Tuesday, July 12, 2011


HISTORY of Joseph Smith and Estella Holt
& Jay C. Smith
 Joseph Smith was the tenth and last son of Christina Maria Birkedahl and Jorgen Smith, one of only four children who lived to be an adult. He was born in Fort Ephraim, Sanpete County, Utah 6 June, 1867, during terrible times. The Black Hawk War had been going on now for two years, but just a few months ago his sister, Mary and neighbors, Jens and Amalia Peterson had been killed by the Indians and the family was forced to leave their home in Richfield. Brigham Young had sent hundreds of wagons to evacuate all the settlers in Southern Utah, the Smith Family was taken to Ephraim. There home was now a covered wagon. I have often wondered if he was born in some strangers home or in the wagon.

Later they would go farther North to their old home in Fountain Green to live until the war was over. After the peace treaty in 1871 they moved back to their old house in Richfield where Joe would grow up and receive what little education he could get which wasn't much, he was required to work in the home and on the farm.

1886 was a busy year for the Smiths, it was time to leave Richfield. Jorgen had received a calling to go South and settle another area of the State, Grass Valley (Koosharem) and Pleasant Creek (Notom). Before leaving he gave Joe's mother, Christina Maria one-third of all he owned, the house, land and live stock when he divorced her. He was one jump ahead of the Federal Officers who had started arresting and jailing polygamists. He couldn't have two wives in the same town.
William Alma, Ellen & Sarah Holt

Joe was 19 now and wished to go with his father, an adventure that suited him well and would also fulfill his ambition to obtain land and begin a new life. The Smiths didn't arrive in Pleasant Creek until a year later. How long Joe stayed at Notom is unknown he may have spent time in Bicknell too. He was 21 years old when he met and married Estella Holt on 25 December, 1888, Estella was born 25 December, 1872 in Ogden, Weber County, Utah. She was a daughter of William Alma Holt and Sarah Wardell. Her father William was one of the very early settlers of Torrey and its first Postmaster. She was a sister of Leo Rolando Holt who married Anna Laurine (Rena) Smith (Joe's half- sister).
Joseph Smith Family

Joe and Stella were happy together but had very little money. People in those days did a lot of trading and bartering for the things they needed, no one had any hard cash. The mining camps in Carbon County were paying fairly good wages in those days. So they went to Scofield to live for a few years. This was where their first child was born, Pearline (24 June, 1890). Saving what they could they then moved back to Junction, Piute County (now called Fruita, Wayne County) and bought some land from Gilbert Adams on the south side of the river. I have no idea how long they kept the land because in only two later they were in Thurber where their next three children were born; George William (11 April, 1892), John Doyle (8 September, 1893) and Sarah Christene (12 February, 1895). George was drowned in Aldridge, Utah. The miners at Scofield loved to go to the saloons to drink and fight. Joe must have started to drink and fight here. Drinking may have caused him to do things that would eventually cause him a lot of harm. I recently visited one of his nieces who loved and also felt shame because of his temper and drinking.

Joe must have been involved in street fights and did gain quite a reputation as a fighter. In a story written by Clay M. Robison, Jorgen Smith once jokingly declared, in his broken English, supposedly with some pride, "My Yim, he iss der pissness man; My Yoe, he iss der fighter." Jay C. Smith said, "My grandfather William Smith told me Joe fought like a pit bull, never gave up, and came out victorious in about all his fights. My grandfather admired some of Joe's fights. When Joe had took on some bully that nobody thought he had a chance with, he trounced the bully good. He made the bully scream in desperation that he had enough. And Joe had many more than just one fight like that.

Joe did get himself in trouble with the law. Joe it seems just did not like King, so, he was not above stealing a few cattle from him. He felt that King could afford it. Joe felt that the King outfit was trying to hog up all the range and squeeze out the little guy. There were some King cattle out on the range and Joe must have noticed how similar their brand was to his so he made some of them his. In the Fall after round-up Joe, Jed Mott and some other friends and relatives gathered their herds together and drove them to market. Low and behold one of the cows died along the way. Not far behind them came the King outfit. King and his cowboys didn't like the looks of the brand on the dead cow so they skinned it. The outside said Joe Smith but the other side said King. Joe and his partners were required appear in the Richfield District Court, Joe told the Judge that it was his mistake and that the others were innocent. The day of reckoning had come, Joe was sentenced to a year in jail.

At the time the King Livestock Outfit was not a very popular cattle outfit. They were a large and an aggressive livestock company. They wanted as much of the free range as possible for the grazing of their livestock. This caused some resentment from some of the smaller livestock owners. King also rented the school sections and if other cattle were found on it, King would seized the animals and hold them as collateral until the fine was paid. Joe, it seems felt a need to retaliate, So, Joe took one or more of the King cows. The public domain was a free range then and Joe was just the kind of fellow that insisted on having a part of what he believed was his part of the range. Grandfather really did have a lot of love and admiration for Joe and he felt Joe was a good and likable brother who was more like a Robin Hood than a thief.

I must also say, in time King began to be less aggressive and more cooperative with the town's people. And the town's people accepted them as neighbors and marriage partners for their children.

Jorgen (Jack) were partners in a herd of sheep. Joe was supposed to be tending them in the mountains when they somehow disappeared.  Jack and Franklin Haws returned from New Mexico with their cattle they rented 500 sheep. They kept them for years while the herd increased in size.   Some family members blamed Joe for not keeping track of them.  There was about one million sheep on the Boulders at that time. 
Joe Smith married Estella Holt, she was a sister to Leo Holt who married Rena Smith. They did visit back and forth for as long as they lived. They were also visited by other Smiths.

Sometime in the late 1895 or early 1896 Joe and Stella moved out to Desert Lake in Emery County. This was a long distance from Wayne County and there were family members who tried to keep in contact with them. I don't have any idea what their home and farm looked like but I would think it would be a hard place to start all over again without the help of family or friends. The soil was very alkaline but was good enough, the sagebrush there (an indicator of good soil), grows six or eight feet high when it gets watered and has good drainage but grows only four to six inches in the dry ground. This being a very arid and desolate area, hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Some years they would have water for their stock and crops but there were years when the crops would just whither away and die during the summer.

Farming in the "early days" or pioneer days was hard and there was a limit the amount of land he could cultivate with what he had. It had to be done with horses and worn-out plow shares or other old out-mooed farm equipment, he did what he could. His main supply of money came from the livestock he had and he loved working and caring for them. He had horses, cattle, sheep and a large goat herd.

Two more children were born here; Joseph Oren (16 August, 1896) and Enock Alvin (8 April, 1898). Edna May was born in Castle Dale, Emery County (26 March, 1900). Alfred (27 February, 1902) and Ferdinand (23 July, 1904) were born in Ferron, Emery County.

The next five children were born back on the farm in Desert Lake. Lillian (23 April, 1906); Clifford (17 March, 1908); Clayton (8 April, 1911); Leo (8 July, 1913); and Dee Lavar (20 February, 1915). I have often wondered what caused the deaths of six of their children here, two dying as children, the rest during their teenage years. Water, disease, lack of food, who knows?

They did move away from the farm eventually, up to Wattis, Carbon County, a coal mining camp.. This was where their last child, Estella was born 4 October, 1919. Estella was only seven years old when her father, Joseph Smith died 8 April, 1926. Joe worked hard and struggled all of his life to care for his large family. They found him slumped against a building in Wattis, like he was worn-out and just went to sleep. He was buried in the Elmo Cemetery, (near Desert Lake), Utah. He was only 59 years old but looked much older, like he just worked to hard and worried to much.

I have pictures of Joe and Stella in their younger years, they were a very good looking couple. They both tried to be contented and happy with what they had, they usually seemed happy and have fun. They laughed and always enjoyed each others company. Stella lived to see her remaining children grow up and marry. She died in Price, Carbon County 22 February, 1942 and was buried along side her husband in Elmo, Emery County.

News Advocate - 8 Apr 1926 pg 8


The body of a man identified as Joe Smith, about sixty five years of age, was found on the streets of Wattis this morning. Examination of the body showed death occurred from natural causes, it is reported here. The body will be brought to Price and buried at the expense of the county. The deceased had been a resident of Carbon county for many years having lived on the outskirts of Wattis for sometime. He is survived by several grown children.
Life in Boulder
Book by: Irene King
Submitted by: Eugene Halverson

Cattle Rustlers - pages 132-133

Joe Smith, Jed Mott and Hite Williams came into Boulder to move Nick Johnson's cattle to the Henry Mountains. They took all the cattle they had been sent for and all the others they could get their hands on. Among them were about sixty head of Almon Robinson's that were being run by John King. The rustlers, method was to cover the Robinson brand, a Spanish H. with their circle X.

The case was tried on a white heifer with red feet, red nose, red ears and a bush tail in the Smith-Mott-Williams herd before the brand was changed. As it happened, while the stolen herd was being driven over a rocky trail, the heifer fell and broke her leg. She was found by King and others who were following the thieves. They killed and skinned the heifer and kept her hide with the altered brand for trial.

The prosecuting attorney was afraid to exhibit the hide for fear that the defense lawyer, Attorney Rapp, noted for his shrewdness, would find a means of keeping it out of court. He therefore connived with John king when he would be placed on the witness stand, to work a ruse on the old lawyer. The questions and answers then took place in court something like this: (King having described finding the injured heifer and skinning it.

Attorney Rapp: Why didn't you bring back the hide with you?

King; I didn't know I had too.

Rapp: Didn't you know that I could demand that you bring in that hide?

King: I knew that you might ask for it but I didn't know that I would have to deliver it.

Rapp: (to Judge McCarty) I demand that hide.

Judge: Mr. King, where is that hide?

King: Under the bed I slept in last night.

Judge: How long will it take for you to get it?

King: Ten minutes.

A few minutes later the hide was brought in folded wrong side out, The Spanish H. alone visible on the under side of the skin, the alteration being to resent to have penetrated through the hide. Rapp is said to have seen the brand clear across the room and to have whispered to his client, "Smith, you're gone to hell!"

Smith was sentenced to one year in the State Prison. His companions had somehow been dismissed in the preliminary hearing. The cattle having been sold previously were never recovered.

Smith Story - by Eugene Halverson

I have read the transcripts of the trial and it was pretty much like the King story. What I did find out was that King and his armed cowboys had been stealing cattle from all the small ranchers on the Boulder Mountains. The Kings, 3 or 4 brothers came from Texas with a lot of cattle and money. They rented all the school trust lands and any cattle found near there were driven by King cowboys on these trust lands. If they did not have the money to buy them back they were then branded and sold as King cattle. There was quite a war for grazing rights and water. One king was even killed. Eventually they learned to accept each others rights. These were the times when the mountain were being destroyed by over grazing, causing great dust bowls in dry weather and great floods were causing erosion in the mountains and in the valleys below. Government restrictions eventually saved the mountains.

Ellen Holt Behunin

Ellen was born on 24 Oct. 1883 in Escalante, Utah. Her parents are William Alma Holt & Sarah Wardell Holt. Ellen died on 9 Nov. 1918 in Torrey, Utah.

Ellen Holt married Leonard Behunin, son of Elijah Cutler Behunin and Tobitha Jane Earl.

Ellen and Leonard's children: Newell Behunin, Wilmer ('Bill') Behunin, Ellen Lopriel, Leslie ('Les') Behunin, Ruby Behunin Chesnut, & Ephraim Behunin Pectol. (Later, three other children were born to Lenard, but not through Ellen. They were born after Ellen died and Lenard remarried Hazel Shepherd.)

She (Ellen Holt Behunin) died of influenza that swept the world that year. She also was weak from childbirth. My father, Ephraim, was born on Nov. 01, 1918. His mother Ellen Behunin died when my father was just 9 days old.

When Ellen died with the flu in 1918, her husband Lenard asked the bishop (Bishop Pectol) to help him find a 'good LDS home for this baby to grow up in'. Dorothy Pectol was holding the baby in her arms and replied, "I think we have found him a good LDS home".

Thought from Leslie Behunin: "Ellen played the organ and sang, and had a choir in Torrey" said Uncle Les to Lonna Pectol. He also said that the Holts were funny and that they had a good sense of humor. Ellen liked to laugh.

From Lonna Pectol: I received a letter from Hyrum ''Morris'' Buhanan in 2003. He told me that when Ellen Holt Behunin died that day, three of her boys were at his house. Ellen was his Auntie. The three cousins that were at Morris' house were Newell, Wilmer and Leslie. He said when the news came to them that their mother had just passed away, he remembered hearing one of them cry out loud, "Oh mother, take us with you!" This memory effected his life, and it was still very vivid until his death. He was 94 years old when he died.

Just thought I would share that brief moment in history with you from one of our dearest, and kindest relatives “Morris Buhanan (Behunin)”

From Nancy Bauer:
I remember hearing about the one boy crying out that way when Dad told me of her death and his being there when her sons were told about their mommy having passed over. He was really impacted by that.

He said she had been such a sweet, kindly, pretty lady; in every sense of the word. He remembered that, because he had been at their home so often since Wilmer (Bill) had been his best friend as well as a cousin.

From Lonna Pectol:
In September 03 I had a chance to visit with Morris Buhanan again. I believe he was about 91 years old. He said that Lenard (husband of Ellen Holt) was sure a man of sorrows when his Ellen died. He didn't know what to do with the kids and be able to work, too. He was so sad at that time.

In closing Lonna Pectol has said:
I have wanted to know anything and everything about her. She was the one none of us knew. (My brothers and sisters, and even my dad never knew his own mother). If anyone else has any memories of Ellen Holt Behunin, please write and tell us. Thank you, Lonna Pectol.

Pearline Smith Mills
Compiled by Marla Burdick

The life of Pearline Smith Mills as she told it.

I was born in the year 1890 on June 24th at Castle Gate, Emery, Utah. My parents (Joseph & Estella Holt Smith) were traveling on the road from Pleasant Creek where they had been living to Escalante, Utah, where my grandparents (William Alma & Sarah Holt) were living. They were traveling by covered wagon they called a camp house. Near Castle Gate my mother became ill so they stopped to camp under a railroad track as it was the only shelter available. My father went to find help. They made a bed and hung a quilt at the door.

They camped at Castle Gate for a week or so until my mother was able to go on. The first night on the way, Father was unloading bedding to make camp for the night and I was wrapped in the blankets. Not realizing this my father tossed me to the ground, but being wrapped well it did not hurt me. It was several more days to get to Escalante.

I started school at the age of 6 years at Sunnyside, Utah and had to walk seven miles as there was no other way of transportation. When the snow came, I was unable to go, so I could only go in spring and fall.

When I was about eight we moved to Emery, Emery County, Utah on a farm and I rode a horse to school when it got cold. My father would wrap eight miles. I quit school when in my 7th year as my parents were both ill so I went to work washing dishes in a hotel. We had hard times. Dad had big boils and Mother had inflammatory rheumatism, and we children had to help.

Dad's sister (Mary Smith), was killed by Indians at Black (Red) Hills East of Richfield.

My Dad was very helpful in the community as I was growing up. He was a very good hunter. We dried and jerked meat in the summer we would do three and four hundred pounds. Then Dad would take it to the larger towns and sell it, or trade for other things we needed.

My dad also broke horses and trained them for Butch Cassidy.

We wore buckskin string around our neck to keep from getting the mumps and we also drank tea made from sage to build our blood so we wouldn't get sick. These were some of the old medicines.

I was the oldest of 15 children. I was baptized twice as my first record was burned in a fire that destroyed all records. I was baptized again when grown and married in the Monroe Hot Springs. When I was 14, they asked me to pray in Mutual and when I got up I could not say a word so they had to call on someone else.

I fell from a horse and broke my arm when I was seven. By the time they got me to a doctor to have it set it started to knit crooked so the doctor just let it go. I never could straighten my arm out.
I met Dad (Charles Albert Mills), when I was herding sheep for Marius Mills. I wrote to him for two years before we married. After I married Dad, his brother would never give me my pay for working. I worked from May to August and was paid only a pair of shoes.

I came to Joseph, Utah, before my third child was born and lived there most of the rest of my life. The following is the rest of the story, as told by family members, Chloe, Euella, Estella, Eugene, Golda, Mother (Pearl) said when she was able to go to school, her one teacher was really mean, if they didn't do exactly what they were suppose to do, the teacher would hold there hands out and take a ruler and hit them until they were black and blue. They had to wrap burlap sacks around their feet to keep them from freezing, when they walked to school.

Mother and her brother (George) were herding cows one day. They didn't have shoes. The sand was hot and the cockle burrs were thick, so they waded in the edge of the canal. Mothers little brother stepped in a hole and went under. Mother ran all the way home which was a mile or more to get Grandma, she ran down there and dove in three times before she could fine him. He was caught. Mom had to carry him all the way back home.

Mother's sister Sara, had two children. She stayed with us when Golda was born. Shortly after that Grandma (Smith) got word she had died. Little was known about her death.

When mother was very small she had a bad ear ache one winter. An old Indian came to the house and told Grandpa to find a red ant bed and get some ants. He said, pound them up and put the juice in mothers ear. Grandpa had to dig down through the snow to find an ant bed. He found one and did what the Indian said to do. Mother never had any more ear aches all her life. As found in LaMar Mills newsletter Volume 2 Number 2 :also their family group sheet and family memories.. Charles Albert Mills married Pearline Smith in Price, Carbon, Utah on the 6th of August 1908. He was 30 years old and she was 18..They lived in Price (Deseret Lake) until after their second child was born. Their first child, Chloe was born 29 June, 1909. Albert was born 22 Feb. 1911 and died Mar 14, 1911.

Before becoming a farmer, Charles was engaged in hauling freight for Alunite Co., near Marysvale. He drove a 6-horse team. He handled horses with pride and love. He was a great whistler. Before going around a blind bend in the road he would whistle very loud to let other drivers know so they could pass. While living in Joseph, Estella as born, Mar., 2, 1912, Eugene June 1, 1914, Euella May 5, 1916. In 1918 they lived at the Alunite where Charles worked. Golda was born there July 5, 1918. They purchased a home in Joseph about 1918. After closing of a job at Alunite around 1918, they moved to Joseph again to their own home on 1st East. One block off Main. The house was remodeled about ten years later. They lived in the same house the rest of their lives. In 1927 Pearl's younger brother, Leo came to stay with them. He had his tonsils out the same time Golda did. He has heart trouble. He had loved to watch bull fights. Pearl would set him in a chair out in back of the house with a quilt around him and he would watch the neighbors bulls fight. They would go through fences and all over the road. He wanted to go home so bad that another brother, Cliff, came and took him home on the train. Grandma Smith, his Mom, was there to meet him. He died in her arms at the train station in Price. On Jan 10, 1928 Lavor was born and died March 8, 1928. The very next year, 1929, Dee was born Feb. 8, and died the same day. The home was never one of costly array but was filled with loving deeds performed for each member. The same type of atmosphere was taught their children. The example of honest, loving, and hard working parents have been exemplified through their children in their homes and many callings in their lives. They were taught the value of honesty in their dealings, of a days labor, and of a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Mother's many talents in sewing and cooking have not only brightened their home but the homes of those who associated with them. Their hands were always busy in service to others.They were always loving and cheerful parents, kind and loving and understanding grand-parents, always could bring out the best in their family. Always with a smile and a home made treat. A trusting friend and helpful neighbor, and a faithful servant of our Father in Heaven. Even though our father wasn't a prominent church attender, he was a good provider for his family and honest with his fellow man. He was prompted many times by the Holy Ghost. One time, he was out farming, had stopped for lunch, when the spirit prompted him to move from under a large tree. He did and almost at the same time, lightening struck the tree. His life was spared.
From Uella's journal: I remember how Mother used to try to keep our hair all in ringlets. I cried when she went to do mine, but Dad would not give his consent to cut it. One day mother said, 'go ask your Dad again' Dad was talking to some one and when I said 'Dad can Mother cut my hair'?, he was paying no attention to me and said 'Yes' to something the man had said. I ran to Mom and told her, 'Dad said yes'. She hurried and cut my hair and Dad when he saw me was really upset. But I had no more curls. I always cut Mothers hair as I got older and she told me lots of stories about us kids and our curls. As we got older and all our hair went straight, we used to say that was why Dad was bald, 'he had to give us all his hair. At age of eight years my Dad rented a farm about 6 miles from town, we called it Ross Farm. It was located between Sevier river and D&RG Railroad. We lived there in summer while our home in Joseph was being remodeled. My memory carries many fun times in that little log house with no plumbing, no electricity, and had to haul our drinking water from town. For other purposes we brought it from the river. Our only means of transportation was horseback or horse driven buggy.

We milked 15-20 cows by hand so we all learned milking time meant take our pail and in open coral corner our cow and sit on a one-legged stool and squeeze warm fresh milk from cows. Then we went to the separator room where we took turns turning the separator so we could sell the cream and give separated milk to pigs and baby calves.

Once a week my mother and some of us kids would make a trip to Elsinore to sell the cream and bring home what groceries we needed, which consisted mostly of salt, sugar, spices, etc., as most of the things that were on our table were raised in our garden. Our meat which was mostly pork and venison. ( My dad was a great hunter). Pork we raised and butchered, cured with salt. We didn't have much beef in early days as no means of preserving it until later years when freezers and pressure cookers were available.
In the Fall, my father always took wagon loads of grain to the grist mill and exchanged for flour and cereal. We had a fruit orchard so always Mother had at least 1000 jars of fruit and jam, jelly and pickles. Our storage room was a pleasant sight always with plenty of good things. Apples, potatoes, carrots, onions, honey, molasses, flour and sugar. Everything needed for winter months. My parents were very good providers and most of the time I remember growing up we had some of our relatives living with us.

Uncle Doyle, Mothers brother, lived with us in our little two bedroom house, when his and Aunt Eva's third child was born. His children at that time were, Jay, Verl and Elaine. She was born in our house. That summer, we raised lots of squash. So we almost lived on it. Little Verl, used to take a big piece (Baked with rine on) as Mother always cooked it in oven. He would get it from ear to ear then say "more skosh Mommy". Uncle Doyle was real good to help Dad so I never remember folks having any words about them being with us. Uncle Oren used to drink and he knew Mother would not put up with him in his drinking so he would come , open the door and throw his hat in. If Mother did not kick it out he would come in.

My Mother was the oldest of 15 children so she had brothers live with us often and as her father died leaving her mother with small children she spent lots of time with us, also her two youngest children, Dee Lavor, my age and Estella, a year younger. Our little 4 room house was always full but always love and happiness were in abundance. Our evenings were spent reading aloud, playing games and eating popcorn and apples. My dad always had a sweet tooth so mother made lots of honey candy which she could really pull till it cracked. Dad bought a wind-up phonograph while we lived on the farm, which brought music into our home. Mother was such a pleasant lady, all my friends loved to come to our house. She always helped us pull honey candy. The neighbor kids knew they were always welcome to eat at meal time. They used to come to the table and say 'where do I sit Mrs. Mills'. We seldom had chairs for everyone. Mother would run and scuffle with the boys. I have seen her put them down and squirt the hose up their pant leg.

We always had popcorn and apples to eat. We had the first radio in Joseph and Dad used to sit up until Amos & Andy was over, then he would say "BED TIME".

One time, one of my friends (Maurine Carter) was there. A pair of dad's long underwear was hanging on the hook in the kitchen. Maurine came in and put them on, then wanted Dad to dance with her. She had picked him a bouquet of wild flowers. They always loved Mother & Dad.

Dad used to come in the kitchen door and say, 'where is your Mom' and when she wasn't there he would go through the house and sit on the front porch and wait for her.

When Mother had her last two little boys, I was 9 & 10. We did not know Mother was pregnant. They told us to go to Uncle L V's and spend the night when they came for us Mom had a new baby. We were so happy and surprised. We had no idea of such things.

When Father passed away, there was not room in the Church to hold his many friends, young and old, rich and poor. He passed away quickly of a heart attack on the morning of August 22, 1952, at the age of 74.

Mother lived another 13 years and died a terrible death of cancer in the home of her beloved sister, Lillian, who at the onset of mothers illness, sold her business and belongings in California and bought a home in Joseph, for the sole purpose of taking care of her sister, which she did. Mother was the oldest in her family, they had a very close family. Mother died Dec. 20, 1965 at the age of 76, leaving behind, five married children, 19 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren, two brothers and two sisters and a multitude of friends.

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