John Rowley and Sarah Wright Family Messenger

written by herself

I was born 5 December 1887, in Meadow, Millard, Utah. I am a daughter of John Thompson Rowley and Mary Jane Smith.

My earliest recollection is of my Grandma Smith’s house, a log house with wide board floors and the floor was kept so clean, there was not a speck of dirt on them and the knots in the boards were prominent, made so by so much scrubbing.

My mother was the second wife of my father, John Thompson Rowley. I don’t remember my father much in my childhood days because of the fact that he was hounded by the U.S. Marshalls, who were after all of the men who were practicing polygamy. My father had to be away from home hiding most of the time.

My mother lived just a small distance from Grandma Smith’s house. I can remember going through the lot to Grandma’s to get yeast and other things. It seems like we got lots of things from Grandma Smith and Grandpa Smith brought us lots of things. I think Grandpa Smith just about kept us.

Grandpa and Grandma Rowley (Ralph Nephi Rowley and Mary Ann Thompson) lived at Fillmore, about six or eight miles from Meadow. I can remember going to Grandpa Rowley’s, the wagon was so jolty, we were so tired when we got there! Grandpa Rowley was a small man about five feet tall. Would weigh maybe 120 pounds. He had a strong testimony of the Gospel and never tired of teaching the Gospel. My grandfather, Ralph Nephi Rowley was a mason by trade, and he built and helped to build many of the early rock and brick homes in Millard County. He helped to build Cove Fort. He helped to build the first State house in Utah. He was also a potter by trade and made some of the first dishes and pottery that was made in the State of Utah. 48

Once when we were at Grandpa Rowley’s my brother, Silas and I went into the cellar under the house where Grandpa’s pottery shop or work shop was.  He made dishes and all kinds of pretty things, including dolls. When Grandpa got wise to us being in his work shop, he soon got us out of there. He said to my mother, “The Lassey and the lady must nay go in the work shop!”

Grandpa had a very nice brick home with trees and other greenery.

Father’s first wife, Jane Paul, had eight children. I don’t remember seeing any of them while we lived in Meadow. I was five years old when we left there.

The house where Mother lived was across the street from Bushnells. I can remember going to Bushnells. I can remember going there every chance I got. Once Brother Bushnell saw Mother coming, he told me to sit in the chair and he put a quilt over me. When Mother left he took the quilt off me and sent me home!

I don’t remember seeing any of my father’s first family or wife while we lived in Meadow. There were eight children. I don’t remember my father at that time either, just very faintly. Once he came home, it must have been Christmas season, he brought some presents, candy and food. There was a doll. I knew it was mine because I was the only girl in the family. There were three brothers older than me, John Henry, David Smith and Silas and myself, Mary Ann, and then Franklin Irvin, who was the baby. The U.S. Marshall were trying to arrest my father for polygamy. My father, John Thompson Rowley, his father John Thompson Rowley, his father Ralph N. Rowley and some of his brothers and my mother’s brothers, Frank and Prince Henry Smith built some charcoal kilns in Spring Glen, Utah. Here they manufactured charcoal, shipped it by railroad to Salt Lake City and other places to be used in smelters.

The wood, preferably pine wood, was hauled from surrounding hills. The wood was also shipped to Salt Lake City and other places to be used to warm homes. There were two sets kilns, six in each, the one where we lived was down near the diversion dam in Price River. Just west of the highway that goes parallel with the railway tracks.

I can remember when we got ready and came to Carbon County. We arrived in Price on Thanksgiving Day. We went a long was by stage coach and some by train. My father’s first wife had gotten a divorce and taken her family and gone to Idaho.

“My father’s sister, Elizabeth Rowley Lyman lived in Price. We went to Aunt Elizabeth’s. She had a nice Thanksgiving dinner ready for us. She was a very good cook. Our cousins were good to us. Mable was nearly a year older than me, George two or three.

The charcoal kilns were up the country six miles from Price. Our daddy came after us with a wagon. It was a rough road and a tiresome ride. When we got to the home our daddy had for us, mother cried and cried. There was one room, with a large fireplace. The house was built of rough native lumber with smaller pieces of boards up the cracks. There was lots of wood to burn, in Meadow there had been a shortage of wood. We were cold sometimes. We children soon got adjusted and were happy. The spring soon came with its birds and flowers.

It was not too far to the river. There was fish in the river. Lots of birds and flowers, wild fruit in the summer and fall. There were bullberries and wild currents and so forth. There were lots of wild rabbits and ducks and fish in the river.

There were settlers along the Price River, not far from us. Chancy Cook lived over by the river. They made sal-rising bread. Mother got a stove and a start of yeast from Aunt Elizabeth and we had good bread. For a while she had had to cook on the fireplace and on the hot rocks in front of the fireplace.

The cooks had three girls and four boys. The seitch of the railroad went between our house and the charcoal kilns, the box cars were let down in front of the kilns and filled with charcoal or wood. The engine would come and get the cars when filled with coal or wood and the wood or coal would be shipped to the smelters or wherever ordered.

My daddy worked for days making a ring out of a $5 gold piece. The ring was made at last and mother and daddy went over to Emery County, where the courthouse was at that time and were legally married ( John Thompson Rowley and Mary Jane Smith were not considered legally married, by law, until Jane Paul received a legal divorce from him and he married Mary Jane Smith in a civil ceremony). My father’s first wife having obtained a divorce from my father made it possible for him to marry my mother legally. So they were married and the gold wedding ring father made was put on her finger and she wore it until she died.

Just a few days after mother and daddy were married a large evil looking man, a U.S. Marshall came and knocked on the door, put a gun in my daddy’s face and arrested him for living in polygamy. He was up for trial. There had been a $500 reward for him. When the trial came and father showed the judge the marriage certificate, he was released. The officers had been trying for years to arrest father to collect the $500 reward that was to be given for him, dead or alive. This was easy money for the U.S. Marshall. I can remember the ring and the U.S. Marshall.

There were settlers come and lived along the river north and south of us. Just a short distance south of us lived Thomas Jones. He lived where the dam across the Price River is now.  He had a fish pond and raised fish to sell or trade to the settlers. Father had some sheep, he traded with Thomas Jones. He had a daughter, Tiny, one of the best friends I ever had, I loved her. There were lots of bullberries and wild currants and hope along the river bottom. Mother went with us to gather them. She made jelly out of the currants and bullberries and sold the hops to Price Trading Company. Mother went with us when we went swimming in the river.

The settlers along the river depended on what they could raise for a living, for food and many of them hauled wood to or from the Blue Cut Charcoal Company, operated by my daddy. They would get coupons on Price Trading Company. The coupons were good for clothing, groceries and general merchandise. There was an L.D.S. Ward in Spring Glen, about one and a half miles from where we lived. There was also a school, all eight grades in one room. The school house and meeting house was the same building.

At first Heber Stowell was Bishop, Thomas Pratt counselor and William Ewell, second counselor. The Saints who lived in what is now Carbonville and north up the river, between Helper and Castle Gate came to Spring Glen to Church and school. The school house and Church and public gathering place house was built of logs, one large room with a stove in the center and homemade benches to sit on. One teacher for eight grades. Everyone furnished their own books, pencils and paper. Some did not have what they needed. The teachers whipped the students when he felt it necessary. The games played were ball, pomp, hide and go seek, and we put sticks between the logs to see who could jump the highest. I could jump, run, play ball, or do anything the boys could do. The boys and girls came from a long way north and south of the school. They would climb on a railway train and ride to school when possible. We, my brothers and I, have climbed in the train as it would go slow and we could get on and off while it was still moving.

One day a boy, Joe Halverson, who lived about a mile north of Helper, went to get on the train in this manner and slipped under the train. His leg was cut off between the knee and the hip.

At this early date Carbon County was a part of Emery County. The court house was in Emery County, in Castle Dale, it was called Emery Stake. It was a long was to go with wagon to attend our quarterly conferences and so business in court, thirty-five miles from Price to Castle Dale.

One day daddy came in with a piece of black rock. Daddy said to mother, “Someday they will use this stone coal in the smelters. It will make more heat that charcoal!” he said it could be found in many places in the surrounding hills.

Spring Glen was the center place for school and church. One day my brother Irvin and I got a late start going to school. The rest had gone, my older brothers, John Henry, David and Silas, and other children had gone. Irvin was younger than i. there was a cold wind, we huddled up by the side of the road to get warm. I put the shawl I had on Irvin, we seemed not to notice the cold so bad. A wagon came along and took us to school. They put us in 49 snow to thaw the frost from our feet. It was a long time before I could go to school again. Spring Glen was the center place for church and school gatherings. Sometimes there would be a church social, everyone far and near would come, bring something to eat, pie, cake, etc. Mother would often roast a leg of pork or mutton. Men, women and children would have a good time, singing, reciting, eating and drinking. No strong drinks. There would be dancing, etc.

Our neighbors’ girls and boys who went to school with is, Cooks, lived across by the river. There were the girls; Bertha, Dora and Laura; boys, Harby and Roxy. Garley’s lived south and across the river. They had girls; Nelly, Ketura, Cora, she was my age. Boys; James, Charles. Daddy contracted a nice new house to be built out in the field away from the charcoal kilns. Daddy bought a place, a piece of ground from James Garley, it was south maybe a fourth of a mile and across the Price River. My father raised the nicest garden of anyone I have ever known. The rows were very straight and not a weed to be seen. He raided corn, potatoes, lettuce, turnips, melons, squash, wheat, oats, etc. my daddy was a very good provider. We had a cellar full of good things to eat. The horses, sheep, cows, pigs and chickens were well cared for. When we went to Spring Glen to a church party, mother would roast a leg of mutton or pork to take.

One day some people stayed overnight, we very often had people stay so their horses could rest before going on. Mother was preparing breakfast, and I being the only girl, helped mother lots. She sent me out to the chicken coop for eggs. I run right into the coop and every chicken was on the floor dead, about sixty of them and a bobcat or lynx cat had cut their throats and killed every chicken. The men folks went after it. It went on to the brush and trees, it got away. A mountain lion had attacked a horse a few days before.

We got moved into our new house out in the field, my brother, George Albert was born there.

There came a summer we had lots of rain. It rained and rained. It was so damp, the ground was green. Nearly every family who lived near the river had chills and fever. They would have a severe chill, then a high fever, but myself. John Henry had an incurable lung trouble and he did not have chills and fever, but he coughed a lot. So the sick didn’t get too good of care. I roasted potatoes and onions and water and milk. The epidemic of chills and fever will long be remembered by the early settlers along the Price River bottom. Many of them died. They had to move away from the river bottom onto higher places, where it was dryer. We moved to Spring Glen, where it was higher and dryer away from the malaria. Heber J. Stowell let us live in one of the room of his house until we could get our house moved. Father bought some land of Heber J. Stowell, to move the house on and corrals, and the chicken coop, pig pens, etc.

It was late in the fall and school had started. The ones that were well enough went to school. I was very happy I didn’t have to walk so far to school. It was late winter or early spring before we got the house moved. We got the corral for the horses and a place for the chickens. It was sure hard to get moved. Daddy still had malaria. There was a pig left penned up for a long time, days maybe weeks. The little ones could go in and out of the pen at will, but the only one could not get out. They forgot to turn her loose. She was alive, but the poorest thing I ever saw.

It was a happy day when we saw the house being moved. As I remember, Daddy contracted it being done by someone from over in Emery County. They moved it a side at a time, like it was a prefabricated house, on hay wagon. The house was a frame building, rough lumber on the inside with muslin tacked on and papered on the muslin inside. When winter came we were just awful cold, the house had not been papered, draft everywhere, all the foundation was not in either.

I forgot to mention my Aunt Martha. Aunt Mattie, Mother’s youngest sister came and stayed with us while, when we were living in the house by the charcoal kilns. She met John U. Bryner and married him. They lived on a farm north of Helper. They lived in Helper for the winter. They had two children. The children were sick the children had diphtheria. Mother was up to Aunt Mattie’s a long time. Mother went to stay with them while the children were sick. One of them, Dell Clifton, died. I did all the work while mother was gone. Daddy taught the boys they were not to be expected to do any work in the house. I worked very hard ever since I was a very small girl. I used to stand on a box to wash dishes when I was a small girl. The work in the house was quite a responsible thing when my mother was gone.

One day when my mother was gone to Aunt Mattie’s, a good-looking young man came to our house, he said he was Hugh Rowley, a son from my father’s first wife. He asked where Father was. He went and talked to Daddy. Hugh got a job at Helper railroad yards and he wanted to stay a few days. He did not stay long.

Mother came home sick from Bryners.

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