Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Artie Smith Taft
Shared by Julie Moore Tippets

John Franklin Haws  Jack  Smith
Jorgen Smith (or John) was born 13 September, 1861 in Fountain Green, Sevier County, Utah, a son of Jorgen Christiansen Smith and Christine Marie Birkedahl.  He had but very little schooling due to the hardships of pioneer life.  One of a large family, he had to learn to support himself and others while very young. 

While traveling from Richfield to Glenwood with Hans Peter Nielsen and family in the Spring of 1870, the Sevier River was on a rampage.  They needed to cross that flood swollen river so, Mr. Nielsen drove his horses with his family in the wagon in to the river.  The horses were unable to swim and take the wagon and family to safety.  It looked as though the team, family and all would be drowned.  The wagon began to sink.  Mr. Nielsen couldn't swim so Jorgen, quickly jumped in to the water, unhooked the team from the wagon, got the family on the back of the horses and got them to safety.  The Nielsens always said if it hadn't been for him they would all have been drowned. 

In 1871 when he was ten years old, he went to Monroe to live with Brother George Hunt's father and mother to work for his keep.  While there, he packed the U.S. Mail from Monroe to Richfield until the year 1877. 

At the age of 16, he came to Rabbit Valley, (called thus because there were so many rabbits everywhere, but later called Wayne County).  He came over with Beason Lewis and A.K. Thurber with Church Cattle.  The grass was growing everywhere.  He said it was up to a mans waist, waving everywhere.  The hills and valley were an ideal place for cattle, horses and sheep.  He stayed on here for a while, then decided to ramble in company with his brother in law, Franklin Haws.  They went to New Mexico where they worked for a while.  Later they bought stock of their own and started a partnership.  Although the range was good for raising cattle, there was so much poison ivy and John had found that he had poisoned himself so badly it became necessary to move.  They drove their herd to Durango, Colorado and on to the Boulder Mountain ranges where they worked together for many years.  John and Franklin, through good management, increased their herd and built a good business. 

Sarah Sariah    Jack Smith
The Alma Durfey Family moved to Thurber where John met a daughter, Sarah Sariah.  They were married 12 April, 1887.  After their first child, John Floyd was born 16 February, 1888 and died 19 June, 1889, they went to the Manti Temple and were married and sealed for life and through-out eternity on 4 December, 1889.  14 February, 1890, Charles William was born, only living three days.  Amanda Melvina 11 April, 1891;  Artie Jane 17 March, 1893;  George born 10 January, 1995, died 10 January, 1895;  Joseph Alma 12 December, 1895;  Eda Bell 3 March, 18998, were all born on a homestead where a home was built at the foot of Saddle Knoll.  A mid-wife took care of them.  The trees at the home-site were there for many years.  Then the town of Thurber was being built North of the ranch, where they would move with large logs under the home and eight horses would pull it, furniture and all to town in the Winter for school and Church, then back to the farm in the Spring each year. 

John dug ditches, built fences, did his farming with hand plow and team.  There were no tractors in those days.  Jayson Lynn was born 17 September, 1900;  Merin 13 January, 1903;  Ardella Christina 29 October, 1905; a pair of twins, Norma and Norman 22 April, 1908; Franklin Dewayne 18 September, 1910;  and Guy Durfey 17 February, 1913 were born.  Now they lived closer to the river so it would easier to get water, as the home was moved again from town for the last move. 

They lived here until February, 1916 when the home and the farm were sold and they moved to Midview, Duchesne County, (now Bridgeland), where their 15th child, Jay Durfey, was born 15 May, 1917, which was a joy to all.  In 1918 he bought a 130 acre farm to the North, with a  home where he could farm and call his own.  He packed the US. Mail from Midview to Duchesne, around Red Cap, (now Arcadia.)  He bought a new Ford car to drive the mail, which would be faster.  One day he decided to learn to drive.  Driving close to a bridge, he got frightened and didn't know how to stop the Ford.  He pulled back on the steering wheel and said, "WO DOLL", but it didn't stop.  The Ford with him in it went off the bridge into the water.  After pulling it out, John never tried to drive again.  His son, Alma drove the mail. 

Sarah Sariah & Jack Smith family
In 1921, Alma took over the farm and John moved to Myton, Utah where he and Sariah owned a bakery.  He mixed all the bread, Sariah molded it into loaves and he baked it.  They had a good business until Sariah got sick and needed to be close to a doctor, near Salt Lake City.  He moved to Park City where he and the sons could work in the mines. 

About 1929, they moved back to Wayne County and settled in Fruita, Utah.  His son moved them and gave them his home.  Sariah died in Bicknell 14 April, 1932 at her daughter's and son in law's home, Amanda and Will Chidester.  Sariah was laid to rest 16 April, 1932 in the Bicknell Cemetery. 

John was a kind and quite husband and father, loved by all his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  He then lived and visited all his children.  In 1933 he took his first trip to Pleasant, California to visit his daughter, Ardella Burgener and son in law, Lincoln.  He was lonely and wanted to always keep busy.  He would read the bible a lot and go different places with friends and neighbors. 

Where he lived, in the apartments, one day he asked about a church and found there was no church there.  Ardella, Rada Atkinson and John went to Sunol, California and talked to the Stake President.  Soon there was a church.  A building was rented and John was set apart to be in charge.  Being the only one who held the Priesthood, he blessed and passed the sacrament as there were no boys of priesthood age.  One week before the first meeting, he was asked to take a job.  When he finished work, he brought his pay check and gave it to Ardella, she knowing he needed a new suit of cloths.  They went to a men's cloths shop and bought a blue suit, white shirt, beautiful tie to match and a new hat.  He was dressed for church and was a very happy man.  He wore the boys left-over suits and this was his first new suit with his own earnings.  He was in California watching the Oakland and San Francisco Bridges and the State Fair. 

Jack Smith  Jorgen Smith  Mette   Jed Mott
Coming back to Bicknell, he wanted to visit his children.  He stayed with his daughter Artie Jane and son in law, Dee Taft.  On the 24 June, 1938, his sisters came from Torrey to see him.  They had a good visit.  They said they felt they must come.  He was so happy to see them that day for in the morning of the 25 June, 1938 he passed away.  Dr. Eddie Brinkerhoff said he seemed to be a sleep.  His sisters were Lizzie Mott and her daughter Rena Holt and Dena Mulford who came to visit him.  When his grandson, Kay went to call him for breakfast, he called his mother, Artie, and said, "Come quick, I think Grandfather is dead"!  When Artie came he was gone.  They called the doctor who said he just passed away peaceful and quite. 

Of that sleep , his father would have said, "Sleep on dear, you are now with those you love.  You are at rest and at peace!"

His funeral services were the 27 June, 1938 in Bicknell where he wanted to be laid to rest by the side of his dear wife, Sariah.  He died at the age of 76 years, 3 months and 11 days. 

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