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Autobiography of James Ririe - Part
From "Utah, Our Pioneer Heritage"
Published by International Society of Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1996
By James Ririe
But I do not think Brigham knew it all. A Sister Hannah Weaver Morgan,
now Eakins of Kaysville, and still living there (1901) was hired to work
for Isaac C. Haight, the fall we came in. She was then an unmarried woman.
She told me herself that Mr. Haight had a sack of gold in the corner
of the room she worked in, one foot high and six inches wide. She handled
it and hefted it. When Mr. Haight landed he went to Iron County and built
himself a palace. Now the part of the Ten Pound Company that I crossed
in, the Falcon and on the plains, with me I kept an exact account of
all our expenses from Liverpool to Salt Lake. I have the ship's fare,
the extra provisions furnished, the cost up the rivers to Keokuk, the
passage across rivers and bridges. The statement by Isaac C. Haight,
for the cost of outfit-wagon was $70 each, yoke of oxen $75 each, and
each yoke of the heifers the same. There was $50. worth of provisions
furnished. I made it my business to get the cost of everything and recorded
it all up.
The wagon and cattle when arrived at Salt Lake were clear of expenses
as was stated in Liverpool they would be for the Ten Pound Company. That
is, the part of the company that came in the Falcon. Other companies
may have cost more. We were only three days at Keokuk. Some were there
a month and some over two months. The men worked on the roads near Keokuk
or helped Mr. Haight in getting the cattle from Missouri and Illinois.
I worked one day at Keokuk in unloading a vessel of salt. We worked 14
hours at 25 cents an hour. We got $3.50, the biggest money I ever had
made in one day. Only one man, Adam Smith, and I stood the full day's
work. It was packing salt from the ship to shore. The cattle and wagons
were sold in Salt Lake City and the company got three and a half dollars
each in vegetables from the tithing office of Salt Lake City. Thus ended
my journey from Aberdeen. We started the 12th of February and landed
in Salt Lake City the 30th of September 1853. It was a rough journey,
taking it all in all.
The first morning I was in Salt Lake City, ere I was up, came a man
to my tent for me. He had married Isabel Mitchell, daughter of Mr. Mitchell
of Aberdeen. She had come to London in service and joined the Latter-day
Saints there and started along to the Valley. I was requested in Scotland
to hunt her up. I got a chance just as I was coming into the city to
send her word that I had word from her folks. She had married at Council
Bluffs on her way to the Valley to this Brother John Harper. When I got
to Salt Lake City, I was in a very dilapidated condition, having so little
to eat. The mosquito bites had festered and I had a touch of mountain
fever. When I got plenty to eat and got re-baptized and bathed in the
Warm Springs, that soon healed my sores.
I was soon ready to get work. All I had was a
bundle that I packed from the tent to Brother Harper's, so I needed
work. I had learned that nothing
could be done in winter here on account of frost. How was I to live if
I did not get something ready for winter? When inquiring how I should
do, some of the settlers told me, "You will just have to suffer
as we have done." "Well," I said, "these hands have
kept me from suffering much since I was seven years old and I think they
will help me yet."
I got work from a Brother Mustard, whose wife I had showed kindness
to while on my mission in Blairgowrie. He gave me work at breaking flax.
I had to root it in the water and put it through a hand mill, then shake
the husks out and make it ready for the hackles. Four cents a pound of
flax when dressed I was to have. He would board me for four dollars a
week. I could have my bed in his house. I had my bedding. It was near
all I did have. I worked and boarded with them for ten days, but found
I could make only my board at the pay he was giving. I had to pay fifty
cents a week in my money for my washing. The woman might cook as she
could, but she had just four things to cook with; flour, potatoes, salt
and water. No butter, no milk, no meat, no nothing, but these four ingredients.
It was salt-risen bread, potatoes and Mormon gravy. It was this for breakfast,
dinner and supper. I saw with the pay I would be unable to lay up anything
for winter frost.
I had learned that some of our immigrants had
work on the Temple block wall. One night after my day's work I went
to the city. I found Bishop
Hunter, the superintendent of the work, and asked him. He was on horseback
and was talking to another man. I said, "I understand you are the
superintendent of this public work. I have lately come in. Can I get
work on the Temple block wall?" Said, he, "What are you? A
miller," I replied. He turned to the man and said, "Do you
want any millers down your way?" and then, not giving the man time
to answer, he went on "Oh he's a fine horse, a fine horse." At
last the man said "No." Bishop Hunter at last turned to me. "You'll
get along, you'll get along." And then went on again, "Oh,
he's a fine horse, what will you give me for this horse?" I thought,
if that was the great Bishop Hunter, he was a very peculiar man. I left
him and after looking around, I saw Squire Wells. I asked him as I had
done Bishop Hunter. There was a man passing on the running gear of a
wagon. He held up his hand to the man and said to me to come along. He
hollered to Brother Dalton. Brother Dalton stopped. Said he, "Brother
Dalton, you said you wanted men to husk corn and here's a man who wants
work." "Yes," said Brother Dalton to me. "I give
a dollar and a quarter a day, and board and pay at tithing office prices." "Well," said
I, "I'll work for that." Said he, "Meet me at the end
of the State Road in half an hour and I'll take you to the Church Farm." I
said I would, but had to run to the Sixth Ward to tell the folks or they
would not know what had become of me.
When I got to the end of the State Road, there
was no Dalton there. It was just dark and not knowing the road to the
Church Farm, I went
to a house and asked to stay. It was not much of a house, only intended
for a lean to a house. I got to sleep with two other men in a bed made
on the floor. Next morning early I got to the Church Farm and worked
at shucking corn with 18 or 19 others for a month, thinking I was to
get my one dollar and a quarter a day. Edward Cliff and I kept up with
Dalton himself as he took the lead. We had a row each 80 rods long and
we never were over half a shock behind Dalton at the end of the rows.
When the work was done, he paid us with 60 cents a day, corn on the cob
at one and one-half dollars a bushel, and potatoes at seventy-five cents
a bushel. Of course, I remonstrated and said, "In my country, if
I was not giving satisfaction, the boss would tell us so, but you have
not said a word until the work was done." Said he, "I know
you two kept up with me, but some did not do as much as a quarter as
much that you did and I must pay you all alike."
Brother Cliff and I went to, I think, the bishop
of the 12th Ward, and made our complaint about Brother Dalton. "Oh," said he "I
know Brother Dalton, never mind boys, you will both be better off yet
than Brother Dalton." I must say that has come true for both of
us, but it did not help us then. Brother John Harper was building a house.
He had to stay constant as a stone cutter on the Church works, so he
got me to attend the adobe layer. When the walls were up I put the lumber
roof on, doors, windows and flooring, or all the carpenter work that
was done. He borrowed the tools for me. He gave me my board for my work.
I also took the corn and potatoes to him for board that I had earned
off Brother Dalton. One day as I was working on Brother Harper's house,
along came a neighbor to look at the house. She asked me if we were going
to cover it with dirt. (Now dirt in my country means something very,
very nasty, besides not much of it could be got to cover a house.) I
looked at the woman in surprise and said "No, we are going to put
earth on the roof." When I got the house finished and the pay from
Brother Harper, I had enough for my board all winter. When I left, the
end of February 1854, I had yet three week's board paid for, so I did
not suffer much the first winter I was in Salt Lake City.
I was ordained a Seventy by Joseph Young, assisted by Brother Rockwood,
near the end of December in the Seventies' Hall opposite where the theatre
(Salt Lake) now stands. The 37th quorum was organized the 12th of January
1854 with Brother Cyrus Wheelock, president. I was organized into that
quorum. That February I went down to Springville where I rented a farm
from a Mrs. McDonald. I stayed there until that fall. That summer of
1854 I had bought a city lot, one quarter of an acre, and had gone to
the mountains and got down logs. I made adobes and hired a team for work.
I hauled my logs to the mill for lumber, hauled my adobes and built me
a house 14 by 16 with a lean on the back. I was half expecting Helen
Mitchel. I had written my sister Margret to let her have the money according
to promise, but my sister did not get the letter in time for the emigration.
Mail matter took a long time, then, to be transported to and from Britain
to Utah. I went to the October Conference in Salt Lake City and found
my old acquainance, Sister Graham, and her daughters. I told Mrs. Graham
how I was situated, had a house and flour and if she could do not better,
she was welcome to a home with me, such as it was. She had been kind
to me when I was a traveling elder, she and her husband and family. She
accepted and kept house for me until her daughter, Mathilda, got married
to my old and staunch friend, James Robertson. Then she went and lived
with them in May 1855. That season I had rented a good farm from Brother
Henry Devenish, a good man. If I had been his own son, he could not have
taken more pains than he did with me to counsel and instruct me how to
farm and to get along.
The spring was early and I got nine acres of his land plowed and planted
in February. It then came stormy for some weeks, so I did not put the
balance in until later. I put in 16 acres in wheat and some potatoes,
but by the time I was putting in the potatoes, the grasshoppers were
hatching out by the millions. The grasshoppers came the fall before,
and hurt the corn badly, but not the wheat, it being too far advanced.
Everyone thought it best to put in wheat this year and not corn. That
was just what the grasshoppers liked. They took all of my last sowed
wheat, but although they damaged the early sowed wheat, they did not
take it all. We had 100 bushels off the nine acres. That was fifty bushels
each. I also had 26 bushels of potatoes for my share. I also put in two
acres of corn on the ground that the hoppers had eaten the wheat off,
and although late, had a pretty good crop of corn. I had no team yet,
but wanted to get one badly. A man wanted wheat badly, so he let me have
a yoke of two-year-old steers for seventeen bushels of wheat.
Before the emigration was near all in, I had learned that my sister
had let Helen Mitchel have the money she promised me to help her to emigrate.
I learned that Helen was on the way, but that she came only to Saint
Louis and stopped there and married Robert Hill. His wife had died a
few weeks before the emigrants came along. To say I was disappointed
is to put it very, very mildly for I had had several opportunities to
get a wife, but had waited for Helen. Her sister, Mary, who was with
her until they came to St. Louis, died of cholera at Mormon Grove.
About the 1st of November, I had to go to Salt Lake City. There was
a man, Robert Watson, who lived in Springville. His wife had died on
the plains the year before, and his wife's sister had come in, and as
breadstuff was very scarce, he wanted me to take some corn-meal to his
sister-in-law in Salt Lake City. When I got to where his sister-in-law
was, at her intended husband's house, I found I had been acquainted with
her in Dundee. It seemed they were not quite ready to get married, she
and James Boyack. She wanted to go to Springville with me to see her
sister's child. She did not want to go alone, but wanted to take her
intended sister-in-law, Ann Boyack, with her.
They both went to Springville with me. Margery
Watterhouse, for that was her name, knew of the disappointment I had
about Helen Mitchel, for
they had come in the same company to St. Louis. Margery proposed that
I should marry this Ann Boyack, but she was an entire stranger to me.
Margery said she was a good woman. I said "Is she a Mormon?" Said
she, "She has been baptized, but has been mostly in service and
has not had much of an opportunity of attending the meetings." The
outcome of it was; I proposed and was accepted by Ann Boyack. We two
couples were married by Bishop Aaron Johnson November 23, 1855.
With buying my steers and starting to keep house on an improved scale,
several things had to be bought and nothing but wheat could buy. I found
I would not have enough breadstuff to get to the next harvest. When my
friend, Brother Devenish, learned how my potatoes had gone, he let me
have eleven bushels. I was to work for him sometime to repay him. I had
taken up ten acres in the Union Field and 20 acres in the West Field.
Both pieces had to be fenced and the water got out to both and in separate
ditches. One came from Hobble Creek, the other from Spanish Fork Creek.
I broke up and got in eight acres of wheat, paying for it, being done
by fence ditching. The Walker War was just closed and we could not leave
our tools hidden as we may, for the Indians. In carrying home my spade,
I had to go through the sand ridge. There were sego lilies and I dug
enough each night for our supper. Less than a pint when cleaned and boiled
in milk, which made a good supper.
The water was uncommonly scarce that season. On my eight acres of wheat,
I had only 55 bushels and that was so short I had to cut the most of
it with the sickle. Some of it I pulled by hand. Our breadstuff was very
short, still we always had flour in the house, but I mostly lived on
the cornmeal and would have done very well, if I had not been so scared
to eat my full for fear we would be right out. We cooked it in milk mostly,
which made it go further. Everything was new to my wife. Our way of living
was different and more difficult than in Dundee. No goods could be brought
in, as the merchants wouldn't bring them in on account of the noise of
the army coming to Utah to wipe out the Mormons. It's true we were bad
off for the eatables, but we always had milk and butter, flour, cornmeal
and potatoes in the house. Brother Devenish saw to that. God bless his
posterity. We were not worse off than many of the others.
I once went to Spanish Fork on water ditch business. As her father and
mother and brothers and sisters all lived there, except two married sisters,
I called on my father-in-law. It happened to be about dinner time. My
mother-in-law thought it would be bad not to have her son-in-law eat
dinner with them. But she had nothing eatable in or around the house
except dried fish. They had had bran, but that was all gone. Many that
summer had to live on little else but fish and greens. There was plenty
of fish in Utah Lake and plenty of pigweed greens in Springville fields.
Harvest came at last and there was plenty for all. This ended my third
harvest and experience in Utah farming. The three years in all the three
harvests, I had raised for myself, one hundred and thirty bushels of
The winter of 1856 and 1857 was what we called the winter of the Reformation.
There may have been a few hypocrites among us, but very generally the
people were honest and tried to make their wrongs right. Where they had
done wrong to their neighbors in word or deed, they tried to make it
right. Where they had sinned against our Father in heaven, they solicited
His forgiveness. I am just superstitious or what you like to call it
to believe that the Reformation had more to do with the keeping back
of that U. S. Army than Lot Smith had. I know that the power of God was
at work in the Reformaton and also the power of the Devil. I will relate
an experience that came under my own observation. Springville Ward was
divided into four districts. It was customary for the teachers of each
district to meet in some private house and attend to any of the district's
One night we met (I was a teacher) in Brother Terry's home for business.
That night there was a difficulty to be settled between a Brother VanLeeuwen
and a Brother Brown. After considerable talk by these parties and the
teachers, Brother VanLeeuwen was quite willing, as he was the injured
party, to forgive and let the damages go, if Brother Brown would acknowledge
his wrong. But Brother Brown was very stiff about that. While the teachers
were exhorting, Brother Brown got possession of a devil or some very
extraordinary evil power. The brethren laid hands on him and rebuked
the devil, commanding it in the name of Jesus to come out of him, which
it did. However, it took straight-way possession of the teacher. They
cast him out there also in the name of Jesus, which it immediately obeyed,
but went into another.
I was acting secretary for the meeting. We had
a candle to let us see and especially to let me see to write. As candlelight
was very scarce,
Sister Terry had taken the opportunity to get the benefit of the light.
She was sewing at the opposite side of the table from me, where I was
writing. Just as the brethren, in the name of Jesus, commanded the devil
to come out of this third brother, he came right straight to me and struck
me on the breast, but did not enter. It went across the table and entered
Sister Terry. Sister Terry threw up her hands, and cried out, "Oh
my God!" The brethren came and laid hands on her and also commanded
the devil "In the name of Jesus to come out and leave this house." President
Steven Perry dismissed the meeting immediately.
"Now," says one, "did you see the devil?" Well
not with my natural eyes, but I knew he came straight to me from the
that the brethren were administering to and struck me on the breast.
I cannot describe the hurt, but if a strong man had struck me with all
his force with a clenched fist, it would not have been any harder. I
knew as he struck me but did not enter, that he went across the table,
the north half of the table, and into Sister Terry.
In the summer of 1857 Brother Brigham had invited
a select party to celebrate the 4th of July at the head of Cottonwood
Canyon. Brother and
Sister Devenish were invited, so they got my wife and me to take care
of their children and things while they were gone. Before they came back
the word reached Springville that the army was on the way to Utah. I
met a man on the street who told me this news. I cannot describe how
I felt, but this I said, "Well, we are in the hands of the Lord."
In the summer of 1857 I again rented Brother
Devenish's farm. Brother John Maycock and I worked together in harvesting
his and mine. My steers
were growing, but not quite broke. Brother Maycock had a yoke of cattle
about six years old, also a pair of four-year-old steers broke. One day
he said to me, "I have a mind to trade you my old cattle for those
steers of yours. I can drive two yoke of steers as well as one yoke,
and they will be growing, if you can pay me the difference." I had
nothing I could pay the difference. I had one yearling steer. Generally
I went to Brother Devenish for advice in my affairs. I was telling him
of Brother Maycock's proposition. Brother Devenish said "That's
the best thing you can do. I have a yearling heifer that I will let you
have to help the trade." "Oh, but Brother Devenish, how can
I pay you for the heifer? Never mind," said he, "I will want
you to water for me next summer." Between Brother Maycock and Brother
Devenish, I got a good team of cattle.
At threshing time I found I had raised over three hundred bushels of
wheat. Our food famine was past, but now we found ourselves destitute
of clothing. None or very little goods had come in on account of the
army. If they had come, having lost our crops by grasshoppers and drouth,
we had little to buy with. I believe I was a fair sample of the people.
My clothes I had brought with me were about worn out. I had managed to
buy or trade with the Indians for buckskin pants, a buckskin shirt and
a straw hat. These were my week-day clothes. I had a Sunday pair of pants
made of the end of a Scottish Tartan plaid, which I had brought with
me. The other part made a good shawl for my wife. My wife made a Sunday
shirt for me out of two of her bedgowns. I had moccasins for Sunday shoes.
I went barefooted all the week. I thought myself as well dressed on Sunday
as the rest. I saw several of the brethren come to meeting barefooted.
There was but very little home manufacturing yet. There were some tanneries,
but the shoes from them, when they got wet, were not much better than
rawhide. I did get one pair of shoes for winter each year.
We had a water power threshing machine in Springville in 1857. I was
hauling my wheat there to be threshed, when up came a great rain storm
for over three days. I lost over thirty bushels by the rain, but blessed
storm, it was snow back in the mountains and so deep that the army had
to camp where they were for the winter. It was with difficulty that our
men who were out on business there, and knew the roads, got in.
In the spring, the move commenced in Springville. All those that had
teams were invited to go and help the move. I went up at conference time.
I met lots on the move, but such a sight. There were teams of all kinds,
a pony and an ox, a cow and an ox, youngsters, and wagon covers patched
and torn. Some had quilts sewed together for wagon covers. There were
old women and children on foot. Some were driving loose young stock,
some driving a cow or heifer and some driving pigs. All were so ragged.
Where they were going was south. I was touched at the sights I met, so
that I cried like a baby, although all were strangers to me.
I attended conference. I remember two remarks I heard Brigham Young
say that day. One was, "Some say I'm not a prophet, but one thing
I claim is that I have been profitable to the people, and would be
more profitable if they would obey my counsel." Another remark
he said: "Many ask me, 'Brother Brigham, do you think we will
come back this fall?' I will answer this question at once for all.
I do not know. I have to do as I am dictated by the Spirit day by day.
Now, the dictation is: Move south, Move south, it's clear in the south." It
had been prophesied by Joseph that the Saints would become a great
and mighty people yet in the Rocky Mountains. At that time we could
not be said to be a great and mighty people. Therefore, it was the
belief of many, if we did go away, we would return and yet become a
great people. That was the reason for the question, "Will we come
back this fall?"
I started back that evening with luggage that belonged to two families.
Brother Scroggies and Sister Simons went as far as opposite Little Cottonwood.
As there was a big black cloud in the west, I took Sister Simons' feather
bed off the top of the load and put it under the wagon. But, lo! it rained
so, that there was a big pond all about me on the feather bed. As I moved,
the water followed me. I had to sit up from about one o'clock until daylight.
Although the next day was a fine day, it was next afternoon ere I got
dry. I was called upon to go for another load, but could not possibly
go myself. I let my team go on the promise they would be taken care of.
They were gone longer than I expected. When they came back, as I turned
them out of the corral next morning, one of them ran against the wagon,
then the fence, then into the fence ditch. He had been pulled blind.
The roads with so much travel were cut up, especially between American
Fork and Pleasant Grove. I learned that instead of one load from Salt
Lake to Springville, they took one first from Salt Lake City to Cedar
Valley, then one from Salt Lake to Springville. The ox could not get
his living on the range. Although we tried hard to restore his sight,
we could not. I had to hire a pasture for him at five cents a day and
let him run there until he got some flesh on him, so as the meat would
sell, but at a low price. It took all I got from him and my cow to get
The U. S. Army, having laid out in the snow all
winter, seemed to have cooled off a little. The Peace Commissioners
were sent to confer with "those
terrible Mormon leaders." The outcome of that conference was that
the army might come in, but camp near the city. Forty miles away they
camped in Cedar Valley. The U. S. judges who had been sent to Utah and
then returned to the States had given terrible reports of the Mormons.
When they left us, they only of themselves bereft us. Their objection
as reported of themselves was, "We cannot live there. There's no
loose women." Judge Drummond, who sat on the judicial bench with
a (I was going to say a lady, but it was not his wife) reported that
the Mormons had destroyed all the U. S. records. The Peace Commissioners,
when they came, found all the books and records intact. Well, these judges
have all gone now to where justice and even-handed judgment will be handed
out, and not by U. S. judges. The soldiers, when they came in, walked
through Salt Lake City streets as peaceable as whipped dogs. The Mormons
returned to their homes sooner than the fall, but after great loss and
One great providence ought to be recorded. We
had a very uncommonly heavy rain that year in June. When the people
returned, they found a
good crop of volunteer wheat ready to harvest. That season I had raised
a very heavy crop of potatoes. My father-in-law had no good potato land
in Spanish Fork. I furnished them with potatoes, having a piece of good
potato ground that I had cleared of willows. I quit hoeing the potates,
as Brother Devenish advised not to hoe potatoes after they began to set,
as the hoeing would do more harm to the crop than the weeds. So the young
willows had grown almost as high as our heads. "Well," said
Mr. Boyack, "I never hunted for potatoes in such a place as this
and find them too, and good ones." I got eight cents a bushel at
the cellar door for all my surplus potatoes by the peddlers taking them
to Camp Floyd. In the fall, I went over to Camp Floyd with a load of
wheat and some watermelon pies, no sugar then. The pies went like hot
cakes at 50 cents apiece. The wheat, I got $1.75 a bushel.
As they were building and digging wells, I got
a job hauling rock for their wells at $4.50 a load. I hauled one load
a day. But I found they
were giving one dollar a hundred for adobes. I had to turn my oxen out
at nights for feed. As I was a little afraid for my cattle's safety,
I sent them home and took to making adobes. I made fifty hundred in ten
days. That was fifty dollars. A storm came on so we quit making adobes.
Two men and I went to get our pay. We found they were out of money, but
they gave us vouchers and we could get goods or money off the merchants
for the vouchers. The man in the office told us "Do you believe
it, but gentlemen, I have paid out more gold in these four weeks' pay
out of this office, than you three could have stood up under." I
took the vouchers and got the money and goods for it off our own merchant,
Dan Wood, in Springville. I would here mention that the first lot of
goods that Mr. Wood got in, was a limited quantity of factory sheeting.
He let each family in Springville (at least all that called for it) have
three yards each. No matter how much money one had, they got only three
yards. Those that had no money, each got their three yards for the family
too. With my three yards, I got a shirt made and put off my buckskin
for I soon got more. Goods were plentiful. Money was plentiful.
At Camp Floyd, wagon covers were sold cheap. That army coming was the
greatest blessing Utah could have had at that time. The very rope that
they brought to hang the Mormons with, for they had a wagon load of rope
for that purpose, was sold cheap. They stayed in Camp Floyd until near
the outbreak of the Civil War. Johnston, being a Southern man, sold or
destroyed what he could not take with him, so that the North could not
get the benefit of it. The Lord truly made the wrath of man to the benefit
of His Saints. That fall, I bought two cows and several head of young
animals, but winter feed was scarce. Corn fodder, straw and hay was not
to be bought. Lucern was not in the country yet. I used to go to the
lake side and cut canebrakes with a sickle, but there was not much feed
Some of the people who had moved from the north did not want to go back.
Brother Maycock Senior had made a trade with a man from North Ogden.
In the fall, I had an offer of a trade from an old man who did not want
to go back. John Maycock was going to help his folks up with a load and
would be coming back. As neither he or I had been north, we went partly
to see the country and I to look at this place which was for trade. The
result was I traded with Mr. Bacelhamer, letting him have my home and
lot and my patch of land, which was six or eight acres, three-fourths
of a mile up the creek. I sold my ten acres of land in the Union Field
for one yoke of oxen. My fifteen acres with the certificate, I gave to
my father-in-law, James Boyack, Senior.
We moved to North Ogden in the spring of 1859. I had five acres with
water right and one acre of city lot. I bought 20 acres in the West Field
with no water right, but a slough ran through it. I cut six tons of hay
off it. I bought this and twelve bushels of wheat for the yoke of cattle
I got for my Union Field land. I had the best of opportunities to enlarge
in North Ogden. Right adjoining and west of my twenty acres lay a large
tract of the best of land. But water was scarce. The people there had
commenced a ditch. They had made it some miles from Ogden River. With
the move coming on and some not returning and some going to Cache Valley,
and some to Ogden Valley, it looked to me as if it might be a long time
ere the Ogden ditch would be completed. Also my wife did feel very bad
to be removed so far from her people. She was one hundred miles from
her mother, and I did feel for her. She had a sister move to West Weber
that spring. West Weber was about eight miles from us. Of course we went
to see her, and her husband. His folks were very anxious that we should
move by them. There was land for sale there and they needed help to get
the water out, being a new settlement. They could buy me 45 acres of
open prairie land from Captain James Brown without water or fence, for
one hundred dollars. I finally went and looked at the land. Some of it
looked good. Some of it looked as if it would be minerally when the water
was put on. I told them to buy it for me. I then sold out in North Ogden.
My twenty acres I sold for a yoke of cattle, and my five acres, I sold
for a cow and a young horse. My house and lot I sold for a log house
and eighteen bushels of potatoes.
The McFarlands (that was my brother-in-law's name) had proffered that
if I would move, they would help me to move. There were three families
of them. I bargained the horse to them for ditching, in fencing my new
field. They did help me move my log house. We then moved beside my brother-in-law
and his wife. I broke up and put in seven acres of wheat. By this time
the river was high and no way to get out except by Kaysville Mills. McFarland
had represented to me that we would easily get the water out that season
for our crops, but we failed. After working all day on the water ditch,
then fencing nights and mornings, I had got one watering for my wheat
and so got a bunch of straw, but no wheat. For fifteen years I worked
on that water ditch and river and lost our crops partially a good many
times. Sometimes the ditch would cave in or the dam would go out, or
the river would change its course. I had plenty of time to repent at
leisure for being so foolish as to leave North Ogden.
After I had been at West Weber some time, my father-in-law and his wife
paid us a visit and were looking for a suitable place to move to. Their
son-in-law did move from Spanish Fork to West Weber and bought a piece
of land and bargained for some more. He built a house and lived there
one season. James McFarland and I got the chance to buy a piece of land
intended as a present to our father-in-law, James Boyack, but he concluded
not to leave Spanish Fork. When their daughter, Mary, John Robertson's
wife, found her mother was not coming there, she would not stay; so they
moved back to Spanish Fork. The land that James McFarland and I bought
for our father-in-law, we worked in company two years and then divided
it between us.
In 1875 Ambrose Greenwell and I bought off Levi Wheeler, Senior, at
the head of Ogden Canyon, Eden. We paid two thousand dollars for his
quitclaim and improvements, with one-third down and our notes for the
other two thirds yearly. We plowed and put in sixteen acres of grain
and made a water ditch over one mile to Grover Creek. Mr. Wheeler had
told us there was plenty of water there to irrigate all his claim, but
ere we needed the water for irrigation, it would just reach the land,
but not water any, so we lost our crop. That discouraged both of us.
Finally, Greenwell proposed turning it into a sheep ranch, as there was
not water nearer than three miles unappropriated and not much there.
A canal would have to be made on the mountain side.
I went to Mr. Wheeler and asked if I let Greenwell
have my portion of the place, would he take my name off the notes that
would come due. He
said "No." Well, if I took Greenwell's part, would he wait
a year longer on the last note. The last one was a chattel note, as I
refused to sign a cash note, that being a scarce article. He said he
would wait. He said to pay him what I could and when I could. He was
so good I did not ask him to extend the note. I let Ambrose Greenwell
have 100 acres of pasture in West Weber for 80 acres of a homestead on
this Wheeler place. He was to lawfully prove up and I was to hold the
deeds of what I was to let him have, also the deeds of some of his other
land (as that was in my entry in West Weber) for security, that he would
comply with the law and prove up.
I bought the right to the water of Herdhouse Creek and made a canal
three miles long to the land. Next season I raised some nine hundred
bushels of oats and barley. The first note I got lifted by paying part
to Mr. Wheeler and giving my note for $416 to another man that Mr. Wheeler
owed. But the chattel note that Mr. Wheeler had promised to wait on,
I did not get paid. He partly agreed to take a span of mules I had and
a mowing machine, but put it off until the note was six weeks overdue.
Then he put it into a lawyer's hands for collection. I had to borrow
the money from the bank, $832. at 24 percent per annum. Ere I got it
paid, it cost me $315. for interest.
The first summer we had that place in Eden, my daughter Margret Ann
did the housework, attending the milk and cooking. Next winter she got
married. My wife wanted to stay in West Weber so as the youngest three
children could go to school, as that school was nearer to our house than
the Eden School was to our new place. Besides, our house room was limited,
being only two rooms. Elizabeth, ten years and Isabel, six years old,
made the butter and did the housework, cooking, etc. My wife stayed in
West Weber until the summer of 1883, when I built a new house on the
place but did not get it finished. We got the walls up and the roof on
and the two largest rooms plastered and finished so that we lived in
them. Alex and I worked all winter at the carpenter work in the rest
of the house and got it all finished, plastered and by the end of July,
all paid for.
With building and doing the other work on the
farm, both Alex and I had overworked ourselves. Alex got a barb wire
cut on the hand and it
ran up the arm and settled in a big boil in the armpit so he could not
work. Haying was on. My oldest son, James, came up to go the 11th of
July 1884 to the sheep camp with supplies. He and my second son, David,
were in the sheep business together. Alex said to James, "Won't
you stay and help Father with the hay, and I can take the team up to
the herd, but I cannot use a fork among the hay?" James said, "Yes,
I will." My two youngest boys were then just big enough to drive
a team and load the hay when put up to them, but not large enough to
unload. To make good use of James, I unloaded the two wagons into the
barn and tramped the hay between times.
It was very hot days, especially the second day, and in the barn in
particular. I had overworked myself and started cholera morbus in the
afternoon. I was very bad all night. In the morning, I went out to the
cow yard and commenced to milk a cow but did not finish. I was so bad
all day, so pained and cramped, I lost the use of my limbs entirely.
I sent Elizabeth to call for Brother Froerer and Brother Moffet to come
and administer to me. They did. Brother Moffet, being mouth in confirming
the administration, said I should live and yet get better. But oh, the
stress that to me seemed on that one word yet. Those two and Brother
Bitton sat up with me all night, my wife, not being well herself, going
to bed. It was hope against hope. Brother Bitton, my old neighbor, went
home at daylight, but told the neighbors that I was dead by then, just
dying when he left. However, I lived and by one week, I was able and
did go from the bed to the window. But that night I was taken with typhoid
fever. I was taken sick the 13th of August 1884 with cholera morbus and
this was just one week later.
About the end of September I was taken with paralysis in my right leg
and how it did hurt. I have said if one had cut and haggled up the calf
of my leg with a butcher knife, it could not have hurt any worse. Then
after some days of excruciating pain, it died. In about a week, the left
leg was taken and went through the same pain and it died, and for four
months I had not a particle of use of them. About April I could walk
a little with the assistance of a stick. I continued very lame and then
months after, dropsy commenced. Doctor Driver helped that, but not my
lameness. He said the blood vessels in paralysis closed and the blood
had to find new channels through the smaller veins.
When I found what I thought was dropsy, I went
to Dr. Driver to be examined. He said, "Yes, there is water there." Said I, "Well, that's
the end of the chapter now." I was getting tired of the sickness
and lameness. Dr. Driver said, "I can draw that off, you will never
be the man you have been, but if you do as I tell you, that is, as far
as the dropsy is concerned, you'll get around comfortably." He did,
but oh, how sick his medicine made me.
In June 1886, with the oldest of our family, we went to Logan to do
temple work. I would say that one night before this, I lay in bed, I
cannot say whether I was asleep or not, but I do not think I was asleep.
I saw the Logan Temple, the outside building, the street and fences around
it. I had never been near Logan, but when I got near the Temple, it was
just as I had seen it. Only when I saw it in the vision, I saw a lot
of Indians coming up that street that comes from the Hayballs. They were
walking on the west side in two and three abreast and going in at the
north gate that leads to the Temple door, not at the east gate. When
we went to Logan, my son James drove the team. As we wanted to go to
a Brother Robert Henderson's ward, he, James, being acquainted in Logan,
took us up past the Temple, south and east.
We got to Logan on a Tuesday evening. We had a week's work without baptizing
any. My wife started home on Friday afternoon, but the four oldest children
and I stopped to do more work. On the next Tuesday, baptizing day, I
went to be baptized for my health, for I was still so lame I could only
walk very slowly and not far at a time. I was so poorly that I crippled
into the font at one end with much exertion, but as I went out at the
other end, I could walk quite briskly. I had not dressed myself without
help for a long time previously to this, but I now dressed myself alone.
My lameness was gone and has been ever since except when I over-do.
My two eldest sons and my two eldest daughters and myself stayed in
Logan, and did what Temple work we had to do. I employed a Brother Sylvester
Lowe, who was going to Scotland, to get genealogies out of the register's
office in Edinburgh. He got over a thousand names from the parish registers
around where I was born and where my folks lived. There were names of
my father, the Riries; names of my mother, the Shirris; my father's mother's
names, Stell; names of my mother's mother, Smith.
Just getting the names and ages from the register,
I could not distinguish the kinship. There may be some that are no
near kin, especially among
the Smiths. But I would rather work for three that are no kin, than miss
one that is. If others, who are no kin get the benefit, that will be
reward enough for my work. Besides, I do not know of any relation that
these people have in the Church, for there are but very, very few from
that district, who have come into the Church. So, I do not intrude on
anyone's privilege. Brother John W. Taylor, in a sermon preached in Ogden,
gave me much consolation. Said he, "There is not one in ten thousand
that will regret the work done for them. You, who have no relation to
work for, go and work for somebody else. They are just as good as your
people." I knew lots of Smiths when I was a boy in the neighborhood
where my grandmother lived, and my mother was born. They were good people.
My mother would tell me when I was a little boy, such and such and such
are our relations, but I did not know what relation they were. I paid
Brother Lowe forty dollars to get me those names. I have done the best
I could and hope God will accept the work done.
On the 23rd of May, 1899, I was returning from West Weber to my home
in Eden, when passing the railway lot on 24th Street, Ogden, the Railroad
Company was shunting cars at the railroad crossing on 24th Street. I
waited until they stopped and then came on. The engine had stopped close
to the street. Just as I was opposite it, the engineer let off a great
blast of steam. My horse jumped and ran. I thought I would soon have
him under control, but the right hand line caught and pulled. That is
the last I recollect.
A man who saw it told my son, Alex, that I pulled
the line and something gave way and I came back into the seat. Then
the buggy tipped and I was
thrown out on my side, but not clear of the buggy, when I was pulled
up by the buggy, then thrown out onto my head. It seems that a man in
the crowd knew me and telephoned for a doctor. The third doctor they
called answered. He was Dr. Powers. I was taken to the nearest house
onto the porch, then taken into the house and laid on a lounge. The doctor
had been there a second time ere I knew anything. I asked if I had had
a runaway. They said "Yes." "Am I hurt?" They said, "A
little." I asked something about the boys, but found I was talking
nonsense. I did not feel hurt much, but found afterwards that I was very
near killed. My ribs were torn from my back bone. My left hip bone was
shattered, one rib broken, and my side and back were black. It was a
Mrs. Hammond's house I happened to be taken to. She proved to be an excellent
woman and a splendid nurse. I was there eleven days, the doctor visiting
me twice a day most of the time. About the third day, I heard the doctor
say to Mr. Hammond, "I believe he is going to live yet." Some
days after, he said to me, "You must have a powerful, good constitution." I
said I did not think any fellow had had more sickness than I had. "Well," said
he, "you never drank much liquor." "Well," I said, "that's
no credit to me because I do not like it." "That's what's telling
on you today," said he.
They nursed me good. My sons and others came and nursed me at night.
The teachers came and administered to me. A lady came and waited on me
in the day time to let Mrs. Hammond rest. I was at Mrs. Hammond's eleven
days ere I could be moved. Then my daughter Margret Ann and my daughter-in-law
Lizzie Ririe came with James' buggy and took me to Margret Ann's in West
Weber. The roads were smoother there, than to Ogden Valley. I was there
two weeks ere I could be moved home to Eden.
My son Hyrum who had rented my place for the two years previous didn't
want to rent it this year. I had hired the help to work it. When I got
home, I found my hired help had not done as they would have done had
I been with them. With being hurt, I could not get around to see to things
properly, thus, I advertised the place to rent for five years on half
of everything, except that south of the county road. My terms were generally
understood by the neighbors. My son Hyrum recommended it to James Fackrell,
Junior and James Fackrell, Senior. I talked the matter over. They took
it for five years for half the crops raised, half the increase in stock,
half the creamery check. I retained the meadow, south of the county road.
It was now mostly sowed down to timothy. They, the Fackrells, commenced
to take care of the stock.
In August 1899 my son James and family sold out in West Weber and moved
to Alberta, Canada. They partly volunteered and partially were called
by Apostle John W. Taylor. In October 1899 I rented the old West Weber
place to William Surrage, first for one year, commencing the beginning
of the year 1900, then I extended the time three years longer. Surrage
was to have the privilege of buying the place at the expiration of the
four years. In late winter or early spring of 1900, my son Hyrum went
on a visit to Alberta, Canada, to look at the facilities of that country
for making a home there. On the 26th of October my son David of Prospect,
Idaho, left Ogden on a mission to Great Britain.
On the 3rd of November I got notice that my friend and old neighbor,
John Douglas of West Weber, was dead. The funeral was set for Monday
the 5th of November at 11 a.m. As I could not get there in time on Monday
morning, I went down on Sunday afternoon. I got to Margret Ann's by sundown.
It was a fine day, so I could not have taken cold, but in the night I
was taken very sick. I thought it was just a bilious attack. I was not
able to go to the funeral next day. I continued to get worse and lost
my senses. I was quite light headed and delirious for three weeks. Sometimes
I would be reasonable, then like a flash off again. Margret Ann sent
word to the rest of my children in Ogden Valley. They came and helped
take care of me. It seems they had a Doctor Joyce attend me. He visited
me three times. I knew of but one. The third time I was getting sensible.
The medicine was near gone. It seems, Hyrum, as he was going home, was
to call on Dr. Joyce about medicine. However, he met him on the way to
West Weber. The Doctor said, as he was going within a half-mile of me,
he would call.
I knew him when he called. Said he, "Well, old man, how are you?....Not
well," said I, "or you would not be sent for." That was
the first shot he got. He examined me. "Well," I said "how
long ere I get better?.... Oh, in about four days you will be able to
get up." he said. "What? I have to lie here four days yet?" I
asked. "Oh," said he, "You're an old man and cannot get
well at once." "But I am not used to laying long after I get
the turn for the better." But in four days I was able to get up
During my delirium, as I would have an intelligent flash at times, my
temple work troubled me. I yet had 215 persons that had been baptized
for but not the other work done. I had also promised the Lord if He would
prosper me that year, I would get that work done this coming winter.
For three years previously, I had all I could do to get ends to meet.
Well, I had been more than usually blessed that year before. I had rented
the place and stock to James Fackrell, with my half of the creamery check,
I had kept the house in flour, potatoes, fuel and fed the cows off the
farm and paid all the taxes. With what was left of the milk check and
selling the hay of the meadow and renting the meadow ground in the fall
for sheep pasture, I had enough to do my Temple work. I had been careful,
for when I got a $20.00 dollar piece, I put it away and would not break
it. When I was so sick and expected to die, when sensible I called my
oldest daughters to me and told them I wanted them to get that Temple
work done, and I told them where the money was hidden for to do it with.
It was in the upper shelf in the book case.
I was suffering so, I did so want to die. I recollect
of asking Elizabeth to get all together and ask the Lord to release
me. They told me after
that, when the elders came to administer to me, that I did ask them for
my release. Brothers Whittly Gibson and Thomas Hardy administered to
me. Brother Hardy was mouth in the sealing of the ordinance. He did ask
the Lord to release me, but said "If it is thy will, Oh Lord, we
would like you to heal him, so we might have his company a little longer."
I don't recollect of the administration, but
I recollect afterwards of being very anxious to die. I was suffering
so. I recollect on Brother
Gibson talking to me on that text. "Not my will, but Thine, O Father,
be done." "Now," said he, "if Jesus in His great
suffering said that, ought we not to be willing to submit to the will
of the Father?"
That speech did me a great deal of good for I
felt much more reconciled. A Sister Robb, an old acquaintance of over
fifty years, came to see me.
They said it was her second visit. She said, "It's no use your wanting
to die before me for I am the oldest." She was just four days older
than I. Well, she did. She died on the 6th of February 1901.
On the 30th of November, Alex and David's wife came to Margret Ann's
to see how I was. I could see Margret Ann was getting near worn out.
Her own girl, Ellie, was not very well. My wife was there too and had
to be waited on, as she was very crippled and suffering from arthritis.
Margret Ann was so careful. She would sleep at nights on a lounge in
the room I was in, up to two or three nights before I left. I wanted
her to go to her bed, as I was strong enough to call if I needed, but
no, she would stay there.
The weather was uncommonly mild and I dreaded going through the canyon
in the cold. So when Alex came, he took me home on the first of December.
I kept improving for eight or ten days. Then I had a backset and came
very near going, but got over that a little, and after some weeks I got
the grippe. I got over that, but it has been a very slow recovery. But
oh, how many have passed with that pneumonia this winter. After I got
home, I wrote to Brother and Sister William P. Ellis in Logan to see
if they would do my Temple work, as they had worked for me in that work
before. They answered yes, so with the help of my son Hyrum, and my daughter,
Isabell Stallings, I got the names of the 215 written out and Joseph
sent them to William P. Ellis in Logan. So that is off my mind.
On the 4th of March 1901 Hyrum, my son, started to Alberta, Canada,
with the railroad, having his stock and goods with him. On the morning
of the 5th of March 1901 Joseph, my son, left here to go on a mission
to Great Britain. I had just been able to go to Joseph's house on the
27th of February, it being Joseph's and Hyrum's birthday anniversary.
While at Joseph's, I got the opportunity to tell him if he or David got
short of means while on their missions to write to me, and if I did not
have the money, I very probably could borrow it. In the morning he called
to see us before he left. His mother was going in and out of the room,
so I had not the opportunity of speaking to him privately, but I said
so he would understand what I meant: Do as I told you the other night,
both you and David.
Postscript: This is as far as James Ririe wrote in his autobiography.
James Ririe died at the age of seventy-nine, on the 17th of June 1905
at Eden, Utah, and was buried in the Ogden Cemetery. He was survived
by his wife Ann, nine children and fifty-two grandchildren.
Bishop David McKay presided at his funeral which
was held in the 4th ward in Ogden, Utah. Addresses were given by old
and intimate friends,
Elders Ammon Green, John Carver, Angus McKay, Bishop Robert McFarland,
David McKay and Presi¬dent C.F. Middleton. Each speaker eulogized
the great worth and work of the deceased who was noted for his kindness
to the poor, for his uprightness and in¬tegrity to the cause of God.
He was loved and respected by all who knew him.
At the time of his death, he left a wife, nine children and fifty-two
While he lived in the valley for twenty years,
most of his children were married. Two moved to Canada, one to Ririe,
Idaho; the rest remained
for some¬time in Eden and some later moved to Ogden. His four girls
were married and made homes in Eden where they raised their families.
In July, 1964, as this report is written, James and Ann Boyack Ririe's
posterity number over 1060.
Their children are:
Margaret R. Hogge 1857 - 1931; M 1876
James 1858 - 1933; M 1881; 1908
David 1860 - 1919; M 1893.
Alexander 1863 – 1924
Elizabeth Farrell 1865 – 1941; M 1887
George 21 Months
Isabelle Stallings (Twin) 1870 -
Mary (Twin) 1870 – 1870, Infant
Joseph (Twin) 1872 – 1937; M 1898, M 1908
Hyrum (Twin) 1872 – 1956; M 1898
Agnes Burnett 1874 – 1944; M 1897
Taken from an account by James Ririe written March 1lth, 1901 at the
age of seventy-five, four years before his death.
James Ririe married Betsy Hendry, daughter of Matthew Hendry, on Oatcber
9th, 1868. Brother Wells married them and Brother Brigham Young was one
of the witnesses. Betsy Hendry was born in Dundee, Scotland. She died
July 14th, 1902 and is buried in the Ririe family plot in Ogden City.
There were no children of this marriage.
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