Relic Home and Blacksmith Shop

Saturday, April 25, 2009


We will post this month's Pioneer of the Month in two segments. First, Nathan Staker's History.Then in the second half of the month we will post Eliza Cusworth Staker's History.

Both histories contain so much valuable information about each pioneer and also about

Mt. Pleasant.

Nathan Staker was born 28 November 1801 on a farm in Cataquera, Upper Canada. The first child of a thirty-two year old Dutch farmer, Conrad Staker andhis eighteen year old dark-haired and very beautiful wife, Cornelia Schnack, who seems to have been a mixture of English, French and Dutch ancestry. According to the records of Kingstonm, Ontario, Canada as chronicled by two different writers, he was christened January 24 or February 28, 1802 in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

To the best knowledge the settlement of Cataquera had not acquired the name of Kingston at this time but finally became Kingston so it was the same place. It was a wild country, heavily wooded with a lot of lakes and streams where fishing was good in the summer and skating was the principle means of transportation in the winter.

From his father, Nathan inherited the characteristics of pride of country, love of family, thrift, and he was very spiritually minded. He had sterling integrity and a quick temper.

When he grew to manhood, Nathan met a very beautiful black-haired French Canadian maiden, Jane Richmond. She was born August 25, 1810 at Pickering, Ontario, Canada. Her father a loyalist, was David Richnmond and her nmother was merca Ray, also of loyalist parentage. They were married in 1827.

Nathan was raised a Methodist. He was very religious young man and studied hard. He was a Bible student, a class leader, and very devout. Each winter during the relaxationfrom farm labor they would take part with the neighbors in social affairs and religious revivals. One of their hymns, "Poor Mourning Soul in Deep Distress" was a favorite.

It seems he was never satisfied, even though hehad become a Methodist Minister. A feeling of unres and dissatisfaction with his professed religion, from a Bible standpoint, had of late taken possession of him. But Methodismj was the best that he knew anything about and he tried to make the best of it.

About this time, oneof the small children grew very ill. (The followingis a quote from an article in the October 1903 Improvement Era.) "As this particular winter season approached, however, of which I wish to speak, one of their little ones sickened and in spite of all their devoted care, grew steadily worse until he was at death's door. The parents were worn out with watching and the mother was discouraged and desparing."

"They knew nothing of authority or priesthood, those potent agents which have won the aid and favor of the Almighty in these glorious days of the restored gospel, but Nathan believed that the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and he tried to live for it. For two days he fasted and then retired secretly into the woods to pray. Kneeling down by the side of a log, he poured forth his whole soul in prayer that God would stay the hand of the destroyer and give back to the stricken mother, the life of her little one. And gloriously was his prayer answered, for an agel came in person, and laying his hands upon his head, blessed him for his perseverance and faith and promised that his child should be spared, adding for himself, he should yet live to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and bring souls into the true fold. Now this had long been the secret ambition and desire of his soul, but he had no idea at that time that the promise of the angel meant anything else than the preaching of Methodism."

"After the angel departed, Nathan returned to the house. As he appeared in the door, his wife, who sat by the bedside of the sick child grieving over it, looked up and was awed and frightened by his appearance and expression. 'What is the matter, Nathan?' she cried."

"He tottered toward the bed and with the words, 'Be comforted, the child shall live', he fell over upon the bed in a deep swoon. She thought for a moment that he was dead, andwringing her hands in anguish, cried, 'He has given his life for the child. Oh, I have done wrong in clinging to my baby as I have done. I should have submitted without a murmur to the will of God'."

"After a time he revived and told her what he had seen and heard and their hearts were filled with thanksgiving and solemn joy. As we get 'line upon line and precept upon precept' so afterwards was the true gospel brought to them, and you know Jesus says, 'My sheep hear my voice, and they follow me.' Then did they begin to understand in full the glorious promise made by the angel." Improvement Era 1903

In speaking of this experience afterward, he said that he seemed for the time being to be taken out of the body, for though the angel stood directly behind him, he could see him distinctly, and described him as a shining personage, with robes of exceeding whiteness, and hands which lay upon his head were transparent and not only could he see the angel, but he could see himself kneeling beside the log. Never, through all his life afterrward could he speak of this glorious experience without weeping.

A short time after this event the gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was brought to them. Whe he heard Mormonism from such master missionaries as the Pratts and Brigham Young, he embraced it. Nathan and Jane were baptized June 11, 1835 in Ontario Canada.

Then did they begin to understand in full the glorious promises made by the angel. After joining the church they made the usual sacrifices to gather to Zion. He moved with his family to the States. The Stakers made their home in Kirtland, Ohio which was the headquarters of the church at this time and as the saints were very busily engaged in building the Kirtland Temple, he undoubtedly worked on it. Their fourth child, Alma, was born June 15, 1836 at Kirtland.

It had been arranged after a series of meetings of the Council of Seventy from March 6, 1838 to July 5, 1838 that the Saints should move in a body from Kirtland, Ohio to Jackson County, Missouri. These meetings were attended by the Spirit of the Lord in rich abundance, with many manifestations of the Spirit such as visions, revelations and inspirations. These meetings took place in the attic chamber of the Kirtland Temple.

Thursday, July 5, 1838, the camp commenced organizing on a piece of land in the rear of the house formerly occupied by Matthew Hillman, about 100 rods south of the House of the Lord in Kirtland. This movement was one of the greatest of its kind ever attempted in the histoy of the world and is known as Kirtland Camp. "After the tents were pitched and all things arranged, an enumeration of the camp was taken, when itwas ascertained that there were in the camp 529 souls present (a few were necessarily absent), of which 256 were males and 273 females. There were 105 families all on the ground."

The spectators retired at a late hour and left the camp in quietude. the camp was quiet, the night was clear and the encampment and all around was solemn as eternity; which scene together with the remembrance of those other scenes through which the Saints of Kirtland had passed during the last two years all presented themselves to the thinking mind; and together with the greatness of the undertaking, and the length of the journey, and many other things combined could not fail to awaken sensations that could be better felt than described.

Of the men who, on Tuesday March 13, 1838 signed the constitution and laws governing the Camp, we find listed Nathan Staker whose family consisted of six; William Draper, a brother-in-law, whose family consisted of two; Jared Porter whose family consisted of three.

On March 20, 1838 the seven counselors met and agreed that two good teams and one tent would suffice for eighteen persons. Men were selected as overseers of tents and wagon bosses. The men selected as tent and wagon boss for the tent to which Nathan Staker and his wife and four children were assigned was Andre Lamereaux, who also had a wife and four children. It is unknown who the other six were who made up the tent divisions.

Jane Richmond Staker never got along with this Lamereaux family and a lot of ill feelings always existed, which was always frowned upon by Nathan. The Staker tradition has it, that on one occasion when a slough about fifteen feet wide was being forded, all the teamsters would start their teams into the slough then grab on the back end of the wagons and wade through. When Nathan's turn came, he got the team and wagon in the slough, then taking a little run jumped over dry shod. Mr. Lamereaux was not a little vexed and had ordered him to take water, threatening him with his riding whip and when Nathan made it dry shod Lamereaux spurred his horse across the slough and striking Nathan with the whip ordered him to wade back into the slough. At this wife Jane takes over, wrenches the whip out of the wabon boss' hand and hit him in the face with it. Whether this is the correct version of the fray or not, we do not know, but here is what happened according to Church History Vol. 3 page 128: "Friday 17 July 1838, Nathan Staker was requested to leave the Camp in consequence of the determination of his wife, to all appearance, not to observe the rules and regulations of the camp. there had been contentions in the tent between herself and Andrew Lamereaux, overseer of the tent, and also contentions with his family several times on the road, and after the camp stopped in this place, the council became weary of trying to settle these contentions between them. Andrew Lamereaux having gone to Dayton to labor, taking his family with him, was not present at the council, neither was there any new complaint made, but the impossibility of brother Staker to keep his family in order was apparent to all and it was thought to be the best thing for him to take his family and leave the camp."

So this was the end of the trail as far as the NathanStaker family was concerned. This was not an uncommon occurance, one other family having been asked to leave the camp the same day, and one the next day, the camp was beginning to break up. They were camped now about twenty miles beyond Springfield the county seat and one of the largest towns they had passed through. The camp stayed at this place where they took a contract to work on the turnpike and other work, such as raising levies, making ditches and other farm work. They did not leave this camp until August 29, 1838. On Tuesday, September 2, 1838 they arrived at Far West and at their destination October 4, 1838.

Nathan Staker and his family went back to Springfield where they made their home until they started for Zion beyond the Rocky Mountains, with the exception of the two years he spen on a mission to his old home of Ontario, Canada where he went to try and convert the rest of his people and where November 1, 1843 Aaron, their seventh child was born.

When he returned from his mission he brought his mother and most of the family with them to Quincy or Nauvoo, Illinois. His mother, Cornelia Schnack Staker, however went to live with her son, Conrad E. Staker at Clayton, Illinois. This son was not converted and Cornelia, although was converted, never was baptized until she came to Utah.

Nathan and Jane both had Patriarchal blessings December 15, 1845 in Nauvoo given by John Smith and they received their Endowments February 6, 1846 in the Nauvoo Temple.

In the early spring of 1846 the Saints were driven from Illinois and made their headquarters at Winter Quarters and Nathan and his family went to Pigeon Grov, Pottawattamie, Iowa. Why they chose this town, no one seems to know. Cornelia Staker Hart buried her husband Elias Hart in March 1846 at Berry, Pike Illinois. Jared Porter, a member of the Kirtland Camp took pity on her and her fatherless children and as there were only three in his wagon brought her home with him to Pigeon Grove, where it seems he had a good home. He married her in polygamy and had one son by her. They left for Utah in about 1847 and she died of smallpox at Ft. Kearney, Nebraska.

Now would it not be natural for Mr. Porter to offer his brother-in-law Nathan Staker his home to live in while they were preparing to cross the plains, and would it not be probable that Cornelia Staker Hart Porter and Jane Richmond Staker were both infected with the smallpox in the same house? That is what is believed to happen. At any rate the Nathan Staker family was living in Pigeon Grove January 1, 1850. Here they built the wagons, that were to bring them to Utah, while they were quarantined with smallpox and where Jane Staker gave birth to her last child, Joseph Staker, October 7, 1850. Where Jane died of smallpox February 11, 1852 and where John and William Staker became fathers in 1851.

They left Pigeon Grove and crossed the plains with the Henry Miller Company. Many of the people in the settlements through which they passed came out to see the long trains of "mormons" as though they were a wild beast show. A small boy sitting on a gate was heard to remark, "Why, I don't see but they look just like other folks."

While in camp, near a certain city or village, Brother Nathan Staker asked his daughter, Sarah to take a tin quart cup to a tin shop and have the handle soldered on. The tinner, knowing she was a Mormon, thought he would have some fun. So he winked slyly to the bystanders and said, "So you want the handle soldered to your cup do youy?" "Yes, sir." "Why, you are a Mormon ain't ye?" "Yes, sir." "Then why don't you have faith that the handle will solder itself?

Haven't you faith to heal your cup?" "No, sir, I haven't faith that I can mend my cup, but if you will put the handle on good, I have faith that it will stay on." The bystanders laughed and clapped their hands and the tinner was so amused with the answer that he mended the cup "good" according to her request, and refused any compensation for his trouble.

After a long and tiresome journey, the same as all the pioneers had, he arrived in Utah with his children in November 1852. The oldest child, John was now twenty-five years old, and little Joe, the baby, only two. Here they faced the many hardships which came their way and the father did the double duty of father and mother for five years.

John and William Staker and their families stopped in Salt Lake City, but Nathan andhis motherless family went on to Pleasant Grove where he helped pioneer that town and held offices of both church and state and where later when he was living in Mt. Pleasant, he and his wife would come back to in the frall. He to work in the molasses mill and she to cut and dry fruit by spreading it opon the roof.

At Pleasant Grove the Bishop introduced him to a widow of genteel bearing and told him she was the woman he should marry, and that is just what he did sometime later. She was an English lady, Mrs. Eliza Cusworth Burton, a widow with two children who had recently come from England to Utah for the Gospel. Her children's names were Martha and Joseph. (According to the parish register of Warmfield, Yorkshire, England, Joseph was christened Frend Burton, but was known as Joseph Friend). Their father had died just before she left England, he had made her promise to bring the children to Utah.

The bishop had said that the marriage would mean a home for her and her children and a mother for his 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. The older ones of his family had scattered out, some had married some went away to work, and the boy, Aaron had drowned in Spring Lake at the age of twenty one. Nathan stood as proxy for her first husband, Joseph Burton, when she was sealed to him, saying that he would not rob the dead.

While they lived at Pleasant Grove their first child, James Benjamin was born February 7, 1858. The next year they moved to Mt.Pleasant, San Pete, Utah where they helped pioneer that country. They lived in the fort at one time, went through the Indian wars, grasshopper war, and passed through many hardships incident to pioneer life. The family also at one time lived in the United Order, to do that they were all baptized in the river by John Taylor Henigar.

Nathan got his portion of land in the North Field near North Creek, (later he preempted it, paying the Government $1.25 an acre to receive his deeds.) A little later he acquired a large farm east and north of the Round Hills which he and his sons developed and improved and which he later divided with his sons Jim and Joseph and hs stepson Joseph Burton, who alwasys shared equally with his own sons. He taught school for many years, receiving pay for only two of them and that very little and was in produce.

For more than two years he herded the town sheep herd in what was then Thistle Valley, and is now Indianola, where he was in constant danger of being killed by Indians. He was always kind and honest in his dealings with his red brothers, following the council and advice of Brigham Young, "That it was better to feed them than to fight them". Many times he gave his pot of mutton and dumplings to them and went hungry himself thus winning their friendship and respect.

Here in Mt. Pleasant they were blessed with four daughters: Cornelia, who only lived a short time, Eliza Jane, Josephine, and Elizabeth Ellis. When Ellis was born her father was sixty five years old and she told about his long white beard and how as a child she sat on his knee at meal time and loved to follow him around in the orchard when he was doing his pruning and grafting. Nathan was a good farmteer and gardener and had the first and finest orchard in Mt. Pleasant. He exchanged cheese and meat for fruit and shade trees with his son William in Sugar House Ward, Salt Lake City.

In his early life he was a rail splitter and an expert with the ax. While working in the timber, he had the misfortune to haf a tree fall on his leg. This caused him to have a slight limp and in later years he always used a cane. About this time in his life he had blood poison very bad in one hand which almost cost him his life. The hand was left quite badly scarred.

He was a God-fearing, honest, industrious and hard-working man, raised a large family who loved and trusted him. He lived and taught, "Do to others as you would that they should do to you." He never went in debt and taught by precept and example the regular attendance at church. He, his wife, and family never missed Sunday School or Sacrament Meeting unless they were ill. He was blessed with all the spiritual gifts that were promised the believers by Jesus Christ.

On July 5, 1874 he was ordained President of the High Priest Quoram by Elder Orson Hyde. All through his life he was very much against strong drinks and intoxicating liquors. He said his father drank and caused his mother so much sorrow that he would have nothing to do with it. This sweet old blind mother, Cornelia Schnack Staker came to Utah from Illinois in 1876. She lived to be one hundred years, ten months, and twenty-seven days old. She had ten children and lived to see them all die first. The last to pass away was her eldest son, Nathan who died in the spring and she in the fall. It was Nathan's pleasure and joy to convert his mother to Mormonism. She was baptized at the age of 95.

Grandfather Nathan was privileged to help raise the dead. When Eliza Jane, his oldest daughter by his second wife, was about eighteen months old she followed him from the Day home, where her mother was visiting with Charlotte Melland Day, and where they all had eaten dinner together, and from a narrow foot-bridge between the two lots she fell into a stream which was swift and deep and it carried her small body rapidly down stream. When her mother found she was not playing with the Day children, as she had expected, she hurried home to see if the baby was with Nathan. Everyone immediately began to search for Eliza Jane and she was found some distance down stream. All thought she was dead. Nathan began to work with her saying that she was not and could not be dead. Elder Olrson Hyde, who had been to a Conference in Spring City was just passing by and was called in to administer to her. He did not think the baby was alive but Nathan said, "I blessed this baby to live and to be a Mother in Israel and she will." They administered to her and she immediately began to breathe and within two hours was playing around the yard as though nothing had happened. She lived to be the mother of thirteen children.

Nathan Staker was a real self-made man. When he came to Mt. Pleasant he had an ox team and wagon with which he farmed for years, cutting his grain with a cradle and binding it by hand with its own straw, threshing it wit a flail and cleaning it with the wind. Nothing was wasted. He would mix buckets of a layer of chaff, then a layer of bran dampened with water, which was economical and at the same time nutritious and fattening. The family made their own butter and cheese, and cured their meat in the old smoke house. They raised their own cows, sheep, and other animals and hay and grain to feed them in the winter. They always had a good garden and raised all their green vegetables, always had enough and some to share with others not so fortunate. The sheep wer the most useful and highly prized animals as Eliza, recognized as the best knitter in the town, would card the wool and spin the yarn, from which she and the girls knitted all their warm stockings and mittens. They would spin the wool into fine thread and send it to the weavers to be woven into cloth, which although coarse, was warm and very serviceable.

Their first home in Mt. Pleasant was made of logs which he cut in the mountains and hauled with his ox team. It consisted of one large room. The logs were chinked and the roof was made of dirt piled on top of willows, the floor was of hard packed earth. The second year it was floored with rough lumber and furnished for the most part with home made furniture, with woven raw-hide for the seats of chairs and bedsprings, straw ticks for mattresses and home made quilts for bedding. A fireplace was at one end which served for both cooking and heating the house. The cupboard was made by putting shelves across one corner. Later another small room was added, but the next summer had to be taken to the farm to live in while the land was being preempted.

As time went on Grandfather built and furnished a large adobe house, which is still standing in Mt. Pleasant. Here the family, consisting of three of Nathan's children by his firts wife, namely: Aaron, Mary Ann, and Joseph Smith and the two Burton children: Joseph Friend, Martha Ann lived, loved and were happy.

Nathan and his oldest son James built a large planing and grist mill bisiness and prospered financially.

They were very interested in their ancestors and did a lot of temple work. They also paid the secretary of the Manti Temple to do research work for them. He in turn hired a lady (a Mrs. Beard), who was German to do research work for them in Germany.

How she did I do not know, but from a letter received from Uncle Jim (now on file in the Salt Lake City library as a manuscript) I know that it was she who started the story that the original Nathan Staker was one of the Hessian Soldiers that were brought over here to fight for the British in the Revolution. How I was able to find this error and correct it, is the theme of the manuscript before mentioned. They obtained a lot of names from Germany and had the Temple work done for them, all kinds of names, if they sounded like Staker or Rap they were accepted without question of relationship. These name are in the files of the Index Bureau in the Salt Lake City Genealogical Library. I think the Stakers were from Holland. (William Marchant Staker's findings)

Nathan Staker was a very charitable man, he ranked a lot above the average intellectually. He taught school alot of the time without pay. His store house of food was always open to those less fortunate than he and he gave generously to the Church for the building of Temples and Ward houses, but his crowning charitable act was to give up his own children whom he loved very dearly to another man.

It came about this way. Eliza Cusworth Burton day promised her husband, Joseph Burton, on his death bed that she would bring their children to Zion, raise them in God's own church, have their sealing work done, and have their children sealed to them. She informed Nathan of this fact and he, knowing that by this act he would forfeit the right of fatherhood not only to his foster Burton children, whom he loved like they were his own, but also to his own Staker children throughout all the endless ages of eternity, (that is his children born to him and his second wife Eliza Cusworth). Yet he did this, acting as proxy for Joseph Burton, and had them married for all eternity and their children sealed to them just as she had promised. I think that we may well paraphrase and say "Greater Charity has no man than that he give up his children to his friend." When asked about this later, Nathan remarked that he just could not rob the dead.

Nathan Staker had some cattle which ranged on the mountains. One day he found one of them dead, it being a fine fat steer, he opened it and took out the tallow to use for candle making, which they did by running the melted tallow into tin molds, into which a wick had been stretched, and cooling the molds until the tallow hardened, and then extracting the candles. Nathan had a small pimple on his hand into which he got some poisoning set in and they feared he would lose his arm. Dr. Wing treated it by burning with caustic a ring around the arm above the elbow. This treatment possibly saved his life but he suffered dreadfully for months.

Nathan was always a little lame, due to an accident when he was a young man. While working in the timber, a tree felled had lodged in another tree. When he cut this tree, the first one slid down and hit him. He said it was a glancing blow on the shoulder, but it caught and mashed his heel and from this accident he suffered his whole life with an arm that he could not raise without pain and a heel that was partly cut off. No doubt it would have killed him but for the protection of God who spared him for the great mission which he performed in life.

His daughter Ellis was subject to croup, having it so severely that they feared she would die. The nearest doctor at that time lived in Nephi and was not to be had most of the time. One night she was exceptionally band and seemed to be choking to death. Nathan administered to her and immediately after taking his hands off her head, she opened her eyes and said, "Don't cry, I'm better."

Nathan's first wife, Jane Richmond, who died at Pigeon Grove, Pottawattamie, Iowa had had a blessing from Brigham Young in which he said she would make the journey to the valley of the Saints. Her death was a lamentation on the family's mind. They couldn't understand. When they finally reached the valley they went to see Brigham Young, telling him their feelings. He told them, "Your dear wife and mother did reach the valley, the valley of death, with six hundred or more who died on the way." He told them that she was called by our Heavenly Father for a purpose we cannot understand at this time. "Your mother has gone to the Highest Degree of Glory, to a much happier place than this."

Nathan had inherited a constitutional dread of death, by his prayerful solicitation the manner of his death had been shown him in a vision and he dreaded it no more. In the Improvement Era, October 1903, is a life sketch of Nathan Staker. "September 22, 1875 a remarkable and pleasant sight was seen in a dream by Nathan Staker, born November 28, 1801 in Canada. 'I saw in my dream, and behold I was walking in a very pleasant plain spread over with very beautiful trees and I was surrounded with the most beautiful countenances though not quite so fair as our present race and when I beheld their love and kindness to me and to each other and the beautiful order which they observed and when I remembered the disorder and confusion amongst my brethren who profess to be Latter-day Saints, I wept sorely and most bitterly and could hardly be comforted and felt to pray in my heart to God to be merciful to me and my brethren and give us this good order." by Nathan Staker.

Truly his was an ideal death of a patriarch. After a well spent life, his surroundings comfortable and peaceful, himself free from pain, with a heart full of love and blessings for neighbors, friends and family and retaining his consciousness until the last momen when he fell asleep. He passed away May 29, 1884 at Mt. Pleasant, Sanpete, Utah and is buried there. His was one of the largest funerals ever held in Mt. Pleasant.

His wife Eliza lived until 1914, she was a widow for thirty years. She lived to see her ninetieth birthday. She died in Fairview, Utah, but was buried beside her husband in Mt. Pleasant, and thus closed the life of two of our pioneers. "Truly belessed are they who die in the Lord, for their death shall be made swee to them."


Histories of Nathan Stakere were written by:

William Marchant Staker - grandson

Dora Day Sanderson - granddaughter

Velera Filimore Larsen - granddaughter

They were combined with parts from each being used into this one history.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Our Mt. Pleasant Relic Home has a new display.

A display to honor the local barbers throughout the history of our established community. It is a collection of straight-edge razors once used to shave the beards of pioneers as well as the more modern day gentlemen who preferred to go to a barber than to do it themselves.

The first two barbers on record, found in Hilda Madsen Longdorf’s History of Mt. Pleasant are J. C. Barton and C. E. Hampshire. Both of these barbers lost their barber shops in a devastating fire in the early morning of July 24th 1898. Many other businesses on the north side of Main Street were a total loss as well.

Peter Hafen has been working on this collection for some time. He has been able to collect straight-edge razors from the families of known barbers of our community. For those barbers that he was not able to find a razor, he has substituted from his own collection, as this is a hobby for him.

Peter is a licensed barber and has given many gentlemen a clean shave. He once worked in the Hotel Utah Barbershop. He also owned and operated his own shop in Provo, called Yogi’s. After moving back to Mt. Pleasant, he cut hair at night in his barbershop on State Street.

The barbers remembered in this collection are: J.C. Barton, C.E. Hampshire, James Walker, Bill Rowe, Slim Borg, Lorraine Beck, Keith Allred, Wayne Stansfield, Deb Miller, Bardell Beck, Bernard Burnside, Jim Fillis, Dewey Scow, Alt Brotherson, Orval Simons, and Peter Hafen.

It is hoped that this collection will be viewed by many generations in the years to come. It marks a very important trade practiced here in Mt. Pleasant, and brings back memories of those days when the local barbershop was not only where locals went to get a haircut or shave, but also to catch up on the news of the day.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Memories of Hamilton by Buddy...(L.R. Christensen)

In his book, "They Knew Me as Buddy and Other Tales" Lee R. Christensen records some very interesting memories of his era (1930s) at Hamilton Elementary School. With his permission I would like to share some of those memories with everyone here.

"As I look at the Hamilton School picture - north side of school - I'm trying to remember if I was ever in the belfry or on that little balcony. And I don't remember ringing the bell. I do remember ringing the bell at the Southward Church."

"The glorious memory of Hamilton is the fire escape. Verl Johansen and Marsden Allred loved to throw us onto the slide during fire drill. I wonder if anyone has a record of how fast we vacated the school. I would want it recorded at the time of the event. By now, the time is 30 seconds or less. Two minutes, more likely. I don't recall anyone getting hurt, but we did pile up at the bottom."

"Remember the iodine pills we took in class for goiter. How did that get started? Lasted about one year. You could not dispense medicine in class these days - not even in the Mt. Pleasant schools. And how we lined up for our shots. Just like the Army. There was always someone who fainted. Fern Olsen, I remember, fainted once. Marsden Allred carried her outside for fresh air. This activity always gave us boys a chance to show how brave and tough we were while the girls cringed, whined and fainted. We boys were terrified that we might faint".

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Ever since the Utah Pioneers entered the valley of Sanpete, water has been a concern. From the History of Mt. Pleasant by Hilda Madsen Longsdorf we read about the early Mt. Pleasant fort, "The water supply was obtained from Pleasant Creek, which passed almost parallel east and west through the center of the fort. A large bridge was erected over the stream." "All corrals for the cattle were built to the north, just outside the fort, leaving a road-way between." At this time Mount Pleasant was a thriving community of about eight hundred inhabitants, with about 1200acres of ground under cultivation.(pp 51-52)

The first entry about water in the History of Mt. Pleasant: "In an act of the territorial legislature approved February 20th, 1868, incorporating Mt. Pleasant, the following provisions were made: "All that portion of Sanpete County embraced within the following boundaries, to-wit, beginning at the mouth of Cedar Creek Canyon, thence running westwardly down the center of the channel of said Cedar Creek to the bridge of the road leading from Spring Town to Mt. Pleasant, as traveled at the present time, giving half the waters of Cedar Creek to Spring Town during the season of irrigation, and from said bridge running due west course until it shall intersect the eastern boundary of Moroni City: thence north along said boundary four miles: thence east¬ward crossing San pitch River to Birch Creek, thence up the center of said Birch Creek to the mountains, giving half of the waters of said Birch Creek to Mt. Pleasant, and the other half to Fairview, thence southwardly along the slopes of the mountains to the place of beginning shall be known and designated under the name and style of Mt. Pleasant, and the inhabitants therein are hereby constituted a body corporate and politic by the name aforesaid and may have and use a common seal, which they may change and alter at pleasure." (pp 13-14)

Brigham Young encouraged the settlers to keep their settlements small:
"I am satisfied that as a general thing, the sooner the streams are let upon crops after they leave their canyons, the more produce can be raised with a given amount of water. This is especially the case when the streams are small. By concentrating streams at much expense of labor and waste of water under a hot sun and in loose soil, a larger settlement can be made at a given point; but not nearly so many persons can be sustained in a given valley as by the mode of making smaller settlements, as they are large enough for safety at the nearest points where water can be applied to tillable soil." (p 58)

Water from streams was used to power old fashioned water wheels: "During the late summer and during the fall and winter months, P. M. Peel and James Porter Sr., built a chopping mill on Peel's lot on Pleasant Creek, (northeast corner, intersection, Main Street and First West) where the stream had previously been taken out and used for irrigation purposes. Here the stream furnished the water power with which to run the mill. Owing to the distance to the nearest flour mill, this mill was a great assistance, and the people were glad to take their wheat there to be chopped. It was ground between two stones and came out quite black, but coarse as it was, it served the purpose and was used for bread. At about this time, a small Burr mill was built east on Pleasant Creek, a little south of where the Mount Pleasant flour mill is now, by John Fredrick Fechser and John Ellertsen, (Spring City). A whip saw was installed in the fort, on the banks of Pleasant Creek, by Wellington Seeley and Rudolph N. Bennett, and was operated by Thomas Dutton." (p 64)

In 1861 we read: "Early in the spring, David Candland, who had recently' ar­rived from Salt Lake City to make his home in Mount Pleasant, located on some land south of the city and east of the cemetery. There was a spring on this land and on account of the scarcity of water, the people objected to his taking it. Later, a compromise was made, and twenty acres of land in the field was purchased and given him in exchange." (p69)

"Five creeks contribute their water to irrigate the land. Pleasant Creek is made to turn machinery every few rods, and so strong and rapid is the current that mills could advantageously be located along the stream very near to each other.
We have good peace here and the usual spirit of industry is manifested."

'No pent up city controls our powers,
The whole mountain Territory is ours.' (p 70)

taken from a letter to the Deseret News by David Candland; June 8, 1861

A dispute came up among the settlers over the water. This was later settled by Orson Hyde, who decreed one-half of the water of Cedar Creek to Mount Pleasant, and the remaining one-half to Spring Town. Birch Creek water was divided likewise, one-­half to Mount Pleasant, and one-half to Fairview. (p 73)

On account of the scarcity of water, a meeting was called and it was agreed to dig a canal from Fairview down through the field. It was surveyed by Abraham Day and companies of ten were organized with foremen appointed to oversee the work. The water was taken out just below Fairview, the terminus of the canal was in the field south of the country road leading to Moroni and crossing at a point less than a mile below Mount Pleasant.
The using of the Sanpitch water was later discontinued on account of the objection made by the settlers of Moroni. The upper part of the canal in 1914 furnished the water power for the Fairview Roller Mills, located on the west side of the highway about two miles south of Fairview. The other end of the canal is now used for diverting the water south from Pleasant Creek. (p 80)

City Water Works
Mt. Pleasant business district was steadily being improved, and fire protection was discussed by the city council. The thought was expressed that although the treasury was "in a very depleted condition." some steps should be taken to secure a water system for domestic purposes and for extinguishing fires. The following is copied, "How to accomplish it was the next question, whether to borrow or let the revenue pay."(p 168)

"In March 1903, while George Christensen was mayor, the city voted a bond for water works, but not until 1905, during H. C. Beaumann's term, were contracts let for installing the system. In due time, the system was installed, and with its completion. the settling barrels with their prickly pears, which had been used at most every home for the settling of the roily water, disappeared."

"June 13, 1894, the city council met in special session to con­sider the proposition of constructing a waterworks system. The petitions of Jonas H. Ericksen et. al. and William Zabriskie et. al., praying for a franchise to erect a system of city waterworks were read, and was, after considerable discussion, referred to the city attorney."

A committee was appointed to canvass the taxpayers on Main Street, in order to obtain their sentiment as to bonding the city for a waterworks system. If results there were favorable they were to continue throughout the city, otherwise it would be dropped. (P175)


"Many wells had been dug, and in a number of places pumps installed, yet it had been a common sight to see people carrying water from wells where the water was thought to be extra good. A number of wind mills had also been erected, the first being the one by J. B. Hunter on Hoo Doo Hill. Mr. S. E. Jensen and J. H. Seeley, with the wind mill pump installed a water works system in their homes, while for the Ferdi­nand Ericksen home a hand pump was used. "(p183)

"While John Carter was mayor for two years, Plat "C" was added to the city. An estimate of the cost of building a water­works system was made at $20,949.64." (p241)

"The flood gave W. D. Candland and his associates financial and other troubles. A $25,000.00 bond issue was voted for the purpose of piping pure spring water into the waterworks system."

And so the water saga continues. ..... Current administrations have had to deal with many problems concerning the domestic-use water system, as well as the current irrigation system which is used to water our lawns and flower beds. But with the influx of more people wanting to build homes and wanting to have nice manicured lawns and landscape; we always seem to run out of irrigation water. The amounts of snowmelt the last few years has been very low. Somewhere down the line, something will need to be done to conserve our water resources. Perhaps a building maratorium will need to be issued. Maybe we can learn to recycle our water, rather than let it go to waste. Perhaps we can forego the nice lawns and follow the landscape techniques used in other Southwestern communities like New Mexico and Arizona. Too bad Sanpete Valley wasn't blessed with giant aquifers like are found under St. George and other Washington County communities.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Mt. Pleasant Water - Best in the State (February 4, 2004)

ITS OFFICIAL......get the details now:

We really do have the best water in the state of Utah, and maybe in the Nation. Does that sound too bold? No, not to me. We maybe need to start bottling it. I'm not sure about selling it. We have too little as it is. Why not just promote the fact we have the best here, and then encourage people to come here to visit and enjoy it with us. Thereby, encouraging more tourist traffic. Well, just to get everyone to come and see what a really cool place Mt. Pleasant is. And its residents aren't bad either...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Recipes: Kanapoost and Cottage Cheese


These recipes are Danish, from the Ericksens. Grandma used to make the cottage cheese from milk that had been skimmed of cream. Mother used to make the cottage cheese and feed the dry curds mixed with cracked grain to her chickens.

It is important to use raw milk for these two recipes. I tried using pasteurized milk and it left a bitter taste in the cottage cheese. Using commercial cottage cheese for the kanapoost also left a bitter taste.........Alice Hafen

Cottage Cheese
4 cups raw skimmed milk
Set milk aside and skim cream from the top. Let sour and when it is clabbered, put it on the back of the stove to cook. (this was the back of an old coal stove where there was very little heat.) When the milk separates, pour into a colander to drain. Do not squeeze the drying curds.
To serve, mix dry curds with Miracle Whip and salt and pepper to taste.
One recipe of cottage cheese (above)
Caraway seeds
Put cottage cheese in small crock or glass jar and set for a few days with cheese cloth on top. Stir once a day until it gets ripe and then stir in salt, pepper and caraway seeds to taste. Form into a roll about 2 and on half inches long and 2 inches around. It is ready to eat. If it gets hard after a few days, you can grate it.

Friday, April 10, 2009


Yesterday, amidst the old books in the attic of the Relic Home, I found two pictures. The following is obviously a photo of one of the Hamilton classes. When enlarged, the inscription on the blackboard reads: " Mt. Pleasant School, Art Livingston, Teacher".

This inscription found on the back

This building is still standing at 51 West 100 South. Sign on top says, "FEED STABLE". In the background, you can see the old Wasatch Academy Administration Building.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Included with this post are the final "novice photograph shots".

Lucinda and Terry Brotherson create the most delicious sour-dough scones.

Travis Rosenlof, Mark Rosenlof and Dixie Rosenlof Lewis

Mary Ursenbach, Virginia Scovil Harder and LaRita Peterson Beck.
Ramona Parry and Lucy Swenson.
Diane Beck Lund and her crew do a wonderful job assembling and serving the delicious box lunches.

Pioneer Day was a huge success. Our Pioneer ancestors would be proud of the efforts and ultimate results of our entire celebration; from the art show, program, blacksmith shop, relic home, games, and especially the sour dough scones.

There were times at the Relic Home when no one else could possibly fit inside. Many people from out of town, who didn't go to the program, knew the Relic Home would be open and just wanted to see it. Many were searching genealogy. Another couple were interested in the architecture of the home itself. Another family brought in some photos of their pioneer ancestors, who were original pioneers to Mt. Pleasant.

The day turned out to be sunny and warm for March. Children had fun playing games on the lawn. Peter had made up a few "prairie diamonds" to give away.

The program and lunch were very well done. Even though it takes time to let everyone introduce themselves, it is a very necessary part of the program's success.
The love everyone expresses for Mt. Pleasant and others in attendance is very heart warming. It reminds me of the "toasts" that the earlier original pioneers and some descendents would give back in 1909. These we read about in Hilda Longdorf's History of Mt. Pleasant.

Mt. Pleasant will continue to celebrate its Sesquicentennial throughout "2009", with various activities.

Friday, April 3, 2009


Minnie Jo Seely, such a sweetheart.

Carol Ney Beesley, Shirley Ney Miller, and a half of Bert Sorensen....sorry.

Francis Carlson (Frannie) enjoying the crowd.

Dale Peel, our new President, going over his notes.

Paul Peel and his new bride.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

PIONEER OF THE MONTH, APRIL: Caratat Conderset and Mary Napier Rowe

Conderset Caratat and Mary Napier Rowe, sitting on their front porch. This picture was prob ably taken while they were living in Mountainville.

Excerpts taken from histories by Loretta Rowe Burnside and Jennie Allred Brotherson. Both Histories can be found in the History of Mountainville by Melba Hill.

Caratat Conderset Rowe, son of William Niblo Rowe and Candace Branchard Rowe, was born in Perry Township, Delaware County, Indiana on May 11, 1823. The family had migrated from the northeastern states. He often told his grandchildren that his name was Caratat Conderset Nichols John Rowe. The grandchildren thought this was just another joke that their witty and fun-loving grandfather was telling them. But he may have been named for the Marque de Jean Marie Antione Nicholas Caratat Condercet. Caratat was of medium height and had dark brown hair and brown eyes.

It seemed that the Rowes lived near the Latter Day Saint Church headquarters and were acquainted with the early church leaders whom they respected. As a youngster, Caratat heard the gospel from missionaries. It was not until he realized how much the “Mormons” were being persecuted for their faith that Caratat became interested. He was baptized August 12, 1842. As a young man he married Mary Napier, a lovely blue eyed, red haired Scotch lassie who was a “Mormon” convert immigrant.

Mary Napier was born March 30, 1823 in Kilayth, Lanarkshire Scotland. Her parents were Janette Gillis and John Napier. Mary was descended from the royal family of Scotland and of Ireland. Genealogists have traced her lineage back for many generations; on one line to 1700 B.C. She was of the royal line of Judah through King Zedikah according to Church records. Many interesting facts are thus brought out concerning her ancestral lines and their history.

When missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints preached the gospel in Scotland, Mary and her sister Isabella were converted. They were baptized, though it is not known if at the same time. Mary and Isabella were the only ones of their family to come to America. It is not known at this time if Isabella ever came to Utah. Elder Franklin D. Richards was one of the missionaries who preached the gospel to Mary.

Mary’s great faith and the friendships she gained kept her happy. She seemed to enjoy the spiritual gift of Vision of Prophecy. Many times she knew of coming events before they actually occurred.

Shortly after their marriage came the call for enlistments in the Mormon Battalion. Caratat joined with his two cousins, William and Manning Rowe. The Battalion left Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and marched toward the southwest to prevent further trouble between the United States Government and Mexico. The trials and hardships the men endured are well known. A sick detachment of men were sent to Pueblo, Colorado to spend the winter of 1846-47.

During the journey William Rowe became very ill and was unable to walk. The officer in charge thought this poor sick man would die. He advised the company to leave him there and move on. Caratat sat cross-legged on the ground beside his sick cousin. With his musket across his lap, he refused to leave. Finally, the officer in charge gave an order and William was lifted into a wagon. He recovered and was able to endure the journey into Utah.

C.C. Rowe - Mormon Batallion Marker

Bound for Utah with the sick detachment, which included 140 members of the Batallion, were 40 Saints, 29 wagons, one carriage, 100 horses and 300 cattle. This company arrived in Utah just five days after the arrival of the first company of pioneers. (July 29, 1847).

Caratat traveled east to meet his family. He left Salt Lake Valley on August 26, 1847. During the journey his feet were frozen.
While Caratat had been away with the battalion, his wife, Mary, lived with Caratat’s parents in Iowa. Caratat Conderset Rowe, Jr. was born in Iowa on August 10, 1848/49. Candace Blanchard Rowe was born July 24, 1851 while the family was still in Iowa.

The family were members of a wagon train company which left Kanesville, Iowa in 1853 headed by Henry B. Jolley. They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on September 15, 1852. Caratat and his family settled in Payson in Utah County.
Here three children were born: William Napier, born 15 September 1853; Jennett Sterling, born 24 August 1855; and a son, Ilinian (called Allen, Lin or Leen) born 12 July 1858.

When the Walker War was raging, Caratat served under the rank of Second Lieutenant. He was a member of Company “B” of the Payson Post of the Nauvoo Legion and also a member of the “Silver Greys”.
In 1860 the family moved to Sanpete County and settled at Mt. Pleasant. On April 23, 1861, a daughter Mary was born.
For several years Caratat and his sons did farming and stock raising in Thistle Valley at Indianola. Here they were active in defense of this summer settlement when Indians were on the war path. Both Caratat and his son “Con” were active in the Blackhawk War. Whenever possible, they tried to remain on friendly terms with the Indians. “Con” learned to speak the Indian language and had many friends among them.

A more detailed description of those early days is given in the history of Indianola from Centennial History of Sanpete County, “These Our Fathers”.
Indianola, originally called Thistle Valley, is located in the northern end of Sanpete County on Highway 89. As the name indicates, it was once the home of a tribe of Indians. They settled in a protected cove in the southeast part of the valley, called “Indian Hollow”. Here their horses and stock could feed throughout the winter among the cedars and in the ravines of the canyon. A large part of the valley consists of grass meadow land. It was for this reason that the early colonists of Fairview and Mt. Pleasant, among them Caratat Conderset Rowe, used this valley and Milburn Valley as summer pasture for their beef and dairy heads, their sheep and pigs.

They constructed small movable buildings called “herd houses” or “dairy houses”. The roofs of these buildings were somewhat in the manner of our sheep wagons of today and were covered with canvas. They could easily be moved about on wheels and follow the herds. In those the “herd boys” lived.

One year a herd of pigs had been brought to Thistle Valley for the summer. When they were being driven back to town, the men who were driving the pigs tgried to make them travel a little faster. As a result they all died from becoming overheated. The particular spot on the road about half way between Indianola and Hilltop is still known as the “Hog Dugway”.

Peter Gottfredsen, Caratat Conderset Rowe, Coderset Rowe Jr., Nathan Staker and his sons, Aaron and Joseph, were some of the herders of these flocks. Peter Gottfredsen in his book, “Indian Depredations in Utah” notes that after the close of the Tintic War in 1856, the Indians were comparatively peaceful until 1863. They again became dissatisfied, thinking that their hunting grounds were being taken from them by the white settlers.

In June 1866, Captain Albert P. Dewey of Colonel Kimball’s command was ordered to establish a key post in Thistle Valley. There were 22 cavalry and 35 infantry, the latter under Captain Jesse West. A few days later, they were attacked by a band of Indians under “Chief Black Hawk”. The battle lasted all day and Charles Brown of Draper was killed. If help had not arrived from Mt. Pleasant, there isno doubt that the Indians would have taken the camp.

The mountain now known as “Blackhawk” was used by Chief Black Hawk and his warriors as a signal point. Just east of this peak, in the Red Cliffs, is an old Indian burial ground. Undoubtedly, the Indians killed during the Blackhawk War were buried there. Many of the older Indians were buried here after they made peace with the whites.

One of the most horrible deeds committed during the Blackhawk War by the Indians was the massacre of the John Given family in the Thistle Valley on the morning of May 26, 1865. John Given, his wife, son and three small daughters were killed instantly. Two men, Charles Brown and Charles Wager Leah, who lived with the Givens, were able to escape and go down the canyon to a small settlement and report what had happened. After the massacre, the Indians gathered up the possessions of the family and killed or crippled the calves, and drove off with between one hundred and two hundred head of horses and cattle into the mountains.

While Caratat was living in Indianola, he built a wagon. The wheels were sawed off log ends reinforced with pieces of iron nailed around the outside edge of the wheels. Later, Caratat, his sons, Con and Allen moved their families to a valley east of the “Round Hills” in Sanpete County. They acquired farming land. The little settlement became known as Mountainville. Caratat was presiding Elder of this branch of the Mt. Pleasant North Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for many years.

Caratat's Tombstone - Mt. Pleasant Cemetery

An Indian whose name was James Onumph used to come to the home of Mary and Caratat Conderset Rowe quite often when they were living at Mountainville. Once when he was visiting with them, "Indian Jim" as he was called was talking with Grandma Mary. He asked her a question pertaining to a principle of the gospel and Mary was attempting to answer the question. She started to speak then said, "I wish that I could answer your question so that you could understand. I would like to have the language to explain it to you, and to make it clear to you". Then thge Indian said to her "Stand Up". She began to speak. Again he said, "Stand Up". Mary stood up, and began to speak to him. Onumph nodded his head and Onumph again nodded his head. It was plain that he knew what she meant. But no one else in the room could understand, even her sons and daughter-in-law. She spoke in a language which her children did not understand. But James Onumph or "Indian Jim", clearly understood what she said. Grandma Mary Napier Rowe had spoken with the spiritual gift of tongues.

Mary Napier Rowe Tombstone - Mt. Pleasant Cemetery

Genealogy Quote

"In all of us there is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage - to know who we are and where we have come from."

~Alex Haley

L.D.S. Temple

L.D.S. Temple
Manti Temple