Mt. Pleasant City Mayor, Ches Christensen passed away on Memorial Day. Mayor Christensen had served for 19 years as Mayor of Mt. Pleasant.
Before becoming Mayor, he had served his country in Korea. After returning home from Korea, he took a full-time position with the Utah National Guard as a First Seargeant and served in that capacity up until his retirement.
During the Desert Storm era, Ches tried to go "active duty" but he was denied his request. He then was called as a liason to the families of soldiers serving in Desert Storm.
As mayor, he served on many other state and national commissions where his influence benefitted all of Mt. Pleasant and surrounding communities.
He was also a proud member of the Mt. Pleasant Pioneer Historical Association. He was a descendant of Jacob Christensen, one of Mt. Pleasant's original founding fathers. He was currently serving as the Association Treasurer.
His friendship, service and love for community will be surely missed for years to come.
Robert H. Hinckley opened Seely Hinckley Dodge in 1915 right here in Mt. Pleasant - making it one of the oldest continuously run Dodge dealerships in the world. The oldest, that is, until last Thursday, when Chrysler LLC terminated its franchise agreements with 789 of its U.S. dealerships. Reported by the Salt Lake Tribune May 18th, ten of those stores are in Utah, and one is Hinckley Dodge of Ogden. Until early next month, there were 24 in the state. The car manufacturer did stick with Hinckley Dodge Chrysler Jeep in Salt Lake City, overseen by Robert H. Hinckley's grandson, Jim Hinckley.
Born in Fillmore, Utah, June 8, 1891, Robert Henry Hinckley, was the son of Edwin S. and Addie Henry Hinckley. His father was a professor of geology at Brigham Young University and Robert moved with his parents as they lived in different places connected with his father’s work. Robert served an LDS mission in Germany from 1910-1913 and returned to establish the Seely-Hinckley Automobile Co., in 1915. That same year he married Abrelia Clarissa Seely, daughter of John H. and Margaret Peel Seely of Mt. Pleasant.
Robert H. Hinckley borrowed $500 from his father-in-law to further his education. But instead, he bought into a Dodge franchise. They were the parents of four children: Robert Jr. Paul, John S. and Elizabeth. His public service career began in 1918 when he was elected to the Utah legislature as a representative from Sanpete County. He was subsequently elected to be mayor of Mt. Pleasant in 1924.
In 1931, he helped organize Utah’s relief work. In 1934 he was appointed assistant administrator of Federal Emergency Relief Administration, with responsibility for the western states. Involvement in one of his main interests, aviation, began with his service in the U.S. Civil Aeronautical Authority in 1938. In that position, he was instrumental in establishing training programs for civilian pilots in 600 colleges and universities. He was assistant director of the Department of Commerce from 1940-42 and directed the Contract Settlement Office in 1944-45 to settle all terminated wartime service contracts. He also served on the War production Board.
Robert H. Hinckley shown on the right
Orval Wright on the left
His business career was also national in scope. During World War II and continuing afterwards, he was an officer of Sperry Rand Corporation and joined with Ed Noble in the founding of American Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). He served as director and officer in ABC until 1966. Robert H. Hinckley was appointed to be a regent of the University of Utah for several terms throughout his life. In 1956, he purchased property on the north bench of the Ogden River at middle fork and established his home there. It became known as the “Garden of Eden” to friends and family. There he raised welsh ponies and directed the affairs of Robert H. Hinckley Inc. until retirement in 1973. He founded the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah in 1965. He established the Edwin Smith Hinckley Scholarship Fund at Brigham Young University as well as the Abrelia Hinckley Scholarship Fund at Weber State University in 1954 and the Seely-Hinckley Scholarship Fund in 1984.
After the death of his wife in 1973, Robert H. Hinckley retired as director of RHH Incorporated. He died in Ogden at the age of 96 on April 30, 1988. Resource: Robert H. Hinckley Family Business Papers, Weber State College Library
Jim Hinckley, a great grandson of Robert H. is now the General Manager of Ogden's Hinckley Dodge. Jim Hinckley Sr. (grandson) oversees the Salt Lake City Hinckley Dodge Chrysler and Jeep operation.
Sometimes in the early morning I go walking up through the fields. I think of the pioneers and wonder how this area that we call home must have seemed to them then. The route I take is a fairly good representation of how it was way back then. I take the old sheep trail east of my home. I walk that route clear up to the Mountainville Road. Fields and fields of sagebrush, cedar, rabbits hopping everywhere, and our own beautiful Horseshoe Mountain.
It seems to me that just clearing the land of all the sagebrush and cedar and whatever else was in the way must have been very discouraging. However, as I read the histories and biographies they weren't discouraged, but more thankful to have a place to call home. They looked forward to raising crops and their families in this beautiful valley.
The first pioneers here were welcomed by the Indians. But then more and more immigrants came and the Indians didn't like the way the "white man" abused the land, put up wire fences and the "white man's" cattle were forever tempting to the Indians who were used to going out and killing their game to provide for their own families.
All in all this valley is beautifully graced by the mountain formation someone named "Horseshoe". It might be well to note here that just east of our familiar horseshoe is another formation with the same vertical ridges. That formation is actually bigger than the one most are familiar with. That bigger formation isn't positioned so that everyone in the valley can see and appreciate it as well as they can the "smaller shoe". Some of the people who have lived here all their lives call the pair "Big Shoe and Little Shoe". Horseshoe is a beautiful landmark that represents "Home". I am grateful to have been raised in this valley and love to hear and read the stories of others who have loved and appreciated this location. If Horseshoe could talk, what stories it could tell. Kathy
Take note of some of Buddy's Memories of Mt. Pleasant. The Johansen boys who ran the Johansen Market, also State Street being a boardwalk, Mt. Pleasant having three shoe repair shops; one over the bridge toward NSH. Also his memory of Rutishauser and Merz Monuments. Great historical information here as well as information about his schoolmates.
Elma (Alma) Johansen, just a faint face on my canvas of life. I wonder what kind of life she's had. And some others - Iva Oldham, Fern Olson, Geraldine Staker, and Marcia Olsen all of our class. Geraldine, Fern and Marcia; very pretty young girls. I can't remember them after the freshman year......... Elma's father as the man with the cumbersome built-up shoe. Like Que Barton's. Was it a childhood injury? Was he a shoemaker? That is another good trade phased out by changing styles. Didn't we have at least three shoe repair shops in Mt. Pleasant? One just over the bridge toward North Sanpete High School.
And........remember when State Street was a Boardwalk? Had a harness maker at work there. I don't think he made saddles. Great smell of leather; and Rutishausers Monument Works - eventually to become Rutishauser and Merz when Emil R. merged with Hy Merz his brother-in-law.
The Johansen boys were Shirley, Wasatch class of 1936. Andy, class of 1939 and Dean class of 1941. I know both Dean and Shirley are gone. How about Andy?
Bry Jacobs must be making commercials for a security and loan company. I haven't seen him in over fifty years. He was a very handsome young man - talented........
ELIZA CUSWORTH BURTON STAKER was born January 19, 1824 in Lockwood, near Huddersffield, Yorkshire, England. Her parents were John and Martha Brook Cusworth. They were well-to-do farmers. Eliza was one of four children, two boys and two girls, one brother and one sister having died. She attended the schools of England getting a common education for that time.
At the coronation of Queen Victoria, Eliza was a flower girl. There was a large number of small girls who acted in this capacity, carrying flowers and singing "God Save the Queen".
She married Joseph Burton June 8,1846. The lived very happily for a few years during which time two children, a son Frend Burton (known as Joseph Friend) and a daughter, Martha Ann were born to them.
About this time Mormon Elders, Joseph E. Young and Cyrus Wheelock, came to that part of England. Joseph attended their meetings, heard them explain the Gospel, believed it, and purchased a Book of Mormon, which he started reading. Soon there were bad stories going round about these Mormon Elders. Eliza hearing them worried a great deal. She coaxed her husband not to read the book or have anything to do with these elders. He told her not to worry and kept on. She felt very badly about it.
After retiring to her bed one night, she could not sleep. It was very dark and as she lay there thinking and praying about her trouble, the room suddenly began to get light and the light increased until the room was light as noon day. Then the light disappeared as it had come until all was dark. After seeing this she could never say a word against the Mormons and it was a testimony to her that their Gospel was true. Soon after this she and her husband were baptized, and then began saving money and making prepartations to emigrate to Utah. Joseph Burton joined the church, and traveled around as a local Elder during the time they were preparing to come to Zion.
Joseph was what they called in England, a carrier. He delivered goods from the depot to the stores, and while working he lifted too heavily and broke a blood vessel. In a short time this caused his death. His dying request was that Eliza gather with the Saints and do their work in the temple, and raise the children among the Latter Day Saints in Zion. She promised him she would do this.
Sometime before this her father had died, and her mother and brother, who did not believe in Mormonism were very much opposed to her going and tried every way possible to persuade her not to go. They promised to take care of her and the children and that they would never want for anything as long as they lived if they would only stay with them. Her husband's people, who were in the mercantile business, were also very much opposed to her leaving and tried hard to get her to give up her foolish journey, as they called it. They promised to care for her and the children and give her any amount she would name, to live on with them, but not one cent to help her leave England.
These were trying times for Eliza, but she knew the gospel was true. She had made promises to her dying husband and was determined to fulfill them. So in the spring of 1856 she packed her trunks and left her home, relatives and friends, and started on a journey of six thousand miles with her two little children. The only one of her relatives who would go and see her off was Benjamin Burton, he husband's brother, who carrried her little girl, Martha to the depot and bid them good-bye. This was the last she saw or heard of her relatives for twelve long years, during which time her mother died.
The first part of the journey was accomplished by train to Liverpool and here they took passage on the good ship "Horizon", a sailing vessel, and were seven weeks on the ocean. This was considered a good trip at that time. She suffered a good deal from sea sickness. For about ten days she was unable to even care for her children.
They went by train and boat from New York to Council Bluffs, Iowa. When they arrived there, they found they were too late. The last wagon had gone and there was no other way, but to wait for handcarts to be made and go that way.
I do not think they realized the great distance it was nor the time it would take them to get there, it being 1300 miles from Council Bluffs to Salt Lake City, and it was late in the season to undertake such a long journey.
On July 15, 1856, Captain James G. Willie and a large company of hand cart immigrants left Iowa City for Salt Lake Valley, and about two weeks later Captain Edward Martin led a similar group out toward the West, despite the fact that both had been warned that the season was too far advanced for such a lengthy journey. With hearts filled with high faith, eager to reach Zion, the promised land, the Saints could not be dissuaded from the journey. In the middle of July with the sun scorching hot, who could picture severe winter weather three months away? Besides, was not the Lord with them, their vanguard and their rear guard? With eyes set upon the western horizon the handcarters began their journey in joy. In most part they were converts from Europe who had pictured for weeks their great adventure.
The Martin Company, which Eliza and her friends were in, started from Iowa City on July 30, 1856. The handcarts were hurriedly made and had wooden axles lined with leather. For this reason the had to stop very often for repairs and did not reach Salt Lake until November 30, 1856.
When the handcarts were ready, the people were told they would have to leave most of their belongings, as they could only bring necessities on the hand carts. Her trunks containing silverware, linens, bed sheets, and lots of her valuable clothing had to be left behind and she never received a cent for it. Eliza pulled the cart and her little boy, Frend (Joseph), aged seven walked all the way, and helped his mother pull the cart part of the time. The little girl, Martha, four years old, rode.
The company was composed of five hundred men, women and children, one fourth of whom died on the way. The first part of the journey, they got along quite well, but after awhile their food began to give out. The women stood it better than the men. Thus they plodded on day after day, and month after month, trying to encourage one another. At night they would gather around the camp fires after supper and sing songs. Come, Come Ye Saints was one of the favorite sings.
Eliza waded the Sweetwater River three times in one evening. First she took her boy across on her back. When she reached the other shore she put him down, but he was frightened and tried to follow her back. She was forced to tie him to a nearby tree while she went back to get his sister. She then had to make the third trip to get her handcart. She spent part of the night drying her clothing and it was freezing weather.
They were advised not to travel on Sunday, but on account of it being late in the season they did not heed this advice. But when they traveled on Sunday, they nearly always had some trouble and many of them felt that they were doing wrong by not obeying counsel. Towards the latter part of their journey they were told their food was almost gone and were put on very short rations, one fourth of a pound of flour for each person a day. Mother had gold in her pocket, and she and her children were starving. At one time there were nine persons who died in one night of cholera, caused by drinking alkali water.
When Wyoming was reached they ran entirely out of food. They would still have to travel one month to reach Salt Lake City. The ranchers would sell them no food, but sold them some pelts of deer and mountain sheep that were dry and old. These were soaked, scraped of hair and cleaned the best they could be and cooked. The soup was thickened with their last remaining flour. Eliza and her children suffered greatly. Her little son Joseph carried the marks of their perilous journey to his grave, as his foot was frozen and he lost two of his toes.
President Brigham Young heard of these poor handcart people marooned in the snow at Martin's Cove and immediately sent teams and food to assist them to Salt Lake City. Martin's Cove was a small valley between the mountains and a small rolling hill in front. There was a stream running through the cove and it was somewhat protected from the bad weather. But they did not have sufficient food and many of them died here in this cove.
When Eliza reached Salt Lake, she made inquiry for William Cusworth, a cousin who had gone there earlier in the season with an ox team train and with whom she intended to make her home for a while. She found he had become discouraged and apostatized, and had taken his family back to Iowa where he located. She was taken to the home of Isaac Laney where she was taken care of and stayed for a few weeks.
Then she and her children were taken to Pleasant Grove, Utah. Here she met Nathan Staker, a widower with several children. The bishop had introduced them and advised Nathan to take her as a wife. The bishop had said that the marriage would mean a home for Eliza and her children and a mother for Nathan's children. So they were married February 18, 1857. Nathan was considerably older than Eliza, a difference of twenty-three years. But they got along well together and were happy and she was a good mother to his small children and he a real father to hers.
Their first child, James Benjamin Staker was born February 7, 1858. In 1859 they came to Mt. Pleasant where the helped pioneer Sanpete County. They went through the Indian Wars, grasshopper war, and passed through many hardships incident to pioneer life. Later four girls were born to them, Cornelia, Eliza Jane, Josephine, and Elizabeth Ellis. Eliza was a stepmother to Nathan's children.
Nathan Staker died May 29, 1883 at 83 years of age. He was buried in Mt. Pleasant, Utah June 2, 1883.
Eliza lived until 1914. She was visiting a daughter, Eliza Jane Day, in Fairview when she took very ill and died three weeks later, April 9, 1914. She was buried in Mt. Pleasant beside her husband. She was ninety years old and had been a widow for thirty one years.
Eliza was a faithful Latter-Day-Saint. She always attended her meetings, paid her tithing, was a good Relief Society worker. She taught her children to be honest Latter Day Saints. Her living descendents at the time of her death numbered ninety six: two sons, four daughters, forty five grandchildren, and forty five great grandchildren.
Written by Eliza Jane Staker Day - a daughter Written in Fairview, Utah May 14, 1924
Carol Jean Farley Corcoran and Linda Farley Bench turned in this newsclipping from 1914 to share here and at the Relic Home. Thanks to both of you.
The caption reads: RECOGNIZE THESE PEOPLE? They're five of the original Pioneers of 1859 and were among the sturdy folk who settled on the banks of the Pleasant Creek 89 years ago this month. Left to right, Peter Monsen, Christian Jensen, Andrew Madsen, Niels Johansen, James C. Jensen, and Mrs Lena Madsen. Picture was taken in 1914 by Mrs. Hilda M. Longsdorf. Enlargement was made by R.W. Weech, a well-remembered Mt. Pleasant druggist.
Today, as four score years have come and gone, we praise our cities' founders one by one. And through time's window see the faithful band that put life's breath into the goodly land. We pay our tributes to our pioneers who came and conquered through the stirring years; Who came like pilgrims from their lands afar and followed bravely hope's shining star. Transformed to fields, and gardens by their toil a wilderness of sage and sun-baked soil; And by their contact with the arid clod, brought man a little nearer to his God. The work they wrought, the homes they reared are faith's true answer to the call they heard. May years fall gently around each narrow grave, and heaven reward them for the good they gave; The proudest memory of a state still new; we bless their souls for they were nobly true.
Once again, I've been diggin' through Alice's Photo Collection. They fought fires with wheelbarrows? I'll have to get more information for you about this. I do know that the Deseret News came out and did a story on Mt. Pleasant's Fire Department. We'll have to research that a little more as well.