Wednesday, July 13, 2011



Metteby his Grandson, JAY C. SMITH &
Mette      Jorgen   Smith
William Smith was the first born child of  Mette Marie Johannesdatter (Villadsen) and Jorgen Smith.  He was born 3rd January, 1864 in Fountain Green when the Utah Territory was beginning to be settled by Mormon pioneers.  I have often wondered whether his father was home at the time when William was born.  I do know that his father and nine other men had arrived in the Sevier Valley on the 6th of January (three days later) to settle a new area.  This was later called Richfield.  They were mounted on horses but the oxen pulled wagon and the cold of the winter made traveling conditions slow.   There were three families living in the house in Fountain Green where William was born, his father had three wives and by now and all had children.  By the middle March it was time to go to Richfield.  Two month old William, and his mother, Mette Marie and the third wife, Wilhelmine and her two children would travel to Richfield by an oxen pulled covered wagon.  His first wife, Christina Maria and her two children, Jorgen and Christena Maria would stay in Fountain Green. 
William  Smith
They arrived in Richfield a few days latter to a home that was just a hole in the ground about four feet deep with a brush and sod roof, a dugout.  A place that was built in January by his father.   Some of them lived out of the back of the wagon.  They lived this way until a rock house was built a few years later.  28 April, the following year his sister, Rye was born, the first white girl born in Richfield.  Three days later when a flood was filling the dugout their mother (Mette Marie) saved the two babies from drowning by hurriedly carrying them to safety.  

They lived in poverty and poor living conditions, crops were eaten by grasshoppers and the family frightened by angry Indians.  He was three when his half-sister was killed by the Indians and when the family was driven from their home, to Ephraim and Fountain Green.  During the day while his father was working in the fields or on the Richfield Fort, he and his sister were put inside of a fence so they wouldn't run away while their mother watched for Indians high in a scaffold near their house. 
Four years later a peace treaty was signed ending the Black Hawk Indian War and the family returned to Richfield.  The rock home was soon finished and life was easier, the kids slept in the attic.  The house was also Richfield's first drug stores.  He was now old enough to go to school.  Rye said,  "Will and I walked to school  and Church barefoot as we didn't have any shoes."  Life was never easy, they had to work as well as go to school.

One day William playing with a gun that was kept loaded for protection from the Indians shot himself through the hand with it.  Both his parents were in Grass Valley at the time.  Rye said,  I washed his hand in good hot water and home-made soap and bandaged it with a strip off the petticoat I was wearing." 

On 11 March,  1883 he married Mary Moss in Richfield.  She was born 11 August, 1865 in Washington, Washington County, Utah the daughter of Elsie Marie Iverson and Stephen Moss, a Richfield shoemaker. 
Mary Moss  Smith
MOSS (MAAS) FAMILY   by Jay C. Smith
There wasn't much known about the Moss family in my early life.  It was rumored that they were Jewish and immigrated from Denmark.  Later, my Dad's youngest sister, Cindy did a lot of research on the Family.  The family was a Jewish family that had lived in Denmark for generations and had been affiliated with Christianity.  They had no desire to return to the Holy Land.  They were satisfied with Denmark as their home.  The ones who came to America had joined the Mormon Church.  Aunt Cindy had done a lot of research on the family but she wasn't cooperative or sharing with her brothers and sisters.  They thought she was just wasting her time.  She told me that she was confiding in me because I showed more interest and more appreciation in the results of her research.
The last I saw the results of her research was in 1975 when I went up to Wayne County to take care of my Dads funeral.  I stayed at her home.  We examined it and talked for hours.  Moss was neither a Scandinavian or a Jewish name.  It was originally a Hebrew name, spelled MAAS.  During the Nazi occupation of Denmark the family suffered terribly.  Probably, to their complete extinction. 

Aunt Cindy is dead now and my effort to locate her research material has not turned up anything.  My best lead was that her son may have it.  Anyway, with what I have seen and know, I am well convinced the Mosses are Jewish.  Aunt Ada Snow, Dads sister looks very Jewish.  The others sort of favor the Smiths in appearance. 
The only time Grandmother (Mary) would go to Church was to Relief Society when they were making a quilt or some other kind of sewing.  She and Great Grandmother (Mette) Smith were not on speaking terms and my Dad blamed his mother entirely.  Great Grandmother Smith said to me that it was just better that they didn't see each other.  Grandmother said the same thing.  But of course my Grandfather Smith had good relations with his mother and all of his relatives.  Grandmother never protested Grandfather visiting his relatives as long as he didn't bring them home.  I never knew any of the Smith relatives that had friendly neighborly relations with her.  Granddad and Grandmother never seemed to go anywhere together.  They just did whatever they wanted without protest either way.  Still, they never seemed to have any quarrels and never seemed to be rude with each other.  I just never cared to go see her.  I never knew whether she would let me in the house or send me home.  My sister, Deama felt the same way.  Grandmother never seemed to talk about herself or her family and was not friendly with the grandkids.  I can't remember eating one meal at her home.   The personality and behavior of my Grandmother Smith is best told in her own words,  "I mind my own business and don't stick my nose in other peoples business, and I want everybody to stay out of my business."  Uncle Bill was definitely her favorite child and he was quite a bit like her.  Very independent and set in his ways. 

Two children were born to William and Mary here in Richfield, William (13 June, 1884) and Leah Maria (21 October, 1886).  Leah  was only a few months old when the family and everything they owned would be put into a covered wagon pulled by oxen or horses down through what is called the Capitol Gorge down to Pleasant Creek near the Waterpocket Fold in Wayne County.  The road was rough and treacherous, it had only been a few years before that Elijah Cutler Behunin had hand carved the road for the first wagon to ever go down through the Narrows.  They crossed the Fremont River many times on the way. 
The wagon train was quite large, besides the father and mother, (Jorgen and Mette) there were many of William's brothers and sisters as well as a half-brother.  It included all the household furnishings, equipment and supplies.  There would be no stores down in the Lower Valley. 
Nothing was there only land and water and hard work.  They had to clear the land, till and plant their fields and gardens, make canals and divert the water, build houses, corals, barns, cellars, Fruit as well as shade trees.  I visited Notom and I still I remember the large cottonwood trees around William's house, well over a hundred years old and a real pleasant peaceful feeling to rest.  The house was still in fair shape.  It was made of clap-board siding were sawed and milled at some lumber mill, it hadn't been painted for many years.

A school and a church was built near by in Aldridge about three miles away.  Sometimes they walked other times if they were lucky they rode together on the back of a horse.  Four more children were born to them here.  Eugene (23 January, 1889), Walter Holger (6 May, 1891), Ada (16 September, 1893) and Lucinda Elisa (30 December, 1896).  This was when the town was called Pleasant Dale and was a part of Piute County.  William's father renamed the town, Notom when he built and ran the post office. 

In 1894 Parly Griggs secured the Wayne County mail contract for number of years.  He hired William Smith to carry it from Torrey to Cainville.  William's three sons carried the mail to 40 miles to Cainville in one day and back the next.  As near as I know Will and his boys started hauling the mail when they lived in Notom, in 1894? 

In the spring of 1897 Mary got her husband to move out of the Lower Valley.  She wanted to move back to Richfield where her family lived but only got to Thurber where William began working for his brother, Jim Smith hauling freight for his store.  He worked for him for about four years.  It was here where their last child was born, Arvil was born here in 30 August, 1899.   Jim he thought was hard to work for, to particular and bossy.  So, in about the year 1900 he traded his place in Thurber for a farm in Torrey.  It was only a few miles away but it was lower and warmer. 

by Jay C. Smith
  Close to 100 head of cattle were summered on the Boulder Mountain in the summer.  Then were partially wintered down on the Beason Lewis Flats and the Sulfur Creek Benches in the winter.  Toward spring they all were brought home where they would be fed hay and grain while giving birth to their calves.  So, they would be in good shape to go on the mountain sometime in April. 

  At a very early age (about five) I was given my first little riding pony by my Grandfather, and I would go with him to ride after the cattle.   "You see,"  Jay C. Smith wrote,  "I rode the range with my grandfather after our cattle, in the spring, summer and fall.  He and I were alone for a number of years out on the mountain riding for cattle, from 8 until 12 years.  We were real buddies and he was eager to talk about his life and his family and he had in me a good listener.  I wanted to know all possible about his life and his experiences.  And I always had questions.  He told me much about his family life and about individual members of the family."   I noticed he was much closer to his half-brother, Jack and Joe than he was to his full-brother Jim.  
One day when we were eating our lunch up on the mountain, riding after cattle, he was telling about my great grandfather, Jorgen Smith and about some of the things he had heard him tell about his young life in Germany and Denmark.  He said his father had much more love respect for Denmark than he had for Germany.  That there was much that he did not like about the government and politics of Germany.  Sometimes my Grandfather would sort of mimic his father's broken English when he would try and repeat something his father had said.  He said his father would quite often say:  "I am sure lucky and fortunate to have tree Dannish vimmens for vives"   I was very young still and had not gained an understanding of life in eternity.  I said,  "Well Grandpa if your father had married only married one Danish woman, you would not ever been born what about that?  If you had not been born then I would never would have been born, and I am sure glad I was born."  He said,  "Well, if we had never been born, nobody not even us would not have known about it, so, who would care?" 
They built a camp for travelers. The camp house and a well fenced yard must have occupied around an acre or more of ground.  The camp house was for people to camp in when going down or coming out of the Lower Country.  The fenced yard would easily take care of 200 head of cattle or horses.  The camp house had a stove and two or three bed steads.  Grandfather sold them, hay, oats and barley grain for the animals.  If Granddad ever ran short of hay or grain there was plenty in town that could be supplied on short notice. 
The garden and the orchard soils were kept very organic fertile by the use of the barnyard manure and the ashes from the wood burning stoves.  (corn will grow much higher where ashes are propery used).
Grandfather charged about 50 cents for the camp house per night.  It included the wood for the old cooking range in the camp house.  Grandma sold eggs, butter, cheese, fresh baked loaves of bread.  She also sold vegetables and fruit in season.  She showed that she liked to be financially independent.  I have heard it said by some of her children that she had several hiding places where she kept her money.  Grandfather did most all the collecting but he was careful to see that Grandmother got her share, right to the penny.  Most always they were paid by cash but if not, Grandfather made sure she was paid in cash.  Each had their own money, not bank accounts they just kept their finances separate. 

In the winter time there was very little travel so the use of the camp house and camp yard had periods of no occupation.  So Billy Hay or someone else in need of housing were allowed, sometimes, even encouraged to live in the camp house with the understanding they were to share the extra bed steads and the use of the stove and other facilities with any traveler that would happen along and wanted to stay.  (Billy Hay, our Irishman has a separate story, of his gold and life)
Granddad had a strong tendency to keep all fences, buildings, farm machinery and equipment in good repair and well maintained by rust resistant coverage.  All moving parts were kept well oiled or greased.  Everything was kept in the assigned orderly place.  He knew right where it was without any searching when needed.  Every cutting tool was kept well sharpened at all times, he couldn't stand to use a dull ax or saw. 

My Grandparents never owned a car, or even drove a car as fat as I know.  There were always good teams of horses and good saddle horses.  Good wagons, both two and one horse buggies.  They did not want for transportation by car because all their children had cars.  But they showed little desire to travel at all. 

When the circus would come to town (what an event)!  They stretched their big tent in the camp yard.  Sometimes a small rodeo or rodeo practice would be negotiated and performed in that yard.  The irrigation ditch ran along the east side of that yard so water was always available for the animals.  He was a friend to everyone and they knew he was honest.  He enjoyed meeting new travelers and renewing old friendships.  It wasn't something to get rich doing but it helped. 

Uncle Bill was Grandfather's oldest child.  He married Aunt Ruby and lived on the same block in Torrey where we lived.  It seemed like Grandmother (Mary Moss Smith) felt more at ease with Uncle Bill and Aunt Ruby and had more to do with them than with their other children and in-laws.  Both were very independent and once they decided to divorce.  Later they decided to get married again.  So, when the news got around all the young people of the town turned out to express their best wishes for a happy marriage with a very well organized and elaborate Shivoreeing Party.   Uncle Bill got real mad and came out with some very harsh words and ordered  them all off his property much to the delight of the shivoreeing party.  Anyway, they stayed together and raised a fine family. 

My Aunt Aid (Ada) married John Snow who was a prosperous rancher and they had a very lovely winter home in Richfield.  She was a very beautiful woman and according to family lore, broke the hearts of many young men.  It took old big stubborn, resolute John Snow to win her hand.  He was much liked by all the family. 

Aunt Leah was also a very attractive woman.  She married William Brinkerhoff.  He owned and operated a big haulage truck and made a living hauling freight in and out of Wayne County.  They had a modest home in Bicknell and always seemed quite happy together. 

Aunt Cindy was the youngest girl.  She had such a loving, sweet personality.  It was rumored and I believed as fact, she showed some of the features of Grandmother, Mette Marie Villadsen Smith.  She married James (Jim) Chidester.  Jim was a good natured, easy going fellow.  Always good to his family and well-liked.  He made his living by plastering, brick-laying, carpentry and cabinet making.  Their first home in Bicknell was small for such a large family and at times their finances were strained for sure.  Later they built a very large home there.  It was one of the most beautiful and practical homes in Bicknell.  Such beautiful cabinets.  Aunt Cindy was known to have one of the best gardens in Bicknell and I am sure it was  always a contributor to their food needs.  She was genuinely religious and practiced it as best she could.  My Dad, Uncle Bus and Aunt Cindy were very close and were the ones that paid the most attention to the needs of their parents in their old age. 

Uncle Walter married Det Hickman.  They had two sons.  Wayne has farms in Bicknell and Torrey and Dow is in Oregon working in construction. 

Uncle Bus married Aunt Glady's Chaffin, they had three children.  Uncle Bus was a good mechanic for cars and farm machinery. 

My Dad (Eugene) married Sarah Malinda Coleman.  Soon after their marriage they came into the ownership of an eighty acre farm one mile south-east of Torrey and two 2 1/2 acre lots in Torrey.  They also owned about 35 the cattle that increased to well over 100.  We also had some sheep mixed in with a company herd of several owners.  Dad for some years after marriage worked for sheepmen on the winter range but would come home to take care of the farm and the cattle in the summer.  Mother was a natural cowboy (cowgirl), she cared for the cattle on the winter range on the Beason Lewis Flats and at home.  She was brave enough to handle a contrary dispositioned horse.  Dad was a great reader.  He was very interested in science and astronomy.  He was very strong willed and had his own ideas on religion.  He claimed he needed no Word of Wisdom.  He was very strict about the use of tobacco, coffee and alcohol with us kids while growing up.  When I returned from my mission I was hoping to bring him into the Church but failed when Mother died.  They were parents of eight children, four on Easter Sunday.  

Ripley's Believe it or Not--4 Smith sister's of Torrey were each born on a different Easter Sunday.  Deama, Madge, Vesta and Bessie. 

I knew three of my Great Grandmothers;  One, a Jew from Denmark, another a Dane from Denmark and another a Scott (Jane Smith Coleman) from Scotland.  In her (Coleman's) large home in Teasdale she had a large room that was called the Fabric Parlor.  In it were her spinning wheels and weaving looms and they were still in use.  On the south side of the house was a large box that contained the silk worms.  On the east was a row of mulberry trees, about ten of them.  The leaves were used to feed the silk worms.  I loved to feed the silk worms.  She raised flax and made linen cloth from it.  They had goats and sheep for wool and mohair.  From a relative in St. George she was supplied with cotton for making clothe.  

Grandfather was always good to the poor and those in need and even good in volunteering to Church maintenance.  He also helped to build the Torrey canal that put much needed water on the farms.  He volunteered for many community projects in time, labor and money.   He was very close to his half-brothers especially Jack.  They got to see each other often when Jack lived in Fruita.  Jay C. Smith said,  "They seemed so glad and happy when they got together.  I also noticed that Grandfather did not have the serious religious feelings that my Uncle Jack had." 

                "My Grandfather, William Smith," said Jay C. Smith,  "Had the same negative feeling toward polygamy as his mother.  He was ever-ready to say that polygamy was wrong and it was so good that the Church was forced to get rid of polygamy.  My Grandfather, William Smith had dropped out completely out of activity in the Church.  The reasons he gave for being inactive was because of a quarrel he had with a Bishop.  And the other reason was polygamy;  Always saying how bad polygamy was, and it was just not right." 

Dennis Brinkerhoff once told me,  "My Grandfather William Smith felt that the Church had asked to much of his father, Jorgen Smith.  The constant callings caused a great hardship on the family but he would always do what was asked of him no matter what."    

As it turned out by the time I was 21 year 1936, late summer, I sold all my livestock and with my savings account I went on a mission to the Northern States Mission, October, 1936.  But December, 1939 I was released by a new mission president who had replaced President Hinckley.  He thought I had been there long enough.  I arrived home 15 December, 1939.   My Grandfather Smith had died just one hour before I arrived home.  The Bishop and the family gave me the full responsibility for his funeral.  I have always felt very humbly honored in taking care of his funeral. 
My Grandmother died while I was on my mission a few months before my Grandfather died.  My mother told me he missed her very much after she died and showed an eagerness to pass on and be with her.  The feeling could have even hastened his death. 
Richard Brinkerhoff said,  "Granddad's last year of his life wasn't an easy one, his mind had begun to slip.  So, he moved to the home of Uncle Bus's and Aunt Glady's where he was cared for until he died."    

Mary died 13 July, 1939 in Bicknell, Utah and was buried in the Torrey Cemetery.
William died 15 December, 1939 and was buried in the Torrey Cemetery on the 18th. 

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