Remembering Thoughts and Deeds
This book is dedicated to the eternal endurance of my family. Its
beginning was in the close knit and everlasting bonds which holds my
father’s large family as a unit; as well as that family from which my
wife came. We remain a part of these God ordained organizations.
God has been more than kind in giving to Velma and me a family of
choice spirits. Our grandchildren and great grand children are becoming
stalwarts in the work of our Heavenly Father. They are also developing
into leaders in our society.
We are steadfast in our faith that the family ties made in this short
life are only the beginning of an eternal relationship. As time passes
and the family continues to grow–not only in numbers but in
righteousness, ability, and willingness to serve our Father in
Heaven–may we always love and support each other. If we do this we will
be continually “added upon”.
This volume has been made possible by the help and contributions from
most of my family members, as well as some of my many friends.
I am especially appreciative of the unstinted work so willingly given
by Toni and Shirl. Toni has done all of the typing, arranging and
editing of the material. Shirl has freely contributed printing presses
and professional know how. They have unselfishly given of their time and
talents–as well as much needed encouragement for the furtherance and
completion of this work.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Leavitt Wyatt–An Autobiograph
- Forward–Preparing a Personal History
- The Fullness of Times–An
- Purpose and Destiny
of Nations–An Essay
- What is Man?–An Essay
- Home Life
- Our Daily Bread
- Horse and Buggy Days
- The Big Creek
- My Mission to Ireland
- Mother’s Letter
- My Wife
- Missionary Work
- My Father’s Family
- Violet W. Holland
- My Brother Sid
- Assignment to the
- The Opiti Family
Thoughts on Friendship
- A Special Party
- The Last Leaf
- The Wrong Target
- Mary Ann
- Historical Interview
Sidney Leavitt Wyatt - An Autobiograph
I was born in Wellsville, Utah on December 8, 1893, the son of John
H. and Julia Leavitt Wyatt. Our family was a large one consisting of
three children by a former wife, Sara Jane Barnes, deceased, and the
children of my mother and her sister, Betsy. We lived on a large farm.
There was always more work than could be done and much sharing by all.
I graduated from the eighth grade in 1910. There were thirty-seven
students in the class. Twelve of us passed the examination which was
given in Logan by the State Board of Education. High schools we not
available in those days. An eighth grade diploma was considered to
terminate ones education. However, the few who desired more formal
education could attend either the Agricultural College, or the then
existing Brigham Young College in Logan . I was fortunate in that the
year following my graduation from the eighth grade, the town of
Wellsville established a ninth grade in the City Hall. I attended and
for the next few years two more years of high school were added.
My attendance at school was erratic. First, there was the general
attitude toward higher education, it was considered to be a frill and a
waste of time. Second, there was always work to be done. The beet
harvest ended in late October and spring work began before school let
out in the spring. There was also hay to be hauled for the dairy herd in
the winter. However, in four years I had completed three years of high
By good fortune I managed to stay with my sister, “Sadie” Wood and her
husband, George, in Rexburg, Idaho and attend the Ricks Academy from
which I graduated in 1915. I now had hopes of managing to enroll in the
Agriculture College at Logan.
During the summer of 1915, our Bishop, Franklin Gunnel, told me that he
would like me to accept a call for a mission. This came as quite a shock
because I felt that it meant an end to my hopes for a college education.
Yet I had always felt that I owed a great debt to the Church for
bringing my parents into the Church and for the many blessings we
enjoyed in Zion.
I accepted the call and left for the British Mission in the autumn of
1915. I was assigned to the Irish Conference where I served until the
spring of 1919. World War I was being fought and it was not feasible to
replace the missionaries, so I was not released until after the conflict
was over. I served as Presiding Elder for most of the time. We were very
successful in our ministry.
When I returned home, my brothers Wilford, James, and I rented father’s
farm. We paid the rent in advance by borrowing the money. This venture
proved very unsatisfactory. Our main cash crop was sugar beets. We had
about 50 acres planted each of the two years. Both years winter snow
came early and stayed with us. We had to dig the beets from under the
snow. As it was all hand labor we had to hire much of it done. Both
years we finished delivering our beets to the factory on New Years Eve.
While attending Ricks Academy, I met Velma Ball of Lewisville, Idaho.
When I first saw her, I felt that some day I would like to have her as
my wife. Before we had ever dated I told my mother that I had met the
girl whom I was going to marry. On November 19, 1919 we were married in
the Salt Lake City Temple by Apostle George F. Richards, my former
After the two years of farming, which had proven so unsuccessful
financially, Velma and I were discussing our prospects. “Sid”, Velma
said, “You will never be happy as a farmer. You have always wanted a
college education. I don’t see how, but we will manage.”
So, in the fall of 1921, I enrolled at the U.S.U. How we managed the
first year I don’t know. We had no financial help from anyone. Yet at
the end of twelve months, I had earned enough credits to permit me to
take the State Teacher’s Examination.
In the fall of 1922, I began my teaching career in the Wellsville Junior
High School at a salary of $80.00 per month for eight months. In 1928, I
received my B.S. degree. I had taken extension courses, correspondence
courses, and attended 12 weeks of summer school for four summers. During
these six years I had done four years of college work and taught school
five years. I cannot give enough credit to my wife for her help and
encouragement. She sacrificed so much to help me–even to taking the
children to bed early so that I could study undisturbed. I received my
Master’s of Arts degree from the Utah State University in 1950.
Soon after returning from my Irish Mission, I was appointed
Superintendent of the Wellsville Ward Sunday School. Later I was
appointed Stake Sunday School Superintendent of the Hyrum Stake. On July
23, 1922 I was ordained a High Priest by Apostle Hyrum M. Smith and set
apart as a member of the Hyrum Stake High Council.
I have since held many Church offices: Stake Superintendent of the Ogden
and later the Ben Lomond Stake Sunday School.
In 1924 I went to Harrisville as school principal. Two years later I
moved to Riverdale as principal for 8 years. Then I spent 8 years as
head of the English Department at Weber County High School. The
Wahlquist Junior High School was just built and I was assigned to be
principal, then after several years I was transferred to be principal of
the North Ogden Junior High School where I remained until the Junior
High Schools were consolidated.
In 1950 I returned to Wahlquist Junior High School where I spent my last
eight years in the public schools. During my teaching career I have
served three terms as President of the Weber County Educational
Association. Several years as an officer of the state Secondary
Principals Association, President of the English Teachers of the state,
many terms as a member of the House of Delegates of the Utah Education
Association, and as a representative of the state of Utah to National
Education Conventions in Boston, St. Louis, Chicago, and Los Angeles. I
have directed several state studies on the evaluation of the Junior High
School, Team Teaching, etc. using Ford Foundation funds. I have also
served one term as mayor of the city of North Ogden.
When I reached compulsory retirement age, I was employed by the Pacific
Board of Education to work in the Church Schools in the South Pacific.
As always, Velma supported me without complaint. She left her home,
family and all she held dear to be at my side. We were assigned to New
Zealand where we were to begin our work January 1, 1960.
The Church College of New Zealand was in its infancy. . . its third
year. Much was to be done. I was assigned to direct the humanities:
English, languages, art, music, dramatics, etc. I was also appointed to
be a member of the Administrative Council and the Advisory Council.
In the Church, I first worked as Assistant Superintendent, then first
counselor to the Bishop. Later I was assigned to the Stake High Council.
Velma, also, was very busy. She was a counselor to the Stake Relief
Society President, a temple worker. She did a great deal of missionary
work as well as being mother to a host of missionaries.
Soon after our first year there, I was appointed to work with all the
Church Schools in the South Pacific. I was directed “to visit them as
often as I thought was needed, and take care of any problems arising.”
It seemed that my whole life had been a preparation for this great
responsibility. We had schools in Tonga, American Samoa, Western Samoa,
as well as one under construction in Tahiti which we opened in 1964.
Most of them were boarding schools. They were just getting started and
needed extensive help in courses of study, text books, libraries,
laboratories, etc. Often my responsibilities extended to plantations,
building programs, advisory to mission presidents and many other
problems of human relationships. Velma accompanied me on a number of my
trips, but mostly spent her time in New Zealand working in the temple.
After four years we returned home at the close of 1964. I was now
seventy one years of age and retired from school work.
I have served four years as supervisor in the Ogden Branch of the
Genealogical Library. During this time I served more than a year as Ward
Superintendent of the Sunday School and several years as teacher in the
High Priests group.
A few short years ago I could not have been considered a strong
advocate for writing and publishing personal histories. My attitude and
interest in autobiographies began to emerge while I served as a
supervisor at the Ogden Branch of the Genealogical Library. I began
making notes of some of the important happenings of my life which
eventually emerged as a volume entitled, “I Remember”, which I presented
to my children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren as a Christmas
present in 1972. After the death of my wife, Velma, I felt that in as
much as she had left no history of her life that another volume which
would pay special attention to this important part of my life should be
written, so, I Remember Some More” was prepared for Christmas of 1974.
Lately I have felt an interest in producing a third volume. This effort
will put emphases of the dispensation of the fulness of times as I have
seen it unfold during my lifetime.
I also feel a responsibility to give encouragement and help to my
descendants, as well as others, in compiling and publishing their
individual histories. When I consider the wealth of information that is
forever lost by the failure of my father or his children to write a
history of his eventful life, I feel a personal loss and a sense of
having neglected the opportunity of recording the many interesting and
historic events which he so often recounted of his pioneer life. I hope
to warn against that happening to others. The thoughts contained in this
forward were occasioned by a request of my High Priest Group Leader,
that I present the matter to the class as an encouragement to each
member. I had prepared some thoughts on this matter but was prevented
from presenting them by an attack of illness. By preparing this article
I hope to yet fill that assignment. The following are merely some
suggestion to help the beginning autobiographer.
1. Why I should write my life history.
a. My home teacher counseled me to do so.
b. My Priesthood leader requests it.
c. My Bishop has assigned me to do so.
d. The Stake President has prescribed it.
e. The Prophet of God has given it as a commandment.
f. It is a necessity of the patriarchal order linking family to family,
children to parents
2. What our history should contain.
a. This is our book of life from which we will be judged, so be exact in
names, dates, and places. It also can be a measuring device for us by
which we can compare what we have achieved with the opportunities we
have enjoyed. Are we making proper use of our time and talents. Remember
that we are in this world to prove to God that we are diligent and
b. Include your name, date and place of birth; your parentage and a
sketch of their lives and origins.
c. Include information on your four generations family tree genealogy
d. List descendants with family relationships.
e. Tell about family life: your childhood and youth. Remember if you are
only middle aged, your children regard stories of your youth as being
about the “olden days” . . . The simple experiences of your past are
your children’s treasures.
f. An important part of your history is all callings and services in the
Church; baptism, ordinations, positions held in ward or stake,
missionary service with interesting experiences, patriarchal blessings.
g. Give in detail a story of your schooling, and education. Your
personal talents such as music, and their development, degrees and
honors won, and the efforts required in their achievement.
h. Be sure to include services rendered in other fields, such as social,
political and military.
i. Your social life is important; include courtship and marriage with a
life sketch of your spouse. Record the date and place of your marriage.
Describe in some detail your life’s vocation including how you decided
on your career. Write about your secondary interests, sports, hobbies,
etc., and illustrate it with experiences.
j. Include your testimony. Be free to quote scripture, your favorite
songs and poems to illustrate you point. This section may be emotional.
That’s what a testimony is all about. Give spiritual experiences, temple
activities, genealogical work, etc.
3. When and how to begin. Begin immediately–you have already waited too
long. If you keep a diary that is good. If not begin by writing down
important events and dates. Research may be needed. While we never
forget, many things grow dim by the passage of time. Modesty is apt to
discourage you from writing of events which seem trivial to you. If in
doubt include them. Be systematic: set aside a definite time to write,
at least once a week. It may be only thirty minutes on Sunday afternoon,
but stick to your schedule. Set a date for completion. Your history book
will make an excellent Christmas present.
4. Illustrations–Pictures can add spice and variety to your book.
Include photographs of yourself and family, your parents, homes in which
you have lived.
5. Preparing the material–Typing and editing the material can usually be
arranged at nominal cost. I have been fortunate in having a daughter do
this for me and a son-in-law with an off-set printing machine–Antoinette
There will of course be some expenses. Find a publisher and accept his
help. This project is of great importance. It will cost you in time and
money, but the rewards are beyond compare.
THE FULLNESS OF
TIMES - An Essay
I am greatly blessed to live and take part in the bicentennial year
of our country. It is a vantage point from which to survey the changes
of the past and anticipate, with the aid of prophesy what is in store
for our country and the world in the future. I remember another great
year of hope and promise that was lustily celebrated through our land. I
was eight years old; ready for baptism; and that was the beginning of a
new century. So many new things were happening and the promises were
endless for the glorious nineteen hundreds. I have lived to see many
changes in our way of life. Perhaps more than even I can conceive, and
without doubt more than ninety nine percent of the people who have ever
lived. During this year I will be eighty three years of age, if I
survive until December. This makes me 41.4% more than a third as old as
America. I make no bones of my age, anyone can get old by merely sitting
around long enough, but merely point out the fact that I have observed
To members of the Church of Jesus Christ there is purpose in the
changing scenes as each is enacted on the stage of life. God’s purposes
are being fulfilled. As one event follows another in the order which He
decreed before the foundation of the world, and we may understand them
in part if we study these events in relation to the general plan as
shown by the prophets....
“Now learn a parable of the fig tree: when his branch is yet tender, and
putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh
So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is
near, even at the doors.” Matt. 24:32-33.
The scriptures are replete with prophesy of events which must surely
come to pass before the coming of the Prince of Peace to rule over this
world. With respect to the great promises of the nineteenth century and
the greater ones that are anticipated when the twentieth century
arrives; and also the bicentennial year which is now being observed,
there is a much greater era for which man has looked forward to from the
beginning of time. A time of peace and of righteousness. It has been
foretold by all the prophets and even the poets have voiced it in their
“For I dipped into the future, far as human eye could see
Saw the vision of the world, and all the wonders that would be
Saw the heavens fill with commerce, argosies of magic sails,
Pilots of the purple twilight, dropping down with costly bales;
Heard the heavens fill with shouting, and there rained a ghastly dew
From the nations airy navies grappling in the central blue
Till the war drums throbbed no longer, and the battle flags were furled
In the parliament of man, the federation of the world.
There the common sense of most shall hold a fretful realm in awe
And a kindly earth shall slumber, wrapped in universal law.”
One term used by the prophets to describe this time of fulfillment is:
“The dispensation of the fullness of times,” . . . a dispensation is a
time when God gave to his people, through his servants, certain gifts.
To Adam, the patriarchal order of the family. To Abraham to covenant of
the Gospel and the blessings of a choice seed; To Moses the keys of the
gathering of Abraham’s children, including the ten tribes. To Elias,
baptism for the dead and temple work. In the dispensation of the
meridian of times, the coming of the redeemer to bring about the
resurrection and establish his kingdom. These are examples of past
dispensations when certain gifts–but not all at one time–were given to
God’s people to prepare them for a final and glorious time when all
former blessings and many more never dreamed of would be bestowed upon
his people at one time.
The Prophet Joseph Smith wrote to the Church:
“It is necessary in the ushering in of the dispensation of the fullness
of times, which dispensation is now beginning to be ushered in, that the
whole and complete and perfect union, and welding together, of
dispensations, and keys and powers, and glories should take place, and
be revealed; from the days of Adam even to the present time. And not
only this, but those things which n ever have been revealed from the
foundation of the world, but have been kept hid from the wise and
prudent, shall be revealed unto babes and sucklings in this, the
dispensation of the fulness of times.” D.&C. 128:18
Before the coming of this long looked for millennium of brotherhood and
peace among men, not to mention the animal kingdom, great changes must
come upon the earth. “Darkness had covered the earth and gross darkness
the minds of the people”. Following the crucifixion of our Lord, and
gradually the extermination of his lawfully appointed servants, the
means of salvation was taken from among the rebellious people of God.
With the great Apostasy came the fall of governments. The weak became
slaves under the oppression of the strong. So far did this debasement of
mankind go that only members of the nobility were considered to have a
soul. The slaves were listed as cattle. That great Church of Satan, the
whore of all the earth–aided and abetted in the degradation of man–it
brought into its practices the idol worshiping and pageantry of the most
debase heathen cults. And at the same time blasphemously calling itself
the Church of Christ. By torture and the sword it spread its domain,
causing a blight on all peoples it controlled. Gradually the light of
the high civilization which had existed in the meridian of time became
so dim that it was almost extinguished. Universities and other schools
were closed. Literacy of the people disappeared. Science and art sank
Of this time Isaiah says:
“The earth also is defiled and the inhabitants thereof; because they
have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinances, broken the
Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth and they that dwell thereon
are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few
What a dreary picture of a time which was to precede the glorious reign
of Christ on the earth. How much change must take place before He comes
to his temple and to rule over great nations.
CHRIST WILL COME
Prophets from Adam to the present time have looked forward to the
coming of Christ to rule in righteousness. As an example Job exulted,
“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the
latter day upon the earth.”
With great care Jesus taught his disciples, “while they looked
steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them
in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee why stand ye gazing
up into heaven? This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven
shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”
This glorious promise, preceded by the departure of Jesus from among his
disciples, came minutes after they pled with him; “Lord wilt thou at
this time restore again the kingdom of Israel.” His answer to them was
in effect that there was much work for his Church to do throughout the
world. It was a promise that the same Jesus should return as they had
seen ascend that gave great hope to the world. It was a promise that the
Son of God who was born of the Virgin Mary, who grew to manhood in the
family of a carpenter; who was baptized by John and received the
accolade of the father; who performed miracles and replaced that harsh
law of Moses with the gospel of love; who gave his Priesthood to men and
established his Church; who was taken by wicked men and crucified on the
cross, having his blood spilled when a spear pierced his side; who was
placed in an unused tomb and rose from the dead without his mortal body
seeing corruption; who for forty days after His resurrection mingled
with his disciple, teaching them, eating with them, and having them
handle his body even to where the cruel nails had pierced his hands and
the spear his side, in order to impress upon them the reality of the
resurrection; that the same body in which he walked the shore of Galilee
was his body as He ascended into heaven and will be the same Jesus who
shall come to reign when the world is ready to receive him.
RESTITUTION OF ALL THINGS
The prophets, as well as our Lord, have foretold many things which
should surely come to pass before the Sabbath of peace comes to the
world, most of them are fraught with promise of hope. Peter on the day
of Pentecost, filled with the Holy Ghost spoke of this as “a time of
refreshing from the presence of the Lord,” when Jesus Christ should
return. But that time would not come “until the restitution of all
things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His Holy prophets
since the world began.” Act 4:21. This is a plain statement that all
prophesies made and all blessings given to the world in former days will
be accomplished and restored.
THE FULLNESS OF TIMES
When all things are restored, and additional knowledge added which
has been hidden from the foundation of the world man’s blessings and
understandings will be unbounded. The lost scriptures of : The Book of
the Covenant, The Wars, The Acts of Solomon, The Books of Nathan and
God, The Book of John and many others mentioned in the Bible will be
restored, as also will be the many volumes of scripture of the Nephites
and the holy records of the last tribes of Israel. In the fields of the
sciences and the arts, former knowledge will be restored and greatly
expanded. Paul speaks of this great day.
“That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather
together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and
which are on earth; even in him.” Eph. 1:10
This, the greatest of all dispensations is a time when not only
spiritual blessings but worldly knowledge would abound.
RESTORATION OF THE GOSPEL
For more than a thousand years the world lay in darkness. Satan ruled
his kingdom from his Church in Rome. It was not possible for the Church
of the Lamb to exist in this climate. Men’s minds must be freed from the
shackles of ignorance and superstition. From the dim candle of learning
which has been kept alive in monasteries, men began to grope for
knowledge. Painfully the renaissance began. God sent great spirits into
the world who recognized and challenged the wickedness of the church.
They attempted to set right some of the most apparent evils. The
Reformation was born, which freed the minds of man and prepared the way
for the coming of the Gospel.
Protestantism acted, as Paul described the Law of Moses as, “a
schoolmaster to lead us to Christ.”
When the time had at last arrived to usher in this dispensation of the
fullness of times God raised up a prophet who had long been promised to
act as his agent. The time has fully come which had been seen by the
Revelator when he wrote:
“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the
everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell upon the earth, and to
every nation, and kindred and tongue and people.
And saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the
hour of his judgement is come.” Rev. 14 6-7
The prophet Joseph Smith was visited by the Father and the Son, was
tutored by angels, ministered to by former prophets and given the keys
of all former dispensations and the rights of their restoration. He was
continually directed by God and led by the Holy Ghost in restoring the
fullness of the Gospel and the ushering in of the fullness of times.
THINGS OF HEAVEN AND OF EARTH
Before the world could receive the Gospel many changes must take
place. And in the working out of God’s plans, He uses men as His
servants. Not only as prophets and priests but also as pioneers in all
fields. Many prophets foretold this great day of taking away the bondage
of ignorance and of the freeing of man from slavery in order to prepare
a people fit to receive their Redeemer. Habakkuh declared, “For the
earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as
the waters cover the sea”. Habakkuh 2:14. Isaiah makes a similar promise
in Isaiah 11:9, but he goes on to emphasize that this will be in the
days of the gathering of Israel, while Joel declares:
“I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; and your sons and your
daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young
men shall see visions; and also upon the servants and upon the
handmaidens in those days will I pour out my spirit.”
Not only was former blessings and knowledge to be restored, but there
was to be revealed many wonderful things which had never been witnessed
by mortal man. The Lord, through the Prophet Joseph Smith declared:
“For I deign to reveal unto my Church things which have been kept hid
from before the foundation of the world, things that pertain to the
fullness of times.”
From the depths of the Dark Ages, when the common lot of man was no
better than that of the beast to the elevated place where he could
mingle with angels was a long time and took centuries to accomplish.
Science moves, but slowly, creeping on from point to point;
Slowly comes a hungry people, as a lion creeping nigher.
Glares at one that nods and winks behind a slowly dying fire.
Yet I doubt not thro’ the ages one increasing purpose rungs,
And the thoughts of men are widened with the process of the sun
A great step forward was made when the printing press, with movable type
was invented by Guttenberg, in the middle of the fifteenth century. The
Bible was the first large book to be printed. From this beginning a
flood of books, magazines and papers have flooded this world. This has
made education of the masses possible.
DANIEL–A DREAM INTERPRETED
God had known the history of the world from the beginning and has
planned the coming and going of nations in an orderly parade which will
give to his most developed and choicest spirits their earned
opportunities and blessings; while also allotting to the more slothful
and perverse according to their abilities to assume responsibility and
make progress, a lesser buy still important step in their progress. From
their performance in the pre-existent life it was not difficult for an
all wise Father to predict with a great degree of accuracy how each
person, family, and people would perform in earth life; even though all
remembrance of their former existence was withheld.
Through Jehovah, the son of God, and our Messiah, the plan of salvation
was given and practiced as an example. Through the prophets in the
various dispensations the Lord’s voice came to all peoples with the
message of salvation; He also warned the people of things to come to the
wicked if they did not repent of their evil ways, as well as promised
blessings to the righteous.
To many of his prophets He showed the rise and fall of nations from the
beginning of the world down to the time when the earth should rest in
its sabbath of righteousness being ushered in by the dispensation of the
fullness of times.
On one occasion the Lord made known to the ruler of a great empire,
through a prophet what nations should rule the world from his day to the
end of the world.
Nebuchadnezzar who ruled in Babylon, had some admirable traits as a
despot. He realized that in order to run his world wide empire
successfully that it would be necessary to be surrounded by a court of
wise men and astrologers who could advise him in time of emergency. He
realized that the children of Israel, whom he had recently conquered,
possessed great wisdom and understanding so he:
“Spoke unto the master of his eunuchs that he should bring certain of
the children of Israel, and of the kings seed, and of the princes’
children in whom was no blemish, but well favored and skillful in all
wisdom and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science and such as
had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace.” Daniel 1:3-4.
What the king probably did not realize was that among these royal
vessels he had conscripted into his court were prophets of God. But of
course the king did not know and had not heard of the one and only God
who rules all nations.
During the time of their training for life in the king’s court, because
of their clean living and faithfulness, “God gave them knowledge and
skill in all learning and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all
visions and dreams.” Undoubtedly they had also mastered the learning and
tongue of the Chaldeons, for that was one of the main objects of their
“In the second year of Nebuchadnezzar's’ reign he dreamed dreams wherein
his soul was troubled and his sleep brake from him.” His trouble was
compounded because he could not remember what he had dreamt–much less
the import of it.
Irritated from worry and loss of sleep, the king was on the verge of
slaying his Chaldeans and soothsayers who were unable to help him.
Daniel sent word to the king that he would tell the king of his dream,
for God had revealed it to him. When Daniel appeared before the king he
“There is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to
the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream and
the visions of thy head upon thy bed are these, thou oh king, sawest and
behold a great image. This dream image, whose brightness was excellent,
stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image’s head
was of gold, his breast and arms of silver, his belly and thighs of
brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.
Thou sayest that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the
image upon his feet that were of iron and clay and broke them to pieces.
Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold broken
to pieces together and became like chaff of the summer threshing floor,
and the wind carried them away that no place was found for them, and the
stone that smote the image became a great mountain and filled the whole
earth, This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof
before the king. Thou O king art a King of Kings; for the God of heaven
hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength and glory and whosoever
the children of men dwell the beasts of the field and the fowls of the
heaven, hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over
them all. Thou art this head of gold. And after thee shall arise another
kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass which shall
rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron,
for as much as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things, and as
iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.
And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of the potters clay, and
part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of
the strength of iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry
clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men; but they shall
not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.
And in the days of these kingdoms shall the God of heaven set up a
kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and this kingdom shall not be
left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these
kingdoms and it shall stand forever. Forasmuch as thou sawest it brake
in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the
great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter;
and the dream is certain and the interpretation thereof sure.” Daniel
In order for the gospel to be preached to all peoples on the earth,
it was necessary for the means of travel and transportation to change.
During the millenniums of the dark ages, people were tied to the place
of their birth. It would be the exception for anyone to travel twenty
miles from where he was born during his lifetime.
But things began to change during the time of the Renaissance; not only
was the way opened up, by the invention of printing, for men’s minds to
expand, and the breaking of the bands of the Church of Rome in some
countries, which allowed men to think and aspire; but the compass was
invented, America had been discovered and freedom loving people were
seeking homes where they could escape from the confining rule of despots
By the time of the restoration of the church the possibility and the
means of travel had been greatly enhanced. But by our present day
standards how primitive they were. When my grandfather, John Moses, and
his wife Caroline Horsecroft were baptized into the church on May 21,
1852. They decided to immediately gather with the saints in the wilds of
America. They made the trek to Liverpool, bringing their four year old
son, my father, and took passage on a sailing vessel bound for New
Orleans. After a stormy crossing, which lasted for ten long weeks, they
landed in a strange country, far from their destination. After a slow
passage up the Mississippi river to Keokuk, Iowa, they began their long
journey across the plains and over the Rocky Mountains. They arrived in
Salt Lake City on October 5, 1853. It had taken them more than eight
months to make the trip.
When I went to Ireland on my mission in 1915, I traveled smoothly by
train to New York City and then by steamer to Liverpool. I was a month
on the journey. Today the same distance can be comfortably traveled in a
When I was a boy, travel was still rather slow. The ox team had
disappeared, though father never ceased to talk about breaking another
team of oxen. Roads were impossible in the muddy springtime. The
bob-sleigh was used in the winter. For family transportation we would
use the wagon to go to Logan to see the parade when the circus came to
town. The surrey and the buggy were generally used to go to church; we
did a good deal of walking. Going to school was a journey of nearly
three miles each way on “shanks ponies”. The older boys in the family
usually had their own horse and buggy. I think I was about seventeen
when I became the proud owner of my first red wheeled buggy. Sylvia,
named from Shakespearean character, was a little mare I had raised from
a foal. She was my first driving horse. The first time she was ever in
shafts I took Mae Price for a ride on a Sunday afternoon. Sylvia’s son,
Cassius later took her place and serve me until I went to Ireland.
In the springtime the roads would become deeply rutted and would
generally be put into shape by the operation of the poll tax. This
special tax was levied on every male poll–or head over twenty one–it was
solely for the purpose of keeping the roads in order. One could pay in
cash or in work. Usually the farmers opted for work. Four horses would
be hitched to a heavy drag which would fill in the ruts and round out
the crown of the road.
The first hard surfaced roads came some years after the arrival of the
automobile. To begin the automobile was merely a curiosity. The two
cylinder affairs were built much like a buggy, they even had a holder
for a whip on the dashboard. They had no top or windshield, had a speed
less than that of ten year boy–I know, I outran them. But they were
frightening things to the horses. Many run-aways and accidents were
caused when these monsters would approach. Automobiles were used
primarily in the summer when the weather was warm and the roads were
dry–when winter came they were jacked up, put onto blocks, tires were
removed, oil and water drained, and forgotten until spring.
When Henry Ford reduced the price of his cars to less than six hundred
dollars and increased the wages of his employees to the fabulous sum of
five dollars per day, he made it possible for the wage owner to own a
car. The gulf between the rich and middle class was bridged and not only
the use of the automobile, but many of the good things of life became
available to the masses. The standard of living was given a great upward
surge by the knowledge of the Lord which had begun to cover the earth.
The first hard surfaced road crept past our farm in the year of 1919.
Automobiles had greatly increased in number and in use, but the roads
were still generally bad. It was in the late fall of the year, the
weather had been very bad, rain and snow had impeded our beet harvest
and made a quagmire of the roads. Concrete had been laid on the road
from Wellsville to within about a hundred yards of our farm road, but
work had been halted for the year. At the place where the concrete road
had stopped was a particularly bad mud hole. The few cars which came
along the good road would be hopelessly mired as soon as they left the
pavement. When this bad place was left behind, the going was possible. I
pulled many cars out of this bad place.
One stormy night I had put my team comfortably in the barn for the night
and was in the house when a knock came to the door, a man was in the mud
hole and needed help. I put the harness on my team–Fat and Kate–took a
chain and soon had him on his way again. ( I charged him one dollar.)
While pulling him out, another car came along. I offered to pull him
out, but the driver flatly refused. He said his car had plenty of power
and he didn’t need my help. Although I knew that he could not get out by
himself, I put the horses back into the barn and went to bed. Lying
there I could still hear the grinding of his motor as he spun his
wheels. After a while the sound of the motor stopped and then I heard a
knock on the door. Yes, I went out into the snowy night, took the team
from their warm stall, pulled him to solid ground and charged him five
How transportation has changed. Today super highways are commonplace.
Air travel has supplanted the steam ship and the train. All these gifts
from God are part of the ushering in of the dispensation of the fullness
The communication of ideas, whether they be spiritual or scientific,
is an absolute necessity for progress. When man broke the bonds of
ignorance and superstition, which were fastened on him by the Church of
Satan, he became very jealous of this blessing of free communication.
Man sought the right to speak, to assemble, to disseminate ideas by
newspapers, magazines and books–perhaps the idea of the freedom of the
press has become a fetish which has led to the exposure of too much.
Very little is left sacrosanct.
In order that the good news may serve best it must be dependable. In the
words of Paul: “How shall they call on him in which they have not
believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?
And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach
except they be sent?” Romans 10:14. Not much progress in communication
had been made from the time that Pheidippides made a twenty-six mile run
from Marathon to Athens to carry news of the victory of the Greeks over
the Persians had been made until very recently. Perhaps the most bloody
battle of the war of 1812 with Great Britain was fought in New Orleans a
month after the treaty of peace had been signed. All because of slow
In the early history of our country, news was given by the town crier
who went through the streets announcing the time of day, the condition
of the weather, advertising local happenings and sales: and on occasion
sounding an alarm of an impeding Indian attack.
As the country grew and people spread across the land, the Pony Express
was organized to carry the mail speedily. Letters were carried from
Missouri to California by a relay of riders who changed horses every ten
miles. The mail did not stop even when mounts were being changed. They
braved the hostile Indian country, storms, dangers of the night so that
the mail could go through.
It was a long, long wait before man could send a message over a long
distance instantly. It was just a short time ago when the telegraph was
invented and over the wires came the message: “What God hath wrought.”
Soon afterward came the telephone and people were able to speak to each
other from afar. My greatest distance conversation was from New Zealand
to Salt Lake City. Then came the radio; people in far off towns,
villages and even on isolated farms could sit by their fireside and
receive the news of events from all parts of the world almost as soon as
it happened; also a great variety of cultural and entertaining programs
were added. Then came the television, soon with natural color, which
brought the speaker, as well as his voice into the living room.
Provincialism could not longer exist in the closeness brought by these
media of communication.
Now the spreading of truth in all its aspects was accelerated. Great
inventive minds appeared on the scene. Fulton, Watt, Edison, the Wright
Brothers, McCormick with the reaper, John Deer with the steel plow, all
to make the life of man broader and easier.
The great prophet of the Book of Mormon who chafed at his limitations to
communicate, and longed for the voice of an angel, would not feel so
circumscribed today. Many of those things which were hidden from the
foundation of the earth have begun to appear in this dispensation of the
fullness of times. While Alma could only speak to those who were in the
range of the sound of his voice, which at the most could have been only
a few thousand, our General Authorities speaking in conference today
have their voices carried immediately without the aid of wires to all
parts of the earth. Not only do millions hear their words by television,
they see the picture of their faces as the messages are delivered. We
are surely approaching the time when we shall enjoy the same perfect
means of communication that was used by our Lord when He visited the New
World after his resurrection, “And it came to pass that there was a
voice heard among all the inhabitants of the earth upon the face of the
land.” Alma 9:1. They heard a voice as it came out of heaven; and it was
not a harsh voice; neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless and
notwithstanding it was a small voice and it did pierce them that did
hear to the very center.” Alma 10:1.
In communication, as in other fields, we have not reached the end of the
road of progress, scientists tell us that in the very near future that
there are still to be great revolutions: such as being able to see the
person to whom we are speaking on the telephone, which is already a
reality, of telephones without wire, etc. Many years ago Orson Pratt
said: “There is a small degree of the purposes of God unfolded to the
mind of man. However, for by meditation, by seeking unto the Lord
diligently for the inspiration of the spirit. Yet all that he can
possibly receive and attain to here, is comparatively speaking,
nothing.” Discourses p. 521.
Nearly all of the improvement in communications mentioned above have
occurred in the short space of this century and have resulted in
changing the very foundation of our lives. While these changes have been
necessary for the preparation of the world for the coming of our Lord;
and for the freeing of man from ignorance and slavery–to enable him and
raise him above “ The Man With A Hoe” as pictured by Millet; they have
also raised great moral, social, and religious problems for him to solve
and has provided Satan many new tools and opportunities for the
destruction of men’s souls.
The close knit and isolated family which formerly existed when nearly
all people lived in separate homes on the farm; where the father was
with his family continually and the mother was always in the home; where
a large family of children grew up in obedience to their
parents–learning to share with others members of the family–learning how
to work, and the need to assume responsibility. All these projections
and safe guards of the individual are pretty much a thing of the past.
Today less than seven percent of our people live on farms, families are
smaller, both father and mother are away from the children most of the
time. Training and discipline has given way to permissiveness–which has
come to mean allowing the child to grow up wild and untrained–“doing his
Young people must make their way through a jungle of snares enticingly
placed before them by our media of communication; such as tobacco,
intoxicating beverages, drugs, the acceptance of violence as a way of
life. The ever presence of pornography and sexual excesses. The strife
between races, nationalities, religious sects, and the unnatural
competition of the sexes, all are being fostered through the media by
evil men for the purpose of gain.
My father’s formal education consisted of six weeks of schooling. It
was obtained in a log school house which had a dirt roof and a dirt
floor. There were no desks. In there stead were benches without back
rests. The school room was heated by a fire place in the cold weather.
School books were almost nonexistent. The Bible, The Book of Mormon and
a rew secular books were used as texts. The alphabet and spelling were
stressed. He learned to read mostly at home from his mother, and then
greatly improved it while as a young man he spent several winters living
in a dug out in a hill in Dry Lake, employed by the government to keep
the mail road from Mantua to Wellsville open by driving his team of oxen
over it. It was during this time he taught himself to read fluently by
reading the Book of Mormon. He also became quite adept in ciphering and
calculating. Subtraction, though, always was a problem. Later as he
served on two missions to England and engaged in the many businesses at
home, his education became quite adequate for his day.
Of course those early pioneer schools were not free. Tuition was paid by
the parents of the children involved either in money, about three
dollars a term, or more often in produce. In the year 1852, the
territorial legislature passed a law enabling each school district to
levy a tax for their support. Plans were pushed forward by parents with
large families to put this into effect. It was strongly opposed by many.
They argued: “Why should we pay for the education of other people’s
children.” Bishop Maughan had a large family of children; and as the
bishop was not only the spiritual leader but also a pivot around which
all civic and social community life moved, he had great powers. I have
heard that my father, a bachelor, was among the dissenters and was
disciplined for his actions. Later with his large family of children,
his attitude entirely changed.
In those first schools, materials to work with were scarce. In some
cases charcoal was used to write letters of the alphabet on the hand of
the pupils. Slates were a luxury, but as demand brings supply, they
became quite common in the later days of the century. When I started to
school, they were on the way out, but I had one. I remember it well; it
was about the size of a page of this book–slate of course is a fissile
rock–perhaps a quarter of an inch thick and was encased in a wooden
frame, dove tailed at the corners, a red line running through the middle
of the frame added a touch of color. The pencil was also of slate. The
writing on the slate could be removed with a damp cloth, just like a
The new century brought a great change in the schools of Utah. In
1905, the schools moved from the district organization–where each
community school had its trustees. I well remember on more than one
occasion when our school would be visited by a trustee who would sit on
a chair in the back of the room all day “observing”. What he was
observing I don’t know and I doubt if he did. In 1905 a very important
change was made in the schools of the state. By this time the more
prosperous communities had built substantial edifices for their schools
and had begun to lengthen the school year and enrich the programs while
the less affluent communities were lagging far behind. Wise men saw this
inequality and the state legislature passed a law which did away with
the district unit with it petty Board of Directors, and established
consolidation of schools. Consolidation meant that instead of having
three trustees for each school there was a tenant to act as director.
Teacher standards were now the same in all schools. Taxes were now for
the first time equalized, schools were uniformly graded and standards
set for each grade and textbooks were uniform. We had few books.
Stepping Stones to Literature was the series used in our reading
classes. There was one for each grade and only one, but they were
excellent. We were required to furnish our own books as well as paper,
pencils, and ink. The Wellsville Co-op carried school supplies along
with gingham and nails, etc. It is hard for us today, where a child in
the first grade has access to dozens of interesting, well-written, and
brightly illustrated books, to see how a child at the beginning of the
century went through the school year with one reading book. Of course he
did have his history and geography books.
Next to reading and writing came arithmetic in importance. Our problems
were pragmatic. We were taught how to compute the number of rolls of
paper required to paper a room, and its cost. How many yards of carpet
for the floor, how many tons of hay in a stack. The cost of feeding
animals, and the value of animals. In grammar we became proficient in
diagramming sentences, and when to use whom instead of who.
The school day began at 9:00 a.m. As a warning the big bell that hung in
the tower of the school house would be tolled at 8:30 to warn the pupils
to be on their way. On a clear frosty morning we could hear the bell
even to our farm more than two miles away. When the beginning of school
bell rang, each class formed in its allotted place in the school yard
and marched in step to the classroom. Those who got “out of step” were
relegated to the “awkward squad,” who after school hours were marched up
the front stairway to the second floor along the hallway to descent by
back stairway and so to the front hall where the routine continued until
the kids were nearly exhausted. Those lacking rhythm had a hard time.
Of course all morning sessions began by singing at least one song in
each room and a passerby at this time would be sure to hear Annie Laurie
coming from one room and My Old Kentucky Home from another and perhaps a
hymn from a third. The work of the day had two recesses–besides the hour
open for noon–one at 10:30 a.m., the other at 2:30. When school was out,
there was the long walk home.
Discipline was strict, and was sometimes a problem during the Winter
months, when older boys who had worked on the farm until the snows came,
came to school to pass the time until spring came.
Mr. Leatham taught the seventh and eighth grades. I didn’t ever come to
have any affection for him, on the other hand I cannot remember that I
disliked him particularly. I do remember the large whip which was
braided of rushes and kept with the maps, etc. in a closet. He didn’t
ever use it on me but I knew he would if he had the urge. One habit of
his I did dread, if he suspected you of idling he would walk up the isle
behind you, take the short hair on the nape of your neck, and with his
thumb as a fulcrum twist his hand upward over the thumb and tighten up
on your hair until you were sure it was coming out.
Another form of punishment, often resorted to, was the “keep you in”
after school. It seemed strange to me that you were supposed to love
school and when you misbehaved you were given more of it as a
punishment. I distinctly remember two occasions on which I was thus
punished: One was when I was in the third grade. We were given the days
of the week as our spelling lesson, with the admonition that if we
missed any of them we would be “kept in” until we learned them. When my
paper was turned in I had missed, “Wednesday”. I was kept in and given
fifteen minutes for another test. To my way of thinking, the unfair part
of the whole deal was that all the days of the week were dictated not
just Wednesday. This time I missed two. Another period of study and
another test. I had become so agitated that after a few more tests I was
misspelling most of them. I suspect that I was now keeping the teacher
in; at last she freed me and we both went home.
Another time I was kept in after a spelling match. Now there were
several kinds of spelling bees, and they were usually held near the
close of the school day on Friday. The most common was to line the
children along the side of the room and beginning at the head of the row
dictate the words to be spelled to each succeeding pupil. If one missed
the same word was given to the next one and so on until it was correctly
spelled. The one who spelled it right took the place of the first one to
miss it. It wasn’t long before the good spellers were at the head and
the dunces were at the foot where they expected to be. It was much like
taking a jar of mixed nuts and shaking it. The big ones naturally come
to the top. Another form of the spelling bee was to have the one who
missed word take his seat.
When I was in the sixth grade a competitive form of the spelling bee was
much in favor. It was a contest between two teams. The teacher chose the
two captains and they took turns choosing members from the class whom
they considered to be good spellers. On this lovely spring afternoon
there was more than usual at stake. The teacher entering into the spirit
of the contest had scheduled the match soon after noon; and promised the
wining side the time from afternoon recess to the close of school for
them to play outside. As the spelling continued our side had lost all of
its contestants but me while the other side still had five, Through the
grueling finish I spelled them down one by one until our side had won
and was allowed the extra play period. But not for me. I don’t remember
what is was–but I had to stay in with the others.
Another time when my spelling ability was called up was when we were
taking our examination in Logan for graduation from the public schools.
All the candidates from Cache County were gathered at the Brigham Young
College. I remember the students from Mendon were seated in front of us
from Wellsville and those from Hyrum behind. As we entered the
auditorium for the spelling test, Pearl Jones, who was not the world’s
best speller said to me, “I want to sit next to you and if I can’t spell
the world, I’ll kick you on the ankle and you whisper it loud enough for
me to hear.” When the words were dictated he wrote the first one without
help. After that he nudged my ankle for nearly every one and as I wrote
the words intoning the letters, there were more ears than his bent my
The games we played at school were much the same as children play today,
although there was no physical education program of school gymnasiums.
Schools usually sponsored baseball and later football. Basketball, an
important activity was loyally backed by the entire town. This of course
was after the dance pavilion was built. It was here that the games were
held and practices took place. I played on the football team and played
center on the Ricks Academy basketball team.
During my life time girls always attended school and were usually the
Religion, as such, was not taught in school, but morals were stressed.
Things were either right or wrong, there was no grey area.
High schools came haltingly. The year after I graduated from the eighth
grade, about 1908, the district rented a room in the city hall and hired
a teacher to teach the ninth grade, slowly other grades were added and
around 1918 high schools were available for the first time in Cache
County. Weber County opened its first high school in 1927. A law was
enacted by the State Legislature and put into effect in 1928 which
provided for compulsory education of all children to the age of
eighteen. This new law brought into school a number of older boys who
had been drop outs for one of more years. To insure attendance the Board
of Education hired Alf Stratford as Attendance Officer and for several
years he spent his time patrolling the district carrying a loaded pistol
in his pocket. An especially unfortunate event happened in our
neighboring school of Uintah when the principal was attacked one night
by some of these toughs who were forced into his school, and he shot and
killed one of them.
In my opinion we have gone too far today in carrying through our schools
and into higher education too many who have not the intellectual
capacity nor desire to profit by academic training. There are signs of a
trend to more fully meet the needs of these people by training them to
serve in other fields.
In my experience as a school administrator, I early noticed that many
children who did well in the early hours of the day seemed to falter and
lose interest in their work as the day progressed. This was especially
noticeable among those who came to school without a substantial
breakfast and who packed an inadequate lunch. In 1926 while I was
principal of the four room school at Harrisville I made arrangements
with a Mrs. Romrell, who lived nearby to provide the children with a
bowl of soup at noon each day. The children were served at their desks
at a cost to them of three cents per bowl. I have always been a strong
supporter of the school lunch program.
With the coming of state aid to the county school units came great
improvement. Libraries were added and how we reveled in the reading of
Water Babies, Black Beauty, Treasure Island and many other wonderful
books. Since that time money has been poured into the schools by the
federal government for every real or imagined need, fostering
permissiveness in the schools to a point where today many schools have
become, not a citadel of learning, but one of anarchy. The schools of
our nations capital are a case in point. I quote from the January 26,
1976 issue of the U.S. News and World Report:
“In the judgment of a police officer close to the scene, law and order
have disappeared from many public schools in the nation’s capitol. The
situation has reached crisis proportions, says Sgt. Thomas E. Beverns.
It’s not only the kids, it’s the bad plant. It’s the parents, the
teachers, the principal, it’s one big unholy ball.”
“A twenty eight year old teacher was robbed and raped in her classroom.
You can go to any school and buy about anything you want in the way of
narcotics and buy it from the students. The majority of teachers were
assaulted daily. What you need in Washington are combat teachers.
Parents are no help. When we talk to parents many of them say, ‘You keep
the kid I don’t want him.’ How long will it be before God in his
righteousness anger will destroy a nation which permits such
The police estimate that about ten per cent of the students cause all
the trouble. If so the solution to the problem seems obvious; get rid of
the trouble makers. Attendance at school beyond the junior high school
should not be compulsory. It should be a privilege which could, and
should, be denied to anyone who abuses that privilege.
Undoubtedly most of the schools of America are far better than those of
our nations capitol. In Utah and other like states are to be found the
best in the world. But even here we need great changes. We need many
more secondary schools which will prepare young people for the days
work, especially those who are not fitted for professional careers. My
friend Ted Bell, who is U. S. Commissioner of Education aptly says:
“To send young men and women into today’s society, armed only with
Aristotle, Freud and Hemingway, is like sending a lamb into a lion’s
den. It is to delude them as well as ourselves. But if we give them
useful skills, we give them not only the means to earn a living, but
also the opportunity to do something constructive for society.”
Happily this idea is spreading. The concept of permissiveness is being
challenged, not only by educators but also by parents and students. The
authority of discipline should be restored to the schools with full
parental support. The running of secondary schools and schools of higher
education should be take from the hands of radical minorities and placed
firmly in the hands of adults trained for this responsibility.
AND DESTINY OF NATIONS - An Essay
GOD’S PLAN FOR THIS WORLD
When the Son of God was rejected by his own people the whole world
came under punishment. His teachings of brotherhood of man, forgiveness,
peace, and charity as set forth in his Sermon on the Mount were too hard
to be accepted by a people who had long lived under the law of
retribution as taught by Moses. As a result the world sank into the
morass of the Dark Ages. The world truly was left desolate. Darkness
covered the earth and gross darkness covered the minds of the people.
The glories of Greece and the world government of Rome were replaced by
a world of anarchy. The government, in its fall, pulled down and closed
schools, museums and all other centers of learning and culture. Literacy
became almost extinct, only in some monasteries was the light of
learning kept dimly lit. The Church of Christ, through persecution and
apostasy soon ceased to exist and was replaced by a pagan church which
claimed to follow the teachings of the Savior but who had: “transgressed
the laws, changed the ordinances, and broken the everlasting covenant.”
Instead of the simple Church of Christ they had built up, under the
direction of Satan, a church of idol worshipers “having a form of
Godliness, but denying the power thereof.”
During this period of world darkness the lot of the individual was
degraded. Except for the very few of the nobility all personal rights
vanished and the people were enslaved. In most European countries only
the gentry had their genealogy kept. The serf was considered to be
without a soul.
The Man with a Hoe is the symbol of a brutalized people; of a people who
live without hope of or even a desire for freedom who, if given a chance
to govern themselves would spurn this great responsibility and seek for
some one to rule over them. Democracy is an expensive and onerous form
of government and few people are strong enough to live it. In this year
of 1976, the world is crowded with more than four billion people and the
numbers are rapidly increasing. According to a survey made by Freedom
House, forty five percent of these people are living under dictatorships
or other forms of government which deny people most or all political,
religious and civil rights; another 35 percent of the world’s people
live in only partial freedom “While less than 20 percent, or one person
in five, live in virtually complete freedom. Most of these people are
clustered in North America and Western Europe.
It is true, as the prophets have said, that God hath made of one blood
all nations, and that all men are brethern. It is also true that there
are great differences in the abilities and faithfulness of different
peoples. While it is also true, that God loves all of his children and
bestows upon them blessings according to their deserts. In order to
bring about the exaltation and eternal life of man it was necessary that
God should have a chosen people. And why were these people chosen?
Because they had earned that right by their faithfulness and
demonstrated abilities in the pre-existent life. In that sphere people
with like interests and abilities were attracted to each other and
formed themselves into societies, families and nations, and when their
time came to receive mortal bodies they came as a group and occupied
their allotted part of the earth for a given time and then made way for
the coming of the next people. These groupings of spirits all march
according to God’s plan to be finally replaced by the Kingdom of God and
the rule of righteousness.
The setting up of an environment for liberty on the land chosen above
all other lands, America, was not an accident. First a servant of God,
Colombus, as foretold by the prophets, opened the way for settlers to
come from the most enlightened part of the world, when the time had
matured raised up a host of wise men, the founding fathers, and directed
their hand in writing the constitution. He fought their battles and won
their independence. He inspired freedom loving people to fill the land
and sent many of his choicest sons and daughters to build the foundation
of His Kingdom.
Abraham was chosen to be the progenitor of a special people. In a
compact recorded in the seventeenth chapter of Genesis, God promised
Abraham and his posterity that he would be their God. They on their part
promised to live the Gospel. To no other people has this covenant been
The so called Christian Churches have their “God without body, parts,
and passions.” The pagans bow down to idols of wood and stone. The
Greeks and Romans worshiped gods and goddesses of War, Beauty, Thunder
and even an unknown god. The heathen nations worship Buddha and an
endless number of man created images. The worship of false gods was an
eternal stumbling block to man–even the father of Abraham was lured into
this deadly sin, as was Aaron the brother of Moses.
So, in the strictest sense of the word the only people who have Jehovah
as their God are the children of Abraham. And who are the children of
Abraham? They are they who have accepted and live the Gospel of Christ.
God is a jealous god and the first of his commandments is: “Thou shalt
not bow down thyself to them nor serve them”. How often is this
commandment flagrantly violated in the Roman Church as worshipers
prostrate themselves before images which purport to represent saints
they have created, and offer their prayers, not to God, but to these
As spiritual children of God began to inhabit the earth, they separated
themselves into ethnic groups. Among the first sons of Adam were Able
and Seth, men of righteousness, holders of the Holy Priesthood and
builders of the kingdom of God–from their loins came Noah, Abraham,
Moses, Elijah, Lehi, Joseph, the husband of Mary, Joseph Smith the
Prophet and the Latter-day Saints.
From another son, Cain, and his progeny arose a race with a mark upon
them, deprived of the priesthood and relegated, at best, to the position
of a servant to their more dependable brothers. After the cleansing of
the earth by the flood, these blessings were reaffirmed by the patriarch
Noah on the heads of Shem in righteousness, and Ham in shame.
In addition to the family of Cain and Ham, which had failed to qualify
for the fulness of God’s blessings there were other distinctive peoples.
Abraham’s first son, Ishmael, the offspring of an Egyptian woman, was
“born of the flesh” and not a “child of promise of spiritual gifts”.
From his loins Abraham promised would come twelve princes and a
multitude of nations who would be wanderers, and would live by plunder
and be a thorn in the side of their cousins, later known as the
From the loins of Ishmael have come the Arab nations.
After the flood, the three sons of Noah were given very different
blessings by their father. To Shem, from whose lineage came Abraham, he
blessed with leadership, and spiritual blessings, to Japeth he gave the
blessings of serving Shem and receiving blessings from him. To Ham he
said: “Curse be Canan, a servant of servants shall he be.” F rom Japeth
has come the gentile nations, from Ham the black race with restricted
blessing, while Shem has given us the children of Abraham. Even Jacob,
gave his sons varied blessings according to their merits and abilities.
From Isaac continued the blessings of Abraham through his second born
son Jacob, but to his elder twin Esau, who he supplanted, came the
Edomites, and from Jacob came the twelve tribes of Israel, each with its
particular gifts, very much diversified but carrying in common the
blessings of Abraham and the worship of the only true God.
Abraham was promised by God that through his seed all nations of the
world would be blessed. This blessing has been with us over the ages. By
the dispersal of Israel the seed of Abraham has been sprinkled through
the Gentile nation. The Caucasian race, especially Ephriam and Manasseh,
with “blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep, the blessing of
my progenitors unto the utmost bounds of the everlasting hills”. So
through North Western Europe and America this precious seed is sown and
is now being reaped by the missionaries who are going as “hunters”
seeking “one of a city and two of a family.”
We are told in the scriptures that in the life before this one there
were many great and leading individuals, from these God chose many for
special missions in this world. Even before their birth their names were
told and their paths laid out for them. For example: Isaac and Essau,
John the Baptist, and Joseph Smith–the list could run on indefinitely
and when the records are competed could very well include most of us.
Now, as there were many great ones in the spirit world there were also
those who were rebellious, those who were wicked, evil and sensual in
their desires, who chose not to serve God there but worshiped falsely.
These were denied all blessings of earthly life.
Then there were other myriads who earned the right to inhabit this
world, but just barely. Their blessing here would be greatly restricted
because they had made slow and poor progress in their “first estate”. In
other words they entered this world under a judgement and this judgement
decreed the time, place, and condition of their birth. “The Man With A
Hoe” was no capricious accident. The near brute of a man with his many
brothers and sisters were transplanted here from a former similar state
of existence. They were given this lowly position in the darkest days of
time because this was what they were prepared for. They had not
progressed to a plane where self government was possible. Time was
waiting for a suitable environment before the more advanced children of
God could come.
Some day we may learn how much we bring to this world with us and how
similar our destinies fare here as they were before and also how little
change will be in the hereafter. We always carry our past as an aid or a
burden. We always have the same features, mind, body and aspirations
WHAT IS MAN? - An
Luke, the writer of one of the Gospels, a highly educated man and a
student of genealogy, traces the lineage of Joseph, husband of Mary,
through all the generations and places God as the originator of the
human race. Passing through David, Abraham, Noah and Lamech he comes to
Enos “which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was
the son of God.” In no way is there a differentiation made between God
and any other progenitor. Luke: 3:24, 38. So when Adam brought his bride
into the Garden of Eden these immortal beings were the very offspring of
God and from their loins has come all members of the human race.
To Moses the Lord said:
“And I God said to mine only begotten which was with me from the
beginning; Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness; and it
And I God said, let them have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and
over the fowl of the air and over the cattle, and over all the earth,
and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. And I, God,
created man in mine own image. In the image of mine only begotten
created I him, male and female created I them. And I God blessed them,
and said unto them. Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth,
and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the
fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the
earth.” Moses 2: 26,28
Solomon marveled at the high position man held in the realm of God’s
creations. When he considered the heavens, the earth and its varied
occupants he exclaimed:
“When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the
stars which thou hast ordained: what is man, that thou art mindful of
him? Or the son of man that thou visitest him.”
“For thou has made him a little lower than the angels, and has crowned
him with glory and honor. Thou madest him to have dominion over the
works of thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet.” Psalms 8.
A poet marveling at man’s unique greatness wrote:
Great, wide, beautiful, wonderful world
With the wonderful waters round you curled
With the wonderful grass upon your breast
Ah world you are beautifully dressed
The wonderful air is over thee
The wonderful wind is shaking the trees,
It walks on the water and turns the mill
It talks to itself on the top of the hill.
You friendly earth; how far do you go
With wheat fields that nod and rivers that flow,
With cities and gardens and cliffs and isles
And people upon you for thousands of miles:
Ah world you are so great and I am so small
I tremble to think of you world at all;
And yet when I said my prayer today
A whisper within me seemed to say
You are more that the world
Tho you are such a dot.
You can love and think
And the world cannot.
Man is of royal heritage. The literal offspring of our Father in Heaven,
and those of his children who obey all of his commandments and improve
upon their talents with all their might may eventually become like him
and be a partner with him in his great work.
This greatness of becoming like our Father in Heaven is not to be
attained lightly or easily. Of the multitudes of God’s spiritual
children who left His presence for a time of trial and testing in this
world, only a very few would in the end reach that high goal of godhood.
Why will so few attain this great blessing? There are two primary
reasons: In the first place, all of God’s children did not come with the
same possibilities. In our pre-existent life we had our individuality as
surely as we do in this mundane existence There were those who were
ambitious to better their positions. They worked and studied and served
and grew. They obeyed the laws and served their God and their fellows.
As a result they became the leaders; the noble and great ones. So when
this world was prepared for this family of God’s children in which to
receive mortal bodies and to prove themselves worthy of greater
advancement, these faithful spirits were given special privileges of
coming here in time and place of greater opportunities, service and
mission. To prepare for the ushering in of the dispensation of the
fullness of times a great multitudes of choice spirits were assembled
and held in reserve to come through the loins of Abraham to perform this
glorious work–some to prepare this promised land for the kingdom as
pioneers and settlers. These servants included such great characters as
Colombus, the pilgrims, Brigham Young and John Moses Wyatt. Next were
servants to provide a government on this land where freedom of thought
and action could exist. Our founding fathers, who gave us freedom and
the constitution were joined by such leaders as Horace Mann, Joseph
Smith and David O. McKay.
Affluence of these people was a necessity for the spreading of the
gospel, the bringing together and melding into a united kingdom, peoples
from many cultures and lands. That work is in full swing at the present
time. Its greatness is an amazement to all the world. With more than
thirty thousand missionaries in the field as fishermen and hunters for
the seed of Abraham, which is scattered among all nations, the growth of
the kingdom is phenomenal.
One might be led to think that with the rapidly increasing numbers of
the church, that the standards of the church might tend to be lowered.
On the contrary the opposite has happened. As a young man, I remember
that attendance at sacrament meeting in our stake was 19%, now it is
considerably more than twice this. Tithes and offerings have greatly
increased. Living the Word of Wisdom and morality is increasingly
emphasized. There is no allowance made for different standards because
of country, race, or culture. The laws of God, as given through His
Church is the same to all peoples. This is indeed causing a “marvelous
work and a wonder”. This wonderful work is being performed by those
choice spirits who proved valiant in the pre-existent state and were
assigned to this special task.
On the other hand, there were those in that life before this who were
less ambitious and diligent. Some who were idlers, sensual and even
rebellious. Most of these earned the privilege of coming to this world
and received a mortal body, but with restricted opportunities. Noah in
his blessings to his sons gives us a clear understanding of this. It is
to be supposed that when a person is born into this world that he will
continue to be much as he was in the endless ages of existence in the
spirit world. Of those who were outright rebellious in the spirit world
and forfeited all rights to further blessings, the blind poet Milton
gives us a glimpse of their plight in his epic poem “Paradise Lost.”
The second primary reason why all of God’s children will not receive the
fullness of His blessings is the way in which they use the time spent in
this world. When we had finished our work in our earlier existence and
this world was prepared for our next schooling God said: “And we will
prove them; to see if they will do everything which we command them to
do.” And so with the fullness of the gospel on the earth, the
possibilities of growth and development are beyond our comprehension. On
the other hand, rejection of this plan of salvation leads to perdition.
The Savior admonishes his disciples: “Go ye into all the world and
preach the gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue and people. He that
believeth and is baptized shall be saved. He that believeth not shall be
damned.” Our blessings will be according to our deserts. God is anxious
to reward us for our good works. He can do no more.
THE MAN WITH THE HOE
by Edwin Markham
Millet’s painting of a French peasant leaning on his hoe and looking
hopelessly down to the ground was the inspiration of this poem. Markham
expresses deep sympathy for the downtrodden, and he expresses hope for a
Bowed by the weight of centuries he leans
Upon his hoe and gazes on the ground,
The emptiness of ages in his face,
And on his back, the burden of the world.
Who made him dead to rapture and despair,
A thing that grieves not and that never hopes,
Stolid and stunned, a brother to the ox?
Who loosened and let down this brutal jaw?
Whose was the hand that slanted back this brow?
Whose breath blew out the light within this brain?
Is this the Thing the Lord God made and gave
To have dominion over sea and land;
To trace the stars and search the heavens for power;
To feel the passion of Eternity?
Is this the dream He dreamed who shaped the suns
And marked their ways upon the ancient deep?
Down all the caverns of Hell to their last gulf
There is no shape more terrible than this--
More tongued with cries against the world's blind greed--
More filled with signs and portents for the soul--
More packed with danger to the universe.
What gulfs between him and the seraphim!
Slave of the wheel of labor, what to him
Are Plato and the swing of the Pleiades?
What the long reaches of the peaks of song,
The rift of dawn, the reddening of the rose?
Through this dread shape the suffering ages look;
Time's tragedy is in that aching stoop;
Through this dread shape humanity betrayed,
Plundered, profaned and disinherited,
Cries protest to the Powers that made the world,
A protest that is also prophecy.
O masters, lords and rulers in all lands,
Is this the handiwork you give to God,
This monstrous thing distorted and soul-quenched?
How will you ever straighten up this shape;
Make right the immemorial infamies,
Perfidious wrongs, immedicable woes?
O masters, lords and rulers in all lands,
How will the future reckon with this Man?
How answer his brute question in that hour
When whirlwinds of rebellion shake all shores?
How will it be with kingdoms and with kings--
With those who shaped him to the thing he is--
When this dumb Terror shall rise to judge the world,
After the silence of the centuries?
When I was a child the western part of America was thinly settled.
Much of the land was still open for homesteading. Nearly everyone lived
on the farm and was bound to the land. Work was plentiful for everyone.
We must be out of bed at first light. There were cows to milk and feed
in the winter time, and take to the pasture in the summer time. Several
teams of horses to be watered, fed and groomed. The ducks to be turned
out of their pen. Chickens to be fed, wood for the stove to be provided
and other odd jobs to be done, all before breakfast and the beginning of
the days work.
After breakfast began the real days work. We learned young and quickly
to do the work of a man–and so a large family was not a financial
burden, but an asset. After a full day in the field, interspersed with
time for a big dinner, came the chores again. The morning ones in
reverse, a hearty supper and the twilight hours in which, if we were not
too tired we would play “One Old Cat” a game of ball with one base–“Kick
the Can”, “Hide and Seek”, “Run Sheep Run” or other children’s games. We
were fortunate to have so many siblings to make these games possible.
Sundays and holidays offered a bit of respite; but there was always the
cows. The morning chores were not so onerous because there was nothing
else we wished to do unless it was to sleep in, but the evenings were
different. No matter what else was happening we had to be on hand to
“pickle the cows”–don’t ask way milking was “pickling”. On the Fourth of
July or other holidays, just about the time for the ball game to begin,
it was necessary to leave the celebration and walk the three miles to
the farm, get the cows from the pasture and take care of them. I
remember one of three whippings my father gave me had to do with the
cows. It was on a Sunday afternoon; my brother Jim and I had been up to
play with Vere Price and got home a bit late for the milking. This was
one offense not to be overlooked, even though there was still time to do
the milking, which we did. Father took a handy piece of board and
thrashed us good.
We didn’t object to the long hours of hard work which was required of us
as we grew up. The work was there to be done and it was logical that we
should do it. We assumed the responsibility of the farm and strived to
become proficient in our work. We had come a long way since the slavery
of our ancestors depicted by Millet’s, “Man With A Hoe.” Yet we were
pretty much bound to the land.
Education was very necessary, up to a point. It was very desirable to
graduate from the eighth grade, and a good part of the young people did
so, although as I remember none of my older brothers or sisters did.
Getting a certificate from the school was quite difficult. In addition
to our regular school hours, our teacher met with us in the evenings for
about six weeks before the tests, and then when that great event came,
all members of our class, thirty-seven in all–took the train to Logan
where we met with all other candidates from all the schools in Cache
County, at the Brigham Young College, where for three days we went
through the grinding tests given in the large auditorium by strange
teachers. Of the group from Wellsville taking the test there were ten of
us fortunate to pass the examinations and receive our diplomas. It was
assumed that our education was now complete. There was no reason to
assume that we would go on. There were no public high schools and those
who went on to a profession either went to a church academy or to the
Of course, Sunday was the most important day of the week when I was a
youngster. And as such was prepared for fittingly. You just didn’t wait
for the sun to come up to begin this holy day. Saturday was not only
doing a days work but in finishing any work that could not wait for some
future time. For instance: hay could not be mowed on a Saturday because
it must be raked and bunched the following day in order to cure
properly. And so Saturday was a time for rounding out the weeks work as
well as a preparation for the Sabbath and the week to come.
We believed that as the body was the home of our spirits, which came
from God, they should be kept “clean and pure”. While we washed our
hands and face and combed our hair before every meal, a daily bath was
just not practical in a home where there were many children, no running
water, let alone hot water, no bathroom or bathroom facilities. So the
Saturday night bath was more than a weekly chore, it became almost a
ritual. Kettles of water were heated on the stove, the tin wash tub was
placed in a corner of the kitchen near the stove, screened off by
hanging towels over the backs of chairs and beginning with the youngest,
the children passed through in a sort of assembly line operation;
special scrubbing was given, by mother, to feet, knees, neck and ears–I
remember how vigorously she scrubbed my neck and ears–after each child
had left the tub, scrubbed and ready to be toweled by an older sister,
more water was added from the pots on the stove to warm and freshen the
water. Older member of the family, of course, arranged their ablutions
with more privacy, but it was still a bit of a trick for an adult to
squeeze into a small round wash tub.
Sunday morning had a different atmosphere than other days of the week.
There was not the hurry and rush of the work day–of course there were
the cows, horses, chickens, ducks, etc. to be cared for, but Sunday
School did not begin until ten o’clock and as we arose at the same time
as other days there was time and to spare. As we most often wore the
same shoes on Sunday as we did during the week we gave them special
care. A common way to give them a proper shine was to take a lid from
the back of the cook stove and with a cloth soaked in milk remove some
of the soot, this made a fairly good shoe polish.
In a family picture I am shown wearing my Sunday clothes which I
remember so well. Besides my well polished shoes, I wore and a shirt
that had ruffles down the front and at the cuffs. Of course, the ruffles
were starched and ironed until they were very uncomfortable to wear and
quickly wilted when I played in the ditch after Sunday School.
Sunday School lasted for two hours and was primarily for children, few
parents attended and those who did were mostly the teachers, and as
children did not as a rule attend Sacrament Meeting the Sacrament was
administered in Sunday School.
While our table was usually well spread as far as quantity was
concerned, Sunday dinner almost always had an extra touch of quality.
Roast chicken was often part of the menu but the way I enjoyed chicken
prepared most was in a stew with lots of noodles and fluffy dumplings
the size of baseballs. For desert there was always bottled fruit, or
homemade cake and especially pie. Mother and her daughters were
excellent pie makers: Raisin, lemon or fruit. Occasionally we had boiled
ham. Mother would take a home cured ham, put it in the copper bottomed
clothes boiler and cook till it was tender. Served cold it was
Sacrament meeting was held from two to four p.m. The sacrament was
administered by members of the High Priest or Elders quorum. There were
seldom guest speakers. Usually sermons were delivered by men called from
the audience who had no prior warning. Our ward was richly endowed with
qualified speakers who were suppose to be always prepared. My father was
one of the foremost. I was always proud of the forceful way he expounded
the principles of the gospel. With his full beard and black coat, he
reminded me of the prophets. Along with at least a dozen of his peers he
gave me an unqestioned testimony of the divinity of the mission of the
Prophet Joseph at an early age.
In my teen-years, the afternoon hours of the Sabbath were spent,
especially during the summer time, in taking long strolls with my
friends either on the basin hill west of town or along the railroad
Sunday evening usually brought the family together again to care for the
dairy herd and prepare for another week on the farm.
OUR DAILY BREAD
March 2, 1976. Today Vola and I visited the supermarket in order to
secure some items for the table. If a few days pass between these visits
we run short of fruits or vegetables, or bread or whatever. It’s the way
we live now. A miracle has happened to the general store in our town of
seventy years ago. I noticed in the market today, among other things,
oranges, bananas, papayas, watermelons, fresh strawberries–why go on?
This list runs into hundreds of food items from all parts of the world.
In the store of my childhood you couldn’t buy a loaf of bread–you
couldn’t buy potatoes or onions. You could buy navy beans and canned
tomatoes. Bananas and oranges were almost unheard of. The great variety
of prepared breakfast foods had not as yet been dreamed of. You wouldn’t
expect to find carrots, parsnips, or turnips. The great variety of fresh
fruits we have were not available. Margarine and vegetable oils were not
yet in use. All those frozen foods ready to be thawed out for an instant
dinner could not even be dreamed of. Our store was rather bleak place,
displaying horse collars, buggy whips, and syrup, and smelling of coal
oil and lineament. Of course the atmosphere of the store was brightened
in the winter time by the red hot, pot bellied stove standing in the
middle of the building.
If we could buy so few items of food in the stores, how did we manage to
eat three times a day. The answer is simple: many of the things we now
consider as necessities we did without and because we provided so many
of the things for ourselves, we made few trips to the store. We secured
our flour, for bread and pastry, from the flour mill in the fall, by the
ton. While we were at it we bought a few hundred pounds of germade, and
graham flour for hot cereal. Sometimes my sisters made wonderful lumpy
mush when they dumped it into the iron pot too fast with not enough
stirring. Potatoes and other vegetables we raised and kept in the pit
over winter, getting them out as needed. Much the same was true with
apples. Shortening came at hog killing time when the lard was rendered.
Bacon and ham was brine cured in large wooden barrels. Honey we brought
in five gallon cans. We used a good deal of syrup too.
Fruit was an important item in our diet, but it had to be preserved in
various ways. We grew an abundance of blue plumbs. These we dried in the
sun by the peck. When they were throughly dry we would store them until
needed. By then they would be rock hard, but when put in a sauce pan
with water and sugar added they became quite palpable. Dried apples were
also used freely. They were quite good in pie as were the apricots. Wild
currents and choke cherries we used as well as the peeling of Red
Astrakhan apples to make jellies. Jams were made from a variety of
fruits. My favorites were pear and peach.
When it came to such fruits as cherries, apricots and peaches–also
tomatoes and melons–they must be brought from Brigham City. It was two
days with a team of horses and wagon. The road up Wellsville Canyon,
through the Dry Lake area and up over the divide, thence down through
the little valley of Mantua and then following the creek into the Salt
Lake Valley was not easily traversed. It was narrow and winding with
maple, choke cherry, mountain oak, and other vegetation crowding the
winding road in the canyons, and sage brush where the land spread out as
in Dry Lake. During the fruit season there were many men who made it a
business to freight the fruit into our valley and peddle it from door to
door in all of our towns. Their wagons had removable springs over both
front and rear axles to absorb the jolts from the unpaved road which
would otherwise bruise the fruit. The white canvas pulled tight over
wooden bows, not only provided shade and coolness to the fruit inside
but later acted as an advertisement for their wares. It is not unusual
for several of them to be in sight on an autumn day. It was always a
treat when we were able to get a quarter, to flag a peddler down and buy
a melon. Of course we had him plug it to be sure that it was ripe. Not
all treats came this legal way. I have known of boys who would hide in
bushes at the roadside and after the peddler had passed, surreptitiously
get into the back of the wagon and help themselves. I suppose some of
these salesmen became very vexed when this happened to them. The story
is told of a peddler who was stopped beside the road and was delivering
fruit to a home when a woman prospective customer who lived across the
street came and climbed up under the canvas to inspect the fruit. The
peddler returning and jumping to the conclusion that a boy was into his
fruit picked up a nearby board and gave the bulge in the canvas a mighty
wallop. The feminine scream of anguish let him know that he had hit the
As buying fruit from peddlers was rather expensive and father’s
polygamist family required a good deal, we sometimes made the journey
ourselves. One year when I was twelve years old, it was the year I
bought my twenty-two rifle, Mother, Annie, Tom, and I made the
excursion. It was quite an event. I had never been so far away from home
before. We had hay and oats in the wagon for the horses. We also had
food to last the four of us for two days. We had a wonderful time. Of
course Tom–true to his nature worried and fretted over every real or
imagined problem. He was especially disturbed when, as we were passing
through Dry Lake, I spied a flock of sage hens in the sage brush.
Following them with my rifle I soon had four, but Tom made such a fuss
that I had to be content with them. That night, when we were camped on a
side street in Brigham City, they made a delicious part of our supper
cooked over a campfire. Mother and Annie slept in the wagon. Tom and I
made our bed under it. Getting our fruit was easy. It was a buyers
market. Several people come to our camp with offers to sell. We arrived
home before dark. It had been a wonderful experience.
Another chore, while not onerous, from which the distaff side of the
family has been almost entirely relieved, is that of preparing the staff
of life. It was not a rare thing to have a dozen hungry people at the
table three times a day. Feeding them required a huge amount of bread.
The homemakers took as much pride in producing loaves that were light in
texture, sweet to the taste, and brown as an autumn leaf as did their
husbands in plowing a straight furrow. And in order to be at its best,
the bread must be fresh, as there were no preservatives to be added this
meant that baking day came often.
As I have indicated before, our flour came to the pantry by the ton. The
next ingredient was yeast. Usually this could be started from the wild
yeast in the air by leaving a jar containing liquid, sugar, hops, etc.
in a warm place. More often a start was borrowed from the neighbor.
Sister Colburn, who was also the town midwife and delivered most of the
children in our family, also kept a large jar of seed yeast to dispense
to the neighbors. Many times mother sent me to her humble home with a
fruit jar containing about a pound of sugar which I would exchange for
the yeast. To keep the yeast going, it was necessary to add sugar and
hops to a small amount not used. Getting hops from the willow patch,
where they grew wild, on the river bottom was always the occasion for a
picnic. While mother and the girls picked the hops from the vines and
put them in a pillow case, the boys would climb the willows and bring
the golden clusters down. The best part of all was the sandwiches which
followed. Mother was a wonderful cook and her bread was unsurpassed.
Mixing the dough required a good deal of finesse, just the right amount
of flour, and then a great deal of kneading was required. When this
operation was satisfactorily accomplished, the dough was placed where it
would be warm–but not too warm–to raise. The yeast thoroughly mixed
through the dough would rapidly grow, giving off gas which expanded and
caused the dough to rise. When the dough began to overflow from the pan,
it was kneaded down. This was done a second time. Next morning the dough
was molded into loaves and left to rise again. At the proper time it was
put into the large oven of the old Majestic Range. When it came out a
golden brown mound how appetizing it was. The crust end, while it was
still hot, giving it a liberal coating of butter, then adding peach jam,
this with a glass of cold milk was indeed a treat.
While I think we have lost a great deal in the quality of our bread, now
we buy most of it from the store, it has relieved our overworked women
folk from this very tiring chore. Today it is not even necessary to
slice the bread before serving.
Not only were we served the delicious bread in loaves, but hot bread in
the form of soda biscuits was almost a must at breakfast time. On a cold
morning it was a delight to sit at a table on which was heaped these
mouth watering rolls–they were large, three or four inches in diameter,
two inches high and as light as a feather. Maybe to be appreciated they
had to be familiar. The Reynolds father and two sons had just arrived at
our home from England. Hot bread, of course, was not common on the
English breakfast table. Bill took one of these beautiful biscuits,
wadded it into a lump, and whispered, in a whisper we all heard: “Look
dad, think of eating that!” It didn’t take him long to be converted.
Not only bread, hot or cold, came from the oven of the old Majestic
Range but pies, cakes, etc. I have always enjoyed the services of good
cooks in my mother, sisters, wife and daughters.
But like so many other chores for the women, that of cooking is today
much simpler and less time consuming. The changing world has given women
more time for self improvement.
Many changes in life styles have occurred during my time. Changes
which have made life easier and allowed more free time for cultural
growth and for work to prepare for the great event of Christ’s reign on
earth. In my opinion the many inventions and discoveries made by gifted
men are answer to prophesy. To repeat the words of Joel: “I will pour
out my spirit on all flesh.” And of Habekkuk, “the earth shall be full
of knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the seas.”
When I was a child washday was an occasion not to be taken lightly. As
the men took great pains in their farm work, the women were competitive
and jealous of their laundry. First, they must be the first ones to have
clothes on the line. It is reported that various stratagems were used;
starting the washing before breakfast, and even going to the storage
closet and getting clean sheets to hang on the line so that the envious
neighbors could see that they were beaten to the draw. Another goal
aimed for was to have the whitest clothes possible. Dingy towels and
stained towels were especially abhorred. One way to whiten the clothes
was to use bluing, but the real aid was to leave them hanging in the sun
to be thoroughly bleached. Sometimes sheets and other white materials
would be wet down after drying, maybe more than once. In any case no
short cuts were allowed on wash day. It is to be remembered that the
family was large and as a result the laundry load was huge. There were
no ready to use detergents–instead there was the home made blocks of
yellow soap, heavy with lye that had to be shaved into thin slices with
The making of this soap was continued until rather recent times. In fact
my daughter Guila vividly recalls her Aunt Annie, wife of A. W. Ball of
Lewisville, making it. The base for the soap was made of animal fat;
pork rinks, mutton fat, suet from butchered beef and any other animal
fat available. It was a mixture more conglomerate than Mrs. Murphy’s
chowder, and when this mixture was put into a large pot and boiled it
stank to high heaven. In pioneer days wood ashes were added to give it a
cleansing property–wood ashes are rich in lye, I believe. Powdered lye
in a can could be obtained in my time. When this witches brew had been
cooked to the proper consistency it was poured into pans from two to
three inches deep. When the soap was finally cool and set it was cut
into bars of required size and stored on shelves in a shed or some
unused room where it acquired the consistency of rock. The edges curled
up. The soap was not only used for the laundry in pioneer days but for
cleansing the body.
Balls of blueing which had to be dipped into the rinse water until the
right amount had been added to bring out the desired whiteness were
used. There was no hot water to be had by turning the tap, or cold
either. Water had to be carried into the house and heated in the brass
bottomed boiler and keeping the fire going with wood was no mean job.
There was no washer-dryer to be turned on to do the hard work. At first
there was the tub placed on two chairs with that back breaking wash
board over which women toiled. And when the first washing machines came
they were killers. The inside of the washer was ribbed just like the
wash board. The four legs of the dolly rested on the clothes then by a
mechanism that was operated by moving an upright handle back and forth
the dolly swished the clothes back and forth against the ribbed sides of
the tub. Later a wheel replaced the upright stick to activate the dolly.
This was a step forward but short one. Clothes had to be “wrung out” by
hand, which required a good deal of muscle. Later the wringer came into
use. Clothes were passed between two rubber rollers and the water
squeezed out. Wash day was hard for anyone who could be conscripted for
duty. Usually it was near sundown when the last of the socks and
overalls were hung on the line. While the work was mostly done by my
mother and sisters, I have put in many hours with this arduous and
demeaning labor. When I married Velma, the electric washing machine was
in use and the first thing I bought for our new home was a Maytag
automatic washer. True it was a crude affair by today’s standards. It
had a wooden tub with rib on the side, but it was powered by an electric
motor as also was the attached wringer.
Where today’s clothes need little if any ironing it was different in
those days. The day after wash day was ironing day. No electric iron
either–Mother had a set of half a dozen irons. In my day there were
getting past the time when each iron had its own handle attached. Now a
special handle could be used to pick up each iron from the stove. As one
iron was used the others were being heated on the stove. It required a
lot of wood to be chopped and carried in to keep the fire going. It is
easy to see that the temperature of the house would be sultry,
especially in the summer time. It is marvelous the changes that have
taken place over the years in the way our clothes are kept clean. Today
wash day and ironing day have disappeared as a serious chore. In a few
short minutes the homemaker can take care of this part of her work
without even changing from her street clothes. Materials which go into
clothes today are so much easier to care for. It is now a rarity to have
to iron an article. How thankful we should be that through the blessings
of God we have progressed so far.
In the time of my childhood certain illness came along naturally just
as winter followed summer and autumn. It was expected that all children
go through certain diseases. So when measles or mumps or whatever came
along no special precautions were taken to evade them. In fact children
who had not yet contracted the disease were put to bed with one that had
it. This was so the family could more quickly get it over with. I was in
my teens when mumps struck our family and after all others had gone
through the painful ordeal and I had been subjected to exposure in every
possible way, and still refused to have a swollen neck or suffer agonies
of eating a sour pickle, I was given up as a hopeless case and am still
waiting for the symptoms to appear.
The only preventative steps taken that I can remember was for smallpox;
vaccination for this dread disease was introduced into our community
when I was a child in school. A number of children had this protective
capsule on their left arm to protect the festering sore where the doctor
had injected the vaccine. Other children were warned against bumping
into them. Most of us were not given the treatment.
A special health treatment which we always received at the end of a cold
winter, was a dose of jalap–or some other strong purgative. The idea was
that during the winter our blood had thickened and our entire body had
collected residual waste, somewhat like the cooling system in an
automobile, and a general flushing of our system was required. I am sure
that anyone who has gone through this ordeal remembers it as long as he
For most minor ailments home remedies sufficed. As a teenager, I went
through the common irritation of acne. I had a scattering of these skin
eruptions along my hair line across my forehead. I used two remedies.
The first was a brew made from the tender tips of the sage brush; the
other and even more bitter one was made from the bark of quaking aspen
brewed strong enough for a fly to walk on. I had a two quart bottle of
this in my room and before retiring each night, I filled the jar lid and
drank it. No one can prove that these medicines were not effective for
eventually the acne disappeared.
When real trouble came to the family there was always Doctor Phillips to
call upon. He was the second man of importance in our town, coming a
close second after the Bishop. We all knew that in his personal life he
could not be measured up to our spiritual leader: for while the Bishop
drank in a moderate way, our doctor did so to excess on occasion. As an
example of the dedication of the family doctor I call to mind one summer
when the dreaded disease of diphtheria visited our community, my sister
Annie, then in her early teens, contacted this generally fatal disease.
Dr. Philips drove his buggy out to our farm where the patient was. He
inspected the water from our artesian well and said we need not boil it.
After inspecting the house and surroundings carefully and making some
changes in our way of living he told my parents that their daughter was
in grave danger, but he would do everything possible to save her. He
said, “I will not take another drink of liquor until that girl is well,”
Each day and sometimes more than once a day he drove the three miles to
visit her. One evening, when we had almost despaired of Annie’s
recovery, he came out and ask us boys to put his horse in the barn. He
knew the crisis was at hand. When the morning dawned he was still
sitting at her bedside, but there was now a smile on his face, the fever
had broken. Her convalescence was to be long and slow but the faithful
family doctor was more than repaid.
In those early days many people who had appendicitis died because the
medical profession had not learned to diagnose and treat it. It was
usually diagnosed as inflammation of the bowels. The first person in our
town to be operated on for this disease was my brother Charles. It was
in the spring of the year that he had an acute attack and our family
doctor then Dr. Merrill decided to operate. There was a good deal of
rushed preparation for the event. All furniture, fixtures, pictures,
etc, except the dining room table were moved from our large
kitchen/living room. Walls, ceiling, floor, and table were washed with
disinfectant. Charles was put on the kitchen table where the doctor
removed the offending appendage. He was then placed on his back in the
folding bed in the room adjoining where he convalesced for two weeks
before he was allowed to become an ambulatory patient.
Dental care is another facet of our health care that has changed over
the years. Very little in the way of preventative care was given to the
teeth. There were a few tooth brushes in evidence. I know of no dental
check-ups and treatments. When a tooth decayed to where the ache was
unbearable it was pulled. I know of the agony of tooth ache. The worst
part of it, it didn’t stop at night. My sister Nettie was suffering
through the night with a throbbing tooth ache in spite of all the home
remedies which mother administered. In her moaning she was keeping
others awake. She later reported that mother, tired out for the need of
rest said, “Nettie, can’t you go to sleep and forget it?”
When I was in the ninth grade I had an aching tooth. As there was a
dentist in Hyrum I decided to go there and have him extract it. It was
in the middle of the winter so I took our sleigh, pulled by a team. We
had sleigh bells on the horses. About a dozen of my fellow students
decided to go along for the ride. We stopped the sleigh outside the
building, where the dentist’s office was on the second floor, and while
my friends waited in the sleigh I went in, had my tooth pulled, paid my
fifty cents and was back in the sleigh in about five minutes.
It was a bit different when one of my friends decided to have a tooth
pulled–extracted would be a misnomer–by the family doctor–as Evan was
afraid of the ordeal before him and needed moral support he ask me to go
with him. When we reached the doctor’s office which was a room in his
residence, Evan was seated in an arm chair–the kind of chair that the
Bishops sat in in church. There are arm rests on it to rest your arms on
or even to grab hold of but nothing to keep it in one place. The doctor
got a firm hold on the offending tooth and began to pull, Evan began to
groan. In fact he made such a fuss that it made me think of Old
Crook–Old Crook was our stallion. He suffered a good deal from colic,
and when he did all the weight of his two thousand pounds went into his
groans. The only thing that seemed to ease his pains was when we mixed a
bottle of beer with Wards lineament and administered it to him.
As Evan groaned, I thought of Old Crook, I couldn’t help but snicker–as
the doctor pulled the chair began to move. The doctor stopped to rest,
but kept a firm grip on the tooth. The second attempt only produced more
groans, the chair was dragged about the room and I had lost control of
myself in gales of laugher–another rest by the doctor and then a third
try. This time the valiant fat doctor succeeded–the tooth came out. I
was on the floor in a paroxysm of laughter. Evan looked at me and said:
“You ----so-and so.” Not a nice expression. I didn’t blame him
Thank goodness we are not living in the “good-old-days”, of medical and
dental care. But I do think we have lost much in the personal touch with
We always had a large dairy herd. The disposal of milk was not always
a simple problem. Father was a pioneer and not only grew up with the
country, but had considerable part in shaping its growth, build a
creamery during the waning ears of the eighteenth century. Some of my
earliest recollections were of this enterprise. The creamery was a two
story building. The bottom story–which consisted of one large room with
a small window on the north and one on the south was built of rock. The
upper story was of frame. It was located about one hundred yards
directly east of our farm house. While the house, the barns and the
granary are long gone, the creamery building is still standing and is
now serving as a comfortable temporary living quarters for the present
owner on the upper floor and the ground floor is a safe storage place
for farm machinery and supplies.
While the creamery was in operation, it housed a large hand operated
separator, which separated the cream from the milk, and a large churn
which was operated by turning a crank. It was the responsibility of my
mother and older sisters to do the dairy work. After the butter was
churned and the whey kneaded out of it by hand, it was worked into a
mold and a pound of butter appeared. I was much like butter today except
our brand was stamped into it. It was then wrapped in waxed paper and
went to the market stamped with our name and John Wyatt Mgr. The skim
milk left after the separation went to feed our considerable herd of
While I was still quite young, father joined with other farmers to
create the Farmer’s Union Dairy which was built about half way between
our farm and Wellsville. This was another important change in our lives
as it took another heavy load of labor from our family. Particularly the
Now we merely placed the milk, in ten gallon cans on the milk stand for
the milk man to take away. If we placed a small rock on one of the cans
he would bring us a pound of butter on his return. Two rocks would bring
two pounds. For cheese we would have to leave a note
Milking the cows was a tedious job and one without end. Three hundred
and sixty five days a year this chore must be attended to twice each
day. No exceptions for Sundays or holidays. Seven hundred and thirty
times each year the cows had to be milked. I’m sure that I was not more
than six years old when I was introduced to this job. First I stripped
the easy cows and then advanced to the more difficult ones. Each cow was
of a different temperament: Some were mean and would kick like a horse.
Others were affectionate. I remember one cow I was assigned to milk
expected to be taken care of first. When they came to the milking coral
from the pasture she would be waiting for me and if I sat down by
another cow first she would put her head against me and push me from my
Our dairy herd usually had about thirty producing cows. Of course we
milked them by hand. Usually we had about five of six cows each to milk.
But I remember one summer I had nineteen to milk by myself for several
weeks. I filled four ten gallon cans from them.
HORSE AND BUGGY DAYS
Sylvia was my very own horse. I don’t remember how I came by her. I
do remember that she was just a colt when I first owned her. She was a
small bay mare, quite gentle but very lively. As with all horses her
growing up days were of short duration. During her third year I decided
that it was time for her to begin earning her oats, so one Sunday
afternoon I put her between the shafts of a buggy and started down the
road. Being the first time that she had ever been in harness, it was
difficult to have her respond properly. I would not have been surprised
if she had “run-away”, kicked the dashboard or misbehaved in some way,
but she did neither. The fact is that she behaved so well that when I
came to a group of my friends, I invited May Price to go for a ride. She
Soon Sylvia could be relied upon to take me on my rounds without too
much direction. On one occasion as I was returning to the farm late at
night, I dozed off and dropped the lines, they slid over the dashboard
and hung over the single tree. When I awoke they were trailing on the
ground and Sylvia was headed for home and her stall in the barn. In
order to retrieve the lines I would have to leave the seat, lean over
the dashboard and reach almost to the horses heels to get them. As I
always drove Sylvia without blinders on her bridle she could see every
move I made. When I would lean forward she, of course, suspected that I
was reaching for whip and she broke into a full run. When I resumed my
seat she returned to trotting, which was usually our traveling speed. At
length I resigned myself to let the horse do the driving. We past one
rig going the opposite direction, Sylvia turned out far enough so that
there was not a collision. Eventually we came to the farm and Sylvia
stopped beside the old Box Elder tree where kept the buggy. On another
occasion I went to sleep on the way home and when I woke the buggy was
stopped in its usual place, and Sylvia with her head turned was looking
inquiringly back at me. I think when the buggy stopped it woke me. No
automobile could be trained to be so cooperative.
Sylvia soon learned the places where we would stop for my dates and
without direction she would trot up to their hitching post and stop. One
time this habit caused a slight embarrassment. I was with Kate and we
happened to drive by the house where Irma lived. True to habit Sylvia
trotted up to the gate and stopped.
I had my own buggy–red wheels and black body and top–which I kept in
good condition. To keep the wheels from rattling I kept them well
greased and added leather washers behind the burr to keep the wheels
snug. Sometimes I would allow Mother to use it, but no one else. But as
Mother had her own buggy she was quite independent.
As Sylvia grew older she developed trouble in her knees. Maybe it was
rheumatism, but she stumbled often and sometimes pitched head forward
onto the ground. When she did this she invariable would break the check
reign that held her head up. She also bruised her knees so often that
they developed large callouses on them. So when she had a foal and he
was old enough Sylvia was replaced by her son Cassius.
A dream can be an opiate which may deaden the senses and lull the
soul into a false sense of fulfillment. This sort of self induced
reverie often supplants ambition and effort. As surely as the effects of
hallucinating drugs, it saps from the individual his inborn potential
for greatness. Of course “building castles in Spain” should become part
of our plans for achievement; It is from them that our goals are set and
plans for their attainment are formulated.
The dream of which I am thinking is made of stern material. It is based
in a deep-seated aspiration; an almost, but not quite, unattainable
goal; an aim for that goal which never waivers; a willingness to
sacrifice and work time without end for its fulfillment. From whence
come this aspiration? Each person who enters this world is different
from all others. He comes not only “with clouds of glory from heaven,
which is our home”, but with a personality, talents, biases, and dreams
accumulated in that former life.
Part of our assignment in coming to this world is to build upon these
inborn potentialities and to have our powers added upon. This idea
suggests the doctrine of foreordination. The gospel teaches us that the
work of Columbus was no accident of history but was an assignment given
because of his special fitness. Also the work of the founding fathers of
our great nation was assigned to great and good men whom God raised up
for this very purpose; and we are taught by the gospel that in
preparation of this great day of the dispensation of the fulness of
times God reserved many of his choicest spirits to dream dreams, to see
visions so that “knowledge would cover the earth as the waters cover the
I think that it is within the realm of credibility to believe that each
of us came here with an assignment and a dream. The fulfillment of which
depends largely upon our ability to clearly catch sight of the vision
and then to have the fortitude to follow its light to fulfillment. It is
indeed a tragedy to see a soul of great promise sell his birthright for
a mess of pottage. This mess of pottage may be the pleasure of the world
begun by sabbath breaking, drinking, etc. or for riches, fame, or honor.
On the other hand fulfillment comes in seeking God and His
righteousness, knowing that when this has been accomplished all else
will be added unto it.
Making dreams come true–because it takes more than wishful thinking to
achieve this happy end–will usually seem to be long and costly but if we
have chosen our goal properly, and persist relentlessly we may be sure
of ultimate success.
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
There is no chance, no destiny, no fate
can circumvent or hinder or control
The firm resolve of a determined soul.
Gifts count for nothing; will alone is great
All things give way before it, soon or late.
What obstacle can stay the force
Of the sea seeking river in its course;
or cause the ascending orb of day to wait,
or falter in its course?
Why even death stands still
And waits an hour, sometimes
For such a will.
As I have written before, my early dream was to achieve a college
education. This wild obsession could not have been based on any real
hope of achievement. It must be remembered that I grew up at a time
before there were public high schools. An eighth grade diploma was an
achievement for the academically gifted and those fortunate enough to
escape from the farm work. Relatively few achieved it. Of course there
was no stigma in being a school drop out. There was always plenty of
work on the farm for all. I am not sure how many of my father’s family
finished the grammar grades, but I think that I was the only one of his
more than twenty children who grew to adulthood to finish high school.
Public high schools were just making their first faltering steps in the
field of education after my grammar school days.
Not only were the opportunities to attend high school limited, but the
climate for schooling was lacking. Siblings are often severe with each
other in name calling during quarrels, yet the worst epitaphs hurled at
me during those years included “high school boy” aimed at belittling my
desire for schooling. Only one other caused me more concern, and that
was after I had been called on my mission to England. They called me
“Elder Wyatt.” It was silly for me to be affected by these “swear
words”, yet I now realize that the sting came because I was now becoming
an outcast from the generally accepted path; because my dream was
leading me into new fields.
This dream–in my hours of sober thinking, I knew it could never be more
than a fantasy–refused to go away. There was always the tower of Old
Main of the agricultural college on the hill above Logan, beckoning to
me from the fields of our farm. My mother and my sister Nettie were the
ones who let encouragement to me during the six years of sketchy
attendance it required to finish high school. My last year of high
school work was the only uninterrupted school year. And that was because
I attended Ricks Academy in Rexburg, living with my sister Sadie and her
family. To accommodate the rural youth who attended that church school,
the academy did not begin its academic year until in November; by this
time the beets and potatoes were harvested. To compensate for the late
start of school, classes were held on Saturdays.
When I finally finished my high school work in the spring of 1915 my
hopes for college soared. In some way I was determined that come
September, I would enroll in Logan . My cousins, Uncle Frank’s sons,
were then attending.
My dreams of going to college that fall were erased by my call on a
mission, soon after returning home I married and this seemed to drive
more nails in the coffin of my dream. But the girl I married was not to
let it be so.
It was Velma who brought the subject up one evening after a discouraging
day on the farm. I never knew how she found out that I have so longed
for more education but she told me that I would never be happy unless I
gave up farming and prepared myself for a career as a teacher. We talked
the matter through and decided to make the break. We knew that the hard
part would be borne by Velma. We had no money, our first baby had
arrived, I was deeply involved in church work. I could get a job as a
teacher if I attended college for four quarters and then passed a State
Teachers Examination. A third class teachers certificate would be given
to me which was good for one year. This we accomplished and I taught
school at the Wellsville, Jr. High School for a yearly salary of six
hundred and forty dollars. During this year we lived in the old
abandoned house where I was born. No one gave us any financial help then
or at any other time during our struggle for our education. Not one
During my first year of teaching I attended classes in Logan on Saturday
and also took a correspondence course, and then a full quarter during
the following summer. I received my B.S. in the spring of 1928. I had
finished a four year college course and taught school five years during
a span of six years. We now had three children.
My Masters Degree was longer in coming. I eventually finished it mainly
because Velma continued her encouragement. As she would say: “Provoking
me to good works”
I continued to take college courses for credit. The last one was the
year I retired from teaching.
Yes, it has been worth it. My profession has brought great joy to me and
an opportunity to serve others. It has allowed me to associate with many
of God’s choice children for a lifetime and has given my children a base
on which to build their homes.
The following lines of verse I have often used in my sermons in hopes of
inspiring others to work for the accomplishment of their dreams.
Oh idle heart beware
On to the field of strife
On to the valley there
And live a useful life.
Up! Do not wait a day
For the old brown clock
with its tic, tic, tock
Is striking your life away .
May we always have worthwhile dreams which goad us on to fulfill our
destiny and prepare ourselves for eternal progress. For be assured of
this; there will never come a time in this world or in the worlds to
come when we can rest on our oars and say: “I have arrived”. Eternal
progress requires eternal effort.
THE BIG CREEK
Little Bear River, or The Big Creek, as we knew it was a delightful
stream that had its source in the mountains south and east of the
valley. It passed through the towns of Eden, Paradise, Hyrum,
Wellsville, and Mendon on its leisurely journey to confluence with the
Bear River near Cache Junction. In its upper reaches, it was an ideal
stream for fly fishing. The many large boulder in the stream bed caused
eddies where trout and herring could be found. It had the usual number
of bends which produced pools where the fish hid in the shadows of the
over-hanging banks. In short, it was a fly fisherman’s dream as it
flowed north through the valley. It was a lazy stream, full of bends and
pools. Along its banks grew willows and trees. Sometimes so dense that
it was difficult for one to force his way through them.
Our pasture, which began eastward where the “bottoms” began extended to
the river and occupied about a half a mile of its eastern bank. In the
springtime when the snow was melting in the mountains, the river often
overflowed its banks and flooded the pastures far beyond the willows.
But when May came, it was ready for our enjoyment. There were a few
choice places where we were guaranteed a catch of fish–suckers, chub,
and trout. We took our fishing seriously and made proper preparations
for it: In the “little pasture” which was on the eastern edge of our
farm grew a thick clump of willows which were usually straight and tall.
We would select a proper one, remove all twigs and the bark and staple
it to the granary to season and straighten. In the meantime we would
order from Montgomery Ward and Company a fish line, cost–five cents, and
a box of hooks–five cents. With these attached and a staple as a sinker,
our tackle was ready.
The best fishing time was when the May Flowers were in bloom. In that
part of the meadow, which was reserved for hay, they grew in profusion,
on stems about twelve inches long. These beautiful pink flowers were a
joy to behold. If we rushed through the milking chore and went without
supper we could arrive at the “new hole” before sundown. The “new hole”
was a pool where the river made a sharp turn from west to east and could
only be reached by going through a tunnel like entrance hacked out
through the dense growth of willows and kinnikinick, once on this point
you were practically surrounded by the river–even a small stream crossed
behind your back. To find this pool you started at the spot where we
would leave our poles and using two tall Box Elder trees we would walk
straight between them and come to the trail we were seeking.
We would usually fish until dark. I can still hear, in memory, the
cooing of the mourning doves as the quietness of the night settled
around us. One night as Jim, Wilford and I were sitting there waiting
for a bite we heard the snarl of a cat behind us. It was probably a
bobcat but we head heard tales of a mountain lion having come into the
valley and this cat noise made the hair on the back of our necks stand
up. As the older brother, it was my responsibility to take the lead.
With a stout club I led the way from the thicket into the clearing
beyond. Of course we saw nothing to molest us. All summer long we would
fish the river.
During the autumn and winter the quiet pools and slow running stretches
were favorite haunts for the mallard duck, which we hunted continually.
When winter came, the “wild hay” which had been harvested from the
meadow and stacked neatly was fed to the dry cattle which were kept in
the willow pasture on the river bank. Here they were protected from the
wind and cold, and seed from the red top–and timothy from the hay
provided new grass.
Also in the summertime the pools of the river were used for swimming.
The big hole was our favorite. We also had picnics, and when fall came
our expedition for hops, to be used in making yeast, which grew on the
willows was always an event of pleasure.
All this is now a thing of the past. Big brother who knows best for us,
in the form of the Army Conservation Corps, made a straight channel in
which the water now flows. It is merely a canal. Everything has changed.
Even the willows are gone. As I fished the beautiful stream above
Paradise I came to a long stretch where these vandals had improved the
stream, gone were the boulder, the eddies, the bench of the river, it is
now a canal where no fish can live. I loved the old Big Creek.
I suppose there is always wisdom in the workings of mother nature.
And a reason for her actions. Aesop had a moral in this fable.
The mountain and the squirrel had a quarrel
And the former called the latter little prig.
Bun replied, “Talents differ–
All is well and wisely put
If I cannot carry forests on my back
Neither can you crack a nut.”
Consider one way in which the male of the creation has been favored. It
is the peacock who parades his grand plume of feathers before the dun
colored pea hen. It is the stag who struts about during the mating
season with his spreading rack of antlers which are for show as much as
for battle before the demure and harmless doe. It is the male lion with
his royal mane who paces before his pride in splendor until time comes
for the hunt and then he retires to the shade of the tree while his mate
bring in the impala. And so through mother nature’s realm the male is
bedecked while the female stands on the side lines admiring and waiting
for something to happen.
In the spring a fuller crimson comes upon the robins breast.
In the spring the wanton lapwing get himself another crest.
In the spring a livelier iris changes on the burnished dove
In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turn to thoughts of love.
In her lavish distribution of adornments to the male of her creations
did she forget the greatest of all her children–the rulers of all the
lower kingdoms–the only ones who can love and think? Did she leave man
without an adornment that would set him apart in beauty above that of
his lowly mate? Indeed she did not. For him she reserved her choicest
gift and in the spring time of life she bestowed upon him whiskers.
The gift of whiskers varies widely. Some men like Esau are abundantly
blessed and their chests as well as their faces are covered. Some like
the American Indian go through life with a bald face. In older times a
full beard was much to be desired, and a beardless youth not taken
seriously. The Essene and other groups forbid the hair of their head to
ever be cut. Consider what happened to Sampson when his was. Men have
taken great pride in beards and moustaches and have cultivated fads and
fashions, using ringlets, waxes, etc., to enhance them. I cannot
remember seeing my father without full beard. He wore it in a Van Dyke
style. In his late years I always did his barbering. He had a full head
of hair and a heavy beard. I was always careful not to cut it so close
that his cheeks would be bare.
Young men look forward for the arrival of their first whiskers. Today
shaving is rather a simple and easy process. But when I began to sprout
fuzz, things were different. The only shavers then available were the
straight edges. The same ones that are used by barbers today and it was
very easy for an inexperienced person to cut himself. One of my friends,
Rulon Maughan, was intently shaving his chin and paying no attention to
any other part of his face when the end of his razor nicked the end of
his nose. Taking after Isaac, I have a light beard and mustache. I was
twenty-one years of age when I went on my mission and was shaving only
once a week.
I have had two rather trying experiences in shaving other men. The first
was while I was a student at Ricks Academy. George Wood had a hired man
living with him for short time. He was an old fellow with a wrinkled
face and a thick stubby beard. In an ungarded moment I agreed to give
him a shave. I’m not sure who got the worst of the deal. Before I
finished, his face looked as though it might have gone through a meat
chopper and I was a nervous wreck.
The next ordeal was while I was a missionary in Ireland. The Asian Flu
was sweeping the world and people were dying so fast that burials were
lagging by days. I had contacted the bug and had taken to my bed when
word came to me that a Brother Kingsberry in the branch was dying. As I
was President of the Conference and there was no one else to assume the
responsibility, I immediately went to his home. He soon expired. He and
his family had earlier been to Utah where they had been sealed in the
temple. As there were no public facilities for caring for our members,
it fell to me and my young companion to wash, shave, and dress him in
his temple clothes and put him in the coffin. I ask everyone else to
leave the room and after about two hours time our work was completed. It
was one of the more difficult tasks I have had to perform.
I think that my father and most of the men of his generation wore beards
because shaving was such a chore. When the safety razor came in common
use, about forty years ago, this marked a big step forward in shaving.
Since then we have had the electric shaver and greatly improved safety
In the face of all these improvements, many of our men join the peacock
in strutting before their admiring women folks with side burns,
mustaches, and beards.
In discussing the subject of smoking, I will limit myself to the
smoking of tobacco and more particularly to the cigarette, or small
cigar. It is true that there are other forms of smoking which are
perhaps more harmful to their users, such as marijuana, hashish, opium
etc, but their use is not yet so acceptable in our society.
One great pity of cigarette smoking is the allure in which it is
presented to the young and impressionable. From my earliest years the
challenge of those who were pressing its use has been, “Be a man,
smoke”. The smoker has always been depicted by them, as a virile leader
of men, clean cut, well dressed, successful in his field, a man to be
Smoking by women has been frowned upon by society until recently. Any
girl or woman who smoked was looked upon as being either an odd ball or
of low moral character. Today partially because of the general trend in
the lowering of moral standards and the “women’s liberation movement”,
our finer sex has “come a long way baby”. It is reported that when they
fall into the clutches of the habit that they smoke harder and with more
devastating effects than that of their brothers.
The advertisers of the cigarette are aware that the recruits to the
smoking habit must be secured at a very young age. It is then that a
child is most impressionable. His activities are greatly imitative of
adults. The games of the boys ape the activities of their fathers and
male heroes. The girls play as homemakers, nurses, and teachers. So when
they see their ideals in real life, or on the screen, jauntily alight,
they assume, of course, that this is the trade mark which does seem to
separate the men from the boys. Getting the cigarette habit does not
come easy for most, the taste of the smoke is nauseating. Most beginners
really become ill when they inhale the poisonous drug.
My experience with smoking was quite unsatisfactory: at first it was in
smoking cedar bark. I was playing with Russell Maughan and some other
boys. Russell was the first man to fly an airplane from coast to coast
in one day, he left New York at daylight and landed at San Francisco
after dark. We decided to be big shots so we took some bark from a cedar
post and ground it into powder. Some bits of newspaper were fashioned
for wrappers and we made some oversized smokes which burned with a foul
taste and odor. That was the beginning and end of cedar bark smoking.
My father smoked cigars for many years. They couldn’t have been the best
Havana brand because they came in packs marked “three for five cents.”
Father worked in town as manager of the Farmer’s Mercantile Company.
Often during the summer it would be my chore to take the horse and buggy
to the store at closing time and bring him home to the farm–a distance
of three miles. The trip home would require about half an hours. As soon
as we began our journey, father would light up one of the “three for
five centers” and while puffing smoke in my face would sing, “Israel,
Israel, God is Calling”, or some other favorite missionary hymn. Many
times I became quite ill from the effects of the tobacco smoke
When I was sixteen years old we were harvesting our sugar beets. Reeves
Bird–who was my brother’s brother-in-law was helping us. Reeves was from
Mendon and on Friday night there was to be a dance in is town. We
decided to go. We hitched my mare, Sylvia, to my red wheeled buggy and
in high spirits set out for what we hoped to be a gala evening. As we
passed through Wellsville it occurred to us that if we were going to be
really big shots we must have a cigar. Not being of legal age to buy
them we easily secured the services of an older friend to buy us each a
Little Tom. As we left the outskirts of town we lit up and began to
sing. Before long the singing gradually died away, we dropped our
stogies and all I remember is that we were deadly sick lying in the
ragweed at the side of the road. No dance for us that night, but it had
ended my smoking career.
When the real picture of the cigarette smoker is painted it will lack
much of the charm which its advertisers now give it. Smoking is now
generally recognized as being a major health habit. Not only is smoke
harmful to the user but those who are forced to breath the fumes puffed
into their faces by others suffer from the poisonous and foul effects of
this filthy habit. The so called rights of smokers are now being
questioned. Non smokers have rights too and laws are bing enforced which
isolates users of the weed in public places. There are more down and
outers who smoke than any other group.
In families where parents smoke the financial burden caused by smoking
is sometimes great especially in the low income group. But the demand on
the smoker by the habit is so great that cigarettes must be bought
first–food for the children can wait. The slogan: “I’d walk a mile for a
Camel” is true. The smoker not only stinks of tobacco, he fouls up the
house, the clothing and hair of his family so they are an offensive to
The cigarette smoker is more to be pitied than blamed. He formed the
habit in his childhood before he was capable of good judgement. Many
good people have thoughtlessly picked up a habit which is hard to be rid
of. We have many good members in the Church with this habit and we are
too severe in condemning them. We deprive them the blessings of the
Church while others with more grievous faults are condoned. A friend of
mine Dr. Matthew Noel related to me an experience he had as a Ward
Bishop. A girl member of his congregation came to him in trouble.
Although unwed she was about to become a mother, and asked for his
council and help. He advised her that the first thing for this young
couple to do was to get married. Her reply was, “Bishop, I cannot marry
him. He smokes.”
We need more understanding of the smoking problem. And more help to
I have never seen a smoker who didn’t want to quit. Many do permanently.
Many more will try but lack the will power to go through the painful
withdrawal. I am told that once a person has had the habit that he never
loses the longing for tobacco.
It is long past the time for parents to assume their responsibility to
protect their children from the tobacco habit by proper example and
MY MISSION TO
At a very early age I had the feeling that I should, and probably
would, fill a mission for the Church at some time. It was deeply
impressed upon the members of our family that we owed much to the Lord
for His sending missionaries to England where my grandfather, John Moses
Wyatt, who with his young wife and my father John Horsecroft joined the
church. As pioneers these people had helped to settle and develop the
virgin country in Cache Valley. We had our home, a large dairy, grain,
hay and sugar beet farm. Our large family had sufficient of the world’s
goods, plenty of work and the blessings of the Church. We always knew
that these blessings were due to the fact that servants of God had
brought the restored gospel to our family in England and that they had
willingly obeyed the call: gathered to Zion and helped to begin the
“building up of the kingdom.”
It is true that my father–who was a mere child when his parents joined
the church–had returned to his homeland on two occasions as a missionary
when he became a man with a family, and that he continued his work in
the church at home, and in a financial way he continued his support. In
this way I felt that he had repaid his debt for his receiving the
gospel. Even so, I always felt that I had a personal obligation to serve
the church as a missionary. So when the call came I felt that I had no
choice in the matter. I was twenty-one years old; had just graduated
from the Ricks Academy and was thinking of college and marriage. The
world was at war although America was not to enter World War I for more
than a year yet. When I rexceived my call for the British Mission in the
fall of 1915 I accepted it of course.
We left Salt Lake City early in November. I think there were 17 of us in
the group. David Owen and I were the only unmarried ones in the group.
We Traveled by train to New York City. We then took steamer for
Liverpool. We were at sea for two weeks. Our ship took a good deal of
evasive action to evade submarines.
When we reached Liverpool, Elder Wayment and I were immediately put on
board another ship and sent to Ireland. Next morning we arrived in
Belfast where I was to remain for a rather long time.
Instead of writing a running account of my mission, I will just take, at
random, notes from some of my diaries. I have misplaced one volume
anyway. Missionary work was a bit different at that time. Because of the
war there were many restrictions. There were few missionaries. All of
Ireland was in our district. Responsibilities were thrust upon us
quickly. I throughly enjoyed my work in the mission field and feel that
in a modest way I was successful.
In one way I failed: I had expected that if I did a good job as a
missionary that my debt to the church for bringing my family its
blessings would be paid. I have long since realized that any service
done in the church only leaves one more in debt.
I have written about my missionary experiences in Ireland before, but
need a few experiences to go with the Ferman Westergard caricature and
so I am taking a few excepts from my diary. These entries are lifted
almost at random.
September 13, 1916
Note: Because the war made it impossible for the church to send
missionaries to Europe we were calling local people as part time
missionaries. We gave them special training and had them accompany us to
“Was tracting with Annie Ferguson, a lady missionary, her first time
September 14, 1916
“We Elders went to Newtonards to pick blackberries. Brother Pring went
with us and walked off with the berries.”
October 1, 1916
“Today I baptized three members, confirmed one, and ordained one.”
October 13, 1916
“While tracting today I was in a lady’s house talking to her and her
friends when their minister–a Doctor Stephens–came in. No doubt we were
both surprised at the meeting. When he found out who I was he snatched
the gospel tracts which I had given to the ladies from their hands and
tore them to bits and threw them in the street. He demanded that I
immediately leave the street. I told him that as I had just started I
was not ready to go. He threatened me with my life if I did not leave,
quite a crowd of his parishioners had gathered by this time, and he
commanded them not to accept any of my literature. I then spoke to the
people telling them that I had a message for them and meant to deliver
it; but if the clergyman would show me where I was teaching false
doctrine I would leave and go home. I also told them if their minister
would give me a chance I would show his people that he was a false
teacher. He left in a rage. I continued my work.”
October 18, 1916
“Today while tracting I went to a shop where I had a long talk with a
group of people about a month ago. When I entered the lady who owned the
shop told me that she would like to be baptized, and she wanted a Book
of Mormon. She believed what I was teaching and that I was a messenger
of the true gospel of Christ. She said that others who were in the shop
during my last visit were also favorably impressed.
October 19, 1916
“While tracting yesterday I met a lady who was very busy, but after I
told her who I was she ask me if I could call next day. I did so
today–she told me that she had a little girl die when she was about 30
months old. She was uncertain as to where the child was. She had been
greatly worried and had tried to find out from her minister, as well as
many other sources, as to what she could do to prepare herself to meet
the child. I took about an hour and a half explaining paradise and it’s
purpose, work for the dead, and the resurrection. I touched on the first
principles of the Gospel. She was deeply impressed and declared that she
knew that God had sent me in answer to her prayers.”
December 8, 1916
“Today is my birthday. Twenty-three years of age. I gave the Elders a
dinner. I put in twelve hours of missionary work today. I am certainly
enjoying my work.”
April 7, 1917
“America has entered the war. The Stars and Stripes have been raised
over the City Hall along with the Allies.
The first street meeting held by our Church in Ireland for years was
held tonight. I spoke first. We had an exceptionally large crowd. The
people were very interested and well behaved. The meeting was held on
April 11, 1917
“We received a letter from the mission president, George F. Richards, he
said no elders or saints would be sent to Zion under present
April 15, 1917
“Conference and no visiting authorities from the mission headquarters.
So the burden of the three meetings fell upon us four elders. Some of
the saints were disappointed when they first heard of this. But after
the conference was over many of them declared that they had never been
to any conference they had enjoyed as well.”
Sunday, May 6, 1917
“We held our street meeting as usual. A large crowd gathered. Pres
Brooks and I were the only missionaries there. A Brother Pring was our
first speaker. When he finished a minister pushed into the ring and
demanded that he speak. A policeman ordered that he leave. President
Brooks spoke next and was bothered by a man who kept shouting: ‘If a man
cannot be saved without baptism, what about the thief on the cross?’ As
I began speaking he shouted the same question to me. I explained and he
shut up like a clam. There was quite a disturbance after the meeting. A
big fine fellow came to me and congratulated me on my pluck and said:
‘If anyone had touched you they would have had to settle with me.”
May 31, 1917
“Every day I thank my father, and the Lord, that Zion is my home. That I
was born and raised under the light of the gospel. This country is in a
June 28, 1917
“Arnold Holland wrote to me from London telling of a certain Mary Walker
of Belfast, who was in London and had joined the Church. She wished us
to visit her people in Belfast. So Elder Ririe and I went to their home
tonight. We were received kindly and the father hoped we would not be
Note: We later baptized the family and years later a son, who now lived
in America, presided over the Irish Conference as a missionary.
October 18, 1917
“Pres. George Brooks left for his home in St. George, Utah on October
13, 1917. I have been appointed as President of the Irish Conference.
Elder Joseph Ririe and I are alone now. We are expecting Alma Moss, who
has been transferred from the Scotland Conference. The Conference is in
good order except from some trouble between the President of the Belfast
Branch and the Relief Society President. The meetings are well attended,
and we are looking forward to a splendid winters work. We are kept very
busy with our tracting, visiting, meetings, etc. But we have the good
will of the saints and all looks well.”
November 30, 1917
“Tonight a baptismal service was held. I baptized four into the Church.
One more–Sarah Sands–had applied and her parents had give their consent
but at the last moment they changed their mind.”
December 1, 1917
“Sent to Peg (Velma Ball) a copy of Ella Wheeler Wilcox poetry–Maurene.”
March 3, 1917
“I baptized seven people today. Gave three gospel sermons. Set Brother
Hislop apart as second counselor in the branch presidency, confirmed two
members of the church.
March 23, 1918
“We have been preparing for conference which takes place tomorrow. The
Lady Missionaries and local Priesthood have been advertising and working
March 26, 1918
Conference was a success. Three meetings were held besides an open air
meeting. The weather was ideal.”
April 7, 1918
“The Dublin Branch Conference was held today. There was a larger
attendance than I have ever seen there. At the morning session the
children rendered an excellent program and then I occupied the remaining
time. In the afternoon Elder Ririe and Brother Fulton–who is president
of the Belfast Branch, spoke. In the evening service Pres. Birchall of
the Dublin Branch spoke. He is a former Church of England Minister.
Elder Ririe and I also spoke. After the meeting we went to Mr. Steele
Note: I later baptized the Steele family. Parents and two girls.
April 28, 1918
“During the past week I received a letter from President Richards giving
me permission to visit my father’s birthplace in Brighton England. Elder
Ririe is to be transferred to England
December 28, 1918
“Arnold Holland arrived for a visit.”
Note: He was with me to the end of my mission to Ireland.
December 29, 1918
“We held my final branch conference in Belfast. Elder Holland and I
spoke at length. I was deeply touched by the love the saints showed for
my long service in Ireland.”
December 30, 1918
“Elder Holland and I went to Dublin where the saints showered their love
on us for my long and close association with them.”
January 5, 1919
“We held a very spiritual Branch Conference. My records show that I
spent twelve hours doing missionary work–not unusual. On the sixteenth I
spent sixteen. The average for the month was twelve.”
January 10, 1919
“We traveled to Liverpool where I spent ten days doing missionary work
with President George F. Richards of whom I have grown very fond. We
visited and help meeting in Hull, Shipworth, Sheffield, Manchester and
Sunday, January 19, 1919
“At a Branch Conference in Liverpool I received an honorable release
from my mission and permission to return to my home.”
LETTER FROM MY
Pres. Sidney L. Wyatt
13a York Street
Wellsville, December 3, 1918
With pleasure I now answer your ever welcome letter that we received
yesterday and we was so glad to get it and know that you was still
enjoying good health which leaves us all the same and we feel very
thankful for as there is so much sickness all over the world and so many
Sunday Joseph B. Braion was buried--ex mayor, leaves a young wife and 8
children six of them are orphans. You know who I mean. Uncle Rob
Boxter’s son-in-law. He went to Ogden on business and took the flu and
was took to the Dee Hospital and died. Was only sick a few days. It is
just full the trouble.
We though if war would just end our troubles would end but it seems like
we will all have all we can stand. Our town is under strict quarantine.
If anyone is caught going to Logan they will be fined $50 dollars no
matter what their business is and anyone coming in is under strict
quarantine for 5 days. Our town is nearly free from the flu now if no
more new cases break out but it hurts some because they can’t go to
Logan to spend their money, but we don’t need any new clothes to dress
up with, for there is no where to go now.
Now Sidney, yesterday was father’s birthday. He was 70 years old and we
had supper on Sunday night for what of the children that could come and
have supper here as it is against the advise of the city officers to
even have family gatherings. They did not stay long, had supper and then
all was gone by 9 o’clock. There was Betsy and her family, Netty and
her’s, Charl and his, Tom and his Annie and her boy James and his girl,
Wilford and his girl. There was not half of the family here but your
father is failing and since Myrtle died he looks so bad. It was such a
shock on him as none of us looked for it. It was so sudden. So we got a
little supper for him and he did feel good.
Violet and me made a large fruit cake and frosted it, then put 70 small
candles on it and when they was all set down to supper we lit it . It
was a surprise to all, It was very pretty. You ought to of seen all of
the little children, 15 in all, climbing on the backs of them that was
seated at the table to see the cake with all them 70 candles alight. We
turned out the lite so there was only the lite from the cake to eat
supper by. Then after supper all the children had to have the rest of
the candle to take home, so we did enjoy ourselves for a little while
but we did miss you and all the rest.
You said in your letter that you want to come home. Well we all want you
to come. Wilford said to tell you to come for he needed you, but we all
want you to come right when you do come and that is when they say you
have done enough and give you a honorable release for we feel that you
have earned it, but we realize the condition the conference is in being
so short of Elders, but now Peace is declared and war has ceased and
more Elders can go out on missions, it won’t be long before all those
that have been out so long will be released and new ones to take there
place, but of course it will take a little time to do all this for when
you consider the condition of this world it is terrible to think of, but
of all the people on this earth we are the most blessed. If it was not
for the knowledge that we have of the gospel we would be the most
I guess we will have xxxxx home again as they are through with him now,
but it is too bad as he is not a very obedient son and he is not good to
your father. We feel like it is too bad that he could not of stayed
until spring. Now we are all well and don’t worry about us. Give my love
to Elder Evans and except a big here from Mother
November 26 We deposited $100 to your credit from Harris trust company.
Dear Sid, I am sending you a box of candy and cake. The cake is some of
father’s birthday cake. Hope you two (little?) boys enjoy it. Write
P.S. I would write more but am in the store and busy.
I have had nearly three years of living alone in our modest little
house which I built with my own hands and which Velma made into a home
where I have always felt that I belonged. It has been a haven, where for
the first time in our married lives, there has been no rent to be paid
to a landlord or morgage to worry about. Here we have had peace and
harmony. Our children have grown into adulthood. Sidney and Antoinette
have served honorable missions. They are all married and doing better in
the service of the community and the church than their parents–which
they should because their opportunities are greater. My twenty-two grand
children and seven great grand-children are showing promise of still
greater advancement. One grandson, Scott Campbell has already served as
a missionary and the other boys are preparing themselves for this
important service and so, as a great grandfather, I marvel at the
bounties of God’s blessings to us. In a material way they have been
modest, but adequate. In a social and spiritual way, “the windows of
heaven have been opened,” and the blessings profusely bestowed.
I freely admit that these blessings and the happiness that they have
brought to me and my family are largely due to the influence and
guidance of the shy fifteen year old girl I was destined to meet and
five years later to take as my wife, when I went to Rexburg to live with
my sister Sadie and attend school at the Ricks Academy in the autumn of
1914. Velma Ball was from Lewisville, Idaho. I met her through my niece
Jennie Wood. There were four girls closely knit in the friendship who
were usually together. In addition to the two named were Ruby Hansen,
who lived next door to Jenny and Guila Young from Ucon. From our first
meeting, I felt that we belonged together, and I told my mother when
next I saw her that I had met my further wife.
Velma was very shy and all her life she was obsessed with the notion
that her feelings of affection must not be too manifest lest it appear
that she was “chasing after you”. Yet she was friendly, fun-loving and
possessed of many talents and very mature in her deportment. I first
began to date her soon after her sixteenth birthday. I secured her
student body card, which insured me to be her escort to the weekly
dances held at the academy and other school functions. When Velma’s
mother heard that she, Velma, was going steady with a man five years
older than she, our dating was interrupted for a time.
Velma was a beautiful girl with long soft corn silk colored hair. Her
complection was fair and she had a few flattering freckles across her
nose of which she was mortified. She was of medium height, although she
always felt that she was on the tall side, and of slender build. Her
eyes held a light which added to the pleasant expression her face
habitually wore. She was athletic and enjoyed the outdoors, particularly
riding horses. Milking cows and helping with other farm chores was part
of her way of life. She was a top student and played the piano and
I later learned that Velma’s low opinion of her personal charms had
their roots in her home. It was there ingrained in her that she was an
ugly duckling. In addition to this cruel treatment, her grandfather, who
was an English tyrant, lived with them during her adolescent years.
Under his despotic frown the children, principally Irvin and Velma were
not permitted to so much as speak during a meal time. And yet Velma’s
parents and brothers and sisters loved her dearly and extended their
efforts in her welfare.
Velma was very popular at school and participated fully in student
activities. She lived with families and helped with the care of the home
and children in return for room and board.
I remember one of our dates was when our basketball team went to Burton
to play a game. Royal Long, one of the guards, had a sleigh and team so
he took some of us and our girl friends with him, Arnold was along and
did much to entertain us. The weather was very cold and the trip took
nearly two hours one way. As we were coming home, I put my arm around
Velma to help keep her warm–I remember she wore a beautiful fluffy coat,
light brown and striped like a Zebra–this show of affection I felt was
making progress. The idea of a good night kiss would not have entered my
As I have grown older I have come to feel that ideal courtship, even as
friendship and marriage should be two way affair and nature has given to
the male the more aggressive part, but it is also meet for the female to
play her part, which I am sure most do, in a more subtle way.
With the end of the school year in 1915 I returned home to the farm,
Velma and I carried on a friendly correspondence. I made preparations to
attend school at the Agricultural College in the fall and Velma was
going back to Ricks for her Junior year. In September Bishop Franklin
Gunnell ask me if I would accept a mission call. Of course there was no
question in my mind. There was no choice for me to make.
The school year was just beginning at the Ricks Academy when I went to
see Velma before leaving. Things did not seem to be going too well. I
learned later that Velma was having problems with her housing etc.
Anyway with a heavy heart, I had decided this was perhaps the end of our
association together. At the moment of saying goodbye she came into my
arms and for the first time gave me the kiss I had been waiting so long
for. A day or two later I received a letter from her which I carried
with me the four years I was in Ireland and treasured for years
afterward until it finally disappeared from my papers. That letter kept
my hopes alive though many times of doubt.
When I returned home I soon went to Lewisville where Velma was now
teaching school. She had matured into a beautiful woman. I was
graciously received by her parents whom I grew to love and respect. I
had bought an engagement ring in Dublin, Ireland–with the help of
Arnold–I’m sure I was terribly awkward in giving it to her.
During that summer she came to Wellsville and stayed with her Aunt Lilly
Walker, while there four couples of us took a trip to Bear Lake. Later
Arnold and Oriel Anderson organized a trip to Salmon River Country where
we were together for a short trip. But when we were married November 19,
1919, we knew very little about each other. The main thing I remember
was the remark of my former mission president, Apostle George F.
Richards who officiated at our marriage who remarked: “This is a
Few brides of my acquaintance had less done for them than Velma. With my
brother Wilford, I was tending the family farm. An early snow had
covered our beets, not only this year but also the following. We
finished hauling them on New Year’s eve–both years. The extra expense
left us in debt. During the first winter we lived in my sister Annie’s
house but come spring we moved to the farm.
At the end of the second year or farming when I was in debt and
discouraged; with a wife and child to care for Velma brought the problem
into the open. She said, “Sid, you’re not happy with this life. You have
always wanted to go to college. We can manage somehow.” I got seventy
five dollars together somehow and paid for registration. Sometimes I
rode with Raymond Green in his old Ford, he was also attending school,
sometimes I rode on the interurban train, sometimes I walked. I don’t
know what we had for food for the family. I do know that I carried my
lunch with me and often it was a boiled bean sandwich. We received
little help from anyone. Velma’s father sent us a cured ham and we had
our milk and flour. It can easily be seen that Velma had the harder part
of this to bear.
I was a freshman, but had registered for a senior course in economics.
As there were a number of pre-requisite courses which I had not had, I
had a particularly hard time with this subject. Dr. Frossard, who taught
the class gave a test early in the course. I flunked! I didn’t dare to
let Velma know, so I began to make up what I lacked. I spent as much as
eight hours a day on this one subject and at the end of the term I was
one of two in the class with an A grade.
Studying at home was sometimes a problem because my daughter would
demand my attention. Many evenings my wife would go to bed early with
the child so that I could work undisturbed. Somehow we made it through
that school year and also through the summer quarter. At this time I
took the State Examination and qualified for a one year’s teaching
certificate. I signed a contract to teach at the Wellsville Junior High
School for a yearly salary of $800.00. Now we had an income even if it
was less than $100 dollars a month for eight months. I supplemented this
by thinning beets in spring and topping them in the fall, but always
pressing for my degree–I took Saturday courses at the college, summer
school extension classes so that in the spring of 1928 I received my
B.S. degree. IN six years I had done four years of college work and
taught school five. This would never have been possible if I had not had
the encouragement, help, and yes, provoking to good works of this
gentle, quiet, strong woman.
My church work has always been an important part of my life. Velma
always had a strong belief that her main mission in life was to help me
to carry out my assignments and to take care of our home and children.
Nearly always I have had a position of responsibility which as occupied
much of my time, but while supporting me she has also spent most of her
life in positions of responsibility. Before our marriage she was
organist in the Rigby Stake Primary Board where her mother was a long
time president. Soon after our marriage she taught Sunday School in
Wellsville where I was Superintendent. In Harrisville and Riverdale she
was a worker in Primary. In Riverdale she served in the Primary
Presidency. When we moved to North Ogden she served as President of the
Primary for a number of years and the Stake President of the Primary in
the Ben Lomond Stake. She was also precedent of the North Ogden Relief
Society and a member of the Hamilton Stake, New Zealand Relief Society
Presidency. She was also a temple officiator. With me, in New Zealand,
she was a great missionary for the Church. She was “quite a gal”.
Velma was jealous that I always do my best. She inspected my grooming to
see that I was presentable. She listened to my sermons critically. If I
pleased her, I was satisfied. Sometimes my stories were frowned upon
with an, “Oh Sid,” rebuke.
She didn’t object, at any time, to my taking time off to go fishing, and
I did a good deal of it. She often said that I worked hard and needed
the relaxation. I received no encouragement to hunt deer, because it was
Velma had many good qualities but foremost among them was her dedication
to being a good mother. She ran a good home. There was peace and love. I
do not think that any of our children have ever witnessed a quarrel
between their parents. The credit for this goes entirely to Velma. The
house was always tidy. She taught her daughters the value and dignity of
home making. She expected her children and husband to do well in their
undertakings, while realizing that they had limitations.
She was always appreciative of what other did for her. In her later
years when she had to rely upon me for care in her illness and
especially when she had broken her ankle, not once did I do her a
service but that she thanked me for it. Even for a glass of water.
The Church of Jesus Christ was restored to the earth through the
Prophet Joseph Smith after centuries of darkness following the apostasy,
revelation once more opened the flow of knowledge from God to his
children on this planet. Visions, dreams, and revelations gushed forth
to break the bonds of ignorance which bound men’s minds. Even the great
vision, a personal visit of the Father and the Son, had been given to
the world to open up a new and all encompassing dispensation to the
world. The Priesthood, the authority to act in God’s name, had been
restored by those who rightfully held it in former dispensations,
offices in the Church: Apostles, priests, deacons, bishops had been
added until the restoration had been completed both in doctrine and in
Church organization. The boy prophet, called by God, had been tutored by
angels to perform this marvelous work. A new witness for God–The Book of
Mormon–had been added to our holy scriptures, as well as the book
containing modern revelations, The Doctrine and Covenants, another
volume containing revelations of ancient times, The Pearl of Great
Price, was added. Now to guide the members of the Church was the
priesthood, receiving direct revelations, and four standard works. Truly
knowledge was being poured out upon the world.
To the young prophet and his few followers was given an awesome
responsibility; they were commanded by God to take this message, preach
it to all the world as a witness. They were to seek for the Children of
Abraham, teach them the Gospel and baptize them into the Church in order
that they might be saved. Those who would not receive these glad tidings
would be damned.
As a young man presiding over the Irish conference of the British
Mission, I talked to the mission president of my concern about the few
coverts we were making. In effect he told me that our great concern was
to warn the people, to give them a chance so that they would be without
excuse in the day of judgment.
From before the Church was formally organized, missionary work has been
a primary concern in this dispensation of God’s work with man. It has
come first in consideration. Husbands have left families seriously ill
to respond to the call. Poverty, lack of education, or ability to speak
the language of the people of their mission has not been a determent.
Almost without exception when the call comes it is accepted as
inevitable. The burden of the missions assumed by the entire family and
often friends are involved.
When I was called as a missionary, the Church of almost half a million
members boasted a missionary force of almost three thousand men, they
were mostly married men. In the company with which I traveled to my
field of labor there were about twenty elders, as I remember, only two
were unmarried. Today the church membership is approaching four million
with a missionary force of over thirty thousand men and women. Because
of the means of transportation, communication and organization,
missionary work must be more effective. Missionaries as a rule go at a
younger age. They are probably far better prepared in their training and
their aids. Country after country has been opened up for teaching of the
gospel. The derision that was formerly heaped for being Mormons has
largely disappeared and been replaced by honor for the accomplishments
of this people
I feel assured that the Lord smiles with approval as he sees his
commandments being carried out.
MY FATHER’S FAMILY
My father, John Horsecroft Wyatt was the eldest child of John Moses
and Sarah Caroline Horsecroft Wyatt. He was born in Howe, England
December 2, 1849. With his parents he immigrated to Deseret which later
became Utah. At the age of four he arrived. When he was eleven years old
the family moved to a new settlement at Wellsville. The year was 1860.
This town was to be his lifetime home. As a pioneer he did much to help
change the wilderness into a fertile garden.
When John was twenty five years of age he married Sarah Jane Barnes in
the Salt Lake endowment house, she was seventeen years of age–eight
years his junior. They had a family of four.
John William, born 10 September 1875
Josephine (died in infancy), born 3 August 1877
Sara Jane (Sadie), born 3 August 1877
Mary–born, 7 June 1881
His wife Sara Jane died August 3, 1882 at the age of 25. On November 23,
1882, John married the eldest daughter of his close friend, Thomas
Leavitt. He was now thirty five years of age. His new bride, Julia
Leavitt, was twenty five, a difference of ten years. From this union
came the following:
Antoinette (Nettie), born August 24, 1884
Julia (died in infancy), born May 30 1886
Charles, born November 6, 1887
Thomas, born May 9, 1889
Ann Eliza (Annie), born March 12, 1890
Sidney, born December 8, 1893
Hazel, born June 14, 1895
Wilford, born September 16, 1897
Violet, born December 30, 1901
Lester, born February 25, 1904
John Horsecroft Wyatt died on May 10, 1939–age ninety years, 5 months, 8
days. Julia Leavitt Wyatt died on July, 1956–age 85 years, 7 months and
On June 7, 1890, John. H. Wyatt entered into plural marriage by marrying
my mother’s younger sister Betsy. They were married in Ciudad Juarez,
Chuachua, Mexico in a civil ceremony. John was now forty-one years old.
Betsy was nineteen, a difference of 22 years. Betsy was four years older
than John’s eldest child. From this marriage came the following:
Parley, born February 7, 1891
Betsy, born March 12, 1892
Ida, born January 29, 1894
James, born July 31, 1895
Myrtle, born October 28, 1897
William, born August 10 1899
Brigham, born September 12, 1901
Mable, born September 26, 1903
Lewis, born May 3, 1905
Reta, born November 27, 1907
Marvin, born December 3, 1909
Herbert, born February 6, 1912
Father’s family covered quite a long period of time. John William was
born in 1875. He was thirty seven years old when Herbert was born in
1912. Father was sixty three years old when Herbert was born in 1912.
Father was sixty three years old and Aunt Betsy was forty years old at
that time. Betsy lived to be 88 years old.
So, my father’s family consists of twenty-six children.
These questions may be asked: (1) Why such large families? (2) How
successful were they? (3) Why was plural marriage discontinued?
In the first place plural marriage was a revelation and commandment from
God. This was rescinded by the Lord through His Church in 1890. Also
there were more women in the Church than men during pioneer days. Often
they were in dire need for homes. Opportunities were limited. There was
also a pressing need for labor. Children were an asset. In our case we
had a large farm. There were cows to be milked, the dairy to be
operated, beets to be thinned, hoed, and harvested, etc. Schools were
limited to elementary grades. Attendance at any level was not
compulsory. Teenagers who were not gainfully employed were frowned upon.
I was the only one of father’s children to finish high school.
While plural marriage was not generally practiced in the early history
of the Church there were at least a half a dozen families in Wellsville
about this time who had a plurality of wives. They were most usually
well to do people as I remember. The heads of the families were inclined
to be autocratic. Religion was of paramount importance. Morality was
highly stressed. Family bickering was at a minimum, divorce was
Because of the laws of the land the practice of plural marriage by the
church was discontinued by a declaration of President Wilford Woodruff
on September 26, 1890. Later President Joseph F. Smith said: “I hereby
announce that all such marriages are prohibited, and if any officer or
member of the Church shall assume to solemnize or enter into any such
marriage he will be deemed in transgression against the Church and will
be liable to be dealt with according to the rules and regulations
thereof and excommunicated therefrom”. April Conference 1904.
VIOLET W. HOLLAND
I am honored and pleased to be asked to write a paragraph or two for
my brother’s book. My trouble is where to begin.
In any family it is apparent that each member is different from the
rest, in looks, ambitions and aspiration. In a large family such as
ours, there is always certain currents and perhaps undercurrents, but
basically, we all had the same training and care and responsibilities.
We were all taught to work and were expected to do our share of whatever
needed to be done. I remember my brother, Sidney, as being ambitious and
a hard worker at home. The rows in our sugar beet field must have been a
quarter of a mile long. To a kid as young as I, they looked like there
was no end. We started out about the same time. I had one row. Sidney
took three or four rows next to mine. Soon I was way behind everyone. No
one paid any attention to me but I was trying my best, when I was about
to lay down and die, Sidney left his rows and thinned back on min, to
catch me up. He did this several times and he would always say, “Now
keep up!” I tried, but I will have to say this for myself, I was the
youngest one out there and nine or ten years younger than Sidney. He
made quite a hit with me that day. I don’t know what age I was then, but
I wasn’t very old.
Ours was a good home. We were taught to pray and we were taught to honor
our father and mother. Our meals were always on time and the family
present to sit and eat together after the prayer or blessing on the food
and if one or more of the children caused a fracas, they were asked to
leave the table. This closeness at mealtime when certain gospel
principles were discussed (or if one of us had a problem we felt free to
ask for advice) seemed to cement the family together. My husband once
said, “If you pick a fight with one of the Wyatt’s, you have them all to
I was quite young when I first realized that my big brother Sidney, had
something within him that was lacking in other family members. This was
a desire and a need for education beyond what our father thought was
necessary. In those days, eight grades were considered a good education.
You can understand our father’s viewpoint, when you consider how
successful he was and he had never attended school in his life. He
learned to read from his mother, using the Book of Mormon and the Bible
as his text. He was a good mathematician. He never learned to work
problems on paper, but you could not stump him. He always came up with
the correct answer. It was all done in his head. He called it calculate.
I had a problem once, when I was in grade school, I had the correct
answer in my text book. I could not work it. Sidney and our cousin,
Oliver Myers, tried but they couldn’t get it. Father came home and
wanted to know what was the problem. Sid read it to him. Father was
quiet for a few minutes, then told us the correct answer. Then he in
turn explained it to Sidney, making it possible for Sidney to work it
out on paper. Next day at school, our teacher, Robert Latham, asked if
anyone had that certain problem worked out. I was the only one to raise
my hand. He asked me to go to the front of the room and put it on the
blackboard. After I had finished he asked, “Violet, did you work that
out alone?” I answered “No, Sir”. Then he asked who did. I told him “My
brother Sidney and Oliver Myers tried, but it was Pa who did it.” He
said, “I have to take off my hat to Brother Wyatt, for of all the years
I have taught this lesson, this is the first time anyone has been able
to solve that problem and I bet there is not another person in
Wellsville who can.”
Sid was no saint. He chased the girls and like to steal watermelons.
There were times when he gave me a bad time. He liked to hunt and fish.
One time, I was the only one available to clean the number of ducks he
brought home, when there were other things I wanted to do. He came home
one time from a short trip with friends. He put his suitcase down and
left it on the kitchen floor. I remember thinking perhaps there was
something good to eat in it. So, I opened it. A dead rattlesnake slid
out, along with a pearl handled pistol. I screamed and screamed. Mother
scolded him for bringing such things home and scaring me to death. He
said it served me right, for I had no business getting into his things.
I know now, I shouldn’t have, but this shows that he had a problem too.
I remember times when mother sent Sidney out through the front door, and
turned to face father at the back door with the solution for the work he
had for Sidney to do. I never did hear my father and mother quarrel over
anything or exchange a cross word. She had a way of smoothing things and
clearing the air. I am sure times were hard and difficult and Sidney
must have become discouraged many times, but that certain hunger within
him for more education and knowledge made it possible for him to endure
the taunts, insults and jeers dealt to him by other less studious male
members of his hard working farm family.
The time came for his senior year of high school. Our sister, Sadie, and
her husband, George Wood, and family lived in Rexburg, Idaho. They
invited Sidney to live with them and attend the Ricks Academy. Sidney
always had a way of making and keeping friends so I am sure, in looking
back, he treasures his year in Rexburg at the Ricks Academy as his
happiest high school year. How our mother wanted to go to his
graduation! I ached for her. Her coat was quite shabby and she said she
couldn’t embarrass her son among his fine friends.
Soon after graduating, Sidney received his mission call to go to the
British Isles, being assigned to the Irish Mission. One time while he
was away, winter came early and our entire sugar beet crop was frozen
into the ground and there was no way to harvest them until spring. By
then they had rotted in the ground. Also, it was the years of World War
I and the time of rationing and of the world wide influenza epidemic.
Our sister Myrtle, died with it October 17, 1918. She was twenty years,
eleven months and seventeen days old. She was a beautiful brunette, and
my constant companion, although she was four years my senior.
I do not know the exact length of Sidney’s mission, but it must have
been at least three and a half years. I do remember the excitement when
I answered the phone one day, and the station master said, “We have your
brother’s trunk here, all the way from Ireland!” Father was in the back
of the store making egg cases. I ran back there and said, “Pa, Sidney’s
truck is down at the depot!” He said, “Well, well”, and he put down his
hammer, put on his hat and walked all the way down there to look at it,
then he went home to tell mother.
While Sidney was a student at Ricks Academy he became a good friend of
the Holland brothers. It was through this friendship that I found my
dear husband. Arnold was returning home from his mission to England and
he came to Wellsville to see his friend Sidney, but I met him first. We
were married six months later. Sid and Velma were married November 19,
1919 and we were married the next March.
Sidney’s college years and Arnold’s were about the same, as to hard come
by. No one helped either one of them financially. They worked and
studied long and hard. When Arnold came to the Weber County School
System to teach, it was because Sidney encouraged it, when the doctors
in Idaho advised a change of location because of my health condition.
This change brought our two families close together. Our children
enjoyed being together, so we shared many good times eating Christmas or
Thanksgiving dinners at one or the other home for a good many years. Our
son, Grant, speaks yet of Aunt Velma’s hot rolls.
So Sidney and I have been closer together over the years than other
members of mother’s family. Now, at this writing, Sidney has been a
widower for more than four years. Our sister, Hazel, is a widow, as am
I. We are the three remaining members of our family of ten. Hazel and I
have been privileged to spend time with Sidney in his home several
times. We have enjoyed being together and talking over old times and the
fun we had as kids at home. I am sure if our mother knew of the love and
friendship between the three of us, she would be pleased.
I want Sidney and his family to know he won the respect and admiration
of the whole Wyatt family for the life that he has led, his
achievements, and the things he has accomplished in his life. He has
been a great influence for good in the lives of my children, as due to
the closeness of our families, they have come to look upon him as a
second father, especially to Violet and her family who have lived near
him since 1946.
Violet W. Holland
July 24, 1977
MY BROTHER SID
By Violet Leavitt Wyatt Holland
At writing poetry, I make no claim, though it bugs me now and then,
For after meditating, I’m apt to take a pen
and put my thoughts on paper and I try to make them rhyme.
This time it’s about Sidney, you, know, that brother of mine!
I wish I were a Longfellow, a Whittier or a Poe
so I could do him justice, for I want the world to know,
That I and all the Wyatt clan, both kith and kin,
Are glad to call him brother, ‘cause, we’re very proud of him.
Sid’s education started in Greenville, same as mine,
In a one room school, attended by each Wyatt down the line.
Reading and writing and arithmetic was taught by the ‘Golden Rule’
But the hickory stick that backed it up, made learning might fine.
Sid started school when six, with older kids, ‘who knew it all’ and
could even read a book!
Bigger kids and little kids are always hard to mix, for someone’s eyes
are on you, not matter where you look.
Growing boys have funny ways of loving one another, (even if he is a
They ran from him and teased him, all through his tender years.
When he was just a tag-a-long, and couldn’t quite keep up.
They made his life a misery, with fewer smiles than tears!
While, ‘The Boy Stood on the Burning Deck’ and ‘My Sister Will Be Down
in a Minute’, are the verses others said,
Sid’s first book, a ‘Primer’ was way over his little head.
He’d try, then he’d cry. But, he knew not a word, so he drug it around
by the end of a string.
‘Til, in frustration (or hunger), he devoured the thing!
He chewed on the corners and wore it down thin.
There, little by little, it digested in him.
It got in his bloodstream and the pores of his skin
And by the time it was gone, it became part of him.
It strengthened his sinuses and grew in his bones,
From the top of his head to the tip of his toes.
It creates in him, really early in life, a yearning
And burning desire for learning.
In the work on the farm, he did his full share,
As did everyone else, for no drones ever lived there!
Emergencies many and obstacles galore,
Were snares to entrap him, but, we would find mother there.
Sleeves, rolled to the elbow and a light in her eye,
If you doubted her purpose, just let anyone try
To stop the progression of an ambition so fine,
It couldn’t be killed by discouragement or time.
So, she went to bat, for Sid’s education.
Her, ‘Fair Haired Son’ some chose to call him
(Though, she would have done the same for each one.
For her love was not divided, each one had it all).
Sid always attacked his farm work, like a steam engine on track.
He put his weight into it and never once held back.
The noises he made as he puffed through his lips,
Was just escaping, bumbling air, but the only thing to equal him was
‘Old Pet’, Tom’s broken winded mare!
Sid’s senior year of high school was in Rexburg,
At the Ricks Academy,
Where he lived with our Sister Sadie,
And added height to his anatomy.
It was there that he first met Velma. He loved her from the start.
Many true friends and fond memories, they shared, together,
When he was a Senior in high school and she was ‘Peg of His Heart’.
You need not be a poet, or have an imagination great,
To get a real live picture, of a ‘big bay stallion’ prancing and
trumpeting down main street.
Many a stout heart stopped and quivered, as it lost its regular beat, at
the sight of that beast jumping sideways, toward his team and rig in the
It was only, our Sid doing his homework, as he perched with a couple of
pals, on the back of that, ‘huge, old side-winder.’
(His courage was not lost on the ‘gals).
With his diploma in his pocket, he returned to us that spring.
He waded into the work at hand, with newer zip and zing.
But, his health was frail that summer. He grew too fast, Ma said.
That nose of his gave us trouble, for, many a time it bled!
His eyes were on college, where he vowed he would go, come fall.
Then, there came a letter. In the corner was marked, ‘Box B’.
It needn’t be opened to know he’d received a Mission Call.
Shattered were his cherished plans. His dreams took wings to fly.
He couldn’t, no, he couldn’t throw them all away.
So, carefully he gathered and gently laid them by,
With a solemn promise that at some future day,
He would continue onward, in the school of higher learning.
A goal for which his heart and soul had ever had a yeaning.
He had his humble spirit, way back there in his teens,
So, he never thought of saying, “No”, to Bishop, Church and God.
To the British Mission , he was called. “I’ll go where you want me to
go, Dear Lord, But, Please, not to the Irish sod”!
He bled across the nation, as the train sped on it’s way.
This frequent purge persisted, once or twice a day,
Until he reached the ocean and was dampened by it’s spray.
Then, he felt renewed and strengthened, as Ma always said he would,
When he got rid of that, ‘bad blood’, if he only could.
Now when he reached Old England, they didn’t want him there.
They handed him a letter, that told him where to go.
Twas the place that he had dreaded, but no one seemed to care!
So, he crossed the Irish Sea, with a sad and heavy heart.
But, soon it was lightened and his soul began to sing,
“Dear, Lord, with contrite spirit, my thanks to you I bring”.
He loved the Irish people and that Emerald Isle, so far,
With it’s colleens and it’s Irish Jaunting car!
Every mission is sunshine and shadow.
But, Sid’s had more shadow than most!
He came through the fiery furnace and never faltered at his post.
One morning bright and early, he left his room for bread.
He hardly knew what happened, as bullets about him sped,
A man, a few steps before him, on the path fell dead.
‘Twas the start of the Irish Rebellion. It lasted for many a day.
Then, he contracted that terrible disease, Influenza.
It left him shaken and weak.
Before he fully recovered, he showed what it means to be brave,
For, he rolled his sleeves to the elbow and was a mortician, preparing
the dead for the grave.
He had a premonition, something was wrong, but he had no clue.
Then, he received a cablegram. On, October 17, 1918, his sister, Myrtle
had died . . . of the flu.
It was then, his faith was tested and he grew from a boy to a man.
For his companion, sickened and died. It became his duty, alone,
To send the sad word to his parents and return his body in a box.
Arnold Holland came from England, to have Christmas with a pal,
To help ring down the curtain and they had a little fun,
For it was a joyous occasion, Sidney’s mission work was done.
Together, they left Ireland, and from England’s shores they parted.
They waved, with mixed emotions, for Sid’s ship was homeward bound!
Almost four years they’d kept him, then a letter came that said,
He was soon to be released and he’d sent his trunk ahead!
There was plenty of excitement in Wellsville, one afternoon.
Sid’s trunk was at the depot. No one expected it so soon.
When I gave the news to father, he wiped a tear from out his eye,
Then, walked down to the depot, to make sure it was no lie.
He fought with his emotions, as he stood with hat in hand,
Just looking the that steamer trunk, so fresh from Ireland!
Then he hastened home to mother, with her to share the joy,
Of knowing very soon, They again would have their boy.
Lest he, like his truck found no welcome, as he stepped from the street
car or train.
Our family met all the time schedules, until, it finally became quite a
Then came a card, postmarked, ‘Chicago’, telling when to expect him and
He had been visiting the rambling stockyards there and the huge Sears
and Roebuck Store.
After due consideration, weighing pro’s and con’s,
Wilford gained his heart’s desire, with a promise to take care,
With more money in his pockets, than he’d ever had before,
He was off to Salt Lake City, to meet a brother there.
Time and place can make strangers of brothers, that is almost, but not
While, waiting in the Church Office Building, cautiously trying to keep
out of sight,
Wilford came forward and circled slowly, while uncertainty, held him in
Then he knew for sure it was Sidney, when he saw the wart on the back of
Father was ready for Church bright and early,
‘Twas Stake Conference in Hyrum that day.
Sid was to report to the people, his mission .
Mother, always quiet, pale now, had nothing to say.
Sid, so handsome and tall, stepped forward and took his place at the
Ma’s kerchief gave a quick little flutter and her fingers crumpled it’s
Then he spoke. . . so sincere and so humble,
A look of pride and thanksgiving, lit up our dear mother’s face
A good teacher is a product both of in-born talent and love of
people; of a willingness to learn and grow along with students. He must
have traits of leadership which inspire confidence in and a willingness
on the part of others to follow his lead. In fact he must be, or seem to
be, an embodiment of that great store of knowledge and virtue for which
the learner is seeking.
Children love to go to school. To learn. It is a thrill for them to gain
new concepts. How often have I seen the face of a child light up when
his expanding mind first understands the principle of long division or
the artistic beauty of the sonnet. One time as I taught a class in
algebra a girl student was studying the principle of adding signed
number. She said: “Mr. Wyatt, you take two number and add them together
and get the answer which is smaller than either of the number you
started with, silly I calls it!” But later after much effort and
absorption of the principle of cancellation she finally could see how
the principle worked and she was thrilled with her great achievement.
From her point of view she was the first student to make this great
When children enter school, they go with the desire and expectation that
their teacher is all wise and good and able. Next to parents–and often
before parents–they are the greatest force in forming the character of
the child. Because of this broad spectrum of responsibility the teacher
should be learned, he must be of high moral character; fair and firm in
his dealings with others; wise in understanding the workings of the
exploring mind; tactful in dealing with parents and the community;
willing to put in many arduous hours beyond that prescribed for a days
work–because teaching–well done–is hard work. Dedication of ones time,
talents, and life itself is required of the successful teacher.
My teaching experience began when I was about ten years of age. We had
housed in our one time creamery a group of Japanese sugar beet workers.
There were about a dozen of them who lived in the upper part of the
building. They cooked their rice and other food on a fire on the ground
below. During the day they worked in the beet fields of neighboring
farms, as well as ours. Most of these men were young, some still in
their late teens. Two or three of these younger men were anxious to
learn to read as well as speak English. They ask me to be their teacher.
I was glad to accept. After the evening chores were done, I would go
over to the creamery and together we would sit under the huge black
willow trees and read those well illustrated books. They made very good
progress. One question they asked–which I well remember–was to explain
the meaning of the word “beautiful”.
My rather extended missionary stay in Ireland gave me some valuable
training as a teacher–for missionary work is primarily teaching. It was
in Dublin that I faced my first class. The Branch Sunday School was
divided into two classes: Parents and children. In the class assigned to
me were about twenty young people. It was necessary for me to devise my
own course of study and methods of teaching. As there were a number of
teenagers and a number of young children, I had my work cut out to keep
them all busy and learning. The older children were assigned to write
papers on individual projects such as the Word of Wisdom, The Power of
Prayer, The Law of Tithing, etc. They did some impressive work. I still
have some of the essays they turned in.
Almost immediately after my return to Wellsville from Ireland, I was
assigned as Superintendent of the Ward Sunday School. There were about
thirty five officers and teachers. We decided that a course in teacher
training would be a help in our work, so we met for an hour once a week.
I served as class teacher. This was a real joy for me. I am sure that it
helped to inspire the efforts of all concerned.
My first professional teaching was at the Wellsville Junior High School
in the fall of the year 1922. The school was held in the old building
where I had done my grammar school work, and later had been used to
house the first three years of high school work in Wellsville before the
South Cache High School was opened in Hyrum. It consisted of six
rooms–three on the ground floor and three upstairs. The faculty
consisted of three teachers, Reese Maughan, the principal: my cousin
Carol Wyatt, who taught Home Economics; and myself. The ninth grade had
two sections, the others one each. My principal assignment was to teach
Biology, four periods each day. I also had eighth grade English and Utah
History. I was fairly well prepared for Biology as I had taken courses
in Botany, Physiology, Agronomy, and Animal Husbandry. The History was
no problem but the mechanics of English kept me busy. My two years of
teaching in Wellsville were of great value in my training. I was
carrying a heavy load of work at college and my teaching was a
laboratory for experimenting.
For continuity of my story I mention again an event, which seemingly
trivial at the time, was to have a great influence on our future. It was
during the second year of my Wellsville service that each of the newer
teachers were given two days leave so that they could observe other
schools and teachers. As my friend Rulon Maughan was then principal of
the Wilson School in Weber County, I opted to visit in the Ogden area.
The first day I visited schools in Ogden City. That night I stayed at
Rulon’s home and on Friday, I visited his school. He taught a class in
Biology. As a jest, I said to him, “Let me show you how a class in
Biology should be taught”. He invited me to go ahead. I had just gotten
underway and was enjoying myself when the Weber County Superintendent of
schools, B.A. Fowler entered the room. It so happened that Mr. Fowler
was one of my former high school teachers. He sat through the class and
then chatted with me afterward. He ask if I had ever considered applying
for a position in the Weber District. Well the thought had not occurred
to me before then; but I had decided that my future in Wellsville was
limited and I also wished to enter the field of administration and
become a principal. So I told Mr. Fowler that I would consider a
principalship. He asked me to send in an application. This resulted in
me signing a contract for the Harrisville school for the year 1924.
I have always felt that a teacher in order to be of maximum service in
the community should live in and be part of that society. For this
reason Velma and I have been willing to live in houses that were not
adequate to our needs so that we could be near to the people we served.
The house we lived in in Harrisville the first year had but two rooms
and a basement, but it was close to the school and we were part of the
community. We attended Church and took part in its activities.
There was no playground equipment at the school. I led a drive and
raised funds to install swings, slides, teeters etc. We even had a May
Day celebration with May pole, May queen, and dancing, patterned after
the celebrations in Wellsville. I taught my first class in Algebra where
I learned more than my students–I have written of this before–I learned
a good deal of English. I think I proved to the school administration
that I could take care of a larger assignment than this four room
The Riverdale school had special problems for a number of years.
Teachers came and went. Several principals had been forced to resign
because they had been “kicked out” by the students. To compound the
problems the legislature had just passed a law which required the
attendance of all children until they reached the age of eighteen years.
This meant that quite a number of drop outs would now be forced back
into school. To enforce this law the district appointed an attendance
officer, Alf Stratford, who patrolled the county–he carried a six
shooter under his coat–and attempted to enforce the attendance law.
Riverdale was the city perhaps most effected by this law. When the
Superintendent ask me if I thought that I could handle that assignment I
realized that I faced a real challenge. If I failed, as will I might, my
entire future as an administrator would be in jeopardy. ON the other
hand I felt that I was able to meet the challenge. So I told him that if
he would support me I would like the assignment. The first year,
especially the firs5t few months, were pretty hectic. IN my first group
I had three young men who later committed murder. In my discipline I was
severe. At that time our six weeks report to the general office required
that we report the number of cases of corporal punishment. I usually had
to report more than thirty. ON the other hand I strove to be fair. I
went out of my way to enter into activities with the older boys There
was no running water at the school. We took our shovels and dug a trench
about a quarter of a mile long to a spring, laid a pipe and had our
water. I organized a school baseball team, coached the boys and won the
County Championship six of my eight years in the school.
My bouts with some of the parents were rather lively. Two examples.
Hector Anderson, an over weight teenager had been kept in after school
and punished. He went home bawling to his mother who lived nearby. I was
alone in my room still seething with anger when his mother came storming
up the stairs. She burst into the room and shouted: “I want to know.”
Now Mrs. Anderson was quite a sight. She was over weight, her hair was
in disarray, her shoes were unlaced, and she was angry. I turned on her
and roared, “Sit down.” As I pointed to a seat she stopped in mid
sentence, her mount open. I continued–“You’re going to know.” Meekly she
sat while I told her what had happened. During this time Hector peeked
his head around the door but hastily withdrew when I shouted at him to
get out. The outcome was that Hector got a good whaling from his mother
when she returned home. And I had made two good friends. Hector was
later a good chef and made excellent pies.
Another problem was with my–later–good friend Dickamore. He was a huge
man and very set in his ways. Part of the school health program was to
have the first graders given a physical examination. To accomplish this
the little boys removed their shirts. During this process the Dickamore
boy got the wrong shirt. His dad came to school in a rage. I tried to
reason with him but he only ranted the more. At last I had taken my fill
and demanded that he get out of my office and out of the building. He
was surprised that a mere school teacher should stand up to him. “What
if I don’t”, he said. I replied: “You’ll find out.” In my rashness I had
a spot on his chin picked out where I intended to put my 160 pounds
behind my fist. I knew he could murder me, but I had entirely abandoned
reason. To my surprise and relief, he left without another word. He
later came and apologized, and still later helped to build my house.
To show the attitude of the community toward the school; at the first
P.T.A. meeting, the presiding officer–after the opening exercise–asked
the assembled parents . . . . “Are there any of you who have complaints
about the school or any of the teachers.” That didn’t ever happen again,
and wasn’t further pursued in that meeting. I explained the real purpose
of P.T.A. and also the proper time and place for complaints.
At the close of my first year in Riverdale there had been a complete
change in the community attitude. The parents circulated a petition,
which was signed by nearly everyone concerned, asking the Board of
Education to return not only the principal but the entire faculty for
the coming year.
The eight years we spent in Riverdale were among the happiest and most
profitable of our lives. We became deeply involved in community life;
church, dramatics, etc. We even joined the church choir. Velma became
involved in Primary work, we were very happy there. Two of our children
were born there. Mary Ann–our fourth daughter and our son. When Sidney
was born, our fifth child and first boy, the entire community joined in
our happiness. We left Riverdale having a host of friends, and as far as
I know, no enemies. The school was one of the most respected in the
While in Riverdale my interests in education had centered in a love for
the teaching of English. In my studies, I specialized in this field, My
enthusiasm for the subject perhaps was contagious and was caught up by
my students who apparently were outstanding when they attended Weber
County High School. As a result I was invited to leave the school I had
learned to love so much and assume the responsibility as head of the
English department at Weber High. Superintendent Wahlquist, in
proffering me the position, among other things, said to me: “You have
done all you can for this school. In the years you have been here many
of its problems have been solved. Now there is need for an organizer and
director in the English Department at the high school”
When the school year began in 1934, I was ready to institute a new
program at Weber High School. I had spent the summer in writing a course
of study and a detailed outline for each of the grades, selecting text
books and designating times and materials to be taught. In this way I
hoped that all necessary materials would be covered an no gaps left
untaught. Fundamentals in grammar, composition, spelling and penmanship
were stressed. Literature, which occupied about half of the time of each
course was assigned so as to cover all fields; essays, short stories,
novels, poetry and public speaking.
We hoped to improve the rating of our graduates when they took college
entrance tests. It had been disappointing.
My teaching at Weber High School was an endless joy. There was never any
problem of discipline. My students were mostly seniors. In addition to
our regular academic work we organized a literary club, started the
literary magazine Scripto, began publishing a school paper, held inter
class debates, staged plays, etc. We conducted classes in Journalism,
Business English, Public Speaking and Debating. During this time I
served as president of the district’s teachers association and attended
the National Education Association as a Utah Delegate in Boston. I also
served as president of the English Teachers of the State in the U.E.A.
The new Wahlquist school, built in Farr West was opened in the fall of
1942. It replaced the schools of Marriott, Harrisville, and Farr West
which were now consolidated. All pupils came to school by bus. The land
on which the school was situated was mostly clay. There were no trees,
no grass, no shrubs. The student body consisted of grades one through
nine. When school opened the building was not completed. There was much
to be done to change this raw material into a home for education. As
principal I also taught half time. We went to work, planted grass–to
help keep mud out of the building–shrubs and even some flowers–after a
few years I was transferred to the North Ogden School as principal where
I served until 1950. This year the junior high school unit was set up as
a district organization with Wahlquist designated to serve the 7, 8, 9
grades in the north part of the country. I was assigned as principal and
began for the first time to be a full time administrator. During this
time I became involved in junior high school planning on the state
level. I also directed and participated in experimental work on a
district and state level. Our school received considerable attention for
innovations we had made. This was a period of my teacher growth in which
I participated in many activities which broadened my horizons and
prepared me somewhat for the great challenge which was still to come.
Of my responsibilities in organizing, directing, and supervising the
Church School in the islands of the South Pacific I have already
As my retirement neared, Velma and I discussed our future. I felt
that I was not ready for the rocking chair, nor were we in a financial
position to get along without some income. My teachers retirement would
amount to $96.00 per month. We had talked to Ed Berrett, Velma’s cousin,
who was an assistant to the President of Brigham Young University and he
had encouraged us to apply for service in the Church Schools of the
South Pacific. This we did and after an interview with Dr. Cook, who was
executive director of the Pacific Board of Education were given a
contract. The day we decided to accept the offer, I signed the contract
and gave it to my secretary, as she left for home to be mailed. I then
opened my day’s mail, which I had been too busy to attend to before and
found an offer from the Brigham Young University to teach in the
graduate school. It was too late to consider it as my contract for the
Pacific Schools was gone.
Purpose of the Schools in the Pacific
Under the leadership of President David O. McKay, plans were made to
bring new opportunities to these Polynesians who are members of the
House of Israel. I’m sure there were very few people who realized the
far reaching effect the fruition of these plans would have.
The first phase of the plan was to provide good schools in the various
islands, where leaders would be prepared for this people, to fit them to
compete and integrate with the Pakeha, or white people.
The second phase was to provide places of worship that would dignify the
church. Chapels, equal in beauty and utility to the finest in Utah were
to be built in the cities and towns.
Third, a temple was to be built in New Zealand in order that the
Polynesian people would have all of the spiritual blessings of the
To accomplish these goals the Church established the Pacific Board of
Education with Wendell B. Mendenhall as president. As Brother Mendenhall
was Chairman of the Church Building Program and was given almost
unlimited discretion in carrying out President McKay’s plans, the
development of the building program was rapid. Many supervisors were
called by the Church as labor missionaries to go to the islands. Local
Polynesians were called as labor missionaries by the hundreds. The work
went forward with a missionary zeal.
The Church College of New Zealand is situated near Hamilton. It’s
buildings are modern. Of necessity, like other schools in the Islands,
it is a boarding school. Students come from near and far. A primary
purpose of the school is to prepare its graduates for leadership. The
schools are primarily staffed by administrators and teachers sent there
after being carefully screened, not only as teachers but as exemplary
The plan is to take these young people–boys and girls, at about the age
of twelve and keep them until about the age of eighteen. The Church has
control of them for twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. They’re
given a good academic training, and in addition they are not only taught
the gospel but taught to practice the Gospel. They have experiences in
ideal priesthood organization, sacrament meetings, Sunday Schools,
mutuals, etc. When they are graduated they are ready for service, and
this service is really needed.
When the Maori boys and girls first come to the Church College many of
them are poorly prepared for secondary school work and are terrified by
what lays ahead of them. A great number read and write poorly.
They are first fitted out with school uniforms, one for school wear and
one for formal wear. They are assigned to dormitories under supervisors
who supervise them carefully as to cleanliness, attendance at classes
and church services.
After five years in school they have made tremendous progress. When they
were so shy on entering the school that they would turn their backs to
the class to recite, now they are ready to compete with the Europeans.
They have of course matured physically. They have developed self-respect
and have acquired ease and grace in social life. The boys have advanced
in the Priesthood–many of them are now Elders. Most of them have held
some office in an auxiliary organization. Speaking in public has been
developed. The brotherhood of man, which the gospel has firmly
established in their lives gives them a feeling of equality with all
As the Church has grown so rapidly, the school is supplying officers and
teachers for the great demand in the new stakes and wards.
When we arrived at Temple View in New Zealand I was assigned as head of
the English Department, the Art Department, Homemaking, and Industrial
Arts. So I had a great deal of planning and executive work in addition
to a full load of teaching. The fact that I had done a good deal of
experimenting in the schools in Utah with the core and teaching team
methods caused some interest in the administrative council of the school
to find out more about the methods with a view of adopting anything that
seemed promising. In April I was a authorized to go ahead with the
project and be prepared with a demonstration.
The School Council
Excerpts from a letter written by Velma to the children at home, May
1, 1961. “Last Thursday evening Daddy and I were ready to go to the
temple session starting at 6 p.m., when a knock came on our door and I
opened it and it was Brother Mendenhall. I was real surprised to see
him. He came in and sat down. He started to ask Daddy a few things so I
started to leave, but he ask me to stay. He asked Daddy to be on the
Administrative Board of the school. It consists of five members, the
school principal, vice president, treasurer, farm manager and Daddy.
They are also members of the school advisory committee. Brother
Mendenhall told Daddy that the Pacific Board of Education had their eyes
on him and he had heard many fine reports of his work both in Utah and
here in New Zealand. This is a position all the teachers would like so
we were very happy to have the Pacific Board want him. He ask us if we
were satisfied with our present housing. When he was leaving he was very
kind and said: “You are a wonderful couple, we are glad to have you
here, and Brother Wyatt the Pacific Board have their eyes on you and are
watching your work closely.”
After my appointment to the school administrative council I was soon
appointed to the Advisory Council, which included mission and stake
presidents and other dignitaries.
When the Church College of New Zealand opened its doors for students
on the tenth of February 1958, the student body was composed mostly of
Maori boys and girls. Nearly all lived on campus. The girls dormitories
were on the east side of the administration building and the boys on the
north. Many of the original students were now leaving and the enrollment
When school began in 1962, we were disappointed. Enrollment was down
more. I was now a member of the Pacific Board of Education and felt that
the responsibility was mine. We were building new dormitories and the
ones we had were not full. President Wiser told me that he was afraid
that we had overbuilt, not only in dormitories but in the big new
library that would soon be completed. My response was that we should
change our method of approach. All we had been doing to further
enrollment was to give pep talks. The very idea of attending boarding
school was terrifying to the Maori. A boarding school was only for the
rich. We must be prepared to assume any financial burden that the
families could not pay. Also the Maori is very shy and needs someone to
help him make up his mind. The council accepted this plan. As I had time
between my visits to the islands, I spent much of it in recruitment. I
usually took Velma along with me. On one trip to Hawks Bay I registered
nearly eighty. Most of them arrived. One trip to the Northland I took
Antoinette with me.
“When Daddy talked about taking me with him on a recruiting trip to the
Northland, I suppose I visualized the scene with him speaking from the
pulpit to a well filled chapel of parents with their children. He would
extol the advantages of the Church College of New Zealand and give them
all the necessary information. Following this meeting he would meet with
those who were still interested and enroll them.
“The reality of the process was–Yes, he would meet with those who came
to the meeting (the Bishop or Branch President had contacted all parents
of school age children and asked them to come to the meeting), but more
often he met them in their homes, in the fields or wherever he found
them. At one time he even waded through a near flood to reach a home
where he enrolled three children. I’m sure he dug members out of the
bush who had no contact with the church for many years.
His approach came as a shock to me. He would greet the parents, sit down
with them, open an application form and begin to fill it out, beginning
with the child’s name. When he came to the financial arrangement, he
would begin, ‘You can give us your government child support allotment
_________.’ He would then determine how much more the family could
contribute then very matter-of-factly he would make up the difference
between what the parents could pay and the tuition with a church grant
which was very often much more than the child’s parents could
contribute. With that the child would be enrolled and daddy would be on
to the next one.
“Never once did he ask if they wanted to go, never once did he ask if
they could afford it, never once were they given an opportunity to
decline, and seldom did he say anything to try to sell the school, but
he left them feeling that they were important, that their children were
valuable, and that the Church really cared about them. Yes, recruiting
with Daddy was quite an experience.”
We filled the school and more.
The Pacific Board of Education
We had been in New Zealand more than a year and a half. We had
decided that at the end of the two years we would return home. I had
talked with President Weiser and he had reluctantly promised to ask for
a replacement. One day in August, I received a telephone call from
President Mendenhall, who was in Salt Lake City. He informed me that I
had been appointed to work with all the Church schools in the South
Pacific area, and asked me if I were willing to accept this new calling.
If so I was to meet with the Board in Hawaii. I told him of our plans to
go home soon and ask him if I might talk with my wife before making a
final decision. He said: “Of course, take all the time you wish, just
send me a cable tomorrow and I’ll see you in Hawaii.
“We will discuss your responsibilities when you arrive in Hawaii,
however, we should like to state that your responsibilities will be to
work directly with the Pacific Board of Education in administering the
activities and co-ordinating the curriculum for Liahona College, Church
College of Western Samoa, American Samoa and the Church College of New
Zealand and other assignments as the activities of these school relate
to the Church College of Hawaii.”
As Toni must return home to prepare for her work at Weber High School,
she and I traveled together to Honolulu. I was met at the airport and
taken to the Church College of Hawaii where the Board was to meet. For
two days we were in session discussing the problems of all the schools
in the district. As well as the plantations, the Polynesian Village
being built in Hawaii, the building program etc. I was amazed at the
vast number of activities that needed to be coordinated. I was treated
A letter was sent to the principal of each school by President
Mendenhall apprising them of my appointment. He wrote in part: “Brother
Sidney Wyatt has been appointed by the Pacific Board of Education as of
August 18, 1962 as Administrative Assistant to the Board in matters of
administration and instruction. Brother Wyatt is responsible to the
Executive Secretary and Chairman of the Board. While Brother Wyatt is
visiting in a particular school, that principal is to provide lodgings,
meals, clerical services, supplies and transportation. The Board had
been concerned for some time that we have had insufficient time with the
schools and have been unable to give the help we would like to have
rendered. The Board has expressed a full vote of confidence in Brother
Wyatt and has extended him the privilege of voting with the Board
whenever he is in attendance at our meetings. It is intended that
Brother Wyatt will travel continuously, spending time as necessary at
each school. Will you extend to him every courtesy you would extend to
any member of the Board.”
The Grand Pacific Hotel is near the beach in Suva and is really an
elegant place. It was here that I held a series of meetings with school
leaders from the Islands. In the Fiji Times of May 31, 1963 was
published the following “Conference of Mormons Underway. The Pacific
Board of Education of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is
holding an educational conference at the Grand Pacific Hotel, Suva. Mr.
Sidney Wyatt, Administrative Assistant is directing the conference for
principals, counselors, and English Department heads. Mr. Wyatt is also
an administrator of the Church College of New Zealand, at Temple View.
The administrators from New Zealand, Tonga, American Samoa, Western
Samoa and Hawaii are attending. Other in attendance are Mr. DeMonte
Coombs of the Pacific Board of Education, Mr. P. Dalton President of the
Tongan L.D.S. Mission, Mr. J.R. Casey a Fiji education officer and Mr.
B. Gucake, a lecturer at Nasinu Training College.”
Mapasaga was the chief harbor and town of the island of Tutuila and
Pago Pago was an American Naval Sation. The island and its people were
under the trusteeship of the United States. The other islands were under
the procterate of New Zealand.
Our school was situated several miles out from the town of Pango Pango
in the village of Mapasaga. A clearing had been made in the rain forest
and a beautiful modern school and chapel had been built. It required a
continuous effort to keep the jungle from reclaiming the clearing. The
school was still in its infancy and was having growing pains.
Rex Lee was the Governor of the island. I visited him in his office
several times to discuss school problems as they were affected by the
government. He was a member of the church, and although he was a former
missionary, was not active. Although his Church membership record was
held on the records of the branch, he never attended, in fact he was
antagonistic in many ways. Whenever he spoke of the Church he referred
to it as “your church”. Later I found out that he was born and raised in
Lewisville, Idaho and had been a pupil of Velma’s when she taught the
second grade there. He said, “yes,” he remembered his teacher Miss Ball.
A crisis arose at Mapasaga. America had begun to build schools on the
island and as a result many of our students were dropping out of the
Church school to attend one near their homes. Our principal, Brother
Puckett, was very discouraged and wished to resign. I told him that the
school was established by inspiration and that the Lord did not mean for
it to fail. I took the problem to Governor Lee and explained that we had
many boys and girls on the other Samoan islands for whom we had no
school facilities. I requested that we be given permission to bring them
to Tutuila so that they could have the advantage of schooling and so our
school could be fully utilized. He said this could not be done; if those
from Western Samoa were allowed to come to American Samoa they would
want to remain after they had finished their schooling because of the
American standard of wages and living, and would become a burden on the
government. He told me that there were already many young people from
Western Samoa living on the island that was causing a burden on their
schools. He said the problem of the school could be quickly be solved if
the church would turn it over to the government. My response was that
the Church didn’t build it for that purpose and that a way would be
During the summer vacation the government made a ruling that all
students attending their schools from Western Samoa, would be required
to pay a rather high tuition. Of course these people with little money
could not do this. The government had expected it would force them to
return to their own islands. Instead they came to our school. When I
returned for the opening of school I found that we had an overflow.
The teacher of religion, to the older students, invited me to visit his
classes and bear my testimony to the students. In doing so I read from
the eighth chapter of the Book of Moroni. I discussed briefly the
purpose of baptism. The remainder of the class period was utilized in
answering questions. It was a very rewarding experience. At the close of
the class I was surrounded by students who wished more information. Two
young men requested baptism. Similar experiences were had in three
separate classes that day. I later learned that of the large class I
visited only two were members of the Church. The others had come because
of the tuition fees required by the government.
I visited the mission president and suggested that he assign
missionaries to the school so that the systematic lessons prepared by
the Church for missionary work could be given to those who were eager to
receive it. Nearly all of our new students were baptized before the year
was out. This also opened the doors of many of their homes for the
Elders. Surely our schools have been great missionary institutions.
The Tongan island group was about six hours flying time from New
Zealand. The first stop was Nandi in Fiji, then to Suva, the capitol
city of Fiji, and from there to the island of Tonga Tapu, the main
island in the Tongan group. This is where “Liahona” our boarding school
was located. Tonga Tapou is a small island. As you fly in you can see
all parts at a glance. The landing strip is a pasture. The fire
department has its truck standing by as the plane lands and takes off.
The plane is a small one carrying thirteen passengers. Tonga has no
rivers. Culinary water is collected during rains. A long drought creates
problems. Most homes are built of palm fronds and reeds. The main town
Nukkuk’alofa has a population of about six thousand. The royal family
live here with their turtle which was given to them by Captain Cook.
They were given the name of “The Friendly Islands” by Captain Cook
because the natives allowed him to leave in peace. This was because the
native chiefs could not agree on how to cook him.
The natives are friendly and intelligent. This is especially a good
place for men. The women do most of the work, except cooking. The men
play games and rest. A low in Tonga required everyone to wear a shirt.
This was to cover their nakedness. Generally the law was obeyed even if
the shirt stopped above the waist. As with all the laws it was not
The Tongan government was very severe with the prisoners. Each morning
the would let them out of the hoosegow to work on public projects during
the day. They were suppose to report back at six o’clock. If they were
late they would be locked out and get no supper.
Tonga is a real paradise. The climate is warm but no oppressive. The
trade winds blow almost incessantly. The palm trees sway as they bend
into the breeze. The bread fruit trees are some of the most beautiful
trees to be found anywhere. Mango trees with their peach like fruit are
large. Papaya grows rapidly and furnishes a great supply of melon like
fruit. Taro and tapioca plants furnish much of the food supplies. On the
plantation adjoining the school was also a great variety of vegetables:
beans, cabbage, melons, carrots, etc. Then there were the lordly banyan
trees. The chief exports are copra, the dried part of the coconut and
Velma accompanied me on several trips to Tongs, including the first one.
I came this time primarily for graduation exercises and to help the
faculty prepare for the next year’s work. The graduation exercise were
impressive. After I had given the address to the graduates and was
giving the certificates, parents of the student would come to the
rostrum with gifts as their graduates received his diploma. When we left
the principal of the school boxed these gifts and shipped them to our
home in America.
We were guests of honor at the graduation ball–a group of students came
to our home and escorted us to the gymnasium. A young Tongan girl
performed a ceremonial dance of honor. It was a beautiful dance,
although some of the dancers had no shoes.
My first visit to Tahiti was soon after Christmas 1963. Velma and I
had accompanied the Maori singers to America. The school was under
construction and I was to see how they were getting along with it. I was
also to hire what teachers I could for the new school. I left Velma at
home while I was visiting here as well as other schools in the islands.
We met in Fiji for our return to New Zealand. While in Tahiti on this
trip, I stayed at the Mission Home with Tom Stone, the President, and
his family. We became very good friends. He gave me much help and advice
with my work; at the same time he often consulted me about the problems
he faced–and they were many.
To my surprise I found that the work at the school was practically at a
standstill. While there were two supervisors from America there who were
supposed to each have a crew of men working under him, the two men were
working together with only a handful of native boys assisting them. The
footings and most of the foundations were in but that was about all. The
date for the opening of school had been set for September. No one seemed
to have the authority to push the work forward. After consulting with
President Stone I called a meeting of the supervisors and President
Stone and authorized them to hire up to a dozen Chinese carpenters–they
could be employed for five dollars per day. I ask President Stone to
call as many labor missionaries as needed, as helpers. Also to rent
heavy equipment to move materials and level the ground. I stressed the
necessity for speed in the work. President Stone and the supervisors
were delighted. I wondered if my instructions “to do what was needed”
covered what I had done. When I met President Mendenhall and reported
what I had done he merely said; “Well, now I won’t have to make a trip
Dr. Oaks, of the board, had been visiting with me and he accompanied
Velma and me to Tahiti–the plane–Air France–was crowded and
uncomfortable as usual. Dr. Oaks told me that he thought I was foolish
not to travel first class and enjoy more comfort. I told him that I felt
that I should be as careful of the Church money as possible.
We arrived in Tahiti before daylight in a downpour of rain. We didn’t
expect anyone but a car from the mission home to meet us. We were
surprised to see the waiting room jammed with people. One after another
they came to see us, kissed us first on one cheek and then on the other
and then placed a flowered lei around our neck. We could scarce see
through the flowers. News reporters and photographers were there. A
write-up with our pictures appeared in the local paper. We were taken to
the Tahitian hotel a few miles out of town where we enjoyed the greatest
luxury in our four years in the South Pacific. Other members of the
Board were there. The hotel was large and in true Polynesian style. The
food was excellent. Entertainment in te evening, with Tahitian dances
was exotic. We stayed here for about ten days.
We arrived on Thursday. The dedication services were to be held on
Saturday. As there was not room for the program to be held inside, a
bowery for the speakers stand and visiting dignitaries had been
built–roofed with coconut palms and banana leaves. Chairs for the
audience were placed on the hard top in front of the school.
The rain that greeted us on our arrival Thursday morning continued
unabated through Friday–great concern was felt that the dedication
ceremonies would be rained out. On Friday evening, the Church members at
the mission, chapel and school met in fasting a prayer. When we went to
bed Friday night it was still raining hard. When we arose early Saturday
morning it was still raining, but preparations went forward for the
exercise. About nine o’clock the rain stopped. The clouds disappeared
from the sky as though brushed away by some unseen hand. When the hour
for the services arrived the sun was shining in a cloudless sky and the
only ones to get wet were those sitting in the bowery. The French
officials were very impressed and expressed a desire to have their
children attend. This is by far the finest school in the Society
My duties were to stay in Tahiti for a number of weeks to get the school
open and in smooth running order. President Mendenhall told me that we
might just as well stay at the hotel, but I was not used to such lavish
expenditures and felt that we should move out, while waiting for a house
we accepted President Stone’s invitation and moved to the mission home.
We had an air conditioned room, and enjoyed the association of the
missionaries. Later we were able to get a delightful house in the
country. It was fairly new. On our plantation we had coconut, bananas,
papaya, limes, coffee, mango, etc. We also had good neighbors but they
couldn’t speak English and we couldn’t speak Tahitian. We had a small
car and were able to do a good deal of driving about the beautiful
island. On the one road skirting the beach. Nearly everyone seemed to
have a bicycle or motor cycle. The roads had heavy traffic especially
We had several schools in Western Samoa, all of them on the island of
Upolu. Except for the high school near Apia and the elementary school at
Saniatu, they were day schools held in chapels. The missionary
headquarters was in Apia. We stayed there much of the time.
To reach Upolu, we took an air trip of about forty five minutes from
Pango Pango. The landing field was nearly twenty miles from Apia. The
drive to the school was along the ocean front. Nearly all the people on
the island lived in villages, spaced a mile or two apart, next to the
ocean. This was necessary because most of the island was mountainous and
thick with jungle.
I remember visiting one of the schools held in a chapel. These children
were an overflow from our secondary school in Apia. They had a sign,
“Welcome, Brother Wyatt”. Most of these children, about sixty in number
were not members of the Church but many of them joined during the year.
March, 1, 1962
Your wonderful letter came today. If we could only live up to what you
expect of us we would be near perfect people . . . which we are not. We
have a job to do and it entails quite a bit of responsibilityl. I think
that our influence is being felt here for the good. As we have always
tired to teach you, the work for the Church is not like working for
other interests–you do as you are told.
I still think that we will be called home sometime in the near future.
The Polynesian Village is to be dedicated in October and that’s a
possibility–we know it’s hard for you to do without us but you must know
how hard it is for us to be away from all of you. We are indeed thankful
for our work and to feel that these golden years of our life are not
being spent in a arm chair. Let’s all of us be patient and trust in the
goodness of our Father in Heaven. He knows what we want and I’m sure He
is answering our prayers–Maybe he is answering them with a “No” for the
present, but he has said “yes” as we pray for your preservation in life,
health, prosperity and family unity. Thank-you again so much.
In a way my work is easier than when I was a teacher–and much more
appreciated. I have a lovely office, a good secretary, I go and come as
I wish. I am just given my work by the Board in broad assignments and
left to my own devises.
My itinerary for the next trip is as follows:
Leave Auckland Tuesday 5 March 8:30 p.m.
Arrive Nandi Wednesday 6 March 12:15 a.m.
Leave Nandi Wednesday 6 Mar 9:15 a.m.
Arrive Suva Wednesday 6 March 10:50 a.m.
Leave Suva Thursday 7 March 7:00 a.m.
Arrive Tonga Thursday 7 March 11:15 a.m.
Leave Tonga Saturday 9 March 9:30 a.m.
Arrive Suva Saturday 9 March 11:45 a.m.
Leave Suva Saturday 9 March 3:00 p.m.
\ Arrive Nandi Saturday 9 March 3:45 p.m.
Leave Nandi Sunday 10 March 1:35 a.m.
Arrive Honolulu Sunday 10 March 9:35 a.m.
Leave Honolulu Friday 14 March 11:59 p.m.
Arrive Nandi Sunday 17 March 4:15 a.m.
Leave Nandi Sunday 17 March 4:15 a.m.
Arrive Auckland Sunday 17 March 5:45 a.m.
I will then be in New Zealand for about two weeks and then to Samoa for
about two weeks–then back to New Zealand for a short time, then your
mother will go with me for a longer stay at each school. I am working on
a course of study. This longer stay will probably be during the winter
months–June, July, etc. We are well and happy.
THE OPITI FAMILY
We had been in New Zealand for a few months. School was underway and
our life had settled down to more or less of a routine. With our new car
we had done some exploring of the beautiful country side near our home.
I was desirous to see what was further afield such as the seashore,
which was within easy driving distance. Sam Gordon, one of our American
teachers at the college, told me of a Maori family by the name of Opiti,
members of the church, who lived a Kawhia, a town on the west coast of
the island. A daughter of the family, Eva, was a student at the school.
I decided that on the following Saturday I would take my fishing tackle
and call on the Opitis on the chance of getting my first try at surf
casting. I got in touch with Eva, who was delighted to accompany my wife
and me to visit her home.
Early Saturday morning we started for Kawhia. Although the town was less
than fifty miles away we did not get there easily or quickly. Most of
the country we traversed was just being developed. The latter part of
the journey was over dirt roads, which wound their way over the country
side, mostly following the ridges of the hills. Even our Maori girl, who
was to be our guide, was of little help. This country belonged to the
Maniapoto tribe of the Maori and was the setting for the historical
novel, “The Green Store Door” by William Satchell
After a beautiful drive past that majestic mountain Paringia, made
famous in the above mentioned story, we came to the town of Kawhia, here
Eve asked that we stop and let her call her parents to warn them of our
coming. We then drove on to her home about three miles farther on.
We approached the Opiti farm home on a narrow dirt road which followed
the ridge of low hills which encircled the harbor. The house was a neat
white frame one surrounded by a garden and small orchard. Nearby were
the barns and other out buildings. From the gate to the house was a
distance of perhaps a quarter of a mile down a gentle slope through a
paddock where cows were grazing. Beyond the house was a rather sharp
rise for a hundred yards or so and then the grassy slope descended
rather sharply to the beach of Kawhia harbor not far away.
As we drove up to the home, Brother and Sister Opiti were waiting at the
door to greet us. They were middle aged people, and faithful members of
the church. Their two sons, John and Ugi were serving as labor
missionaries for the church in the extended building program then taking
place. Eve was their only daughter. Their home was modest, yet
comfortable and extremely well kept. One small room was set apart for
worship It was fitted with the church scriptures, facilities for serving
the sacrament, hymn books, etc. The room was kept closed except for
A word here about Eve Opiti. Sister Opiti, the mother in the home had
born two sons, John and Ugi, and was unable to have more children. A
sister of hers, who lived around the bay, had a large family. Knowing
that her sister desired a daughter and was unable to have one, she said
to her sister: “I’ll have a girl for you.” In due time she did just that
and the day the girl child was born, Sister Opiti took her home as her
own child. And when the temple was opened had her sealed to the family
along with the other children.
Family life among the Maori is close and binding, the oldest patriarch
rules. The grandfather presides over the families of his sons and when
his children are all married, he may, and often does, take into his home
one or more of his grandchildren as his own, thus preventing the
loneliness of living in a nest when the fledglings have flown. Maori
children are as much at home in the house of a relative as in that of
their natural parents, and it is not uncommon for a child to be raised
by its “Auntie”. One day I was visited in my office by a seventeen year
old girl who was faced by a problem: She had just learned that the
people who had raised her and whom she had always considered to be her
parents were in reality her “Auntie.” Her natural parents were going to
the temple–which had recently opened–for sealing their marriage and
their family. This girl was requested to join her natural parents, whom
she hardly knew, and be sealed to them. She said: “Brother Wyatt, my
real parents are the ones who have raised me and taken care of me all my
life. I am part of their family and I always want to be part of it. Am I
wrong in choosing them over my natural parents?”
After a get acquainted chat, Brother Opiti and I collected my fishing
gear and walking up to the crest of the hill, I had my first look at
Kawhia Bay, which lay below us. The entrance to the bay was some miles
distance. It seemed to be but a few hundred yards wide. Through this
channel the tides flowed twice each day. The shore of the bay was rimmed
most of the way by a beach of black sand. It was along this beach that
Sister Opiti rode her horse when the tide was low, to visit her sister
and do her Relief Society visiting teaching. The bay was several miles
across and on calm days reminded me of the proverbial mill pond.
When we reached the beach, Brother Opiti went to the out jutting rock,
which was under water at high tide, but was now on the sandy beach, wet
and glistening. Reaching into a cavity he brought out some oysters which
he proceeded to open and eat. As this fare was new to me, I declined his
offer to share.
His dinghy, a small row boat, was moored in shallow water and we were
soon aboard. Brother Opiti knew where he wanted to go and after rowing
for perhaps a mile and sighting carefully at landmarks on the hill he
cast anchor. He explained that it was here that the rising and ebbing of
the tide moved the food for the fish and we were most apt to find them
I had brought fish bait, frozen bits of fish, from the market at Kawhia,
and soon had set up my tackle. The water at this place was about twenty
feet deep. We made a good catch, mostly of a delicious flat fish
weighing from one to three pounds. There were two incidents which stand
out in my mind of that trip: One was when an extra large fish took my
bait and streaked away. I had a twenty pound test line on and did my
best to turn it. After a run, it freed itself. I had a large number two
hook and it was straightened out. He must have been a whopper; the other
was when I hooked onto something which was as solid as a log but it had
life and moved slowly towing the boat, after awhile it stopped and
Brother Opiti informed me that I was onto a stingray and that it had
settled on the bottom. Try as we could it would not budge and I had to
cut my line. I have often wondered since what I would have done with
this beast of the sea who had a deadly sting in its tail, and weighted
perhaps a thousand pounds if in some miraculous way had been able to get
it to the ten foot boat.
After this, I often visited the Opities and John would always take me
fishing. One time I remember well. We were far out on the bay when a
sudden wind came up. Soon the waves were coming in fast and high. It was
then that I appreciated the skill of this Maori with a small boat on a
rough sea. The waves were not all the same in size. He told me to tell
him when the big ones were coming. When they did he swung the boat so
that it climbed the side of the wave instead of meeting it head on;
otherwise I’m sure we would have been swamped.
At the end of our first fishing trip we returned to the house where a
good dinner was ready for us. After dinner we cleaned the fish. John
insisted that I take the fish with me, but he kept their heads from
which to make soup.
Before leaving we were given a quarter of lamb, several pounds of
butter, and vegetables. We were always welcomed into their home and they
The two Opiti sons were serving as labor missionaries. The church was in
the process of an expanded building program. When President David O.
McKay and other members of the General Authorities visited the islands
in the early sixties, it was decided at that time that the time for the
Polynesian people to be provided with better educational and religious
facilities. As part of this plan the people of New Zealand were to have
a boarding school where the Maori would not only have training in the
academic fields but also religious training and training in church
procedures and leadership. In addition, a temple was to be built to
provide its services to Polynesians and pakaha throughout the South
Pacific. And of equal importance, chapels were to be erected to serve
the saints who had been worshiping mainly in rented halls or Maori pa’s.
Similar building programs were planned for Samoa, Tonga, and other South
Pacific islands–except the temple.
Labor needed for that vast undertaking was to be furnished, in the main,
by church people called as labor missionaries. Supervisors, with special
skills such as construction, masons, plumbers, painters, were called,
mainly from Utah, to spend several years directing the work performed by
local workmen. A village was built, in what was later named Temple View
at the base of the hill, on which the temple was later built. Into this
village moved the Maori workmen. They were mostly young married people.
They had been called to serve as laborers for a period of two years.
While I was there many of them were serving their third consecutive
mission. The Church provided them with a home and their other temporal
needs as well as allowing them a small account of spending money. From
this labor reserve the men were organized into groups specializing in
various skills: cement workers were supervise by a skilled artisan,
usually from America, and so were brick layers, plumbers, painters, etc.
As there were a dozen building projects going on at the same time these
crews would move from place to place as their services were required. In
addition, the church had its own forest for furnishing logs. Saw mill
and timber plant for preparing and seasoning the lumber. The church had
its own plant for manufacturing furniture for these buildings–in
retrospect it seems almost an impossible undertaking, and perhaps would
have been had it not been for the genius and enthusiasm of Wendell B.
Mendenhall who, under President McKay, had a free hand in it’s
operation. His greatness, I think, has not as yet been appreciated. In
about ten years most of the construction was completed.; the beautiful
temple occupied the entire hill, surrounded by acres of spacious lawns,
and lemon trees, the village of Temple View with its homes for teachers
and supervisors, the spacious college with its modern facilities,
beautified with thousands of roses and other ornamental shrubs has
become an areas where not only church member rejoice but where all New
Zealand takes pride.
While the men worked on construction of buildings, many of the women
were busy with native arts and crafts which were to beautify their
buildings or to be used at the Polynesian Village being prepared in
Before we left New Zealand this great building project was nearly
completed. Nearly fifty chapels were dedicated. The European people no
longer looked upon the Mormon Church as a Maori Church. Missionaries
could, with pride, invite their investigators into our modern chapels. A
new era had begun. Stakes and Wards rose as if by magic.
The son, John Opiti, was a very likeable outgoing chap. He worked as a
labor missionary. He was also active in social and church activities.
Soon after we arrived in New Zealand I was assigned as first assistant
to Mark Matekingi, who was superintendent of the Ward Sunday School.
John was the second assistant. Although there was a gap of about forty
years in our ages, we became very good friends. One cool autumn day in
April, he and I went into the boondocks of King Country to hunt ducks
and geese. It was beautiful country mostly of native bush. Of course
there were the ever present sheep grazing on the hills. We bagged a
number of ducks but were unable to get any of the wily geese–who said
geese were silly–they seemed to be plentiful but always lit on hills
where their sentries easily could see us coming. We did get some turkeys
though. There are many wild turkeys descended from barnyard flocks. Hens
lay their eggs in nests hidden in the bush and when their chicks are
hatched they just kept hid.
As there are no natural enemies such as coyotes, and the weather is
never too cold, and also because there is an abundance of food they do
very well and quickly revert to their wild state and run and fly as well
as their ancestors in America did. We each got two gobblers.
Ugi was another sort entirely. To say that he was bashful was putting it
mildly. He also was a labor missionary and had many male friends. But
before the fair sex he was mute. A beautiful and talented Maori girl
decided that he needed assistance, so one day she cornered him and said,
“Ugi, I think it would be nice if you took me to the movies in
Hamilton.” Ugi hung his head and nodded. Not long afterward this was
repeated. This went on for some time until one day she said: “Ugi, I
think it is time for us to get married.” So they did. Marriage in New
Zealand must be open to the general public so these two Maori Mormons
were first married in the small chapel at the bureau of information, and
then they went directly to the temple for their temple wedding ceremony.
As the new bride had been my private secretary, I joined in their
happiness. As a secretary she excelled in typing and shorthand. She was
a good girl.
Who is a friend? Is he one of your close associates? Is he one whose
interests are like your own? Is he of your own age group? Is he one whom
you admire and trust and hold up as an ideal? Is he one with whom you
can confide, with whom you can relax and play? Is he one to whom you
wish to do a kindly service? Or is he one whose admiration and services
One would think that nearly everyone would have much the same concept of
what constitutes a friend. I have found that this is far from being the
case, this is true, in part, because of our different moral standards,
home background and ethical training. As a young school principal, I,
along with my colleagues were being given advice by our superintendent.
He seemed to be genuinely interested in our welfare and future
advancement in our chosen profession. He was talking about the
importance of friends to us in our efforts to achieve. Among other
things he advised us to choose as our friends those people whom we could
use as stepping stones in our upward climb; and he continued: “When they
have done for you all that they are capable of and can serve you no
further, sever your relations with them and look for others who can then
help you further on your way. I was shocked to hear from this
professional man who was my supervisor such a degraded role to be played
by ones friends.
To me friendship has always been a way of life of freely and gladly
giving of ones self for the joy of it. The mere thought of a reward for
doing a favor reduces these acts to a form of trade or barter. It is
true that any kind acts I have ever performed have resulted in joy and
happiness. The mere thought of reward for a friendly gesture robs it of
all pleasure and reduces it to a chore of drudgery.
All my life I have been blessed with a host of friends. I could write
with gratitude, of many but shall content myself by referring to a very
As a young boy, growing up on the farm, I was pretty much isolated
from all but the family. In the summer time there was little traffic on
the road passing our farm. What there was consisted mostly of horse
drawn buggies or wagons going from Wellsville to Logan or returning. In
the fall of the year there were many covered wagons of fruit peddlers to
our from Brigham ‘City. In winter time and especially during the rainy
season there was no traffic at all. The roads became a quagmire and it
was just impossible to travel them. Our only near neighbor was the
family of Uncle Frank Wyatt. Their first three children, who were all
older than I, were boys: Frank, Rob, and Ralph. These cousins were
always kind to me and I spent a good deal of time in their company. They
all liked to fish, and so did I. Most of our fishing was done on the
Little Muddy which ran through our pasture. As we could not expect to
leave work on week days we fell into the habit of going on Sundays.
One of the big thrills of my life came when I was about ten years of
age. My cousins were just home from attending the Brigham Young College
in Logan. They had all graduated from the District School and were
attending the B.Y. College for their high school work. It was June and
they were planning a fishing trip to Blacksmith Fork Canyon. Fortunately
I was allowed to go with them. The distance we traveled was about twenty
miles. We had a lively team of horses hitched to a covered wagon. We
made camp on the North Fork. This being the first time I had ever been
in the mountains, I was greatly impressed. I caught fifteen fine trout.
As time passed my hero worship of my cousins waned and new friends were
We were cousins and of the same age. From the time we were in the
sixth grade until I went to Rexburg to school we were inseparable. We
were partners in all teenage activities, and when we began to date and
take girls to dances and for buggy rides, it was always a foursome.
Oliver was not too particular who his date was so long as she was a
friend of my date. We felt that nothing could ever come between us. But
it did. We were separated for nearly five years. I had first gone to
Ricks Academy to school and then to Ireland on a mission, while Oliver
had quit school and later joined the army during World War I. He
returned home from serving his country soon after I returned from my
mission and we did our best to pick up where we had left off five years
earlier. On a beautiful spring day in April we climbed the Basin Hill
where we had spent so many happy days together as youngsters but the
magic had escaped us. True we were always friends and enjoyed being
together on occasion, but that close companionship was a thing of the
past. Probably we each had changed and in different ways.
In Wellsville, as I suppose in most small towns, there was a social
cleavage caused by the habit pattern of the group. In one group there
were those boys and girls who were considered to be on the rough side,
not bad, but they were the first to drop out of school. Sundays were
used for sports instead of church going. They were apt to experiment
with tobacco etc. I was very fortunate to be drawn to the other group.
Oliver Myers, Rulon Maughan, Preston Maughan, Edgar Williams, Carl
Leishman, Evan Murray and I were always together on Sundays as well as
many times during the week. We were always welcome in each others homes.
It would not occur to any one of us not to join the others in Sunday
School or Sacrament Meeting.
On Sunday after meetings our “gang”spent a considerable amount of time
just being together for the joy of it. There was always Basin Hill and
on through the basin to the mountains where in the springtime a
profusion of buttercups and dogtooth violets grew, where we could pass
away the time; or down to the Oregon Short Line Station and along the
tracks, either toward Hyrum on the east or Mendon on the north. Of
course we were not the only groups of young people to pass away the lazy
afternoons in this fashion. There was generally a group of girls of our
social group who went along by themselves or joined with us to make
things even more pleasant. There were also other groups, younger and
older. In those days there were not many options for entertainment on
Much of what little I have achieved in life I owe to the encouragement
and example of these fine fellows. Most of them achieved success in
their work in life. I have always felt that there is no influence in the
lives of young people as strong as that exerted by their friends.
The first year we lived in Harrisville was a pleasant and profitable
one for me. Among other things I made the acquaintance, which developed
into a life long friendship, of Milt. I was returning from a trip to
Ogden and had left the bus at the city limits, and was walking to our
home about a mile distant, when Milt came along in his car, of course it
was a Ford and painted black. In those days you could buy a Ford car of
any color you wanted, if you wanted a black one. It was a touring car
with side curtains to be put on in stormy weather, and a crank to start
it. We seemed to be kindred souls from the beginning and soon became
Milton had just returned from a mission to Japan and had a number of
interests he was following, including working for his father, who was a
road builder; starting and running a fox farm, investing Counter-Flo,
etc. We worked together in Sunday School, in a M.I.A. play, etc; and
when summer came he accompanied me to summer school in Logan and shortly
afterward when I moved to Riverdale as principal of the school Milt
moved in as a teacher.
Of course it was natural that he would soon join me on the fishing trips
to Idaho. I remember the first large trout Milt hooked and that trout
hooked him as a fishing enthusiast for life. We were camped at the
Osborn bridge in Island Park, Milt had developed a fairly long cast by
this time and could place his fly close to the target. He was wading
just below the bridge and casting his fly under it when he hooked onto a
big one. It was perhaps a half hour later and a hundred yards down
stream when he landed a five pound cut-throat beauty.
Usually when we went on these fishing trips there would be four of us in
the car, and more often than not, it was Milt’s car. Carl Green could
always be counted on to go. In fact one day we were packing to go when
the threshers pulled into his place to thresh his grain. But did Carl
stay and take care of his threshing? Indeed he did not. He left it for
his brother. Yet Carl never fished. He would help with the camp chores;
clean the fish I caught, but never buy a license or tackle.
When we would return from a fishing trip, we would divide the catch into
four piles and some one of us would point to a pile and say “Who’s
this.” And another one with his back turned would designate its owner.
John Q. Blaylock was often one of our group. He was principal of the
high school and an older man. No one ever fished longer hours or more
persistently, but he seldom caught a fish.
While we were spending the summers with Velma’s parents, Milton would
often come there. He was a confirmed bachelor but eventually he jarred
enough rocks out of his head and fell in love with my wife’s niece, Ann
Ball. They and their fine family have always been good friends.
It would be impossible for me to begin to list the friends I have had
assist me over years: at school, in the mission field, in my many years
of church service, in my family life, etc. But I would very briefly like
to add. . .
Arnold G. Holland
I first remember meeting him on the basketball court at Ricks
Academy. We had jumped for the tip off at center and I had accidently–so
he later said–pushed him in the face. He responded with a threatening
fist. I was grinning at him–so he says, and the incident ended by us
getting together after the game for a friendly soda. From that day
Arnold and I became life long friends. After school we were together in
the mission field. Later he married my sister Violet. We raised our
families closely together and lived closer together than either of our
Alfred Ball was one of the closest friends I ever had–even if he was
so much older than I. I first met him on that cold January evening in
1919. I had recently returned from my mission to Ireland and had come to
Lewisville for the purpose of becoming engaged to his daughter. I had
waited a long time for this happening and was impatient to get it over
with. Velma was not aware that I was coming on this day, so when I
arrived in Rigby by train, I arranged with a man at a garage to take me
to Lewisville. I intended to stay at a hotel. There was a place, a
Walker family, that sometimes boarded traveling salesmen, etc. and I got
a room with them. It was after dark when I arrived. There had been a
heavy fall of snow, but the snow plow had been along the paths and they
were open. I followed directions and soon approached the Ball residence.
I was not well enough acquainted to know that Velma was the youngest
child or to know that she and Irvin were the only children at home. When
the door was opened to my knock, I saw Velma for the first time in
nearly four years. She had just finished doing the supper dishes, she
wore a frilly bibbed apron. Her hair was piled high over her forehead.
Although somewhat flustered at my unexpected appearance she received me
with a warm handshake.
Her father was sitting in his arm chair near the kitchen range reading
the current issue of the Deseret News. At sixty-three years of age he
was slender in build and straight as a ramrod. He had a good head of
gray hair and a full set of his own teeth. In manner he was deceptively
quiet, giving an impression that he may be dominated by his “Jennie
Wren” of a wife. The facts were the opposite.
He was a man of strong will and fixed habits. His life had not been an
easy one. Emigrating from England as a boy, he had spent much of his
life as a tender of sheep in Tooele County, Utah. About eighteen years
before I met him, he had moved to Idaho as a pioneer. With the help of
his wife he had been able to overcome “Word of Wisdom” problems. He was
one of the most upright men I have ever met. He lived the gospel, paid
his tithing, sent two of his sons on missions, and helped to establish
all of them in business.
The first visit I spent with Velma was a short one. By ten o-clock I was
back at my boarding house, but I had left an engagement ring. The next
day, Velma was teaching school, I called on Brother and Sister Ball and
ask their permission to marry their daughter. Velma got a couple of days
leave from school and she and I went to Rexburg for a visit to Ricks and
a chance to become better acquainted.
I began to become better acquainted with Brother Ball soon after we were
married. We were visiting at his home during the time he was harvesting
fire wood for the coming year. There was a grove of cotton wood trees on
his land near a branch of the Snake River known as the Dry Bed. We would
cut the trees down, split them into rails and then Velma’s brother Irvin
would cut them into stove lengths with a saw powered by an old Ford
motor. I remember that the weather was very cold and as I drove the ax
into a frozen tree a large wedge of the blade broke off and ruined the
During the depression of the thirties, my family spent a number of
summer vacations from school with Velma’s parents. They seemed to be
glad of our company. Velma took care of the house work and I helped
Brother Ball with the farm work. He was perhaps the most particular
farmer I have ever known. There must be no weeds in his beet fields or
potatoes. Irrigation must be done perfectly. As he became older, I was
truly flattered when he contented himself to walk to the post office,
get the mail and sit in his rocker on the porch while I did the
irrigation. It was a real tribute to be so trusted.
Brother Ball and I had many fishing trips together. They were as
systematically planned and executed as were his eating habits. It would
begin on Monday. As Sister Ball was not always as enthusiastic as we
were about these trips, she was usually left out of the planning.
Brother Ball would get Velma aside and say, “Peggy, will you bake us a
bun so brown.” This was always a pleasure, and with a cake, bread and
some eggs from the hen house, we would add a slab of bacon and other
necessities. Tuesday morning early we would start for the South Fork of
the Snake River. I had a comfortable tent which we would pitch at
Calamity Point or Whiskey Run, or the Swinging Bridge. In any of these
places and more, there were beautiful groves of Quaking Aspen. In those
days, there was little traffic over the twisting dirt roads. Seldom
would you see another fisherman. Brother Ball would never fish. But he
greatly enjoyed being out in the wilderness. As I fished to my hearts
content he would cook the meals and gather a hugh pile of dry wood. When
supper was over and darkness closed round about us, we would sit by the
cheery campfire and he would tell stories of by-gone days– mostly of
sheep tales, and deer hunts. These fishing trips occurred almost weekly
during many summers. They were some of the most perfect days of my life.
When Alf Ball died I was parted from one of the dearest friends of my
Mary Ann Ball
My dear mother-in-law, Mary Ann Ball was one of my most appreciated
friends. It took us a little time to become acquainted, but she was
always my staunch supporter even when there had to be a choice between
Velma and me. As an example: Before we were married Velma was visiting
in Wellsville and on Sunday accompanied me to Sacrament Meeting. The day
was warm and the meeting was two hours long as usual. I was sitting with
my feet elevated on the seat ahead. I closed my eyes to rest them and to
meditate and as a result my foot dropped to the floor with a loud thump,
attracting some attention. Velma was embarrassed and later told her
mother about it. Sister Ball said, “Velma, that was all your fault, you
had kept the poor boy out so late the night before he was exhausted.”
That was a typical reaction of Sister Ball.
ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS ON FRIENDSHIP
In my assignments in Church or professional life, I have always felt
that the greatest good could be accomplished if I worked in harmony with
my co-workers. I also felt that as a school principal that I would
accomplish more if I lived in the school district where I presided,
become acquainted with the people, associate with them in religious and
other activities and lead them to feel that I was one of them. Both
Velma and I worked in Sunday Schools and M,I.A. Velma was always active
in Primary work. I coached the Farm Bureau baseball team in Riverdale.
Our children mingled with other children in their activities. There were
times when it was necessary to live in houses that were less desirable
than we needed, but in all it was worth it. I always hoped for loyalty
and support from my co-workers. In return I felt that I owed them my
full help and support. I often gave it to some of them when I felt they
were to blame, reserving the right to talk with them later.
Some activities that brought me closer to my teachers were to foster and
participate with them in producing dramas, having Christmas and
Thanksgiving dinners for the staff and friends, holding school fairs and
special community activities for raising funds for school improvements.
I felt that these activities gave the members of the staff a common
interest and brought them closer together. I always worked with the
Parent Teacher Association with the same philosophy in mind. I am still
of this opinion.
One of my friends and co-workers who assisted me at Wahlquist Junior
High School was Mercy Leddingham. I invited her to give her impressions
of the value of friendship among people working together. She kindly
submitted the following:
It is a happy privilege to work each day in an atmosphere of
friendship–of inspiration, cohesion, and of good will. Such was the
privilege of the faculty that worked with Principal Sidney L. Wyatt at
Wahlquist Junior High School in the 1950's.
Thoreau said, “The language of friendship is not words but meaning.” The
meaning of friendship at Wahlquist was deep and effective–being built on
respect and appreciation plus a sense of humor. Principal Wyatt set the
pattern that tied us together. The faculty caught his strong feeling of
respect–respect for self, for others, for decency, for knowledge, for
work, for property and most certainly respect for and appreciation of
competency. The contagion spread to the students and maintenance staff.
This cohesion was not a honeyed thing that robbed the staff of the
courage to believe in our own convictions, nor were we intimidated so as
to not dare express our feelings and beliefs. Principal Wyatt always
encouraged the faculty members to speak for themselves–not compromising
our principles. This we found easy to do. Not that we expected him to
always agree, but because our ideas were received with respect, and if
they were not acceptable, we were frankly told so–often with a touch of
humor. It most certainly is true that hard work and competency were
expected, and always–always–there was sincere appreciation for work well
done. Sidney’s attitude toward hard work and competency might well be
summed up by the saying, “You can’t reach the top by sitting on your
Principal Wyatt often said, “If you have a problem, remember that my
office is just down the hall.” Whatever the problem–curriculum,
students, or parents–he would say, “My shoulders are broad enough to
meet it.” And so they were–and also fair. We felt no need to hide our
problems or mistakes, nor any hesitancy to ask for suggestions. Mistakes
were considered to be opportunities to see a way to improve. We knew we
had a friend.
All this produced remarkable results. These attitudes were caught by the
entire faculty, effecting our relationship with each other. We shared
our mistakes and successes, our suggestions and humor. Knowing how each
thought, we were on firm ground.
Secure in friendship; we were aware of no harbored ill will, no behind
the back sniping, no unfair blame, nor jealousy of others for things
well done. We worked with friends and found joy in the work.
It’s true that “every path has a puddle” and that “fairy tales won’t
make flowers grow.” It’s true that disagreements were expressed
sometimes strongly, but in the atmosphere of respect and
appreciation–with touches of humor. Thus the faculty knew the joy of
friendly association, and knew (as Addison says) the “joy of being fed
fresh discoveries” and being “kept alive by a new and perpetual
succession” of “ideas rising up to view.”
Since our mistakes did not devastate us, we left school looking forward
to the rising sun, ready to return next day to try again knowing we
would find support, inspiration, and joy among friends.
My Friends Today
Most of the friends of my youth have left this mortal sphere where we
spend so short a time. I have had a host of friends in my profession,
their ranks are becoming thin. In Church work I have labored side by
side with many of God’s servants; so many have gone to a well earned
reward. My sphere of activities continues to narrow. So now many people
do deeds of kindness to me where formerly I was able to serve them.
My expanding family is a constant joy in the fine lives they are living
and the abundance of talents they are developing. Truly they are some of
God’s choicest spirits and promise to fulfill their mission in preparing
the kingdom for Christ’s reign on earth. They care for my needs with
devotion and love.
My neighbors are a source of continued happiness. I love them dearly. On
special occasions I am abundantly remembered by them. These are presents
I received from some of them for Christmases of 1974, 75, and 76.
Karen, Sidney, Vola, Reed Electric blanket
The Wyatt kids Box of chocolates
Scott and Pam Box of fruit and cheese
Katie and Chris Eight water glasses
Lynn and Carol Family picture
Katie Jar of licorice
Toni, Shirl Mail box
Helen Toolson Christmas pudding
Jean Welling Fruit cake
Relief Society Presidency Cake
Primary Class Tray of goodies
MIA Stocking of fruits and nuts
Danna Willie Decorated bottle
Harris family Cheese, honey, car
Violet and Howard Bowl of goodies
Bishop Willie and Wife Plate of caramel corn
Don and Mary Ann Shirt and tie
Guila Box of candy
Toolsons Homemade candy
Marva Chambers and Ione Crawford Cookie jar and cookies
Lynette Mayfied Family Memo Calendar, l can beef soup, 1 can tomato
soup, 1 can turkey, 1 can venison, 1 can chili, English leather lotion,
cake, scalloped potatoes, mashed potatoes, 1 can barbeque.
Lynette Mayfield and Marne Harris
(Made by Marianne Mayfield) Ginger bread house
Dana Willie Fern
Priest’s Quorum Basket of fruit and nuts
Denise Strom Christmas candle
Shirl and Toni Turkey
Susan After shave cream
Richard English Leather bath soap
Sidney, Karen, Family Saturday Evening Post subscription
Sidney, Karen, Family 2 pairs of socks
Sidney, Karen, Family After shave cream
Sidney, Karen, Family Candy
Sidney, Karen, Family Cuff links and tie clasp
Norma Willie Plate of cookies
Violet and Howard Plate of mixed goodies
Nichols Loaf of bread
Carol, Lynn and Melinda Stockings
Reed and Vola Slippers
Scott and Pam Marmalade and jams
The Harris family “Paul’s Life and Letters”
Vola Candied fruit
Guila and Allen Box of cheese
Mary Ann and Don Slacks
Mayfields 4 cans storage goods
Deacon’s Quorum Basket of fruit
Strawn family Box of fruit
Arnold Smith Elk roast
Kimberly Harris “I’m Ape Over You”
Ton and Shirl Turkey
Susan Writing paper
Richard Soap dish
Sidney, Karen and Guila Lounging robe
Karen Fruit cake, candy
The Wyatt Family 2 cans beets, “The Great Prologue”, English Leather
Al and Gayle Dried fruit, plate of candy
Vola and Reed Set of Club Aluminum pots and pans
Scott and Pam Necktie
Carol and Lynn Fern and holder
Helen Toolson Candy
Al and Gayle 2 cans beets, “The Great Prologue”
Brother Wyatt asked me to write down a few ideas about friendship,
but instead I decided to write about him, our very special friend. A
couple of years ago when my daughter Marnie was 6 years old, I ask her
who her best friend was. She answered, “I have two best friends. One is
Lynette and one is Brother Wyatt.” This is typical of the feelings of
all our family towards Brother Wyatt. In addition to loving and
appreciating him as a wonderful neighbor and respecting him as a great
person, he is our friend. And we cherish his friendship very much.
We have lived next door to Brother Wyatt for 3 ½ years and have enjoyed
every minute of it. The more we get to know him the more grateful that I
am that my children can know and associate with a man of his caliber.
His life is an example of everything I would like them to develop in
their own lives. His manners and courteousness have made a big
impression on our children. He is a real gentleman. And he is so kind,
so thoughtful, and so understanding. These qualities, in addition to a
wonderful mind and deep wisdom, make him much sought after for counsel
and advice when any of us has a problem. He has so much practical common
sense. He also has a terrific sense of humor which makes him a delight
to be around!
Two other qualities which we admire so much in Brother Wyatt are his
obvious inner peace and his deep spiritual strength. During the 3 ½
years we’ve lived by him he’s had two serious operations and some
associated illnesses and severe pain. Yet always he bore these problems
with tranquility and without complaint. We have been amazed at his
attitude and serenity. Once when he was very sick I asked him how he
could bear so much pain, yet never complain. With a twinkle in his eye
he said, “Well, if I thought complaining would help any, I’d try it.”
And his deep spiritual strength has been felt by our family many times
as he and Al have administered to me or one of the children. We rely on
him so much in times of illness or crisis.
Brother Wyatt is so kind and has such concern for other people’s
feelings. And this concern extends to children. When some new neighbors
moved in he was sending them some bottled fruit (which he generously
shares with family and friends, and neighbors on many occasions). One of
the children, a little 5-year old girl, was helping carry the fruit. As
she went out his back door, she dropped a quart of peaches on the cement
and the bottle splattered. Brother Wyatt’s only concern was for her
feelings. He didn’t care about the broken glass, wasted fruit or the
cleaning up he’d have to do. He got her another bottle of peaches and
reassured her that all was well. I happened to be out in the yard and
went over to see if I could help clean the glass and peaches up. Brother
Wyatt’s first words were, “Oh, I hope it didn’t upset her.” I think this
gives real insight into his character. He truly cares about others and
We have admired Brother Wyatt’s gardening abilities so much. Hardly a
day goes by in the summer that we don’t need to run over and ask his
advice on pruning, planting, spraying or harvesting. He is a real
friend, because he not only shares his knowledge, but often comes over
to demonstrate just how something should be done!
His generosity is another quality that we’ve been so impressed with. He
delights in sharing his fruit, his garden produce, his flowers, and
everything else he owns, with family, friends and neighbors. Although,
the neighborhood children love to visit with him not only because of his
kindness and sincere interest in them, but also for the banana, apple,
orange or piece of candy he always has for them.
We’ve been so impressed, too, with how Brother Wyatt keeps up his house
since his wife died (8 months before we moved next door to him). Several
times when I’ve commented on how clean and nice his house looked, he’s
said. “Well, Velma would want it kept up.” What a tribute to a departed
wife! I remember one time when we’d not lived here very long and Brother
Wyatt came over about noon and told me he’d just finished cleaning the
oven and it had taken him all morning. It was his first experience with
oven cleaning and he was amazed at how much time it book. As we have
seen him take over some of the responsibilities his wife had, refusing
outside assistance, our admiration for him has grown even greater.
Some of our children’s happiest memories are the meals that Brother
Wyatt has prepared for our family. He is an excellent cook and always
makes meals so special by decorations, nice tablecloths, favors, etc.
It’s always a time of excitement and anticipation when we’ve been over
to Brother Wyatt’s to eat. As an example, we were invited over for an
early Halloween supper. The room was decorated with orange and black
streamers, and the table was set with Halloween cups, napkins, favors
and name cards. We ate chili, cider, carrot sticks, etc. and finished
off with dozens of homemade donuts that his daughter, Vola, had helped
him make. What a memorable Halloween!
In January of 1975, I had viral pneumonia and was in bed for 4 weeks.
While I was ill, Brother Wyatt came over almost every day to inquire
about me. As I recovered enough to begin eating, he often brought along
a salad or something else he’d made. And when I was well enough to get
up, he told me I was too thin and invited our whole family over for
dinner. And he had prepared a feast! I think in one meal I gained back
the 10 lbs I’d lost. And he shows this same concern when any of our
children are sick or have surgery.
Another special occasion we had at his house was a surprise party he had
for our daughter, Kimberly, on her 9th birthday. His kitchen was
decorated with balloons and other festive things, and he had asked me
ahead of time Kim’s favorite foods, and he had prepared them all. Vola
had helped with the fruit salad and had made a beautiful birthday cake,
but he had prepared the pot roast, potatoes, vegetables (and a dozen
other things) himself. It was the best birthday party Kim has ever had.
But the most amazing thing to me is that a man in his 80's would (and
could) do something like this for a little neighbor girl. As I tell my
relatives and friends about Brother Wyatt and the things he does for
others, and most of all about the kind of person he is, they are as
amazed at him as I am.
As we have heard Brother Wyatt tell of his experiences when he was
Supervisor of the LDS Church Schools in the South Pacific for 4 years
(after his retirement), we have realized even more what a great person
he is. He faced many difficult challenges that only a man of his
caliber, with his great wisdom, practical common sense, high standards
and strong convictions could have met and handled so admirably. He was
loved and respected by all who knew him. Our family has spent many
enjoyable evenings hearing about, and seeing slides of, this period in
Brother Wyatt’s life.
When we were looking for a home several years ago, we did a lot of
praying and fasting. We know now that our prayers were answered in
several ways. Not only did we find a home that we love, but we were led
to Brother Wyatt. We have commented many times that living next to him
and having our children associate with him is one of the greatest things
that’s ever happened to our family. We’re so grateful for him, for his
example, for his kindness, for his love and concern. He has enriched all
of our lives in countless ways. We are thankful for this very special
Gayle Harris, July 1977
May 30, 1977
Today we had a birthday party. Five of my grandchildren’s birthdays come
very close together so it was decided to celebrate them all at a grand
Patricia Wyatt was 7 years old
Barbara Wyatt was 3 years old
Susan Weight was 6 years old
Richard Weight was 5 years old
Julia May Weight was 3 years old
Vola helped in getting and preparing the food, favors, decorating and
The house was decorated with blue and pink streamers and balloons of
many colors. There were party hats for the children–as well as noise
makers–which were freely used. Special place cards, napkins and dishes
were used. Favors were by each plate,
The menu was special: Hot dogs, potato chips, olives, root bear, etc. As
desert there was pink ice cream and cake. The birthday cake was a large
one and was decorated with 24 candles. There was one for each of the
total number of years for the five children.
After dinner, and several lusty renditions of Happy Birthday to us, Toni
led the children in games. Richard won the game of dropping clothes pins
in the bottle, and received a prize. Drop the handkerchief and several
other games were played. When it was over the children were asking for
Each guest went home with a birthday present: Sidney B. And Karen,
Antoinette and Shirl . . . . and of course Vola and I . . . . . It was a
THE LAST LEAF
When Velma left me so suddenly that warm summer evening, I knew there
were many lonely days and even more lonely evenings and nights ahead for
me. Yet in my grief at the great loss I had sustained I felt a sense of
acceptance of parting for a short time. During the past few years her
health had declined. She was subject to head aches which failed to yield
to any treatment we were able to obtain as we went from one doctor to
another. A broken ankle and other bodily aliments had made it difficult
for her to pursue the robust life that had been her want. I knew that
she would now be at peace. I had tried to make life comfortable for her
by taking over some of the household tasks. We both found pleasure in
taking frequent rides in our car, especially on lightly traveled roads,
and finding some out of the way café where we stopped for lunch. I’m
thankful for the memory of these years when Velma was more reliant on me
than she had been all through our married life. Her first thoughts had
always been for my well being. In her mind my service in the Church
always came before her personal pleasures, next came my success in my
profession. Before clothing for herself I must appear well-dressed. And
as I remember it, I always had to pass her personal inspection before I
left home–to see that I wore the proper tie, were my shoes shined, did I
need a hair cut.
Now during these last years of her life, while she continued to be
concerned about me, I was able to spend more time in thinking about her
needs. I was now retired and had few commitments which could not be
deferred. I took joy in helping with the house tasks and when she was
indisposed, to minister to her wants. It must not be assumed that at any
time that Velma was an invalid. She may have temporarily needed help
because of a broken bone, but she always of an independent disposition
and did all she was able for herself. She was always cheerful and
mentally alert. She appreciated everything anyone did for her. Never
once do I remember doing her a service, even as minor as bringing her a
glass of water but that she would say, “thank-you”.
One thing Velma dreaded most was the thought that she might become an
invalid and be a burden on others. I know that she often prayed that
when her allotted time came that she could go while she was still sound
of body and mind. Her prayers were undoubtedly heard and answered in a
Of great concern to her was my welfare. She knew how much I depended
upon her and how much I needed her daily ministrations. For this reason
she wished to remain here until after I had passed away. Well, this was
not to be, but her influence has remained. My children have been kind
enough to say that I do well in taking care of myself and my home. The
reason for this is simple. I approach each problem with the question as
to how Velma would have done it. She often said that you could tell a
home where old folks lived by its run down condition. It was for my wife
that I had a new front door installed, and many other improvements made.
So often I have felt her presence when decisions had to be made. Some
times it has seemed that she was only in the next room.
(These pictures were taken soon after we were married. We didn’t have a
honeymoon but returned to Wellsville and immediately began to harvest a
crop of sugar beets which were under a heavy layer of snow) Top: Velma
in the early morning. Right: Ready for the day to begin
Lower: Off to milk the cows.
I had long been a friend of the Holland family. Arnold had married my
sister, Violet. I had played basketball on the team with Heber, at the
Ricks Academy, and was very friendly with Dell.
Dell lived in Rigby, Idaho and was a member of the City Council. We made
it a point to get in touch with him when we went to Idaho.
One summer day I stopped at his home. I could see some activity in the
back yard so I walked around the garage and there he was, dressed in
white overalls with a painters cap on his head. His back was towards me.
He was stooped way over stirring a can of paint. As I had not seen my
friend for more that a year, I saw an opportunity to surprise him. The
target he offered was a great temptation. And as I can resist anything
but temptation, I stepped forward and gave him a lusty boot with the
flat of my foot where it would to the most good. To say that he was
surprised puts it mildly. He gave a jump and whirled facing me. To say I
was surprised put it milder. He was a total stranger.
GUILA WYATT TOONE
I am Guila Wyatt Toone Child.
The first years of my schooling I attended Riverdale, Mound Fort, North
Ogden, and Weber County High Schools. Then I went to what was then the
A.C. for two years.
At the end of the Second World War, I married Edward N. Toone Jr., who I
had gone to school with since I was in the seventh grade. We were
married September 12, 1946 in the Salt Lake Temple, after eighteen years
we were divorced. Six years later I married Russell K. Child and after a
short time we were divorced.
I had four children during the time I was married to “Ted” Toone.
Kathy was born June 17, 1946. Kathy is a beautiful woman, a good home
maker, and ambitious.
She met John Neyhts when she was a freshman at Weber State College. John
Neyts, was born August 13, 1946, in Den Haag, Holland. They were married
June 5, 1965. They have two children: Eric Neyts, born May 23, 1968 and
Amy Neyts born December 6, 1971. John works for Lincoln Supply and Kathy
is working at the Clearfield Job Corp. They are buying a home in Roy,
Edward Roland Toone
Edward Roland Toone was born April 30, 1949. Edward is a sympathetic,
solid, and loves his family. He served in the army for four years, which
his family is proud, and put in a tour in Viet Nam. He married Jo Ann
Clark in Florida while he was in the Army.
Jo Ann Clark was born January 30, 1951, married November 25, 1969. They
have two boys: Douglas Ryan Toone, Born February 24, 1972 and Rodney
Daniel, born January 7, 1975.
Edward works for Farmers Insurance, part time for Sunset Sporting Goods
Store, and also does some work for his father selling roofing and
siding. Edward and Jo Ann are buying a home in Hyrum, Utah. JoAnn is
expecting their third child in June.
Alan Gerrard Toone
Alan Gerrard Toone was born June 2, 1952. Alan is a lover of the
great outdoors, easy going and fun. Alan attended Snow College and Utah
State. He met Cindy McCoird while he was going to Utah State.
Cindy was born January 19, 1956. They were married August 29, 1977. Alan
is working for Wasatch Plumbing in Logan. Cindy is also working.
Kim was born January 31, 1957. Kim is loyal, grown-up for her age,
and also a beautiful woman. She married Paul Yannacone on June 11, 1977.
Paul Yannacone was born August 30, 1955. Paul is working for Wycoff
I started working when Alan was nine months old for Peerless Utah
Wholesale P & H. I worked there for sixteen years. When I married Russ
Child I quit Peerless and after two years I started with Crane Supply
Company and this is where I am working as of today.
WINFIELD CAMPBELL AND VOLA BALL WYATT CAMPBELL
While growing up in North Ogden, Reed and Vola attended the Pleasant
View and Farr West schools while a new school was being built in North
Ogden. They returned to attend that new school and then graduated from
Weber High School later on.
With the outbreak of World War II, Reed signed up to serve in the Navy
as a radio man. During this time Vola was attending Weber College and
preparing to teach school. She taught two years at Wahlquist. Reed’s
ship meanwhile, was engaged in navy campaigns throughout the Pacific
Ocean. At Okinawa his ship the “Calhoun”, a destroyer, was sunk and he
was able to return home on a one months survivor’s leave. Reed and Vola
were married in the Salt Lake Temple on May 25, 1945 during this period
After the ending of the war, Reed returned to North Ogden and they built
a home. During the years that followed Reed picked up some college
credits and worked in various phases of electronics. He has been
connected with communications in the Forest Service for many years and
has earned an enviable reputation with foresters throughout the nation
for his knowledge and ability. He has also given of his talent in this
area in behalf of the church for many years.
He has been honored as an outstanding scouter, working with boys both in
scouting and priesthood activities. He has served in the North Ogden 1st
Ward Bishopric and is currently working as a High Councilman in the
North Ogden Utah Stake.
Vola has enjoyed making a home for Reed and the four children who were
born to them. She has served in the Church Organizations where called
and enjoys supporting her family in their many activities.
Scott Wyatt Campbell
Scott was born April 11, 1947. He came into the world with a desire
to do as many things as possible and to enjoy them as much as possible.
He was an accelerated student and enjoyed the sciences in particular. He
was a consistent winner in the regional science fairs, going one year on
a Navy cruise. The rockets that were under his bed, in the shop, in the
garage were steps to his present life’s work. After completing a two and
one half year mission to Finland he returned home to finish his studies
and graduate from Weber College with a degree in physics.
During this time he met and married Pamela Samson in the Salt Lake
Temple on August 14, 1970. Pam was born February 15, 1948. Heidi, their
first child was born on April 17, 1973 while they were living in West
Point, Utah. Soon after her birth they moved to Smithfield, in Cache
Valley where Scott earned a Master’s degree at Utah State University. It
was at this time, on April 1, 1974, that their second child, April, was
They lived one year in Virginia while Scott was working for the C.I.A.
They are now living in Alice Springs, Australia, where Scott is doing
research for the Air Force for two years. All four member of this little
family are active in the L.D.S. Branch there.
Scott plays the piano and guitar and is always generous with his time in
entertaining. He retains a ardent love for the mountains of Utah on
which he loves to backpack and cross country ski.
Carol Wyatt Campbell Satterthwaite
Carol was born December 2, 1949. She is a peacemaker who appreciates
life and those around her. Her greatest happiness has come when she
could have her entire family together.
She enjoyed school and was a member of the National Honor Society. She
attended Weber State College for four quarters and then continued on at
Utah State University. During this time she worked as a checker in a
supermarket to help with her expenses. In three short years she
graduated from college with a degree in Home Economics. Her neighbor and
long time sweetheart, Lynn Satterthwaite returned from a mission in
California and they were married in the Salt Lake Temple on August 5,
1971. Lynn was born April 8, 1949.
Carol taught at Ben Lomond High School for two years, serving as head of
the food’s department.
Carol and Lynn have a well ordered and happy home and are living in
Albuquerque, New Mexico, where Lynn is an engineer for the U.S. Navy.
Many hours each week are devoted to serving in the Ward they belong to
They have a daughter Melinda, born in Logan on Christmas day of 1973,
and a son Jonathan who was born in Albuquerque on April 24, 1976. Their
third child Brian was born November 23, 1977.
Quite often, Lynn packs his family into a small airplane and they head
for Ogden, Utah, much to the joy of everyone concerned.
Kayleen Wyatt Campbell Lee
Kayleen was born April 30, 1955. Katie has packed her life full of
activity and interest and challenges. From the time she started to
kindergarten her neatly printed papers were an early indication of her
desire to achieve. Her grades were always good and she enjoyed school
Her high school days found her placing in the Junior Miss Contest, a
Sterling Scholar, and traveling to Turkey as a Foreign Exchange student.
She was involved in many service activities and was listed in High
School Who’s Who.
She worked in the Joy Shop during these years selling national brand
clothes but still preferred her mother’s “hand-made” articles to wear
herself. She organized and presented fashion shows which were presented
by the “Joy Shop” to different groups.
She studied piano and organ, playing whenever asked for the enjoyment of
She attended Utah State University on a leadership scholarship and
served as an elected officer during her Junior year. She met and married
Jacob Randall Lee, a returned missionary from the Taiwan mission. They
were married in the Salt Lake Temple September 1, 1976. Randy was born
January 21, 1954.
Chris Wyatt Campbell
Chris was born June 1, 1959. Chris has brought a great deal of
happiness into our home through his happy personality and diversity of
interests. He was a rugged and determined little league football player
and as an explorer he played basketball on the First Ward team–winning
trophies on stake, region, and area levels. He had earned his Eagle
Scout Award by the time he was thirteen and has served as youth leader
of the Teachers and Priests. He holds the coveted Duty to God Award.
Chris has many friends because of his outgoing personality and
encourages and influences them in wholesome and spiritual pursuits.
He was a paper boy for the Standard Examiner for three years.
During his Junior and Senior years at Weber High School he served as a
rally man. The house plans he submitted through his architecture class
were chosen as the house to be built by Weber High Students and is
presently under construction.
He is now an Elder, attending Weber State College and preparing for a
JAY DON WARDLE AND MARY ANN WYATT WARDLE
Don and Mary Ann were married June 20, 1952 in the Salt Lake Temple.
Mary Ann taught school for two years while Don attended Utah State.
After obtaining a commission in the army he entered the service as a
The army stationed Don in Germany. Rebecca, their first daughter was
born at Hill Air Force Base in Ogden. Papa and Muvers Wyatt were the
first ones to see her. They sheltered and cared for mother and daughter
until they were able to join Don in Germany. Second daughter, Lisa, was
born in the army hospital in Frankfurt, Germany.
After returning home to North Ogden, the Wardle family moved into a new
home, and a new baby, Natalie, arrived very soon after. Five years later
a fourth daughter blessed the family. She was named Peggy, after her
Grandmother Velma Wyatt, whose nick-name was Peggy.
Five years later a son was born. Making a total of five children and the
first boy. It was a happy event. He was named Matthew Don.
Mary Ann taught piano lessons and Don pursued his chosen career in
machining. He progressed well at the Marquart Corp. Working his way up
to responsible positions. When the company moved to California, the
Wardle family moved with it.
Many changes have come into their lives, mostly with the maturing of
their children and the inevitable event of them “Leaving the nest”, (as
Muvers would say).
Today after much church service and responsible callings, Don is a
Bishop of the Canoga Park 2nd Ward. Mary Ann and children Peggy and
Matthew, are the only ones left at home. All are active in church work.
They yearn to be home in “Zion” with loved ones and the familiar,
beautiful surroundings. Someday ------
Rebecca Wardle Sanberg
Rebecca was born October 6, 1954. Attended Utah schools, was a good
student. She has excelled in music, helping out in all church
auxiliaries on both the piano and organ. She has always been an
ambitious girl, working at some kind of a job to help pay her way. She
is an excellent seamstress, a good cook and is inventive and creative in
She graduated from the BYU School of Nursing and has worked at the
McKay-Dee Hospital as an R.N. It was while working there on the surgical
floor that she met and married one of her patients Jerry Lynn Sanberg.
Becky is energetic, thoughtful and gives much consideration to her
family. She was married in the Ogden Temple November 19, 1977
Lisa Wardle Leigh
Lisa was born December 22, 1955 in the army hospital in Frankfurt
Germany. A peace-maker and even tempered girl. Lisa plays the piano and
organ–she has given much time to the church, in many capacities.
She was an outstanding student in short-hand at Canoga Park High School
she received the highest awards.
She worked as a secretary in California and attended LA Pierce Jr.
College. She is industrious and has always been employed and earned her
Lisa attended Weber State College. She was fortunate to be employed by
her Aunt Antoinette Wyatt Weight, who is Dean of Women at the
institution. Lisa was a member of Otyokwa social club, also elected to
the office of Secretary of Associated Women Students on campus. White at
Weber State, Lisa met and married Joseph Arthur Leigh. They were married
in the Los Angeles Temple April 15, 1977.
Natalie was born August 26, 1958, with auburn hair like her
grandmother (Muvers) Wyatt. Natalie has always had a lot of pep and
ambition. She is a leader and good organizer.
She loves to sew and has a desire, at the present time to major in
She plays and teaches the violin. She received a trophy from Canoga High
inscribed ”Outstanding Orchestra Musician”. She has played many violin
solos in church meetings.
She excels in sports. She has won 2 trophies, two consecutive years for
two on two basketball, won many first place ribbons in church
competition in swimming.
Natalie has held many executive positions in the church already–in
Relief Society, Mutual and Stake Young Adults. She promises to be a fine
leader in the church.
She is hard working and had a job for the past two years, in addition to
attending L. A. Pierce College.
She is presently attending the BYU. She is full of life and fun and has
left a very empty space in the Wardle home in California; as have the
other girls who have married.
Peggy was born July 25, 1963, the fourth daughter and a very welcome
addition. She has been sweet and co-operative all her life. A joy and
comfort to her parents.
At 14 she is a fine church leader having already served in several
executive positions in Mutual. She is observant and an excellent
organizer. She has excelled in the church sports program, winning many
first place ribbons in swimming competition, at Stake Girls Camp she was
awarded first place in the over-all sports program, racking up the most
She plays the clarinet well, and is affiliated with the school band. She
is handy around the house, can cook, is learning to sew, and cleans and
tidies nicely. Peggy is fun.
She would like to become a dental hygienist or assistant. She plans to
attend L.A. Pierce College for two years and then decide from there.
Matthew Don Wardle
Born April 28, 1968 in Ogden. Matthew has always been a good student
in school. We like to think he takes after his Papa Wyatt. At a very
early age he showed an exceptionally strong aptitude towards mechanical
things. He helps his daddy fix all sorts of things–soon he will be able
to do them himself.
Matthew’s interests are wide-spread. At present he is working with
collecting bugs and insects. He has a fine, unusual collection.
He is a very good swimmer, and shows promise in other sports. His
interests are so varied it will be interesting to see which occupation
A mission for the church is a definite goal. He has a small bank account
and adds to it periodically. He is a good example to non-members, and in
general a good boy. He wants to be a Bishop like his daddy.
He shows leadership ability and has served as President of his Sunday
School and Primary class. He has given several talks in Senior Sunday
School. We are proud of Matthew, as we are of all of our children. We
feel we are blessed beyond bounds!
SIDNEY BALL WYATT
by KAREN QUAYLE WYATT
This will probably be the last Christmas we will spend as a family
together for a few years. The children are growing and leaving us. I
don’t know where the last twenty years have gone. They have been fun and
Roger has graduated from high school. He is attending Weber College.
He has a lot of interests, such as fishing, hunting, woodwork and
drawing. He took 1st place in his art work at the North Ogden 4th of
July Cherry Days. He has been a good helper working with his dad as a
carpenter. He will soon be nineteen and will be leaving on a mission.
Kelly is a senior in high school. He really enjoys the outdoors. He
also likes hunting, fishing and winter sports. He has been trapping
muskrats and beaver and enjoys doing it. He also like the little extra
money it brings in. He is also good in woodwork. He took grand champion
in woodwork on the 4th of July Cherry Days. He also works with his
father as a carpenter.
Brian is in the 8th grade at North Ogden Junior High. He started
working with his dad this summer full time. He enjoys outdoor sports and
is trying to learn how to fly model airplanes. He is a real pusher and
seems to get what he is going after or wants.
Douglas is the last of the boys. He is in the 6th grade at North
Ogden Elementary. He is a good student and well like by all. He enjoys
playing baseball and basketball. Douglas is very good with kids and
enjoys them. He has been his mother’s right hand helper the last couple
of years helping tend kids and doing things to help around the house. He
always has a big smile on his face.
Patricia is our seven year old and is in the 2nd grade. She loves
school and is a good student. Tricia enjoys fun. She helps a lot with
Barbara playing with her and reading to her. She likes combing and
fixing hair. (Her dolls.)
Barbara is our last girl and is 3 years old. She is a lively little
one and really enjoys life. She enjoys going to Primary and Relief
Society. She is a very loveable child.
The three older boys work for their dad and have saved a lot of their
money. They will use this for their missions and schooling.
The boys and their dad do a lot of things together such as camping,
fishing, hunting, snowmobiling and working.
Sid is a hard worker, teaching school and as a general contractor. He is
kept very busy with his church job also. Right now he is President of
the Young Men’s Mutual. This takes up quite a bit of his time. He also
enjoys the outdoors.
I am busy just trying to keep up with the cooking, washing, and
cleaning. But I enjoy it. I just wish the time wouldn’t go by so fast.
BALL WYATT WEIGHT
One of the very special things about my being born, I think, was that
I was born at home. In the beautiful new house in North Ogden. It was a
Sunday morning on October 18, 1936.
I was the sixth child and was to have been a boy companion for Sidney,
but instead I made my entrance as the fifth girl. My mother often
commented that she did not remember raising me–on the other hand I do
not remember being “raised”. Life was secure, happy and easy.
I attended the Weber County schools (North Ogden, Wahlquist and Weber),
then finished two years at Weber College. After that I attended Utah
When I moved to Logan to attend Utah State University, I was given the
responsibility of Resident Director in a residence hall of 72 women.
This experience was to influence my life to a greater degree than any
classes I attended while there.
Upon graduation I returned to Weber County High School where I taught
English and German for one year. I was then appointed to a guidance
counseling position. In total I worked at Weber High School for seven
My tenure at Weber High School was interrupted in 1960 when I was called
to serve a mission in the West German Mission. The two years I served
there were and still are very special to me.
During the summer of 1965, I attended a counseling and guidance
institute in Fairbanks, Alaska. The decision to go there was destined to
change the course of my life. While at this institute I met Dr. Virginia
Love of Sherman, Texas. Because of the friendship we formed I went to
Austin College to complete work for a M.A. I stayed there for five years
working at the college in the capacity of Coordinator of Student
Affairs/Student Personnel Services and as an instructor in the Teacher
Education Department. During that time I met, fell in love with, and
married Shirl R. Weight, and gave birth to two children.
In 1972 we moved back to Utah. Shirl was teaching in Huntsville and I
was home–a third child was born.
In January of 1975, I accepted a position at Weber State College as
Assistant Dean of Students.
Shirl, my husband, teaches 6th grade at the Valley school in Huntsville,
Utah. He received his B.A. and M.A. at Austin College. His wide range of
interests include photography, printing, art, drama, and traveling.
Susan my oldest child is a bright, loving child. Her feelings are
sensitive and easily hunt. She has a special spirit and tries to take
care of all of us.
Richard, my son, is ambitious and independent. He is creative and a
problem solver. If he is blocked in something he is trying to accomplish
he figures out another way to do it.
Julia, my youngest, is a breath of fresh air. She is happy and
bouncy. She sings and skips around the house and loves everyone.
I am so blessed with my wonderful husband and beautiful children. In
most ways my life is everything I could wish it to be.
- INTERVIEWER: BILL CALDWELL - INTERVIEWEE: SIDNEY L. WYATT
I was interviewed by Brother Bill Caldwell to fill his assignment in
gathering brief synopsis of the lives of some of the church members for
the state historical records. I have his permission to incorporate a
copy of this interview into this record of some of my activities. I feel
that even if there is repetition of other sections of the book that it
will add a good introduction.
Int.: A historical interview done with Sidney L. Wyatt at his home at
2842 N. 450 E. in North Ogden, Utah. Today’s date is August 14, 1977.
Brother Wyatt, to begin with, would you tell me a little bit about your
home and your childhood, your early recollections?
Bro. W.: Yes. I was born December 8, 1893 in Wellsville, Utah. My
earliest recollections are home on the farm, It was in the time that we
had no electricity. Of course we had none of the electrical equipment we
enjoy today. We had the lanterns in the house, of course, that were
kerosene; The roads were dirt and mud. We had quite a large farm and
quite a large family. The one thing that impressed me most was that we
were all expected to work. When I was six years of age, I started
milking my first cows. We always had a dairy herd of about 30 cows,
sometimes more, and, of course, we had no milking machines. We did that
all by hand. We milked the cows in the winter time usually out in the
cold. Then when we got the cows milked, the next thing was to take care
of the dairy products. Near to our house we had the old creamery–a stone
building that is still standing. We had our separators there, and we had
our machines with which we made the butter, cheese, etc. I remember yet
the molds that we had. We kept those for a long time–I don’t know what
happened to them, but they had John Wyatt’s name on them as manager of
Of course, from the first time that sugar beets were grown in Wellsville
we had some. I was just a youngster, I don’t know how old, but we
learned to thin the beets and of course, when it came to digging them,
instead of having the machinery that we do at the present time, we used
to use an ordinary field plow and plow next to the row then pull them
into the furrow and then pile them up and then top them with the butcher
knife. Then we hauled them from there over to Logan in the wagon, and I
suppose that could haul about a ton, if they had a good big load on. Of
course later we developed into raising about 30 acres of beets each year
by our family; we did all the work, and thinning and hoeing and
cultivating and loading them by hand onto the wagons. We had a lot of
sugar beets and, of course, in those years, school attendance was not
too regular in the fall when school started, we couldn’t start school
until the beets were up. The beets were usually up in the first of
November. I remember my brother Charles’ birthday was early in November,
and we used to try to have them all harvested by that time and then we
could start school. And after that, of course, school attendance was not
Father built a home for my mother in town in 1906. I would be about
twelve years of age at that time. In the winter time, we lived in town
and took the dairy herd with us, and we had a big barn next to our
house. I attended school during that time. We always had plenty of work
to do and my father was a very stern man. He was a very good man, but he
expected a lot from his children and didn’t think that education was too
important. And yet, he was an educated man. He didn’t attend school. I
think in all his life he had less than six weeks in school, but he
served two missions to England after he was married and had families. We
worked for Sidney Stevenson for some years and then he had a business of
his own–a mercantile business in Wellsville. His farm supported that
business. In 1921 the store burned down. That was after I had been
married several years.
We had a large family. Father was a polygamist. He married one woman,
Sarah Jane Barnes, when he was 25 years of age. She was 17. After they
had been married ten years she died leaving three children. John 13,
Sara (Sadie), and Mary. One of her four children had died earlier in
infancy. He married my mother I think about three months after his first
wife died. He had to have someone to take care of his children. My
mother was the daughter of one of his close friends, Thomas Leavitt.
Mother was 25 when he married my mother’s sister, a polygamist marriage.
He was, I think, 22 years older than she was. He had a total of 26
children by his three wives, so we always had a large family around. But
it was scattered out over a long period of time. His oldest child was 37
years older than his youngest. The youngest child was born to Betsy, my
mother’s sister when she was 41 and he was 63, so we always had a lot of
people in the family. I think we had a very successful polygamist
family. Of course it did have its difficulties even as single families
Father was never very much interested in the education of his children.
Of course, in those days there were no high schools. The first high
school that Weber County had was in the year 1924. I taught school in
Wellsville two years, and then I was down here in the Ogden area two
years before Weber County built a high school. But as a boy, if you
wanted to go beyond the eighth grade, you had two very difficult
obstacles to overcome. One was to get out of the eighth grade. To do
that, you had to pass a state examination and that examination was a
difficult one. I remember in the class that I attended there were 37
students; and when it came time for the eighth grade examination, which
was held at the Brigham Young College in Logan, those 35 students all
went over to Lagan and stayed a week and took the examinations. Out of
those 35 students, there were 14 who passed. Three boys and eleven
girls. Then if you wanted to go on to school from there, there were no
public high schools–you could either go to the Agricultural College in
Logan or you could go to the Brigham Young College that was in Logan at
the time. Very few people ever did it. Fact is, you could go from
graduating from the eighth grade to teaching school with just very
little extra work.
But I always wanted to go to college. When I was a boy out on the farm,
I could stand in the beet field and look over to “Old Main” on the hill
above Logan. I always had my dream set on going to college. But I was
kept out of school so much that I didn’t think I ever would make it.
They held a ninth grade a few years after I graduated in Wellsville, the
school district did, and then we had another year added and I got
through three years that way. Then for my senior year of high school, I
went to Rexburg and stayed with my sister. I graduated from Ricks
Academy in 1915. I had planned the next year to go to Utah Sate, and I
think I would have made it, but along in August, the Bishop stopped me
on the road as I was riding a horse to Wellsville. He was in his
automobile–he was my brother-in-law and told me he wanted me to go on a
mission. So that put an end to my dreams at the time for going to
school. But of my father’s 26 children I was the only one that ever got
through high school. Of course I managed to get two degrees after
that–my bachelor’s and my master’s. In those days it wasn’t considered
very important to go to school. The thing to do was to get the farm work
Interviewer: Yes, I am sure that was the real important issue. Before we
get too far down into things, I wonder if you could tell us a little bit
about your grandparents and how your family came to Utah.
Bro, Wyatt My grandfather, John Moses Wyatt, was born in Hove, England
May 22, 1829 and his wife was born there too on January 25, 1829. I had
the chance to visit there later on. They were married December 25, 1848.
They had been married a very short time. My father was the oldest child.
He was born December 2, 1849. One night after my grandfather’s day’s
work was done, he was on his way home. He was walking along the beach at
Brighton. There were two Mormon Missionaries there holding a street
meeting. He stopped and listened to them, and they indicated that they
would hold a meeting the next night, too. He went home and he told his
wife, “I’ve heard the true gospel spoken tonight. Tomorrow I want you to
go with me to hear those American missionaries speak.” And so they did.
They went the next night; and after the meeting, the second meeting,
they applied for baptism. Right soon after that they decided to come to
Their family was very much opposed to their joining the church and
coming to Utah. The grandparents took my father and hid him so his
parents wouldn’t be able to take him with them to America. But his
parents got him in time. They took the sailing vessel from Liverpool to
New Orleans. I think they were about two months on the sea. Then they
sailed up the Mississippi some distance and then they crossed the
plains. I think it was in April when they left Brighton and it was late
in November when they got to Salt Lake City. They were about seven
months on the way.
Interviewer: What method of transportation did they use?
Bro. Wyatt: Oh, slow. They crossed the ocean by sailing vessel. Then tug
boat up the Mississippi. From there they came in covered wagons across
he plains with oxen. They had a child born to them in Green River,
Wyoming on September 2, 1853. That child lived until he got to Salt
Lake, but died soon after.
Grandfather worked for Brigham Young a good deal of the time. After
several years in Salt Lake City they moved into Wellsvillle–one of the
early settlers, not the first company that settled there–but they moved
there in 1860 and settled. That was his home the rest of his life. I
think that was about his background.
Interviewer: Okay, very good. We just dealt with the transportation
question a little bit. What kind of transportation did you have when you
Bro. Wyatt: I always had pretty good transportation, considering what
everyone else had. Of course, when I was a boy, there were no paved
roads. There were no concrete roads in Cache Valley past our house until
after I was married several years. I remember when the winter would come
and spring would open up, and we couldn’t even go to Wellsville because
the roads were so muddy. If you went, you had to go along the ditch
banks in the fields or maybe if you rode a horse you might be able to
make it. But everything was tied up pretty much there. When I was a
little older into my teens, I had a horse and buggy of my own. Mother
had a horse and buggy of her own and there was a surrey for the family.
So we were a fairly well-to-do family compared with other people. We
didn’t have much compared to today, but in those days we had things. I
had my first horse, Sylvia, and her son was Cassius. And when I went on
a mission I left them. But transportation was very slow, of course.
Usually we did a lot of walking. Our farm was three miles out of
Wellsville; and, as I say, we always lived there in the summer time.
Earlier in my life, we lived there in the winter time. I had to live
where the work was.
Interviewer: You mentioned a minute ago, when we were talking about your
education, that you got a bachelor’s degree and your master’s degree.
When did you get those and where and what were the circumstances.
Bro. Wyatt: After I came back from my mission, I was married right away.
I married a girl that I had met at Ricks Academy. She realized that I
was not happy with the life that I was living on the farm. I was
probably not the best farmer in the world, although I did a lot of farm
work. I wanted to go to college. At one time she told me, “You are never
going to be happy unless you go to college. I want you to go and we’ll
make it some way.”
We had a daughter at that time and so we quit the farm. I turned that
over to my brothers and for twelve months I went to the Utah State
University. Today I don’t now how we ever managed it. I never had any
financial help from father or any of my family. Oft times I would walk
to Logan and maybe hitch a ride. My wife did without very much food. We
had an old house that I was born in in Wellsville that we lived in that
didn’t cost us any rent, but ofttimes I took my lunch with me. My lunch
was a bean sandwich. And we got through all right . When I was home at
nights, my wife would often take the baby to bed so she wouldn’t disturb
me while I studied. I was carrying a heavy course load, and I had a lot
of studying to do. So after the twelve months of schooling, the regular
quarter and summer school, I took an examination for teaching. I passed
that examination, and I had a job teaching in the junior high school at
Wellsville. So I went through the teaching and at the same time I kept
on with my school work. I did some correspondence courses, not many, but
I took a lot of extension courses and I attended summer schools. In five
years I taught three and did my four years college of work and got my
bachelor’s’s degree. Then it was quite a long while after that–I got
involved in church work so much, I was always deeply involved in church
work–that I got my master’s degree, I think it was in ‘57. I was an
older man when I got my master’s degree.
Interviewer; Where did you get that?
Bro. Wyatt: At Utah State. I got both of them there. And I never would
have gotten either one of them if it hadn’t been for the sacrifice of my
Interviewer.: In a minute we will want to talk a little bit about your
courtship and marriage and a few of those things, but before we leave
your early days, what did you do for fun when you were a boy.
Bro. Wyatt: Well, not too much, I’ll tell you. Because my father didn’t
believe in fun. We were expected to do the chores and things like that
on Sunday. We didn’t have any close neighbors except one–my Uncle Frank
lived across the street from us–so we didn’t have other children to play
with a good deal. But we did a lot of playing with just simple things
around the place in the evenings and so on. I was always interested in
sports. I was interested in fishing. I’ve done a lot of that all of my
life. More since I was married than I did before, by far. And as I said
before I had a horse and buggy of my own as a teenager, so I always had
a nice lot of boyfriends when we lived in town. Oliver Meyers was a
cousin of mine. We were inseparable as kids. I played marbles a lot when
I went to school, and I played baseball. Then as I grew a little older,
there were a group of us young men who were inseparable, we were
together all the time. Those fellows always went to church, and Sunday
afternoons we would get together. Of course some how or other there
would usually be a crowd of girls around, just like teenagers would be
apt to do. I enjoyed hunting. I had a shotgun. I never had a rifle. Even
after we were married, I didn’t have a rifle. My wife didn’t want me to
have one. She was afraid I might shoot myself with it. But I did get by
with a shot gun and things like that. But I had a lot of good times. But
we did work long and hard. I enjoyed dancing. I have done a lot of
dancing. As a teenager I used to go to about two and three dances a
week. There always used to be a dance in Wellsville on Friday night and
one in Hyrum on Saturday night and then I used to go to Mendon quite
often, too. So I did a lot of chasing around like that.
Interviewer: You mentioned you were involved in church activity quite a
bit. How about telling me abort your church activity when you were
Bro. Wyatt: When I was a boy, of course, I used to go to Sunday School
and so on, but I didn’t have too much to do with that. Fact is, I wasn’t
ordained a deacon until quite late. I don’t know why, they just didn’t
seem to keep young boys busy. For instance we never had the Aaronic
Priesthood pass the sacrament. That was always done by High Priests and
Elders. So we hadn’t anything to do much–only chop wood for the widows
in the winter time and do chores like that–so I didn’t do a lot of that
sort of church work But when I was called on a mission, of course, I
thought I was going for a two year mission. I went in 1915. Europe was
in World War I at that time, as you know, and America didn’t enter the
World War I until ‘17. So I went over there in ‘15. It was impossible
for them to send elders over there, so they kept some of us longer–the
ones that could–and I was over there. I spent some of ‘15, all of ‘16,
all of ‘17 all of ‘18, I came back in ‘19. I was president of the Irish
Conference there. It was in Ireland that I was. I was president of the
Irish Conference most of that time, and I had a lot of wonderful
Interviewer: Tell me about some of them.
Bro. Wyatt: Well, that, of course, I don’t know just how to approach it.
I need to think just a little bit about it. I didn’t know too much about
the gospel when I went, and I had to learn that out there. I hadn’t been
to seminaries like the kids do nowadays, and I hadn’t been active in
church very much–none of the young people were. I remember when I was
asked to give my talk before going on my mission. I spoke maybe for a
couple or three minutes and I thought I had given a good talk. Afterward
my father said, “Well, why didn’t you say something?” Well, I had never
had any chance or experience. I had a lot of opportunities for that.
They hadn’t been holding street meetings in Ireland for quite a number
of years; but when we went over there, we decided that we were going to
have street meetings. Besides the meetings that we would hold in the
branches and in halls, we would always hold two or three street meetings
a week. I did a lot of speaking. I have in my diary here occasions when
I spoke as many as five and six times a day on Sunday. We would hold
several street meetings in different places. So I had unbounded
opportunities of speaking in church sessions formally.
Interviewer: What were the things that you talked about in the street
Bro. Wyatt: Oh, we would talk about the principles of the gospel and the
restoration was a favorite one. We would tell them about the mission of
Joseph Smith and about the restoration of the gospel and about
authority. That was always a very important subject–about what right we
had to preach the gospel, about what right we had to baptize and act in
the name of the Lord. We could trace our authority right back to the
Savior, Himself, in bestowing that right on his people. And then we used
to do a lot of tracting. Every day we would visit homes for three or
four hours and some times more. It was just regular work. I think it was
maybe a little more intense than what some of the elders practiced at
the time, but it was an interesting time. I was just going over my
records recently, and I forget just how many people I baptized. But they
hadn’t baptized a lot of people in Ireland. I baptized 37. I baptized
more than any Elder that had been in Ireland up to that time. Ireland
wasn’t a mission then like it is now. It was just a conference.
Interviewer: Oh, I see. You mentioned conference.
Bro. Wyatt: And I presided over all of Ireland. So you see, I had a lot
of traveling to do around the branches, and the saints that were
scattered about. We were down to where there were only three elders from
Utah over there. The others had been released and came home because of
the war situation. Hyrum G. Smith and then a little bit later George F.
Richards came over. He was the father of our present–what’s the name of
the Richards in the Twelve?
Bro. Wyatt” LeGrande. He was LeGrand’s father. And LeGrand was with him,
and I became very well acquainted with LeGrand. We were very close with
the Mission President. I traveled with him, I slept with him–that is
George F. He was one of the finest men that I ever knew, and I kept in
touch with him after we came home. He married my wife and me. We had one
thing I just might mention briefly and that was the Irish Revolution in
1916 and ‘17. The Irish Rebellion in Dublin. I was in Dublin when that
broke out, and I was called out of Ireland for a little bit until that
simmered down. But that was the beginning of this trouble that they are
having now–the Sin Fein Rebellion was at that time It was in Dublin, and
I was in the middle of that, in the middle of some of their battles. I
saw them hauling off dead bodies in carts. People were shot down right
around me during that time and that sort of held us up for just a little
while. I was sent to London for a short time or to England. I visited my
father’s birth place at that time. But not long ago–oh, four or five
years ago, six years ago–we were holding our golden wedding anniversary
and a man came in with his wife. He was very pleased to see me. I didn’t
recognize him, but he happened to be the son of a man that I
baptized–well, I baptized this boy too–I’d been instrumental in their
conversion. He was living down in Layton. But since he had been baptized
and their family, he had gone back to Ireland on a mission himself, and
he had presided over Ireland just as I had done. So one of my converts
had done that. I was very happy about that.
But we had very close contact with the people. There was, I think, about
fourteen conferences. Ireland was one at that time. Now they have
several missions where they had those conferences. We had no chapel in
Ireland at that time. We rented places where we held our meetings in
Belfast. Usually it was sort of a dance hall, and we would have to clean
up after the Saturday night parties–whiskey bottles and things we would
have to sweep out. But we had very fine people there. . . very fine
Interviewer: Let’s shift into your vocational career. You talked a
little bit about teaching at Wellsville Junior High School. If you would
like to pick it up from there and go on and talk about the rest of your
professional career, I think it would be well.
Bro Wyatt: I could do that. A little more probably I would like to talk
somewhere along about my church work.
Interviewer: Okay, Anytime you would like to put that in, it would be
Bro. Wyatt: I taught school in Wellsville Junior High School for two
years. My main subjects that I taught there were botany and biology. I
taught biology four periods a day. And then I was shoved into teaching
some English, which I was not too fond of. I was not too interested in
English at that time. And then during my second year of teaching, I was
given a visiting day by the superintendent. He suggested that I go to
some other district. And I had come down and visited in Weber District
because I had a close friend (Rulon Maughan) who was principal of the
Interviewer: And where is that?
Bro. Wyatt: Wilson? It is right out west of Ogden–Wilson Lane there. So
I visited him. He was holding a class and it was the same thing I had
been teaching in Wellsville, and they were about the same place in the
course. He had the next class coming in with the same subject, and I
said, “Why don’t you let me show you how to teach that subject.” He
turned the class over to me, and I just got started when the
superintendent walked in. And the superintendent sat and listened to the
subject as I taught it. He was a former teacher of mine in Wellsville
Interviewer: Now who was this superintendent?
Bro. Wyatt: It was B.A. Fowler. So the outcome of that: he invited me to
come down and take a principalship in a school in Weber District. I
taught school two years in Harrisville. I was principal there. Then
they’d been having a lot of trouble over in Riverdale disciplining the
schools and he ask me if I though I could handle that school. It was a
bigger school, and I told him I thought I could if he would support me.
So the new year I went over there. That was the first year that the
state law requiring attendance up to 18 years of age went into effect.
Interviewer: What year was that?
Br. Wyatt: Oh, let me see. I’m not sure. I’ll have to think about it a
minute. That would be about ‘28 I guess, ‘27 or ‘28. So we had a lot of
kids back in school in the ninth grade who had been out of school
several years, some of them 17 years of age. The fact is, one of that
first class that I had, there later developed three murderers. I had a
hard group of them. And in those days we had to report, in our six weeks
report to our superintendent, among other things, (attendance and so on)
we had to report the number of cases of corporal punishment. And I
usually had , in the first month or so, I usually had about 50 or 60
cases of corporal punishment. That would be several per day. Well, a lot
of people told me I wouldn’t last the year out. The year before, they
had two principals in there, and they both had to leave. And the year
before they had to lose their principal. But at the end of the school,
the people in Riverdale passed a petition and most of them signed asking
that I be returned the next year will all my faculty members.
So, I was working in the church there, I lived with them. I lived in
Riverdale, and I prayed with them all and I made friends with them. And
so I stayed there in Riverdale for eight years. And the last year that I
was there, they had the county athletic meet at the end of the year, and
they gave our pennants for everything. And our school, they just swept
everything. The kids were doing it all for me. We just took everything.
I coached baseball while I was in Riverdale, and we took seven country
championships out of the eight years. That’ll teach you to get out there
with those kids. You probably wouldn’t remember any of those Zito’s.
They were before your time, but one of them went into the national
league in baseball. I stayed there for eight years. Then during that
time I was teaching English all the time; and my students that I was
sending from Riverdale into the high school seemed to be making quite an
impression on the people there. I was quite exacting in the fundamentals
of grammar and the classics and so on. And so they needed a new man to
head the English Department, and they invited me to take over that spot.
So I went to the high school as head of the English Department for about
eight years. Then I went from there to Wahlquist when they first opened
Wahlquist up. I was there for several years. We had grades from 1 to 9.
I don’t remember the exact years they were. And then I had been there
for quite a long period of time and I was invited to come to North
Ogden. So I stayed here for quite a while, a number of years, and then
Wahlquist was remodeled and turned over to just a strict junior high
school, and I went back there until I went on my mission to a . . . my
work down in the South Pacific, I worked down there, so I don’t know how
many years I taught here. Then of course, I went down there for school
work for four years
Interviewer: Why don’t you tell us about your experiences in New
Bro. Wyatt Down in the South Pacific?
Interviewer: In the South Pacific. Uh-huh
Bro. Wyatt: Well, as I approached retirement age, I felt that I didn’t
want to quit. I felt that I was too young to be put on the shelf. I had
a cousin, a friend, Ed Berrett, at the Brigham Young University. I got
talking to him about it, and he encouraged me to apply for a teaching
job either at the Church College in Hawaii or somewhere in the South
Pacific if I wanted to leave. And I had been doing quite a little bit of
work on the church basis, we had done a lot of work in an experimental
way under the Ford Foundation, and I was pretty well known in the state,
and so I decided, talking it over with my wife, that I would apply for
that work down there. So I wrote to Mendenhall, who was the Chairman of
the Pacific Board of Education, and I was invited to go to Salt Lake and
meet with him and one of his assistants there concerning this. My wife
and I went down, and we took a couple of our kids, my son who’s a school
teacher and my daughter, who is the Dean of Women at Weber College now
and we talked with him. When we got through, he said “Now Sid”, he
called me Sid right from the start, “I don’t know what we have for you,
but you can expect something.” Sort of an offer. So just a little while
later I had a letter sent to me–a contract–and I talked it over with my
wife and I signed it. I had it on my desk out there at Wahlquist and my
mail came in and my secretary was going to town. She said, “Is there
anything more before I leave Mr. Wyatt?” I said, “Take these letters and
post them.” Among them was my letter of acceptance of this job, and
after she had left, I opened my mail on my desk. And on my desk was an
offer to teach at the Brigham Young University. But I had already mailed
my contract to work for the Pacific Board of Education. Superintendent
Bell kept me right on working throughout the summer and the next winter
until Christmas time. I worked for Weber County School District until
Christmas time. Velma and I took our first airplane ride, and arrived in
New Zealand for my work at the Church College of New Zealand. I had a
number of jobs right off there. I was the head of the English
Department, and then they included with that the fine arts and a number
of other departments. I had a great deal of responsibility.
When I went down Mendenhall said, “Now we would like you to go down
there, but there will be other responsibilities for you later on.” Well,
I had been down just a little over a year. I had just about decided that
I would return home at the end of the year. Then I had a telephone call
from Mendenhall who was in Salt Lake. The longest distance call I have
ever taken. He said among other things, “We want you to come and join
the Board of Education. We also want you to supervise all the schools in
the South Pacific”, I said, “I want to talk it over with my wife. Will
you give me time?” He said, “Yes, take all the time you want and send me
a telegram in the morning.” So I went home, and we decided, of course,
that it was a call, and we would take it. Brother Mendenhall said to
meet him in Hawaii on a certain day about three days later. So I went to
Hawaii and joined the Pacific Board of Education. One of the board
members who had been on a mission to Samoa went with me on the trip and
introduced me throughout the schools. I sent a letter to each of the
Most of the schools were very young. New Zealand was. It had only been
in operation two years when I went down. They had no courses of study or
anything else, and it was my job to get all those things lined up. One
of the first things we did after I visited a time or two was to call a
meeting of all the principals and the counselors in Fiji, in Nandi,
Fiji. We held a workshop there for about ten days I guess. So when I
went into those places where our schools were located I was always
treated with a good deal of respect and deference. I always had a house
set apart. My wife was supposed to travel with me, but she didn’t all
the time. She didn’t like to travel on those planes for one thing, and
she didn’t like to spend the church money for that purpose, so I went a
lot of the time by myself. But when I would go into one of those places,
I always had an automobile and a house and a secretary. I was always
treated royally. When I would go in, all of these people–you know the
teachers were mostly American families that were there–and they were
starving for companionship and a little visiting. The principal would
hand me a sheet of invitations which were assignments and I would have
breakfast at one home and dinner at another and supper at another. So we
just had a lot of that to do.
I had work, not only of a school nature, but I had missionary work. I
met with the Mission Presidents a lot and give them a good deal of
advice one way or another. An example: One time I went into Tahiti. Our
school wasn’t started there yet, but they were building it. The building
program down there, the church would call supervisors from Utah,
building supervisors, to go down and build the school facilities and
then they would recruit help from among the saints and others in the
places. But I went into Tahiti and the Mission President, Brother Stone
was distraught. The school was making no progress at all. They had had
two supervisors, supposed to have two crews and they had been there for
a long while and they didn’t even have the foundation in and didn’t have
any workers. Well, I had asked Mendenhall, I said, “Now what are my
responsibilities in this job?” He said, “You do what needs to be done.”
Well, I called these supervisors together with the Mission President,
and I decided that they should go ahead with the building because they
were going to open up–the school–in about eight months. So the outcome
of our conference was: we hired about 20 carpenters, Chinese carpenters.
We could get them for $5.00 a day. I hired 20 of these and gave them to
these American supervisors. The mission president got busy and called
local Tahitians as missionary laborers to do the ordinary labor. We had
men swarming all over that place. We got the building ready, too, by the
time the school started. And that was quite an experience–the opening up
of the school. When I reached New Zealand after I had been in Tahiti,
Mendenhall was there and he ask me what I had done in Tahiti. I reported
in full, expecting he would lower the boom on me. When I finished, he
said, “Well, I don’t need to stop there. I can go right back to Salt
Lake now.” We got the school ready. It was an expensive school. $300,000
for the land in Papeete. A lot of it was hillside, too, but they had a
beautiful school. Of course that’s all French there. I was there for the
dedication of the school. Do you want me to tell you about that now.
Interviewer: Yes. That would be great.
Bro. Wyatt The next fall, time for the opening of the school we went
there. I had one of the Board Members that was visiting with me in New
Zealand, and he went up with me. My wife went along. And we got into
Tahiti in the middle of the night. I thought that no one would be around
to even notice that we had arrived. But when we got to the customs
office and went through, there were people stacked up everywhere and
they brought so many flowers–leis–and put them around my neck and that
of my wife. We could hardly see out. When we got there it was in the
midst of a rain storm, and it had been raining for days. They were going
to dedicate the building and the dedication had to be under a bowery
outside. About all the bowery would do was shut out the sun, but not the
rain. That was about Thursday and it rained all day that day and the
dedication was two days later. It rained all day Friday; and on Friday
all the Satins were called together to hold a fast day to ask the lord
to take away the storm. It rained all day Friday, Friday night and
Saturday morning, just after daylight, it started to clear. When it came
time for the dedication, there were puddles everywhere–water
everywhere–but it was clear and we had a fine meeting.
As I said, everything had to be done in French; and as I spoke no
French, I always had to have an interpreter. The speaking was done at
this meeting in French, mostly by President McKay’s brother, who was a
member of the board. He was down there at the time and they had their
wives. We had some wonderful visits.
I stayed there that time about six weeks. While the board members were
there, we all stayed at the hotel which was a lovely place; but after
they left, I felt it was too expensive for me to live at that hotel, and
so I asked them to get me a home. They had a beautiful little house out
in the country and we stayed in that.
It was my responsibility to get the school started. The library had very
few books so I had the librarian, a Tahitian girl who also spoke English
go into town with me and we bought all the books that were appropriate
that we could find. Then ordered others. We had a wonderful school
there–with a fine principal. The principal and his wife spoke English
and the librarian spoke English, but the others were all French-speaking
people. I’d been sent there earlier to line up teachers if I could. I
never had such an experience in my life about the moral standards of
people. So many of those people–I have their interviews somewhere,
copies of it still around here somewhere. I think–but there wasn’t one
out of a dozen of them that were married to the person they were living
with. They didn’t get married because of the extra expense that it would
entail primarily. Anyway, they were a lot of very fine people, and we
lived there and worked with them in the establishing of the school and
in the work of the church–getting things going. We did much the same
thing with the other places, but on the whole we had our buildings
We had one very interesting experience, though, in Tonga. They changed
principals there and the new principal set up registration. I hadn’t
been able to give him any advice because I hadn’t been there for awhile.
He’d been registering for the school year, and he’d set up about three
or four registration places. The school only had capacity for about 800
people; and when they got to counting up the registrations, they had
about three people for every one of those. They had over 2,000 people
registered. But it turned out to be one of the finest things I have ever
seen. Those young people came in there, 16-18 years of age. Our
dormitories were built for four people in each room. They came in and
eight of them went to a room. Four of them slept on the floor. They were
happy to get in. Just an example of one of the good things about it.
I was asked by one of the teachers who had a class there if I would take
over his class and just say a few words to them, just talk to them about
anything. Well, I read to them a little from the Book of Mormon about
baptism, the Book of Moroni, and then they started asking me questions.
I didn’t get a chance to quit. I took up the entire period of time. And
when the class was over with, there were four of the older boys came up
and asked for baptism. The teacher then came and explained, he said,
“Brother Wyatt, of that class of 40, there’s only two Mormons. These
others are all non-Mormons that have come in” So I went over to the
Mission President, and he assigned two Elders, the missionaries, to stay
right in that school and teach the gospel outside of the classes to
those people. It’s just remarkable how the gospel gets to these people.
So we have wonderful memories of those places.
In Fiji, we didn’t have a school at the time–they have opened up one
since–but the officers came to me when we were holding our meeting that
I spoke of a little while ago and asked me if I’d talk on the radio to
the people of Fiji. I did that and talked to them a bit about our school
and about teaching the gospel and about the restoration and so on. Then
the government officials came to me and they wanted us to build a school
right there, right now. They said, “We’ll give you the land to build on.
We’ll furnish the labor to do it, and we’ll help to pay for the
building.” I said, “Well, we can’t do that. When we build a school, it
will be ours. We’ll buy the land, and we’ll do all of that because we
will have no one to tell us what we teach. So we must be entirely free.”
But they do have their buildings and their school there now. A lot of
the people in Fiji are Indians from India. 40% of them are Indians, and
they were the ones that were very interested in that. So it is
remarkable how the gospel has been preached through our schools.
When we established our schools in the islands, it was our plan to bring
the boys and girls into the schools. They lived right with us for seven
days a week, 24 hours a day. Many of these boys and girls were brought
from homes where they probably hadn’t worn shoes very often, where they
had no books in the home, and where their associations had been with
just a few of the tribal members. When we’d bring them into the schools,
we would have them with us from the time they went to bed until they got
up in the morning and throughout the day. They lived the gospel under
the direction of our teachers. Most of the teachers at that time were
from America. They had their prayers and they attended their Priesthood
meetings and their Sunday Schools and the other meetings. They were
always at them. Some times after we had had them in our schools for
about six months and they returned to their homes their parents hardly
knew them. Their behavior had changed. I think maybe I mentioned before,
ofttimes those boys and girls standing to recite in the classrooms were
so shy they would turn their back to the class and to the teacher and
hang their head and talk. But it wasn’t too long before they were not
only taking part, but leading–leading in singing and prayer and such
things as that. They, coming from where they wore very poor clothing,
they now had three uniforms–one for their work and one for their school
and one for Sundays. And they were always dressed very neatly and very
cleanly. It was a changed life entirely for them and it wasn’t long
before they were different people
Interviewer: That is really an interesting situation that you were
involved in. Do you have any other things that your remember since the
last time we talked about your experience in the islands?
Bro. Wyatt Well, I hardly remember what I did say at that time. When we
first went into those schools and started them up–they were Mormon
schools entirely–and that’s all the boys and girls we had there. But it
wasn’t long before other people began to come and asked to have their
children enter. And not only the Polynesians attended the schools then,
but the white people, the European people, Pakeha they were called in
Interviewer: How do you spell that?
Bro. Wyatt: P-A-K-E-H-A, I think.
Interviewer: I see–Pakeha. Brother Wyatt, we’ve never really gotten very
far into your courtship and marriage. Perhaps you could give us all the
nice things you can remember about meeting your bride and courting her,
asking her to marry you, and your marriage and setting up housekeeping.
Just anything you can think of along that line.
Bro. Wyatt Yes. In 1914 we harvested our beet crop just a bit early that
year, and I had talked to my sister, Sadie Wood, who lived in Rexburg,
Idaho, and had made arrangements with her to stay with her during the
school year if it were possible. None of my other brothers and sisters
of the 26 in the family ever graduated from high school, let alone from
college. My father was very dedicated to farm work, and schooling wasn’t
taken too seriously. But most people then didn’t go to high school and
college. But I had wanted to go so long that I decided that I would try
and go up there. We loaded the last load of beets and father was on the
farm that day from the store, and I asked him if I could go and he said
yes. I was quite startled that he gave in so easily. That was in
October. The Ricks Academy at that time started late. It held school six
days a week in order for the boys and girls to be able to work on the
farm as long as they could. So I went to Idaho and stayed with my sister
Sadie and her family. It was a very happy time.
A very happy part of my life was that year. I took care of the cows.
George had three cows and he had some horses. Among them a stallion. And
I took care of them and then I was supposed to pay them $3.50 a week for
board. I’d paid them a couple or three months of that I suppose and then
they stopped my paying them. They were quite happy to have me with them.
And I’d been going to school there. One of Sadie’s oldest children,
Jenny, was about four years younger than I. I was a senior that year at
Ricks, she was a sophomore. She had three girlfriends, the four girls
were inseparable all the time. It wasn’t long before I met them. Among
the four was Velma Ball. She came from Lewisville, Idaho. She and her
brother Irvin, were going to school at that time. And as soon as I saw
her I felt that was the girl that I wanted for my wife. I hadn’t take
her out at all until after Christmas time. At Christmas we went back to
Wellsville to spend the holidays. Jenny went with me. I told my mother
at that time that I had seen the girl I was going to marry. But she was
quite a bit younger than I was. She was five years younger than I. She
had just passed sixteen years of age when I met her. I began to date her
and I took over her student body card and I kept it through the rest of
the year. And then in the summer, after the summer was over with, and I
had my missionary call, I went back to Rexburg to visit a short time
before I went on my mission. Of course, I was with her quite a bit of
the time during that visit–about a week’s time–and then I went on my
mission. I was away for nearly four years and we corresponded fairly
closely all the time I was gone–not always, but quite often. Most of the
time we were corresponding.
And one time I was in Dublin and wasn’t long before I came home and my
friend Arnold Holland came over from England to visit me. I noticed in
one of the jewelry stores a ring that rather attracted me. It was a
diamond ring–engagement ring–and I bought it. I had to borrow some money
from him at the time to get it, but I got that and brought it home with
me. After I had been in Wellsville for about a month, I guess, I decided
to go up to Lewisville, where Velma was teaching at that time. She’d
graduated from the Ricks and then gone to Albion to school, she now was
teaching the elementary children in Lewisville. Well, I went up there
and I got into Rigby by train. Then I had a taxi take me out to
Lewisville about six miles and got a place to stay overnight. It
happened to be a relative of hers that I stayed with. They ran a little
Inn there. Then I went over to her place and quite surprised the family
with me walking in at that time. Velma and I were left alone, her father
and mother were the only ones living there at the time and they soon
retired. I guess I was there for about two hours and then I went to my
hotel. But I left the ring with her. She says I never did ask her to
marry me, and I don’t think she ever did say yes, but she had the ring
The next summer she came down to Wellsville and a group of us went on a
camping trip, and then I went up to Idaho and we went on a camping trip
there. We got a little better acquainted and then on November 19, 1919
we were married in the Salt Lake Temple. It wasn’t long before our
children began to come. We’ve had a family of six children of whom I am
very proud. Our oldest daughter we named Velma. She was born in
September, 1920. She was a beautiful girl with red hair, the only
red-haired girl we had. And then we had other children. We had five
daughters and one son. Our oldest living daughter, Guila, lives in
Ogden. She had four children, and her last daughter was married last
night. Then following Guila was Vola and she’s married to Reed Campbell.
He’s a member of the High Council in this Stake. Then Mary Ann, she came
next. Vola’s had four children. Vola had two boys and two girls. Mary
Ann married Don Wardle, the son of a man both my wife and I had knows
for a long while. He was a bishop at the time. Mary Ann’s husband, Don,
is a Bishop now in California and they’ve had five children–four girls
and a boy. Two of their oldest children are married. Then following Mary
Ann was my son, Sidney, and he has six children–four boys and two girls.
I’m more than proud of what he has done and is doing in the church, and
also in his professional work. He’s a school teacher and he’s also a
contractor. He’s doing very well financially and he’s very active in the
church. And then our youngest daughter, Antoinette, she’s married to
Shirl Weight and they have three children. She’s the Assistant Dean of
Students at Weber State College. That’s my family. We have, I think ten
great-grandchildren now. The family’s continuing to grow and I’m quite
proud. I haven’t made a lot of money in my life, but I do have a fine
family, and they are getting along nicely.
Interviewer: You do have a nice family. I know a number of your
children, and I think highly of them.
Bro. Wyatt: Well, I’m very proud of them.
Interviewer: You should be. After you got married could you maybe tell
me the different places that you lived?
Bro. Wyatt Yes, I’ll tell you a little bit about my professional work–my
teaching and so on. When we were first married we planned to run
father’s farm. We moved out onto the farm and raised two crops there.
Interviewer: Now this was in Wellsville?
Bro. Wyatt: That was in Wellsville. Both years we raised a lot of sugar
beets, and both years our crop was snowed in. We harvested the last of
them on New Year’s Eve both years. I’d always wanted to go to school and
get an education and my wife knew that. One time we sat down and talked
and she said, ”You’ll never be happy with this life,” she said, “I think
you ought to quit and go to school” So the end of it was we did. I
hadn’t made any money those years. And when I started to school, I
didn’t have a nickle–only just enough to pay for the tuition. I think,
that cost about $50.00 or so. We moved in father’s old house. The house
in which I was born, it had been vacant for quite a long time. I went to
Logan to the Agriculture College. I went for a year–the regular nine
months of college work and then to summer school. I don’t know how we
ever managed to get along. Nobody ever gave me any financial aid to help
me with my school work. I didn’t even have a scholarship, didn’t have
any government help. Father never gave me a dollar toward it. There was
many a time that I didn’t even have transportation over there. Sometimes
I’d start out walking. Ofttimes I had for lunch a bean sandwich without
any butter on the bread. But my wife supported me every inch of the way.
Ofttimes when I would be studying at night, she’d take the two children
and go to bed so they wouldn’t disturb me so I could study.
So after I had gone to school for that long, then I took the state
examination and earned a third class certificate which allowed me to
teach. I started teaching then in the Wellsville Junior High School. My
first salary was $600. Just as soon as I started to teach, I started to
take extension work from the college. In five years I did my four years
college work and got my bachelor’s degree and taught school four.
Sometimes I took almost as much work as the registered student at
school. And then I taught school in Wellsville for two years–Wellsville
Junior High School–the superintendent gave me leave to visit schools in
Weber district. I had a friend, Rulon Maughan, reaching down in Wilson
Lane at that time. He was teaching a class in biology and biology was
the principle class that I’d been teaching in Wellsville. He taught one
class and he had another one coming in, and I said, “Let me show you how
to teach that class.” So I took over the class. Just as I started
teaching the class, the superintendent came in and the superintendent
sat down for the whole class. When we got through he came up and talked
to me. But the way, he’d been a former teacher of mine years before in
high school, and he came up and asked me if I wouldn’t come down and
work in Weber County. So next year I signed a contract and went down as
principal of the Harrisville school. And I was principal there for two
years. I had one experience there that was very interesting. I had to
teach algebra and I had never had algebra since my first year in high
school. I didn’t know a thing about it, but I usually got along pretty
well by preparing the lesson the day before. One day I had two classes,
one was the eighth grade and one was the ninth. But the eighth grade,
I’d had them outside and been teaching them how to measure the height of
trees, etc. I’d just come to teach algebra and just then the
superintendent walked in. He had with him five other people. As I
remember, two of them were from the state office and then some of the
others were from the college and some were supervisors. I had a small
class, I think there were 13 in the class. So I called the algebra class
to attention and I asked them if they had any questions. And my two
brightest students raised their hands and they had a question with one
of the algebra problem. I hadn’t gone over it. I couldn’t see my way
through the problem to save my life. And I said, “Well, let’s read it
and see what we have to start with.” And we read it through, and I said,
“Now we have this. What is the next step?” And we worked it through with
no apparent hitch. We got through and got it worked out and the problem
settled and these people came up and said, “That’s some of the best
teaching we have ever seen.” And I thought, “Boy, you don’t know how
good that had to be”. But pretty soon they went and I was done for the
day. I was just done for. But I don’t think those students suffered at
all for want of teaching in that algebra class because they did very
well in it.
Interviewer: I can see how.
Bro. Wyatt: Then the superintendent, after I had been there two years,
he asked me if I would go and take the Riverdale School which was much
larger. They’d had difficulties there, they’d had very serious troubles
with their students. They had driven two of the principals out. And I
said, “Well, I’ll go and take the school on condition that you back me
up. And it was right at that time when the law had been passed and put
into effect that all students had to attend school to 18 years. Before
they had been dropping out. I had quite a number forced into school
there that had been out of school for a couple of years. I went and took
over the Riverdale school and had quite a rough time the first year. We
had to report the number of cases of corporal punishment each six weeks.
I remember I used to report as many as 50 or 60 cases of corporal
punishment. I whipped nearly all of the big boys. Some of them were as
big as I was. One of my teachers got a black eye that he carried for a
long while. By the way, out of that class, three of those boys that were
in those classes later committed murder. At the end of the year a
petition was circulated through the town asking that I be returned and
all of my teachers, and we were very happy. I lived right close to the
boys particularly and I coached the baseball teams each year. Out of
eight years I was in Riverdale, I won seven country championship. And so
I had a very good standing with the people out there.
Interviewer: Were you living right in Riverdale?
Bro. Wyatt: I lived in Riverdale all the time.
Interviewer: And when you were principal at Harrisville, where were you
Br. Wyatt: I lived in Harrisville. I’ve always felt that I should live
where I taught. And I’ve always done that.
Interviewer: There are some benefits to that, aren’t there?
Bro Wyatt: When you get close to the people and they know you, there are
a lot of advantages. Then at the end of that time, my stay in Riverdale,
I had been teaching English most of the time, and had been majoring in
English at the College, I was working now on my master’s degree. And the
superintendent asked me if I would go into the high school and head the
English Department. I went in there, I think I was there for eight
years. I had a very fine experience and a good time and got along with
They’d built the Wahlquist Junior High School. It was not a junior high
school then, it was an elementary; and I think we had the ninth grade
was all. I was assigned out there and went there for a few years–three
or four or five years–and then I was given the privilege of coming to
North Ogden. So I move into North Ogden then and was principal here for
quite a number of years, until they rebuilt the Wahlquist school and
made it a junior high entirely and took the North Ogden Junior High
school students there and others. We had quite a nice school at that
time. So I went back to Wahlquist at that time and I stayed there until
I retired. Along toward the end of that time I did quite a little bit of
work for the Ford Foundation–experiments and so on–some things we
instituted in the school at Wahlquist and other schools in the country.
And when it came, when I retired, then I worked on the county level in
the office up until the time I went to New Zealand which was not too
long, several months. And that’s been my school experience.
Interviewer: That’s a good career too. Could you tell me a little bit
about your civic involvement. I understand you’ve been quite involved in
Bro. Wyatt: Well, I’ve tried to be interested in the community affairs.
About the only office that I have held, though, as such, was I was mayor
of North Ogden for several years when I lived here. I was mayor when
they put the water system in. My home was the first home in North Ogden
to have the city water attached to it.
Interviewer: Is that this home right here?
Bro. Wyatt: No, it was the one a block down from here. I built that
house and lived in there for awhile. When we first came to North Ogden,
we lived in a small home we bought just across the street from the
church. It wasn’t large enough for us, and we weren’t too satisfied with
it. And one springtime, my wife and I were walking up around here. All
this was open country then. This block that we are living on was all
planted wheat–four acres wheat here–and we talked about how we would
love to have this place. That was during the depression. And so we found
out who owned the land. It was Shupe and I went down to talk to him
about it. He said he’d sell it to me. My wife’s folks had died just a
little bit before then, and we had a little inheritance from them. The
owner of this property said he’d sell this four acres to me, this block
for $800.00. So it took a little time and a little maneuvering and the
price went up a little bit, but not very much, and so we bought this
place and built that house down there. Then later on we built this one.
Our children were growing up and going to college. We sent our boy on a
mission. But my work extra time has been more in the church work than it
has been in the civic work. I’ve always been active in the church. I’ve
been Stake Superintendent of three stake Sunday Schools–The Hyrum Stake,
the Ogden Stake and the Ben Lomond Stake. I was on the High Council in
the Hyrum Stake and I was in the High Council in the Hamilton Stake in
New Zealand. I’ve been superintendent of Sunday Schools in a number of
places. My wife has always been active in the church, done lots of work
primarily in Relief Society and Primary. And my children have always
been active in the church.
Interviewer: That’s something, I’m sure that gives you a lot of
Bro. Wyatt: Yes. As the sun is getting toward setting time, I feel
pretty good about my family especially.
Interviewer: That’s a good feeling. Could you take a minute and tell me
a little bit about some of your experiences as the Mayor of North Ogden?
Bro. Wyatt: Well, when I was Mayor of North Ogden, the town was just
beginning to change from a country village to a city. We put in the
water system during that time, the culinary water system. A lot of the
dedicated roads had never been opened up. They were fenced in by the
people who adjoined them and they had used them to put in crops and so
on. In fact, one of the roads went through both sides of my place–part
on my place and part on the adjoining one. Of course, there were some
people who objected to opening up these roads. They thought we would
never need them. One thing that was said that all they would be was weed
patches–just grow up to weeds. But we felt that, the members of the town
board, we felt that they ought to be opened up and fenced off and graded
and begin to use so that people could build their homes there. And we
did this. It went to the courts. It even went to the Supreme Court of
the State before it was decided. It was decided in favor of the town
board by one vote. I think there’s five votes, and we got three of them
and the other side got two. And I was very much surprised when it was so
near. There was some opposition and some people that were a bit angry
about it, but they got over it after awhile. I suppose you can see now
when this four-acre piece that I bought and had the one house on it, now
I think it has nine houses on it. Where North Ogden had been one ward
over all the years and our school attendance wasn’t any higher than it
had been 50 ears earlier, but now where they had one ward in North
Ogden, now we have more than a stake. They have I guess, a dozen wards
or more, right here in North Ogden. It’s still growing and will grow and
the streets are paved and curb and gutter going in. I suppose we are
getting too many people that are coming.
Interviewer: It’s getting big. Perhaps those people who fought so hard
had a good reason for wanting to keep it the way it was.
Bro. Wyatt: Oh, yes. But the people who opposed it, I could see their
point. They were honest and honorable and some of them were my good
friends before and still were afterwards, but we did have a little
Interviewer: Do you remember who the members of the town board were
Bro. Wyatt: Not all of them. One of them was Jeff Ballif and Claude
Ellis, John Q. Blaylock. It’s always a privilege to work with other
people. And on the whole, I have gotten along with people very well. I
don’t know of any enemies that I have now, and I don’t know of any that
have been seriously at any other time.
Interviewer: I know the people in the school business think highly of
Bro. Wyatt: Well, that’s a big reward if they do.
Interviewer: I know quite a number who do.
Bro. Wyatt: Of course, most of the people I’ve associated with and
worked with are gone. I’m getting along towards that last leaf upon the
Interviewer: You’ve had a good life.
Bro. Wyatt: We’ll be together again someday.
Interviewer: That’s right. It’s nice to know that. perhaps you could
take a minute and tell me about your hobbies and special interests and
things that you are particularly concerned about right now?
Bro Wyatt: Well, one thing that I’ve enjoyed as a past time all my life
is trout fishing and I’ve done a lot of that. I’ve gotten tons of trout
on a fly all the time. I started fishing in Blacksmith Fork Canyon and
Logan Canyon and around there when I was younger. Then when I married an
Idaho girl, we’d spend the summer with her people in Idaho and I began
to fish the Snake River about the North Fork in Island Park country and
more the South Fork up in Swan Valley and that area, especially in the
fall of the year. We spent a few summers, my wife and I did, with her
father and mother in Idaho. When they were older, he was not able to do
his farm work. I did a lot of the farm work there during the summer
time, and he and I used to go fishing on Tuesday. We’d go up on South
Fork in my car on Tuesday and stay over night, and he’d do the cooking
and take care of the camp. He didn’t ever fish, but we had some
wonderful times, Brother Ball and I. We were very close together. So I
fished there a lot.
Then when I went to New Zealand, I started fishing there for trout. The
trout in New Zealand were all imported from America–from the United
States. Their streams, I don’t think they had any fish in them outside
of eel, until they were brought in. Mostly the rainbow trout were taken
down there and also German Brown. But New Zealanders, they don’t care
for the German Brown, they think they are too oily, and they are trash
fish in New Zealand. But down there they had a lot of water, a lot of
lakes and streams, and I did a lot of fishing that wasn’t far from where
we lived. I could go to one of a dozen lakes or half a dozen streams
were right close around. But they had a law down there which prohibits
you from keeping anything under 15 inches long. If you catch a trout
that isn’t more than 15 inches long, you have to put it back. So I
fished there a good deal. People there are nice to deal with, too.
Other hobbies that I’ve had, I’ve always like to garden and raise crops
and fruits and so on. I got to about the point now where I can’t do too
much with it. This year I decided I wouldn’t do anything to it, but I
gave it to my son to do. But then I muscled in and shoved him out of it.
I’ve grown a good crop of weeds this year.
When I was in school work, we did–especially in Riverdale and those
other places–I did quite a bit in the way of putting on plays. I’ve
never been too good at athletics, although I was on the Ricks Basketball
team when I was there. I played baseball a little. I’ve done quite a bit
of coaching of those sports. I like that. So I haven’t done anything
spectacular in those lines, but I have enjoyed myself.
Interviewer: Well, I am sure that’s the main reason why we do things
like that. Have you had some special spiritual experiences that
particularly stand out in your mind?
Bro. Wyatt: I’ve always felt that our prayers were heard and answered.
One time our Bishop here had got in an accident. He was Bishop Jones,
Earl Jones, and he was a neighbor of mine. He was in the hospital and
the doctors had given up all hope for him. We held a prayer meeting for
him here and I was asked to be mouth. I had never felt the Spirit of the
Lord in my life any time like it was manifest at that time. And we
pleaded with the Lord and asked him if it would be His will to spare the
life of our Bishop. We told him how much we loved him and he recovered
almost miraculously. I had met people, so many times since that time,
that have come up to me and really wept because of the spirit they felt
at that time.
I know the Lord listens to your prayers. I don’t know, I think the
testimony that I have was born with me. My father and mother were good
people–good Latter Day Saints–and they had a large family. They always
lived the gospel fairly well. And I’ve just always felt that that was
about the only thing to do. And I’ve always wanted to do it, I haven’t
always done it. I’m just hoping that the Lord will be merciful when it
comes time to judge me because I know I’ve done a lot of things I
shouldn’t have done. I spent most of my lifetime in a way where I have
supported myself and I’ve supported my family and I’ve supported the
church. I’ve seen the country change so much and it‘s still changing and
I see that it’s changing toward the time of the coming of Christ. In
order for that to happen, I know we have to have a break down of our
government and that’s happening.
I’ve been so concerned about the influence that the dark-skinned races,
particularly the negro, has had upon our economy. Not only upon the
government itself, but upon our schools. They have just reduced the
standards of our schools to a point where it can meet those of the Negro
people. And in order to do that we have deprived our caucasian people
and other people of many of the standards. Got to the point where people
graduate from high school and went to the college and were in college
and can’t read and write. That wouldn’t have happened when I was a boy.
But I do think we’re beginning to work up to that.
The time is coming when we are going to have a break-up in my opinion,
of our economic and political organizations. You can’t continue spending
billions of dollars more than you have come in all the time. You can
devalue the dollar, which they have done, and take it out of the pockets
of these who have worked hard and saved, but there is going to be a time
come when they can’t go on any longer and we break up. And the answer to
all of that, of course, will be the coming of the Son of Man to rule and
reign. And we have a tremendous responsibility in getting the world
ready for that. And it’s happening so rapidly we are amazed at it, if we
even stop to think about it. Our missionaries are going into foreign
lands, people who have different languages and what ‘s important so many
different cultures. And we’ve got all of these different cultures that
we have got to bring and make a Kingdom of God out of. And the church
has that responsibility. And it’s meeting it–it’s being done.
Interviewer: Amazingly so.
Bro. Wyatt: But when you think of a country like Mexico, which is not
one of the most backward countries, but it’s by far not one of the
leading countries, where one of the first things the Relief Societies
have to do with the women is to teach them to read. Most of the men
learn to read, but not the women folk. And then you go to the South
American countries where they have no freedom at all. We’ve got to reach
those people, not only the gospel, but to live in democracy–to live in
brotherhood. It’s a big work and I don’t know. I know the work that I
have had to do is not on the same plane as the work that has to be done
today. The conditions have changed, the people have changed, and the
world is changing. We’re on our way up. And I know the Lord is sending
people in there that will do that work. Some of his very choicest
spirits have been kept for this great assignment.
Interviewer: I believe that’s very true.
Bro. Wyatt: So that’s the way I feel about things. I am very happy, very
happy about this world and the things that are done and the things that
are being done. But I am also very concerned about he rights and
privileges of good people.
Interviewer: Yes, I’ll say.
Bro. Wyatt: We’ve had so many of our presidents lately that have been
scoundrels. They have not been desirous of serving the people and
serving the lord. They just want to get the vote. We had a few good
presidents lately. Just as soon as a man gets in there, those on the
outside try to crucify him where he’s good or bad.
Interviewer: Yes, everyone with all the pressure groups attempting to
get what they want.
Bro. Wyatt: That right. Well, that’s about all that I have.
Interviewer: Brother Wyatt, it has been a pleasure to interview you. You
are a fine man.
Bro Wyatt: Well, I know what I am better than anyone else does. And I
know I have plenty of weaknesses and imperfections. And a lot of things
I may have liked to have done that I never have done and can do, but I
decided I wanted to get a college education, and I got that. I got my
bachelor’s degree and then I got my maters’s degree. It was mostly
because of my wife’s help that I did that.
Interviewer: Well, you have accomplished a lot of good things for which
you should be very proud. And I can tell that you are.
Bro Wyatt: And while I haven’t made a lot of money or made too much
money, I have my home and I don’t owe anybody any money.
Interviewer: It’s too bad we can’t all say that.
Bro. Wyatt: Well, give them time. You will