HISTORY OF HUGH THOMPSON ROWLEY
by David Wm. Rowley
contributed by David Wm. Rowley
He copied and filed in in the HISTORIAN’S BOOK,
by Luella Jones Downard
Hugh Thompson Rowley was born of goodly parents, who were both born to Converts of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
His father, John Thompson Rowley, was born at Colton, Ayre, Glasgow, Scotland. His father’s people were from Hanley, Staffordshire, England. Hugh’s grandmother was from Scotland.
Hugh Thompson’s mother, Jane Paul, was a daughter of Nicholas Paul and Harriet May, of Cornwall, England; who immigrated to Cape Town, South Africa. Most of Harriet’s brothers and sisters were born there. She died on 28 January 1908.
While in Cape Town, Jane Paul’s parents were visited by two Mormon Missionaries, William Walker and his companion, who converted them to the Gospel. They came to Utah within a year and settles at Holden, Millard, Utah, where she met and married John T. Rowley.
Hugh Thompson Rowley was born in a little town called Meadow, Millard, Utah, 2 Feb. 1879. He was the sixth child of the goodly parents; being proceeded by Harriet Ann, John Thompson, Elizabeth Jane, Eliza May, Ralph Nephi, himself, Clara, Royal James and William Wallace.
When Hugh was about two years old, his father married into polygamy, to Mary Jane Smith, for whose years later, at the time of the Manifesto, he left his first family and just took the second family. He spent the rest of his life with his second family; though at times he would pay visits to the first family. He finally left his first family entirely. The children of the first family would help care for his livestock and work at the charcoal kilns whenever needed.
Hugh, when about eight years old, was one day boarding his father’s stock, he was riding a burro, in the nearby hills. He decided that he could use a nice cool drink of water. There was a cold mountain spring not far from where he was herding stock, so he rode over and dismounted, and preceded to get his face close to the water and drink it in. he was very startled, and badly frightened when he saw mirrored in the stream a mountain lion just opposite him. To his dying day, he never knew how he ever reached the back of his burro so quickly. The burro seeming to sense the danger, also needed no urging to move away from the stream rapidly.
Upon arriving at home, Hugh told his father about the experience. But his father, knowing the imagination of children especially when frightened, would not believe Hugh’s story; however, he told Hugh that if he was just imagining his story, he would be whipped in a manner that he would never forget. Upon hearing this, Hugh agreed to lead his father to the spring where he saw the Mountain Lion. When they arrived, the father also discovered that there had been a mountain lion in the area; so Hugh was spared of having a very warm seat.
Hugh was only to complete the fourth grade, when at the age of nine years, hired out to herd sheep for a man by the name of John Bushnell of Fillmore, Utah for whom worked for several years.
One cool summer day while he was herding sheep, he had an experience with a loceed cow. That was to be remembered for the rest of his life. It was about midafternoon, and he was walking along keeping track of the sheep, when all of a sudden he heard a very loud bellow. He turned to see what was making the noise, and coming straight at him was what seemed like a giant cow. The first thing that entered his mind was to get into the nearest tree – but fast. Well, he was ????? not to get any dinner that day for the cow kept him up in the tree all day, finally she strayed off, and he was able to slip down and get away.
Not long after this experience, the area became infested with coyotes. For a safety precaution for the sheep, Hugh’s boss told him to carry a gun at all times.
One afternoon, when out with the sheep, he had a strong premonition to get rid of his gun and put it in a tree. The premonition kept coming to him – very strongly – so he finally did as he was prompted. It was not many minutes later that an electric storm broke out and Hugh had the misfortune of being struck by a thunderbolt. He lay unconscious for many hours, but the rain finally brought him to his senses. If the boy had kept the gun on his body, chances are that the lightening would have killed him.
When Hugh was sixteen, he hired out to work as a camp tender for a man named Edwards, for whom he again worked for several years. While in the employ of Mr. Edwards, he was involved in a fight for which the effects were to cause him much grief in later life.
A young fellow, by the name of Charlie, began to tell some tainted stories about Mr. Edward’s daughter, which were not true. One night while attended a dance he met this Charlie and called him on what he had said about Mr. Edward’s daughter. There followed a fight, which resulted in both boys being arrested.
Mr. Edward’s told Hugh that he would pay his fine if would meet Charlie again and make him acknowledge that the stories he told were false. Hugh agrees to do it and decided to give Charlie a flogging while he was at it.
Not long after, Hugh met Charlie at another dance and told him to acknowledge his deceit. There followed a terrific fight in which Charlie picked up a rock and began to beat Hugh over the head and on the neck and in the face. The wounds suffered in that fight resulted in cancer in his later life. He was finally able to make Charlie admit that everything he had said about Mr. Edward’s daughter was false.
Mr. Edwards offered to send Hugh through school along with his own son, who later became a renowned doctor in Salt Lake City, but Hugh declined, saying that his mother, brother and sisters needed his help too much to waste his time in school.
In the early spring of 1900, Hugh left the employ of Mr. Edwards and moved from Meadow, Utah, to Shelley, Idaho. His mother and family soon followed. He had not been in Shelley long before he was employed by a J.B. Shelley, who owned the local story and a large ranch not far from town. He soon became the general handyman, watchman and general ranch hand; he also did some draying.
Hugh at one time had a large dog by the name of Caesar which was a cross between a bulldog and a foxhound. He used to use Caesar to hunt wildcats, mountain lion, lynx, etc. with. The hides of these animals were sold for bounty, which helped to pay the living expenses of the family who were having a hard time getting settled and making ends meet.
One night while keeping watch at the Shelley store, a rowdy, who was attending a dance at the city hall, came over to the store and started to tease Caesar by shaking the door and contents standing near it. All of a sudden, Caesar bounded from behind the counter and leaped through the plate glass window and gave chase to the rowdy, who by this time had realized what the dog was doing and was hightailing it down the street. It seemed that fate was to be on the side of Caesar this night, for he caught the frightened boy and grabbed him by the pants and would have mauled him pretty badly if Hugh, who had given chase, had not caught up to the two and called the dog off.
The rowdy sued Hugh, stating that the dog attacked him without reason, and that the animal was a very dangerous nuisance in the community and should be destroyed. But, Mr. Shelley testified that the dog was only doing his duty; and that the ruffian had no business trying to cause a commotion, consequently Hugh and the dog were released, and the rowdy warned to mind his own business. But the rowdy was intent on having the dog destroyed; so Mr. Shelley had him put on probation, and warned him that if anything happened to Caesar, the rowdy would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
While working for J. B. Shelley, Hugh met and courted a young lady by the name of Grace Davis, who later became his wife. She was the daughter of a local rancher by the name of David Peter Davis, whose people came from Aberdar, Glamorganshire, South Wales.
Hugh and Grace went together for about a year and on October 9, 1901 they were married for all time and eternity in the Salt Lake Temple.
They resided at the Shelley place for a while; and it was here that they received two little bundles of pride and joy, the first being Hugh Francis born 30 June 1902 and David William born 24 November 1903.
The enlarged Rowley family moved from Shelley and almost immediately to Sugar City, where Hugh worked for Utah and Idaho Sugar Company. It was while they were residing at Sugar City that their third addition to the family came along, Verda Day was born March 25, 1906.
One day, while Hugh was a work, Grace was hanging out clothes and not realizing what could happen, left a glass of lye on the kitchen table. Little David, thinking it was a glass of milk, grabbed the glass and drank it all down. Grace upon hearing David scream, came rushing into the house and grabbed a bottle of vinegar and poured the contents down David’s throat to counteract the lye. She, in the meantime had called Hugh in from the fields and rushed David to the doctor. The doctor told her she had done right by using vinegar.
David was not able to eat solids for many weeks, and only able to take liquid. One day he decided to try and eat some meat. The meat got halfway down and it couldn’t go any further. The piece of meat stayed lodged in his throat for three weeks, in which time he was slowly starving to death. One day while sitting on his grandmother’s knee, he asked for some jelly. When David swallowed the jelly it provided a slick surface for the meat to dislodge. David looked at his grandmother, a look of surprise and happiness on his little face, and said “Dramma, it’s gone. Dramma, it’s gone!” Everyone present, shed tears of joy and gratitude for the life-saving jelly.
Hugh and Grace, not long after, moved back to her father’s ranch in Rigby, and operated the ranch that year, the ranch saw the largest and best crop that it had ever seen.
The following winter the Rowley’s moved to Butte, Montana where Hugh worked in the mines. Butte, at this time was a fairly young and unsettled boom town; and much contention, strife and even murder took place on the streets of the city. The town was made up of almost all Irish population who banded together to run the city the way they wanted it run. Any person not of Irish decent had a hard time holding his own in the justice of courts or anything else.
Hugh and Grace moved back to her father’s ranch in Milo Ward, Ward, Rigby, Idaho. They operated the ranch another year and raised the best crops that was ever raised on the place. The following winter they again moved to Butte, Montana and worked in the mines.
At that time Butte was still a very young boom town, much roughness occurred. It was a life that neither of them liked and they soon moved back to Idaho, where Emerson Adis was born 4 September 1908 in a farm near Rigby, Idaho.
They lived in Idaho Falls the winter of 1910, Hugh worked on the power dams. It was here that Walter Ilith was born on 8 December 1910 and nearly died with the whooping cough.
Grace’s father, David P. Davis divided the ranch up among his children, Grace received the north forty acres, which they farmed and homesteaded a dry farm in 1912, between Willow Creek and Meadow Creek. They farmed both of these places for several years, until the family took Grace’s share of the estate (forty acres) given her by her father, away from her and that left them with just their dry farm to operate, which they did. Though many of the years were mixed with good markets and poor crops, and the poor markets and good crops. They got along better and accumulated a lot of stock and equipment. When they first lived on the dry farm they had to haul water three miles and drive all stock to the water once or twice a day, until they procured a piece of ground to build on down on the creek (Meadow Creek) and moved all their buildings down there.
In 19?? They organizes a branch Sunday School on Meadow Creek and held the services in our house. Ralph Hoggan was appointed Superintendent, we only held two ?? classes the very good small children and the adults. We all had a very good time. The adults took up the study of the Book of Mormon and Ralph Hoggan, a returned missionary from Hawaii was also the instructor.
They also got a school district and school organized and built a school house, Hugh Rowley, Stanley Bybee and Roy Hulse, being trustees. The school house was built a half mile below our place in Meadow Creek, where there were fourteen children who went to school.
The winters were very cold and the snow got very deep, making it very difficult to feed our stock, got in our wood supply and recondition the machinery. We had some wonderful times on our skis, and snow toboggans and had parties, dances, pretty regular to keep everyone having a good time.
When the crops were taken care of, they played some ball games in the summertime and all enjoyed it very much. Hugh was called old iron side, because of his ability to always hit the ball. While Nephi White was called Iron Horse for also being a heavy hitter. They enjoyed their games very much. Though their seasons were short and they lived and they had long distances to travel by wagon, buggy or horseback to the games, sometimes as far as thirty miles.
Hugh, Albert Call and Joe Heath went in together and bought and old horse power straw carrier threshing machine. We had to stock the straw for winter feed for our stock. They used this old threshing machine with a header they had and harvested their crops conjointly, until they go to planting too much crop, for the one outfit. Albert Call bought the others out.
In 1918, Tom Rix of Rigby and Dad bought a combine (Mason Harris) with which he harvested our crops for three years. They had a bumper crop in 1919.
In the spring of 1919, Dad rented the old George Davis, mother’s uncle, place or ranch, 160 acres, three miles west of Ririe, Idaho, owned by Mr. Milner of Idaho Falls.
We farmed both places for two years. While mother, Francis and I put in the crop in the valley, with my sister, Verda to cook for him. Then a couple of us including Dad would go up and harvest the crop, on the dry farm and the Francis and Ervid Vaneyole handled it for two years.
While we were living on the Davis place we went to school at the old Clark school and also the Clark Ward. Verda, Francis and I graduated from the eighth grade and started to High School in Rigby, Idaho in the fall of 1919. Francis drove the school bus the first year and I drove it the second year.
We enjoyed very much attending the Clark Ward. Mother worked very hard in the Relief Society and enjoyed it. It was in the Clark Ward that I became a Tenderfoot Scout. Dad did not take an active part in Church but he sure enjoyed it.
It was while living here, that Dad discovered he had cancers, caused by the bruises he received when hit by a rock in the hands of his opponent, Charlie, while living and working for Mr. Edwards.