1919 – 1931
As told by Dessie Gill, Kenneth's sister
to Marla Burdick
Kenneth was the second child born to Joseph Oren and Mary Alice Allen Smith. He was born May 30, 1919 in Ferron, Utah. Kenneth had an older sister, Dessie, who was born in Elmo, May 26, 1917. His parents divorced sometime prior to Nov 23, 1921 because that is when Mary Alice married Seth Hitchcock. Joseph Orem remarried also on the 24th of Oct, 1922 to Alice Maud Hunt. Both couples stayed in Ferron.
The following was sent to me, Marla Burdick, by Dessie (Gill).
What led up to this story, started in Ferron, Emery County, Utah in about 1925 during the Depression. We were living in a log house on the corner of the Hitchcock lot. Where they (the Grandparents live.
Somehow my stepfather (Hitchcock), whom I will call grandpa in this story, heard some of the folks said there were farms in Duchesne County for sale if you would farm them. We moved to Roosevelt. The farm was 2 miles north of Town. There were 5 of us kids and the folks I'm the oldest, Kenneth, Dollie, Ray & Ruth. Grandpa's brothers and family were our neighbors. Ken and I went to school there and we were baptized there also. The following summer, Grandpa's birthday being July 22, they planned a trip to the mountains, our neighbors and family in one wagon and we in another one after a long way. We kids would run along side picking wild flowers and giving them to the small ones in the wagons.
The neighbors said he thought we had missed the right road and said he would walk back a ways and see if he could see another. He looked back and Kenneth was following him. He told him to go back to the wagon because he didn't know how far he might go. When he came back, we wanted to know where Kenneth was and he said he sent him back....
The following is from a newspaper article:
BOY LOST 80 HOURS IN WILDS FOUND WELL FED ON BERRIES
Roosevelt-- July 25, 1927 (Special) Kenneth Allen Smith, 8, rosy cheeked and apparently well fed on berries, is back home today playing with the rest of "the kids" after 80 hours lost in the rough hills between Uinta canyon and Pole Creek. His mother, Mrs. Alice Smith Hitchcock, is confined to her bed from nervous prostration due to worry, and his step-father is also at home due to injuries suffered in a fall early Sunday while searching for the boy.
Kenneth disappeared from the family's camp Thursday before noon and when he could not find it he said he went over the mountain and when he hit Pole Creek, where he had heard his parents talk of moving their camp to, he went up it and just waited for them to come. The first night, he says, he spent on top of the divide and under a big tree, and on coming down to Pole Creek he says he lost his coat and hat. The next two nights he slept in the brush, burrowing under leaves and covered by branches. Except for being bothered one night by a "big cat with a long tail" believe to have been a mountain lion which curiously sniffed around his hiding place, the boy said everything went along all right and he declares he did not cry. He was near a patch of raspberries and the creek was close to the spot where he was discovered.
As the long skirmish line of men swept down the hillside, he patiently waited from his seat on a rock in the sunshine and when within hailing distance calmly yelled, "Here I am, Papa." Ever since his disappearance posses have been searching the countryside but Sunday an organized hunt with nearly 1000 in line started from the site of the Hitchcock camp and went to the divide into Pole Creek, reformed and then swept down in a solid line until they came to the boy.
Those on the lower end of the skirmish line tell of finding the boy's tracks, which were being followed by a lion. They followed them but the other searchers found him before the trackers reached his camping place.
The party working Sunday included practically all the man power of Roosevelt which had not been exhausted by the Friday and Saturday hunts, together with 200 men from Vernal under Sheriff Emery Johnson of Uinta County and another large party from various other sections of the Basin under Sheriff A.H. Mitchell of Duchesne county.
The following is from a letter I received from Dessie Gill, July 14, 1999.
A friend gave Kenneth a horse after he was home. That winter Ray was very sick in the hospital with Pneumonia. The Dr. operated on him by going through his ribs and removing a lot of fluid from his lungs. He slowly recovered.
Dot was born Dec. 11, 1927, sixth child. One day a man by the name of Mr. Shipp came to our house and told the folks he had foreclosed on the mortgage. We lost the farm, also our home in Ferron. All we could do is move back to Ferron.
Grandpa hired a man with a black star car, "izenglass in the curtains" to take back home. As we were going over Indian Canyon, we tipped over upside down. We all crawled out, we were not seriously injured, cuts and bruises, Mama had battery acid on her legs and worried about the baby who was in her lap. A salesman came along and took us to a Hotel in Helper, a lady cleaned us up the bast she could and gave Mama some stockings after washing her legs. The man finally got his car fixed and picked us up and took us to Ferron. Grandpa stayed behind to bring the wagon, furniture and animals.
We stayed with the Hitchcock grandparents for a few days then moved to Rochester, where he farmed for Mr. Moore. We planted a garden, had pigs, chickens, rabbits and cows and were doing better.
One day my Dad (Oren), Maud, brother Orvin also Grandma Smith and Stella, came by and wanted me to go with them to Joseph. Dad was guite "happy", singing all the way. We got to Aunt Pearls that evening. She made beds for us. I slept with Grandma and Stella. Dad and Maud went home next morning. We stayed a week (I remember eating greengage plumbs and playing on the school playground with my cousins and the good meals we had.) They came and got us and brought me home. I didn't see as much from them for a long time. Then one evening they came to our place with everything they owned in a motel T Ford. Dad, Maud and Orvin, had been working in the Crystal Mine in Salina Canyon, due to the depression, the mine closed so they had to leave. They stayed with us a week or two, then found an empty house 3 blocks West of us. Grandpa gave them chickens, pigs and the use of the horses so they could make a garden. When they got settled Grandma Smith and Stella came to stay with them. Ken took his horse and lived there too. Stella and I had fun together. She wanted me to come and live there too. I did for a few days.
Saturday, the Sunday School was taking all the kids on the Desert for Easter outing. I had planned to go, when I got up that morning Dad said I had to help Maud do the washing because she had a sprained wrist. So I left and went to Mamas, made a sandwich. Dad came to get me, they tried to catch me but I stepped out the door and left. When I got back, everyone was upset with me. Monday morning all us kids rode the school bus to Ferron. At noon I went to Grandma Allen's (She lived a block from school). I told her and she let me stay till the weekend.
One Saturday morning, I was on my way to Dads and met Kenneth on a neighbor’s horse. I ask where he was going. He said his horse was in the stray Pen and he was going after it. He said "Dad and Maud are going to Huntington tomorrow, but I'm not." I asked why and he said, "I don't want to" and rode off.
He got his horse and was leading it behind him, he must of tied the lead rope to the back of his overalls. When the horse he was riding came to its place it wanted to turn in so the horses were turning around each other. Grandpa was on a load of hay and could see what was happening, and jumped off, jumped over a fence and as he picked him (Kenneth) up he breathed his last breath. He took him to Grandma Allen's in Ferron while they made arrangements for the funeral. He is buried in Ferron. We lived in Rochester (latter called Moore) for another year. Cleo Elaine was born there but we moved back to Ferron where Kenna Lee and Franklin Dean were born. Dean was 9 months old and died of phenmonia..
Dad, Maud and Orvin, now called Jack moved to Lawrence, East of Huntington. Norma was born there. I stayed with them a week while Dad went to Salt Lake for a Hemorrhoid operation.
The following is an account of the accident as told in the
EMERY COUNTY PROGRESS, dated Friday, September 18, 1931. Ferron City News
ROCHESTER YOUTH KILLED BY HORSES
Funeral services were held here Sunday for Kenneth S. Hitchcock, 12 of Rochester, who was killed last Friday afternoon while attempting to bring his pony in from the field. The lad was riding one horse and leading the other, when the rope of the led horse became entangled around his neck. He was pulled from his horse to the ground, and the two horses, becoming frightened, kicked him several times, breaking his neck before his father and the neigbors, who were close at hand, could rescue him. He is survived by his parents
KENNETH ALLEN SMITH