Life Story of Charles Edwin Dean
(Written November 1947 and May 1966)
Written November 1947 by Charles E. Dean while I am home alone sick with the flu, while Myrtle (my wife) is at Redmesa, Colorado with our daughter, Mildred Peine, when her baby girl was born (Carol Deanne, 4 November 1947).
I was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on the 26th of August 1893. I remember very little of Salt Lake City. We moved to Mancos, Colorado about 1899. I remember when Louise, my sister, was born and the house she was born in, and the Hot Springs close to our house where we went swimming. I remember getting sunburned so bad I was in bed for a week. I remember Sister Anderson’s little store. I was able to find all of these when I went back to be married in 1913.
We only lived a little while in Mancos, Colorado, just long enough for my brother Stanley to be born. I next remember moving to Fruitland, New Mexico. Father took us (Mother, Jasper, Wilford, Lawrence, Me, Stella, Louise, and Stanley) in our big buggy pulled by Birdie and Bummer. We went down Weber Canyon and over Weber Hill. There were so many of us and the hill was so steep and long that father had all four boys walk up the hill (about a mile). Father had so much mischief in him, that when we got to the top of the hill, way out in the desert, as we four boys ran to catch the buggy and climb in, he whipped the horses into a run so that we couldn’t catch hold, and that made us (or at least me) cry.
We stayed at Fruitland for six or seven years without much consequence until I was thirteen. When Leah was born down there, I had to sit out on the fence post and watch for the mailman who drove a one-horse, two—wheeled cart, and give him the card announcing her birth to Grandma Ridges in Salt Lake. Lawrence and I were allowed to swim in the San Juan River all that we wanted to—as many as seven times in one day—and if mother ever worried about us, I don’t remember that.
Father filed on land in Colorado in 1905 and he, Jasper, and Lawrence started to build a log house there that fall. A long snow storm came on them and they turned Birdie and Bummer for Kirtland and landed there wet and cold.
We moved to Redmesa the next Spring. Father and the older boys went ahead in a wagon and I drove mother, Stella, Louise, Stanley and Leah up in the big buggy. I remember very well having Birdie and Sorrel. They were both heavy with colts (Bess and Fan), and Jasper said, “Now don’t you drive them faster than a walk, not for one step.” So we were all day and into the night getting from Kirtland to our future home at Redmesa. This was in April of 1906. This sagebrush mesa became my home from the age of thirteen until I was forty-five when we moved to Provo, Utah.
I was ordained a Deacon on October 10, 1905 by William Black before leaving Kirtland. We used to ride horses some three miles every Saturday night down to Fruit land to the old adobe church and school house to have our Deacon’s meeting, and then we’d clean the house to get it ready for services the next day. Henry McGee was our president, although he was considerably older. He lived way up under the hill that goes to Farmington and would leave on his horse. By the time he got to the church, some five miles away, he would have some forty deacons on horses following him. Did we have good meetings! Old father Ira Hatch, would sometimes come and tell us some of his experiences that he had when he was on his Indian Mission with Jacob Hamblin. John R. Young would also come sometimes and tell us his pioneer experiences.
I was president of the first Deacon’s Quorum at Redmesa. When we first got to the Mesa, we went to Kline for meetings and Sunday School. Later, we were made a branch. On May 27, 1908, Redmesa Ward was organized. We held meetings in homes, tents, and implement sheds. As Deacons we would chop wood, clean the meeting place, and so on.
In this new land of sage brush, we really went through all the stages of pioneering——clearing land, making fences, ditches, houses, etc., etc. At the age of fifteen, I was ordained a Teacher (August 29, 1909 by J.H. Dean), and went teaching every month. I was ordained a Priest by H.M. Taylor January 2, 1911, at the age of 17. Priests were then released from Ward Teaching, and were called to go into the homes and hold cottage meetings.
About this time in my life there came a family over from Mancos by the name of Devenport. I first saw Myrtle, the girl I later married, when she was about seventeen and I was even younger. Even though I was younger, I married Myrtle Melissa Devenport on the 3rd of October 1913, in the Salt Lake Temple. It took one day with team and buggy to get to Mancos and then three days from Mancos to Salt Lake on the train. There were twenty of us in the party from Mancos on.
Provo, Utah, May 24, 1966
It has been nearly 19 years since I started this story of my life. It has been nearly three years since I retired, and it is rather hard for me to see to write so I must not put it off any longer. I notice the last I wrote was our marriage. The Lord has permitted us to still be together after nearly fifty-three years, for which we are very, very thankful. We have such wonderful families and have had so many wonderful blessings. So after this much explanation, I will start back fifty-three years and tell a few of the most important things.
After our marriage, we attended the General Conference, which was in session Saturday and Sunday, and heard President Joseph F. Smith and others speak. We then went up to Huntsville, Utah where Myrtle’s Aunt, Ella Hall, lived and bothered them for some three weeks. Uncle Will Hall wanted me to work for him a while. He said he wanted me to break a big black team of horses for him. He was too old for it and his oldest son, Clyde, was too young and they had let the big colts get the best of them. I took them and a little roan horse and plowed new land on a hillside for nearly three weeks. We enjoyed our stay very much. Aunt Ella fed us so well that Myrtle gained some ten pounds, which she needed to do badly. She only weighed about 101 pounds when we were married. After our stay there, we returned to Salt Lake City for a day or so and then went on home. We were gone about thirty days on our wedding tour and enjoyed it very much.
When we arrived home, we lived in Mother’s house, which we later bought and moved down half a mile nearer the church and school. That first winter was a happy time. My folks had moved to Shelley, Idaho, and we lived in their house and milked the cows and let the chickens choke to death, thinking they would go down some distance to a little reservoir by themselves and get water. About the first week after arriving home, I was put in as Superintendent of the Sunday School, which position I still held when I was put in as Bishop December 8, 1923, ten years later.
We had many wonderful things happen during those ten years. We had our first four children. We came very close to losing our dear Mildred. She was so long in birth that she didn’t breathe for nearly twenty minutes. Finally Sister Clara Taylor, whom I had sent for, suggested rubbing alcohol over her heart and she started breathing. It was a wonderful miracle from the Lord! Just look what we would have missed! She is the mother of our largest family: six children living (the first one didn’t live) and three grandchildren at this date. Mildred was born September 5, 1914.
Our second daughter, Winifred, was born on January 19, 1917. I was up in the mountains getting out logs for lumber with my brother Lawrence. My brother Stanley rode a horse up after me and I got home a few minutes after she was born. She is the mother of two boys and two girls. Edwin, our son, was born March 3, 1919, and is the father of two boys. Roberta May was born May 16, 1923. She has four boys and twin girls. Marie was born November 13, 1928, and has three girls and a boy.
When I was twenty-four years old, I was called to be an alternate High Councilor. I was ordained a High Priest August 20, 1917 by William Halls. Later I was put in as a High Councilor. After being Sunday School Superintendent for ten years, I was Bishop of Redmesa Ward for nearly ten years. After I was released from Bishop, I was put in the High Council again. While we were at the Kline Ward (with the Stake Presidency, the High Council and Apostle Ballard) to choose a Bishop for that ward (they had been disorganized for sometime), Apostle Ballard suggested that they put me in as a missionary Bishop until someone of their own ward could take over. This was a terrible shock to me. I told Brother Ballard that I just couldn’t do it. I said the people didn’t like me and I didn’t like them, and that my wife was very poor in health, and that I just couldn’t do it. He said if he was ever impressed about anything it was that I should accept it and that if I would bring my wife over to Mancos the next day, he would bless her and she would be made well (every word of which happened.) He also blessed me and said I would love the people and they would love me, which I think was true. At this time the Kline Ward has been discontinued and is part of the Redmesa Ward, with Merle Holgate from Kline as Bishop. They have merged together and love each other. After serving as Bishop of Kline Ward for 2 years, 9 months, and 5 days, I was released, and put in as Bishop of Redmesa Ward the same day. After serving some two years again, we moved to Provo, where I was 1st Counselor to Bishop Ariel Ballif for five years. The Ninth Ward was created from a division of the Manavoo Ward. When the Provo 12th Ward was created from a division of the Ninth Ward, I was released and Edwin was put in as a counselor in the 12th Ward, which was very pleasing to me.
We lived at Redmesa for over thirty years. It was a hard place to make a living, but we had so many blessings along with the hardships that we feel it was a wonderful experience.
I would like to tell some of the experiences, some of which are very faith promoting. I have already told about Myrtle being blessed by Apostle Ballard, when we thought possibly she had T.B., and was better from that time on. Since living here at Provo, Dr. Callister in Salt Lake told her she had T.B., that the scar was there although she didn’t have it now. She had it when Roberta was a baby.
Another testimony to me was when I was working up Hay Gulch, some seven miles from home, on the reservoir that we worked many years to build. I was Bishop at the time and responsible for things. We had to have a rock mason and I told the brethren that I would go down home that evening and see if a certain man would come and do the work, but at dinner (which was the noon meal), I was impressed not to wait until evening, but to go at once. I did so at once on Bird, our little riding horse (no cars). I hurried home and, as I was passing Greer’s and said “hello” to Harry
Greer as I passed, he asked, had I heard about our baby, Roberta, getting scalded. I said, “Goodness, no,’ and rushed home to meet Dr. Smith just coming from taking care of her. She was 18 months old and pulled the stopper out of the old wooden washer and let the scalding lye water out on her. Myrtle’s uncle, John Dunton, was staying there doing the chores in my absence, since we stayed up at the reservoir all week. He asked Myrtle if he should go up after me, and she said, “No, he will come home.” Roberta was burned very badly. Her little leather shoes saved her feet from being burned. Her toes would have grown together if she had not had them on.
Another time I went up to the little store at Redmesa and there sat Dave Halls, my brother-in-law from Mancos. I asked him what he was doing at Redmesa, and he said that he had come over to look at Clarence Slade’s and his father’s (Jim Slade) sheep, which he had heard they wanted to sell. He said he needed a few more to fill the range he had leased. This was during World War I. The Government had just paid us the previous year a very high price for our wool and lambs. Several of us had invested in about 120 ewes each. Dave asked me if I wanted to sell mine. I said, “I should say not.” That was the only thing we had made any money on. He said, “I suppose you would sell them if you got enough for them.” I said, “$17.00 a head, gummers and all.” He said he would be down to look at them. I went home and told Myrtle about it, and she said that I should say that we would not sell them. It was in May and I had a very good lamb crop (over 150 lambs) and they were several months old and very pretty. I suggested to Myrtle that we kneel and pray very earnestly about what to do, which we did. A few minutes after finishing our prayer, I said, “I feel that if Dave wants them at that price, we had better let him have them,” and Myrtle said, “It’s funny but I feel the same way.” Dave came down and looked at them. He saw the pretty lambs running up and down a wash that was on our place and said that he would take them. He said he would come after them next week, as he had to be at the school election before he came after them, and did want to check them over when he came back. He said, “Do you want your money now or when I come back?” I told him to wait until he came back, as I wanted to keep them as long as I could. He came and got them the next Wednesday. It was about one month until the government didn’t want the wool and the price of lambs went so low that, had we not sold them, I would have lost them for what I owed and then still owed more. I owed $11.00 per head on them. So you see if you heed the promptings of the Holy Spirit after praying earnestly about things, you will not go wrong.
I was riding this little Bird horse again up in the field to irrigate, and when I came back down to the house, a roan Durham bull had just come in our west lane and had just reached my big Holstein bull. They had just got their heads together, although there was a fence between them. As I rode up, I spatted the visitor bull on the rump with my shovel. He turned and walked away a little way as if he would leave without any trouble, but then turned and charged us. He had long horns and one horn went on one side of my leg, going full length into Bird’s innards, while the other one went on the other side of my leg and ripped her shoulder open. He raised us both up off the ground enough that Bird could not get any traction to get away, but finally we did get away. We ripped the stirrup on the other side of the saddle off on a post of the fence. Myrtle and the children saw it all from the window, and were screaming. I unsaddled Bird and turned her loose. She went out in the field and lay down. The children were crying and said, “Oh, daddy, what can we do?” I said, “Let’s pray for her,’ which we did. The next morning she was up eating and lived on. She had two colts after that and was still alive and sold at our sale when we moved to Provo.
Myrtle’s folks had been in Provo for a long time and kept wishing we would move there. I could never see that it would be best to do so. By this time, Mildred had married, Winifred and Edwin were going to Fort Lewis College, and it was so hard for them to get there since the snow was so bad in that country. All of us thought possibly we had better move to Provo, but I didn’t see how we could possibly make a living. We decided to put it up to the Lord and, after all of the family knelt in earnest prayer, there was no doubt in our minds but that we should move. This was in April and we had no idea how we could make a living, but as soon as we could we sold our possessions and moved. Myrtle’s mother died April 1, 1939, just after we decided to move. We had written to them (Myrtle’s mother and sister, Bertha. Myrtle’s father had died ten years previously) telling them our decision, but they didn’t get our letter until after her death. We came up to the funeral and, while we were here, I applied for work at the State Hospital here in Provo. The hospital called me to come to work before we got fully moved. We brought two cows with us and sold milk from door to door as it was during the terrible depression. The wages that they gave me at that time were $70.00 per month and only two weeks work a month, making $35.00 a month income, but it was not long until I was on full time. I worked there three-and-a-half years without any vacation, and when they finally did give me a vacation, I got work helping to build the big steel plant at Geneva, and never went back to the hospital. (After working there at the hospital for three—and-a-half years, my wages were finally up to $90 per month.)
We have been blessed so very much since we moved here. While we were here for Myrtle’s mother’s funeral, we rode around looking for a place where we could buy a piece of land to build a house
on. We saw this land where we’re now living and liked the looks of it very much. After inquiring as to who owned it and if they would sell it, we found out that they would. I offered them $600 cash for it which they accepted. We had a nice lumber home built on it and lived in it for twenty-three years. We had our cows in the pasture behind and, until the law wouldn’t let us sell it any more, we sold 12 quarts of milk for a dollar. Now it is up to $.55 cents a half-gallon. We raised up a steer each year and would put him in our freezer until five years ago when we sold the pasture. Now big apartment houses are built there. We got $4000 for it and still had the two lots left where our two houses are.
After selling the land, there was still one lot left, so our son and four sons-in-law said to go ahead and build a house on it and they would spend their vacations altogether and build it, which we did. Milton did the brickwork and fireplace, and his work is just wonderful. Edwin did the electrical work, which is also wonderful. Earl helped with the plumbing and the other things. Bob helped a lot with the plasterboard and other things. Bruce helped me build the sidewalk, driveway and other things. Altogether we have a lovely brick veneer house built just to please two old folks. We rent the other house. Myrtle’s washer and dryer are now on the same floor as her kitchen, and other things are so convenient. We had to borrow $10,000. It cost us $11,000 cash; besides all the work we all did including all our women, Karl and Hester, Gene Devenport, Farrell Lilenquist, Oran Walker, Harry Payne and others. At this time we have the debt down to $3200.
Since moving to Provo, our four children that were not married have married and have graduated from BYU, which was the main factor in our moving. Mildred married Milton Peine; Winifred, Earl Banks; Edwin, Margaret Pierce; Roberta, Robert Peterson; and Marie, Bruce Speakman. We have enjoyed our twenty-seven years in Provo very much.
Before I retired a year or so, our Stake President (Flake Rogers) said to me: “Well, finish your new house and live in it awhile and then we will call you and Sister Dean on a mission.” I said, “Please be careful what you are saying.” We did finish our house and moved in November 2, 1961, on Myrtle’s 71st birthday. We landed in the mission home November 11, 1963, just a little over a month after our Golden Wedding (Oct. 3rd). After having six married couples in the mission home the week before, we were the only couple that week. After hearing that we had already had our Golden Wedding, they made a little over us and had us both speak in assembly one morning.
After enjoying the mission home very much, we left Salt Lake City on Monday morning, November 18th, for the New England Mission, with headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We were in our 1957 Ford with 47,000 miles on it and took our time crossing the United States and enjoyed the trip. The afternoon of Friday, November 22, Myrtle turned the radio on just in time to hear the announcement that President John F. Kennedy had just been shot, which shocked us very much.
We arrived at Cambridge at 11 A.M. Saturday and stayed there until Monday. Monday morning we ate breakfast, packed our suitcases and still had no idea where they were going to send us. About 9 A.M., President Truman G. Madsen called us downstairs and told us he was sending us to South Royalton, Vermont, and that I was to be Branch President.
The pretty new chapel had just been built near the Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial. President Madsen phoned to the Archibalds, who were in charge, and made arrangements for us to stay there until we could find a place to stay. It took us most of the day to drive there. When we arrived, the Archibalds received us very politely, but told us they were having one of their families coming for Thanksgiving and we would have to find somewhere else by then. We found out that some lady missionaries had stayed there two weeks while finding a place to live. We stayed one night and went six miles north the next day to Bethel, and got a room in Bethel Hotel, where we stayed for a week while looking for some place to live. We became well acquainted with the Archibalds and loved them very much.
We spent several days finding a place to live, but after nearly despairing, we found a nice house where the family was moving out and going to Burlington, where he was overseeing the building of a big high school. They wanted someone to stay in their house who didn’t have children, as they wanted to leave most of their things in the house. The price they wanted was more than we could pay, so we told them they would have to get someone else as we could not pay more than $75 a month and that they would have to pay all of the utilities. They said they wanted us to have it anyway. We knew the Lord opened up our way and we were so thankful. It is very cold there (31 below) but we were very comfortable all winter. We had rented our new house in Provo for $150 a month, so with the rent from both of our houses and our retirement, and $274 from the Ward and our relatives and friends, we got along very nicely. A retired married couple can live nearly as cheap on a mission as at home, so why not all couples go on missions?
The troubles of a small branch are many and, although the troubles worried us a lot, we wouldn’t take a lot for our wonderful experiences and friendships with the many dear people, and some not so dear. When you hear the testimonies of some of those new converts, mostly young people, you sometimes think that just one of them would pay us for all our time spent. We only stayed a little less than one year. The chapel was three miles from where we lived. It was up hills and slippery in the winter.
The dear sisters of the Relief Society had worked so very hard feeding the people that came to the Monument on bus tours, and on many other things, to raise money to pay their part on the new chapel so they could have it dedicated. They turned $1800 over to the Branch President for that purpose, but not one cent was sent to Salt Lake. They owed $3300. It had been spent very freely for other things. President Madsen told me that the people wanted to know about the finances of the Branch and for me to report once a month, but how would I tell them about that? I sent every penny that was paid in for building every month and shut down on such free spending, that I am afraid they thought I was surely a tightwad. But, by the dear sisters feeding the bus tours and some $900 from the Archibalds selling books and postcards at the Monument, and a very generous donation from us, they owed less than $500 when we left, and were able to pay that by December and had their chapel dedicated the next spring.
I lost the sight of my right eye just a week before we left Vermont on the 22nd of October 1964. Myrtle kept a journal of our mission, so anyone interested in finding out more, can read her daily account.
After being home for ten months, we got the crazy idea of going to England for two months for genealogy and a tour, which we did. After traveling our legs off from one end of England to the other and going to dozens of parishes and visiting many cemeteries for six weeks, we toured for two weeks. We went from London to Glasgow, Scotland. We took the train from there to Edinburgh where our grandson, Robert Dean, was on his mission. But we found he had gone home just two days before we arrived. We then flew to Copenhagen, Denmark, then to Frankfurt, Germany, then to Zurich, Switzerland, and on out to Bern and to the Temple. Then we went back to Zurich and on to Geneva, then to Paris. Then we went to Madrid, Lisbon and back to New York. We would stay a day or two in each place; take a tour of the city and other things. I kept a daily journal of our trip, so will refer anyone that is interested enough, to that for details of our wonderful trip. We arrived in Salt Lake Sunday morning, November 1, 1964, and Myrtle’s brother, Karl, who had been very sick and wanted to see her, was to have a very serious heart operation the next morning, so Myrtle got to see him.
My eyes have faded so much that I cannot read but a little with a magnifying glass. The specialist (Dr. Ungricht) in Salt Lake says for me not to read but to get the equipment they have for the blind, so I have applied for that. We will see what the future has in store for me. I have stopped driving the car and do very little reading, but I still have so very much to be thankful for. I am thankful this did not come on me when I was younger. I am thankful that Myrtle can drive so well. I think possibly by January of 1968 we can get a new car with power steering and power brakes which will make it easier for her to drive, although she says the 1957 Ford is all right.
History of Charles Edwin Dean
Dictated February 1973
Gordon Banks seems to want me to put my life’s history on a tape of this kind and he’ll record it off when he comes in April. I wrote my life’s story briefly on paper, and Gordon typed it for me and it’s in my Book of Remembrance, but they seem to want me to do it over someway.
I’m Charles Edwin Dean and I was born August 26, 1893, the son of Joseph H. Dean and Florence Ridges Dean. My father was born in Taunton, England on Strait Street on October 16, 1855 and his father’s name was Joseph Dean. I don’t know when he was born. My mother’s name is Florence Ridges Dean. She was born December 1, 1866. I could be mistaken on these dates, but I don’t think so, and she’s the daughter of Joseph Ridges and Agatha Pratt Ridges. Joseph Ridges was the builder of the tabernacle organ and Agatha Pratt Ridges was the daughter of Parley P. Pratt and Agatha Walker Pratt. Joseph Ridges later married both my grandmother and her mother.
I was born in Salt Lake City, or in other words Millcreek then. Millcreek was so far from Salt Lake City when I was born that mother was there on the underground away from the authorities that were chasing the polygamists and making it miserable for them. But now it’s just a few minutes drive from Salt Lake City. In fact, it’s close to where Lawrence and Ida lived for 40 years. We lived there until I was five, I guess, and my sister Stella was born and Louise was born. I remember when Louise was born enough about it that when I went back to be married in 1913, I found the house she was born in by the looks of it and Sister Anderson’s little store right across the Street.
But anyway, father decided that he had so many boys that he had to get out of the city with them, and he moved to Mancos, Colorado. He and his half brother, LeRoy, who was about 19 at the time, and his son Roy, and my brother, Jasper, went with a team and wagon from Salt Lake to Mancos, Colorado. Father set up a mercantile business there and didn’t prosper at it. There was already a merchant there by the name of George Bower that had a lot of hardware stuff like mowers and wagons and different things like that he couldn’t sell and he told father if he would buy them that he would never go into that kind of business again, but he didn’t keep his word. He was already established there and could stock up lots heavier than father, and so father’s business didn’t prosper.
Father moved on down to Fruitland, New Mexico and organized a cooperative store there, but he wasn’t in that very long. I don’t know why. We stayed there on the San Juan River until I was about twelve years old. Then we moved up to Redmesa, Colorado —- it wasn’t Redmesa at the time —- in 1906 when I was just a twelve-year-old kid and had just been ordained a Deacon before that. Anyway, we moved there.
It was Indian Reservation that had just been opened for homesteading and father and Hyrum Taylor and Jim Slade and Lou Burnham and some like that homesteaded there in about 1905—-the Fall of 1905, and we moved there in 1906 —- Hyrum Taylor’s family and us and Jim Slade and, as I say, Lou Burnham and some of them. They had to clear the brush and make the ditches and build the churches and everything right from scratch. We just sat down in the middle of a sagebrush flat and father didn’t stay there too many years.
We went there in 1906, and in about 1912 or 1913 he was off selling blankets trying to make a living and finally decided he ought to settle in Shelley, Idaho. He tried to get Lawrence and me to come up there, but we didn’t feel so inclined. When boys get married, you know, they join the family they marry. The girl doesn’t join them. Anyway, we toughed it out there. The La Plata River would go dry about the time we needed the water because the snow from the mountains that fed it faced the south, so it wasn’t a very prosperous place, but we stayed there and enjoyed it a lot as young people —- courted there and married. All my children were born there, and that’s the way it went.
Well, I might give an account of other things. I married Myrtle Devenport on October 3, 1913. It was a very happy life we had together. Our first daughter, Mildred, was born at Redmesa on September 5, 1914. We came nearly not having her. She was so long in birth —- some 24 hours or more -—- and finally the doctor discovered it was a breach birth, and, by the time she was born why she didn’t breathe. She was blue and the doctor tried to get her to breathe —- he would first put her in hot water and then stick her out the window, and then spat her, and so on but didn’t seem to do much good. I had sent for Sister Clara Taylor to come over, and she came in the house just as the doctor had given up. He said, “Now, if you’ve got anything to suggest why let’s have it. I’ve done all I can and I can’t get her to breathe.” Sister Taylor said, “Have you rubbed alcohol over her heart?” He said “No.” We had a bottle of alcohol there and he rubbed it over her heart. Whether it was that did anything, or whether it was the rubbing over the heart, but anyway it started the sweet thing to breathing, and what a joy she’s been to us. She’s lived at Redmesa all her life and still lives there, and this is 1973. She’s the mother of our largest family—-5 boys and 1 girl—-and her first big boy was just like she was, so long in birth that he didn’t breathe. He was a still baby. If someone had worked on him a little bit or given him mouth to mouth breathing, I think that he would have lived. Anyway, that’s it.
Now our next child, Winifred, another girl, was born January 19, 1917 at Redmesa. After our experience with Mildred being born, we didn’t know what to think, but Winifred came so quick that I was up in the mountains getting out logs. Young people are sure foolish, aren’t they? There I was clear up in the mountains in snow up to my waist, and Lawrence and I getting out logs to have some lumber to build things with right up to the time she was supposed to be sick and she had to phone up to Willis Taylor, who was across the wash from where mother lived and he had to run over and get Stanley, and Stanley had to ride a horse up about 15 miles to where I was working, and then I had to get on a horse and come down. By the time I got there, Winifred had just been born —- a beautiful, sweet thing. She’s always been such a sweet girl and so have all of our girls.
And then our son, Edwin, the only son we’ve had, was born March 3, 1919 at Redmesa, and he’s been a wonderful boy all of his life.
I guess I should have given a little bit of history of each one as I came to them, but anyway, I said that Mildred was a mother of five boys and a girl—-six boys including the first one.
Winifred had two boys and then two girls, and Edwin was born, as I say, March 3, 1919, and he had two sons.
I just asked Irma if I should have gone into more detail about each of my grandchildren and their marriage and their children but she says, “You’d better let them write their history,” and I think that that’s a good idea.
Roberta was the next and she was born I don’t know whether it’s May 15th or 16th. Mildred’s oldest boy, Dean, was born either the 15th or 16th, but I think Roberta was born May 16, 1923 and she has four wonderful boys and then twin girls.
And then Marie came along quite a bit later — November 13, 1928, and she has three lovely daughters and then two sweet boys.
I hardly know how it would be best to do this now, whether to go ahead and give an account of my Church activity or whether it would be best to give a little of our family life, but, as I tell Irma, who is my wife at this date in 1973, Myrtle having died three years ago. But anyway, I’ve pretty near got to give my life as Bishop and things because all these other things tie into it.
Myrtle and I went to Salt Lake to be married. We didn’t have it in our heads to do any other thing but to be married in the Temple. Of course money was so scarce then, it was something to try to go clear to Salt Lake to be married, but I sold a little grain and a few other things. Myrtle had quite a time to get money to get some clothes, and we finally made it and wouldn’t think of being married any other way. It took us four days to get to Salt Lake—one day with a team to Mancos, Colorado, and then got on that little narrow puddle-jumper and spent a day going to Telluride. We stayed there over night just like you would with a team and wagon, and the next day we went to Montrose, Colorado, and got on the wide gage. I thought we got on the wide gauge at Montrose, Colorado, but I guess we didn’t. We went on to Grand Junction or somewhere and got on the wide gauge and landed up at Salt Lake about the fourth day. Now we leave Provo here and go to Redmesa in six hours. That’s some difference in a span of 60 years. It will be 60 years the third of this October since Myrtle and I were married, but that’s some difference now in the mode of travel.
Well, Myrtle and I went on up to her Aunt’s up in Huntsville and stayed two or three weeks, and I plowed for him and broke a big team of horses for him that he couldn’t break. He was too old, and the only son he had there was 15 and he was too young and this big team of colts had kind of run it over them and they had spoiled them. Anyway, I plowed for about three weeks. We enjoyed staying there.
Then we went home. We spent about 30 days on our marriage trip and went home. I hadn’t been home a week or two until they put me in as Superintendent of the Sunday School, and I was Superintendent of the Sunday School the best I knew how. Of course I made lots of mistakes and so on, but for ten years until they called me to be the Bishop of the Redmesa Ward, after my protest which I have always done—thought that I wasn’t the right man for the place—George F. Richards, an Apostle, and Dave Halls, the Stake President, went ahead and put me in anyway. They ordained me a Bishop on December 8, 1923. Before I was put in Bishop, when I was Superintendent of the Sunday School, they ordained me a High Priest and put me in as a High Councilor and I served as a High Councilor for quite a few years while I was Superintendent of the Sunday School. Then they put me in as Bishop as I told you, and I served in that capacity for 8 years and 9 months and then I thought it was best to get out and let someone else try it for a while. There was quite a bit of fuss about the reservoir water and the Church water and these different things. We had quite a lot of troubles in a country of that kind, and they put me back in the High Council again then.
Then Kline Ward had been without a Bishop for a while. They got out of hand up there--drinking, etc., at their dances. Old Brother Evensen, who was Bishop, couldn’t handle it very well so they quit having services entirely. Finally, at one of our stake conferences, Melvin J. Ballard came out. The conference was going to be at Mancos, and Melvin J. Ballard came out as the visiting authority, and in those days where they had to come so far by car, they would have conference say in our stake in the middle of the week and then go back to Moab or Monticello or somewhere and have it over Saturday or Sunday. Ours was in the middle of the week this time, and so it was appointed that we would go to Kline, I was a High Councilor, and organize that ward.
In our High Council Meeting, Brother Ballard said to President Elmer Taylor, “Who have you got picked out for Bishop of this ward?” He said “We haven’t anybody. That’s our trouble.” Brother Ballard said, “Well, you Stake Presidency get off by yourselves and choose someone for Bishop of this Ward.” There hadn’t been any services in the church for months and months and it was cold and it was in September and President Taylor said, “Well, let’s go out in my car. The sun is shining. It would be warm there. Brother Ballard goes and follows them out and gets in the car with them and says that he thinks Charles E. Dean ought to be the Bishop of the Kline Ward for a while until he can train someone else to be the Bishop. So they come in and hit me in the pit of the stomach, you might say, with that proposition. I said, “Well, I just can’t do it.” And Brother Ballard said, “Well what are your reasons?” I said, “Well, my wife isn’t well at all, and she has a young baby, (Roberta was born in May and Myrtle’s health was very poor), and these people don’t like these Redmesaites and we don’t like them. They call us the Word of Wisdom son’s of bitches.” (Very few of them kept the Word of Wisdom. We couldn’t find a man to be their Bishop but what smoked or drank or something). Brother Ballard said “Well, if I was ever prompted that anything was right in my life, Brother Dean, it was that you should be Bishop of this Kline Ward for a while until you can train somebody else.” So, of course, I said right there that if that’s the way he felt why that’s the way it would be. A meeting was called of the public to come in the afternoon, so they came and he had me sustained before them right there and set me apart as Bishop of that ward before I ever consulted with Myrtle at all. So there it was. I went home from that meeting and didn’t tell Myrtle anything about it. I wanted her to have a good night’s rest. She had been feeling so bad. So, while my children were at Mutual (this was on a Tuesday, I guess) when I heard them coming home down through the field, I went down and met them and told them not to tell their mother anything about it—that I wanted her to have a good sleep. Of course I knew they would hear it over at Mutual, and I wanted their mother to have a good night’s sleep, so they didn’t. I didn’t tell Myrtle anything about it until the next morning when we woke up quite early. After explaining it to her, she said “Well, of course you couldn’t do anything else but what you did.”
She always sustained me in all of my church callings. When I was Bishop of the Redmesa Ward for eight years and nine months, she had the children on her responsibility always on Sunday, and I had to sit on the stand. Her health wasn’t good during all those years either, and the same way with this now, her health wasn’t good. Brother Ballard said, “What is the matter with your wife? Why isn’t her health good?” I told him, I said, “We’re afraid she has T B.” He said “You bring her to Mancos to Conference tomorrow, and I will bless her, and she will be made well.” And that is exactly what happened. Of course, we didn’t know for sure it was T B until after we moved to Provo in 1939, years later. She was real sick here, quite sick, and we went to different doctors to try to find what was the matter and they couldn’t find what was the matter, but Lawrence said “Well go to my doctor, Dr. Callister in Salt Lake and we did and he said “Well, you’ve had T B, but you don’t have it now, but the scars are there.” So you see, it was exactly like Brother Ballard said: she would be made well.
According to my Bishop’s certificates here (I have three of them) I was set apart as Bishop of the Kline Ward on September 18, 1934, and served for two years and nine months and five days it says. The day I was released there from Kline, I wrote out some tithing certificates for the Kline Ward in the morning, and President Taylor took me right down and sustained me as Bishop of the Redmesa Ward again that same day, and I wrote out certificates as Bishop of the Redmesa Ward the same day I had been Bishop up to Kline. This Bishop’s certificate says I was Bishop the second time at Redmesa 23 days less than two years, and then we decided to move up here to Provo in May of 1939.
When we got here, we belonged to the Manavoo Ward and Bishop Sowards was Bishop. We were there about a year and they reorganized the ward and made the Twelfth and Thirteenth out of it and a Branch up on the Campus (of B.Y.U.). Ariel Ballif was called to be Bishop of the Ninth Ward and he asked me to be his Counselor. I was hauling hay. We had to bring a couple of cows with us from Redmesa in 1939—-it was right during the depression and so I brought a couple of cows to sell milk and help make a living--and so I was hauling a jag of hay on my pickup. Ariel Ballif came down and talked to me and he said he had chosen me to be his counselor. I said, “Oh, golly, Brother Ballif, I just can’t do that. I’ve been a Bishop so long. I was still a Bishop when I left Redmesa and I just can’t be that again.” He said, “Well, I chose you and want you, but if you say that why I’ll go and tell President Rowan what you say.” He had no sooner left than Myrtle said, “What did Brother Ballif want?” I told her he wanted me to be his First Counselor in the Bishopric, but I told him I just couldn’t do it. And she said, “You get right up there and tell him you can do it.” So up I went. I told Bishop Ballif that I would take that responsibility, so I was his counselor for about six years, I think.
So that’s a little experience that I have had in the Church line. Since then, I have been High Priest Group Leader, and been a Home Teacher during all of it--all my life nearly; secretary of the Stake High Priest’s Quorum. Now I’m a Home Teacher and Irma and I work in the temple about 18 sessions a week.
Irma says I’m jumping over quite a ways, so I’ll go back now and give a little of my family life.
We had a wonderful family life--our five wonderful children. We were happy there together at Redmesa. We didn’t make a dollar a year hardly, but we always had plenty to eat and plenty to wear and lots of hard work to keep us happy. Sweet Myrtle had to work too hard. She had the separator to wash every day, and dinner to cook usually for hay men or hired men of some kind besides her own family and her health wasn’t too good.
But we struggled along with a happy life until Mildred was married when we left there in 1939, but the other four children, Winifred had been up here to BYU for a year or so then and had taught school for a year or so and Edwin was ready for--well, in fact, they had been going to Fort Lewis and that was such a grind in the wintertime 19 miles and snow deep. Myrtle’s parents and Bertha had been here to Provo of course for years; especially Bertha had been here for long years teaching at the BYU. She was a widow. Her husband was killed a few months after they were married, and they had been coaxing us to come up for years and years and years, but I never could see it. But, after all, our children needed this college so badly and they kept coaxing us to come. Myrtle thought we ought to go and so did the children, but I still couldn’t see it, so I said “Well, let’s kneel down and pray about it then.” So we did. We knelt right down and prayed specially to know whether we should move to Provo or not. We no sooner got through praying than I said “Well sure. Now I know that we should go.”
So we advertised immediately and had a sale and moved to Provo right during the Depression—May of 1939—when you couldn’t hire a job. We came here to Provo and I got on up to the State Hospital at $70.00 a month and they’d only give us two weeks a month work, so that’s $35.00 a month here in Provo with a family. But as I said, I guess back a little ways, we brought a couple of cows with us and ran a little milk route—sold 12 quarts of milk for a $l.00—what do you know about that. Cream was down pretty near half way on the bottle. Now two quarts of milk costs us .47 cents.
Well anyway, we’ve been very happy since we came here. Our children all graduated from the BYU except Mildred and she was married when we came, and she went to Fort Lewis for two or three years and has plenty of education for a housewife, and she’s surely been a sweet housewife. Sister Agnes Slade told me once, they didn’t know what in the world they would have done at Redmesa without Mildred. She’s always been such a wonderful, sweet woman.
Here at Provo, as I say, all of our children graduated from BYU. Winifred married Earl Banks, and Edwin married Margaret Pierce from Springville—a woman he met while he was on his mission, but, of course, he didn’t marry her until after he got back from his mission. Roberta married Paul Peterson, and Marie married Bruce Speakman.
Now, I don’t know whether I should go back and give an account of each of our children and their children, or what you would want. I don’t know whether I should go ahead with my life’s history now and give a little account of my children and their children, or what would be interesting, but I guess I will, and if Gordon and those don’t want it when they record then they can stop when I start it.
I talked about each of my grandchildren and ran out of tape, so now I’ll start on another tape.
I guess I already said that Dean married a woman from Arizona by the name of Marlene Pulsipher and they have two lovely daughters. I guess the oldest one is 10 or 11 years old now. They named her Mardean after both of them, and the next one is Gwen. That seems to be the size of their family. He’s moved to Missouri now and is a farmer back there.
Russell Peine, the second boy, went on a mission to Mexico. He came back and he met a woman here at the BYU by the name of Connie Adams. He married her and they have three lovely boys and then a girl. Now they say they’re going to have their second girl in July.
The next boy, Robert, went on a mission to South America. After he came back he met a girl here at the BYU by the name of Melanie Stringham and married her and they have a two-year-old daughter and a son born the day before last Christmas—the 24th of December in 1972.
Then Carol Peine met a boy here at BYU by the name of Dana Dean. I told her, “If you’re going to get married, you’d better hurry up or you might find that you’re full cousins.” But we haven’t connected any relationship up to him yet. But they married and have a wonderful daughter--pretty near a year old now I guess Their next son, Craig, just returned about three weeks ago from a mission to South England--no I guess it was South Germany, in Germany anyway, and then he came up here the last half of this year’s term and is going to school here now.
There other son, Kirk, was 18 the 20th day of last December, so a year from now, he will be going on a mission.
Then we come to Winifred. She had two boys and then two girls, and they are all married but her oldest boy, Gordon. I hope he’ll get married some day and make a success out of his life.
Ronnie is her second child, and he married a Spanish girl by the name of Lee. Now that’s all I know. I can’t pronounce her other name. They have a son 5 or 6 months old now named Joseph Hyrum.
Then Linda, their first girl, married a fellow by the name of Michael Brown. They had a boy and then a girl and now she is going to have another baby right away. So the great grandchildren are starting to come along like popcorn now. I have 14, I believe it is, or maybe 15 at this stage, and they (Linda) are going to have another, as I say.
Then Peggy, their baby girl, met Jerry Duke here at school and married him, and they have a sweet little boy by the name of Jason that is about 6 months old now.
Then we come to Edwin. He had two sons is all and couldn’t have any more. They wanted a little daughter very badly. Their oldest son, Robert Charles, was born in 1944. He went on a mission to Scotland and when he came back, he met a girl that his brother, Allan, had converted down in California. She came up here to school and they fell in love and married, and they have a sweet little girl 3 years old now. She’s sure sweet and pretty.
Then Allan Dean I think he must have met this girl, Lola--I can’t think of her last name right now, and I didn’t give the name of Bobby’s wife. Her name was Chey Dade. I could think of Allan’s wife’s name, I guess, if I was a mind to right hard. I’ve thought of Allan’s wife’s last name now—-Chesley—-Lola Chesley. They have a sweet little boy about a year old now.
Then we go to Roberta. She had four great big tall boys and then twin daughters—Paul, Keith, Dennis, Randy, and Joyce and Janice. None of them are married yet. Paul went on a mission to Scotland and returned and has been going to school since. Keith went on a mission to Uruguay-Paraguay Mission. He returned a month ago. And now Dennis is on a mission—he’s the one that is in South England. He’s been gone since last June. They had two out there for about six months. Randy was 18 on Lincoln’s birthday last, so in about a year from now he’ll be going, and they’ll have two on a mission again for then for a while. The two girls are 14 years old now, and they’re sure sweet, like all of our grandchildren are.
Then Marie married Bruce Speakman and she has three lovely girls: Marilyn 14, then Debbie, then Kathy, then Kenneth, and then Steven Dean.
I haven’t told yet about Myrtle dying. My sweet wife, Myrtle, died on March 31, 1970, after we had been married nearly 57 years. She was in her eightieth year. She would have been eighty the 2nd day of the next November. After having sugar diabetes when she was 12 years old and healed by the Lord through the Priesthood, and then having TB and being healed through the Priesthood again with Brother Ballard, she lived until nearly 80 years of age. How wonderful that was. She died in the twinkling of an eye. She went to Relief Society the morning she died and drove her own car and came back and I had dinner ready. We ate dinner and rested a while and then we played Rook a little while. We liked to play Rook with a dummy hand. Then Mildred Lilienquist, our neighbor, came in the afternoon. After visiting quite a while, she said, “I’m going over and see Sister Simpkins.” That’s two houses from us here across the road. Myrtle had expressed an idea just before that she would like to go over and see Sister Simpkins, so I said, “Why don’t you go, Myrtle, with Mildred and visit Sister Simpkins.” And she did, and they visited until about six o’ clock in the evening. When Myrtle came back, she came in the house and she said “Ooh, daddy, I had the terriblest feeling when I sat down over to Sister Simpkins. Everything just went terribly black.” And she went on in the bedroom and sat in a chair that had little narrow arms on it, and I went out and raised an awning. I was gone about a minute or a minute-and-a-half and came back in, and I said “Mother, where are you?” She didn’t answer me and I went in the bedroom and there she was sitting in her chair as dead as could be. Her arms hadn’t even fallen off from the little narrow arms of the chair, so she didn’t have any struggle whatsoever. I put her on the bed and tried mouth-to-mouth breathing, but to no avail. Of course I knew she was dead when I first saw her. It was such a shock to me, and yet what a blessing that she could go without suffering after having poor health for so long. She had a bad heart attack some fourteen months before her death, and kept getting worse. She couldn’t walk hardly at all, and couldn’t exercise or do much of the work. What a blessing it was she could go that way so quickly, although it was such a shock to me.
All the children, except one or two grandchildren, were here to the funeral and it let me know what a wonderful comforter a good funeral is and loved ones at the time of death.
After a year-and-a-half I married Irma Taylor Walker. I had known her all of my life. As I said before, her family and my family and Jim Slade and Lou Burnham and a lot of them moved to Redmesa in 1906. At that time Irma was not quite 10 yet and I was not quite 13. But we knew each other at Mancos before that. So we’ve known each other all our lives. It didn’t take a very long courtship. We were married on my seventy-eighth birthday, and she’s a very sweet woman. I’ve had two of the sweetest women in the world for wives. She fit in so well with me here. She was living in a rented apartment and I was here alone and couldn’t read or drive the car, and she can do both. She already had a car of her own—a little Falcon—and I thought, “Well it might bother her to drive this Oldsmobile that I bought for Myrtle with power steering, power brakes, and air conditioning, etc.” And I thought, “Well it might bother Irma to drive that.” Come to find out her Falcon had exactly the same shift in it that this does. So she got right in and drove right off.
We’re so happy here together. She’s such a wonderful sweet companion. Our main work now is going to the Temple. We think we’re so fortunate to have a temple within five minutes of our home, and we did 68 endowments in January and going to beat that in February, and that’s the way we’ve been working every since the temple opened here last May. Although, Irma was out for two months with strained back, and then another month or better with congestion on her lungs so she coughed, coughed, coughed and couldn’t go to the temple. But for a couple of months now she has been back, and we go to the temple real often and enjoy it so much. We’re so glad that we can put in our time that way after retiring and nothing to do. And we’re thankful that we’re considered worthy to go and can get a recommend.
Irma and her family moved up here from Redmesa in 1934, and her husband was with her very little after that. He left and practically lived with another woman, and they got a divorce. Shortly afterwards he died of heart trouble in 1940. She was a widow all that time with six children to raise, a very difficult task. Sometimes, she says, they really didn’t know what they would eat, and she’s gotten up from the table hungry, but she thought her children always had enough. But that’s the struggle she had until finally her children married, and some of them lived in Salt Lake so she thought she’d move from Provo to Salt Lake and after her children were married that she would move back to Provo. She liked it so well. So after struggling with raising those six children and they were all married, she got her a small apartment there and lived by herself for ten years, and didn’t have any idea of coming back to Provo until I fulfilled that prophecy for her and brought her back here.
I think now that I will give a few faith-promoting instances in my family’s life. First thing was Myrtle’s life being spared miraculously from two fatal diseases, and living on to be nearly eighty years of age. We’ve always considered that as very wonderful miracles. She had two sisters die of sugar diabetes and they knew no cure for it in those days. In fact, they don’t yet, but they didn’t know about insulin then. One sister died at the age of six—their first little child, and then another sister, Dora, at the age of fifteen.
And then in our family, we had some wonderful faith promoting instances happen. Roberta, for instance, when she was about eighteen months old, I think, pulled the cork out of an old wooden washer. It was full of boiling lye water and hit her, of course, about the middle of her body and ran down her legs, and she was burned so terrible. She had leather shoes on her little feet is all that saved her feet from being burned so badly that her toes would all grow together and everything. I was up to the reservoir working then. I was Bishop and we were trying to rebuild our reservoir and I had to have charge of it and had a hard time to get the men to come. But we were to where we had to have a stonemason come and lay up the walls for the outlet for the stem to go up. I thought I would go down in the evening and see about getting a mason to come up and lay up our wall. I had to ride Byrd down; we didn’t have cars in those days. Byrd was a little riding mare that we had for our children all our lives there. I was going to go down in the evening and do that, but at noon I said to the brethren, “I’m going to go down now and find that mason, I’m not going to wait until evening.” So I got on Byrd and loped on home quite fast and, as I passed Greer’s, Harry Greer said “Did you hear about your baby getting burned,” and I said “No, what do you mean, Harry?” And he said, “Roberta was burned real badly.” And so I rushed on home and met Dr. Smith coming from our place, about half a mile this side. He explained to me what happened. I went on home and our sweet little Roberta was burned so badly. Myrtle’s Uncle, John Dunton, was staying there doing the chores while I was gone. He was an old bachelor. And he said to her, “Shall I go up and get Charlie?” And Myrtle said, “No, he’ll come home.” So you see, that’s why I was impressed to come at noon instead of night. Well, Dr. Oschner in Durango said “If she gets to sloughing from her burns, be sure and get her right in here to the hospital.” She had sloughed so badly that we had an oil cloth, or something, under and running into a bucket at the side of the bed, and she just sloughed terribly, but we never took her to the hospital and she got over it and it never affected her any. But, if she hadn’t had those little leather shoes on, we’re satisfied her toes would have grown together. So the Lord blessed us greatly there.
Another time that was quite faith promoting, I thought, for our children and for us also. I was up irrigating in the upper part of the field about a half a mile from our house and had my gumboots on and was riding Byrd again and had a saddle and my shovel over my shoulder. And as I came back, a visiting bull came in the West Lane and was making up to my big bull. I had a big Holstein bull, and they were bellowing at each other. They had Just gotten their heads together through a kind of a loose barbwire fence. I rode up to this little roan bull that had horns just about three feet long on each side and spatted him on the rump with my shovel and told him to get out of here. He left my bull and started away and got a couple of rods away and I thought he was going to go off like a gentleman, and he turned and charged us so terrible that one horn went in my little mare’s side right behind my leg—I was the one he was after—he looked up at me and snorted at me. One horn went in Byrd’s side full tilt just behind my leg, and the other just in front of my leg-- ripped her shoulder open for about eighteen inches long. I tried to spur Byrd off from his horns, but she didn’t have any traction. She was raised up off from the ground practically and finally he let us down. I pushed or spurred her off and stirruped her on the fence. We were so anxious to get away, that we went anyway, but it broke the stirrup right off my saddle. Anyway, there she was with that hole in her side and her shoulder ripped open. My family was watching me out of the window. The kiddies were just little kiddies then, and they were screaming and crying. I went up to the house and unsaddled Byrd and turned her loose and let her go out in the field. The children were crying so, “Daddy, what will we do?” I said,” Well there’s nothing we can do but pray about it.” So we knelt down and prayed that little Byrd would get well, and she did. It was dark and pretty soon she was lying down the last we saw her at night when we went to sleep. The next morning she was up eating and got well and had two colts after that, and she had never had any before. Anyway, she lived after that until when we moved here to Provo, we sold her at the sale. So that was quite a faith-promoting instance to our children.
Another very faith promoting thing happened in our lives. Along about 1916 or 1917, it seemed like pretty near every farmer in Redmesa bought about a hundred sheep--Leo Taylor, Slades, and myself, and I don’t know who all else, and we put them all together in the summertime and sent them up on the government reserve. But, anyway, I went over to the store one day, in fact we were going to buy a stallion—and we did buy it—a big purebred stallion. It was a wonderful help to us. We had a lot of good colts from him. But, anyway, I went up to the store, and my brother-in-law Dave Hall’s was sitting on the counter there in Walker’s Store. Irma owned the store at that time—the woman I just married a year-and-a-half ago. But he was my brother-in- law, and I said “What are you doing over here?” He said, “I came over to buy Clarence Slade and his father’s sheep. We’ve got a little more range than we have sheep for and wanted some more sheep.” And he said, “Do you want to sell yours?” I said, “I should say we don’t want to sell ours.” It was during the War—the 1st World War and the government paid extortion prices for the lambs and the wool. It was about the only money we ever did have. He said, “Oh, I guess you’d sell them if you got the right price, wouldn’t you?” I said, “Oh, maybe so.” And he said, “Well, what would your price be?” I thought a minute and I thought, “Oh, boy. I’ll put them so high you’ll never touch them.” I said, “Oh, about $17.00, gummers and all.” And he said, “Well I’ll be down and look at them.” So I went home after we went over and bought the stallion. I told Myrtle about it and Myrtle said, “Well, I should say we won’t sell our sheep.” It’s the only thing we ever did have a little money from and they had a mortgage on them. We paid about $11.00 a head for them and they still were mortgaged for that amount. I said, “Well, let’s go in and pray about it.” The children were all at school. We went in—I guess all the children weren’t at school because it was 1918 and Edwin wasn’t even born then. But anyway, we went in our bedroom and prayed about it, and no sooner got through and I said, “Well, I feel like now if he wants the sheep at that price, we’d better let them go.” And Myrtle said, “I feel the same way.” And down he came to look at them. He said, “Well, I think I’ll take your sheep. Do you want your check now or when I come back —I’m on the School Board over at Mancos, and next Tuesday is election. I’ve got to be there then and I’ll be right back after that. Do you want your check now or then?” And I said, “Well, you keep your money as long as you can, and I’ll keep my sheep.” When he came back, I said, “I’ll give you $25.00 if you’ll just forget about buying these sheep.” And he said, “No, I’ll take them,” and wrote me out a check for $2300.00 and something. After we paid the debt, we had a few hundred dollars that was the only money we ever had in our lives I guess. It wasn’t six months after that until the war was over and you couldn’t sell wool and they couldn’t sell lambs, and the fellows that didn’t sell their sheep got in pretty bad straits on them. So that’s another wonderful faith promoting story that we had in our life.
Another great one is when we moved up here. As I said a little earlier, I think, that Myrtle’s folks had been coaxing us to come up for years and get away from Redmesa where it was such a hard place to make a living and the water was hard. So, finally, after the children needed the school, I said, “Well, let’s pray about it.” So we did. We knelt down and prayed about it and I was impressed immediately after prayer to move up here. So we advertised for sale and sold our stuff and moved up here right during the depression. As I said before, we brought a couple of cows with us and ran a little milk route and got on at the Hospital at $70 a month and only got half-time work then. But anyway, the Lord’s blessed us so greatly since we came here. We had a nice house built in 1940 and got it paid for while I worked out at Geneva. And then, twelve years ago, my sons-in-law and my son said “Daddy, why don’t you build a house that is more fit for you and mother in your older age on the lot you have left there?” We bought a strip of land 100 feet wide here and way back a long way and had sold it all but just one lot. So, we did. We went ahead and did that. They said they would come and help us during their vacations and we’d build it. We got some nice plans just to fit our lot and they all took their vacation together, and we built this lovely brick home. I don’t owe a penny on it and Irma and I are so happy here, and Myrtle was with it too. She was so happy with her other home and we got it paid for and got this paid for. So, after Myrtle died, I had already sold the other home--we thought we’d better sell it and had already sold it. And after Myrtle died and that house was offered for sale again, I bought it back. So now Irma and I own both houses. There’s a little debt on the other house, but not on this one. And we’ve been blessed so greatly since we came here. So you see these faith promoting series in our lives.
I’ve got to leave right now for Sacrament Meeting, and I may bear my testimony to you or something when I get back.
We have been to Sacrament Meeting and just got back. It’s about 20 minutes to 7:00, so I thought I’d like to finish this before I quit—not much more on this side, I guess. I may tear it all up when I get through and not use it at all.
I’d kind of like to bear my testimony to my children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, that the Gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true, and the stricter we heed its teachings, the happier we’ll be. And the longer we live the happier we’ll be if we keep the commandments of the Lord. I’m so thankful that all of my children married in the Temple—and my grandchildren thus far. I don’t want to boast or anything nor be proud, but I’m just humbly thankful that they’ve all been married in the Temple and all of them gone on missions except Gordon that are old enough thus far. I think Gordon will go some day and get married some day.
I don’t know as I emphasized what a sweet mother and grandmother and great grandmother you children had. She’s sure a lovely woman. She’s loved by everybody that knew her. She’s such an intelligent sweet woman and such a wonderful wife and mother and grandmother and great grandmother and sister and daughter. I hope I’ll live so that I can have her in eternity, and not do anything that will deprive me of her in the next world.
Maybe there are lots of things I should have said on this. It’s very unorganized and, as I say, I may just tear it up when Gordon comes. If he hears this, he may tell me a lot more things he wants me to say.
I think that the rest of our genealogy, you’ll have to find out from our genealogical books, because Myrtle was very precise and worked hard to have everything down. I don’t need to give the dates of the births of all our grandchildren or anything like that, or our great grandparents, etc. I couldn’t do it by memory, and I can’t read it.
As you all know, I’ve had bad vision for the last nearly ten years now. I can’t read at all or drive a car, but I’m still thankful for what vision I have. I’ve never complained about it. I just thank the Lord that I still have vision enough to get around and take my walks. However, I’ve had such a sore heal the last month that I can’t walk, but I have faith that it will heal up. I’m just thankful for what vision I have. I can get around, go to the temple, and do the dishes, do the work and tend to my lot. I’m painting the other house now. Isn’t that something for an 80-year-old blind man to do?
I’ve done these tapes of my life story, and since then I’ve thought of quite a few things such as our Mission to the New England States and our trip to England, and mine and Irma’s trip to Hawaii, etc. So after reading the others over tonight, this is Sunday evening, I thought I’d go ahead and record some more.
I find I didn’t even give Myrtle’s age or the date of her birth, and you’ll want that. She was born November 2, 1890 to William McDonald Devenport and Sarah Barker Devenport. Now as to their ages, etc., you’ll have to go to our Genealogical Book. There’s no need of me worrying about their ages because I don’t know them.
But when we were building our new brick house here in 1961, I hadn’t retired from school over there yet and President Rogers said to me one day, “Well, go ahead and build your new house and live in it a year or two and we’ll call you on a mission.” I said, “Well, now, President Rogers, you’d better be a little careful what you say.” Anyway, we went ahead and built the house and lived in it a year or two. I was 70 years old the 26th of August (1963), and I retired at the end of that month at 70 years of age from my custodial job I had at the Joaquin School for 20 years. It wasn’t as good a pay as I would have gotten out to Geneva, because when we got through building that they asked us to stay on and work, but I didn’t want to. So I got this job as custodian of the Joaquin School right here in our dooryard, two blocks away, and took lots less pay all those 20 years. But I was my own boss and didn’t have to have shift work. Myrtle felt a little embarrassed that I was a custodian, but nevertheless, we made out and I got our other home paid for—we had to borrow a little to build the other home.
We had built a lumber home when we first came here in 1940. The contract price ready to move in was $3600.00—wasn’t that something? It had the linoleum on the floor and the windows and everything and the screens on the doors. The basement wasn’t finished, but it had a coal room and a nice furnace in it. But anyway, when I worked out at Geneva helping build Geneva at a big price (we thought in those days) about $15.00 a day—glory me that was something, because all my life down at Redmesa, I could hire all the help I wanted for $1.50 a day.
Anyway, we got our home paid for over there and we lived in the lumber house for 21 years and then, as I said, we built this house. We lived in it for a while, and then, sure enough, before I ever retired our Bishop, Bishop Summers, interviewed us for our mission. So we were called on a mission. We got a letter from President McKay (both of us). We were called on a Mission to the New England States. We went into the Mission Home November 11th. I didn’t retire, you know, until the 1st of September. We were quite busy getting ready to go, etc. We went in the Mission Home on November 11th. We swore we wouldn’t rent our new house to students, but five girls wanted it so badly. They had already paid down on these big new Ream’s homes here that was built on the land I’d sold them (part of it). It wasn’t done and they were down in a motel and couldn’t even unpack their clothes. They said they’d take good care of it, so we rented it to them for $150.00 a month—this new home. It was quite badly abused, but that money more than kept us on our mission together with our social security. So we went on our mission and when we got back we had more money than when we left. So the Lord blessed us a lot.
But anyway, we had our Golden Wedding October 3rd of that year, 1963, over here at the Church, and people were so nice to us. Then when we left to go up to the Mission Home, they had another party for us and were so nice to us. They gave us some money.
We went up to the Mission Home on November 11th, 1963, and they found out, of course, that we’d had out Golden Wedding and we were the only couple there that week, where they’d had six couples there the week before, but they kind of spoiled us and babied us and let me sleep down on the girl’s floor—gave Myrtle and I a room there. They had us speak in one of the assemblies and they babied us real much. Oh, we enjoyed that week at the Mission Home so much. They don’t have a week’s time there now. They shoot them through in about three days Ithink. But we enjoyed it so very much. We were there the week from November 11th to November 18th. We had our nice Ford car. It had about 43,000 on it then, I think. It was a good car, and wonderful strong car. It didn’t have any of the power steering or power brakes or anything, and no air conditioning, but had a heater.
We left Marie’s at Salt Lake and didn’t even come back here again. We spent all week going across the United States and took our time. We’d camp before dark and get settled, find a motel, and then we’d leave early in the morning and we would travel all day and enjoy it and try to learn our lessons that we were supposed to have learned. It was pretty hard for people that old to learn those discussions, and we’d sing songs, etc. But we enjoyed our trip.
We landed in Cambridge, Massachusetts on Saturday about noon, I guess. Anyway, just the day before that, Friday, along in the afternoon, Myrtle turned the radio on and just heard on the radio about President Kennedy’s assassination the day before we landed in our mission. We went on to Cambridge, Massachusetts. Truman G. Madsen was the President of the Mission then. We reported to the Mission Home. He said he wasn’t looking for us for another week, I don’t know why. Anyway he said for us to go over to the Mission Home (it was the office that he was in) and that we could stay there until Monday and then we would get our assignment. We went over to the Mission Home and stayed there. They treated us nice and had nice meals and they gave us a good bed, and we went to Church with them on Sunday.
Monday morning came and we still hadn’t heard a thing about any assignment and didn’t have any idea where we were going. We packed our car and got all ready, and finally President Truman (Madsen) asked me, “What experience have you had in the Church?” And I said, “Oh, quite a bit. I was Superintendent of the Sunday School for 10 years and a Bishop for nearly 15.” And he said, “That’s enough, that’s enough.” So, he was waiting for his Counselor to come down from Cambridge, Vermont. Oh, I don’t know whether it was Cambridge or not, but anyway, finally Brother Stephens came, that was the District President (the same as a Stake President). Pretty soon they called us down to their meeting and said they were going to send us up to South Royalton, Vermont. It’s right close to the Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial. They instructed us how to go and where to go and gave us a map and phoned ahead to the Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial people, Brother and Sister Archibald. President Madsen phoned ahead and asked if we could stay there the first night until we could get situated, and they said, “Yes.”
When we got there, the Brother gave us to understand in a polite way that they had a family coming; this was just the week before Thanksgiving. This was on a Monday, and Thanksgiving was the next Thursday, and that they had his wife’s sister’s family coming, and that we couldn’t stay during that. Of course, we didn’t intend to. We were quite independent. They had an experience with some lady missionaries that came there and thought that was their home. They stayed two weeks or more. So you can’t blame them for being a little bit cautious. Anyway, we drove from Cambridge, Massachusetts to South Royalton, Vermont, which was quite a drive. We went to the Joseph Smith Memorial, and Brother and Sister Archibald welcomed us in and we stayed overnight. They are such sweet people. They work in the Logan Temple now. They treated us very nice. Such a wonderful place to stay—everything so comfortable, and beds there for the visiting authorities. We showed our independence a little bit again. We just rolled out some beds out of the closet and put our own bedding on it so she wouldn’t have to wash our sheets or anything.
The next morning, we gave them a couple of quarts of our home canned peaches, which were so lovely. We filled the back of our car with about 8 or 10 cases of fruit and things like that helped us out so much on our mission. Then we went our way to try and find a place to stay. We didn’t have much success. We went up to Bethel, about eight ten miles north of South Royalton, and rented a room for a week in the old hotel there, Bethel Hotel. It was an old lumber contraption. It was upstairs and we had to wait in line for the only bathroom there was or toilet. If it would catch fire, there wouldn’t be any show of getting out. But it had been there for a thousand years and so we thought, “Well, it won’t catch fire the night we’re there.” We stayed there a week while we looked around for a home.
I’m going into detail a little bit about our mission. I thought maybe it might be interesting to you. There wasn’t any place to stay, and finally someone said that they thought a family in South Royalton there down about two or three miles from the Birthplace Memorial. They asked me to be Branch President (I guess I’ve kind of tangled things up a little). President Madsen said they wanted me to go up there and be Branch President of a little new Church there that the Church had just built up close to the Birthplace Memorial. But anyway we looked around for some place to stay and finally this person said, “I believe there’s a family up on the bench here in South Royalton that is going to move up to Burlington, Vermont. So we went up there, and their name was Eaton. He was a builder and they wanted him to go to Burlington, Vermont and oversee the building of a big new million dollar or so high school (or multi-million, I don’t know), and they wanted someone to stay in their house. We were just what they wanted, because they wanted to leave all their things just as they were. He was a builder and engineer and had a room with instruments in it. We asked them what they would charge and I forget what they said, but we would have to pay our own fuel and lights and everything and come to about $130.00 a month or so said, “Well, we just can’t pay that. We like your situation here, but we can’t pay that. We’re here on our own expense. The Church doesn’t help us one penny, not even for gas.” He said, “What can you stand?” And I said, “Well, we were willing to pay $75.00 a month, but that would have to be all. We wouldn’t want to pay the heat or anything else. $75.00 a month is the best we can do.” They said, “Well, we want you anyway.” So we found that nice home that was comfortable all winter. I guess we left before the next winter. We were there just a little less than a year.
Being Branch President there was quite a proposition. People were divided like most little branches are, and they had quite a bit of trouble with the former Branch President. He was a young man, wasn’t married, and they lacked about $3600.00 of having their new chapel paid for so they could have it dedicated. I wrote and found that out after I was there. The Relief Society worked so hard to raise money. They would feed the busloads of people that would come to see the Birthplace Memorial each summer, and they would furnish them a nice meal, and they raised about $1800.00 and turned over to this young fellow. But there wasn’t a penny of it went for what it was turned over for. He was kind of loose with the money. He didn’t spend it for his own purposes, but just different things, like having the scouts come there and fuss around, and he’d buy them suits and give them parties and different things like that until none of the money went on the rent. He had just been hired as a schoolteacher there and got in a little trouble with them, morally I think, and so they fired him. So President Lewis, the District President, said they had proved that the accusation they had against him wasn’t true, but anyway they fired him and he was going to leave and go back down to Arizona where he came from.
So they put me in Branch President. It was quite a chore. I said “Well, just let the same Counselors serve me, and the heads of the organizations go along the way it was. I wrote to Salt Lake and got the amount we still owed on the place, and there was $3300.00 before they could have it dedicated. So Myrtle and I worked there for nearly a year. We would meet the people that would come to the Birthplace Memorial, and they would usually come to the nice little white church and we’d show them through and show them our baptismal font and explain the Gospel to them. They had a baptismal font there and also up to the Birthplace Memorial. So we did quite a lot of missionary work that way. I had quite a lot of bookwork to do, and would have to make out my own reports. So we’d drive up that two or three miles each day.
In the wintertime it got real cold there to 30 degrees below zero. When it got up to zero it felt warm, but the house was heated with oil and a thermostat that handled it and we were comfortable, but golly it cost that man better than a dollar a day for oil. We’d have to have the big oil tank come every so often and we’d see the meter run up so many gallon. But we lived through it. We had quite a time getting up to the church house in the wintertime. One time our car turned right around on one of the hills and we followed it and went back home and stayed. But two or three miles up there it is up hill all the way. Another time we got up one of the hills and thought we were on top, but back we started. They were having a District Conference there that day and the car went back regardless of all I could do until it got about half-way back down the hill and got off in the snow bank, I guess and stopped it. And Sister George and Reiner George, he wasn’t a member of the Church, but she was District President of the Relief Society, and they went right up by us just like they knew how. He had been there all his life. He took her on up, and came back lickety-split to help me up. And another car had come and stuck right to the side of us. He came so fast and kind of smart aleck like. When he got to the top of the hill and saw us and that he couldn’t get by, then all he could do was take to the snow bank to stop him. He hit an electric light pole and cut him up a little and it wrecked his car. So those are the kind of things that we had to put up with there in the winter.
President Madsen wouldn’t let us stay the next winter. Anyway, we stayed that winter and the next summer and did the best we could, and I sent every penny that was turned in on the house to the General Authorities. He had spent money for an electric hoist to hoist a little platform up into the ceiling with the extra chairs they had. The builder of the house came along, the one that contracted the house and built it (not contracted it but was a Church builder. They had him on a mission there). He said, “Well, he wasn’t supposed to cut that hole in the ceiling.” And so he nailed it up. So I took a hoist that he had and sold it for $75.00 and a rototiller and a few things like that and raised all the money we could and turned in on the building. This Brother and Sister taking charge of the Birthplace Memorial sold cards that this Branch President put up there, and we’d turn in what profits they brought to pay on the house. They got this new book that was just out then about the Mormons. They’d send to Salt Lake and get some of them and sell them, and turn that money in. I don’t think they even took money out to pay for them. I think they’d pay for them themselves. They were surely a wonderful couple. They’d turn in a little money now and then and I would send it up on the house. Finally, one day Sister (Archibald) told me to come up, they had some more money to give me to pay on the house. Myrtle and I went up. She brought the waste paper basket over and put down the side of her and started lifting some packages of greenbacks out of that waste paper basket. I thought, well she has just put elastics around each 10 $1.00 bills, but lo and behold, I could see $5.00 bills in it and $10.00 and $20.00, and they turned over some $700.00 to me that day that they had been saving to go on the church because they realized that the young buck wasn’t turning it in where it was supposed to go. So they raised some $700 or $800 or $900 while we were there. Myrtle gave them $100 out of her money, and we fed the buses, etc., until when we left there in less than a year the bill was down to less than $500. They went ahead and finished paying for it and it was ready to dedicate by that Christmas after we had left.
We made a lot of friends on our mission, and a lot of them we love yet. They come out to conference once in a while and come and see us and hug and tell us how they love us. Of course, Myrtle’s passing made it sad for them to come here.
As I said before, I guess, Myrtle died on March 31, 1970, and they came here, and, of course, they were sad to hear about her passing. But we made lots of friends, and lots of enemies I guess--or some anyway. But one of the Counselors (I’ll just tell a little experience), Brother Demo, had separated from his wife, and divorced her. He was First Counselor. Every time the District President would come down to hold a conference or anything, he’d say to have my Counselors there and he would set them apart, but we never could get Brother Demo to come to those. Myrtle and I would go over and see him and coax him to come. But he wouldn’t come, and finally they released him, and I chose Pease, John Pease. Brother Rice was my First Counselor. Brother Pease was a new convert. Sister Carol Pace, a missionary that just lived two or three houses below us there was in that mission. She and her companion were the main ones in converting them, they said, and they were fine people. In fact, I think he was put in Branch President after I left, or a Counselor anyway.
While we were there, the World’s Fair was on in New York and we asked President Madsen if we could go down to the Fair. We’d have to drive five or six miles to the airport and leave our car there and go on an airplane. But he said, “No, he didn’t have the authority to tell us we could go to the World’s Fair.” We thought it would be quite an experience for us while we were there. But he said “No”, but the next time he came a few weeks later, he said, “I want you and Sister Dean to go to the World’s Fair.” So we drove our car down to the airport and parked it there for two or three days while we were gone. It was a little airport and old worn out airplanes--propeller type. We got on one and went down to the World’s Fair in New York and walked our legs off for about three days. It was quite the sight all right, but after you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all, and I wouldn’t go to another one if they’d pay my way. But we enjoyed that. And then we got on the airplane and went back and got in our car and went back to the Mission Field.
In October we were released and came home. Just before we left there I said to Myrtle, “I wonder what’s the matter of one of my eyes. When I read it looks like the small print on a contract.” It got so I couldn’t see any frontal sight much in that eye. We came on home and on our road we stopped at Roberta’s and Bob’s. They were in Ohio at that time. He was in the Air Force—had been for years and that was his occupation. He’s retired now, however, and has been for three years and they bought them a nice home out to Pleasant Grove. But anyway we stopped there for a couple of weeks on our road home, but was a little bit anxious to get home and come here to Dr. Oaks and see if he could help my eye. But I went down there early one morning. I knew that he went to work at 5:00 o’clock and read a while and studied a while before he was open for practice. When he came at about 5:00 o’clock and he said, “What did you want?” I explained it to him, and he said, “Well, you know you’ve got to take your turn. There are a lot of people here waiting and I’ve got a lot on the list.” I said, “Okay, I’ll take my turn.” Pretty soon he said, “Come in, Brother Dean.” I went in there and after he examined my eye he said, “I’ll tell you, this is something that I don’t know anything about. I’ve never had any experience with this. I don’t know what it is. I’m going to have to study. Come again in a couple of weeks and I’ll research on it.”
During the meantime, Bruce and Marie said that Bruce’s eye specialist in Salt Lake was a real dandy fellow and he thought he would be better, so I went up there. But I got a $25.00 bill from Dr. Oaks anyway for him going home and studying. But anyway I went to Ungritch in Salt Lake, and he explained to me that the blood vessels in the back of the eye had hemorrhaged and had dried up over the sight. The sight we see out of is about as big as a pinhead and he said, “There is nothing we can do for that eye now, but we might be able to save the other one.” He gave me some red pills. So that’s the way it was. That was in 1964-—we got home about November 1, 1964. We stayed at Marie’s for a couple of weeks. The girls were still in our house and we didn’t want to rout them out before the Christmas Holidays. Marie was nearly to be confined with her first boy. In fact during our mission, when she first got pregnant, she said, “I’m pregnant and I’m going to have a boy on my birthday, November 13th.” So we went there and stayed at her place, and that’s exactly what happened. She had Kenneth on her birthday, November 13, 1964. And we stayed there with them for a week or two and we visited around all our children and enjoyed it quite a lot but we were anxious to get in our home. After the school was out for the holidays and the girls left, we moved in our nice new home.
Now that I’ve told you about our mission, I’ll tell you about our trip to England. We got home from our mission October of 1964, and we decided to go to England. We left in September of 1965. Myrtle had been wanting to go there all our lives to look up the genealogy. So we were silly enough to go, but I’m so glad we did, because that was in 1965, and Myrtle didn’t live too long after that, you see. So we went to England in 1965.
I wrote a journal of this trip to England and gave it in quite detail. So any of you that want to study it in more detail can go to my journal. I just wrote it in several little books. I’m going to have it typed some of these days if I can find someone to do it.
We left here in September, I don’t remember what date. We were gone during September and October — two months. We left Salt Lake on a big airplane and then after 11 hours and 20 minutes traveling time, we were in London. Of course, we had a delay of several hours in New York, etc., but 11 hours and 20 minutes traveling time from Salt Lake to London — wasn’t that something. I said in my journal “It’s impossible, but it happened anyway.”
We landed in London and, after hunting quite awhile, we got us an apartment in a hotel in Russell Square, I think it was called. It was a hotel I guess, if you’re a mind to call it that. The plumbing was a hundred years old —in fact they didn’t have any— just one toilet. We were up on the second floor, and we had to go clear down to the first floor and then two or three steps down to the basement. And we had to wait in line for the toilet — only one toilet in that three story hotel. And one bathtub up in the attic. So that’s the way their plumbing is in London.
We worked there in London for six weeks at different places. (What’s the name of the main place there?) I said in my journal that the books weighed something less than a ton, and I would put them up on the counter that sloped for that purpose, and Myrtle would look through quickly to see if there were any names that she wanted, and then I’d lift them back and put another one up there. We’d find lots of names of what we were looking for, but she never could find the one main name she wanted. (I think that was her great grandfather on the Barker side.)
But we worked there in London for six weeks and went up as far as Scotland and back down to Plymouth — way down in southern England there. She always wondered why her Grandpa and Grandma Barker were married down in Plymouth when they neither one lived there, but we found out that he was in the Navy in the government service, and that was a Navy port there, so I guess that was the reason. Anyway, after searching diligently for about six weeks, we left on a tour for two weeks of a lot of countries in England there. We went to Switzerland and France and so many different places and toured.
But while we were in England, we had so many faith-promoting things happen to us. For instance, Clinton Dinwoody’s wife (Clinton is my nephew and he and his wife were living over there at the time working for Continental Oil Company). We wanted to go up to Dinton, I think it is called, or somewhere. I never can get the darn names in my head. She said, “Well, I’m an expert in genealogy, and I went up there and the minister would have nothing to do with me, and he won’t even look at you.” But anyway, we went up there on the bus and we went to this parish where this preacher “wouldn’t have anything to do with us.” We found him and told him what we wanted and who we were. I don’t think we told him we were Mormons though, for fear they wouldn’t give us anything. We told him we would like to look through his records, that we were hunting genealogy. He said, “Sure, let me get my keys. He took us over to the parish and then got out the books Myrtle wanted. He’d have to stand right there by her. He’d look at one book and she another. He said, “We have to do this because we’ve had several pages cut out of these very valuable histories that go way back hundreds of years. We can’t let people here alone without us.” But after him looking through awhile with us, he left us and went off. He gave us all the books we wanted, and Myrtle looked through them until we were satisfied and got what names we could.
Then we wanted to go up to another place some twelve miles or so. I forget the names. They are in my diary if you want to read it. He said, “Well, it’s late now, and I’m the minister that has charge of that parish too up there. If you’ll come back in the morning, I’ll take you up there and we’ll gather up the records. I’ve got them out to a person that’s typing them all so that people like you can read them quicker. We’ll gather up the records and bring them down here and you can look at them, or you can look at them up there.” So we went back the next morning. It was quite a ways from where we were staying, and that’s what we were there for. We went on a bus. He took us up to this next place. While he was out to this man’s place that was typing them for him, we looked through the cemetery and found some graves there of Myrtle’s own people and copied them down and went through the cemetery. The cemeteries are always right by the parish. We went back and looked those books through.
Then we wanted to go down to another place about six miles below there. He said, “Well, I’ll drive you down.” So he drove us down there, and wouldn’t take a penny for his time or his gas, and there Annette Dinwoody had cautioned us that he’d have nothing to do with us. So that’s the way the Lord opened up our way.
After we looked at the records there in that place, and wanted to go out to where we could get on the bus, we went and asked some school teachers there that were out with their children playing, and the man said, “Well let me drive you down there.” We said, “Oh, I guess we want to go on the bus clear down.” And he said, “Well, the bus won’t be along here for quite a while yet. Let me drive you down.” So he drove us clear down to our hotel. And I said, “Well let us pay you.” And he said, “No, that’s alright.” And he wouldn’t take a penny. So that’s the way they treated us there.
Several other instances — I might give one more. I guess I’ll run out of tape though pretty quick. But we wanted to go to another place —you’ll still have to go to my diary to get the names. We got on the bus early in the morning and drove quite a long ways and finally got to where we wanted to go, but it wasn’t right there. He let us off, and we told him where we wanted to go, and he said, “Well, good walking to you.” So there was one church right there that we wanted to go to and another one was down about six miles from there. I went in the filling station there to see if I could hire someone to take us down there, but there wasn’t anybody in the filling station. So I came out and was going over to where Myrtle was, and a woman came, and I told her what I wanted, and she said, “Well, I’m on the committee (I guess each church has a committee) for this church here. If you want to look it through.” So she took us through that. I don’t think we looked through any records there, but we looked all through the cemetery. Then we told her we wanted to go down to the next place about six miles or so, and she said, “I’ll drive you down.” So she drove us down and brought us back and then we came through a place that morning, but we couldn’t find the minister home, and so we wanted to call at that place again as we went back. She said, “Well, I’ll phone and see if he’s there.” So she phoned down to this next town and got an appointment with the minister for us to meet him. She wouldn’t take a penny. And I said, “Well here, I’m going to pay you anyway.” So I think I gave her a schilling or two — oh, it was a pound I guess I gave her. I paid her quite generously. She said, “Well, I won’t take it, but it will sure be a fine donation for our church. We’re trying to raise money for a certain thing.” So that’s the way they treated us.
We went back to this minister that she phoned ahead to and we got off the bus there, but we couldn’t find him again. So — well, maybe this wasn’t that time. But anyway, this one place, we found the church all right after walking about a mile from the bus where we got off and found the parish and the cemetery, etc., but a woman there said, “Well, the minister is back where you got off the bus.” So I went back there, and left Myrtle there at the cemetery, and tried to find the minister, but I couldn’t find him. A woman upstairs stuck her head out and said, “I think at that next door there you’ll find him.” So I wandered around and couldn’t find him. I went down the road a few hundred feet and knocked at a door, and said “I’m from Utah here.” (I don’t think we told them we were from Utah). Anyway I said, “We’re here trying to find some records. We’re looking up genealogy, and I can’t find the minister.” And I said, “My name is Dean.” She said, “Dean! That’s my husband’s mother’s name was Dean. Come on in.” So we went in, and lo and behold, we were cousins way back. They treated us so nice, and showed us through their nice house. They never had any children of their own. Their name was what? Let’s see. Anyway it’s in the journal, if you want it. They gave us some drinks and cake and cookies, and took us out and showed us through their beautiful flowers and we had our picture taken with them, and we’ve corresponded ever since now and then. But we couldn’t find the minister, so we went back. But in the cemetery, Myrtle had found the graves of (oh, I can’t think of the name), but one of her great grandfathers and one of her mother’s grandfathers and great grandfather. Of course we took pictures of them and copied it down, and finally the minister came. He let us in, but we couldn’t stay long. He had other appointments. But anyway, that’s the way it went all the time we were there. The Lord just opened up our way one time after another. So you’ll have to read my journal to get these wonderful faith promoting things that happened.
After we worked six weeks at that, we toured all over Switzerland and France and, oh I don’t know where all. I’ve got the itinerary of it here. We enjoyed it a lot. The worst place we found was Paris. We asked when we got off the airplane if they could recommend a bus to us to tour the city, and they said “Yes”, and told us where to go to get on it and all that. When we got there, it was an old worn out bus, and they put earphones on us and played an old record that we couldn’t understand, and wouldn’t let us get off at the Eiffel Tower or anywhere. Then, after dark, they said, “Well, this is the end of the tour.” And it was a mile-and-a-half from where they put us on the bus, and we all said, “Well, you’ve got to take us back to where we got on the bus.” She said, “This is the end of the tour.” Some of the people were going to have the police come, but they told us where to go. So Myrtle and I walked for about a mile-and-a-half and got on the bus and went back to our hotel. A couple that was on the airplane with us recommended this hotel. They said there was a person there that speaks English, but we couldn’t find anybody that spoke English. On all our tour, we couldn’t read the menu, and we were alone and didn’t like it here with a group, but if we ever went again, I think we’d go with a regular group. But we’d go in a cafe to eat and couldn’t read their menus and so I’d say, “Well, give me what this fellow’s got.” It looked good, so I’d just say, “Give me that.” So they would, and when we went to pay them, I’d just bring some money out and hold it out to them. I couldn’t read their darn money. Whenever we’d go from one country to another, we’d have to go to a bank and exchange what we had left from that country for the other country’s money. One place, they charged us $15.00 to leave their country. I never heard of that before, but we had to pay $15.00 to get out of their country.
Anyway, we toured all over that way, and Myrtle was quite sick the last two days or so. On about Friday, just before we were to leave Lisbon, Portugal (I think it was) to fly back to New York, they said we wouldn’t be able to get passage until about Monday or Tuesday because one airplane had broken down and they had all the people from that airplane ahead of us. But they said, “Come back the next morning and we’ll see what happens.” So we went to our hotel and prayed hard, you bet, that we could get home. As I say, Myrtle was so sick from the tobacco smoke on the airplanes and had a sore throat. We went back the next morning, and they said “Well, we’ve got you booked right straight through to Salt Lake.” Oh, how we did thank the Lord for that.
So they flew us right straight home. We stopped in New York awhile -- oh, several hours we stopped there, and I lost my parasol there, a nice $5.00 parasol. In going through customs, I guess, I put it down and didn’t pick it up again. And they took us about two or three miles up to the airport from where we went through customs, so I didn’t notice it being gone until just as we got ready to leave. We left Lisbon kind of in the afternoon and when we got to New York the sun was higher than when we left Lisbon.
We laid over there in New York for several hours, and just a while before we went to leave, I saw some stewardesses come up the steps, and I said, “Are you the stewardesses for such—and- such a flight?” And they said, “Yes.” And I said, “My wife is quite sick, and I wonder if she could have a bed made on the front seat for her.” And they said, “Yes, indeed. We’ll fix her up.” And when we went to get on the plane, there they had a bed made for her in the front seat on one side and for me on the other side. They were sure good to us, and boy did we sleep. I never knew another darn thing until we got to Salt Lake, and they stopped at Denver and one other place, but I never knew when they stopped or when they started, we were so tired.
We got home on November 1st to Salt Lake, early on the Sunday morning. Myrtle’s brother, Karl, was so very sick with another heart attack. They had thought of trying to see if they could find us in Europe to get us home quicker, but do you see how the Lord answered our prayers and we got booked right through from that Saturday morning, and right through to Salt Lake, and there they didn’t think they’d be able to book us until the next Tuesday.
But anyway, Karl was to be operated on the next morning, but he wanted to see Myrtle so very much before he was operated on, because it was a very serious operation, and they didn’t know whether he would live or not. They decided he had a cancer in him. But anyway, she was so sick, we didn’t dare go very close to him, but she went to the door and talked to him and that satisfied him. The next morning he was operated on and they took out about twelve inches of his colon with the cancer on it and sewed him up and he got well and went up to Ucon, and Myrtle and I followed him up in the next day or so to take care of him for a while. When we got up there, he was home alone on the couch and couldn’t get up or anything, and Hester was teaching school. So we enjoyed taking care of him for a couple of weeks, and had Thanksgiving dinner with them. He’s still alive until this day—let’s see, that was 1965 and this is 1973, some eight years later. They went on a mission up to Quebec, Canada and talked French to the people and stayed two years in that cold country. He’s still alive now and working in the Idaho Falls temple. So you see how the Lord works!
Anyway, Myrtle and I enjoyed our trip to England very much and we were glad we went, because her health was quite poor after that. While back there we walked miles and miles and miles, and there wasn’t an elevator in any place in London I don’t believe. We had to walk up so many steps and walk so far. She said she couldn’t possibly have done it only in that low climate seashore. So there it was. But I think her heart never was too good after that.
After being alone here for nearly a year-and-a-half and couldn’t read or drive the car, I married Irma Taylor Walker. We had known each other all our lives. Our families were the ones that pioneered there at Redmesa. In fact, we knew each other before we moved to Redmesa in 1906. I guess it’s in this record before. It wasn’t Redmesa then, but she moved there in 1906 and she wasn’t ten until the next September and I wasn’t thirteen until the next August, so then we pioneered together there all our lives and knew each other all our lives, and she’s such a sweet woman. I asked her if she would marry me, and didn’t give her any time. I just went there and asked her that. I said, “Now take time and think it over and counsel with your family.” And she said, “Well, I’ve got to go in the morning and take care of an old woman here in Salt Lake for two weeks and then I’m going on the trip to the Hill Cumorah and be gone sixteen days.” So I didn’t see her for some thirty-two days after that. Wasn’t that awful? But I phoned to her before she left from Provo here, I phoned to Salt Lake, and she said “Well, yes, she guess she would. Her family thought it was fine.” And so she went on this trip, and, believe me, I was on hand as soon as she got home. I said, “I’d like to be married not later than my 78th birthday, which was on August 26th.” That was in July and we only had a few days or a week or two to get ready, but we got married on my birthday on August 26th (1971), and it’s been such a lovely marriage, a lovely union, and we’ve enjoyed each other so much. In January, a year ago, we went to Hawaii, and enjoyed that trip a lot. She’d already been there about three or four years before, but it was the first time I was ever there. Although, of course, my eyes were a disadvantage to see beautiful things, but it is just like a Garden of Eden along the road with everything growing wild and beautiful flowers. We went to all four islands with the Christopherson Tour, and enjoyed it very much.
We applied for a trip to the Holy Land the day after Christmas. A bunch from BYU was leaving, and we applied for a trip there with them. They could only take 130 and it was an alumni trip, and they wrote us that we couldn’t get on. We sent them our $200 deposit, but they said they were full up and couldn’t take us. Edwin and Margaret went on it. They said it was a good thing we didn’t go. We couldn’t possibly have made it. Then Irma was sick with a congested lung at that time anyway, so it’s a good thing we didn’t. But, anyway, just about five days before they left, we got a letter saying that they had some cancellations and we could go if we wanted to, but we didn’t want to by that time, so we’re glad we didn’t go.
I guess I’ve rambled on long enough. There still seems to be some tape left, but I think I’ll stop now. Maybe when Gordon comes and wants to record this, unless I tear it up sooner, why I may think of some more things before then, so adios.
This has been a long rambling account and lots of it silly stuff that didn’t need to be recorded, but I thought maybe my grandchildren and great grandchildren might enjoy it someday.
Marie wants me to record more of my boyhood experiences. I don’t think I had any. Mildred reminds me that I used to swim in the San Juan all day if I wanted to and our mother never worried a bit about it. We could go down there and swim awhile, and then start home and meet some more boys going back, and could swim in there all day. I don’t ever remember when I couldn’t swim. I was only about eight or nine or ten when we used to do that. The main place we liked to swim was where there were big waves — eight or ten feet high. We liked to go up over those waves and down, and every once in awhile, one would break just as we’d get to the top of it and strangle us. Many the time I thought I’d never get out of there alive, but I guess I did.
There wasn’t any job much for us there at Kirtland. We just roamed around that way from the time I was about seven until I was twelve and was ordained a Deacon there. Father thought he’d better get us away from there. He bought 10 acres there and it was covered with cobble rocks so we had to spend every spare moment we could on that tiresome job of piling those cobble rocks on a sled and then hauling them over into a pile. We piled up a pile there about as big as the tabernacle in Salt Lake. I think it’s still there, but we used to have lots of fun as kids there at Kirtland. Nothing much to do, and in the winter skating was our main fun. I believe I said once before that I saw the San Juan go clear dry. We fished the fish out of it, piled them up and took what we wanted and left the rest there to rot. And I also saw the San Juan river with the worst flooding its had before or since about 1911 in October, when Myrtle and Bertha and some others went down there to go to SJA Academy that they were trying to start. We’d see wheat stacks float down there not even disturbed, and chicken coops with chickens on top of them.
These are a few of my boyhood experiences. I believe I said about being ordained a Deacon and riding a horse way down to Fruitland each Saturday night to clean up the old church that had school in it during the week, and then we’d have our Deacons’ Meeting and old Ira Hatch would sometimes come over and tell us about his Indian experiences with Jacob Hamblin. Boy it was interesting. Old one-armed Brother John R. Young would come and tell us experiences, and it was all very interesting.
We moved to Redmesa when I was twelve. I was put in the first president of the Deacons’ Quorum there. I guess the reason they didn’t put in Leo or Lawrence was that they were nearly teacher’s age and would be a ordained teacher in a few weeks. I enjoyed that a lot. We would go out and get wood and take to church and chop it up and furnish the fuel. We used to meet in a tent there on Jim Slade’s place, and we’d furnish the fuel. I remember once Leo and I were going out after a load of wood with the wagon in the wintertime, and there was so much snow we just locked our wheels together and used it for a sled. We tied the hind wheel to the front one and made it slide along like a sled. I guess we undid them when we got the wood on.
Charles E. Dean died 16 Feb 1986 in Provo, Utah.