this lady told her about me and my Aunt came for me and took me home.

One night a terrible blizzard came up after we were all in bed.  The wind was so strong from the north that it blew the door in in our bedroom and the snow blew in with all the force of the wind.  We were all shivering in our nightclothes, we finally got the door up again and we pulled a heavy dresser by it to hold it in place while we nailed it shut.  It was nice when Uncle Hugh came home for visits once in a while.  He would sing to us.  He had a beautiful voice and he was so happy to see his family again.  In their family they had a habit of reading from the scriptures every night.  Aunt Margaret used to keep her home so nice and clean.  It was such a joy to live with them.  Aunt Margaret used to keep her home so nice and clean.  It was such a joy to live with them.  Aunt Margaret always built me up and made me feel important which was so good for me at that time.  I did stay with them at different times.

The next summer we worked up on Billies Mountain some of the time.  Uncle Hughs family lived up there part of the time also.  I can remember sitting in our cabin and listening to the mountain lions cry.  They sounded so much like a little baby crying.  By this time my cousins were living in Thistle, Utah, and I used to like to stay at Uncle Willis’s and play with Lois.  They lived just below Billies Mt. by the Spanish Fork River and it was so exciting to play there.  We had to cross the river on just a narrow plank and then follow the railroad tracks down to Thistle.  Sometimes we would crawl under trains as they were standing.  It was really a dangerous place but exciting.  The big attraction at my Uncles place was the player piano.  I thought this was the greatest thing I had ever seen.  Lois had a bedroom of her own.  One time as we were playing there, we were running and I run into a pitchfork and run the tines through my foot.  We had a hard time stopping the bleeding and I had a very sore foot for a while.  My Father liked me to stay here and I didn’t know why.

That same summer Uncle Willis and my Father and I went up Little Diamond Canyon.  We camped in a flat area at the foot of the Mountain.  Each morning we rode the horses several miles up a drag trail to the timber on the mountain and often we would see fresh bear tracks in the trail, sometimes the remains of an animal, usually calves.  The wild flowers grew in great abundance here of every description.  I took the drags down to the landing and it was a very nerve wracking experience because of my fear of the bear.  My father always had his rifle close at hand, but I had no protection as I went down the drag trail.  That particular morning my Father wanted me to take the drag down farther for some reason.  I was really worried when I got to the landing and had to go farther down the drag trail out of sight and sound of my Father.  It took all my nerve, but I started on and I noticed soon in the trail fresh bear tracks going back the other way, probably right in front of me.  I watched my horses ears thinking the minute he got nervous I would know the bear was near because their ears point.  But the horse showed no signs of uneasiness.  When we got to the place I should unhitch the drag I was pretty well terrified since I couldn’t look in all directions at the same time and still unhitch the drag.  Just at that moment the horse switched his tail on the bushes, snorted and started moving around.  Everything just went black before me.  I couldn’t move.  When I could get my senses back again, the horse was standing still, half asleep so I had the courage to finish my job and get back.  One day we were eating our lunch at the Landing, I looked up the mountain and saw the back of an animal over the top of some bushes.  I screamed to my Dad that there was a bear, he grabbed his gun and started to aim.  Just then a cows head rose up over the bushes, my, what a scare.  I wanted to stay in camp one day but my Father thought it was too risky.

One day I was trying to get the horse, probably old Dick to go a certain way and he just refused, he would not budge, so I went around by his head and tried to pull him with the reins, all he would do was allow his head to stretch out, he simply would not budge his feet, and finally he bunted me hard with his head.  I just went flying into some bushes, then he looked down at me pointing his ears, and it seemed to me like he gave a big “Hee Haw”.  He was really a pretty faithful horse.

That same year, in the fall, I went up to Billies Mountain with my father to help Aunt Margaret cook for threshers.  When we were finished and ready to go home, my father was taking Uncle Willis’s team of white, beautiful horses down for him, they were named Molly and Pet.  I wanted to ride Molly so bad.  She was so pretty the way she pranced around, but my Father said, “No.”  He said she had been running wild all summer, on the range, and she was not dependable, but I coaxed, and finally he said I could, if I would promise to ride back of the wagon.  He put the saddle on her and I got on, she was prancing and stepping so high, it was hard to hold her in.  Finally I thought it wouldn’t hurt to let her run alongside of the wagon.  I felt myself going high into the air as she arched her back and then away she went, just a white streak across the field.  I had no control, even though I pulled on the reins.  I hoped that when we came to the gate that it would be closed and maybe she would stop, but it was open, so down the steep dug way we flew.  I was so frightened and I had all I could do to stay in the saddle.  All I could do was hang onto the horn of the saddle and pray.  My Father and Aunt Margaret were praying also.  It was a terribly rough ride because of the steep dug way and sharp curves, there was a long straight road for a ways  and then a sharp hair pin curve.  Then another sharp hair pin curve, and at this curve there was a road going into a field.  I gathered up the reins and spoke to the horse, and thinking that I might guide her up into this field and get her stopped, but when we got there she must have had other ideas, because I never remembered any more because either the saddle turned or I fell off.  Apparently one of my feet had caught in the stirrup, because when I came to you could see where I had been drug for quite a way, my shoe was along way down the road.  When I regained consciousness, I thought I was dreaming and the mountains were a picture on the wall.  I was so dazed and bruised.  My hide was rubbed of me nearly all over my body, I hurt all over and I had a dreadful headache.  I was a sorry girl, but I didn’t seem to have any serious injury.  I took the short cut down to Thistle and so no one found me right away and my Father and Aunt Margaret were very worried.  They met Uncle Willis, who had come back up the mountain on the horse as soon as it arrived at his place.  When he met my Father they were more worried than ever because they thought I might have been thrown into the bushes.  For a long time after that I was terrified of horses and couldn’t even watch a movie with a horse in it without shaking.

The next summer we went up Little Clear Creek Canyon, probably 30 or 40 miles up Spanish Fork Canyon, past Thistle.  To get up this canyon, we had to go through the deserted town of Tucker.  We camped several miles up this canyon, Uncle Willis and Family, Uncle Hugh and Family.  The men made our camps very comfortable.  They built a kitchen by one of our tents, with willows.  We had a camp stove and our grub box was our cupboard, we had a little table and stumps for chairs.  We put pine boughs under our bedding and it was almost as comfortable as springs.  It was fun to take care of the camp that year.  There were all kinds of berries for pies and jam and just eating fresh, that grew close around were we camped.  Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and alder berries.  It was lovely that summer, living out under the pines, playing with my cousins.

One day Aunt Margaret had to ho to Soldier Summit for groceries.  Soldier Summit was a little town on the top of a mountain.  It was a steady incline going up for 7 miles.  All trains had to have an extra engine put on to help make the grade to the top.  Uncle Willis family had made plans for me to ride Molly, (the horse I had the run away down Billies Mt.)  They had made preparations for it with a saw bit in her mouth, so when you pulled on the reigns it had apparatus that sawed into her tongue.  They assured me it was fool proof.  I was still afraid of horses so I was not looking forward to this experience.  We had brought her mate along, Pet.  Also we had the horses tied to the back of the buggy.  When we got out on the grade going to Soldier Summit, we decided this was the place, so we got out and untied the horses and got on.  As usual Molly began to prance around and was raring up, this time it didn’t give me much of a thrill because I knew what she was up to.  She whirled around raring as she did and came down on Pets rump leaving a big gash.  She set out on a dead run for Thistle.  I held the reigns tight and it stopped her.  I got her turned around and went back to the buggy.  I figured that was enough and I had all I wanted of her so I got off and tied her to the buggy.  (At the time I never thought of what a cruel way to govern a horse and I was sorry I had done it.)  But this did help because I seemed to get over my fear of horses.

I always enjoyed going for the groceries, we always made a day of fun out of it.  Lois and I went up to Soldier Summit alone one time on horses.  I rode on Uncle Hughs horse named Kitten.  When we got our groceries we put them in gunnysacks and tied them to the saddle.  I tied a bucket of lard on the other side and some more things on the back.  As we were nearing our camp the dogs all ran out to meet us, barking.  One dog nipped Kittens heels and she took off.  My groceries fell off and were strewn all along the way.  I got her stopped and went back to pick up the groceries.

I hated to see this summer come to an end.  When we were going home, Lois and I had to drive a wagon and one of the wheels broke beyond repair.  Uncle Willis took a big log and stuck it kind of slanting in to rest on the running gear of the wagon, secured it and one end drug along the ground.  So we drove to Thistle in that bumpy wagon.  We got pretty tired of hearing the scraping, rubbing noise it made.  We had to go very slow so we traveled most of the night and we had a good discussion about the Three Nephites.  Some of the stories we knew were a bit scary but it was an interesting subject.

That winter was quite uneventful.  It seemed I could keep up with all the work at home.  It was a pleasant winter because Myrle and Leo helped with the housework.  I would put my little sister on the table and we would sing as I mopped the floor.  My father bought some mew linoleum for the kitchen and I got to pick it out.  I remember that it was a pretty blue checkered and it was so much fun to keep it clean.  In the evening we read books together or went to picture shows and vaudeville in Provo.  We really enjoyed this.  My Father would usually invite someone to go with us.  He was always thinking of the poor and lonely and was always helping someone.  We made chocolate ice cream often, usually my Father made it because he loved it and we would either take it and go visit someone so we could share it or we would invite someone in.  (Since I got older I never have liked chocolate ice cream.)  In the evening as we were going to bed we all crowded into my Fathers bed for stories.  I would lay on the foot of the bed.  He would tell us the most interesting stories about animals mostly.  He gave them names and made families for them.  Those stories were so good and interesting.  I guess that’s why I love animal stories so well.  (If these stories could have been written down I am sure they would have become famous.)

Those were good times and we needed this because we were so sad and alone without our Mother.  We had a family picture taken about this time and none of us smiled, we all looked so sad.  I guess that’s how we felt.  Our neighbors and relatives were very good to us inviting us to meals sometimes.  My Aunt Toss invited us often to Sunday dinner and she had 14 children all boys except Bessie, her older sister and Mozelle the baby.  Bessie used to make dresses for Myrle and I.

One incident happened in the summer time when we were putting up hay.  We were out in the middle of the field.  I was on the load tromping and my Father was pitching the hay on to the wagon.  All at once he threw down his pitchfork and said, “Let’s go fishing.”  So right there he unhitched the horses and left the wagon standing right in the middle of the field, put the horses away and we did go fishing.  I thought this was much better than tromping hay.

When we were on our way to Billies Mt., which was many, many times, it usually was an all day journey.  We had a halfway mark by a little stream and a slough that we called Cold Springs.  We would have dinner there and could gather some watercress to put on our sandwiches.  We unhitched the horses, gave them a drink and let them do some grazing.  Those were wonderful trips to me.  I always had something exciting to do and this gave me a chance to sew some more on my doll clothes or do fancy work, crocheting or reading.  Then another place along the way was a very big resort and swimming place called Costella.  There were hot springs at this place and inside swimming facilities and a big dance hall and little cabins.  (One time I went with my Beehive class to this resort.  We had a wonderful time.  That is where I learned to swim, a bit, and dive and float.)  Then we would come to Thistle, and then the last lap of our journey was going up the steep dug-way to our beloved Billies Mt. As we started up the mountain of red and yellow earth, with cedar trees here and there, and the sturdy oak tree with the acorns on it, and sagebrush, where could you find more beauty?  (And when I look at it now I am older, I wonder shy I thought it was so beautiful.  I have never heard anyone that didn’t live there say it was beautiful, but it certainly had a magical spell on those that did live there.  Aunt Margaret called it “He Paradise Lost.”  Many of us have called it “Our Shangi-la., but it eventually was bought by Robert Redford, and maybe he still owns it.

When we were coning down from Billies Mountain, it was so steep that my Father nearly always tied a tree to our wagon to keep it from running away.  I must tell you about the mud, it was more like clay and the mud must have had glue mixed in it, because you couldn’t even scrape it off your boots.  (I am sure it would have been just the thing for making bricks.)  One day after it had rained, I put my boots on and got a pan of oats so I could catch Gladys, Grandpa Johnson’s horse.  As I walked along in this mud more glue like mud would stick to my boots until it got to be quite an effort to lift my legs and certainly I had to go slow.  I guess if it hadn’t been for the oats, I never would have caught the horse of course she was pretty greedy for the oats.  Now that I had caught her I couldn’t get on her because I couldn’t lift my legs up.  I led her in a deep ditch then all I had to do was slide over onto her back.  When she looked around and saw those big heavy boots of mine, she began to buck like crazy.  She couldn’t get rid of me because my big heavy boots held my firmly in place.  She soon gave up and I rode her up to the barnyard.

In the year of 1923 my Father took on the project of being foreman of the construction of building a trestle over a gorge in a place near Sunny Side, Utah.  This was a new mining area that was being built up and as yet, there was not much of a town there.  Most everyone lived in tents; it was mostly a desert country and very hot.  My Father put up our tents, and I was looking forward to fixing my tent up and a big snake crawled out from under my bed.  I just would not sleep in that tent.  There were so many rattlesnakes, that we had to be very careful.  I made many friends and enjoyed keeping company with them.  There was a girl my age who was by best friend.  She had funny arms with an extra joint in them.  Everyone called them turkey wings.  I felt so sorry for her.  I took care of the camp, cooked the meals, took care of my brother and sister and ordered the groceries.  We had a delivery wagon call on us every morning for groceries from Sunny Side.  Our water was piped in and we would go down with a bucket and carry the water home.  There was also a place where we could get our mail or post our letters.  My cousin Lois and I made paper hats all summer of every color and style you could imagine.  We kept very busy.  We also went into Sunny Side for shows.  I always seemed to be getting into trouble with my cousin Lois, so my Father decided to send me up to Aunt Margaret and Uncle Hughs family.  They were up in big Clear Creek, Garfield county, this summer so he took me up to Aunt Alices place in Castle Gate where I stayed overnight and the next morning I got up early to catch the train.  When I got to Coalhurst I had to wait quite awhile for another train and so when it came, it was a freight train with one passenger car on it.  It traveled very slow and in every town we came to it switched back and forth, leaving cars and picking up more.  I never was so tired out in all my life before.  When we reached Clear Creek it was raining and getting near evening.  I didn’t have a coat and no money.  I had a dreadful headache and I was hungry and I felt forlorn.  My Father had given me instructions to find a Mr. Chris Houtz and ask him where my uncle was located.  I inquired where he lived.  I had to walk up a big flight of stairs to get to his place and by this time I was soaking wet.  I knocked on the door and his wife answered.  (I was just about in tears.)  I told her my plight and she said, “Well my husband isn’t home and I don’t know when he will come and I am entertaining friends.”  I knew she didn’t want me but I didn’t know what to do.  I asked her if I might stay until her husband came home.  She reluctantly said she guessed I could.  She made me sit by the door and never offered to help me get dried out.  It was getting dark and I knew she would not want me to stay there that night.  I looked out on the road and I saw a wagon going by.  The man looked like Uncle Hugh so I ran out quick but I couldn’t catch him.  I followed him up a canyon and then when he turned around I could see he wasn’t Uncle Hugh so I went back.  I didn’t dare go back to Mrs. Houtz place so I wandered around in the rain.  I walked up the road by the tracks where I knew and no one seemed to care about me.  It had a stopped raining, so I went back to the store and just when I was sure I was the loneliest girl in all the world.  I saw aunt Margaret and her boys come into the store.  I have never been so glad to see anyone in all my life.  She was so mad at Mrs. Houtz for not being nice to me.  She bought me something to eat and an Eskimo pie, that was the first time I had ever tasted one, and it all tasted so good. it is a bar of ice cream covered with chocolate.  By now I had forgotten my troubles.  I felt happy and secure.  We went up the canyon to their camp, which wasn’t very far.  I enjoyed the rest of the summer in this beautiful canyon.  Aunt Margaret curled my hair every day and we always went to the store every day and it rained every day.

In the wintertime I used to visit Grandma Johnson pretty often.  She told me so many good stories and I enjoyed being with her.  I wish I could remember those stories or better still that I had written them down.  I used to visit Grandpa in his little hide – away in the orchard.  I used to spend many beautiful hours with him also.

I learned many valuable things from my Father.  He tried to live a righteous life of honest and keeping the Lords commandments.  His example for me was nearly perfect.  His life was mostly spent in “doing good for others.”  He set patterns for me that I will never forget, in teaching me the things that were best for me.  I loved him very dearly, but he missed my mother so much.  I think he was very discouraged sometimes. He was not very happy and I noticed this more than ever this winter.  I learned many wonderful things about my Mother too.  I knew that she loved Jesus Christ so deeply and how much she wanted her children to be well grounded in the beloved Gospel.  We had wonderful parents and I knew it.  One thing I would like to say in my history as I look back on my early life with my Parents and brother and sister, it seemed so short and so long ago, but it is still very real to me.  The great love that we had and the fun and pleasant things we did and how much our dear parents desired we children should grow up and love the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  They taught us many powerful and important lessons in the short time they had with us.  I had no doubt in my mind what they desired to have us do.  We always had family prayers and since my Father had to be away so much of the time, I loved to hear my Mother pray.  Something she did often.  I remember when the lightning struck our home, how terrifying it was and my Mother immediately gathered us together and knelt in prayer.  While she prayed the fear gradually left me and I felt safe and secure again.

In the last remaining years of my Fathers life I suspect I was one of the reasons he had so many worries.  I was spoiled there is no doubt.  My Father always gave me whatever I wanted; I just had to do a little coaxing.  I knew he loved me.  At the age of 16 he would hold me on his lap and call me “Little Jennie”(One time my cousin Lois said to me, “Jennie, when are you ever going to grow up and quit making doll dresses and start thinking of the boys?”)  Well I didn’t think too much of that because I dearly loved to make doll dresses.

My Father was very definite that we children should never play with face cards and to always remember to keep “The Word of Wisdom.”  He tried hard to guide me in hood reading but he was wise to let it be my choice.  I never forgot the powerful lesson I learned when I got started reading the “True Story” magazine.  When we were going to the show one night I asked him if I could have a quarter, he always gave it to me willingly, so when we got home he asked me what I had bought with the money.  I showed him.  He just looked crestfallen and I did feel bad.  He said before he went to bed that he would like me to burn it but I just couldn’t do it.  I thought I had to read it first so I got into bed and started reading but every time I would look at the page I couldn’t see it for my Fathers sad face.  I got up and stuck it in the stove and vowed within myself to never read a magazine like that again.  It was more pleasant to me as we all read together as a family in our beautiful living room.

I want to insert another part of my life here.  This happened more after my Mother died.  I guess so much of my life was spent in the mountains, away from my friends, and maybe Mothers death, but I became quite anti – social.  I was very shy and becoming a teenager.  For a short period I didn’t want friends.  I hated everyone.  That was the darkest period on my life.  Thank goodness I didn’t stay in that period very long because it was natural for me to have many lovely friends.  Aunt Margaret always built me up so much and made me feel so good about myself, Aunt Ella also.  I was always welcome to go there and she treated me like one of the family.  That was my home for many years.  I had many blessings in my growing up years.

The next summer my Father seemed so sad and despondent.  He decided to stay home from the timberwork this summer.  He worked on the farm all summer, later in the summer he longed to be up in the mountains again.  That year I had a very infectious ear.  It would ache and then gather and break and discharge a pussy fluid.  All summer long I suffered with this so I had to be very careful and not catch cold.  It just never seemed to let up.  My Father finally decided that he would take a trip to Fairview, San Pete County, and go up in the mountains where uncle Hugh and Uncle Elmer and families were.  It was so nice up there I hated to go back home so my Father left me there.  I stayed with Aunt Margaret and had many happy and wonderful experiences.  I met a gypsy girl and make friends with her.  She had a couple of older brothers and they sure kept and eagle eye on her.  They were most protective.  We met a nice sheepherder that had all theses thoroughbred horses.  He let us borrow them and every day we went horseback riding all over these beautiful mountains.  Sometimes he would go with us.  We were always together, the gypsy girl and I.  She took me to her camp one day and it was most interesting.  Some of the tents were simple elegant with beautiful Persian rugs and many sparkling and flashy things.  Most of them wore lots of cheap jewelry.  They traveled from place to place in wagons.  My friend borrowed all my jewelry and all that she could get and that night the camp pulled out so I lost my friend and also my precious stuff.

There were two dairies up there, one was run by an older couple and their family and the other was just young kids.  They wee taking care of their parents’ cows and milking them so they could sell the milk and cream.  We got milk from the first dairy and we would put it in the cold spring to keep it nice and cold.  They also put on rodeos at these dairies and we used to attend.

By this time I was acquainted with all the other young kids from the other dairy and they would come over every day and take me gorse – back riding.  I seemed to fall for one of the boys, Sylvan Peterson, and he was my first boy friend.  He was a very nice person and whenever he went into Fairview to deliver his milk or cream he invited me to go with him.  So I got to meet his family.  He was an orphan, but he was living with his brother.  They were sure a fun family.  Over at the dairy they built a little milk house over the cold stream so it kept the milk and cream nice and cold.  Sylvan milked 30 cows night and morning with the help of his brother.  They kept pretty busy.  In the evening we would all gather around the camp fire and have a lot of fun.  The kids had built a big swing that they called the “Balsam Spider.”  The way it worked was, they erected a big pole into a place so the pole would be able to be free to be pivoted with a big slab at the top, much like a cross, only at each end of the slab, swings were attached, two people would get in the swings then a couple of kids in the center would posh on something and it would make the pole go around.  The ones on the swings would fly out higher and higher until they were going up over the tops of the big pines and up above the camp fire.  It was a thrilling ride you can be sure.  Aunt Margaret always encouraged me to have a nice time.  She said they were all good kids. That summer ended too soon.

In January 1925 my Father became very ill, he was sick a long time before he finally gave in and went to bed.  He had been cutting trees down and sawing them up for firewood.  Uncle Lewis came and did his chores and aunt Alice came and nursed him.  He was seriously sick with double pneumonia.  We had the Doctor come and he wasn’t able to do much for him.  Aunt Alice left her own family and her sick Mother and stayed b my Fathers bedside day and night.  My other aunt Alice helped out to.  My Father had suffered a great deal and I had stayed up all night with Aunt Alice.  The next morning he called me in.  He took my hand and told me to be brave and to take good care of my brother and sister and remember my Mothers word to me before she died.  He told me that his whole life had passed before his eyes like a moving picture and he had seen bands marching by.  (He always loved bands so much.)  Another thing he said was “I feel I have been such a failure all my life.”  I didn’t know what to say to him then because I was crying too much but I wished I could have said, “How could you be a failure when you have been such a good Father.”  The many things he was always done for others he always did so quietly, no one knew.  I have wished so many times that my children could have known my Parents.  They were such wonderful people.  But my Father died, even though I still believed he wouldn’t.

After the funeral, Grandma Francis took my sweet little sister, Myrle, and we all had to be farmed out to other homes because we couldn’t live in our own home, It was next thing to being repossessed for the mortgage on it.  I sure hated to see my sister go to Canada, but I knew it was best for her.  Leo stayed with Uncle Lewis and Alice for a while, then we went to live with Uncle Hugh and Aunt Margaret.  I went to live with Aunt Ella and Uncle Elmer.  They were all very good to us and we had wonderful homes to live in but it was terrible sad to be without our parents.

Our home and property were sold, our cattle and the car and the mortgage was paid up.  We children did not receive any help from the estate.  (But in later years we did receive a little from the sale of Billies Mountain.)

Aunt Ella and Uncle Elmer were very poor, sometimes it was hard to know where the food was coming from, but Aunt Ella was a very hard worker, and very resourceful.  She never let an opportunity go by.  She worked hard in the summer to gather fruits and vegetables, and fill all her bottles with delicious jams, jellies and all kinds of fruits and vegetables as well as pickles.  She could make a delicious meal out of almost nothing and so the food was very good and she always had plenty for whoever happened to come along.  She took every opportunity to work out, where ever she could get a job and even though she had a big family she made me welcome and treated me as though I was a member of her own family.  Aunt Frant Snow used to remember me as though I was one of her own Grandchildren.  I loved Aunt Ellas little girls, Edda and Louise and used to tend them so much.  I used to pick raspberries and grapes and whatever she was canning. Jennie and Lenore Lenore, her oldest girl and I were very good friends and she is still very precious to me.  She is my choice cousin or sister.  Aunt Ella’s home was the gathering place for all the young people of Mapleton.  She was always so good to everyone.  I used to work out nights after school or on Saturdays, doing housework for people or baby – sitting.  I made enough money for my clothes in the Mapleton store and then in the Springville store.  In the summertime I thinned beets and vegetable crops as well as picked fruit.  One time Lenore and I were picking cherries in a big orchard by Maple Creek Canyon.  Sometimes to cool off we would get in the flume, (It was a stream of water, boarded in with boards) and coming down a very steep hill.  We would sit on a board at the top and let the water give us a fast ride down the ditch, we would be soaking wet.  One day the board slipped out from under me and when I got to the bottom there was no seat left in my knickerbocker pants.  I had to pull my long shirt tail out to cover the hole, while I picked cherries that afternoon.  We also picked raspberries and dewberries and other fruits.  Lenore plowed the beets in the fall and I topped and helped to load them on the wagons for her Grandfather Snow.  Aunt Ella would always work at the beet dump.  Everyone had to pitch in to keep the work done up.

Lenore and I went up in the mountains with Uncle Elmer part of one summer, and to Billies Mt. to help cook for threshers.  I was running down the hill one time and going very fast, as I was about to put my foot down, I saw a big rattle snake right in the place where I was going to put my foot.  Quickly I gave a further push and landed on the other side of it, luckily it was August when rattlesnakes are sluggish so it didn’t strike me.  It was the biggest rattler I ever saw and had the most rattles on it.

Sylvan used to borrow his brothers’ car and come and see me once in a while.  I thought he was very nice and I liked going with him.  I also knew he was planning on going on a mission.

Lenore and I were in a bad horse accident one time.  We were both on one horse and riding at night.  As we neared a streetlight, two other horsemen met us coming the other way.  The glare from the streetlight blinded all of us and since we were all traveling fast, all three horses collided.  It was a terrible crash, one horse hit our knees hard, and we were all thrown off.  One boy was thrown clear across the fence.  Lenore and I were both laid up for a long time with sore knees.  I still had ear trouble and was so sick with as well as a bad case of ulcers of the stomach, during this period I had to go to bed and have bed rest.  I could only eat milk products.  Aunt Ella always had plenty of milk.  All this time my dear Aunt tended me and took good care of me, but I could not attend school at all regularly.  It was finally decided that I would have to go to a specialist in Provo, so I started going to Provo every other day on the inter urban to take treatments from the specialist.  I quit going to school, as I wasn’t able to attend anyway.  The specialist said I had mastoid trouble and that if the treatments didn’t work, he would have to operate.  At that time it was considered a very dangerous operation.  I did not get to feel much better.

Uncle Ted Francis had been wanting me to come to Canada to live with them and help them.  I decided to go because my little sister Myrle was up there and it would be so nice to be with her again.  I waited until spring because my aunt Ella was having a baby and she wanted me to help her.  In April 1927, I left far Canada.  Aunt Ella had helped me get ready.  I had bought a lot of new clothes, a light summer coat and such a sweet little hat.  It was pale green crepe de chine with little pink rose buds on it.  I felt very good.  Aunt Ella had made me a nice and she and Uncle Elmer took me to Salt Lake to meet the train.  There I met the lady I was to go with, Ida Wood, and her three children.  I had a very pleasant journey with them and I kept the children entertained all the way, telling them stories, and singing songs with them and playing games.  It took three days.  The first night we slept on the train, our births were made up.  The next night we slept in a hotel in Great Falls, Montana, and the last day we traveled the rest of the way to Taber.  When we arrived the wind was blowing very mournfully and it was cold.  I noticed the lack of trees and the bald headed prairie.  I wondered how I could ever like to live here.  I wanted to turn around and go back but I saw my dear sister eagerly waiting to greet me.  I forgot all about going back.  It was so wonderful to see her again.  I knew she had looked forward to this day.  She had all her friends with her and for a while I didn’t know what I had got myself into.  They all crowded around me and I made many long and lasting friends out of those girls.  I know they had been told by my sister, Myrle, how wonderful I was, the trouble was that they believed her, so they are still misguided.  Well we all walked down the streets of Taber.  People would peer out the windows and come out of the stores.  When we got down to Hammers place, I immediately recognized my friends of years ago, Norah and Mata.  They were always the best friends I ever had and many times I have been so grateful for them.  It was so good to meet Grandma and all my relatives, but most of all it was good to be with my sister.

I went to live with Uncle Ted and Aunt Eva.  They had a big family, so naturally there was a lot of work.  Especially as Aunt Eva was not well.  I made friends with so many nice people in Taber.  I could hardly wait from one Sunday to the next to see them all again.

Now I have to tell you right here that I never had any more trouble with my ears.  Whether it was the treatment I had in Provo or whether it was a change of country, I don’t know.  But I was grateful to be freed of all that sickness.

Another thing I would like to mention is that before I came to Canada, I was going around with friends who were going off the deep end, so to speak.  They were fooling around with drinking and smoking.  I felt it was getting out of hand, but they were my friends from way back.  I kept having these disturbing dreams of my father and he always seemed so sad, but when I came to Canada I never had those dreams again.  I knew I was in with a real nice crowd of young people.

Now one more thing I want to add is that almost as soon as I arrived in Taber, Uncle Ted said to me, “Now Jennie, there is a fine young man here in Taber, and his mane is Willie Harding.  He comes from good stock.  Now the procedure for getting married is that you pick out a nice boy, you find out his good qualities and if he comes from good stock, then you fall in love.”  Well, I didn’t like that idea at all, in fact I knew I was going to hate this Willie Harding and I would never have anything to do with him.  Well to save me the trouble of hating him, he was going to school over in Raymond.

It seemed to me that it rained all the time in this country, and it was cold.  Uncle Ted had a lot of sheep and they were all having lambs, so I had to help Uncle Ted a lot of the time.  We had to bring the lambs in the house in order to save them.  It sure made a lot of work.  I was terrible homesick and I wasn’t well at all.  I had constant headaches and was sick to my stomach.  I just did not seem to have any strength.  Even though I was very sick I sure hated to miss church where I got to meet all my friends.  One Sunday I was desperately sick but I would not tell anyone, because I wanted to go to church.  All day long I ached and was almost blond.  The crowd was going to walk to the river, it was such a nice day, no rain, it was just unbelievable and I wanted to go so bad.  That night I thought I would die.  I stayed with Grandma that night and the next morning I could not get out of bed.  Uncle Ted and Aunt Eva came and they sent for Dr. Hammon.  He could not tell what was wrong with me but he said I was a mighty sick girl.  Uncle Ted took me to the Lethbridge Hospital on the train.  When they got me in the Hospital, they said it was typhoid fever.  So I spent the next month in the Hospital.  I guess Aunt Josephine sent someone up to see me each day and many others came but I was not aware of it.  When I was well and able to walk again, I stayed with Aunt Josephine for a while.  Then I went back to Taber.  I stayed with Grandma for a while.  It took me a very long time to get my strength back and I was terrible thin.  Then I finally went back to Uncle Ted’s place.  I started to lose my hair.  Uncle Ted said I needed to get it shaved off so the other hair could start to grow.  I suffered him to shave off my remaining hair.  That was a terrible day in my life.  I saved some strands of my hair and sewed them inside my little green hat so when I went out in public I could make believe I had hair.  I also was plagued with boils.  22 at one time.  Some of their boils were as big as eggs.  I felt pretty low at this time.  I went out in the field and topped beets with these boils.  (I guess I wanted to make some money so badly)  Soon my troubles were over the boils healed and I was able to buy Christmas presents for everyone because I had some money.  It was a happy Christmas for me.

Uncle Ted let me go to work for McPhees around Christmas time and I really enjoyed being in town and having a little money.  Up to this time I had seen no sign of hair growing and this was a great catastrophe for me.  I began to despair of ever getting hair, but soon after I started working at McPhees it looked like my hair was starting to grow.  I coaxed and prayed. I treated my head so tenderly and finally I did have hair again.  It came in so curly and beautiful.  I felt very rewarded for the long wait and I was very grateful.

I had to go back and help Aunt Eva because she needed the help so much.  We soon moved into the new home the other side of the farm.  We fixed it up real nice and I had a room of my own.  I herded sheep for Uncle Ted, I got a lot of time to read this way, and I sure enjoyed that.

I had met Willie Harding briefly the summer before, but I thought he was a stuck up so and so.  I didn’t pay much attention to him.  This summer I noticed that the kids called him Bill and that made me look at him twice.

The next summer in 1929, Grandma became very ill with cancer.  I stayed with her so help her most of the summer.  She died that summer and so my poor little sister once again was left and had to go and live with her aunts.  We had to be parted again.  She got so lonely in Lethbridge with Aunt Josephine.  The next winter I got a job sorting pea seed.  We worked in an old cold shed and sorted pea seeds on a belt.  We would get so cold and then I would walk home.  I used to think that I would never get home.  I would be so cold.  I remember now I would run two telephone poles and then walk one.

Now I was beginning to get very interested in Bill Harding.  I was working for Leona Conrad and I had also worked for Ruth Fuller, who was running a private hospital.  I worked in Conrads store also.  I was going out occasionally with Bill, (there was something special about him) He had a car and he was so handsome.  When he looked at me with those gray eyes, I almost flipped.  Iola was one of my best friends and it was due to her that I could see Bill often, because naturally, I went down to her place to visit her, but I guess I couldn’t help it if Bill happened to be there.

Uncle Ted and Aunt Eva were very good to me, they let me invite my friends to their home anytime I wanted and they were so nice to them.  It wasn’t long until all my friends were calling them aunt Eva and Uncle Ted, as long as they lived.  They were sure good sports.  I learned many wonderful truths from Aunt Eva.  Her life was full of hard work and pain, (because of her legs).  However she always did what was expected of her.  Her faith was strong.  Uncle Ted was a wonderful friend as well as a good Uncle.  He wanted me to go with Bill because he thought that Bill was all right.

The next summer Cloy Francis came to Canada to stay with Uncle Ten.  We had lots of fun together; we worked in the field, and then went to parties and dances.  Cloy was quite a charmer.  He played the piano be ear and it was very exciting to hear him play.  Bill was away shearing sheep at this time.  When he came back I thought he had another girl and so I decided to go to California with Cloy.  Aunt Mabel said she would send me the money if I wanted to come.  I left Taber thinking I would probably never go with Bill again.  I was so happy to visit in Utah again, but it wasn’t near all I had expected it would be.  Then Cloy and I went on to California.  Uncle Jack and Aunt Mabel met us in Los Angeles, and took us to their home in Santa Anna.  I loved it in California, the country was so beautiful, the orange groves, and every kind of fruit, flowers and cactus and such lovely growth.

I would like to insert a thing I left out when I was in Taber.  Right soon after I arrived, they asked me to teach in the kindergarten class, Julia Conrad was the teacher but she was sick with a bad heart so much of the time, that I mostly taught the class.  I think there were 45 students and one teacher had her hands full, but I loved that job.  Then the winter before I went to California, Manitia Price was asked to be the Y.W.M.I.A. President and she asked me to be one of her counselors.  Her Father was the President of the Y.M.M.I.A. and he had asked Bill to be one of the counselors, so Bill and I were thrown together a lot.  He used to take me home after these meetings, and our relationship did grow. I did enjoy these times but as I said I went to California the next summer.

I did the housework for my Uncle and Aunt in California, and that included all laundry from the office. And so I ironed most of the week.  Oh, yes, I had to take the children to their music lessons and primary.  Aunt Mabel helped in the office.  She bought the groceries and I planned and prepared the meals.  The meals were pretty simple.  Mostly vegetables and fruit, no meat or rich pastry.  I could make puddings mostly I made salads, some cooked vegetables.  We could have potatoes twice a week.  We bought whole wheat bread and Aunt Mabel would buy lighter bread for lunches for the children.  What I thought was so neat was all the fruit we had, melons of every kind, grapes, and all kinds of fruits, oranges especially.  We could make all the orange juice we wanted and eat lots of figs.  They had an orange grove, a fig tree and a walnut tree.  It seemed so wonderful to me. Many times we would eat our breakfast in the fig tree.

Uncle Jack was a doctor and we got used to calling him “Doc.”

The church at that time was mostly a missionary ward and a branch, so there was a lot to be done.  I taught Sunday School again and primary, and Cloy and I were chosen to be the dance directors in mutual.  Then I was asked to be a counselor in the primary.  The missionaries had a standing invitation to come for dinner any time.          Sometimes I had to take care of the office, when the Doc and Mabel weren’t there.  That was a lot of fun, because I always had a day of doing mostly what I yearned to do.

When I first went to California, I didn’t know how to drive a car good yet.  Bill had let me drive his car a little, so one day; Doc and Mabel had to go to L.A.and I needed to get to the office.  They had to leave too early for them to take me so Aunt Mabel said, “Well we will just have to let her drive herself.”  I was really afraid because I had to drive in this big city and park, etc.  I prayed and I imagined my Aunt and Uncle were praying too.  I did all right at least I didn’t have and accident or get arrested by the police.  I soon learned to drive so I could drive the kids where they needed to go.  Cloy drove when he could.

Aunt Mabel used to call me sometimes and say, “What are you doing?” and I would say, “Ironing.”  She would say,” Put it away and prepare a lunch and take the children to the beach.”  Sometimes she would say, “Come down town and we will go shopping.”  She was full of surprises, and she was very generous.  My Uncle was more practical.

I saw many beautiful things in California.  There was a beautiful bird sanctuary in Tustin, and I could walk to that place, which I did several times.  There were so many different birds.  It was so fascinating to watch them.  The beach was fun and the children dearly loved to go there.  It was the first time I had seen the ocean, and the big waves looked like so much fun.  They didn’t seem to be bothering other people, so I went in to meet them.  I never stooped when they came.  I guess I hadn’t noticed other people do that, so I got the surprise of my life.  When the breakers hit me, and whipped me over, I hit the ground hard.  It flipped me over several times until it finally threw me up on the beach, beaten and bruised.  I heard someone laugh and say, “Well, there’s a green horn.”  One time Thora and I went out on the pier.  There was a wall on one side.  While we were out there on the end we saw a big high wave coming toward us.  We started to run back, and Thora yelled that we’d better get on the wall.  We jumped on the wall but we still had to run fast so that when the wave caught up with us it was pretty run down.  If the wave had caught us we surely would have been washed out to sea.

Doc and Mabel took us to L.A. one time to a Canadian Reunion.  While we were there, they took us to a big cafe called “The Round Table.”  It was a fabulous place to eat.  It was smorgasbord and there was every kind of food you could imagine.

All the family went to San Bernardino Mountains one summer.  We had a grand time because you know how I love the mountains.

I visited the “FORREST Lawn Memorial Grounds” and all the famous statues and buildings.  We saw quaint little churches in beautiful settings.  Cloy took me to the opera one time in L.A. and we saw many famous movie stars.  I also had the privilege of visiting the Catalina Islands, and seeing the Chicago Cubs and New York Giants play.  i also went with friends to L.A.   We visited famous Chinese Theater and also other theaters, as well as China Town and Spanish Town.

I rode on the Giant Racer in Long Beach.

I couldn’t seem to get Bill out of my mind.  We did correspond, but he didn’t seem to write back very promptly.  Although I read between the lines, I was sure he loved me, but he didn’t exactly write it out.  I used to meet the mailman faithfully, every morning, and be disappointed so many times.  When I went to dances and was dancing I used to shut my eyes and imagine it was Bill.  I could never seem to have any interest in anyone else.  I guess it was hopeless.  I was in love with Bill.

I had to take Fern and Beth for their music lessons.  The boys had already given up and Cloy already played by ear.  Their teacher became my devoted friend.  Uncle Jack asked me if I would like to take music lessons, he said he was tired of spending so much money on his family, when they wouldn’t respond and apply themselves.  Well I was overjoyed, so Miss Elliot gave me a few lessons, and she really taught me a lot.  Miss Elliot and I corresponded a long time after I went back to Canada.

I was chosen Queen one year at the Gold and Green Ball.

I was very busy with scrapbooks and my ‘Treasures of Truth’ books.  I had a lot of fun in California; they just treated me elegant the two years I was there.  Christmas was just grand.

In 1932, I came back to Taber, and surprised Uncle Ted and Aunt Eva.  I was so glad to be back home.  They were glad to see me too and of course my dear sweet sister, Myrle and brother Leo.  I went to work for Laverne Harris and I worked for her all winter.  I also enjoyed the courting days with my present husband, Bill.  At Christmas time he gave me a sparkling crystal necklace.  I always just loved it.  In April we were planning to get married and the prospect made me very happy.  On April 26, 1933 we were married in the Cardston temple by E.J Wood.  That was a day never to be forgotten.  I felt the presence of my Mother and Father there that day.  I am sure that they were as happy as I was.  (Uncle Ted’s advice was good wasn’t it?  He picked Bill out for me. Bill was the one for me.  I love him.)

Now that my story is written, I forgot to include a very important happening in my life.  When I first came to Canada, my Grandma Francis asked me one day if I was saying my prayers.  I had to tell her “no.”  Then she said, “Don’t ever forget to say your prayers and ask your Heavenly Father to help you keep your virtue.”  Well after that I never did forget to say my prayers and pray for what she said.  I felt that was a great strength in my life, and I know it helps me.  I was always grateful to my Grandmother for that.  Some things in my life helped greatly toward guiding me to do what is right.  The first influence of course was my parents.  They both talked to me before they died and cautioned me to be a good girl.  After they died I know that their influence was with me when I needed it.  I lived with good living people, my dear Aunts and Uncles.  It seemed that I had more than my share of good influences.

One time, when I was in California, a General Authority came to speak to us in our Branch.  I was so impressed with his talk.  He said that the Lord would bless us with any righteous desire we had, if we would remember to keep the Word of Wisdom, keep the Sabbath day holy, pay our Tithes, and keep the Lords Commandments.  Those words seemed to be burned in my heart and I could not forget them. I believe it completely.  I know I guided my life by those words.

My dear Grandchildren, another good way to help you through this world is to decide before hand what you are going to do.  Then when the situation comes along the it is easy to do what you ought to do.  I do pray for all my dear ones that you will be strong and overcome the pitfalls you will meet.

I’d like to add a little about my Grandmothers life after she was married.

Grandma had her first baby January 20, 1934, William Blaine Harding.  Her second baby followed two years later, Donna Joan, born on 11 June 1936.  Glenn was born 26 August 1937, James Edward, 19 October 1941, David John was born, 25 November 1943, Keith Evan, 30 October 1945 and Brenda Kae born 20 July 1947.

During their married life, Grandma helped Grandpa out in the beet field often.  She nursed her children through various illnesses, often at very difficult times.

Grandma was widowed the 5 of January 1982.  Grandpa died in the Magrath Hospital but was buried in Taber.

Grandma was saddened by the death of her son, James Edward, on 10 November 1990.  He died quite unexpectedly and tragically at the age of 49.  He never married but was missed just the same.

Grandma has always been very concerned about her children and grandchildren.  Like her parents before her, she also wants to see all of her children and grandchildren make choices that will keep them on the straight and narrow path so that we can all be together once again in the next life.  I do believe that someday, because of her determination that will come to pass, perhaps not in this life but in the next.

Frank Milton Johnson Missionary Journal

Taken from the Missionary Journal of

Frank Milton Johnson

Compiled by his daughter, Jennie V. Johnson Harding

At the time my Father went on his mission in West Virginia, this country was the typical Hill-Billy country.  The mission headquarters was in Fairmont, but most of his labors seem to be out mostly with the mountain people.  In those days missionaries went out without purse or script, and so they depended on the county people to give them food and lodging or entertainment (as they called it).

It is very interesting to note that most of their traveling was done on foot, sometimes traveling as much has 30 miles in one day, sleeping out in the open and even staying with these hospitable mountain folks.  I think they must have gone hungry many times, and were gland and able to eat the food that these people provided for them one incident, I remember my Father telling was:  One day when they had been traveling a long time and they were very tired and hungry, they stopped and asked for lodging which they were invited to receive.  When they saw what was cooking, they weren’t so sure.  The lady of the house was cooking a chicken on the stove and they could see the feet sticking out of the kettle and the doubted if much had been taken out or off the outside,  but they did learn to eat with these good mountain people.  It was not uncommon to go to a home where they had the chickens roosting over the beds and other animals in the house.  (This may have been a joke) but one place they stayed the man of the house turned the chickens around the other way so they could sleep without getting the droppings.  These mountain people even had the mountain folks names that we read about in the comics – Yokum..

Sometimes they followed the railroad tracks as they walked and I guess their feet would be very sore.  They would have to carry their suitcases also.  They did ride on the train sometimes and also the streetcar, but I don’t imagine they had the finances for this too much.

One night as they had been walking all day through the country and mountains and they had been unsuccessful in getting entertainment, they slept out all night.  In the night they heard a mountain lion and it seemed to come closer, circling all the time, so they got up and stirred the fire up and kept the fire going all nigh, taking turns sleeping.

At the time my Father left for his mission, I was perhaps 1-½ years old.  My Mother stayed with her parents in Taber, Alberta.  I think she took in sewing and did whatever she could to make money so she could send some to my Father.  He may have had other sources of money also, his parents, brothers or sister may have sent some occasionally, but anyway I do know that money was scarce.  I think it could have been very likely that my Mother’s parents would have sent him money occasionally.

Frank Milton Johnson arrived in Fairmont, West Virginia, on December 7, 1909.

January 1, 1910

Rained all day, very disagreeable outside.  As this is the beginning of a new year I have made several resolutions, and one of them is to never buy a hat unless it is large enough or a pair of pants unless the legs are long enough to reach, at least, to the top of my shoes.

January 4, 1910

I sold several books today and I feel very much encouraged.  We held a meeting tonight but I was not asked to preach.  During my talk yesterday with the Minister he told me that Brigham Young had 65 wives.

There were several days of very cold stormy weather so they only tracted 2 or 3 hours each day, visited with some of the saints and studied.  One day Frank went out along – his companion didn’t like the stormy weather.

January 8, 1910

Weather fine. We held a meeting tonight at the home of Mr. McElbury and I spoke on “Pre-Existence”.  Two or three of the people who were at the meeting went to sleep tonight while I was speaking.  I suppose I must have hypnotized them.

January 9, 1910

We four Elders, who are laboring in this city held a meeting among ourselves and all had the privilege of telling our troubles.

January 10, 1910

Started work again today and had good success in selling books.  I met a lady who was so anxious to talk to met hat she stood on the porch for about an hour and then I told her that I would have to go and I made my escape.

January 12, 1910

Was out tracting part of the afternoon, but was most too cold to accomplish very much and the people of this city have a bad habit of letting a fellow stand on the porch while he talks and they will not ask you in.

The next few days were very cold, Frank said, “Some of the people that I met today while out tracting seem to be ‘very cold’ also.”

Sunday, January 16, 1910

Walked on the railroad tracks with the Elders to the home of Brother Bolton where we held Sunday School and had an enjoyable time.

January 17, 1910

I was tracting among the ‘Society Women’ and Poodle dogs today and nearly everyone who came to the door was carrying a poodle dog in her arms.

January 18, 1910

Rained all day so I didn’t go out to work.  Spent most of the day doctoring myself for the ‘Mange’.

January 19, 1910

Held a cottage meeting at the home of William Slaughter.

January 20, 1910

I am not able to do very much studying because I have got the ‘Mange’.  Gee Whiz!  I am certainly having a fine time ????

January 22, 1910

Another stormy day.  I have been blessed (?) lately with the Mange and I have had it all winter so bad that it has been almost impossible to study or sleep nights.

January 24, 1910

We have decided to tract six hours each day instead of four.

January 25, 1910

Weather fine.  Worked six hours today and had good success.  I have been in the habit of trac6ting during the day and scratching during the night.

January 27, 1910

Rained all day so I stayed at my room and plastered myself with sulfur and Vaseline.  By Gosh!!!  I am certainly enjoying myself!?!

January 28, 1910

I had the privilege of speaking tonight at the home of Mr. Slaughter.  My subject was the “Name of the Church”.

January 29, 1910

Rainy day, muddy day, mange day!

The next few days were stormy.  They visited with friends and saints Merrals and Evans, Cottage meeting at the home of Mr. Stafford and another one at Mr. Leeson’s.  They walked on railroad tracks each Sunday morning, and held Sunday school at Mr. Bolton’s.  Holding cottage meetings every night.

February 8, 1910

I had an interview with three ladies who were about 70 years old, and when I first came to the door one of them said, “ _____ I am a Catholic.”  These Adult ‘Maidens’ chased me out of the house when I began to explain, ‘Mormonism’ to them.  Held meeting at Stafford’s, spoke on the ‘Book of Mormon’.

Held cottage meeting most every night at Mr. Andersons, Mr. Leeson, and Mr. Hall.  Went to a town called Barnville, worked and had good success.  Mr. Bolton sent for them to come and administer to his daughter, they sat up with her during the night and returned several days to see if she was all right.  Meeting at Mr. Brown’s.  President Ryan returned to Fairmont, after visiting with the Elders.  Still doctoring for the ‘Mange’.  Had a disagreement with the landlady, she said they weren’t to use the bathroom; she really got on the ‘War Path’.  Elder Webster was Frank’s companion.  They walked to Revsville, worked there and found some very queer people there.  Held a meeting at Mr. Nelsons.  Went to the town of Webster and worked on day.  Frank and Elder Webster were transferred to work in the country.  They were to go to Rowlsburg, on the train.  They missed the train the first day, the second day they got on the train, and because of some mistake, they landed back in Fairmont.  The next day they got on the train and finally made it to Rowlsburg.  They held a meeting at a Mr. Haddix’s.  they walked up the Cheat river and spent the night with John Stout near Hannahsville.  They were very tired and weary.  Next day they walked up the Cheat River, 16 miles to a town called Parsons.  Later going to Kerens.  The held a meeting at Brother Pennington’s and also at the schoolhouse.  One day, two of the Pennington boys expressed a desire to be baptized when the weather was better

Next they went to Faulkener and spent the night in the Joseph Howel residence.  Frank said that this home was the dirtiest he had ever been in, except some of the ‘Scotch Terrier’s’ who lived on the Johnson Addition in Canada.  Later he said he didn’t think much of the Howel home, for it resembled the Scotch dens up in Canada.  They left on the train for Elkins, then they walked on the railroad track to Beverly, arriving very tired.  They went to the home of Charles Herrons.  They asked many times on the way for lodging, but everyone said, “No”.

They weren’t able to get a schoolhouse or any other public building to hold their meetings in so they went to the home of John Sachs.  One lady jumped about 3 feet in the air and said, “I am saved, but you Mormons are crazy!”  when they were holding their meetings at Brother Herrons home, Frank said, “There is a knot hole in the center of the Herron home, and each member of the Herron family, (women and all) took turns in spitting tobacco juice through this knot hole.”

They walked down the railroad to Valley Bend, where Elder Webster received word that he was to come to Fairmont immediately, so he left on the train.  Frank walked to the home of Francis Watson, better known as “Frankie”.  He stayed overnight.  He said the reason he didn’t stay with Frankie longer, was because, “Sir Francis uses snuff, and spits the juice on the floor, walls and furniture.”  He went to the home of Joe Rose and held meetings.  He said, “The people in this section are very hostile toward the Mormon Elders.  The men at the mill suggested they gather a mob to drive me out but the mob did not gather.”  He held a meeting at the home of Dave Pritt.  He said, “I had the privilege of helping Mr. Pritt and wife eat a large groundhog, (they were about as large as a badger).”

March 20, 1910

Preached a funeral sermon today at the home of Dave Ross over the death of one of his little baby girls who died about two years ago.

March 21, 1910

Walked to Mill Creek where I received a letter from President Ryan stating that Elder Earl Walker had left Fairmont two days ago intending to meet me at Huttensville, so I went to Huttensville, one mile from Mill Creek.  After some walking about town and vicinity, I found him at the home of Brother George Yokum.  Held meeting with John Oxley in Valley Bend.

March 24, 1910

We were both nearly eaten up last night with bed bugs for Brother Killingsworth is blessed very much by having more of these bugs than he needs and last night about 300 of them played hide and seek on my carcass while I was “wrapped in slumber”

They worked around this area, mentioning that the bed bugs were still at work.  Two more Elders arrived and so Frank had Elder Whitby for his companion.  The other two Elders left for the east.  They spent the night with Brother Kittingsworth and the bed bugs swarmed like bees all night.  They started traveling to the area that they were to work visiting with people and saints and holding meetings on the way.  Up to date Frank had walked 440 miles.

They stayed one night with Baxter White and found that they had landed in the middle of a free for all, family row.  They visited with or held meetings at Mr. Bender, Alfred Riffle, and Jane Pritt. They administered to Mattie Channel, traveled to Elk Water and Valley Head.  Frank said, “We have been busy for a few days trying to settle a ‘Free for All’ family row between Baxter White family and French Whites family.

April 12, 1910

Spent the night with George Yokum.  I sewed a button on my pants today, and before I finished I nearly broke my back for I had to leave my pants on me while I sewed the button on them.  Sewing and visiting is the hardest things I have ever done.

They stayed with a man named Novel Watson and at the meeting that night, Frank said he happened to look at Elder Whitby and they both laughed like little boys.  They stayed with Charles Killer and said that he was not interested in religion, but liked to talk about hogs and corn.  They traveled on west and at night asked for lodging and “everybody was willing to keep us at the house except the Mother and the daughter, but we stayed anyway.”  They traveled on to Alexander, where they asked at the Jones home for some dinner, they were invited in and also for the night.  Mr. Jones kept them up nearly all night with arguments.  Mr. Jones works at a Charcoal plant and Frank said, “During the day we went up where he was working and saw the process of making charcoal, also the different chemicals which are taken from the wood, consisting of alcohol and several kinds of medicine.”

They stared west and started asking several places for dinner, but everyone refused.  They all said that they were ‘saved’ and couldn’t give us anything to eat.  They had to ask at 26 homes before they could get lodging for the night.

They went to the home of a Mr. Lewis, whose wife was a member of the Church.  Also they visited an I. W. Golden who everyone had warned them not to visit because he had been a member of our Church but had apostatized.  Mr. Golden treated them well and said he was a stronger Mormon than he had ever been.

They walked for two days I the rain and so they came to an overhanging rock and they crawled in under and built a fire to dry out.  They spent the night in a town called Nixon with a Thomas Tinney.  They walked to the town of Buckhannon where they expected to receive books and tracts from New York City, but they were not there so they waited another day. They left about noon and traveled on the railroad track and started asking for entertainment, bet were refused so they decided to sleep with “Uncle Sam” in the “Big Bedroom”.  They built a fire alongside the tracks and spent the night.  At one place they asked for something to eat and the lady told them to stay on the porch and she handed them some bread and butter, which they ate.  They kept going back to Buchanan every day to see if their books had come.  In their travels of all the close towns they got on the wrong road at Roaring Creek Junction and went 10 miles out of their way.  They couldn’t get lodging that night so they slept in an old school house but it was so cold they got up and went down by the railroad track and built a fire and spent the rest of the night there.  Next morning they bashed the dirt from their clothes, and had a shave at the bank of the river close by.  “We traveled on east to Elkins and about 4 miles east of Elkins and spent the night with friends” both of them very tired.

May 4, 1910

Arrive at Brother Penningtons in Kerens.  Started holding cottage meetings etc.  These people treat us well and this is the nearest thing to home which I have seen since I left Canada

May 10, 1910

Started early this morning and walked up the Cheat River to a ford about 6 miles, where we were taken across the river in a boat by a boy.  About 2 miles farther up the river, we came to another ford, and were just about to take our clothes off and wade across when we saw a footbridge about a quarter of a mile farther up, so we crossed the river again on the bridge.  Spent the night with a Mr. Bowden.

May 11, 1910

Traveled all day in a rainstorm and spent the night at a house near Job on Dry Fork, both very went and tired.

May 12, 1910

This morning at about 10 o’clock we stopped at the bank of the river, under some pine trees and had a shave.  Still raining at intervals and weather very cold.  Spent the night with Jethro Davis.

They stayed with Brother Davis several days, very cold and miserable and tried to set up meetings but weren’t too successful.

May 18, 1910

Traveled west about 25 miles and tried to get lodging, but were not successful, so I spent the night by a pile of ties and looked for Haley’s Comet which according to newspaper reports was supposed to pass within a stones throw of where we eat, but we didn’t see the comet.  Hope I will not be compelled to look for this comet anymore with it’s tail extending through space five million miles more or less.

May 19, 1910

Started on again this morning, very tired, hungry and sleepy.  Got to Brother Herons very late, appreciated a good meal and the rest.

They held meetings and stayed in this area for several days.  Frank said he went out hunting groundhogs with Brother Ramsey but didn’t get any groundhogs. he did get awfully hungry so Brother Ramsey fed him birch bark which he cut from the trees. They stayed with Dave Pritt and held meetings.  Frank said, “Charles Pritt sits behind the stove all day on the floor and his wife does all the work.”

June 1, 1910

Received a letter today from Rose stating that she was very sick.  I am anxious about her.

They were working down again around the Mill Creed area holding meetings etc.

June 14,1910

Walked to Huttensville where I met Elders Warner and Ryan who had come out to hold conference with us.

Elders Ryan and Warner stayed with them several days, attending meetings etc.

June 20, 1910

President Ryan and I walked to Elkins where we joined the other two Elders.  We all rode on the train to Kirin and walked to Brother Penningtons.

June 24, 1910

President Ryan and Elder Warner left us and Elder Whitby and I walked about 7 miles up the Cheat River where we held a meeting.  I put a rock in Elder Whitbys suitcase this morning and he carried it for three miles before he discovered it.

June 25, 1910

Traveled southeast all day en-route for Harrisonburg in Old Virginia; distance 125 miles.  At about 10 o’clock we stopped for we were not able to get lodging anymore.  Built a fire by the road, where we stayed till morning.  During the night we were disturbed now and then with the yells of a panther, which seemed to stay with us most of the night.  I wished several times during the night that my Mother-in-Laws daughter had me.

June 26, 1910

After brushing some of the dust from our clothes we started on east again en-route for Harrisonburg very tired, hungry and sleepy.  At noon we succeeded in getting a lunch, which both of us appreciated, it being the first meal we had eaten since yesterday morning.  After this lunch we started on again and at night slept in a feather bed with a good supper.

Next day they walked on east, spent the night at Franklin.  Next day they traveled over to Allegheny Mountains.

June 29, 1910

We had the privilege of riding a short distance this morning and arrived in Harrisonburg at about 6 p.m.  In our travels this morning we traveled through the upper end of the Shenandoah Valley, which is a nice farming country.  Plenty of fruit and nearly all the farmers have their grain cut and hauled in this valley already.

June 30, 1910

Boarded train early this morning and arrived at Washington City at 12 noon.  After securing a room, we traveled around town in sight seeing auto passing by some of the most important and interesting places in the city.

July 1, 1910

Dominion day at Taber, also ‘Big Dance’ in evening, but don’t think I will make it.  Was resting most of the day and resting after our long walk.

July 2, 1910

Went on train to a resort at Chesapeake Beach in forenoon and was busy sightseeing in the afternoon.

Rested the next two days, it rained and they saw the fire works at night.

July 5, 1910

Visited following points of interest, Capitol and Senate Chamber, Congressional Library, Bureau of Printing and engraving where all our paper money, stamps etc. are made.  700 people work on one floor making green backs.  Went to the top of Washington Monument, highest piece of Mason work in the world, height 555 feet.  Theatre where Lincoln was shot by Booth, US treasury, one of the vaults contains 150,000,000 in silver.  Machine used for destroying old paper money, each day $250,000,000 of paper money is destroyed and replaced by that amount of new money.  Total weight of all coin 550,000 tons.

July 6, 1910

Visited following places:  Was through the White House, State war and navy building.  Saw original copy of In/e, Thomas Jefferson’s desk and sword, flag used at Fort Sumter.  Went down to Potomac River on steamer to Mount Vernon, saw tomb where rests George and Martha Washington.  Their old barn built 1735, coach, family kitchen with fireplace, cooking utensils, sword used by Washington in Rev. Bed where George and Martha died, old family spinning wheel, smoke house etc.

July 7, 1910

Went back to Harrisonburg on train, then walked about 12 miles where we stopped at a farmhouse.  During the night bedbugs were out in full blast.  Elder Whitby told me next morning the bugs were on him as thick as hope, but I told him that every time I raised the bed quilts and whistled I could see them running like sheep.

July 8, 1910

Walked all-day and spent the night with a family near Brandy Wine.

July 9,1910

Traveled on and spent the night near the own of Franklin with Brother Harliman

Held a meeting here and did their washing.  Frank said, “I have been reading in the bible today that a man is a coward who will hit a woman with anything smaller than an ax.

They traveled on west and stayed with Brother Davis and said, “I have just learned that if you want all the people to know all about your business, all you have to do is to tell your wife and instruct her not to tell a soul, and you can depend on it that the news will spread like lightning.”

They worked around in this district for a few days then they started out again.  Arrived in Elkins late at night, having walked about 30 miles that day.  Got their mail.

One day they ate so many blackberries that they were compelled to lie down under the trees before they could go on.

They ate dinner with a man who thought they were, “Josephites” and he treated us find, but when he found out that we were, “Brighamites” he drops to about 45 degrees below zero and was a poor conversationalist.

They walked to Buckhannon, then to Alexander, where they met a man who raised corn.  He told them that, “I raised a heap, sold a pile and got a right smart left.”

When they were going to Mill Creek, they saw a man who was plowing on a hill that looked so steep that Frank said, “I would be afraid to walk across his farm without spurs on my feet.”

They helped Mr. Bennett pick blackberries; also they helped Baxter White drag hay.  Frank said, “Brother White uses a grape vine for a rope, and instead of hauling the hay on a wagon, he drags it to the stack, with a horse and this grape vine.  Later, because part of Brother Whites farm is on a steep hill, he rolls his hay down the steep hill like rolling a large snow ball.”  Saw a man going to the gristmill with a bushel of corn on his back.  They stayed with Marlin Riffle and Frank said, “During the night I tried to talk to gospel to him but he didn’t enthuse, all he would talk about was ‘hogs and corn’.”

They labored in this area and battled the bed bugs at night.  Then they rode the train from Beverly to Kerens and walked to the Penningtons where they labored for a while.

August 31, 1910

We held baptismal services today at the house of Brother Pennington, after which we walked to the river and I baptized his son Corbett and in the evening we held a meeting with Henry Pennington, I gave a general talk on Mormonism.

September 2, 1910

Brother Pennington walked with us to the top of Cheat Mountain this morning to show us a cut off to Dry-Fork and when we reached the summit, he returned home and Elder Whitmby and I went on, traveling over an old log road till we came to the main road again. From there we walked to the home of Seymore Wyatt.  Elder Whitby declared he was ‘all in’ when we arrived at Mr. Wyatt’s.

September 3, 1910

This morning we blessed the hole Wyatt family, excepting the father and mother, there were seven children.  Mrs. Wyatt invited us to stay today because there was a bad rainstorm but we thought it best to go on, so we traveled all day in a bad storm arriving at Brother Jethro Davis late in the evening.

September 5, 1910

Washday.  I saw a pitchfork today with a handle 3 ½ inches thick, and over 30 feel long with two tines.  This pitchfork resembles the gig that we used to gig suckers in the Provo River, and these people use it to top out the haystacks.

September 6, 1910

Today I helped Brother Davis dig 52 bushels of potatoes with a how which is a new style of digging potatoes and not a very good style either but will do for West Virginia or China.  I tried to induce Brother Davis to use a pitchfork instead of a hoe but he refused to do so.  I believe he thought that would be too easy.

September 7, 1910

Nine months ago today I landed in Fairmont with a brand new suit of clothes and a plug hat, which was about 2 sizes too small for me.  (I wish it was 29)  worked part of the day sawing wood for Brother Davis. Held meeting in school house and I spoke on ‘Revelation’.

September 9, 1910

Traveled on train to Hendricks and walked to then town of Parsons, where we bought a large watermelon and carried it out of town.  We ate it under some trees.  While we were going through town we created considerable amusement for some of the people.  We walked to the home of Brother Pennington. Traveled up the Cheat River today toward Elkins, we came to a ford where we took of our shoes and waded across while two women stood on the porch nearby and laughed at us.  Passed through the town of Elkins and arrived at the home of Charles Herron.  Brother Heron ask us to help him build his house so we borrowed some tools, which consisted of one ax, hatchet, square, 2 saws, one saw set, file, pocket knife and a spike maul.  I bought a new plug hat today.  Blessed one of Brother Herron’s children.

Several days later they had a baptismal service where they baptized Charlie Watkins and Sylvan Pennington.  They also blessed children of these families.

September 10, 1910

While we were working today I tried to drive a nail with the hatchet but I missed the nail and it my thumb.  The first thing that I thought of was to yell like and Indian, but instead of doing that, I laid the hatchet down and counted to ten and then I said, “Damn it!”

September 11, 1910

Held meeting with Joe Ross and I spoke on “Charity”, after the meeting Elder Whitby and I went to an orchard and stole some apples.  After we had eaten them we decided that we had not done a very charitable act, so Elder Whitby advised me not to speak on ‘Charity’ anymore.

They worked for three more days on the house, helping Brother Herron to chase a pig down and also doing their missionary work in the evening or whenever they could.  Frank went to Elkins on train, returning the next day and worked on the house for several more days.  Blessed babies and held more funeral services for people who had been buried 2 years before.  Frank said,” There was a man who told me today that one of his friends had ‘done, gone, clean, plumb, bug house’.”

September 27, 1910

Today we held a meeting on the banks of the Beaver Creek and after the meeting we baptized Albert Lee Garvin and his half sister Matilda Westfall.  I learned how to make maple syrup today.

September 30, 1910

We went out in the woods today and saw a tall tree which was full of Chestnut burrs so I told Elder Whitby to climb the tree and knock some down which he did and we had all we could eat of them and our pockets full besides and we hid some under an oak tree for tomorrow.

October 1, 1910

This morning early we went out where we hid the chestnuts last night band brought them to the house and put them in our grips so we could have plenty of them to eat as we traveled, but Elder Whitby at too much of them and was sick.

They labored several more days around this area and in Huttenville, then went on train to Kerens where they walked to Brother Pennington’s.  Held funeral services for ladies who had passed away 2 years ago; baptized the wife of Charles Watkins (Kate) and Miss Mary Watkins (daughter).  Brother Pennington invited them to go hunting coons that night, “So after supper we started with five dogs, an, one lantern, shotgun, matches and pocket knives, etc.  we were out all night.  About 7:30 the dogs treed a ‘Coon’ in a tall sugar Maple and we were not able to see Mr. Coon.  We decided to build a fire under the tree and wait till morning so we could see to shoot.  Several times during the night my plug hat came very near being stepped on for I took it off.  Henry Pennington said that he could see the coon.  It was all very exciting and we spied Mr. Coon, perched on a limb.  As soon as it got light enough to see we opened fire on him , but when he fell out of the tree we were disappointed for instead of a large coon, we had killed a small cub.

October 8, Frank started keeping an account book, record book of the missionary work they had accomplished during the week.  During this time he was in Kerens.  It was very interesting to note the pamphlets and Liahona’s they distributed and books of Mormon sold, families visited, and re-visited, hours spent in tracting, hours in Gospel conversation, hours with the saints, number of Gospel conversations, hall meetings, cottage meetings, open air meetings, children blessed, baptisms, and also he kept a good record of the miles they traveled.  Hours of study were another thing that was kept in this book.

October 14, 1910

Traveled up the Cheat River in the ford and after taking off our shoes and wading the river we walked to the town of Elkins where we went on the train to Beverly and I left Elder Whitby here and traveled on down to Mill Creek where I expected to get some underwear from Utah by mail, but was disappointed.  Spent the night with Lewis Kaylor.  Met Elder Whitby next day at Charlie Herron’s home.  Labored here at the home of George Herron, they say that there was a battle fought here near the house in the Civil War.

October 18, 1910

We baptized the wife of George Herron today in Beaver Creek, and administered to the sick wife and child of Lee Garvins.

October 19, 1910

We filled our pockets and grips with apples this morning and started for Charleston.

October 21, 1910

We traveled about 21 miles today and passed by two towns and one of them is named Wild Cat and the other is called Bull Town.  Spent the night at Falls Mill.  Weather is cold.  Started out the next morning early, but traveled on the wrong road 6 miles.  Traveled about 30 miles.  Was very tired and weary but was given entertainment just south of the town of Sutton.

October 23, 1910

Had dinner with a man who treated us well, and seemed to be interested in our message.  He informed us that 3 of our Elders had passed by his place yesterday on their way to Charleston.  Had a hard time to get entertainment, but finally did.

October 24, 1910

Walked from Tale to within about 6 miles of Big Sandy, and about dark we started to ask for entertainment and kept on asking until we got to Big Sandy.  After trying the people of the town to take us in we decided rather than lay out we would go to the hotel, which we did about 9 o’clock.

October 25, 1910

Today we passed about 20 different freighters who were driving teams and they were driving ox teams.  This was a great sight to both of us.  The three Elders who were ahead of us traveled down the Elk River while we took off through the country from Framtown and cut off about 25 miles and got a day ahead of them in this way.  Spent the night near Clendenon, 12 miles from Charleston.

October 26, 1910

Arrived at Charleston about 1 o’clock this afternoon, very tired and weary having walked about 200 miles and averaged about 25 miles a day.  We were the first to arrive there for our conference.  Elder Whitby and I both looked pretty though when we arrived for our clothes were dirty and faded.  We spent the next three days resting and cleaning up, also visiting the Capitol and taking pictures of ourselves.

Sunday, October 30, 1910

President Rich arrived here today.  President Rich met with all the Elders of both conferences and gave us very good advice.  He held several meetings with the Elders.  I enjoyed his sermons.

November 1, 1910

Left Charleston by train and traveled to Fairmont where I rested for a day, then we held a conference in the south side drug store.

November 4, 1910

President Jensen told me today that I was to labor in Wetzel County with Elder Jones, and that we were to leave about November 7.

November 5, 1910

President Jensen changed his mind today and told me he wanted me to stay in Fairmont and help him with the work in the office, to take care of the books, get the Elders mail to them, write letters, etc.

Sunday, November 6, 1910

Elder Hones and I went on train to Hundred and walked to Church’s Fork, where we held Sunday school in the afternoon and held a meeting in the evening in a school house.  Worked in the office several days with President Jensen.  Elder Kessler and his wife arrived to do missionary work.

Frank worked in the office one day and then went with either Elder Kessler or President Jensen to held meetings and do missionary work.  President Jensen and Frank boarded with the Kessler’s.  Frank said that Mrs. Kessler did the cooking, but he figured he could do as good or better with his hand tied behind his back.  Apparently, Mrs. Kessler could not get along with anyone and as Frank said, “she looks as if she would make a fellow ‘thrash his beans’.”

Frank bought a new suit of clothes and said he felt pretty good.  They seemed to have good response from their missionary labors at this time.  They held singing practice also.  On December 5, Frank said he got the spirit of ‘Poetry Today’, so he wrote some poetry to Rose. Then said, “Sister Kessler is getting full of thunder.”

December 7, 1910

Just one year ago today I landed in Fairmont, ‘Hurrah’, I wish it was two years.  Sister Kessler is getting full of ‘Old Nick’.

December 19, 1910

Went on train to Moundsville, where I met Elders Cheny and Cannon and while there I visited the large mound which was built by the ancient inhabitants of the country and I also went through the state penitentiary which was a very good sight.  Came back to Fairmont in the evening.

December 25, 1910

Christmas today and everybody is happy.  Held Sunday school in the home of Mr. Brown and then President Jensen and I had dinner at Brother Nelsons home where we had a very enjoyable time.  After supper was over we held a meeting at his home.

December 28, 1910

Held a meeting tonight with Brother Downey.  Spoke on ‘Church Organization’.  After the meeting we had a very hard time getting back to our room for the mud is very deep.

This was the last entry he made in this journal, but he went on to keep his record book up to date and it is interesting to note that he probably worked in Fairmont in the office until April 11 when he went to Morgantown, traveling 44 miles in one week.  These are names of towns he was at for the next few months, averaging the miles he covered each week, around 50 or 60 miles.  The towns were:  Hannahsville, Kerens, Sanesville, Franklin, Hoorefield, Berkley Springs, Rock Eneon, New Creek, Parsons, Beverly, Jane Jew, Centralia, Removal and finally to Fairmont where apparently he finished his mission.  The last entry was in November and by that time he had his trunk checked.  It would be interesting to note that during the time he started to keep this record book they had 6 baptisms.  He estimated that he had traveled an estimated 8,375 miles, and judging from his journal the biggest percentage of those miles were on foot.  He must have worn out the shoe leather.

When he was finished with his mission he returned to Salt Lake City where he met my Mother and I, we had come from Canada.  He had arranged before his mission was finished that his Father in Utah would purchase a piece of land in Mapleton, Utah.  That is where we went and we lived in a red brick building, not far from our farm and until my Father could build a home for us.  When the house was finished we moved into it and there we lived until after the death of my Mother and Father.

Frank Milton Johnson 1881

History of

Frank Milton Johnson 1881

— Compiled by Jennie V. Johnson Harding

Frank M JohnsonFrank Milton, son of Aaron and Louisa Meletiah (Whiting) Johnson, was born in Springville, Utah, 25 October 1881.  He had seven brothers and two sisters.  One sister was buried at an early age, somewhere near the Grand Canyon of the Colorado.  Her name was Winnifred.  His living sister was named Claudia (Toss).  His brothers were Wayne, Willis, Elmer, Hugh, Louis, Leland and Bryan.

Franks mother said he was very slow in talking and he was very shy.  One time when he was perhaps, five or six years old, he attended a primary dance.  He didn’t have any shoes of his own nor any other respectable clothes, so his mother and sister, Claudia fixed him up with some of his older brothers clothing, which were woo big for him and this made him feel worse than ever, he wore Claudia’s shoes, (and they were too big).  He definitely did not want to go, but his family got him ready and sent him anyway.  I guess he suffered until shame and embarrassment, and then to add to his discomfort, some pretty little girls tried to get him to dance.  He refused and his face was as red as a beet.  The girls were quite insistent and tried to pull him on the floor.  After this experience he avoided girls whenever possible.

At the age of nine years, Frank was kicked by a horse, and lost the sight in one eye.  In later years it caused him to have a lot of pain and problem with it.  He was chopping a tree down in Little Diamond Canyon and a chip flew and hit his blind eye.  He couldn’t see it coming with his blind eye, so it hit him squarely in the eye.  It caused him so much pain and infection set in.  he finally had to have a specialist, in Provo operate and remove his eye.  He wore a glass eye for the rest of his life, and that was very miserable and painful at times.

As a young boy his family lived in Springville, Hobble Creek and Mapleton.  His father built a rock house up in Hobble Creek Canyon.  As a boy he probably enjoyed playing in that beautiful canyon.  (I was never able to find out much about his childhood.)  I do know that he had to fend for himself a lot as a young boy, because his Father never made much of a living for the family, because he was always putting on plays, for which he turned the proceeds of the play over to some worthy charity or church, so his mother was away a lot trying to earn money for her family.  She was a very literary woman.  She was a telegraph operator, schoolteacher, and canvassed with books during the winter months.

(This is what was said about Louisa Melita Whiting Johnson.  She was correspondent for the Deseret News for 30 years and was well known as a writer of description and humorous verses, was an earnest worker in the Primary, Mutual and Relief Society organizations.)

About 1900 or 1901, Frank’s father Aaron Johnson gathered their belongings together and put them in a freight train car, along with cattle, horses, etc. and since they were too poor, he put his boys in that freight car also.  Frank was one of the boys.  They all came to Canada that way.  Aaron rode in the passenger car.  I will add what Uncle Elmer put in his history about that trip.  This is how he described it.  There were four of the boys, Frank, Elmer, Hugh and Louis.  All their horses and cows were put in a railroad car along with machinery and household effects etc.  They put one wagon bed down, then turned another one, bottom side up, over the first one and so it made a nice little room.  The boys rode in the wagon.  It says in his history that their father rode in the caboose.  (I guess it was quite a common thing in those days, that when a family was migrating to Canada that they put their children in the chartered railroad cars to save fare, since most families could not afford the fares anyway.)  Uncle Elmer states that it was January when they started for Canada and the weather was warm and beautiful when they got to Idaho Falls they run into a terrible story.  It was way below zero.  Everything froze up including the boys.  They covered themselves with quilts, but the cold penetrated.  They traveled for three days to Great Falls, Montana eating their frozen bread.  Aaron was very concerned about his boys.  When they got to Great Falls, they had to transfer to a narrow gage railroad.  While the boys got out of the car, their legs wouldn’t support their bodies, after having to sit in such a cramped position, in the cold, for so long.  Lewis the youngest seemed to be the worst, he couldn’t walk and he rolled down and embankment.  They went to town and went to a restaurant for a good meal.  While they were waiting for the meal to be served, Elmer points out, that the waitress brought them some glasses with water and cubes of ice.  He said he would never forget the sound of tinkling ice in the glass.  What they needed was something hot, not cold!  They did get a nice hot dinner and stayed overnight in a hotel.  That night another terrible storm hit and so they had to crawl back in their car again and brave the cold and it was bitterly cold.  That is how they came to Canada.

When they arrived at the Canadian line at the customs office, the customs man asked Aaron, “Who is Frank Johnson, Elmer Johnson, Hugh Johnson, and Louise Johnson?”  Aaron said they are my boys.  “Well, said the customs man, bring Frank here.”  Aaron had to go back and get Frank.  They found out that Aaron was smuggling his boys in, so they got the boys and put them in the passenger car, and so they said they would have to get off at the next station, which was Stirling, and that is where they wanted to go anyway.  Will Knight met them at the station.  He invited them to go to his home in Raymond and get warm.  He also invited them to make camp in his yard, and they also gave them supper.  When they were unloading the car, the horses took a beeline back to Utah.  Some of the neighbors went after them and brought them back all except two colts.

Elmer stated that Canada was a nice farming area, and that first year was a wonderful year, they had rain when they needed it.  The next year wasn’t so good, it was dry and they didn’t raise very much.

They found out that they could homestead at Woodpecker Siding, (Now called Barnwell) Frank and Willis took some land there, Aaron and the other boys settled on a homestead one mile west of Taber and was called Johnson Addition (and still goes by that name).

They had to take out citizenship papers to be able to homestead.

Franks mother and two younger brothers came to Canada when his father and brothers were settled on their homesteads.  His younger brothers were Leland and Bryan.

At this time, according to Elmer, there were only six or seven homes in Taber, and also at this time Taber went by the name of “Tank 77”, and a barrel of water cost 25 cents.

Taber grew with the new farming and homesteading operations, and then because great coal mine veins were discovered.  The big Canada West mine was built at a cost of one million dollars.  There were many other little mines around the country so Taber became a booming little town by 1906-1907.  There were five hotels and twelve “Real Estate offices” as well as all the usual things that go with booming towns.

The mine supplied the town with electricity.  A few years later a better coal discovery was found in Drumheller, which started taking the business away from Taber.  By that time Taber had signed up with Calgary power for electricity.  The old Canada West mine was of no use anymore, so a Mr. Carmichael put some dynamite under the base of this beautiful C.W. smokestack and this was the end of the mine, but many homesteaders pioneers worked in this mine and were able to make a living to supplement poor crops and bad years.

Frank worked in the mines and later delivered meat for J. B, Jett in a little flat buggy.  His route took him one mile west of Taber, right on Johnson Addition.  Many people lived there so it was a profitable place to go.  When he arrived all the dogs would smell the meat and would follow him.  He nicknamed this place Dog Town, and it still goes by that name.

Frank had a good sense of humor, and was also a good actor.  He liked to perform and entertain.  Whatever he did in the form of entertainment he would do it in all seriousness, never once cracking a smile.  I can remember the comic readings he used to give in programs, and also how much people enjoyed listening to his stories.  He didn’t like to hear malicious gossip and would always come to the defense of the accused.  I never heard him say an unkind thing about anyone.  He was very good at mimicking anyone in his or her own dialect could do that to perfection.

In a crowd he was very quiet and shy, he didn’t do much talking, he was the kind of man that never let his left hand know what his right hand was doing.  He helped so many poor families in Mapleton and was always doing for others.  I feel sure that he was the same as a young man.

Frank met Rose Hannah Francis and I am told that they both fell for each other almost as soon as they met, and I understand that right soon Aaron Johnson put on the firs play in Taber, entitled “Kathleen Mauvarneen”, where Frank took the part of the hero and Rose the heroine, and that was where they both fell in love with each other.  They probably had a very interesting courtship, but since I don’t know anything about it, I can’t tell it.  I do know that Rose had very high ideals and she would not talk of getting married unless they could go through the temple.  She also wanted Frank to go on a mission.  The story I hears was that she made him promise that he would go on a mission after they were married.  Apparently they left for Salt Lake City on the train to be married in the Salt Lake Temple, but when they arrived, they couldn’t go through the temple just then because Rose was sick so they went to visit relatives a few days and when they got back to the temple it was closed for the holidays so they came back home without getting married when Grandma Francis heard that they weren’t married, she said, “Well, I have the reception already and so you will have to get married right here in Taber.”  So they were married on the 8th day of May 1907.  That same year in December they went down to the Salt Lake Temple and were sealed for all time and eternity.

On July 7, 1908, Jennie was born.  On this same night John Henry Russel left for a mission.  He was the husband of Josephine, Roses beloved sister.  They had a little baby, Norma, who was 8 or 9 months old.  John Henry Russel’s mother was the midwife for Rose.  The cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck, so that there was little life left in the baby.

Rose and Frank must have purchased a small home on the north of town.  It had board sidewalk around it and it must have been a cozy little place to live.  It was close to Roses family home.  Frank worked in the mine and delivered meat for J.B. Jett.

Rose and Frank performed in many of the plays that Aaron Johnson put on.  They both loved this and I am sure that they had a lot of fun.  They used to travel a lot from town to town.  Someone would always go ahead to pass out flyers and advertisements in the next town about their play.  In this way it was well advertised before they got there.  They would stay overnight in a hotel.  Plays were so popular at that time an Aaron Johnson put on some splendid plays by the way that was his love of life.  He himself was born to be an actor and it was passed down to his family.  Frank dearly loved to act in plays, in fact he was right at home.  The best of his acting was in comedy; he could do it so well without ever cracking a smile.

Aaron Johnson’s troop traveled as far as British Columbia at times taking their plays from town to town.  Frank was always on these trips.  They had to have little skits in between acts to keep the audience entertained.  Frank and his friend Milt Scott put on a little skit that went over big with the audience.  Their skit was called, Sullivan the Slugger.  They were to come on the stage in a boxing match.  One night Frank told one of his friends that he was going to put Milt in the orchestra pit that night.  During the fight Frank maneuvered him to the front of the stage and worked him over until he finally slugged him into the orchestra pit, then Frank got down on his hands and knees and peered over first, one side of the stage, then the other side of the stage.  This brought hilarious laughter from the audience, and was so successful they wanted it repeated.

They used to really enjoy themselves in their hotel rooms.  Charley Edwards was telling me of such an incident.  Frank was playing the clarinet and Charley was doing a jig.  (The floor in this hotel room was very flimsy and there was a chandelier hanging on the ceiling of the room just below their room.)  The chandelier began to dance and swing and so the landlady hat to rush upstairs to save her chandelier.  They were ordered to have their fun in a quieter way.  They were playing the tune, “Turkey in the Straw”.

One time when they were on tour with a play, Rose was with them this time.  They were driving through Magrath.  As they were driving through the main street, the townspeople came out and were watching them, so my father got his clarinet out and was playing for the people and bowing low to everyone on each side of the street.   His companions were always laughing at his antics, while he would never crack a smile.

With a group of their friends they took a trip to Waterton Lakes one summer.  They all went in wagons so it took a long time to get there.  On the trip Frank got ahead of them and gave them all a big scare, when he ambushed them, but of course they all had a good laugh.

When Rose and Rank were married they received a very beautiful China lamp for a wedding gift.  One night as they sat in their cozy little home, they lit their lamp.  It started to sputter and act up, Frank grabbed it and threw it out the door, and then he ran for his gun and shot it to pieces.

Frank played the clarinet very well, and he loved hand music and was always in the band of the town he was living in.  I believe it was the Lethbridge band he was in, while he was there in Taber.  (I see that there is a picture of that band in the museum in Lethbridge and sure enough my Father is in that band.  They had very smart uniforms.)  He loved the clarinet and I believe his favorite was Mendelssohns, “Spring song”, also another one of his favorites was “Kathleen Mavourneen”.  He liked to sing, “Asleep in the Deep”.

Frank and Willis (my fathers older brother) used to go duck hunting and this is one of their catches for one day.  He was a great hunter and also loved fishing.  I imagine many of his friends enjoyed some of these ducks also.  (I guess there were a lot of ducks and no restrictions on the amount a person wanted.)

Frank worked on a construction project one summer, building the McLean Bridge over the river.  He took Rose and ‘Little Jennie’ as he called me, and we lived in a sheep wagon with a covered top.  There were probably a lot of families living down there at that time, a little girl named Della VanOrman said she used to come over and play with me.

Frank left for his mission, probably in the fall of 1909.  I understand I was about one and one half years old.  He filled his mission in West Virginia and he went without purse or script, but he must have had some money because another place I read that he had sold all of his holdings, and had saved some money from his work.  Rose took Jennie and went to live with her Parents.  Her sister Josephine was living there also with her little girl, her husband was still on his mission.  Rose did take in sewing.  Josephine worked in a store.

Frank started to keep a diary on January 1, 1910.  These missionaries had very little money to get along with, so they had to rely a lot on the people to give them entertainment as they called it – anyone who would invite them to meals and to stay overnight.  They had to walk everywhere and they usually followed the railroad tracks.  They depended a lot on cottage meetings.  When they had to attend missionary conferences they would sometimes have to walk the full length of West Virginia for it.  They never seemed to mind all the walking, but it must have worn out a lot of shoes.  He seemed to enjoy the work and according to his diary he worked very hard and really tried to do his best.  He seemed to see the funny side to things and I guess you have to have a sense of humor to be able to take all the hard knocks of missionary life.  He and his companion helped these poor mountain people to harvest their crops, or build on their homes, or whatever they had to do.  This probably helped them to do more missionary work with these people.  These backwoods people very simple and they all seemed to be poverty-stricken and maybe they were a bit lazy.  Many of their homes were so dirty, and were infested with many insect pests such as bed bugs, cockroaches’ etc.  One night Frank and his companion slept in a house that was so full of bed bugs that they could not sleep.  He said he would raise the covers and whistle and the bed bugs would run like sheep.  Many of these mountain folks would have some of their livestock living right in the same house with them, (chickens and pigs, so it must have been very uncomfortable staying in these homes._  One old man had a know hole in his floor and he was very expert in spitting his tobacco juice and hitting the mark every time he spit.

Often they had to sleep under the stars; they always tried to be near a river or stream so they would have some water to clean up with in the morning.  They would hang their mirrors on a knot in the tree, so they could see to shave and comb their hair etc.

One night when Frank and his companion were traveling though the forest, they had to stay and make their bed on the ground.  They kept a campfire burning all night for two reasons, one was so they could keep warm, and the other to keep a mountain lion away, it circled most of the night screaming, so they took turns sleeping, while the other kept watch and also kept the fire going.

He also had a bad itch, to add to his discomfort and misery.  He called it the ‘Mange’.  This itch plagued him a great deal; he said I have the habit of tracting all-day and scratching all night.

The last year of his mission, he spent in the office.  I don’t know what he did, he never said, but that year of 1911 he finished his mission.  One thing he did do before his mission was finished, he and his companion walked all the way over the Allegheny Mountains, over in to the state of Virginia to Shenandoah Valley, and their they caught the train into Washington D.C so they could see the sights there, but that was a tremendous walk, because I went over that same distance on a bus it is a long way.

In 1911 Frank finished his mission and he had arranged beforehand to meet Rose and Jennie in Salt Lake City.  It must have been a grand reunion.  Apparently Frank did not want to go back to Canada, so he had arranged for his Father, who was in Mapleton now, to purchase a five acre piece of land for him in Mapleton, Utah.  That is where we went.

Frank made arrangements with his brother Hugh to live in part of their home, until he could get a house built.  He built a four-roomed house with big windows in the front and a big long cemented porch in the front supported by big pillars.   We soon moved into this nice home.  Rose made it very elegant by putting lace curtains in the windows and we bought a Persian rug for our living room, a dining room set and brass beds.  Rose was a marvelous housekeeper and cook, everything that she cooked tasted so good.  Frank was a good carpenter because he made our home so beautiful.  Soon after we moved into this nice home Rose had another baby boy, but it was still born.

The following spring Frank and Rose planted trees, lawn and many varieties of nice shrubbery and flowers, and fruit trees of all kinds, raspberries, gooseberries, and currants.  They put cement sidewalks around our house; indeed it was a little garden spot.  Later he built a nice big barn and he purchased some more land, he was often hired out on carpenter jobs.

Two years later Rose was expecting another baby and she had been so homesick and blue for her family, so my Father decided that we would all go to Canada for the winter.

This was a great thing for Rose, she could spend the winter months with her dear parents and see her sisters and brothers but she was not well and on December 15,1914 Leo Frank Johnson was born.

They came back to Utah in the early spring.  Frank purchased some more land in Mapleton, ten acres of land that he used primarily to plant hay and we had at least 4 cuttings a year. He also started building up a herd of cattle.  It was about this time that he and his father and brother, became interested in a ranch up in Spanish Fork Canyon, mountain about Thistle where crops could be raised and a good place for cattle to graze in the summer.  I believe they must have taken it over in the Homestead Act because the land had to be grubbed before it could be used for farming.  I know we had to clear the land of sagebrush, willows and trees before crops could be planed.  This was really a good place to run cattle so every spring Frank would take his cattle to the ranch and every fall bring them back to the home place in the valley.  That is why he needed so much hay.  This ranch took him away form home so much of the time.  It was ‘Billie’s Mountain’, our beloved “Billie’s Mountain”.  They raised grain, hay, potatoes, etc. and all the Johnson family loved that place and had some very fond memories of it.  Robert Redford bought it in these last years.  It had a red and yellow soil covered with sage brush, the big strong sage, that grows to be more like trees, with cedar trees and occasional oak trees.  It had a magical attachment to it and everyone that lived there loved it dearly forever.

Lightening struck our beautiful home one time when my Father, Frank, was away, tearing a big ugly hole in our kitchen ceiling in front of our kitchen stove, right where Rose would be standing in a few more steps.  It was a frightening thing and so Rose immediately gathered her children around her, and knelt down to pray.  She was a very devoted woman; she loved Jesus Christ so deeply, and her great faith radiated from her very being.  I was very aware of this, even as a young child.  She talked to her children many times about the love she had for Jesus Christ.  I could never forget the great lessons she taught us.

On the 28th of May 1916, Rose had another baby, a little girl, Myrle.  We were all just delighted with her and she has been a delight ever since.

Frank liked to read and we always read together as a family.  We read church books, and the Bible and Book of Mormon and sometimes novels.  Reading time was a very special time in our family.  I can see us now in our beautiful home, my Father sitting in his easy chair that he had built himself, my mother sitting there with maybe some sewing or fancy work in her lap, and we children laying on the floor or sitting in the little rocking chairs our Father had made for us.  It was a very happy time.

Frank played in the Springville band, and we used to attend all the band concerts, usually in the park and the members of the band would go in the band stand and play those rousing numbers as we all sat around on the grass.

In April 1918, Rose received word that her Father was very ill, so she took Myrle and Leo and left he home with my Father, and went to Canada.  She stayed there for a month after her father died; I know she needed to visit with her family.

Frank had been taking the lead part in a play and he was the lover of a very lovely girl.  It really worried me, and it seemed to me that he had forgotten all about my Mother, so I wrote her a letter and told her that her husband was falling for this girl.  Well that brought her home promptly.  We were so glad to see her and the children; we had missed them so much.

At different times her sisters had come with their families and visited a while.  These were special occasions for all of us.  Sometimes Grandpa and Grandma Francis came also.  They were very special times.  Grandpa was so interesting, because he had a full beard and when he would sit in my fathers easy chair, he would be reading the paper and pretty soon the paper would begin to slip down on his rolly poly stomach and then he would begin to snore.  That was always so much fun to watch what happened with his beard.  He would suck it in his mouth hen he breathed in, and blow it out when he breathed out.  He was a tease so I always had a lot of fun with him.

Rose had another baby boy in June 1919.  they named him Samuel.  He only lived about a week and died on the 4th of July.  We were all broken hearted. The Dr. said he was born with a wear heart and so he said the baby couldn’t live very long.  It was very sad.

Rose and Frank used to plan to visit the temple sometimes in Manti, and they took the children along.  They would pitch a tent in the park cross the road from the temple, and then it was my job to take care of the children while they were in the temple.  Sometimes I would take the children and we would go and play on the steps of the temple.  Rose had an Aunt in Manti also, Aunt Elizabeth Braithwaite.  We children used to enjoy these trips very much.

Frank was one of the first ones in Mapleton to buy a car, and it was wonderful.  We were so proud of it.  Frank used to invite someone to go riding with us on Sunday afternoons, and so everyone enjoyed our car too.  We used to go to Lake Shore to visit Roses Uncle Joes’ family.  Frank used to say, “Let’s go to the Lake Shore and hear Uncle Joe laugh.”  (No one could laugh like him.)  Uncle Joe and Aunt Annie had such a big family, and most of them were married and had big families, so when we went to dinner down there, it was like joining the multitudes.  Aunt Annie would have this big long table set with just enough room for the adults, and the children would always have to wait for the second table, and everyone would be talking at one time.  One time Frank asked for someone to pass the bread, and no one heard him, so he asked again.  He asked about three times, so finally he got up and climbed up all the rungs of his chair and then onto the table and crawled clear to the end, got the bread and started back, and crawled quietly down in his chair, by this time everyone had stopped talking and sitting there aghast.  He was a good actor and was very agile and he was very able to do things like that, never cracking a smile, acting like it was a very serious thing he was doing, even though everyone around the table were acting hilarious with laughter.

Now that Frank and Rose had a car, they visited relatives often.  We went to Eureka to visit Roses Aunt Hannah Fields and her family, and also to American Fork to visit Aunt Rose Hannah (Francis) Grant, and her large family.  She had 18 children, (no twins or triplets).  Sometimes Rose prepared big feasts and invited some of them to our place.

The car was so wonderful we could get to our destination in half the time.

Rose used to have dreams about her Father.  In her dreams she talked with her Father and he told her of the great urgency of the work on the other side, and how they needed more help there and that he would come for Josephine very soon, but as it happened my Mother was called first to go because it wasn’t long after that, that my mother passed away.  She knew she was going to die because she was expecting another baby, and she was not well.  She talked to me one day and said she didn’t feel like she was going to make it.  It made me feel very badly, but she talked to me and told me many things she hoped I would do as I grew up, such as safeguarding my virtue, and living righteously.  Especially she asked me to take good care of my brother and sister.

My mother was very affectionate; she seemed to love us all so much.  She used to tell me many times about the Second Coming of Christ and how she looked forward to his coming.  She loved the Gospel so much.  As I talked to my Mother I could sense the great concern she had for leaving her children and how she hoped they would love the gospel.

On may 27, 1920 Rose gave birth to a little baby girl (still born) and then she also passed away, she had been so very sick.  This was a terrible blow to our family.  It seemed to me that when my Mother passed away that part of my Father died with her.  It just seemed that something was missing from him, but he did try very hard to keep our family together and teach us right principles.  Frank was so broken up that all he could do at first was to walk up and down the road and he was so sad.

Grandma Francis, Uncle Ted and Uncle Jack came for the funeral.  Grandma wanted to take Myrle back with her but Frank could not let her go, she was the sunshine of our family and we needed her.

We tried very hard to get along without our Mother, and it was very hard because I had never worked in the home with my Mother.  I had always worked outside with my father so I didn’t know how to do very little cooking.  Aunt Alice came over to help me learn how to make bread etc.  So Frank decided to go over to Uinta Basin where Grandpa and Grandma Johnson were living and bring them back to Mapleton.  I think they wanted to get back anyway.  We brought Grandma back with us.  Grandpa followed later.  Grandma was not at all well.  She was 70 years old at that time.  She could not stand to work very long; she had to lie down so Frank built a bunk bed in the kitchen.  Her potato soup was delicious.  She had funny ways of cooking and we were so used to my Mothers delicious cooking.  I soon learned to do things, to cook and take care of the home and my brother and sister.

Frank soon built a home for them the other side of our orchard, so they could go and live peaceable lives, as they should, Grandma made it beautiful with lovely flowers.

I learned to take care of the home and cook and Frank said we could buy some new linoleum for the kitchen floor, it was a pretty blue checkered and it was so much fun to keep it clean.  We used to have chocolate ice cream a lot, Frank loved it and he always made it.  We always shared it with someone, either by inviting someone in or taking the freezer to someone’s place.  We used to go to a lot of shows and vaudeville in Provo, and there again Frank always invited someone to go with us; someone who was lonely or too poor to pay their own way.  Sometimes he would take our last dollar to brighten someone’s life and he was always taking groceries and needful things to the poor people and laving it on their doorsteps, then he would run so no one knew who gave it.  I guess that was the great joy he got out of life.

Every summer we left Mapleton and went to work either in the timber or on Billie’s Mountain.  It was like Frank could not bear to be in Mapleton.

Frank was a real artist in many ways, besides acting and giving readings and loving band music, he had an orchestra in Mapleton and he used to take the orchestra and play for dances.  I guess he taught many young men to play the clarinet.  He used to whistle just like a bird in programs.  He was very good at that and he used to whistle to the tune of “The Mocking Bird”.  It sounded just like a real bird.  He also loved to play Santa Claus.  He always did that service for the town in his Santa suit.  There was no doubt that he was completely at home on the stage.

Frank took great pride in keeping his yard to look nice and neat, with always a nice pile of neatly stacked wood for fuel.  He dept the church in fire wood too.  Some of the last years of his life he was the Sunday School Superintendent.

In 1924 he didn’t go into the timbers that year, he stayed mostly in the valley.  He seemed very discouraged but we did take a trip to the timbers where his brothers worked.  I think he longed to be in the mountains again.

One more thing that he loved to do was sing in barbershop quartets.

There was a mine disaster in Castle Gate, Carbon County, Utah, and many men were killed including his youngest brother Bryan.  He and his Father went down to get his remains, and bring him back home as well as his widow and children.  Frank then built a home for Aunt Hazel right by Grandpa’s home and his other brother Leland brought his family to Mapleton and Frank let them live in one room of our home for a year, then he built them a home.  He loved to help them not just with necessities, but also things that would bring them pleasure.  He was indeed a friend in need.  He was always so kind to his children.  I think he loved us beyond reason and he loved to make us happy with surprises.  He always made a big thing of Christmas.  He was always the town Santa Claus and then he played Santa Claus in so many ways that no one ever knew about.  He visited his own family in the role of Santa Claus and brought joy to our hearts.  The last five or six years of his life he was the Sunday School Superintendent.  He seemed to love this work.

Frank became very ill in January 1925.  He had been cutting trees, so when he finally came in the house he was already groaning with his legs paining so badly and he couldn’t seem to get warm.  We guilt up the fires and tried to give him some comfort, but he seemed to be getting worse, so we had to go for help.  We had the doctor come and he said he had double pneumonia and he was very sick.  Aunt Alice came over to nurse him and another Aunt Alice came to stay at night and Uncle Lewis did the cores.  Everyone was so good to us, but he didn’t seem to get any better.  The morning that he died he asked for me to come in and he had something he wanted to tell me.  He took my hand and told me that his whole life had passed before him just like a movie picture, and he had seen bands marching by, and he really felt that his life had been a failure.  I didn’t agree with him about that, but I didn’t know what to say, and then he told me that he didn’t think he was going to make it and so I felt terrible.  He asked me to take good care of my brother and sister and to remember what my Mother had told me, but I still believed he would get better.  A short time later, January 28, 1925 Aunt Alice came in and said that he had passed away.  We sure grieved over the death of this good man and I thought later that how can a man be a failure when all his life he went about doing good for his fellow men, oh how I wish I could have convinced him of that, but I hope I can tell his some day.

Grandmother Francis came and got my sweet little sister Myrle, and I went to Aunt Ella’s and Leo went to Aunt Alice and Uncle Lewis.  It was a hard life, but we did have good relatives that helped us and were good to us and as I look back over it now, I know we were blessed.  I knew that Frank and Rose were wonderful parents and we did know a lot of happiness in the short time we had our parents.

In a little booklet called, “Taber – Yesterday and today”, it states that “in July 1904, R. A. VanOrman was chosen as assistant Sunday School Superintendent and Josephine and Rose Francis were appointed to the Sunday School staff.”

Another entry in the same book was, “The first YMMIA was presided over by some Bennet.  Several other men succeeded him, then Frank Johnson was one of them.

One story I forgot to put in my Fathers history was one time when my parents had gone to visit Uncle Jo and Aunt Ann, there were a lot of cousins and friends.  The table was very long and everyone was talking all at the same time (as only family can), and my Father asked for the bread and no one heard him so after he had asked several times, but to no avail, he stood up crawled on his chair and then onto the table, and crawled down to the end of the table, got the bread, crawled back down on his chair, and calmly started eating.  Everyone had stopped talking and sat there aghast.  He was always an actor and was very able to do these things in such a way that people never forgot them, and they were always amused at his antics.

Aaron Johnson Sr 1806-1877 and Jane Scott 1822-1880


. . . by William Gallop—-

(Clerk under Bishop Johnson)

Aaron Johnson SrAaron Johnson, son of Didymus Johnson and Rheuma Stevens, was born at Haddam, Haddam, and Connecticut 22 June 1806.  His Grandfathers name was Stephen Johnson.

He moved into Middlesex County, Conn. about the time of the revolutionary war.  His forefathers on his Mothers side are supposed to have come from England about the same period.

Aaron Sr.’s childhood was one of toil and privation.  His parents were poor, but thrifty and had a large family were well, religiously taught.  But in consequence of their poverty and school facilities, the children received but limited education, (The subject of this sketch never having the advantage of but two or three terms of school winters before he was fourteen years of age.)

While very young, he was put at such work about the farm as he could do, such as driving a yoke of cattle hitched to a sled, hauling stones from the land or snaking logs off into piles to be burned.  At fourteen years of age he was bound out to Me. Schofield to learn a trade of making guns, at which he worked until he was twenty years of age.

During this term of seven years service, he gained the rudiments of a common education by studying at odd moments and attending night school.  He learned well in arithmetic by working problems with a piece of charcoal on the top of the bellows.

After his majority, he went to work for the Government, making musket barrels.  He joined the Methodist church in 1820 and was a faithful member of that denomination.  On the 13 of September 1827 he married Polly Zerviah Kelsey of Killingworth, Connecticut.

April 15, 1836 he and his wife wee baptized into the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  They visited the Kirtland, Ohio saints the following November and formed acquaintance with the Prophet Joseph Smith, which grew into the warmest friendship in later life.

He was ordained a seventy at Farwest Mo. in 1838 ordained a high priest and high counselor at Nauvoo, Ill. in 1842.  Took a mission in 1843.  Justice of Peace in Nauvoo, Ill. for four years.  President of Garden Grove, Ill. in 1846.  High counselor at Winter Quarters, Nebraska in 1847.  Took a mission, horseback, through Iowa, Ill., Indiana, Michigan and Ohio in 1848.  Bishop and President of Kanesville, and Pottawattomie Branch, Iowa in 1849-50, and went on a mission to New England States in winter of the same year.

At Far West, Missouri

He made another home, spending 500 dollars in cash upon it, which he was driven from in 1839, without receiving any reward for it and in addition to the loss of the property; he was compelled to lay down his weapons, in self-defense, to the state militia.  In Far West he was ordained a Seventy.  He moved from there in the general expulsion of the Saints from the state to Quincy, Ill. where he remained a short time.  On the 14 day of March 1839 he moved to Nauvoo then called Commerce, Ill.

During his first year at Nauvoo, he and his family suffered from chills and fever, very prevalent in that locality; for nine months he did not miss the shakes of this disease a single day.  In the meantime he built two log houses and made improvements besides doing all t he family work.  Then it was after the first year they enjoyed good health.  He remained in Nauvoo seven years, during which time he built two brick houses for himself and worked two years upon the temple there.

Served four years as Justice of the Peace; was one of the High Council; A staunch friend of the Prophet; and was with him at Carthage during his trials just previous to his martyrdom.

He took his first plural wife in Nauvoo in 1844, and the second in 28 January 1845.  In the spring on 1846, he left Nauvoo and his property worth $400.00 and received only $150.00 as remuneration.  He arrived at Garden Grove 12 May 1847 and made a home there.  In the next three years he made homes at several other places, including one at Winter Quarters.

aaron-johnson-1850He was Bishop at Garden Grove (or presiding officer), and cared for the poor and the families of them that went in the Mormon Battalion.  In the spring of 1850, he sold his property for $270.00 and started for Utah, in charge, of as Captain of about one hundred and thirty five wagons.  On the way up the Platt River, the company was visited with cholera, which made great ravages.  His first wife, Polly, and eldest son Willis Kelsey Johnson, died of cholera in a few days of each other.  The company arrived in Salt Lake City early in September 1850.

On the 18 September 1850, he and others came to and located Springville.  Just a few families came along with them.  The next year, 1851 he raised 600 bushels of wheat besides other crops.

The first work of a public nature was to build a fort around one acre and one quarter to protect the people from the Indians.  In 1851, much labor was performed in making water ditched, dams, and roads, into the various canyons.

He was appointed and ordained Bishop of Springville.  (The first one.)  He was elected Brigadier General of Peeteetneet District (Payson) of Militia.

In 1855 and 1866 he was appointed Major General of the Second Division of Utah Militia.  He took an active part in all the Indian wars of the territory, furnishing men and supplies, etc.  In 1861 and 62 he was appointed probate Judge of Utah county.  In 1861 he was chosen as one of the commission to draft a constitution for the provisional state, (Provisional State Government of Deseret (Utah).)

He took his last plural wife in March 1857, having at that time ten wives.  He served as a member of the legislature of Utah, from Utah County for seventeen consecutive years.  During the judicial usurpations and wrongs of Judge Cradlehaugh in 1859, Bishop Johnson and other officials of Springville were compelled to leave their homes and flee to the mountains to escape the unnatural provisions of the law.  The Judge was causing the arrest of our people and imprisoning them without trial.  A.F. McDonald and H.H. Kearns were confined in a loathsome dungeon at camp Floyd, a military Post, without trial.  Those that fled to the mountains did so to avoid the same fate and there they remained for some months when the excitement subsided and then they returned to their homes.

He was Postmaster for 17 years, also a High Counselor of the Provo Stake for 17 years, and held the office of Bishop of Springville for 17 years.

In the year of 1870, in consequence of failing health, Bishop Johnson resigned, and was succeeded as Bishop by William Bringhurst.  Bishop Johnson was a friend to the poor assisting them whenever applied to and many poor men in this country will say that Bishop Johnson gave him his first start in Utah.  He died on the 10 of May 1877 in his 71st year of his life.

The Autobiography of Aaron Johnson Sr.

taken from the “History of Springville” by Don Carlos Johnson (son)

In 1870 Bishop Johnson resigned his Bishopric in consequence of ill health.  He served the people long and faithfully.  He was a true friend to the poor.  He kept an open house for all travelers and was never known to charge for such accommodations as he could give.  Even the Indians, to whom he was an unfailing friend, always found food for man and horse at his house.  As many as forty, dusty braves have set at one time at his table.

When he was 61 years of age he had two dozen photographs of the smaller size taken upon the backs of which he wrote a concise autobiography and gave to some of his nearest friends.  This Autobiography is here added verbatim:

“Aaron Johnson, born in Haddam, Conn., June 22, 1806.  Joined Methodist, 1820; the LDS Church in 1836.  Ordained an Elder at Kirtland, Ohio, 1837.  Ordained a Seventy at Far West, Mo., in 1838.  Ordained a High Priest; and High counselor at Nauvoo, Ill., for four years.  President of Garden Grove, Ill., in 1846.  High counselor at Winter Quarters, Nebraska, in 1847.  Took mission for the Church, by horseback, through Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio, in 1848.  Bishop and Pres. of Kanesville and Pottawattamie Branch, Iowa in 1849-50, and went on mission to New England in Winter of 1849.  Captain of a company of 135 wagons across the plains to SLC in 1850 Judge of Utah County for four years.  Bishop and Postmaster for Springville for 17 years.  High Counselor of Provo Stake of Zion for 17 years.  Member of the Legislative Assembly for 17 years.  Delegate to constitutional convention to draft constitution for state of Deseret.  Held three military commissions under Governor Ford of Ill.  Elected Brigadier General, Payson Military District in 1857, and commissioned Major General in 1866 by Charles Durkee, Governor of Utah.  Now in my 61 year when this picture was taken; have nine wives and 48 children.  Enjoy the best of health.  Still hold the office of Bishop, Postmaster and High Counselor and several ordinations and Major General, and still look forward and upward.

A. Johnson”

Aaron Johnson Sr. . . Died May 10, 1877 at the age of 71.


(Second wife of Aaron Johnson Sr.)

As near as we can learn, Jane Scotts family came from Scotland to Nova Scotia in 1705.  One Andrew Scott was at Fort Fontenac (Now Kingston, Canada).  We may therefore infer that when Evangeline and her fellow exiles were banished from Acadia, some of the ancestors of Jane Scott must have pushed up the St. Lawrence River.  We learn from good authority that Scotch people did trapping for pelts in New Brunswick, Canada.  Sir William Johnson, of Johnson Hall, led a company of English soldiers against the French at Lake George in 1755.  Met a Scotch family there.  When the war became too hot they moved to Mohawk Valley, New York, we have from one report.  A Scotch family made their way to Central New York where George Scott and Rebecca Robinson were born.  They were the parents of Jane Scott.  Now this Scotch lassie, Jane was born at West Pike, Livingston County, New York, 10 July 1822.  Often I heard my Mother tell of how she and other young people used to coast down the Hill Cumorah in wintertime, long, long ago.  When Jane was 16 years of age, she heard the Prophet Joseph Smith telling in eloquent terms of the new faith and she was converted, and baptized.

So leaving home and all her girlhood friends, she worked her way by cooking, on a log raft that floated down the Mongahela and Allegeney and Ohio rivers to Kirtland then the rallying place of the Latter Day Saints.  Jane journeyed from there down to Nauvoo, Illinois in 1843. Where she was employed as a schoolteacher.  One of her pupils was the late Joseph F. Smith of the LDS Church. (President)

Here Jane met Esquire Aaron Johnson and they were married and sealed in the Nauvoo Temple, 28 January 1845 by Heber C. Kimball and witnessed by Orson Hyde.

Aaron Johnson Sr. and family crossed Iowa in wagons constructed of wood and rawhide only.  They went to Council Bluffs and thence to Winter Quarters where in 1847 July 1, Don Carlos was born.  President Young sent Aaron back to Garden Grove to preside over a stake of Zion there.  There Aaron Jr. was born 22 May 1850 just before Captain Johnson left on that arduous journey across the plains. At that time 135 wagons led by Aaron Johnson were working westward along the Platt River, 18 persons died in just 17 days, of cholera.  Polly Zerviah Kelsey Johnson and her son Willis Kelsey were among the lost.  (The first wife and son of Aaron Johnson Sr.)

My mother Jane Scott sang an anthem over their lonely grave.  When Laura, Willis Kelsey’s widow reached Salt Lake in 1850, she gave birth to a son, Willis K. Johnson Jr. Sq, Jane my Mother, had to look after Laura’s baby and her own son Aaron Jr., for a time.  Now Jane lived in a fort until 1852, when Aaron Johnson Sr. now a Bishop, built a two story house on H.M. Dougall corner in Springville.  Here Mother taught kindergarten for a time.  Polly her first daughter was born 24 September 1854 but passed away soon.  Stephen came October 4, 1855; Mose (myself), April 14, 1860.  While living in the log cabin, Heber was born and died at 18 months of burns.  Now mother moved from the farm to the home up town on the old home lot.  In 1878, 56 years old, she laid down her burdens and went to her rest in the Springville Cemetery – – Springville, Utah.


Bishop Aaron Johnson Sr. said this about Jane, “Jane was a young school teacher in Nauvoo, age 23, when I married her in 1845.  She was a gifted, capable, bright woman.  With her strength of character and keen intellect, it was no romantic whim that influenced her decision to accept the new doctrine.  In the early days of Springville she taught a private school for the Johnson children and those of some of the neighbors.  She remained a scholar all her life.”

Her descendants were very talented in the arts as she was also.  Aaron Jr., her son said this of her, “With Ma’s salt-rising bread, and the unnumbered squash and pumpkin pies she used to bake in the oven of our little Step – Stove, and her rare singing and story telling made our little home a rare place.  Please don’t get offended, it I say that our Mother sang sweetly.  She had taught school; also voice culture.  Many times when Brigham Young was a guest at our home in town he would ask my Mother to sing for him.  Ma’s singing was entirely free from intermittent stress and modern affectation.  My father could neither sing, nor whistle a tune, but he went to the limit establishing brass bands, orchestras, singing schools, dancing and harmless amusements.  Most of the songs that Ma sang to her four boys were very sentimental.  Many of her stories were from the bible.”

This was taken from A. Johnson Jr. history that he wrote.

Bishop Aaron Johnson’s train of wagons drawn by horse and mule, (135 wagons) teams.  The train reached “Great Salt Lake City” September 2, 1850.

“Brigham Young said to my Father, “Choose a number of families, go into Utah Valley and make a settlement, establish homes, and be united.”  So Captain Johnson and his son – in – law, William Miller rode down to Hobble Creek, on horseback, noting the difficulties that might be encountered in reaching the place, surveying the best possible routes, and here is Captain Johnson’s words expressing his delight of this beautiful place.  “The third day after we reached our destination, three of our party saddled, and mounted our horses, and rode to the foothills east, and looked across the beautiful Utah Valley, basking in the sunshine of a September afternoon.  We were surprised at the beauty of the scene.  We gazed with admiration upon the vast meadows spread before us, while the bunch grass along the foothills brushed the horses breasts.  Never before had I beheld a grander prospect.”

In a few days the company of 8 wagons of families were engaged in erecting a fort.  On one and a half acres the cabins were built around the fort, interlocking a building was put up in the center, for religious worship, socials etc., also for educational purposes.

The folks spent the winter in the fort.  A jolly crowd they were; almost like one big family.  Dancing, singing, story telling and innocent games were enjoyed.

(In all the hard times of these pioneers and there wanderings, we had good teachers and classes, for our children.  We always carried along a limited supply of textbooks, some literature and history, besides the Bible and other church books.)

The big Johnson home that Aaron Johnson Sr. Built later for his wives and children.  It was built of adobe, two stories high, had 30 rooms in it.  Two large rooms on the ground level, opening into the other, by means of folding doors, with leather hinges.  There was a huge fireplace in each end of each room.  Each wife had her quarters, and I had my private rooms.  There was a commodious dining room capable of seating 40 or 50 people, and a common kitchen, besides cellars and garrets.  The food after being prepared in the kitchen was brought to the dining room in a carry all constructed with a flat bed and four small wheels.  They entertained dignitaries, newcomers, stranded immigrants, and Indians.  Some have said that in the Johnson home, it was more like an institution.  There was such a system of organization that the affairs of the household ran with perfect smoothness.  Tasks were rotated, usually two wives working together with days off as their own.  Work was carefully planned ahead, this left time for reading, craftwork, and social activities.  Religious rituals of the church were strictly observed at all times.  The meals were served at one long table; ever child knew that hands and faces must be clean, and that good manners were expected.  Even the Indians were treated as guests, but they also had to wash up.  Every child knew that he must be quiet when he sat down to the table, it was not allowed to take a bite, or start dishing until the blessing had been said, and there was perfect order at mealtime.

Once in awhile you had a surprise dinner as you did one memorable Thanksgiving Day.  The wife whose turn it was to plan and serve the Thanksgiving dinner was for some unknown reason nursing a pet peeve.  Since she could not give vent to her feelings, she devised a way to relieve her suppressed emotions.  We all filed into the dining room anticipating the usual feast.  To our amazement, there was one squash pie at each place and nothing more on the t able.  Bishop Johnson sensed the situation, and with a knowing wink, and nod to the rest, you took your seat and the rest followed.  The special thanksgiving blessing was pronounced on the food.  Without a side remark or a complaint each one cheerfully ate his pie, and waited for all to finish and the signal to be excused was given.  One of the boys remarked to his father in passing, “But it was good pie.”

This home may have been like an institution, but there was much affection there, and live, companionship, and happiness.  There was freedom and understanding, intellectual stimulation and clever banter and there were opportunities to develop initiative and leadership.

This is an opinion given in 1853 by the Honorable L.H. Reed, U.S. Chief Justice for Utah said, “To those who suppose that any licentiousness or looseness of manners or morals prevail in Utah, they are very much mistaken.  The women are exceedingly modest and circumspect in their deportment.  I have had the pleasure of an introduction to a number of them who are sensible and agreeable and compare favorably with the well-bred ladies of the states.  From what I can learn, there is less licentiousness and vulgarity in this city and territory than in any other place equal in population in the U.S.  The men are jealous of interference in their domestic lives and seduction and adultery, if discovered are sometimes punished by death of the offender.”

In 1844 when Bishop Aaron Johnson Sr. was in Nauvoo.  He and his faithful wife, Polly were confronted with another momentous decision.  Joseph Smith had revealed to Aaron J., with other leaders the doctrine of plural marriage, which he had received by revelation as early as 1831, but was not commanded to put into practice until 1840.   The Prophet was reluctant to institute a social order, which he feared would bring a torrent of slander and persecution, but the Lord Commanded him and he must obey.  The Lord stated that he had given that same commandment to other leaders of his chosen people at critical times in their history to his servants, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David and Solomon.  “If ye abide not that covenant then ye are damned.”

A. J. Sr. said he felt much like John Taylor did when he remarked, “With the feeling I had entertained, nothing but a knowledge of God and the knowledge of God and the revelations of God could have induced me to embrace such a principle as this,” and as Brigham Young felt when he first heard of the Doctrine.  “It was the first time in my life that I desired the grave.  I could hardly get over it for a long time.”

When Aaron discussed the subject with Polly, she too felt the same reluctance, but we finally realized that the Lord, in calling only a select few to practice this new order of plural marriage was providing an avenue whereby the choice spirits of Heaven, who had earned a high place in God’s Covenant race, could come down to mortality in great numbers at the most opportune time when their character, talents and testimony could do so much in establishing the newly restored gospel, and also to provide a hereditary lineage whereby other choice spirits could follow and build upon their great woks.  In each period, when the doctrine was not needed to advance His work, God had revoked it.

History seems to prove the value of this commandment when we realize the high percentage of great leaders in our church that trace their lineage to a polygamous family.

It seems providential also that this order was available to place so many women into homes where they could fulfill the purpose of family life who otherwise would have been left alone because of the scarcity of proper men for marriage.

It is not commonly understood that the practice of plural marriage was carefully controlled.  Only those members who received the sanction of the President of the Church were permitted to take more than one wife, and the President took into consideration the mental, physical and economic fitness of the individual before he gave his consent, also the man was required to receive the consent of his first wife.  This limited the practice to no more than 3 per cent.

In the year 1857 the Johnson army sent by the government was moving into Utah.  The rumors had been rife in Utah.  Soldiers stationed in various parts heard whisperings that the federal Government was about to send an Army to subdue the Mormons.  Word was passed to Utah that among the soldiers and men who drank and caroused it was common talk that they were boasting how they were going to Utah to get their share of pretty girls.  Another rumor was reported by Heber C. Kimball that common talk in one quarter was that all the women were prostitutes and that they could use them as they pleased.  In view of all these boasts and rumors of attack by an army, there was great concern for the safety of the young girls of the territory.  The General Authorities suggested that, in order to save the girls from “hell and damnation,” that some of the older leaders who could support more wives, have some of these girls sealed to them but of course only with the permission of the authorities.  In many cases the Parents made the arrangement.

It was at this time of panic and hysteria that A.J. had three young girls sealed to him.  Some of these teenage girls were girls who had come from other countries, being converted to the gospel, and their Parents had either died on the plains or their parents had not yet arrived.  These teenage girls were treated more like daughters, continued in school and socials and were scarcely thought of as wives.  Four months after the marriages Johnston began his march in Utah, but the attack was soon called off, and the scare was over.  Many of these young girls were given divorces and returned to their parents and later married younger men.  One of the girls chose to stay with Bishop Johnston.  After the manifesto was signed and Bishop A.J. had placed all his wives and their families on their own farm and home.  He visited them regularly and took interest in their welfare.  He once said, “It was my children’s noble Mothers who shouldered the biggest responsibility in the rearing of my children.      . . . We need the fortitude of our forefathers to help up meet the challenges and problems of our day.  God grant us strength to carry on this noble heritage that is ours.

Aaron Johnson Jr. 1850

Biography of Aaron Johnson Jr. (Pioneer)

Written by Mrs. Claudia J. Whitney, (daughter) of

Mapleton of Daughters of Utah Pioneers on Utah County, Mapleton, Utah.

Aaron Johnson JrAaron Johnson Jr. was born 22 May 1850, Council Bluffs, Iowa, second child of Aaron Johnson Sr. and Jane Scott.  His brothers and sisters names were Don C., Sophia, Stephen D., Mose and Heber C.

When Aaron was three weeks old, his father was chosen as captain of one hundred and thirty-five wagons to cross the plains to Salt Lake City.  Rather a rugged trip for a little bub to take, but he was blessed with perfect health all the way.  After their long and tedious journey with hardships and trials, which all the pioneers experienced while crossing the plans, they arrived at Salt Lake City on the first day of September 1850.  After resting a few days, Brigham Young selected Captain Johnson and William Miller, to travel on horseback, about 30 miles south of Salt Lake City, and choose a suitable place to make a settlement.  When they arrived at Hobble Creek, they decided that was the right place.  After their return to Salt Lake City, Brigham Young told Captain Johnson to choose eight wagons, with their families to go there and locate a town.  Captain Johnson named the town, Springville.  When these tired families on the east and south of the valley and the beautiful Utah Lake shining in the western distance.  They must have been greatly inspired with all.  After getting settled, Captain Johnson was chosen as the first bishop of Springville, which position he held for seventeen years.  He built a large fine home on the corner of second north and east on Main Street, Springville and this is where Aaron Johnson Jr. spent his early days.  There was not much chance of getting an education as the children who were too little to help their parents went to school, while the older children had to work on the farms, and with the housework.

This little account of an experience is written in his own words:  “In the spring of 1866, when I was not quite sixteen years old, I volunteered to cross the plains of Captain Abram Scotts wagon train, and act as one of the four night guards, whose duty it was to guard the oxen at night.  There were seventy five wagons and three hundred and eighty oxen, and about eighty five men who acted as teamsters and mountaineers, it would make quite a long book.  The day we left dear old Springville, Bishop Johnson said: “Boys, while you are away, obey your captain, do your duty always and you will return to Springville unharmed.’  During our long and romantic journey of one thousand miles and back, I never forgot that promise, and I do not think that any of the boys forgot it for we all returned safely feeling that the Lord had watched over us.  Two hundred miles east from Salt Lake City we saw the two famous scouts and trappers – Kit Carson and Jim Bridger.  Jim Bridger said to me, ‘Hello my boy’, as he and Kit Carson passed on down the trail and disappeared among the pines and quaking aspens.  I felt almost equal with George Washington, because I had been noticed by this great explorer and mountaineer.  A distance of four hundred miles the long train traveled down steep rough canyons over divides through deep gorges, and out on the plains extending 600 miles to the Missouri River.  On the plains we met friendly Indians who visited our camp to trade us, but to trade for flour, but to stampede our oxen and horses.  Many times these red men prowled around at night shooting arrows and firing rifles, but never succeeded in getting any of us or driving away our oxen or horses.  We traveled many days on the plains.  No mountains in sight.  How we all yearned to see the dear old mountains of Utah.  The slow moving Platt River fringed with cottonwood green trees, a few covered wagons on their way to Oregon, made us feel that we were not alone.  When we reached the Missouri river, we saw the steamboats passing by on the muddy stream, which was almost one mile wide and eighty feet deep at this place.  The passengers waved to us, as they passed up and down the river, singing and laughing.  In a few days our immigrants began to arrive from Europe and a little later about thee hundred of them – Men, women and children were loaded on our wagons and brought to Utah.”

After a few years, Aaron Jr. was chosen as President of the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association at Springville, also an Elder and Sunday School teacher in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He married Louisa Melitiah Whiting in the old Endowment House, Salt Lake City, Utah on 8 October 1871.  They were parents of ten children as follows:




Aaron Wayne

July 14, 1872

Springville, Utah


November 17, 1874

Springville, Utah


June 12, 1877

Springville, Utah

Willis Kelsy

September 16, 1879

Springville, Utah

Frank Milton

October 25, 1881

Springville, Utah


November 14, 1884

Springville, Utah

Hugh Dougal

July 27, 1887

Mapleton, Utah

Louis A.

December 8, 1889

Mapleton, Utah


August 15, 1893

Mapleton, Utah


June 20, 1897

Mapleton, Utah

Early in February 1876, Aaron Johnson Jr. and his wife and two children, Wayne and Winnifred, along with Albert Whiting wife and children, Sylvester Perry and Wife, Charles Whiting and wife and children, also Mose Johnson, left Springville to colonies on the Little Colorado River in Arizona.  These Springville people were in Captain Jessie Ballengers Company.  They suffered many hardships on the long journey of five hundred miles.  Most of the distance a vast unsettled land, the road a mere trail.  At Panguitch, the last town of a dozen log houses, hay was selling for thirty dollars per ton, and very scarce at that.  From there to Sevier Ridge, there was no habitation, with all crossing the Sevier River difficult and dangerous, with icy banks and deep water.  Wood along the route, pine and cedar were abundant.  Each night all would gather around a large campfire where song, stories and music were enjoyed until bedtime.  In a severe blizzard we began the long accent over the divide between Sevier and Long Valley where the snow was five feet deep.  Only through the Long Valley boys were stationed on top with hay for the tired, hungry horses of each company, and with all those good boys meeting the mat the top of the steep mountain and doubling with their strong fresh teams, did they gain the summit, which was covered for many miles with tall pines, one hundred feet high.  The following day they descended down, down a steep grade, though Long Valley to Orderville.  They were all invited to supper with the people of the town, seated at long tables, where the group enjoyed the best of bread, baked in an oven, plenty of mealy potatoes and gravy.  The people of Orderville lived as one family in the United Order.  After a two-day visit at this hospitable oasis in the desert, with no snow covering the ground, they continued on past Mt. Carmel, and over another Cedar covered Ridge to the head waters of the Sevier River.  Then on to Kanab, the last small town on the route.  After passing Navajo wells, they ascended the rocky steep Buckskin Mountains ten miles across over a flat and rolling top with a narrow road out through the pines and cedars.  The deep snow was fast melting in the April sun, making travel almost impossible.  Teams stalled in the mud and on the icy roads, with men lifting on wheels, and with doubled teams struggling along.  It required six days to cover nine miles, which is an excellent road in the summer time.  Another days travel and they were at House Rock Springs, where a few years later May Whiting died, and who lied in a lone grave among the Cedars.  On the smooth perpendicular red sandstone, where a small cold stream flows from the rocks, thousands of tourists have carved their names. Along this route, deep sand and rocky gullies made progress slow.  All walked, the women carrying their babies and the little ones trudging along by their Mother’s sides.  They were now on the Painted Desert where the scenery was wild and gay with the many colored rocks and red mountains, which is like passing a long line of castles.  At Badger Creek they went horse back to Marble Canyon of the Big Colorado River, where they could look down the steep side nearly a mile to the turbid red river.  A wonderful sight!  Then a long descent of thirty miles past Soap Creek to Lee’s Ferry, where they were ferried across the deep river three hundred yards.  Crossed Lee’s backbone over the south side of the Painted Desert to Willow Springs.  Then three days farther to the Little Colorado River, which was a raging flood from the melting snow.  When the flood had subsided three days later, they crossed with much difficulty and proceeded to Sunset crossing one hundred mile away.  This was the place designated for their future home.  Three months later, finding conditions impossible for living there with the land full of alkali, no permanent water in the river, most of the colonists returned to their former homes in Utah.  At Lee’s Ferry they left their two-year-old baby girl, Winnifred, a most beautiful golden haired child, who died of Spinal Meningitis at Willow Springs across the Colorado River from the ferry.  At one time there was but on grave there, that on a man who was frozen to death crossing the Buckskin Mountain.  The little band of colonists arrived in Springville early in September 1876.

In the year 1915, my father and mother returned to place a marble headstone on her grave.  In 1923, on learning that the valley where the lay was to be converted into a large reservoir of the Colorado River which passed near her grave, my father and his sons, Frank and Leland, went down by automobile and brought her remains to Springville, where they reburied her in the Mapleton Evergreen Cemetery.

In the year 1882, Don C. Johnson and his brother Aaron, Stephen, Mose and James E. Hall, built a theater at Springville.  The best at that time, outside of Salt Lake City.  This theater stood about where the Springville library now stands.  It cost then thousand dollars, and would seat five hundred people.  The stage was large enough to put on any kind of play, and was the scene of many performances by first class companies.  the scenery cost one thousand dollars, which was painted by Henry C. Tryan on Chicago.  A local troupe members of S., S. Hamil’s Elocution class, became almost as good as professionals being great favorites at home, and through the southern parts of the states.  The more noted of the Home Dramatic Company were J. K. Westwood, Aaron and Mose Johnson, C. W. Houtz, Mrs. Lydia M. Johnson, Luella Matson and Eliza Johnson.  Later Lula and Lily Boyer were added.  In 1890 the beautiful opera house was burned to the ground, much to the sorrow of the general public.

After completing the course in elocution, which was taught by Mr. Hamil, my father began his career as elocutionist and actor.  He worked at this profession over a period of forty years, and taught classes in the different towns in Utah.  He would teach a class and then select some who were efficient to take part in a play, and then the play was presented to the public.  The people liked this kind of entertainment and most of the townspeople would attend, which was made profitable for the time spent to accomplish and it was great pleasure for him also, because he loved the work.  His brother Mose helped him some with the elocution classes and plays.  They were both excellent at this kind of work.  About 1890 he organized a company which was known throughout Utah as The Johnson Brothers Dramatic Company and for several years he would select a small company or troupe from local talent in Springville or Mapleton and travel as far south as Monroe, Sevier County.  During this he would choose plays such as “Enoch Arden”, “Two Orphans”, “Out of the Sphere”, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”, “East Lynn”, and “Above the Clouds”.

In the early part of November 1891, I had the pleasure of going on one of these tours through southern Utah, having a small part in a play, “Out of this Sphere”.  My brothers, Wayne and Willis had parts.  Our way of traveling was a three spring wagon without a cover, and drawn by two white horses.  There were six of us in the group – my father, Alfause Ester, Doris Curtiss, Wayne, Willis and myself.  This wagon contained our trunks and other equipment for our journey.  We had plenty of blankets etc. to use when the days were extra cold.  My father was advance agent and he would leave the hotel three hours ahead of us with a one horse buggy arriving at the next town where he would put up a poster and distribute bills and programs at the stores and other shops so the play would be well advertised.  The people liked these play and the opera houses along the way were always filled to capacity.  We stopped at hotels in the different towns, where the people treated us with delicious meals also good comfortable rooms and beds.  At the larger towns, Mount Pleasant, Manti and Richfield the play was repeated the second evening to crowded houses.  On our return trip, we went up through Soline Canyon to Castle Valley, and Huntington and played at the towns of Ferron, Orangeville, Castle Dale and Price.  We returned home in early December, well pleased with our experiences.

During the years 1884 to 1888, the Johnson brothers worked each summer making ties for the Denver and Rio Grand Railroad.  About the3 first of May, after the high waters were over, so the Spanish Fork River and Diamond Creek could be crossed, they would take their families and travel through Spanish Fork Canyon to Soldier Summit.  Then on farther about three or four miles to Pretty Hollow, off the road a little way, where there was a spring of water with grass and willows along the stream, and it was here they made the camp for the summer.  Each family put up one or two tents, built bunks to sleep on.  The little cousins spent part of their time making mud pies and playing they were cooking for a hotel.  Then there was a riding pony for the boys.  We all enjoyed it very much.  My brother, Wayne was sixteen years old the last summer we were there, and he was a great help to his father.  They went to nearly every mountain and canyon to select the timber best suited for their work.  They would leave each morning with horses and wagons and drive as far as they could to the grove of pine trees, leave the wagons there and take the hoses up the steep mountain.  Two kinds of saws were used for the work. The double blade served to chop the tree down, trim off the leaves and cut the tree in suitable lengths.  The broad ax, which was shaped like a hatchet, and many times as large, was used to cut off the rounded part of the tree, and then chop the ties to the proper size and measurements.  After this was accomplished, they would hook the ties to the horses and they would pull them down the path or drag road, as they called it, to the wagons below, there they were placed on the wagons.  Chains were used to bind the load of ties together and then they were taken down to the railroad crossing, which was near the camp.  One of the officials of the railroad company would come a week or two later to inspect them.  There were very few culls among them, because the brothers knew how to select them.  As there were no wild game laws at this time, they could go hunting and fishing whenever they pleased, when fresh meat and fish were needed, they would go to the streams and mountains and bring in a supply of venison and fish.  This last summer we were there my father, Aaron, was the victim of a serious accident, which happened while he and his brothers were coming down with their loaded wagons.  His wagon was the first on coming down the road.  He and Wayne started down a steep hill when the wagon tipped.  Wayne jumped from the load and was unhurt while Father was pinned under the load.  It was necessary to cut the chain with their axes in order to release the ties.  He was taken down to camp.  One of the men went with team and wagon to Colton, three or four miles for a Doctor.  He came and attended him.  He was in bed about two weeks.  With their faith and prayers, he recovered.

In 1886, he moved his family from Springville to Mapleton, where he had built a three-room brick house on the place where Mary Halverson now lives.  About seven years later, he bought a small piece of land across the street north of the Mormon Church.  Beautiful trees and shrubs and flowers are planted around the new frame house he built.  After living in this comfortable home for about six years, the family with the exception of the three older ones, who were married, moved to Canada about 1900, and they located at Raymond, Alberta, where they went to settle among the prairies from Utah, on the fertile flower covered prairie land in that district.  After three year sat Raymond, they moved again to Taber, thirty-five miles northeast where they homesteaded some land.  While at Taber he served as Postmaster for four years, delegate to Legislature in Calgary. He purchased a homestead, a section of land, and one mile west of Taber.  It was know and the Johnson Addition, and still goes by that name.  In 1908, they returned to Mapleton where a pretty house was built surrounded by fruit trees and beautiful flowers.  He homesteaded on Billy Mountain for several years, was in the Bishopric, served as President of the YMMIA.  T hey had a beautiful and comfortable home in Mapleton.  After a few years, they went to Uinta Basin, buying a farm in Altonah, while there, Aaron held the position of Justice of the Peace, the editor of the Intermountain News.  After six years there, they returned to Mapleton.  During all these years moving from place to place and living at Mapleton, he arranged a great number of programs and plays with the local talent, which would be presented to the public, and the proceeds would be donated to the church and ward.  He died May 4, 1927 after a lingering illness leakage of the heart, and was buried in the Evergreen Cemetery, Mapleton, Utah.