CHARLES EDMOND AND DENA SMITH MULFORD
THE LIVES of CHARLES and DENA SMITH MULFORD
by CLAY MULFORD ROBINSON, a grandson
TREASURED TRAILS by ADELIA MOTT PIERCE, a niece
|Charles with cat|
Notom was named by Jorgen Smith, Utah pioneer and colonizer and father of Dena (Evadine Madalene Margretha) Smith Mulford. No one is certain of the origin of the name Notom. It is suspected that Jorgen Smith, in establishing his post office there to serve the ranchers and livestock men of the area between the Boulder Mountains and the Henry Mountains and now the defunct village of Aldridge, named the place "No Town." He did not wish to continue it's then present name of Pleasant Dale because there were so many Pleasant Dales. So he probably wrote on the government form "No town", which some how turned out to be "Notom". Or it may have been corrupted because the old gentleman spoke English in a strongly accented in German and Danish, his native languages.
For many years after the place was named, descendants of the Smith family wondered and joked about the name, saying it came from a young maiden's rejection to Tom, her suitor. When asked by the suitor for her hand in marriage. She replied: "No Tom". (Well, it was funny to some people, so laugh, you serious- minded character! Who knows, maybe it was a fact. Next time you walk through the Capitol Gorge stop at the Pioneer register and look for the name of Tom. Or better still, look for Tom. He might still be floating in one of the natural rain tanks up one of the tributaries where he drowned himself after the rejection).
A dearth of information pertaining to the birthplace of Charles Mulford has given rise to much speculation, some based fact and some on rumor. Tradition placed the birth at Springfield, Illinois. However, investigation of local records of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints, places the birth of Charles at Filmore, Utah on 23 January, 1858 and/or 1859. And some church records show the birth to have been in 1860. The year 1859 is probably accurate, in as much as Charles proclaimed that to be the time.
Charles came into the family of Martha Mills Adams Bridges and Furman Mulford in the days when polygamy was advocated as a proper way of living in the LDS Church. (Martha's maiden name was Adams, she was previously married to Erskine Bridges. They were later divorced)
There is no solid evidence of Furman Mulford being a polygamist, but various records indicate such. The Census for the year 1851, as taken by the United States of America, places a Furman Mulford, age 38, at American Fork, Utah. This is further substantiated by old Nauvoo records of the LDS Church. In those early days of Utah it was common for a polygamous family to list only one woman as the one and only wife whenever a Federal Census was taken. This was done to protect those men of "The Principle of Plural Marriage" from indictment by the Federal Government. The "Feds," as the government agents were called looked upon plural marriage as a crime
There is also listed in the 1851 census a Martha Adams, age 39, living then in Utah County. Her birth place is listed as England. Thus, logically, that Martha Adams was not the Martha Adams who later married Furman Mulford. The later mentioned Martha was born in Ireland.
A boy, Joseph Mulford, age 12 years, lived in the same American Fork household with Furman and Anna Mulford at that time.
MARTHA of IRELAND
And in Utah census of 1851 is listed a Martha Adams whose birth place was given as Ireland. Most likely this was the Martha Adams who later married Erskine Bridges, a polygamist of Filmore, Millard County, Utah. Bridges must not have had the best of rapport with his wives because most of them, including Martha Adams, were divorced from him, probably through Church-approved divorcements.
After Martha Adams was divorced from William E. Bridges, she was married to Furman Mulford, who, as mentioned earlier, was perhaps a faithful Mormon polygamist. Into the family of Furman Mulford and Martha Adams came these children: Charles, born 23 January, 1859 at Filmore; James Nephi, born 4 February, 1864 at Richfield, and John Moroni born 3 March, 1867 at Harrisburg, Washington County, Utah.
|Charles and Dena Smith Mulford|
Furman Mulford came from an old established family in New Jersey where Furman was born on 20 July, 1810. Some records show a Furman Mulford of that time as having served in the Navy of the United States. Evidently he later joined the Mormon Church and settled in Nauvoo, Illinois. Other records list 21 July, 1812 as his date of birth at Salem County New Jersey. Such records list his father as John and his mother as Margaret.
At Nauvoo Furman received his endowments in the Church. And there are records of his receiving a patriarchal blessing there. Anna Mulford, perhaps the first wife of Furman, was born 2 March, 1805 at North Hamptonshire, England to William and Ann Cobson.
Furman died in Harrisburg and was buried there. Then his widow Martha Adams (perhaps he left more than one widow), moved her children to the Inverury Ward (Central), Sevier County, Utah (a few miles south of Richfield). Inverury got its name from Inverury town in Scotland. Inverury means "between two waters." The name changed to Central in 1872. The ward became Annabella Ward.
From information passed through the Mulford family, Martha Adams Mulford, as a widow, joined in the Brigham Young inspired experiment of re-establishing the socialistic United Order of the early days of the Church near Kirkland, Ohio. The basic United Order was created for the LDS Church by Prophet Joseph Smith after he had converted Sidney Rigdon, and members of Rigdon's socialistic colony, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Laterday Saints. That United Order placed all property in common. Nobody owned anything, but everybody owned a bit of everything.
JOINS UNITED ORDER
Martha Adams Mulford owned cattle which went into the United Order through either the Sevier Stake or the Glenwood Stake. Joseph A. Young, a son of Brigham Young, was Sevier Stake President and was affiliated with many of the experimental "Orders" of the time. He also was associated with non-church-related co-operatives in those years. Units of the United Order sponsored grist mills, saw mills, cattle and sheep herds and other enterprises. They were supposed to provide each member family with food, clothing, housing and other things required in basic living. Any surplus was to be retained by the Order.
When the Order failed, as did all chapters, Martha lost all equity in her cattle. Reportedly this caused considerable bitterness in the mind of young Charles who then had to go out at the age of 12 years to herd cattle for various ranchers to help support his widowed mother and her children. According to family, Charles was especially angry as he hired out to tend cattle which once belonged to his mother but were now owned by cattlemen who were prominent in the Order before it fell apart.
Thus Charles Mulford, while being baptized a Mormon, became self-estranged from the Church, and remained so on through out his life. Such estranged members of the Church were called jack-mormons. But Charles always felt hurt whenever some of the "good-brethren," in introducing him and other men--men of good standing in the Church--would say, for instance: "Meet Brother Olson, Brother Johnson, and Brother McMurin. And here is Mr. Mulford.
Some grandchildren recall his telling of the low wages he received as a boy for herding cattle--only a few dollars for a month's labor. Eventually he bought a pair of boots which he badly needed and desired, but it took a whole season of wages to pay for those boots.
Charles received higher wages as he grew older and worked as a herdsman. Albeit, even those wages were not sufficient to fully cover the needs of his widowed mother and young brothers, Nephi and John.
Charles' brother, James Nephi (Uncle Neph) grew up and married Annie Neville. For many years they lived at Woodruff, Utah. He died 12 June, 1944 and was buried at Woodruff.
John Moroni moved to Colorado in 1889. He was killed by a falling rock in the Detroit mine 24 March, 1907. Buried in Hillside Cemetery in Silverton, Colorado. Their mother, Martha Adams Mulford was living with John. She died 5 May, 1909, 88 years old and buried in Silverton. (this chapter has been shortened--pages 7-8)
EVADINE MADALENE MARGRETHA SMITH
Charles Mulford met Dena Smith at a dance in Richfield. They were married on 7 December, 1887 in Richfield, he at the age of 28, and she at age 16. Their first child, John Edmond was born 23 October, 1888 at Richfield.
Dena Smith's father, Jorgen Smith and his wife Mette Marie, had moved from Richfield, Sevier County into Wayne County, probably at the request of the Church, to settle the frontier areas of the Mormon Zion. In Richfield, Jorgen Smith, as a basic colonizer for the Church, owned a blacksmith shop, dispensed medicines as a lay pharmacist, and owned farming land. Jorgen and his families in Wayne County lived in Thurber, now Bicknell. They also homesteaded a ranch on Pleasant Creek at a place now known as Notom.
JAMES SMITH, MERCHANT
The transfer from Sevier County by Dena's parents undoubtedly influenced Charles and Dena to follow into Wayne County. Records place them as having lived in Thurber (now Bicknell). (This is how Thurber became Bicknell: A wealthy man named Bicknell and whose wife's maiden name was Blanding, sent out information across the United States offering libraries to any towns willing to change names to honor the Bicknell-Blanding families. The people of Thurber fell for the bait. Thurber became Bicknell. Grayson, Utah became Blanding. The few out-dated useless books the people of each community received were reportedly not worth the effort).
|James Smith Store|
MOVE to VERMILLION
From Caineville Charles and Dena and their children, Condie and Elma, moved, in about 1922, to Vermillion, Sevier County, or as the old timers then said: "Over on the Sevier." Condie was a man in his early thirties, then, and was dedicated to a farming partnership with his parents. Elma was a
girl of nine or ten.
Dena Mulford was a bright lady, taking special interest in medicine and nursing. Much of her knowledge came from her well-educated Danish-German father, Jorgen Smith, an early convert to the Church. Jorgen Smith spoke several languages, including his native German and Danish. As a skilled blacksmith, pharmacist, and rancher, he was the kind of person Brigham Young relied upon to help establish various communities on the frontiers of the Mormon country of Deseret.
Jorgen and his family first settled in Fountain Green and Ephraim in Sanpete County, then Richfield. Finally he was uprooted to help settle parts of Wayne County.
Most likely Jorgen Smith passed much of his vast knowledge on to his many children from his plural marriages. He had three wives, two of whom bore twenty-two children for him. His first wife, Kirstein (Christina Maria), whom he had married in Denmark, gave him ten children, many of whom died along the way as Jorgen and Christina Maria were migrating to Utah as converts to the LDS Church. By his second wife, Mette Marie, he fathered twelve children, with Dena being the sixth in line.
Jorgen's third wife, Wilhelmine Petersen, had been married previously to Hans August Swensen who fathered her three children, Christine, John and Amelia. Wilhelmine converted to the Mormonism and left Hans when he would not join the Church. She settled in Fountain Green, Utah Territory where she met Jorgen Smith and became his third wife. She bore him no children, but her three children by Swensen were adopted by Jorgen Smith. (This is another story and is recounted in some detail in "Treasured Trails, by Adelia Mott Pierce."
For additional medical knowledge beyond what she gained from her father and from various successful midwives, Dena Smith Mulford grilled the various college-trained medical doctors who ventured occasionally into Wayne County. This knowledge helped her in many successful deliveries of babies in the communities where she and Charles were to live. She, without the aid of a medical doctor delivered some of her own grandchildren, and assisted in the delivery of many more. Dena seemed to be born with an aptitude for medicine and often did nursing among the sick. She is known to have set two broken arms. Her son, Walter broke his arm when thrown from a horse and a neighbor, Juanita Otega received Dena's skillful attention for a broken arm.
Romeo Ortega once said, "My wife was very ill. I am sure that had it not been for Mrs. Mulford's nursing, my wife would have died. For this he praised her greatly. The Gileses, Heaths, Ortegas, and many others in Caineville, know only too well the sacrifices she made to assist them. Summer or Winter, rain or snow, Dena would ride horseback over 15 miles of rugged trails to help her neighbors in their time of need.
Albeit, she still had her own family to care for, and would never close her door to a stranger passing by. Many people used her home as a stopping place to rest and eat while traveling through.
Dena saved money to buy a comprehensive medical book and a chest full of assorted drugs to help her in her doctoring of sick and injured people. The medical book and the medicine chest and many heirlooms are preserved to this day by descendants.
Evadine Madaline Margretha Smith (Dena) was born 17 December, 1871 at Richfield, Sevier County, a daughter of Jorgen and Mette Marie (Maria) Johannesen.
Although her name fit her personality and was so typical of her fine character, her family called her Dena for short, and since her early childhood she was known simply as Dena (which was used by her for official purposes).
Her childhood was spent in Richfield. As she grew, her mind was ever seeking knowledge. She received what education she could in those early school days, then she sought more and more education by herself. At an early age she had a chance to teach school, which she did very well.
She met and married Charles Mulford 7 December, 1887 and they began raising their family. They had a good life together, subduing the land, building farms, raising cattle and making a living. They managed very well, for they never seemed to want for life's necessities. Charles died 3 July, 1933.
Often rode horseback many miles to assist with the delivery of babies.
Later because of old age and poor health Dena moved to Magna to live with her daughter, Elma (Bracy). Dena died 2 March, 1951, at her daughter's home and was buried in Sigurd, Utah, beside her husband.
At the Notom ranch a second child, Charles Condie, was born to Charles and Dena on 16 March, 1890. (The name came from Dena's much loved brother, Constain Smith, youngest member of the Jorgen-Mette Marie Smith family. Constain (Condie) Smith as a married man, disappeared in the early 1900s. This caused much melancholy wondering and speculation for Dena who entered into a futile search for her beloved youngest sibling).
Dena returned to Thurber for the birth of her third child, Earl Leroy, born 29 October, 1891.
Charles and Dena pulled up roots and moved to Cedar Edge, Colorado. There Charles worked on a cattle ranch. And there their fourth and fifth children were born: Clarence Leon, 9 September, 1893, ( at Fruita, Colorado) and Hattie May on 13 August, 1896.
Moving back to Utah the Mulfords had another son, James Walter, born 9 November, 1898 at Teasdale. Their last child, Elma Grace, was born 29 March 1912 at Loa, Wayne County, Utah. This was while the Mulfords were ranching at Notom and ranging their cattle on the east end of the Boulder Mountain.
While living at Teasdale, Dena had occasion to treat her oldest child for snake bite. Ed, while herding cows along the Fremont River, was bitten on the leg by a rattle snake. He galloped his horse home to his mother and was effectively treated.
Typical of many of the old time Mormon cattlemen of Utah, Charles Mulford, in a life of drudgery, used swear words which colored the atmosphere with fire. But he was a good man, with great compassion for his fellow people. He and Dena always shared their food with those in need and opened their doors to strangers and fellow towns people. And they were honest and morally and physically clean.
Charlie Mulford, as he was affectionately called by people who knew him, not only had compassion for people, he loved animals. Among such animals were cats. He always kept a multitude of cats on his farms. They kept the rodent numbers under control. But more important, they gave comfort to Charlie, who in old age, suffered from deafness and a nauseating ailment associated with ear problems, cancer of the stomach and other old age ailments. He called the cats "poosins". His grandchildren remember how he would call, "poosin, poosin".....until twenty or more cats would come running from all directions. Often he gathered one or two cats in his arms and affectionately stroked their fur.
Dena was an opposite to her husband Charlie. While he was a sort of Irish romantic, she was practical minded. She saw beauty in big stacks of hay; plenty of food in the cellar; effective procedures in treating the sick and injured; a big, well-cared- for-garden and orchards that would yield food; a roof that would shed rain; a clean ditch that would hold a great capacity for irrigation water. She had a mind that, if properly trained, could have given rise to an engineer or a medical doctor. Yet, she was a very affectionate person, loving all her children and grandchildren.
Dena's grandson, Clay and his wife, Barbara, recall how Dena, as an old lady visiting with Barbara, looked out the window onto a big luxurious lawn. Said Grandma Mulford, "Now, if I had anything to do with this, I'd plow that lawn up and plant corn."
On one occasion, when Dena accompanied her daughter, Hattie and son-in-law, Ellis, on a trip into the Northwest, she admired the great, neatly stacked baled hay and fine farms, while the others were in awe over the scenic Columbia River drive.
She marveled over the modern conveniences, although throughout her life she had none of these. Once, while sitting and watching the clothing revolve around a windowed automatic washing machine at the home of Clay and Barbara, Grandma Mulford declared: "Now that is very nice, but I get the same results on a washboard in a tub."
That was Grandma Mulford, as she was called. While pragmatic in her outlook on life, she also held a great affection and empathy for people, especially those who were less fortunate.
From the Smith side of the family of Charles and Dena came the genes that helped turn descendants into mechanics, engineers, mathematicians and scientists. These characteristics have made their way known in many individual descendants.
Charlie and Dena, as cattle ranchers, taught their children the meaning of hard work and skill in homemaking and ranching. Each daughter became proficient in homemaking and each had a desire to achieve. And the sons became knowledgeable in the care of cattle and horses.
RECAP of the FAMILY of CHARLES and DENA MULFORD
The oldest son, John Edmond, who married Violetta Phelps of Gunnison, Utah 30 July, 1917, spent his entire working life in the saddle, riding the range for cattle. Most of this time was spent in the vicinity of Henry Mountains and what is now Lake Powell. Ed died in 1954 and was buried in Richfield Cemetery.
In the 1920s he ventured into California where he worked for various big cattle companies. After returning to Utah, he continued to work with cattle on the ranges of southeastern Wayne County and adjoining Garfield County. For years they lived in Torrey.
Earl Leroy, like his brothers and sisters, had a keen mind and vivid memory throughout his 88 years of living. He married Beatrice Curfew Hays. Earl died 11 February, 1980 and was buried in Sigurd.
Clarence Leon (Cass or C.D.) became, at an early age, self-employed, owning a cattle and fruit ranch at Fruita, Wayne County (now the heart of Capitol Reef National Park). He married Marie Staley. He died 21 July, 1979 and buried in Torrey.
Hattie Mae married a school teacher, county lawyer and farmer, Ellis E. Robison on 25 October, 1915. This marriage took place many years after he had taught her as a student in one of his early schools at Aldredge, now a ghost town along the Fremont River near Notom Ranch. Ellis was a 19-year-old starting a new career. She was girl of ten. Nearly a decade later they met again and a romance flared.
Hattie completed formal education enough to qualify as a teacher and taught in the schools at Fruita, Teasdale and Torrey. Also, she often served as a substitute teacher in those towns and in Hanksville. She died 9 May, 1956. Ellis died 14 October, 1953. Both were buried in the Torrey cemetery along side the grave of their little Fae Elda.
James Walter (Walt) married Cornel Dorthy (Dolly) Heaps 12 July, 1920. They raised three sons and a daughter, Wels, Ward, Wyla June and Jim. Walter died 9 May, 1964. Dolly still lives at Torrey.
Elma Grace was married to, Lawrence (Larry) Bracy. He retired from Kennecott Copper Company,. He died 8 December, 1994. She resides in Magna, Utah. Elma is retired from her own business, Magna Gift and Thrift.
More about Charles and Dena Mulford Family
Dena Mulford enjoyed fishing and often prepared and savored a good fish dinner. While camping along Pleasant Creek on the Boulder Mountain during times when the Mulfords tended their cattle herd, Dena would fish the streams. Her catch was entirely of native cutthroat trout for that was in the days before the introduction of eastern brook and rainbow trout to the Boulder Mountain streams. And it was in the days before fishing licenses were required and there were no game wardens. Dena often used an ordinary pin fashioned into a fish hook and tied to a piece of string at the end of a supple willow. On this hook she secured a worm, a grasshopper, or some kind of insect to lure the trout for the catch. Later while living in Sevier County, she fished the Sevier River and a small reservoir not far from the Vermillion Mulford ranch. Trout were rare in her catch there for most of the fish were carp or suckers. Nevertheless, Dena knew how to prepare these fish into a delectable fish dinner.
Living conditions were most arduous for the Mulfords both in Wayne County and in Sevier County. Homes in those days were primitive, without indoor plumbing and the only lamps for night use and reading were coal oil (kerosene), or candles. Because there were no refrigerators fresh meat from the slaughter of a beef animal, pig or sheep had to be treated carefully. A small amount of it was kept for eating fresh during the colder seasons by hanging the meat in a tree to cool or freeze at night: then it was wrapped in sheets and covered with bedding (quilts and the like) at sunrise to guard against the heat of the day. The quilts, as insulation, kept the meat cool. Meat not eaten fresh was salted down or smoked for later use.
|Rena Smith Leo Rolando Holt|
Farming or ranching in those days was arduous. Those who had modern means cut their alfalfa and grass hay with horse-drawn mowing machines and raked the hay into windrows and cocks with a crude mechanical, horse-drawn machine. Then the hay was loaded by a man or men with long-handled forks, pitching the haycocks onto a wagon equipped with special wide home-made wooden hay rack. Riding the hay rack was a boy (and sometimes a girl) too small to lift a big haycock on a pitchfork. The boy on the wagon had the responsibility of driving the wagon between the haycocks, placing the hay on the wagon rack and tromping it down for greater loading. He had no time for scratching the itching caused by the tumbleweeds and dry hay dust. A "V" rope was used for rolling of a full load of hay from the hay rack onto a stake being formed near the corrals where the animals would be fed in winter time. As the Mulford boys grew, each had a turn at all tasks of tromping, pitching and unloading of the hay. An occasional rattlesnake pitched onto the hay rack in one of the cocks would cause the tromping boy to step lively.
Most all the grandchildren, born in the 1920s experimented, with some modifications, similar harsh living and working conditions as known to their parents and grandparents. Farm equipment was crude and horse drawn. There were no tractors. Homes had no indoor plumbing nor electric lights until in the mid 1930s or in some instances until the 1940s. Yet life was livable and in most cases, enjoyed.
Some of the most simple incidents of life bring delight. For instance, imagine yourself, for a brief moment, as being Charles or Dena on a Thanksgiving Day when there was nothing like turkey or chicken or other barnyard fowl to eat. But like any other day of the year, chores had to be done.
Charles headed out for one of his fields to look after cattle. As usual he carried along his rifle, for there was always the possibility of some predatory animal attacking a calf. It was early morning and Charlie was still longing for some kind of Thanksgiving feast. Then suddenly, from out of no where, high in the sky, flew a goose.
There goes our Thanksgiving Dinner, thought Charles. With little hope of ever garnering the goose, Charles pulled his rifle from the scabbard and aimed and pulled the trigger. The goose plummeted to earth. The only thing that was amiss was a lack of platter and a hot oven into which it could land. The Mulfords had roast goose for their Thanksgiving dinner.
Notom eventually had more than one ranch. At one time Hattie and Ellis and their partners Henry and Nellie Robison and Hyrum and Stella Robison Sandall, resided on and worked one ranch while Charles and Dena Smith Mulford worked the other. Times were hard. There was no money for little luxuries. But this did not quell the desires for luxuries.
Hattie and her mother, Dena, saw pictured in a mail-order catalogue a beautiful white bed spread designed with "nubbles" (Elma refers to the spread as a Martha Washington design). But there was no money for such frivolities. Then one day a cow on one of the ranches bloated from eating too much green alfalfa. In its bloated condition it staggered to the creek, drank its fill and dropped dead in the creek. The men of the ranches, with horses dragged the animal from the creek and left it for the vultures to clean up. But with this dead animal Hattie and Dena saw an opportunity for gaining their greatly desired bedspreads.
With little sister, Elma Grace, Dena's five-year-old, trailing along, Hattie and Dena, with knives in hand, took on the gory task of skinning the animal. When little Elma saw the blood flowing down into the creek, turning the water red, she commenced to screaming and crying. She was badly frightened. Hattie could not stand the prolonged screaming so she spatted her little sister on the hinder and told her to either shut up or take off for home. Still crying, little Elma ran to the house while Hattie and her mother finished skinning the animal. Their grizzly task ended with their stretching the hide out to dry in the sun. Later they sold it for enough money to buy each a bedspread.
Back when Hattie and Walt were little children a few pennies were a big sum of money to kids. Their mother, Dena, being very thrifty taught the two to always save their money. "When you save enough you can put it in the bank and draw more money as interest. You might need that money for a rainy day," She advised. "A penny saved is a penny earned".
Hattie and Walt took the lesson seriously. When they had saved up enough money they took it to the bank--the sand bank at the edge of the wash where floods coming down Pleasant Creek had cut away the soil. Well, there was their savings, in the hole in the sand bank. And the rainy day did come. And the resulting flood washed away the savings of both children. The moral of that story could well be applied to today's savings and loan institutions: Don't deposit money in an unsound bank. Some dishonest banker, like Mr. Flood, may steal it.
Dolly Mulford said, "Grandpa (Charlie Mulford) used to buy his flour by the ton and frieght it over the mountain by horse and wagon. He would always stop and give Grandma a couple of sacks of flour and her lump sugar. He was sure a wonderful man."