I am Arthur Olds. I was born 20 May 1897 in Lyman, Wayne County, Utah. I was the sixth son of the family, and the son of Eliza Jane Hunt and Thomas Olds. I was only over a year old when we left Lyman and went over to Monroe, Sevier County, Utah and then they went from there down to Summit, Iron, Utah. The folks lived down to Summit when I was five years old and I had long curly hair down to my shoulders and it was red and my face was freckled, and my mother wanted me to be a girl. My oldest brother, Levi, and two of his friends were shearing sheep over in the barn, so they took me over there and they took the sheep shears and cut my hair off tight to my head. When I went home my mother looked at me and said, "Who in heavens name did that?" I told her, so she grabbed the broom and away she went. Her and two other neighbor women chased those guys all over town trying to catch them for cutting my hair off.
I can remember when we left Summit and went down to Pintura, and Dad used to drive the mail and we was just kids then. Then we moved to Toquerville; then back to Pintura again.
I can remember once when we lived right across the street from me here (from his house) in Toquerville. It was when that big earthquake was on. Ray Batty and I were riding the gates back and forth. We’d swing the gate open and swing back and forth; well I got on the gate and went to swing it when the earthquake came, and it started shaking and tried to shake me off. I said to Ray, "This dang gate is trying to shake me off." Then my mother came out of the house and said, "Did you guys feel that earthquake?" I said, "Yes, I guess that’s what the gate was trying to buck me off about."
When we was young, we used to live over in Pintura. We come to Toquer to go to school. We stayed over here in the sheep wagon. Dewey and I would stay here and do our own cooking and messing around. We never had nobody to prod us along like most of the boys did when they was going to school, so we just played most of the time and didn’t get any studying done like we should have. We moved from place to place--just rent one room at a time as we messed around for the winter. Then on Friday night we’d go back to Pintura and come back over on Sunday night or ride a horse over on Monday morning, and bring us something to eat over with us. We rode back and forth on horseback quite a bit. When it was good weather we’d ride back and forth; when it was heavy winter we’d stay over here.
We didn’t have much to do with when we was young, so we all went out and started working. While we was gone out working, my mother went and got sick and we took her down to the hospital, and I remember I was working for Stubbs, just outside of Wolf Hole, and they come out and I rode the horse from there to St. George and stayed there with her for a couple of days, they went back out to the sheep herd. When we come back to St. George with the sheep, I come on home and stayed there. Cliff Stubbs herded the sheep while I come up to Pintura and stayed two days with her. When we went back we went out by Modena and we was over by Modena when mother died. So we left there and come on home and stayed down here until after she was all laid away, then I went back to work for Stubbs for the rest of the summer. We all throwed in our nickels and dimes to help pay the bill so that we could get the burial expenses paid off.
We lived in Pintura and Dad used to drive the mail, so we’d milk the cows and mess around as kids, and after that we got a little bit older he bought that place over there, then we’d all go out and haul hay and mess around and do as much work as we could do for little kids.
I remember one time dad told us that we could have what extra hay that we could get up off the field cause we would scatter it around when we hauled hay. We had some sheep and we’d work them on a little express wagon. We’d go over with the kids and gather this hay up and put it on the wagon and bring it down and pile it up for the sheep for the winter.
In Pintura, we’d go out and plant cane and make molasses out of it; and dad would make six or seven hundred gallons of molasses every year. The molasses we’d pile it on the wagons and take three horses and hook on it, and away he’d go. He would go out and peddle it from here over to Wayne County. He would distribute it along and peddle and trade so when he’d come back we’d have a winter supply of food that he’d get out of the molasses.
Five or six years ago I was arguing with my wife about the house I was born in over in Lyman, Wayne County. I said that I bet I could go and find it and go right to it. She laughed at me and said she bet I couldn’t. So we jumps in the car and away we go. We got over to Lyman and got over there in the square, and I stopped and got out and looked around all over. I said the square is right here, the church house is there and Uncle Ben Turner’s house is right over there on the north in a brick house, and our little house is a lumber house over on the East Side of the corner. There was a lot of tall sagebrush where we used to play. There was a log house on the south side and I said I bet I could still find it. She said she bet I couldn’t. So we went right across and over to this little frame house. They had put this sheeting on the outside of the house. I went over and asked a guy if he could tell me where Ben Turner’s place used to be, and he said right here is the house. I asked if Tommy Olds used to live across the street over there and he said that as far as he knew he did. When he was a kid they told him he used to live over there. So I asked him what he name was and he told me it was Ernest Turner. He was a cousin of mine that I was talking too; but I had found the house a before he told me who he was.
When School let out when I was 15 years old, I went to work for John T. Batty, driving mail from Springdale down to Leeds and back up to Springdale. We’d leave Springdale in the morning at 6 a.m., drive a mule and a horse on a buckboard and come down. Sometimes it was stormy weather and when we’d get down to Grafton, why we’d have to cross the river and we’d take the mail out of the buckboard on the floor, and pile it up on the seat and hold it up on there while we’d go across, and the water would go right over the bottom of the buckboard. When we’d get down to Virgin we’d have to cross it again and cross over to Virgin and the water would be the same way. Sometimes down to LaVerkin Creek down below Toquerville, why then we’d have to cross the water again to go to Leeds. We’d go up over this sand hill west of town and go over to Leeds. Then we’d stay over there and wait for the north mail to come down from Cedar City, then we’d turn around and come back and get to Springdale about 8 p.m. at night.
When we were kids and lived in Toquerville, we’d have to drink the water out of the irrigation ditch. We’d always get up early in the morning and dip the water up in tubs and barrels that were wrapped in wet gunny sacks to keep it as cool as possible, and then we’d place boards over the top of them to keep the stuff from getting into the water, so it could settle and be cleaner to drink. My mother was going to Relief Society. We lived here on the south lot what we own now. Mother said you guys watch the baby while we’re going to Relief Society. So we all got to playing. Alvin was about 14 months old. Before we realized what had happened, mother came home and asked where is the baby. We said we didn’t know, so she ran to this tub of water and there he was laying face down in this tub. She grabbed him and ran across to Brother Hammond's. He ran the drug store right across the street here on this corner. They worked and worked and tried to save him, but it was to late - they couldn’t save him.
When we lived in Pintura, and we all come down with whopping cough. We was all worrying about it and mother just had the young baby and she didn’t know what to do with him afraid that he’d get the whooping cough, too. So she kept him in one room by himself, so he couldn’t get it, but he finally got the whopping cough. He was about six weeks old when he died. That day John T. Batty was going north to meet Anthony W. Ivins. President Ivins was coming down to St. George to a conference and they all come down by our place then and had a drink of water and fed their horses and talked a while. He come on down and stopped there and mother had them bless the baby, and President Ivins blessed him and had him named Ivan in honor of the President.
When we left Toquerville and moved over to Pintura, father traded some lots here to Mark Lamb on a down payment on a field over in Pintura that Tommy Parkinson has now. Later on, fifty years to the very day I bought the lot back from Jenny Lamb and she also gave me the same deed back that we gave them fifty years before.
The last thirteen or fourteen years before I retired and quit work, I worked in Zion Canyon as utility guy. I did all kinds of jobs, electrician, plumber, carpenter or whatever the job had to be done. I did the job and we met people from all over the world who came there on tours in the summer. We got real friendly with the boys and girls, especially from Utah and the eastern part of the states who would come by and they would laugh at you cause you couldn’t remember their names, but there would be about 700 who would come. We really enjoyed the years up there with all the kids and enjoyed the work, and was glad for it, cause it made us a good retirement. Now I just come home and retired, and I try to help other people what ever they want me to do.
We stay home now. We’ve got eight children, four boys and four girls, twenty-eight grandchildren and four great grandchildren, who come and see us quite often or we go and see them. We visit from one to the other. We are getting them scattered out quite wide now, so we spend a day or two and just go from one place to the other to see them.
(Lottie speaking. Arthur married Lottie Encora Dodge)
I’m his wife, and I’ve been in the family for 49 years. I’ve really enjoyed all the family and Arthur and I have enjoyed each others company and raised a big family and made many sacrifices for each other. Arthur has been sick for so many years and at times I had to help take care of the family, and get out and do what work I could do. But now the last fifteen years since the children have all grown up and gotten married and left home, we’ve really enjoyed them and enjoyed each other. There’s not too much more about my life. Arthur’s mother, Jane, was a real hand-working woman; she’d have to be to raise eleven sons and a daughter as well as she did; for all the children are wonderful boys and Louie was a very sweet lady.
(End of tape recording.)
Additional information submitted by Lottie:
Arthur had a very limited education, but he did know how to work and always gave his employer a good days work. He worked on construction jobs as long as he could, then he got sick with arthritis when he got around where it was damp. So he got a job herding sheep, a job that took him away from his family for two or three months at a time. So he did not get to enjoy his family when they were young.
In July, 1942, the day started just like all normal days. Everyone had gone about their business for the day except Wayne who was milking the cows; Lottie was out picking Himalayas berries with Patty Ann and VaLene, who was asleep. Arthur was working for Spilsbury at Toquerville. Lottie looked up from her berry picking to see their home in flames. She screamed at Wayne who immediately began yelling for help. They ran to the house and Wayne ran in to get the girls. He found Patty Ann and carried her out and told his mother that he couldn’t find VaLene. So Lottie ran into the fire and managed to find VaLene and bring her out. In the meantime all the towns’ people had gathered and formed two lines from the irrigation ditch for a bucket brigade to pour water on the rapidly burning house. Lottie became upset about Lois’ cedar chest, so someone got in and saved that, but that was the only thing saved in the house. The house was totally destroyed. It was believed to be caused by the wiring to the refrigerator which was located in a back bedroom. Patty Ann and VaLene received minor burns and their eyes were swollen completely shut from the smoke. Wayne and Lottie were burned more seriously and suffered for some time before their burns healed.
Arthur moved his homeless family in the two-room rock home up on the corner known as the Presbyterian home. Neighbors and friends shared bedding, etc. with them, but the family was large and very crowded in the small two-room house. They would have to lay out mattresses on the floor at night and roll them up in the morning.
Arthur was now faced with building a new home for his family, without funds because the home was not insured. He built a basement with the intentions of living in that while the top part was completed, but realized that living in a basement with his rheumatism would not be wise. He worked long hard hours to complete the top. Seven months later, in February 1943, he moved his family into their new home. There were no floor coverings, no paint, but it was a happy family to have their home again. He then went to work to pay back the money he had to borrow to build the house. He had the help of so many friends, but he had to work much too hard when he was not well in the first place. Two months later he comes home very ill. He lost a great deal of weight and was in so much pain he could not sleep or get around. The family doctor was planning on sending him to the Mayo Clinic, but he decided to go to Dr. Graff first. When the doctor saw him he said, "For heaven sake, Arthur, what have you been doing with yourself?" He told him what was bothering him and the doctor said he thought it was sciatic rheumatism. He gave him medication to build up his nerve, and after about seventy-five shots, he began feeling better.
His family was without money, so he went to work feeding turkeys and gathering eggs. Lloyd, Clayton, and Wayne would go after school to help him feed and gather the eggs. He later went to work in the hatchery and brooder taking care of the baby turkeys. Here it was very dry and warm and with the shots he went to the doctor each day to get, he began to feel much better. He stayed and worked with the turkeys for two years.
At this time he went to work at the Utah Parks Company at Zion Nation Park. This made it necessary for him to be up to Zion all the time, and Lottie and Patty Ann were home alone. To make it possible for his family to be with him, he got Pat a job baby sitting for the manager’s children, and Lottie working in the cabins. After the first year Pat worked as a waitress. Lottie and Pat would come home during the school term, but Arthur would remain all winter as care taker and painter’s helper. After Patty Ann felt home, then Lottie spent the winters up there with him. In all he spent seven winters alone and four with Lottie there with him. Naturally, the drive was not far so they would drive down to take care of things at home two or three time a week.
They continued working at Zion until Arthur was 68 years old before they retired, almost too late to enjoy the traveling they wanted to do. They enjoyed a trip to Yellowstone National Park; many trips to New Mexico to visit with Patty Ann and family at Albuquerque and to see the White Sands and on into old Mexico. They took anther trip into Southeast Utah and on to Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. At another time they went with Lloyd’s family to Southern California for several days, visiting Disneyland, Marine Land and many other places of interest. We have enjoyed many trips to San Diego where we enjoy the ocean and beach as well as visiting with Patty Ann and family who live there now. Between these trips we go to different parts of Utah to visit and enjoy the beautiful canyons and streams.
But most of all they enjoy living at home. Arthur raises a good garden, keeps enough chickens to supply fryers and fresh eggs. He has a cow to furnish milk and raise two goods calves each year. He always makes sure his car is filled with gas so he can go to the Post Office each day to check to see if there are any letters from his children who are away from home, and to visit those who live close by real often.
Arthur married Lottie Encora Dodge, daughter of Samuel Clark and Sarah Ann Batty Dodge, she was born 11 October 1902. They have the following children:
Clark Arthur Olds, born 3 July 1919
Lois Olds, born 21 July 1922
Thelma Olds, born 16 Dec 1924
Wayne Dodge Olds, born 14 April 1927
Lloyd Jay Olds, born 4 Jan 1930
Clayton Vaughn Olds, born 28 Sept 1932
VaLene Olds, born 24 Oct 1935
Patricia Ann Olds, born 30 Aug 1940
While Arthur was working in Zion Canyon it was not uncommon for authors of different publications to come to view the canyon and then return home to write about it. As a result of this it was not unusual for Arthur to be mentioned in these4 articles. These articles indicate the salesmanship that Arthur gave these reporters, but because Zion Canyon has played such an important part in the lives of the entire Olds family, I think it fitting to have a couple of these articles included in this history. (Elaine Olds Hagelberg)
1 August 1960 - This article was sent to over 100 newspaper travel editors to be released Saturday, August 6th or Sunday, August 7th.
ZION NATIONAL PARK, UTAH: Down at the bottom of this ruby canyon Art Olds keeps the covered wagons rolling. The covered wagons are small two-wheel Conestoga the maids use on their linen-changing rounds of the Zion Lodge Cabins, and Olds is general utility man here.
We ran into Mr. Olds along the self-guiding nature trail to weeping rock. A gregarious old-timer in these parts, Olds proved a lively supplement to the National Parks Service booklet that describes the neighborhood to hundreds of people a day.
In an area of looming, fire-and-ice-colored monoliths that shorten one’s breath with their immensity, weeping rock is a comfortable intimate sight. It requires only a middling effort to visit compared with the East or West Rim riding and hiking trails with their mighty views.
A quarter-mile walk up the talus of sloughed-off sandstone that foot Cable Mountain brings one to this geological curiosity. It’s a nook; wide but shallow, and from its overhand there is a constant dripping, like rainwater off the eaves. The steady drops and trickles have percolated down through some 2000 feet of Cable Mountain until a bed of shale sidetracked them to the cliff face.
"You should see this when the sun gets around," said Olds, "There are two rainbows then, and you can touch ‘em."
The long-traveling water oozes tear-like from the walls of the glen as well. Olds said, "Pardon me while I take a mountain drink." Removed his hat, opened his mouth and stooped over a tiny pool to divert a pencil size stream that spouted from the rock face.
In the glen which maintains an even temperature throughout the day, mosses and Shooting Star and Crimson Monkey Flowers hang from the roof and the walls. Ferns and horsetails, just like those of the prehistoric swamps, clump in the wet soil at the foot of Weeping Rock. The trail is lined with Box Elder, Water Willow, Hackberry, Cottonwood, Live Oaks, and Big Tooth Maple. Among their branches tendrils of canyon grape attract the mule deer.
On the rim of Weeping Rock is a pedestal with pointers indicating gestures on the opposite side of the canyon. One of these is Lady Mountain. Lady is a tall gal rising 2670 feet above the canyon floor. Her form and color betray her age and how she grew.
She is fairly young in geological time. It was only about a dozen million years ago that she began to take shape from materials that had been laid down a billion or two years before that. Then a great upheaval elevated the country and with it the Virgin River. After that it was just a matter of the Virgin’s waters seeking to join those of the Colorado’s, and cutting their way down through the Carmel, Navajo and Kayenta formations of Kolob Terrace, carving Zion Canyon in the process.
The river hasn’t quite finished. It has another 1000 feet to drop before it reaches the Colorado’s level and turns sluggish.
Lady Mountain is only one of the spectacular landmarks here. The Virgin is having its inexorable way helping to create the Great White Throne, Mt. Moroni, The Three Patriarchs, Angle’s Landing, Cathedral Mountain and so on. The religious connotation of the features and of the canyon itself is easy enough too figure: Mormon settlers were the first white men to view them. The river’s label is only coincidentally biblical. It was named for Thomas Virgin, one of Jedediah Smith’s trader-trappers who saw the river, farther along its course, but never the canyon.
The Piute Indians were spooked by the place, and well they might be, for now and then it can be mighty eerie. There is the Temple of Sinawava, sheer and deep where the wind booms. On up are the Zion Narrows where the 20-foot stream gurgles and hisses between 2000-foot blood-red walls. "Ioogoon" - ""Come out the way you came in," they named it.
Mormons farmed in Zion Canyon half a century until the early 1900’s when the Federal Government set it aside first as a National Monument, later as a park. It didn’t become popular until the 1930’s after Union Pacific Railroad had built a branch line to Cedar City and began publicizing tours not only to Zion, but also to Bryce Canyon and the North Rim of Grand Canyon.
In the Temple of Sinawava, Olds piqued our feeling of mystery, saying "Funny, the way those blocks seem to have been placed one on top of the other. They say it’s water and pressure, but I don’t know..." He parried our explanatory quotes from a ranger lecture at the new visitor center near the park entrance with, "We used to run sheep and cattle up on top. Us kids would pry rocks loose just to see them tumble down. ‘Course, that was 40 years ago. Might hit somebody if you did it now." Indeed you would.
Another interesting article appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune on 22 November 1960:
"They’ll Wake Sleepy Zion"
Everyone bring some, the theme song of many families’ great, grand Thanksgiving feast, isn’t so odd. Lots go potluck on trimmings for the turkey dinner. But when they all wheel into a tourist-forgotten national park........
That’s the way it is when the Arthur Olds Clan meets. Deer have to graze a little higher that day, wolves’ head for deeper woods...and chipmunks scratch their heads.
"Dad" Olds, caretaker of the lodge area grounds at Zion, and his wife live year round in the park in a little cabin.
The third week in November he unlocks a Deluxe (double cabin with fireplace) dusts it out and brings in two or three long tables,
He’s getting ready for that day that wakes the park from its sleep: the Olds’ Thanksgiving.
From as far as Logan family members will pour in to give "Olds-style" thanks. Cedar City and Hurricane family members bring the beasts (a Tom and a hen turkey) and pounds of trimmings, since the cabins have no cooking facilities.
Dinner down and no room for dessert - yet - the kids kick footballs and rollick in the untouched fallen leaves. Little ones pile into the back of a maintenance truck and Grandpa takes them up into the canyon to watch deer. Others prefer a hike to still, clear Emerald Pool high in the canyon’s rock wall.
Incredibly, appetites build up again and remembering that pie and cake await and feeling nips of late-afternoon air, hardly ones weaken and head for a fire’s crackly welcome. More novelty than need makes it possible to stuff down a few marshmallows roasted in the fireplace even after dessert. Who can do this at home?
"Some of the boys bring sleeping bags and stay with Grandpa for the night," said Mrs. Olds. Jerry Olds and David Scholzen think it’s great to sleep on the floor.
Norman Iverson and Nick Scholzen usually spend the whole weekend in the park hiking. "All the families make it up at least sometime during the day," she said..."and we have two cabins we keep beds made up in for the ones who don’t go home at night."
One son, Lloyd, and his family won’t be there this year. They moved to Nevada, but Grandma and Grandpa visited them last week. Daughters Lois (Iverson), Thelma (Scholzen), and VaLeen (Broderick), with families newly married Patty Ann (Henrie) and her husband, and the families of sons Clark, Wayne, and Clayton will be there -- all making unforgettable a real Zion of a Thanksgiving.
Arthur was blessed in Lyman, 30 June 1897. He was baptized 3 June 1906 by John T. Batty in Toquerville. He was confirmed the same day by Martin Slack. He was ordained a deacon 27 December 1908 by Riley C. Savage, a teacher 10 February 1913 by Riley C. Savage.
Arthur married Lottie Encora Dodge 30 April, 1919. They were endowed and sealed 8 July, 1952 in the St. George Temple.
In 1923 when Levi was very ill, Arthur got Carl and Dewey to help him and they went out and got a huge load of wood. They brought it in and unloaded the wood in their yard, so that Katie would not have to worry about firewood along with the many problems she had to worry about at that time.
This history is
copyrighted and is offered for personal use and
It is not to be reprinted or used for commercial purposes without written permission.
Return to Washington County Biographies Index
There have been visits to this page.
Copyright ©2002, 2009 by Cynthia B. Alldredge (Page design and coding)