by JAY C. SMITH
there was a fellow who had immigrated from Ireland. He prospected for gold in the summer. He panned gold down on the gravel banks of the Colorado River and the creeks that came off the Henry Mountain and drained into the Colorado River. He was known by all as William Hay. He became a good friend of Granddad Smith and also to Sidney Curtis. In the winter he would come up out of the Lower Country with his pack animals, burrows and saddle horse and sort of take turns at staying at Granddad's and at Curtis's. He always had gold that he was bartering off for money. He was always very secretive where he found the gold and also where he kept the gold he owned. He did not mooch off from anybody, but paid well.
He had a real peculiar religious story where he told about this religious experience in Ireland. And why he left Ireland. He was training to be a Catholic Priest in Ireland when he had doubts about some of the religious doctrines and teachings of the Catholic Church. His arguments were so strong and defiant that they kicked him out of the school and the Church. His family disowned him. His friends deserted him. He was penniless with no friend but God. He gave his precious Savior all the credit for answering his prayers and leading him to America and giving him new friends who lead him to the Henry Mountains to find gold. He hated all organized religions. All officers of religion, Bishops, Preachers and Priests. The whole lot. He was tougher on the Catholic Church, and their Priests, and their Fathers and their Cardinals. They were just a bunch of hypocrites. His precious Savior, Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God were the only persons that counted in religion. It was noticed when anyone would whistle the least bit around him he would get nervous and if it continued, he would get very upset. He showed reluctance to explain why such behavior. Finally he told the reason. When he got kicked out of the Catholic Church and the Seminary, the Priest said, "You will be jeered and whistled at the rest of your life." He always said he did not want a home, he just wanted to be like his precious Savior with no place to lay his head.
He stayed quite a lot of the time in the winter in Grandpa's (William Smith) camp house. He called it his upper room. He was encouraged to live in the camp house with the understanding that he was to share it with passing travelers. If it became full Billy would go stay with the Curtis family. He also had a tent setup by the camp house that he could move into. He was most cooperative and helpful in obtaining business for the camp house even when he was staying permanently there for awhile. He kept the place spotlessly clean and orderly. He was helpful in his own way but he would not be bossed. You could not ask Billy to do anything but if he knew of something that needed to be done, it would come up fixed in very good repair. Billy usually wouldn't take credit but give the credit to some fairy he saw about that time. Billy became a close friend to all the Smith and Curtis families and most of the town people. He told lots of stories about his early life in Ireland and United States. His Irish accent and humor made them very interesting. The bludy Irish, the durty, durty English. The Catholic Church officials and the King and Queen of England were no pals of Billy's.
He thought the Mormon people were the best people he knew but the only thing he wanted from the Mormon Church was to be buried in a Mormon Cemetery. He said, "That was the last place the devil would look for a bloody Irishman." He died at the Curtis home while I was on my mission about a year, I guess, before my Grandfather died. He got his wish he was buried in the Mormon Cemetery.
It was always believed he had some gold laid up somewhere. I have often wondered how he is making out in the Spirit World?