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Johannes (John) Gubler was born in Mueliheim, Switzerland, 29 November 1818, the third son born to Hans Heinrich and Anna Margaretha Dinckel Gubler, Maria (Mary) Ursulla Muller was born at Eilhart, Switzerland, 10 January 1823. They were married 29 March 1849 at Mueliheim, Switzerland where they were living when they were converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints. They were parents of seven children, three of whom died in infancy. The four who grew to maturity were Anna Mary, Louisa, John, and Herman.

In Switzerland they had a comfortable home and a small piece of land and a small store. Johannes was a salesman. He would take the goods and go to different towns nearby and sell them while Maria, his wife, took care of the vegetable garden and her family.

The family had heard rumors about the Mormon missionaries but hadn't met any of them. As Grandmother was greatly opposed to the missionaries from the stories she had heard, Grandfather, after meeting them, attended some of their meetings without her knowing about it. He took a liking to them and believed what they preached. One day, he told her that some missionaries were going to hold a meeting at a nearby town and asked if she and the children would like to go with him and hear them. She consented to go and take the children, not knowing what church the missionaries represented. Grandmother liked the meeting and the doctrine taught very much so they went often and it wasn't long until she and Grandfather were converted and baptized.

They were anxious to emigrate to America so they could live their religion and worship as they wanted to without being persecuted and shunned by their friends. They sold everything they had for what they could get and left Switzerland in August 1859. They were six weeks crossing the Atlantic ocean from Liverpool to New York. Anna Mary was eight years old and she became very ill while crossing the ocean so they had to remain at Williamsburg, a small town near New York, for two months until she was well enough to go on their journey by train to Florence, Nebraska where the rest of the company were.

That was as far as the train went. The company stopped there and got their outfits ready to go on to Salt Lake City. They still had 1,000 miles to go with wagons pulled by oxen. The men worked day and night making wagons and getting their outfits ready for their long journey. It was a long, tiresome trip across the plains. When they finally reached Ogden, they were getting low on food so they stopped there and got work of different kinds to earn money for food.

Grandfather was given a piece of land on which to raise some crops. The family lived there one year and were getting along quite nicely when, at the general conference of the Church in October 1861, President Brigham Young called a company of 309 missionaries to go to Southern Utah. Included in the number was what was designated as the Swiss Company. They all joined and formed a company with Daniel Bonelli of Salt Lake City as their leader.

He could speak both the Swiss and English language. Teams were provided by the Church to take them south. The route they followed was practically that of the state highway of today. As they had had experience in grape culture, they were told to go to Santa Clara and raise grapes and cotton, both of which had been grown there successfully prior to that time. An Indian mission had been established at Santa Clara a few years previously and approximately twenty families were living at the fort called Fort Clara. The company arrived November 28, 1861. They drove to the fort where they camped for about three weeks. Then it was decided to make a permanent town site below the point of the hill on the bend of the river where homes would be safer from the flood waters of the creek. Preliminary arrangements had been made with the original settlers to relinquish their claims in favor of those recently arrived. This was carried out and Santa Clara had a new beginning.

A survey of the new townsite was made in December. The people assembled on December 22 for the dedication at which Elder Daniel Bonelli offered the dedicatory prayer. Lots and vineyards were laid out and the settlers drew for their plots of ground. During the month a dam in the creek and a ditch to the new townsite had been built. This was completed by December 25 at a cost of one thousand and thirty dollars. Men were given two dollars credit per day for their labor. The very day this dam was completed rain began falling and it continued to rain for a prolonged period of time. On New Year's day a terrific flood swept away the Fort and other buildings of the original townsite and destroyed the dam and canal just completed. They then had to begin anew to build the town and all pertaining to it. They set to their task with vigor so that by March 16 they had again completed the construction of the dam and a canal to the townsite.

After the lots and vineyards had been plotted, corresponding numbers were written on sheets of paper and placed in a hat. Brother Bonelli drew the numbers from the hat and allotted them to the various families. The land was nothing but sagebrush and grease woods so they set to work to clear it and make ditches.

By spring their food supply was so low they had to gather pigweeds to cook, which served as their food with a scanty bit of bread for many weeks. They were three weeks without any white bread and had just a bit of corn bread. In those days they would save a small dab of dough to start the next batch of bread. One day father (Herman) found a piece of this sour dough which Grandmother had saved. It was dried and hard as a rock but he ate it eagerly. When Grandmother saw him, it made her cry to think her young boy had to go so hungry.

The first year their main crop was corn. Since better bread could be made with part wheat to go with the corn, Grandmother and all the children except Louisa went north with many other people to glean wheat for their winter bread. Grandfather stayed home to run the farm and Louisa stayed to cook and help him. This went on for several years. The last year they went north to glean wheat, John, the oldest son, became very sick with malaria. Then Mary and Herman contacted it so they had to return home.

At about this time they received a $150 they still had coming from the sale of their home in Switzerland. With this they bought some land across the creek, known as the south fields. There were three rows of peach trees on the land just beginning to bear. The land was purchased from some English people who lived at the old fort. They dried the peaches and raised cane which they made into molasses. In the fall Grandfather went up north with the dried peaches and molasses and traded them for flour and potatoes. In this way they got along much better during the winters. Grandfather couldn't speak English very well so he took one of the boys along with him to interpret, and they made many life-long friends with whom they were able to stop overnight while on these trips.

In those first years there weren't any doctors or nurses so the women cared for each other when they had their babies. Grandmother acted as nurse to many women during their confinement.

After things were a little better, Grandfather bought a team of mules. Father told of the trip his mother and father took to Salt Lake City with a load of dried peaches. They took him along to help drive as Grandfather didn't know much about driving or handling a team. In fact, he never had had any experience with horses or mules, and he was quite nervous.

When they got to Cove Fort, one of their wheels was about to give way so the man living there told them if they would stop over a day, he would make them a new wheel. In those days they made the wheels from all wood. After the wheel was made, they went on their way and got along nicely until they were driving down main street in Salt Lake City. The Pony Express that carried the mail came along and frightened the mules. It caused them to run and tip the wagon over, and the dried peaches were scattered all over the streets. People came from every direction to help gather up the peaches. Grandfather was so excited about his load he hadn't noticed Grandmother was hurt. He was told that she had been taken to the hospital. He was very excited and found she was badly injured, but the doctor told him she would be all right. She was in the hospital for three weeks before she could go home.

In those days grass grew along the sides of the roads. As there wasn't much hay, people turned their animals out at night to eat the grass. Sometimes they would stray off and the men would have to hunt them next morning. This happened on their way home, and they spent all day looking for the mules but couldn't find them. That night they prayed to our Father in Heaven that they might find them. The next morning the mules were found next to where they were camped, and they went on their way rejoicing and thanking their Heavenly Father for helping them.

They lived in their dugouts until they could make a house of adobes. This they lived in for many years. Then Grandfather and the boys went up on the Pine Valley Mountain and worked to earn lumber to build a two-room frame house. Later they built a larger home which consisted of three large rooms and two porches.

Grandfather and Grandmother were always ready and willing to help do their part in building up the town and community. Grandfather helped build the first public building on the square which was made of adobes. This served as church house, school house, and amusement hall for many years. Grandfather also assisted in the construction of the St. George Temple. He and the boys hauled lumber from the Pine Valley Mountain and Mount Trumble. In all their hardships and struggles they both stayed true and firm in their belief.

Grandfather's health was quite poor in his later years, but he was only bedfast a few days before his death. He died 2 January 1897, being 79 years old. Grandmother only lived four years after Grandfather's death. She had a severe stroke which caused her to become helpless. Her right side became paralyzed. Her children often took her in a wheel chair to visit relatives and friends. She was always cheerful and happy to get outside. She was patient and uncomplaining and appreciated everything that was done for her. She died 20 September 1901 at the age of 78. Both she and Grandfather were buried in the Santa Clara Cemetery and have nice headstones at their graves.

Compiled By Selina G. Hafen and Eliza H. Gubler

Their family:

I. Gubler, Johannes (John), son of Hans Heinrich and Anna Margaretha Dinckel

Gubler, born 28 November 1818, Mueliheim, Thrg., Switzerland, married Mary

Ursula Muller, born 10 January 1823, Eilhart, Switzerland, 29 March 1849.

A. Ulrich, born 15 January 1850, Mueliheim, Thrg., Switzerland, died 1 May 1850.

B. Anna Mary, born 27 December 1850, Mueliheim, Thrg., Switzerland, died 15 June 1921.

C. Louisa, born 10 January 1852, Mueliheim, Thrg., Switzerland, died 14 December 1930. Not married.

D. John, born 10 September 1853, Mueliheim, Thrg. Switzerland.

E. Elizabeth, born 5 February 1855, Mueliheim, Thrg., Switzerland, died 29 November 1855,

F. Herman, born 11 December 1856, Mueliheim, Thrg., Switzerland.

G. Abraham, born 24 February 1859, Mueliheim, Thrg., Switzerland, died 10 April 1860.

H. Isaac, born June 1862, Santa Clara, Washington, Utah, died June 1862

Source: Gubler families in America 1857-1973, edited by Laura G. Hendrix and Donworth V. Gubler, 1973, pg 219-224.

©Published 1973 without notice


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