Newsletter of the Smithfield UT Historical Society
by Glen J. Thornley
As promised, I continue to elaborate on the woes of water. If you watch the news of today, “global warming” is a giant political issue. Ultimately, changes wrought by global warming will involve water. Whether it be the rising of sea levels or the increasing speed of desertification on the planet, mankind’s ability to control water is the driving fear. On a more local, but very real basis, even the efforts of the State of Nevada to get water from the State of Utah is an issue facing citizens of southwestern Utah. In the historical recent past, there has been efforts by Box Elder County to get water from Cache County by drilling a large well in our county. Salt Lake County would love some of our water. Currently, both Benson and Amalga get their culinary water from wells located in the geographical area of Smithfield. As previously mentioned, Smithfield gets a significant portion of our irrigation water from the Logan River.
In wet years, when water in our area is abundant, few problems arise. Most years, few problems are evident in springtime. In the dry years and in late summer of many years, the value of water seems to increase. The concerns, issues, legalities, controversies, fights and worst of all, politics comes to the forefront. Just recently. I was told a story about a man who expressed hatred for another. He felt that the other party had done him an irrefutable wrong with water. For years the man had been able to use excess water to irrigate his farmland. The other party had installed a measuring device to help control the legal allocation of the water. As a result, no excess water ran out the end of the canal. The water was used by those who owned the legal rights to the water. They had been the ones over the years who had paid the costs. The man was mad because an end had come to his free water.
My parents served many years as the secretary of the Smithfield Irrigation Company. As previously explained, the irrigation water is owned in the form of “shares” equivalent to the amount of water legally available, per the longstanding Kimble Decree, and the laws of our State.
To make a long story short, because of the quality needed for culinary water, a significant portion of the irrigation rights to Smithfield and Birch Canyon water has been exchanged for irrigation water rights owned by our city and by Hyde Park City which come from the Logan River.. Additionally, other entities have “rights” called high water rights which can be used only when water is abundant. The problems arise when adequate water is available but the water doesn’t make it to the end of the canals where we in Smithfield can use it. The exchange agreements must be enforced. Politics!!
Imagine now the problems. Only so much water is available for each ditch in town and the surrounding fields. Everyone is determined to get their fair and legal share. There is only about 3600 hours available in the irrigation season each summer. Each water owner gets their allocated time about every 172 hours. That means that your water time doesn’t always come at a convenient time. There is a probability that a few times during the summer you will be up in the middle of the night. As luck would have it, you are a church leader and your water time comes right at the beginning of church. It’s a rough life! On top of all of that, you are raising corn. You need water through the whole season. You neighbor is raising grain and he only needs water early in the year. You strike an agreement as neighbors. This particular year there is no summer rain and your grain field becomes very hard. You would like to irrigate the harvested field just so you can plow it and prepare it for next year. But what about your neighbors corn? On top of all those troubles, the neighbor is watering and some children pull the headgate and let the water go down the wrong ditch. Your neighbor had it all set to run for the night. He discovers in the morning that none of his corn got watered. If only North Logan and Hyde Park hadn’t used so much of the water.
My parents worried, labored and worried more, over the 7 inch by 16 inch time sheets which scheduled the water by the minute, from May 1st to September 30th. Every year many many changes impacted the availability of water. They tried to accommodate the corn and the grain, my little garden, and even leave a little room for the children to pull a headgate. Of course, and adult would never let a little water leak past?
Glen Jay Thornley
In light of the recent news in Cache Valley regarding the failure of the canal that brings Smithfield part of it’s water, I have chosen to write a bit about that most valuable resource. One of the primary factors in the settlement of the intermountain west, what we call “Zion”, was the potential for clean fresh water, not only for irrigation and the power of falling water to drive industry here in the desert, but for household use. We are blessed in Smithfield to have an abundant supply. That supply in guaranteed to us by a long standing law called the Kimball Decree. The Kimball Decree has been challenged many times in the courts, and it has held up. Smithfield was an ideal setting for a community because of the water coming from the mountains and flowing gently west, north or south over our alluvial plain. Water provided power to operate grain grinding mills in the early days. All kinds of crops were grown in Smithfield because of the availability of irrigation. Homegrown sugar cane is mentioned in many written histories. Milk was cooled year around by both dairy farmers and households with the cold clean water. In the cold winters, the cool running water would keep the milk from freezing. The pioneers recognized that there needed to be separation between the drinking quality water and the irrigation water. Eventually, water was provided by underground pipes to homes in the central part of town. In the 1940s there still remained many homes that did not have flush toilets. The pioneers made careful studies of the lay of the land and plotted out ditches to control the water, thus spreading water out over the community and the surrounding agricultural area. In dry years, disputes arose as to who could use the water and when? As ditches were dug and headgates were constructed, they were given names. Although most of the ditches have been replaced by a pressurized gravity flow system for irrigation, many of the old ditch names remain. They have provided flood and drainage protection for the city. There was the two Depot Street ditches along 100 north, the Brickyard Ditch to the north,, the Thornley Ditch down toward the south, the Richardson Ditch to the southwest, as well as many others. One notable ditch was the “Big” ditch which fed several of the field ditches. It was used recently to provide storm drainage for a large part of the city which was mandated by federal regulations. In the early days, water was allocated at one share per acre. If you care to know, a second foot of water is one cubic foot of water passing a given point in one second. The Kimball Decree allotted the Smithfield Irrigation District 33.5 second feet of water to irrigate 3500 acres. This then was 3500 shares of water. Certificates of ownership were then issued per the acres of land a given farmer owned. Those legal certificates have become increasing valuable as water has become valuable. The water has not necessarily stayed with the acreage. There is a joke among farmers that says that “Water used to run down hill, Now it runs toward money”.
Early on in our history, the need for more water became evident. As the Logan River was much larger than other water sources, various entities began to make use of that abundant supply. The farmers of Smithfield, Hyde Park and North Logan formed an association which later became a company similar to the Smithfield Irrigation Company and secured the legal rights to a part of the Logan river. Even though the pioneers only had access to crude surveying equipment, they plotted routes to build two canals from the Logan river to Smithfield and beyond. Much of the work of construction on the canals was done with horses and by hand. As the benefits of the water were realized according to the number of “shares” owned, the irrigation companies became legally incorporated as taxing entities enabling them to share costs equitably. As history brings us closer to modern times, wells were drilled, water demands became higher, exchanges were negotiated to make for more effective use of the water in dry years, disputes have been the rule rather than the exception, and legal challenges to the Kimball Decree have continued. As a youngster, I witnessed more than one vociferous confrontation and even one fist fight over water. Many of our most respected citizens have served in Irrigation Company leadership, suffered through many of the controversies and survived. I count my father among them. Books could be written! TO BE CONTINUED.
Glen Jay Thornley
All of my historical writings have dealt with the long ago past. I’m in a mood today. Many things have happened in and around Smithfield in the recent past. I presume a historian, (I use that term loosely), should record the things most recent as well. There is a chance, just a chance, that those things may be recorded more accurately.
Just this last week, we lost a treasured Smithfield personality. Lee Badger, of Lee’s Marketplace, passed away. In reflection, we still have Jack Alsop who preceded Lee in the grocery business. I farmed where the first new “Jack and Lee’s” store was built across the highway from the present store. Jack’s real first store started out on first west near the old fire station. It was then called the Ice House. It was called the Ice House for a good reason. It really was where they stored ice which was frozen in wintertime for use in the individual family Ice Boxes during the summer. A significant portion of the building was used as a cold storage locker. A family, for a minimal fee, could store their frozen food items in the walk-in freezer. We kept our beef and chicken meat in the cold storage. Every Saturday, with our special key, Mom would go to the “locker” and remove a roast or a chicken for Sunday dinner. Prior to Jack owning the business, it was owned by Henry Meikle. Jack purchased the building and in 1949 he began the grocery part of the business in earnest.
Another passing, maybe not as noticeable, but none the less important, was the loss of Florinda Alvares. Florinda was the ultimate Mother. One could never drive past the Alvares home without seeing at least one of her adult children there to visit her and Danny. They and their children have had a good impact on many families in Smithfield. Back in the 1950s, the Alvares, Mays, Barrera, Gonzales, and Garza families began to grow here in Smithfield. Back then they were recognized as Hispanic families. Today, they are simply a part of who we are.
They had a lovely and very fitting funeral for Florinda at the Catholic Church in Hyde Park before her burial in the Smithfield cemetery.
Smithfield has changed geographically as well. Forrester Acres Park is the envy of many communities. When I was a youngster, Mack Park was a jungle of weeds, vines, and old dying trees. Now, James Mack Park is as nice as they can be. It has become a place for weddings. Many communities have a “Heritage Park”. Ours is very simple and as definitely a quiet place for contemplation. We have the beginnings of many walking and biking trails through our hometown.
Long Hill (SV Hill) will never be the same. As a youngster, the north side was great for sleigh riding. From the south, the hill looked especially long. Now, what catches your eye is a round concrete water reservoir. We don’t have a SV on a hill any more. As one’s eyes wonder north behind Long Hill one sees another large water reservoir in the bottom of Dry Canyon. I was hoping that our new reservoir could be hidden but there it is. There were only a very few homes east of the cemetery. It doesn’t seem like long ago that the Sky View High School was on the Southeast edge of town. There were no homes south of fourth south except Pitcherville along the highway. There was only an isolated few homes west of the railroad tracks, and the far north edge of town was the Gutke home at Fifth North and Main. Years ago, one was free to wander into one of our three canyons, at anytime, and enjoy their peace and beauty. Now, each canyon has at least two gates. If you happen to ride your bicycle into the wrong canyon, you could be ticketed. Recently I rode my bike up Green Canyon above North Logan. North Logan has adopted their Green Canyon. It is filled with nice bike trails, camp sites, and picnic tables. They don’t even have the luxury of a year around stream of water flowing down the canyon.
Oop’s I’m turning into an advocate rather than a History writer.
SMITHFIELD’S UNION HALL
Last month my writing explored the corner of Main and Center streets starting with today and moving back in time. I got back to 1926. Now, in an effort to define what the title of “Union” meant to Smithfield, I will go back to the turn of the century and work forward. One has to realize that life style was much different back then. Typically, the young and middle aged of Smithfield would go to the baseball game, then migrate to a social place like a dance hall. Recreational opportunities were very limited. A Mr. Hillyard owned what is now the Main Theater. It had a stage, and a small floor suitable for dancing. Mr. Hillyard’s company produced small plays and even musical presentations. Interestingly, the musicals were called operas. The upper floor of the Douglass/Cantwell store at 100 south (American Legion Hall) could be used for dances but that required considerable work to clear the floor of storage items. The loft of the Woodruff barn at 152 West 200 South was often used. That was a nice dance floor but the working dairy barn offered no facilities for food, drink or even restroom facilities. By fall, it was full of hay.
During the first decade of the century, much talk centered around developing a central area of the community as a place to gather and provide all of the facilities conducive to cultural development and entertainment. After a series of informal meetings, a formal meeting was organized in 1912 by a group of private citizens of the community. No Government influence or support was involved. Plans were outlined to form a group of citizen investors , united, to secure commitments to provide funding and manpower to construct such a facility. A building lot was donated by a Mr. Cantwell at Number 2 East Center Street as his share of the investment. A Mr. Winn was elected President of the organization. They quickly began to gather financing, and very soon were able to begin construction. In searching for a name, someone suggested that it was a Union of Citizens who were pooling their resources. Thus, it was called the “UNION HALL. Building plans were drawn. The top floor was a dance hall and movie theater. Remember now, there was no TV and very little Radio. Many homes did not own a radio. Movies were a novelty. Billiards was looked down upon then, just as it is by some today. Naturally, the Pool Hall was in the basement. The building had a Ticket Office which sold tickets and tokens usable in any or all of the various businesses. Imagine the dilemma little Johnny or even his Dad faced. They were sent to the ticket office to get a token for a hair cut but that same token would purchase a fist full of candy or a movie ticket or a beer. Now the men could really get in trouble. The building was considerably larger that the current Smithfield Implement building. Most of the construction was donated by local builders as their appropriate share investment. The Brick was Smithfield made, by Deppe Brick Company. The brick was laid by a Mr. Covey and a Mr. Douglass. Hills did the plumbing. The Pilkingtons did the plastering. All tole, the building cost near $18,000. In addition to the “in kind” investors, many simply paid money toward the effort. For example, William Griffiths owned 50 shares, George Ferrell owned 20, J. W. Kirkbride owned 70, William Pitcher owned 5, Sam Thornley owned 1, Sarah McCracken owned 10, and believe it or not, the Smithfield Second Ward Choir owned 20. The basement was dig by hand and with horses. An amazing $32 was spent for concrete walks around the entire building. The theater was named the Empress. There was a metal clip under each seat for both the men and women to store their hats as not to interfere with the view of the persons behind them. The theater seated 400. The movie projector was cranked by hand. In 1917, the Post Office moved from the building to a location just south of the present Smithfield Imp. building. The Post office space was changed to a Café. The Smithfield band and the Hyde Park band played for the dances. The story comes to abrupt end in the early summer of 1926. A fire of unknown origin completely engulfed the dreams of many.
MAIN and CENTER
At the intersection of Main and Center Streets in Smithfield, for essentially all of the 20th century, the Old UIC Train Station (Now First Security/Wells Fargo Bank) has always been there. The Northwest corner has always been the Library Square which included the small yellow brick house ( formerly the LDS Tithing Office ) and the old World War One Cannon as well as the Carnegie Library. By the way, I personally hope the library remains there! The Southwest corner has always been the Old American Food Store Building which has had several names and is now the Somebody’s Attic Thrift Store. I often wonder if that old food store really made any money off all the penney candy they sold to the elementary school kids. Obviously, it as a grocery store, was less than one tenth the size of Lee’s Marketplace, yet we found all the food items we needed. I still remember the floor plan. Candy on the south wall, Milk at the back along the side of the butcher shop, and produce on the north wall. Us kids always felt like we were being watched from the small square window above the meat department which was Morgan Edwards’s office. His office must only have had a six foot high ceiling.
The subject of this writing started out to be the other corner lot. The one on the Southeast of Main and Center. For some time now it has been known as the 7-11 corner. We knew that Smithfield had “come of age” when 7-11 moved in. We had heard of 7-11s being all around the nation. One even came to Logan a couple of years earlier. Now we knew what a “convenience store” was. One could purchase gas at any time, day or night. They sold all kinds of cold beverages, hot beverages, candy, many brands and forms of tobacco, magazines we had only barely heard of, and even Slerpys which we had never heard of. The term “Junk Food” was just coming into vogue.
Prior to 7-11, Terry Bright from Richmond owned a Texaco Dealership at that location. Terry served in Viet Nam and saw action in the famous “Tet Offensive” during the war that took many American lives. Upon returning home from Viet Nam, Terry, with the help of E.G. Earl of Logan, built the building. That business existed from 1970 into the mid 1980s. In the late 1970s the welcome signs of change came when someone started hauling gravel to fill the large hole that had existed on that corner for many years.
The afore mentioned “hole” had been on the corner of Main and Center since 1926. For 44 years, that giant ten foot deep hole had , in its own way, haunted the corner. As a youngster, I remember it being known as the location of the ‘Union Hall”. Few of my generation even knew what the Union Hall was. To me, Union meant marriage or connection, or confederate or something to do with government. I remember peeking through the white fence surrounding the hole. It had become the resting place for empty brown long neck Coors beer bottles, Neisbits and Coke soda pop bottles, Beckers and Fisher beer cans, Camel, Luck Strike and Chesterfield cigarette packs, and a few one gallon Mogan David wine bottles. You may ask how I know this. Even back then we recycled. A couple of us kids discovered that the soda pop bottles were exchangeable for 3 cents each. That seemed to keep us in penny candy. There were no aluminum beer or pop cans, no styrofoam, or clear plastic bottles, simply because they didn’t exist.
For the first 25 years of the 20th century, that corner was the center of activity in Smithfield. Even cumulatively, the other three corners didn’t compare. The “Union Hall” consisted of a dance hall, motion picture theater, confectionary, pool hall, apartment building, post office, barber shop, acting stage, mens store, candy store and offices. The building was a three story complex built in a similar style to the 1903 structure which is now Smithfield Implement Company at 99 North Main. Stay tuned next month. I will define “Union”.
Elk have been on my mind lately. I was aware that some of our Smithfield pioneers had imported wild elk to Smithfield. With a bit of research, I learned that there were elk and mule deer native to our area. I also learned that in the mid to late 1800s most of the wild animals were killed off. I would presume that most were used for food while others were perceived to be competitive with domestic range cattle. In the very early 1900s hunting became more of a family sport. Hunting came to be viewed as recreational. Several notable Smithfield residents organized into what became the Smithfield Wildlife Federation. John Browning (Browning Arms) was even a member of the local federation. Frank Nelson of Smithfield was a friend of Browning’s. One of their first efforts centered around the purchase and “planting” of Chinese Ringneck Pheasants. Although the pheasants were not native to the area, they adapted well to our climate and quickly provided recreational hunting throughout Cache Valley. The federation also pushed for fingerling trout to be planted in Summit Creek, Birch Creek and Chambers Spring. Prior to Hyde Park using Birch Creek water for culinary purposes, the stream thrived with trout. With that success, the men of the Wildlife Federation began to look at large game. With stories of elk having been seen by the early pioneers, they turned to relatives who had settled in the area of North West Wyoming. In the fall of 1916, three Smithfield men headed north. Two bull elk and three cow elk were brought from Afton Wyoming to Smithfield via work horses and wagons. Corals were built in the central park area of town just behind our present city offices. Photos exist which show the Elk along with the much smaller pine trees that now grace our Library and central community area. The elk were kept in the enclosure for nearly two years. They became tame, and came to rely on feed from the local people. At one time they were taken to Logan and corralled near the center of Logan for people to see. Shortly after their trip to Logan, and because the small herd was growing, the Smithfield Federation decided it was time to release them. Of course, they thought the elk would go to the mountains and remain there. The elk had different ideas. They became a menace to the local gardens. Eventually, the elk were lured back into the corals and loaded for a ride way up Smithfield canyon. There is a long and storied history of elk in Cache Valley.
This year, 2008-2009, I was fortunate to draw an elk permit for the late elk hunt that occurs in December and January along the face of our mountains from Logan to the Idaho line. My Son-in-law accused me of applying for an easy hunt. Little did he know! I probably spent 30 of the sixty days, with binoculars, looking for elk along the foothills. I was sure they would eventually come down to lower , less snowy, areas. Without revealing my secret, I will say that I eventually learned that elk had been seen in an area that I know well. What is a 64 year old to do but go for a long walk and investigate? I spent several days, with a friend who also had a permit, scanning the canyons. Just when I began to think that the stories of elk we all a hoax, there they were. Unfortunately they were very high in the mountains. We had the good fortune, several times, of hiking in the cold, just hard enough to stay warm, then setting in the sun on the south face for a couple of hours, and thoroughly enjoying watching several elk lounge just across the canyon from us. It was obvious that elk like the cold. At mid day when the sun would eventually hit where they were laying, they would get up, browse around for a while, and move to a cooler less sunny area and settle in. We also learned that they did all of their traveling at night. There is an old hunter’s saying, “ You can’t shoot tracks”. One day we did see the elk on the move. Two hunters had crossed over into our area from another canyon. I saw three bulls and shortly thereafter 32 cow elk, in a line, moving into a heavy grove of trees. The two men, who had caused them to move, never did see them. In my younger days I would have followed them. I am much smarter now. We lucked out, had all the fun of the hunt, and didn’t get one. In case you don’t know, canned sardines in catsup sauce are much better in the mountains than they are at home.
MORE ON THE OLD BARN
As I mentioned in the last article, a book could be written about old barns. The pioneers of German decent built different barns than those of English or Danish decent. It’s interesting to note the different styles even here in Cache valley. I mentioned ventilation. A common characteristic of the barns was some kind of small enclosure near top center which I always thought was built just for pigeons. I mentioned that most of the farm animals lived in the barn during winter. A great deal of moisture was generated just from the breath of the many animals. Those small enclosures were actually put there to provide an escape for the moisture and thus prevent sweating of the wooden structure. The pivotal purpose of most barns was the milk cows. Some of the cows were almost family, similar to some pets of today. Even in the 1920s and 30s, the farmers referred to their mechanical milkers as modern inventions. Earlier, of course, the cows were milked by hand. The mechanical milkers allowed one or two family members to perform the chores necessary to market the milk from several cows. In those days, most of the milk in Cache Valley was sent to the Sego Milk Condensing factory in Richmond. Grandpa’s 24 cows and the related farm land provided the income for two or three families. Each mature cow had her own name. Genetic and production records were kept on the cows enabling the dairyman to sell off the poorer producing animals. Our cows were often named after personalities in the area. The mean cow was named after a mean person. The thin cow was name after a thin person, and so on. We wont go there! Regardless of their names, grandpa took very good care of the cows. They were his livelihood. Today’s corrals are all concrete and somewhat slick. Back then, the cows were turned out every day for exercise. Even the older animals would frolic in the dirt and often snow covered corrals. They had personalities just like people. We had one old cow that would switch you with her tail every time you let your guard down. Another smart old girl would eat the grain in front of the cow next to her, before she would eat her own, thus getting more than her share. Each of the cows knew her place in the barn when they would be put back from their daily play. I remember the old bitty on the north end. She would lean on me every time I would try to put the surcingle on. I know, what is a surcingle? The surcingle was the adjustable rubber strap that went over the cows back to hold up the milker. There was a special room to hold the horse harnesses. Another room contained the vacuum pump that operated the milkers. Another small room provided storage for the animal medicine and the other supplies such as milk filters for the strainer. Just off the supply room was the coat, hat, boot and glove room. That room served as the office and visiting space as well. It had the luxury of an electric heater. There was accurate records of how many cans of milk were taken by the milkman , how much cream had been skimmed from the milk cans for ice cream, as well as records of the birth dates and parentage of the animals. The receipts for grain sold and grain purchased were all stuck on an old nail. There was a calendar that kept track of how much beet pulp we had left in Lewiston. I often heard my father and uncle complain that "they were married to the cows". In a way they were, because the cows had to be milked every night and morning, even on Sunday and Christmas day. Yes they were tied down, but it was a good life. It was rewarding to see the fruits of their labor. It was good to have their children around them. There was a certain peace. I remember that dad always whistled tunes as he was working in the barn. Mom would always listen to know that he was all right. I even know of a barn, not ours, here in Smithfield that had a secret basement room which was used for bootlegging. We won’t go there either.
Glen Jay Thornley
GRANDPA’S OLD BARN
A book could and should be written about the old barns of yester-year. Most of those barns were much larger and even more central to pioneer society of the very early twentieth century. They often represented much more investment than the pioneer homes. A typical home was roughly 30 feet by 60 feet and about 16 feet high. The barn out back could have been as large as 100 feet by and 150 feet, and 40 or 50 feet high. Often the entire income of the farm family relied on the functioning of the barn and it’s contents. Many of those old barns still exist around our nation, but very few are used as they were in the 1920's. Smithfield still has a few. The one specific to my early memories exists at 607 South Main.
Timing is important. I have chosen to write about the old Thornley barn during the very cold time of the year. When one would enter grandpa’s barn, you would remove your coat and hang it up. Even though it may be 20 below outside, the heat from the animals kept the barn moderately warm. The barn was ventilated with several long openings that started on the ground floor and rose to the top of the structure. The principle of warm-air-rising created a flowing ventilation system that was used to control the temperature and the smell. Many of the barns were built with tongue-and-groove hardwood for the inside walls with interlocking wood of equal quality firmly attached to the skin of the building. The lower part of the building was insulated. The many windows which provided light in winter, could be opened in summer. The ground floor ceiling which was also the floor of the hay storage area in the top of the barn was also made of hardwood flooring which could have served as a dance floor when empty. That actually was the case in the Woodruff barn at 152 West 200 South. The first room at the south front of grandpa’s was for rolled barley storage. It was fun to set on the warm sacks of rolled barley as they would haul it from the grain mill which was near the entrance of our present Mack Park.. The grain had been saturated with steam to allow it to be flattened for better digestion by the animals. Next to that room were four stalls for the work horses. The horses stood in the stalls side by side just like they worked as teams in the summer. The four large horses were let out a while every day for exercise. West of the horses were several enclosures for the baby calves. There they were fed fresh warm milk, and kept dry and healthy. Along the west wall of the barn were 24 stanchions for the milk cows. Behind the milk cows was the gutter. It would fill with urine and manure daily and required cleaning every day. We would push the waste the full length of the four inch deep foot wide gutter to the south side of the barn to be throw out with a six tine pitch fork. A four tine fork was no good because the manure would just fall through. The outside manure pile would always steam in the winter from the heat generated by the decomposing manure. It was our job to curry the horses and cows daily to keep them clean. Along the north side of the barn was a birthing area for the cows that were about to freshen (give birth). East of the birthing area and separated by an insulated wall was the milkhouse area which was painted white. There they washed the old Surge milkers daily. They actually had the luxury of a water heater. That part of the barn had a concrete floor and a center floor drain. In the east front of the barn was a large ground level water trough. The many ten gallon milk cans were filled and set down in the water for cooling. A small stream of water was allowed to run continuously over the cans to cool them in preparation for the milk man. The milk man I remember best was Roy Pitcher. He was a thin normal sized man yet he could grab one full milk can in each hand, carry them to the wagon, heft them up well above his waist, and slide them in place. I think full, they weigh about 80 pounds each. There are several other unique areas of the barn. I will explore those areas and write more about the barn next month.
Glen Jay Thornley
My last writing brought up questions about the "Scout House" as it was called by the old timers. The Scout House is located near the west center part of the main city block in Smithfield. It is north of Summit Creek. Many didn’t know that it was built by the WPA. The WPA was a government funded group of many work projects initiated by the federal government as an effort to provide jobs and economic stimulation to bring the country out of the "Great Depression". I have been told that it was the first structural building project in the area. Pay at that time was three dollars per day. Most workers were expected to work a ten hour day. The logs for the cabin came from a sawmill which was located north of Beaver Mountain, actually on the Idaho side of the border. In an area just northwest of the Idaho Beaver Creek Campground, one can easily find the old piles of saw dust from the sawmill. The small wood chips have been preserved because of the nature of the white pines. The whitish fur trees (Abies Concolor) were numerous in the early days. They can be identified by the cones that stand up straight from the branch of the tree. The scales of the pine cone are heart shaped. The Forest Service which itself was new, donated the logs. William Claypool (Smithfield Lumber Company) donated the cedar shingles. Smithfiled’s Ervin Coleman chinked between the logs. Two fireplaces were built with one at each end of the cabin. The original flag pole remains in place. It was made of a lodgepole pine from the sinks area of Logan Canyon.
In the late 1960s there was talk of tearing down or moving the large cabin. Previously it had been used by the Boy Scouts and the First Ward Relief Society. The Bishop of the First Ward had even used it for a time as his office during remodeling of the yellow brick church. At the insistence of David Warner and other community members, the building was preserved. Many improvements were made including the installation of a modern furnace. The labor was all voluntary. Fund raising events were scheduled to earn money to purchase the materials. The creek was washing under the building during flood stage each spring. A project was undertaken to place large boulders under and near the south side of the cabin to divert the water. The building was wired for electricity by Navee Thornley and David Warner. The youth of the First Ward painted the building with paint donated by Anderson Lumber Company.
Those who helped with preservation of the building were numerous. David Warner, John Jasper, John Rutherfurd, Melvin Hillyard, Ervin Coleman, David G. Warner and Ken Nielson were among those who deserved special recognition. The First Ward financed $803.36. David Warner personally financed a significant portion of the funds as well. A total of well over 500 hours were donated in the year and a half effort.
As the First and Second Wards began meeting in the building on 200 South, the Scout House was turned over tho the Smithfield City Historical Society. As the Historical Building, many individual Boy Scouts and Ward groups have donated toward the upkeep and improvement of the Historical Museum. The collection has kept it’s "Smithfield Only" integrity. All of the artifacts and histories have a direct Smithfield connection. The value of our unique history is apparent as one delves into our heritage. We hope that in the future we will be able to improve, preserve and enlarge the efforts that have been carried on by many.
Glen Jay Thornley
I am often asked where when and how did or City’s Central Park come to be? Obviously, it is also the central block in Smithfield. Back in 1859, the central portion of Summit (Smithfield), was well west of what we now call Main Street. It is known that more than one dugout home was built near what is now fourth west and center street along the creek. Shortly after 1859 surveying began. A route was identified which was straight north of what then was a dirt street in Logan. In 1860 there began to be Indian trouble in and around Smithfield. Direction came from Brigham Young in the valley of the Great Salt Lake for the families who had settled Summit to build a fort which would serve to keep the families close, enabling them to watch their children and livestock. At the time, the Indians were simply expecting handouts from the pioneers. There had been no violence. The violence occurred only after the Indians were accused of stealing a horse. One of the Indian leaders was taken into custody. The fort was constructed with the east line of the enclosure running along the surveyed route straight north of Logan. Within a very few years the fort concept was abandoned and the pioneers began to disburse out around the community near their farms. The central part of town, the east portion of the fort, naturally became the cultural and business center of the community. That central area included many businesses such as a Doctors office, a Dentist, a blacksmith shop, A Post Office, a barber shop, and a confectionary, and a restaurant. Later, a Bank, a dry goods store, the Bishops Tithing Office and Bishop’s Storehouse were located there. The church acquired much of the block and the Tabernacle was built (we now call it the Youth Center). Three different schools were constructed on the block. All were made of Deppee brick which was made at a brick manufacturing facility near 300 west and 400 north in town. By the way, USU’s Old Main and several other USU buildings were made of that same Smithfield brick in the late 1800s. The Smithfield central block eventually included a hardware store, a toy store, the Post Office, a meat market, a drug and soda fountain store, another barber, and an auto dealership and gas station. The gas station pumps were the kind where you would hand pump the gas into a large glass cylinder in the top of the gas dispenser, note a measurement, then let the gas drain by gravity into your Model T or a container. There was also a farm implement dealer. A church was located on the square, near the highway, for a time. In the very early 1900s the Miles store was built, which we now know as Smithfield Implement Company. The Smithfield Lumber Company (Claypools) was immediately west of Smithfield Implement. West of there was a printing shop. When the fire station was using horses rather than fire trucks, they were housed in the large building that is now the Smithfield Implement warehouse. In the early 1950s the first TVs were sold and repaired from a small business in that block along Main Street. Early in the 1900s the city acquired the land and the Carnegie Library was built with money from the Carnegie steel mill fortunes of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh was know as the city of steel. Ironically no steel is made in Pittsburgh today. The First and Second ward church buildings were once located in that block. The Scout House, which is now the Historical Society’s museum, was built during the depression by the WPA. The central block is now owned by three entities including Smithfield Implement Company, Smithfield City Corporation, and the Cache County School District. The Smithfield Irrigation Company owns the small yellow brick, south facing house that previously was the tithing office. Michael Sears, as an Eagle Scout Project, constructed a large wooden sign on the Northwest corner of the block, designating the area where the large First Ward building once stood as Central Park. The Smithfield Lions Club built the covered picnic area in the park. The school district owns the Southwest corner of the block which is used as a school playground and is also used by the City for summertime youth activities. During the 1970s the center street roadway from Main to 100 West was closed and covered with grass for the safety of the students. The old yellow brick Summit School was demolished in the 1990s and the red brick junior high became the elementary school.
Glen Jay Thornley
Everyone is aware that Smithfield is the "Health City". Is it the water? Is it in the genes about which I have previously written?, or is there just something unknown in the west central part of town. Within a two block segment surrounding west center street, I could count at least ten individuals who are past 90 years old. Seven of those ten were born and raised in Smithfield. The other three were married and have lived here since. There are three or four others who I suspect to be past 90 but I was unable to verify. I know the ten personally, and I can say with relative certainty that they are all completely sound of mind. None of the ten suffer any signs of alzheimers. Currently seven of those ten live alone in their own home. My goodness, Libby still works a day or two per week at Smithfield Implement. She still maintains a large garden. I have noted that the Smithfield rocks grow just as well in her garden and they do in mine. Conrad Mather keeps a residence at a retirement home in Logan because he doesn’t like to cook, but he can be found at his Smithfield home nearly every day doing yard work and cleaning house, and checking on the crops. Arva Covey still mows her own lawn, all-be-it she uses an electric lawn mower. Most of the ten can be seen regularly at church. In running my mind around each of the blocks in the "old" part of town, which I know best, I could identify several others who I know to be over 90. There exists an even much much larger number of Smithfield residents who are in their ninth decade of life (past 80).
We have a saying in our culture that is often used to describe people we know. We say they are "Clean Living". I suppose individual interpretations of that saying my vary, but in my mind it has to do with another term we all know called the "Word of Wisdom". I submit that one could interview all ten who are in their 90s, and they would refer to hard work and "Clean Living" as contributing factors in their longevity.
I am reminded of a saying (Joke) that was neatly painted on a decorative board in Fay’s Billiards, a pool hall which was at about 150 North Main here is Smithfield for about 80 years. It went something like this: IF YOU DON’T SMOKE, AND IF YOU DON’T DRINK, AND IF YOU DON’T CHASE WOMEN, YOU WILL LIVE A LOT LONGER! AT LEAST IT WILL SEEM LIKE A L0T LONGER. That joke may or may not have some merit but in talking with any of those over ninety, they say that each successive year goes by faster. There are references in the "Word of Wisdom" to eating correctly. I guess we all have our own personal challenges?
Glen Jay Thornley
For some time now I have wanted to write about a strange habit we have here in Smithfield. I would guess that most of you will deny that you do this, but, like the modern term now used, "politically incorrect" this habit has it’s good side as well as it’s unfavorable component. It seems that when we encounter a stranger or new person, we ask, "Are you from around here?" We do this at church, at the ball game, at A & W and we even ask the new checker at Lee’s market. Why, sociologically, do we do this? Are we being nosey? Are we trying to pre-judge? Are we just trying to start a conversation? Do we really care? Sometimes but rarely, you will get a "none-of-your-business" response. Sometimes, the person you ask will feel that way, but will try not to show that they have been offended. Most often they appreciate your interest.
I submit that most of the time we really do care. That’s a good thing. That tells me that we are looking for a way to identify with that person. Most of us have a hard time remembering names, but for some reason can remember facts about people. Think about some of the responses you get. How many times have you identified someone by remembering that they just moved in to the "Smith" house. We have lived in the same house for 40 years but it’s still the Bill Scholes house. You would certainly remember them when you find out that they are married the Hanson’s grandson. O’h my wife grew up in Lewiston to. Sorry, it was Lewistion, Idaho not Lewiston, Utah. Well, I’ll remember that. Maybe it’s a form of self preservation?
Be careful who you talk about. My wife is from Lewiston Utah. Her maiden name was Moser. At our young age, how could we have known that we would fall in love then discover that her mother’s great great great grandmother was Mary Thornley? I’m not a genealogist, but somehow back in the mid 1800s Mary Thornley married a Pitcher. Some of them went to Cardston, Alberta Canada and some of them came to Utah. Well, there is a lot of people named Pitcher. Sometime down the line, one of Mary’s relatives married into the Lower family. The Lowers started a family of their own but died at a young age. Because of the relationship, someone in the Thornley family raised one of the Lower children. Several generations later, our daughter started dating a Lower. Could it be? Well, our second daughter met a young man from Providence. I remembered this young mans father because he was a high school referee for many years. I sure didn’t like some of his calls. I also knew of his mother because she had a funny first name. Amaryllis was a member of the "elite" Logan Golf and Country Club and, for many years was the Club Champion golfer. Amy was pronounced like the flower rather than the typical pronunciation. Here’s the catch, their last name was Moser. Could it be? You couldn’t find nicer people than the Mosers. Are you confused yet? I met a nice gentleman from up in the sixth ward. He was not from around here. Where ya from? Garden City but not Garden City Utah, I’m from Garden City, Kansas he said. I know one person in Kansas. Could it be? Bob actually knows Gerry and purchased a house from him.
Be careful who you talk about! It could be a form of self preservation!
By the way, My third daughter married a young man from Tremonton. My Mother is from that area and graduated from Bear River High School. We’ve searched and searched, but with a last name like Hulce, you never know. It’s spelled and pronounced several ways. I think we are safe!
Glen Jay Thornley
HISTORICAL HAPPENINGS 2008
Who would think there was anything exciting or interesting about restaurants in Smithfield? After all, Smithfield residents seem to think it’s not neat to eat out at home. They would much rather drive to Logan. I guess it seems more like an evening out.
Times, they are a changin! As of this writing, it costs roughly $5 to $6 in gasoline just to make the round trip to Logan. One can still get a pretty good meal for $9.99 per person. There is still the extremes of a Mexican fast food meal for about $5, and the other extreme of roughly $30 per person. Yes, I received a $40 birthday gift card for dinner at a well known Logan restaurant. My wife and I had a nice meal but with the cola and milk, and the 15% tip, that I still have a hard time with, we got out of there spending our $40 gift card plus another $18.
Maybe the "times" should change back. We have three or four "fast food" restaurants in Smithfield, reasonable priced, where if you are careful you can eat fairly healthy and keep in the $5 range. We have two very good Oriental or Asian restaurants, and an Italian restaurant for which the people from Logan make special trips, two of the best Pizza Restaurants around, and sandwich restaurants. We even have a reasonable priced restaurant as part of the deli in our local grocery store.
AS FOR HISTORY
The first food dispensary in Smithfield was the Bishop’s Storehouse and Tithing Office owned by the LDS church. Ironically, the first restaurant in Smithfield was opened by a Jewish fellow in 1863. After a very successful year in business, the Jewish business was purchased by the Church and the name was changed to The Co-op, later to be changed to The Young Mens Co-op. It was located at 95 North Main. The name was changed to include the "Young Mens" designation because they started to sell tobacco, clothing, firearms, ammunition, horsemens tack, as well as food and it’s "makins". The restaurant, confectionary and hardware store was operated by James Cantwell. Sometime prior to 1895 the business was purchased by E. R. Miles. In 1905, E. R. Miles Jr. became involved with the business. Miles Jr’s insight to the future brought the construction of the three story building at 99 north Main. E. R. Miles Jr. Died in 1914. There was a time when the Miles store was managed by a Mr. Tuttle. In the mean time, E. R. Miles’s daughte,r Hazel, married a young man from Utah County named Jessie M. Roylance who went into the hardware and implement business near our present City Office Building. The business, Smithfield Implement Company eventually purchased the Miles building which remains in the Roylance family operated by Ralph M. Roylance, his son Bart, and a grandson. There was a Hotel and Dining Room in the top floor of the Griffiths Store at 105 North Main. The first Fast Food Restaurant was owned and operated by William and Dolores Scrowther. It was named B and D’s. Everyone called it "The Stand". It was located at 61 North Main. Lee Woodruff operated a small restaurant in conjunction with his Barn Dances which were held in a barn still standing at 140 W 200 S, owned now by Jeff Gittins. There is a small Café at the Smithfield Livestock Auction which is open on Thursdays.. Vernon Tidwell owned and operated a small hamburger stand at 200 North. It was famous for 19 Cent hamburgers . I remember when drinks were 5 Cents. Eventually Mr. Tidwell changed to a slightly larger paper cup and raised the price of a drink to a dime. Even in the 1960s, a grilled cheese sandwich remained 19 cents. Hamburgers had gone up to 24 cents plus a penny tax. The word "Confectionary" was often used to describe all local businesses. Nearly all sold candy such as taffy, hard tack, horehound, licorice, lemon drops and nickle sized white mints. Grampa always had a few of those mints in his coverall pocket for us kids even though they were often mixed with hay leaves. Not as openly talked about was the sales of tobacco. Interestingly, they kept a wet sponge in the tobacco case to keep the cigars fresh. The Selly, Olson & Selly (SOS) Drug Store had a regular drug store fountain. You never had a chocolate ice cream soda like Guila Olson Selly could make. Smithfield had a bakery at 129 N Main operated by Hall and Phillips. They even made Potato Chips. There was a Japanese restaurant run by a Japanese man named Joe which operated from 1936 to 1941. Del Monte operated a large cafeteria which was open to the public during the Pea and Corn processing runs. The first real restaurant meal I ever ate was purchased for me by Bob Saxton at Marv’s Café. I had never heard of Salisbury Steak.
Glen Jay Thornley
HISTORICAL HAPPENINGS 2008
For sometime now I have thought about writing a bit about the impact of horses on our Smithfield Community. I remember personally when my father and his brother made the transition from work horses to a 1947 model 8N Ford tractor. They continued to rake the hay with a horse drawn dump rake. They also used a single horse, Ole Burr, to pull the derrick cable which lifted the hay into the barn. As a five or six year old, my assignment was to ride Ole Burr back and forth as he pulled the hay up, then turned and allowed slack in the cable to drop the empty large hay fork back to the wagon for another load. I remember listening carefully for Uncle Don to call out that the fork was ready to be raised. I would then kick Ole Burr and away we would go. Little did I know that Ole Burr would have obeyed uncle Dons command regardless of someone sitting on his back or not.
Our community recently lost one of the pioneers of horsemanship with the loss of 93 year old, Glen Downs. Few can fully appreciate the history, heritage and knowledge that went with him to the grave. As his Home Teacher for the recent past few years, we often talked about the way it was in the past. Glen owned a horse all of his life. The evening after his funeral, I observed his son Chad leaning over the pasture gate behind Glen’s home, with both elbows up on the top rail, looking at Glen’s horse. One can only imagine what Chad was thinking. Glen was the first of his family to graduate from college. In his work, he was a consummate professional, yet he never moved more than a block away from his boyhood home. He was still a cowboy at heart.
The Historical Society owns a large panoramic photo of the "sugar beet dump" located at the 400 W and 100 N railroad station. In the photo are several teams of horses pulling up the ramp waiting to unload their preweighed load of sugar beets. With a typical Downs smile on his face, he told of the old grey horse near the top of the ramp. He said the sugar company purchased that horse many times over. He wouldn’t tell me who owned the horse, but the owner had the horse trained to cross the weighing scale, then as the driver would get off the load to get his weight ticket, the horse would back up a step so that the horse’s weight would be on the scales. Of course the horse would only do this going in. Thus several hundred pounds would be added to the net weight of the sugar beets. Another Smithfield legend is the story of Glen’s older brother riding his horse into McCracken’s pool hall. As the story goes, he was issued a ticket by the police for driving his horse while "under the influence". I’m confident the story isn’t true but it makes for a memorable old time story. By the way, I knew and loved that "older Brother." I actually went as far as having his old hat bronzed and gave it to his son when he passed away many years ago. Anyone who saw that hat could tell you who should be under it.
People of my generation like Bruce Pitcher, Bob Hill, Jim Forrester, Ron Roskelly. Terry Cronquist, and Lyle Ransenberger only thought we were cowboys. The real Smithfield Summit Saddlers were the older generation (remember Summit was Smithfield’s first name) like Bowers Forrester, Dale Weeks, Ferry Watts, Glen Downs, Parley Downs, Les Traveler, George Tarbet, Glen Hillyard and Ole Cronquist. A few of the "real" Summit Saddlers" still live in Smithfield. If you know any of them, and want to hear some stories, go visit Demar Fonnesbeck, Wess Tarbet, Bud Pitcher, Lewis Pitcher, or Al Hatch. There were many more, not only around my age but many just a bit older who participated in the equestrian activities in Smithfield on a weekly basis. If you can’t get them started talking, just mention the keynote annual activity of the "Tony Grove Ride", and they will have lots of stories to tell.
Back in those days, for Smithfield’s Health Days, we had a full fledged horse race and rodeo meet, complete with dust, runaway horses, and significant money amounts as prizes. People came from all around northern Utah and Southern Idaho to watch and participate.
Glen Jay Thornley
HISTORICAL HAPPENINGS 2008
A real part of our History and Heritage
My wife and I , along with former Mayor Ray Winn, his wife and others from town, took a two week archeological trip to the country that politically and geographically claimed the Utah Territory. Of course, historically, this all happened around the time the Salt Lake Valley was settled and when part of the greater Utah territory became the State of Utah. We visited Mexico.
I was simply astonished at what I learned. I have been a lay student of geography, history and archeology most of my life. I had known that Mexico City had one of the largest populations in the world. I guess I had never realized what that meant. Just in the city, there is only an estimate of the numbers. They know it is in excess of 19 million. Ten times that of the State of Utah. Many people have visited the resort areas of Mexico. Few have visited inland. Mexico is a land of mountains. Throughout the country, they have few birth records, no social security system, few baptismal records, no welfare, and everyone, young and old, has to work at their day to day sustenance. Amazingly, they find a way. We visited many areas that, in the USA, would be National Parks. Like the people of Mexico, the land is beautiful. Most can imagine the beauty of the young. Few may be able to imagine the beauty of the older people. Upon seeing them, one can see the beauty of their hard life and the fact that they are "survivors". Mexico is a land of stark contrast. Nearly all housing consists of a square, concrete, one or two room home without hanging doors or closeable windows. Some of the family sleep in hammocks. The floors are bare concrete. There is no such thing a front lawn. The middle class has a couple of pigs tied near the house. They may even have a starved looking horse. Most have chickens roaming the yard. Very few have cars. Oxen are common. Empty cola bottles are everywhere. Conversely, there is brightly colored, very white clothing hanging outside of nearly every home. It is common to see the youngsters emerge from the home in a clean white and colored school uniform. Then Mom emerges, neatly dressed for work, complete with high heels. As well, food is abundant. Bananas grow wild. Cocoanuts and orange trees are everywhere. Corn is planted by hand on steep side hills. There is no need for irrigation. The corn is then cultivated and harvested by hand, carried by hand down the mountain to home where it is shucked and ground and made into tortillas or bread. It is then cooked on a small wood fueled fire in the middle of the concrete floor. The smoke escapes through the eaves of the home. Everything grows in Mexico. They have grains, all sorts of tropical fruit, coffee and cocoa beans, and most any vegetable. Their meat diet is made up of Brahma beef, goats, and chickens. All is available in the open central community market. Most homes have one light bulb. Some homes have a TV. In general they do not have running safe water. They do not have sanitary rest rooms. They have limited access to medical care. With all of this they are constantly building. Cement is plentiful. Most make their own concrete blocks or brick from a wooden mold. Natural resources are plentiful. Fuel is inexpensive compared to the USA. Because the oil industry is nationalized, all gas is the same price throughout the country.
Where does the problem lie? There is a vast resource of young and middle aged people. They want to have a future. The problem seems to lie with the government. The infrastructure does not seem to exist to accommodate bank loans. Few if any pay taxes. Many government services are non existent. Insurance is rare. Family records are rare. There is a small, but very wealthy upper class.
My eyes taught me that it is vitally important that we get a good education. They taught me that we should be law abiding. I could see the vital importance of remaining active in civic affairs. Public service is vital to our sociological success. Of course we should vote, but more importantly, we should remain informed and involved in what our government is doing. Quality of life does not come for free. As well, none of this can be achieved without a clean and healthy environment. I’m thankful!
Glen Jay Thornley
What I know about Johnny!
Undoubtedly, everyone has early memories of friends and family. I was fortunate to grow up in a part of Smithfield called Pitcherville. I have always been kind of proud of that. My first childhood memories were of play with Johnny. Of course, we played cowboys and Indians. Johnny also had a little red wagon. I remember taking turns pulling each other around the lawn. I remember accidently tipping Johnny into the small, grass covered, ditch that, once a week, watered the small pasture and strawberry apple tree in his back yard. I wonder if they still have strawberry apples. Apples don’t seem to taste that good any more. Anyway, Johnny lived in a log house. They had indoor plumbing to get hot water, but the commode really was an "out house". In the winter the seat was terribly cold. In the summer, the smell was terribly bad. Now days, most kids can’t relate to that. John had two older brothers. The oldest brother had a horse. I thought he was a "real" cowboy. The middle brother was named RL. I didn’t realize until I was in my 30's that RL had a real name which is Richard Leo. We didn’t lack for friends. Back then, all of the homes south of 400 south in Smithfield were on the highway. I can count at least 12 of those friends who were born within a year or so of me and Johnny, just at the end of the Second World War.
When we were about 5, Johnny moved down the street. I was confident his move would not impact our friendship because, of course, I was easily big enough by then, to go south two blocks and across the highway to play. One had to be careful because there was a car passing on the highway every minute or so. I vividly remember his mom's cooking. Once in a while it was freshly baked bread with honey and cinnamon. I remember the most wonderful white gravy. They did something memorable and different with the gravy. They mixed catsup with it to a mild red color then plopped the mashed potatoes right in the middle of the plate and added regular white gravy only on the potatoes. Don’t knock it! Additionally , we usually had chocolate chip cookies but you’ve never had chocolate chip cookies like Marie can make.
Roughly 30 years later I had the honor of going deer hunting with Johnny, his father and his older brother. Much to my delight, guess what we had for our evening dinner. I knew it when the catsup came out first. White gravy, catsup, potatoes and hamburger patties, in that order. For dessert, we had chocolate chip cookies the way they have them. Start with a half glass of cold milk and crunch the cookie into the milk then eat it with a spoon. I’ll bet you can’t eat just one cookie. On that same hunting trip, Lewis, his older brother and I were arguing about the direction we were going as we were riding our horses down a canyon. I commented that "next time I will bring a compass". Lewy’s, off the cuff statement, was, in my opinion, one of the most profound I have ever heard. Think about it!!!! We could all use this kind of advice. We can all use a little direction.
"WHAT THE H_ _ _ GOOD IS A COMPASS,
IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHICH WAY NORTH IS?
Like his father, John stayed in Smithfield on the farm. He married young, worked hard, raised a good family, and contributed much to our community. Among his accomplishments was his major driving force in the development of the Smithfield Irrigation pressurized sprinkler system. Unlike his parents who never did retire and still live in their South Main home, John was forced into retirement because of health problems. Like many of that same bunch, we didn’t stray very far from home.
For years, I thought his Grandpa Petty was my Grandpa too. Incidentally, John’s Grandma Pitcher was the head cook at the Summit School hot lunch room and I promise, you never heard a complaint about the lunch room food back then.
Glen Jay Thornley
SOME SERIOUS HISTORY
The Smithfield Historical Society has been engaged in a project of making personal histories, of early members of the community, available electronically. The following is a condensed random sample of one of those fascinating histories.
LIFE SKETCH OF LaVINEA NOBLE AIKEN MEIKLE
Lavinea was born in March 23rd or the 13th, 1839 at Irchester, North Hamptonshire, England, to William Goodwin Noble and Mary Ann Harper.
The following members of the family sailed on the ship "William Tapascott" on May 11 1860. William, age 49 Father and tailor, Mary Ann, age 51 Mother, Henrietta age 22 Spinster, Lavinia, age 20 Spinster, Aquilla, age 18 Printer, Louisa age 16 spinster, Zilpha, age 13, Leonora, age 12, and Laura, age 9.
The family lived in Williamsburg for two years to earn money to come west. Lavinia and her sister Henrietta came west first with Robert Leeming Fishburn and his wife Eliza. The rest of the family came in the next company. Lavinia became good friends with Amelia Folsom who was Brigham Young’s last wife. Lavinia said she didn’t have to walk too much because of the friendship and the favoritism shown by the young fellows. All of the family settled in Smithfield. Livinia’s brother always rang the bell of the church which was in the fort area just south of where the Carnegie Library is now. It was a long building and had a stage on the west end.
Lavinia’s first husband was Benjamin Burk Aiken. Burk had his home ready to occupy on their wedding day. They had three girls and one boy. Mr. Aiken was born in Salem Massachusetts. He joined the LDS Church in 1843 or 1844. He traveled from Massachusetts to get some land in New York for $1.25 per acre. He lived in Indiana and Illinois and came from Nauvoo to Smithfield. He was a body guard for Joseph Smith for a time. He believed waste was a sin, and sensible economy was a virtue. He didn’t like the Polka but preferred the Blue Danube which suited him as a dance formation.
THIS RECORD DOES NOT INDICATE WHAT HAPPENED TO MR. AIKEN BUT GOES ON AS FOLLOWS;
Lavinea later became the wife of James Jackson Meikle. He was born in Hamilton Scotland, in 1839. James’s father William died when James was 9. The family had joined the church shortly before his death. James, his mother Margaret Jackson, and his sister Isabelle came to the U.S. on a ship named "Enock Train". They crossed the planes with the McArthur Handcart Company. Eventually James joined his brother Robert in the tanning business. The Meikle brothers carried on a successful tanning business for fifteen years in Smithfield.
Lavinea had six daughters born to her from her second marriage. The daughters were Priscilla who married James Kirby, Kate Violetta who married Wickliff Anderson Ewing, Jesse Margaret who died at 18 months, Zelphia who married Landsay Lightfoot, Mamie Rebecca who married Carl Nilson, and Birdy who married Frank Covey.
Lavinea was a very good midwife. She collected herbs of all kinds for that use. She was well know in Smithfield for her potions. Usually the person in need would bring a container of sugar and in exchange she would give them a container of the needed remedy. Her specialties were canker medicine, salve for sores, and a cough medicine. She gathered wild grape root, raspberry bark, leaves, burnt alum sugar, balm-of-gillaird buds, and kinniekinic from the mountains. She always had dried corn nuts or something in her pocket to chew on. She had a sweet voice and sang with the Noble Choir. She carried a small cup so she could drink water whenever she passed a ditch. She died at 65 of diabetes. Her daughter Kate Meikle Ewing thought that was old and remembered her as being very old. Now that Kate is 91, she says her mother died young. Her burial plot in the cemetery was one of the first with grass. The grandchildren carried water to keep it green.
Glen Jay Thornley
While writing the last "HAPPENINGS" and documenting the location of the first grave in the cemetery it occurred to me that, being 62, it might be wise to be thinking about where my wife and I want to be buried. I was lucky to find a site near my parents. As I looked over the site, it became frighteningly clear that I knew many of the people who were buried in the vicinity. I became fondly aware that much of the history of our community, like many, can be gleaned from the cemetery. For Smithfield, William Cantwell said, "It took a killing to start the cemetery". Of course, the first person buried, Ira Merrill, was killed by Indians. Smithfield's first Doctor was Ezra Williams. When he came in 1860, he brought with him his mother. She was the wife of Frederick G. Williams, a counselor to Joseph Smith. Rebecca Williams died of cholera in the fall of 1861 and is buried in the old part of the cemetery. In 1923 a community fund raising project resulted in the construction of a monument honoring "Our Laminite Friends", from the early days of the community. Earl Harper was one of the first killed in the forests of France during the First World War. His body was returned to Smithfield, by train, nearly two years after his death. The heavy sealed casket was then transported by truck to the tabernacle for services, then on to the burial site. It is somewhat alarming to slowly walk around through the cemetery and note the death dates of family members. Often children of the same family passed away within days of one another. It seems obvious that disease raked havoc on youngsters in the early days of our settlement.
When one thinks about it, our community is made up of peoples from many different countries. Each culture had their own customs relating to burial. Some were buried in shallow graves using a mound to mark the grave. Others were buried deep, and little was done to compact the soils as the grave was filled. Years later a significant depression in the soil marked the site. Some families took good care of the grave sites. Others were laid to rest without thought of perpetual care for the site. Bodies were buried facing in any of the four directions of the compass. Most markers were made of wood, and could only be expected to last fifteen or twenty years. Most were simply painted. Some families recognized that cedar or redwood lasted much longer. Some wooden markers had the names and dates engraved. Few had the financial means to provide an engraved stone marker. Before 1920 the cemetery was surrounded by a white picket fence. In the 20s a decorative pipe fence was constructed. By 1960 even the pipe fence had dilapidated. It was repaired and repainted as a Ward Service project in the 1990s. In the 1920s near 1000 wagon loads of good soil was hauled into the cemetery to level the surface and provide lawn. Many graves were moved slightly or re-aligned, roads were built to enable servicing of the grass and irrigation system. Most of the wooden markers have been replaced with stone. The large evergreen trees that grace our Smithfield Cemetery were simply brought from the canyons above town as small trees, and replanted in rows to enhance the solemn place. In the 1980s a winter east wind destroyed many of the old larger pines. As a youth, I remember climbing to near the top of our eastern mountains. As one would look over home from high afar, the dark tall pines in and around the cemetery would be the identifiable reference. One could then locate the streets and a few of the larger buildings of our community. Today, in 2007, one can do the same, looking at a photograph from outer space.
Today, the "City", one or two City Employees, provides the perpetual care that we have come to cherish as a community. Any day or any season, regardless of whether you are a life long resident, call Smithfield home, or simply a visitor, you can, if you will, find the cemetery a peaceful, beautiful, and humble retreat to visit and reflect.
Glen Jay Thornley
A few days ago, my wife and I took a little auto trip to Idaho. As we were traveling north, we came across a sign that said, "YOU ARE NOW CROSSING THE 45TH PARALLEL, HALF WAY BETWEEN THE EQUATOR AND THE NORTH POLE." I immediately looked at my Geographical Positioning System (GPS) and sure enough, it read N45.00.00.01. Later as we were visiting a few museums in the area, it dawned on me that we could create walking or driving tours of Smithfield using the GPS system. We could mix the new, often challenging high-tech with some good old history. Many of you have heard of
GEO-CACHEing, we could call this GEO-SMITHFIELDing. This could be a fun exercise for a family activity, a Scout or young women group, or even a date. Maybe there could be roses or ice cream at the last stop.
Lets use a well known story about "THE DEATH OF IRA MERRILL", as told by living historians Lawrence Cantwell, Chad Downs, and Lynda Gittins.
With the townsite laid out by Jesse Fox in 1860, the move from the west to its present location was in full swing. Log homes were being built all along each side of the creek. The city name of Summit had just been changed to Smithfield after the newly appointed (by Brigham Young) Bishop John G. Smith. About two dozen families had arrived by July of 1860. John and Robert Thornley and Seth Langton had arrived the previous year. The makings of a city were coming together. Mary Ann Downs and Ann Thornley now had medical help with the presence of Dr. Ezra G Williams and family. On the day of July 23, 1860, all hell was about to break loose Around July 22nd a settler from newly settled Richmond had lost a horse. At the same time he had observed Chief Pugwahnee and his band of Indians riding toward Smithfield. Jumping to conclusions, the Richmond man suspected the Indians of stealing the horse, so he sent word to Smithfield. The Indians camped at a place near the present Mack Park
(N41 50,320' & W111 49,493'). Some of the Smithfield men picked up the Indian Chief for questioning. He was taken to a spot near Bishop Smith's home on west center street
(N41 50,162' & W111 50,013'). After several hours, a group of the Indian Braves decided to rescue the Chief. One Brave started to untie the Chief. A guard raised his pistol and fired. Although it is not known if the man meant to be so accurate, the bullet struck the chief. This action resulted in several shots being fired. The Indians mounted their horses, and hurriedly began their escape. As the Main North South highway had recently been surveyed, a crossing existed right in front our present day city office. The Indians headed for the opening in the brush, trees, and willows for a quick getaway. Unfortunately a family from Franklin had just crossed at the same crossing and had damaged their wagon. The men in the party were attempting to repair the wagon when the Indians passed by (N41 50,250 & W111 49,957'). A Mr. John Reed was killed and a man named A. Cowan was wounded. The Indians proceeded east along the creek to their camp, left the body of the chief, and began their escape away from Smithfield. As they went up over the hill from camp, they encountered Ira and Solyman Merrill (N41 50,443 & W111 49,325') who had a wagon load of willows for the bowery which was being built (N41 50 253' & W111 50,013). The young braves killed Ira and shot several arrows at Solyman, connecting with two non fatal arrows. The Indians tried to scalp Ira but Solyman continued to resist. The Indians, in their haste to get away from town , gave up on the scalp, and continued east. The leaders from Smithfield quickly sent a rider to Logan for help, and with the reinforcements, trailed the small group of Indians to a canyon roughly five miles east of town where they lost the trail. That Canyon is now called Indian Canyon. The Indian Chief Pugwahnee, was buried somewhere along Summit Creek east of town. Ira Merrill was buried on a hill just east of the settlement (N41 50,086' & W111 49,467'). It took a killing to start the cemetery. Find the grave. Now it will take a 0.32 mile walk north back to your car. Park your car at Mack Park. The whole tour will entail about a 1.6 mile walk and put you back at your car. Use the Heritage trail.
Glen Jay Thornley
Why History? Heritage! Why Heritage? Heroes! Why Heroes? Courage, Character, Strength, Achievement, Noble, Reverent, Example Admired.
At writing this one page article for October, I became keenly aware that the son of one of my favorite neighbors just returned from spending over a year in Afghanistan. He was defending my Heritage, my Freedom, and setting an "Example". The story begins many, many years ago as a young man named Claypool, from California, while working on the railroad, flipped a coin and decided to come to Utah. He settled in Smithfield. William Claypool was an enterprising "personality". Mr. Claypool helped many local people get through the depression who otherwise may have lost everything. Although frighteningly brash vocally, by actions, demonstrated love for his fellow men. His son Forrester, obviously by name, from another prominent Smithfield family, married Ada Douglass who also was the daughter of a Smithfield pioneer. Mr Claypool owned the Smithfield Lumber Company. Ada's grandfather built the Douglass store which still stands on the corner of 100 South and Main. Forrester and Ada had a daughter named Ann Mae. In her younger adult years she was a school teacher at Hillfield Air Force Base. At Hill, she met a young man from Ohio. If they weren't alike then, they grew together. Today they are one. Gilbert Duncan and Ann Mae Claypool married sometime around 1950. Their first Child was named John (maybe after his grandfather John Douglass). Their second child was named Ada, after her grandmother. Their third child, Cathy (Kendall Merrill) of the Casper Merrill family (Casper's Ice cream fame) brings to the family a whole other line of "Heritage". A young Cathy was the idle of my daughters. Now, my Heroes are Gib and Ann Mae, for many reasons but namely for the love and devotion they demonstrated for 50 years in caring for Down Syndrome daughter Ada. Gib and Ada were avid Blue Sox baseball fans. Ann Mae was instrumental in securing education and care for the handicapped in Cache Valley. One didn't have to be much of a judge of character to see the love demonstrated by Ada's parents and family through the years. Gilbert was Baptized into the LDS Church in the early 1960s. In the early 1990s he became the Bishop of the Smithfield Second Ward. In the meantime, he was a volunteer fireman, worked at Lyman's Service station, was a car salesman, and ended his working career as an administrator at USU's Physical Plant Department.
In 2006 and 2007, John has been in Afghanistan serving his Country. As a 56 year old, Smithfield resident and father of three, he demonstrated all the attributes of a hero. He wasn't setting in an office or hanging back on the edges of combat. He was there, in the "Action", with his unit. He is now safely home. The answer to the prayers of many.
It's heartening for me to know that we here in Smithfield don't have to look to athletes or politicians or movie stars for our Heroes. Thank you John, and Gib, and Ann Mae, Ada, the Forresters and Mr. Claypool.
History is made!
Glen Jay Thornley
I awoke this morning with trains on my brain. Last evening I watched a little piece on one of the SLC TV news channels about the new public transportation train that will serve Salt Lake, Davis and Weber counties. I have watched the construction progress as I have traveled the freeway along the Wasatch front. Thoughts then migrated to our own Main Street Construction Project. I grew up on Smithfield's Main Street. It consisted of a gravel roadside, a ten foot wide concrete lane of travel, a railroad track in the center, then another ten foot lane of travel, with gravel on the other side of the road. On the outside of the road were irrigation ditches which were usually grown over with grass and weeds by mid summer. Anyone over 80, who grew up in Smithfield rode the train to North Cache High School in Richmond. Although the trains were electric, they were not quiet. Of course there was the warning whistles blown by the train engineer. There was also a lot of noise from the brakes and squeaky springs of the train as it travels over the imperfect rails. There was the traditional clicking of the metal wheels as they passed each gap in the rail, which back then, were a necessity to accommodate expansion and contraction of the long metal rails. My Mother had a large flower in the living room that was vibrated from it's stand by the passing trains. I remember her crying because she had owned and nurtured the plant all of her married life.
The trains quit running through Smithfield in the late 1940s. The metal tracks remained for a few years then were sold to a company that removed them and sold them to a South American country. Up until the 1940s the tracks of the Utah Idaho Central RR ran from Preston, down through Richmond and Smithfield, then angled off to Hyde Park. The track continued on to Logan, running west on center street in Logan. The tracks angled off across the valley near the Benson Marina and on over the Petersboro hills through Beaver Dam Utah and on to Salt Lake City. Near the Box elder County line and South of the Valley View highway, one can still pick out the track bed and an old concrete bridge built by the railroad. The tracks were south of the highway and south of the Beaver Dam Church building.
As a youngster I was fascinated with trains. The long sugar beet trains would stop near 600 south and 400 west on the Union Pacific tracks to build up steam for the steam engines to continue the pull to the Lewiston Sugar factory. I remember the large black plumes of smoke from the burning coal. I also remember that not all of the metal rails, nor the large electric wires were removed from our Main Street. During the remodeling of the old railroad electric substation, (now our Wells Fargo Bank) several large copper wires were unearthed. Recently, I quizzed the "city" regarding the old rails that may have been left in the roadway. They felt fairly sure that all of the metal rails had been removed during the city's sewer construction project several years ago. Well, not to my surprise, but to the surprise of some, the large machine that was pulverizing the old asphalt roadway early this summer found some of the old rail. The two were not compatible, as manifest by the cost of repairing the equipment. There was a rail siding located on the site of the present old Del Monte plant on South Main. The siding was used as a loading site for cattle to be shipped to the Ogden Stock Yards for sale. Prior to the construction of the Smithfield Livestock Auction Yards, there was no way for farmers to market cattle other than to "cattle buyers" who then shipped via the Railroad. In those days, many of the farmers were unaware of the "going" prices for livestock, thus may have been paid less than a fair market price.
The old Railroad turned off toward Hyde Park at a point near the existing Firestone Store on South Main. I would not be surprised to see the Staker/ Parsons company find more old rail somewhere in that area as they work on the east side of our new highway.. The latest acquisition of the Smithfield Historical Society is a short piece of the rail that had remained buried since the Morgan Canning Plant (Del Monte) was built in 1918.
Glen Jay Thornley
For this month, I have chosen to diverge a bit from the traditional "Smithfield" history, and be a little daring, mixing church and state, by including a little "Church" history in the writing. With well more than a year until the national general election, given that a member of the LDS Church is often mentioned nationally as a candidate for President, I began to wonder how many of the candidates might be inclined to visit our state. My thoughts then wandered to a related subject. The question arose as to how many really notable people had visited our state. Again my mind wandered as to what building have they used by most to deliver their notability.
The LDS Church has provided one of it's most prominent buildings, the Salt Lake Tabernacle, as a meeting place for many of our U.S. Presidents, world leaders, and others of significant prominence. In the late 1800s a musical play "Eistoddfid" was performed in the Tabernacle. The Eisteddfod, of Welch origin, was a contest of poetry, instrumentals, singing, and essays. The most famous opera singer of the time, Italian, Adelina Patti, performed in the tabernacle in 1884. In 1894, John Philip Sousa and the U.S. Marine Band performed. Presidential candidates such as Barry Goldwater, William Jennings Bryon, Wendell Wilkie, and Thomas Dewey, were allowed to conduct political rallies in the tabernacle. Presidents Ulysses S Grant and Theodore Roosevelt spoke there. Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding gave formal presidential speeches in the tabernacle. President Herbert Hoover gave a speech just one day before he lost the election of 1932. Harry S. Truman gave a campaign speech there. John F Kennedy spoke there in 1963 less than two months before he was assassinated. The Tabernacle Choir sang "America, the Beautiful" and the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" for him. A year later, President Lyndon B Johnson spoke at the tabernacle, Richard Nixon was there, heard the choir sing, and he ask them to perform at his inauguration.
In more recent years, although most political leaders have visited Salt Lake City, it has been considered "politically incorrect" to deliver speeches or even to visit such famous church edifices.
The following is a listing of a few interesting facts about the Salt Lake Tabernacle. The building had been in use over seventeen years before electric lights were introduced. At the time, the walls had become discolored from the use of kerosene lamps. The first construction of the building included wooden shingles rather than the present day copper roof. In the 1960s a basement was added. I don't know for sure, but I believe a small system of tunnels existed well before the 1960s but the present system of tunnels is extensive. The tunnels allow the choir, church leaders, and other dignitaries easy and safe access to and from the edifice. The building was constructed so no one would have to set behind a pillar. I have attended one conference session there in my lifetime, and guess what, I sat right behind a pillar. I was one of the last few to get in for the meeting after standing for about three hours in line. There was more timber used in scaffolding to build the building than was actually used in the building. Church Architect, Truman O Angle was the primary designer of the building, as he was for the Logan, Manti, St George temples and the old SLC tabernacle. He was also involved in the building of the Kirkland Ohio, and Nauvoo Illinois temples. It is claimed that Brigham Young took a significant role in the design appearance of the building. A bridge builder, who was converted to the church in Europe was instrumental in the bridge like structure of the roof. The roof is nine feet thick. All of the pipes in the organ are made of wood. Maybe I am the only one who thought they were metal such as brass bronze or even gold. The large openings all around the building were deliberately planned for ease and comfort of the congregation. Conferences were planned as not to occur in the heat of summer or the cold of winter. There is over 2500 pieces of glass in doors and windows. Construction began in 1863 and was finished around 1875. Built to hold 10,000, it has held as many as 15.000 people. What would a modern day fire marshal say?
Just in the last two years, the Church spent millions to bring the building up to earthquake codes and repair or replace some of the stone pillars and worn parts, including the benches, of the building. It will again be used for church meetings, civic events, and even funerals of church leaders. It was designated a National Civil Engineering Landmark and placed on the National Historic Register in 1971.
The "Sons if the Pioneers" recently published a volume of their newsletter dedicated to the 140th anniversary of the Mormon Salt Lake Tabernacle, from which I took most of the above information.
Glen Jay Thornley
Oh for the value of WATER! Smithfield was settled where it is, for no other reason than the ideal availability of water. A reliable source of clean mountain spring water, available via gravity. You may have heard that in the olden days, water ran down hill. Now days, it runs toward money. Cache Valley and in particular, Smithfield, has an abundance of this most valuable resource. Conversely, we are always threatened with the loss of this valuable resource to the large population of the Wasatch Front. It is recognized that, compared to the eastern part of the US, we live in a desert. It=s only with that snow melt mountain water that we are able to raise crops, water lawns, and prosper.
Smithfield has Summit Creek, Birch Creek, and a legal share of the Logan River. The canals that run along the bench areas of the valley were constructed shortly after the valley was settled. Incidentally, they were constructed by hand and with oxen and horses. Soon thereafter, water use was legally prioritized to allow for potable (culinary) water to be available for each community. Water "exchanges" were then put in place. A good example was an exchange between Hyde Park and Smithfield which allowed Hyde Park to use water from Smithfield's Birch Canyon for culinary purposes, where in exchange, Smithfield was given part of Hyde Parks share of Logan River. Irrigation Companies were incorporated giving each landowner a proportionate share of irrigation water. Herein came the "RUB". Not all landowners were honest. At least, not in the eyes of their neighbor. Many wanted and needed just a little bit more than their share (legal share). Often the headgate at the top of the field would somehow spring a leak. A heated argument would ensue. Often the arguments we verbal. A few became physical shoving matches. Some turned to fisticuffs. One resulted in a broken leg. In those days, people didn't think of lawyers and law suits. Often the differences involved brothers or cousins, or in-laws (outlaws to some) and fellow LDS Ward members. In rare instances, the differences were overlooked while at church or family gatherings but remained heated near the water headgate. Serious disputes even ensued over the waste water from Del Monte which was then dumped into the irrigation ditches
Through the years, many have served as presidents and secretaries of the many water control companies around the valley. Without question theirs was a thankless job. Often if and when disputes were settled, neither party was happy. Being human, they had to blame someone, and who better than the President of the Irrigation Company. In years past, the annual irrigation meeting was a big affair attended by nearly everyone. The first Smithfield Irrigation Company President was Peter Hansen. Through the years, many have served with very little compensation. The current President is Jeffry Gittins who has served for nearly 30 years. My Father, Glen Thornley served for nearly 30 years as secretary. As a youngster, I remember many midnight calls because of disputes and misunderstandings. In 1952 the first well was dug by the company. The irrigation company now owns six wells. In the late 1980s pressurized sprinkler systems were built at considerable cost. Among many others, John Pitcher and Mr. Gittins were instrumental in the development of the pipeline system. The addition of these modern improvements has made water much easier to handle. The pressurized irrigation system within the incorporated area of the city has significantly reduced the demand on culinary water, Through water "exchanges" and with the use of legal water rights held by the Smithfield Irrigation Company, the "City" is able to provide adequate culinary water to all citizens.
Someone should have thought about bottling and selling that good ole, already cold, Smithfield water. Who would have ever thought that bottled water would be the fad....in some countries it's a necessity. If you haven't purchased any lately, be careful, it can cost more than gasoline.
Glen Jay Thornley
Remember last time, we SET THE STAGE!
A man from Franklin Idaho was killed by Indians. Ira Merrill from Smithfield, was then killed by Indians. Ira was the first person buried in the Smithfield Cemetery. The Indian battle begin at Bishop Smith’s house. After the battle, fear set in all over town. It took four men to bury Ira. Two dug the grave and two stood watch for more Indians. The men of the town and eight Minute Men from Logan took chase of the Indians and lost them in a canyon east of town now called Indian Canyon. All of this over the rumored theft of a pony. Soon thereafter, the settlers began building the fort that Brigham Young had instructed them to build. It is seldom revealed that the pony was only lost, and not stolen. It was found a few days later in the river bottoms west of Richmond. Samuel Cowan, the one man wounded was operated on the next day. The bullet entered his chest and was removed from his back near the shoulder bone by Sylvester Collett of Smithfield. Several splintered bones were removed and buried. The bullet was kept by his family in Slaterville Utah for many years after. It is seldom told that the first person actually killed in the skirmish was the Chief of the small Indian tribe. His name was Pugwahnee. The dead Indian Chief was also buried by men from Smithfield. He was buried somewhere near the mouth of Main canyon. The alleged party of two men from Franklin was actually a family of seven. Part of this story was told by a witness, one of Mr. Cowan's daughters, in 1934. The two men were eating lunch at the time but their reason for stopping was because they had broken a wagon tongue while crossing the creek on what is now our Main street. They were in the process of repairing the wagon. At the time, the man killed was thought to be from Richmond. His name was John Read. His body was taken to Richmond and buried. A son of the man buried in Richmond (John Franklin Read) was the first white child born in Franklin Idaho. The grave marker was soon lost, only to be found 73 years later near the site of the present Richmond cemetery. The same Samuel Cowan, who lived, was one of the men later sent by Brigham Young to rescue the Martin-Wille handcart companies. Samuel Cowan and his wife crossed the plains three times. In their marriage, twelve children were born. The Cowan family eventually settled in Slaterville Utah. There was another man involved with this incident that may or may not be the same Mr. Collet. His name was Sylvanus Collett. He was thought to be the same Sylvanus that was a guard to Joseph Smith along with infamous or famous Orin Porter Rockwell of church history.
There was at least one other very famous man involved. He was one of the so called Minute Men who responded to the incident from Logan. His name was William Littlewood. Because of polygamy, he later changed his name to Rigby. He settled in Clarkston, then later, because of the terrible winter, moved to a new town (Newton). There are many Rigbys remaining in Newton. He moved from there to Eagle Rock Idaho which later became Idaho Falls. He established Rigby Idaho. He later moved to the area now known as Rexburg Idaho where he was one of many instrumental in the establishment of Ricks College.
CONJECTURE, RUMOR, FOLKLORE, GOSSIP, OR TRUTH !
THE ABOVE WAS TAKEN FROM THREE DIFFERENT SOURCES THAT SEEMED TO BE CONSISTENT.
Glen Jay Thornley
A slightly different perspective on the settlement of Smithfield
Wellsville, (Maughan’s Fort) was the first settlement in Cache Valley. It was well established by the spring of 1859. A certain John P. Wright and a small company of people identified the creek area, soon to be called Summit, as a likely site for raising crops because of the potential to irrigate from the creek to the North, West, or to the South. During their short stay near the creek, they discovered a “cache” containing some government log chains and some oxen yokes. They also noted finding the bones of large cattle which had been cut in a fashion to indicate that white men had camped there before.
Shortly after arriving at Summit, and drawing lots for planting, a rider from Maughan’s Fort arrived warning them of anticipated Indian trouble and advising them to return to the safety of the fort. The return trip to Wellsville was made during the night.
It was late that fall when the Thornleys and Seth Langton arrived on Summit Creek and settled somewhere near our city Heritage Park, in the area of Forrester Acres. It was noted that Summit creek was full of trout. They also noted that there were many chickens (probably sage grouse) in the area. They recognized that someone had been in the area and attempted agricultural pursuits. They found where a few furrows had been plowed. They also noted some vegetables that had been planted but never harvested. After cutting logs from the canyon and constructing a cabin, they returned to Salt Lake City. Shortly thereafter, they returned with their families along with several other families. The city of Summit now consisted of Langtons, Thornleys, Hopkins’s, Downs’s, Merrill’s, Hunt’s, and a Mrs. Walmsley and her family. She was reported to be the first woman from a foreign land to be baptized into the Mormon Church. Many more families arrived in 1860.
In early 1860 homes were built along the creek. Some crops were planted. The local area was surveyed by the territorial Surveyor. Interestingly, that original survey turned out to be amazingly accurate and placed Summit’s north to south Main street in line with Logan’s. Each block in town contained four lots. Each lot was one acre. Irrigation ditches were dug along the lines. Although the survey remained in place, much of the building and planting was disrupted when Brigham Young advised the settlers to regroup into a fort to protect the town from Indians. Some of the settlers were living in dugouts while others continued to live in their wagons. John Thornley was particularly independent. Few of the settlers took Brigham Young’s advise.
The prevailing attitude came to an abrupt end on July 23rd when a band of Indians set up camp near the present Mack Park. The prevailing gossip was that the Indians had stolen a horse from a settler about six miles north of Summit in the new settlement now called Richmond. One of the Indian leaders was somehow captured and taken to the home of Bishop Smith. As Bishop Smith had been sent by Brigham Young, the other settlers looked to him for guidance. Later that day, the trouble with the Indians turned to gunfire. The gunfire started near Bishop Smith’s home at about 52 West Center Street, and continued to a point just south of our present City Office. At that point, one man from Franklin Idaho was killed and one was seriously wounded as they had stopped to have lunch. Not long thereafter, Ira Merrill the son of Dudly and Almira Huntsman Merrill was killed near what is now the old Lower Packing plant at the top of Hind’s Hill. (200 north and 300 east) Ira may not have known that the Indians were camped just below the hill.
NOW THE STAGE IS SET!
Glen Jay Thornley
Glen Jay Thornley, 2007
I was never much for plays and musicals. There are those with a lot more culture than I.
Recently I came across the transcript of a play written in and for Smithfield. It consists of eighteen full 8 X 13 inch pages of type written script. It is obviously very old. The paper is dry and deteriorating. I don’t see any title or credits. I can find a small identifier stamped on the torn and faded cover that says "George L. Rees, M. D., PHYSICIAN AND SURGEON, Smithfield Utah" .
It starts with a Schedule of Scenes. It outlines a "prologue" of five readers consisting of Faith, Courage, Loyalty, Work and Vision. There are five scenes addressing "pre trapper times", a scene about Jim Bridger, a scene about the arrival of Robert and John Thornley and Seth Langton in the fall of 1858, the arrival of many settlers in the spring of 1860, Building the Fort, Indian Troubles, Grasshoppers. The final scene honors the heroes from the war. The epilogue is titled "The Spirit of the future". The cover page goes on to describe the upper stage, the lower stage on the ground, and location of the trees. Much of the dialogue is almost poetic. At the end of the cover page, there is a statement, new to me which reads, "Part of the tableau for the finale". Whatever that means?
I was impressed with the following writing. It may have been the words to a song, or simply a closing summation.
We who must carry on the raceUnknown
In stifling town, in narrow space
May dash away a misty tear
Yearn for romance of by gone year,
We fain would blaze the unknown way
Take up the trail at break of day,
Work, pray, and struggle side by side,
Fear and distress in service hide,
Conquor the Indians feel the thrill
Of seeing first crops the desert fill,
But let this thought our pride sustain
They who undaunted crossed the plain
Live on in us, surmounting fear,
Building anew making us hear
The call to high or humble ways,
Waiting not for reward or praise,
Our valiant fathers are not gone
Their soles in us go on and on.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
When one thinks of names, persons, places or things, many different feelings may inhabit your consciousness. I suppose the most important name is our own, our first given name, our nick name, and our sir name. It is said that if we like ourselves, we like our name. Conversely, some live by their nick name and others detest their nick name. I would like to think that most everyone is proud of their sir name. I would like to think that every resident, past and present, is proud to be identified with Smithfield. Yes, we have our troubles, differences and frustrations but in the end, just like with families, most of those troubles pass with time.
Then there is the "things" in our life. The prominent things are the House, the Car, the Diamonds and Gold. There is also things such as Chocolate, and Shrimp and Ice Cream. All of these names invoke a different thought. Hopefully most invoke pleasant thoughts.
The following is a list of some of the names that stimulate pleasant memories to me. They make me appreciate my roots, my up-bringing, indeed, my heritage.
Smithfield: Home, friends, work, school, Blue Socks, Mack Park, Depot Street, Health Days.
Summit: The Creek, Flooded Summit Creek, The School, Main Canyon, water flows west.
Porky: The old one dollar hair cut.
Toolson: Vern and Bob and Rich and Reid and Phyllis, potato cellar.
Main Street: Lymans, Pitchers Service, The UIC, one stop light, north and south, no compass.
Del Monte: Ardith Ferrill, the noon whistle, the big green can, Mrs. Kearl late for work.
Smithfield Implement: Ralph, Libby, Mr. Roylance, Toyland, Galvanized garbage cans.
Downs: Parley, Glen, Chad, Dee, Horses, Seth, Reese feed, Birdie, LaRee
Hind’s Hill: Lower Pack, bob sleigh rides, George Jeppson, Russ Lower, Lowell Bair.
Chambers: Seth, A. W., Noble, Steven Dale, Bob, Ponch, Theo, Bill, Oral Ballam.
Fire Whistle: Bowers Forrester, Lyman, Gary Pitcher, Kelly Pitcher, the Implement fire.
Hot Lunch: Carrie Pitcher, Joe Timmons, Mashed Potatoes, Ute’s Dairy, marbles after.
Ken Webb: Principle, fourth hour history, Mayor, Senior citizens, Fourth Ward.
Marve’s Café: Al Hatch, Salisbury steak, Marge, Coffee, Saturday morning.
Les Traveler: Cutter races, Mary Hansen, the auction, Doc Winn the horse, cattle truck.
Ray Facer: One arm, Elliot Thornley, hauling gravel, Richard, Canyon road.
SOS Drug: Guyla, Woodrow, Mr Olsen, Chocolate sodas, Vicks, Squeaky floor.
Long Hill: Dry Canyon, Dale Weeks, Blow snakes, the Upper Canal, Fonnesbecks.
Flat Top: Tony Grove hike, blisters, Government trail, Lawrence’s cabin, Scout cabin.
The Pyrimids: Easter, Deer in spring, Cronquists, Birch Canyon, Cool summer breeze.
Penny Candy: Ute’s Dairy, Hansen Dairy, Jacks Market, Morg Edwards, Cinnimon bears.
Third Ward: The good old Third Ward. We need another Ward Reunion
I just thought about a thousand other things that I haven’t mentioned. My thoughts then turned to my grandchildren, who all live in Smithfield, and the memories they, hopefully, will have. What will the "good Ole days" mean to them? What does the future hold for them?
What’s in a Name?
Glen Jay Thornley
From the Lakes of Minnesota to the Hills of Tennessee
I’ve been to the “Lakes of Minnesota”. There is a lot of them and they are very pretty.
Recently I had the opportunity to spend two weeks deep in the “Hills of Tennessee”. What could this possibly have to do with the history and heritage of Smithfield?
There are no flat places in the hills of the South. We hunted white tailed deer, deep in hillbilly country. One would drive along a narrow surfaced road and encounter a large, nice, well kept, white, mansion type home, then just down the road you could see a dilapidated home, obviously still occupied, with the yard full of history (junk). It is the hillbilly culture that dictates that they never throw anything away. When the couch wears out, they just throw it out on the lawn and purchase a new couch. After many years they have several couches out on the lawn. You hardly notice the couches because of the old cars and cola cans. I don’t say that critically, because it is just the way things are done there. We have our own cultural idiosyncrasies.
It is the practice of the avid hunter to be out before daylight, come in for breakfast or lunch, have a short snooze, then go back out to your tree-stand until after dark. I watched the beautiful sunrise every day. I was struck with the sounds of woodpeckers, wild turkeys, Canada geese, red tailed hawks, blue jays, mocking birds, chickadees, wrens, eastern bluebirds, warblers and the beautiful red tanagers and cardinals. All of this mixed with the sound of a hillbilly mother calling her children, barking dogs, a hillbilly father starting up his motorcycle, the domestic rooster crowing, doors slamming, big trucks on the road, and someone mowing the lawn. Sound travels a long way when it’s quiet. I watched the sunset every night.
This particular 2000 acre farm is often used by celebrities for hunting. I visited with the owner for some time. I learned that a Civil War battle had been fought on this farm. I learned that the farm fields had been cleared by slaves in the very early 1800's. Back then the farm grew cotton and corn. Now they graze cattle in the once cultivated fields. Between the very irregularly shaped fields are hardwood trees that are harvested about every two generations. I learned that the dollar value of his great grandfather’s slaves was worth more than the value of the land he owned. I was shown a pair of leg-irons that were found on the farm. They also have a large collection of arrowheads, found on the farm, that obviously were used there before the white man came.
Now my perspective changed. As I would set there in the tree-stand watching for deer, I thought about the history of our nation. As I walked the hills of the farm I began to watch for artifacts. Unfortunately, the only one I found was an old cotton cultivator. A hickory tree had grown up through the metal wheel of the implement. If someone were to take it, they would have to take about a 20 inch diameter tree trunk along with it. The tree has engulfed the metal wheel. I explored the old farm buildings often encountering very rusty square nails. The striking thing was the near new condition of the cedar, poplar and oak from which the buildings were constructed. The cabin we stayed in was built in 1825. It hit me that this was 23 years before the trek westward of our ancestors. It hit me that more than 620,000 soldiers were killed in the Civil War. Many more were seriously wounded. President Abraham Lincoln said something about our country being “conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal”. The civil war lasted only four years and saw three million Americans take up arms against each other.
As we drove home I thought about the division that exists in our country today. As I got home, I was greeted with the news that a local business had been raided by federal officers because illegals may be working there. Perspectives change, values change, compassion changes. Right and wrong does not change. It has everything to do with Smithfield. I am thankful to live in the country, state, and community that most everyone STILL wants to come to.
Glen Jay Thornley
The following is the transcript of part, of a copy, of a copy of a letter written 81 years ago  by a young Smithfield resident.
Fortune claims G. E. is going in production on a new cold box called a refrigerator. They are bigger than our ice boxes and they will all be painted white. The motor and the condenser coils are mounted on a metal box right up on top of the cabinet. They have bought some of Lord Kelvin’s patents. It’s about as Henry Roskelley told us he is afraid it was going to be in six or seven years. The only thing that’s going to slow down every homeowner from having one is the price. The first ones to get one will probably be Doc Reese, Tom Farr and that Shylark Howell in Logan. How many men are going to get one when they can’t even pay their taxes?
I think the Hoag family is going to lose out next year. Their boy got killed, their grandmother died, and two of them are getting married. I hear the Davis brothers are giving the Hoags a good figure. They want to put a grocery store on the crystal corner. When Henry McCracken lost the lease from the Union, Willie told me the monies don’t pay out. I guess Hillyards may close. I’m afraid Henry has some tough competition with furniture. He’s got radios in this year. Henry has the agency for Brunswick and should do alright for six or seven years. Frank still has the hall confectionary. I don’t know how the Wests are doing at the Union. They have two boys and Angus is in my grade in school. Jimmie’s lumber yard is mighty close to the Union.
There are things going on around town this year of 1926. Our Henry McCracken has been busy from early spring. His wife Inez has been ailing for a couple of years. Doc Reese told Henry she needs some peace and quiet out of town somewhere. Henry got a 50 year lease for a small cabin up main canyon. It’s built a half mile east of the narrows. It has a cement foundation and he hired Will Raymond and Carl Holjison to help build it. They are staying up there except for weekends. Sadie will help them when needed. I’ve known Henry since I was four years old. His house is on the corner just across of the Cantwell rock store.
The second ward just divided and made a third ward. They are mostly on the east side of main street. The second ward is building a new recreation hall east of Summit school. Richard Roskelly is the new Bishop. They are building their new church on the corner of second south and first east. The building will be finished with red brick. I’m not much for talkin but the winds of change are going to blow.
Our own LAWRENCE CANTWELL wrote this. He lives with his sweet wife in a home he built on third east between second and third south. Let’s see, if it was 81 years ago and he was 15, that makes him about 95 or 96. I saw him about two weeks ago out walking. Well, he really wasn’t walking, he was skipping along.
Note: The foundation of the cabin in Main canyon still exists. Both red (Smithfield made) brick church buildings have since been demolished. The third ward building has been rebuilt on the same corner. There are outdoor basketball courts where the red brick second ward recreation hall existed just north of the center street school cul-de-sac. Then the second ward met in the Tabernacle which we now call the Youth Center. In 1948 the new second ward building was built in it’s present location on second south and first west. The McCracken home sat where our present day A & W Drive in is located. The “Union” was a large, stockholder owned, three story building where our 7-11 store now sets on the corner of Main and Center. It was kind of a mini mall.
Recently I was riding my small, 80MPG motorcycle around town in the evening. It was a calm, clear, fresh, fall evening with a glorious full moon. As I moved around town, I often picked up the smell of those wonderfully scented fabric softeners that are put in the cloths dryers Sometimes I found those smells laced with a fragrant meal being prepared. I remember a high school seminary teacher saying that there is no better smell than walking past a home in the early morning and smelling coffee and bacon cooking.
It occurred to me that smells are a part of history that cannot be preserved. Smithfield has many of its own smells, not unique, yet to someone who grew up here, our special mix of smells could tell a lot about our history. Just like written facts, old photos, or artifacts that remind us of the modern conveniences we now enjoy, some are good and some are not so pleasant.
If you will, go with me on a childhood trip to revisit some of those smells. I grew up near the Del Monte plant at the south end of town. Back then the end of town was a lot closer. There was a distinct smell as one passed the "pea factory" when the peas were being processed. There was a whole different smell when one passed by the pea vinery at the rear of the property. As the peas were shelled and separated from the vines, the vines were stacked, piled and allowed to ferment, later to be fed to cattle. At a distance, the smell was terrible. Up close, the smell was sweet, tangy, and almost tempting. I remember finding a copper pipe with several holes drilled in the pipe walls, then driven into the side of the silage stack. Hmm! Someone was catching the drippings. A whole different aroma would drift around town during the corn run. Like with the peas, the cornhusks were removed at the plant. The green husks were stacked. They fermented and became very good cattle feed. I remember that we had to be careful to limit the amount fed to dairy cows because it tended to flavor the milk if overfed. By the way, the cows loved it. The green pea vines turned a dark, almost brownish green, whereas the green corn husks turned to an almost yellow color. Imagine! That’s exactly how they smelled.
Much can also be said about sugar beet pulp, a by-product of Lewiston sugar factory. Even when a truckload of the pulp would pass through town, it would leave a trail of distinct fragrance distinguishable from any other. In the late 50s, the sugar company began drying and bagging the pulp. Opening a bag of dried beet pulp was a whole new experience.
In my early years there were two cattle feed stores in town. Both were near the center of town. One of the staple feeds for dairy cattle is rolled barley. The process requires steam to soften the barley. Then a large noisy rolling machine rolls the barley into flat wafers of feed grain. The process is not unlike the process that prepared the cereal you eat for breakfast today. One thing you don’t get for breakfast is that sweet smell of the steam emanating from the grain.
Now, think of the distinct smell of Smithfield Implement, that smell of walking into Lee’s Marketplace which is completely different than walking into Wal Mart or Smith’s. Can you remember walking into Harley Monson’s meat market, or Gephart’s, or the Main Theater?
Coleman Read’s (Isn't it Reed?) service station, with all the ole farmers standing around by the heaters for a visit, smelled completely different than Lyman Hansen’s station. I think it was that white powdery soap that Lyman used to clean his floors every evening. Can you remember the smell of walking into the old yellow brick Summit School?
Yes, we still have a few dairy farms in town. The smells are all relative. Don’t Complain!
Now lastly, have you ever been away from home for a few weeks or months or years. As you unlock that back door, THERE’S NOTHING BETTER THAN RETURNING HOME.
Glen Jay Thornley
Smithfield Historical Society
One of the most interesting personalities to live, work and offer a lifetime of service to the development of Smithfield was a man I knew as Newt. Little did I realize his significance as I purchased my first (used) car from him in1960 for $300. He turns out to be one of the most interesting and influential since our City’s founding in 1859.
Newton Woodruff was the son of Wilford Woodruff who was the fourth President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Newton was made Bishop of the Smithfield Ward in 1899. He served as Bishop until the end of 1906. The Bishop and his councilors, Sam Nelson and Joseph J. Richardson, were called and set apart by Apostle Francis M. Lyman. The ward was divided into two wards at the time of his release. Two new bishops were called.
When he was bishop, Indians would come to town for food. He had a large lot which covered one third of a city block. The Indians camped there for days. As Bishop , he would give them eggs, butter, milk, bottled fruit, and vegetables from the Tithing Office. It became a problem, in a way, because the Indians began to expect the handouts.
Mr. Woodruff was elected Mayor of Smithfield in 1899. During his time as Mayor, electric lights came to town. The Tabernacle, Tithing Office, and Mayor Woodruff’s residence were the first to get electric lights. Mayor Woodruff missed the first lighting because he was in Salt Lake City attending General Conference at the time the first switch was pulled. During his administration, the first part of the City Culinary Water System was installed. Prior to this time, several families has wells which they shared with other families in the community. Most just dipped water from Summit Creek. The big debate of the time was whether to use wooden or metal pipe for the water system. The more costly metal pipe was chosen but several chose to use wood leading into their residences. Some of both may still be in existence. Yes!, wooden pipe was used. They used cedar or redwood, hollowed out, wrapped with tar paper, and bound with metal straps. Both cedar and redwood resist deterioration under ground. Interestingly, only in the inter-mountain area was it called "culinary water", everywhere else, it was called "potable water". Now, bottled water is popular but good ole Smithfield water is still the best! in my opinion.
Of note, as a young man, Elder Woodruff served a mission to the moonshine hills of eastern Kentucky. He traveled "Without Purse or Script". Bishop Woodruff retired from his Ward teaching duties in 1950 but he remained a familiar figure at the Logan Temple. He was personally acquainted with Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Daniel H. Wells, Charles C. Rich, George Albert Smith, Lorenzo Snow, John Taylor and many other influential figures of the historic time for Utah. Of course, much more can be written about Newton Woodruff who lived to be very old, passing away in 1964.
Glen Jay Thornley
The Mayor has requested that the Historical Society prepare a monthly historical news item for the City Newsletter. Considering that yesterday’s news is now history, we have much latitude in the effort. The process of planning such an approach to history, keeping it relatively factual, keeping it interesting, and protecting the privacy of families and individuals can be challenging. You have heard the observation that "it is a small world"! Sometimes that fact can be hauntingly true. As an example, the Historical Society received an inquiry just this week regarding a missionary named Emil Moser. The enquiry came from a former acquaintance who now lives in Washington State. Joycelyn Moser received the call. Who better to call because her mother’s maiden name is Moser. She is married to a gentleman with the last name of Moser, and she is the one who has typed all of the personal histories for the Smithfield Historical Society. Ironically, she had never heard of a man by that name, and knew of no one from Smithfield other than a few she could trace genealogically from her two different Moser families.. As it happened, Joycelyn’s father remembered another Moser family in Smithfield. This particular Moser family home was at 200 North and 300 West. Emil served and LDS mission representing the First Ward. Emil probably went on his mission while Bishop Aca Weeks was Bishop back in the 1950s. He is remembered as a tall handsome man with a slight accent. It turns out that he still has family who live in Smithfield. Hanna Zurcher is a sister to Emil and you can pick up on that accent which they acquired from there birthplace of Austria. The family immigrated to the United States and ended up in Smithfield. Part of the irony is that Emil passed away just several months ago. The point of this story is, "Wouldn’t it be interesting to have a record of that Moser family! Were they converts to the LDS faith? When did they immigrate? How old were the family members when they came here. What trades and skills did they bring with them? Only they, know what the rest of the story may be.
Everyone has a story about ancestors of which they are proud. Those who have been "Public Servants" can share the background of their service. We have retired Highway Patrolmen who live in Smithfield who could probably write books. We have many who have served their country in uniform who have stories to share. We have men who have driven trucks for Cache Valley Dairy as a career, which initially would not sound exciting, but it becomes very interesting to hear of the accidents, breakdowns, rollovers in blizzards, crimes they have witnessed, experiences on big city streets, and people that they met in their travels across our nation.
The Historical Society will be soliciting short stories. It would be nice if people would volunteer stories that are appropriate. From time to time we will fall back on some of the stories from "olden days" to help us all appreciate our heritage.
Glen Jay Thornley
Copyright © 2006-2009 Glen J. Thornley