[There are no known photos available for John Lemmon and his wife Mary Jane Sampson who died very young. Their daughter Martha Jane wrote this story. Her photo is below.]
My Father John Lemmon Jr. came to Utah in the year 1849, at the time of the gold rush in California with his brother Alumbee Lemmon. When they arrived in Provo, their provisions were exhausted so they decided to stay a little while and work before continuing on to California. It did not take them long, however to decided that it was best to remain in Utah because very soon my Father met my mother Mary Jane Sampson in Provo. Mary Jane was born Mar 21 1827 in Jackson County, Missouri. Her parents (Isaac and Martha Hendrix Sampson) had come to Provo when there were only thirty families living there in the year 1851. [See History of the Isaac Sampson family.]
John Lemmon Jr. (at age 45) was married to Mary Jane Sampson (at age 15) in the Endowment House in the Salt Lake City in 1852 and sealed by Heber C. Kimball (who was my Fatherís boyhood friend and after whom my brother Peter Kimball Lemmon was named.) Soon after their marriage my parents were called by President Brigham Young to go to Fillmore, Millard County, to help settle that valley. Two boys were born there, William (27 Sep 1854) and Peter Kimball (26 May 1856).
From Fillmore, my Father moved his family to Meadow Creek where I (Martha Jane) was born 5 Nov 1858. Two years later we moved to Spring City (near Ephraim), Sanpete County, where my sister Mary A. Lemmon was born 1 Mar 1861. While there we lived by Apostle Orson Hyde who was our nearest neighbor. As he had no small children of his own, he made much fuss over me. Holding me on his lap and feeding me at mealtimes. Our families visited back and forth and I was very much at home while visiting them. We were so closely associated with each other that we felt like one large family. Orson Hyde was President of the Sanpete Stake at this time and he was loved by all who knew him. He was very good to the poor and gave them assistance whenever he could.
Father had the habit of moving and we soon moved to Ephraim where my mother died 19 Aug 1863 at age 26 leaving a baby girl Elizabeth Jane born 12 Aug 1863 seven days old. My dear motherís last thoughts were for her children and she requested Father to take us girls to Provo to live with our Grandmother Sampson. But on account of the baby being so young and the ways of transportation so hard, my Father felt that it would be best to leave the baby with a Sister Allred and we girls went to Provo with my Father to work.
We arrived in Provo in time to go into the fields to glean. Many women and children went out in the field to glean and collect the grain. I was only eight years old and my brother Peter was 10 at this time. After working at this all day we would carry our grain in the sack to our home, where we would lay it on the canvas and beat the grain out of the straws with willows tied together with ropes called flails. And thus, we did our thrashing. This was rather hard work for us, but we were glad to do it for it helped us to get our clothes, for clothes were scarce articles in those days. With the money we got from our grain, Peter got his first pair of store shoes. We had always worn homemade shoes of horse leather or cowhide. My sister and I each got a new dress. My Father and my older brother William Lemmon aged 12 were working at whatever they could find.
Each morning my brother, Peter [photo on the right] and I would take our lunch and sack and go to the fields to glean. We would break off the ears of grain and fill the sack with them. The men who were harvesting were very good to us, throwing us handfuls of grain now and again as they gathered it. Peter and I ate our lunch each day on the bank of the Creek near the Mill Race. One day Peter was braiding a whip from some rushes when we heard a noise close by. We both turned to see what it was and I fell into the water. Peter was surprised and frightened when he saw me come up in the water screaming. He called to a Brother Skinner to help get me out. The women in the field soon arrived on the scene, hung my clothes to dry and wrapped me in some of their many petticoats.
We were not permitted to stay long in Provo, but were called to help settle Sevier Valley. My (Sampson) grandparents went with us and we called for our little (baby) sister as we passed through Sanpete, taking her along with us. We journeyed to the red manís land. The Indians were very hostile at the coming of the white people, for it was a fertile valley with mountains, streams, and plenty of wild game which the Indians used for food. Glenwood was the place in which we settled. It was then called Cove because it was a natural cove, surrounded by mountains, making it a very easy place for the Indians to make a raid. They killed some of the men while they were in their fields and drove away their cattle and oxen. Oxen were used instead of horses. The people drove the Indians into the hills of Grass Valley [Editorís note: this valley is near the town of Koosharem] but they soon came back to do more damage. The first man who was killed was named York. He was herding his cows two miles from town. All the towns were forced to build rock shelters or forts to protect their families and animals. Men stood on guard at all times at the forts and on the hilltops overlooking the town. [Editorís note: Glenwood was established in 1863, a stone fort was constructed in April 1866. It is 10 miles east of Richfield.]
The only grist mill was in Manti, sixty miles from us. When we ran out of flour we used to parch the corn and grind it in a coffee mill. Out of this we made corn bread and mush. This along with potatoes and milk was our only food. Before we could get more wheat flour we were very hungry for regular bread. As it took two days to go to Manti and return, the men were advised to go in groups to protect themselves against the Indians. They always stood on guard over the camp at night, taking their turns as others slept.
The blacksmith in Glenwood by the name of Matt Staley built his house close to the low hills where the canyon stream ran close by. He came out one morning early to gather wood for his fire. Indians who were hidden behind some large boulders opened fire on him, shooting him through the shoulder.
There was some excitement that morning as men, women and children ran partly dressed from their homes to that of Bishop James A. Wareham whose adobe house was the only good protection we had at the time. There was no doctor to care for the wounded but we were fortunate in having an English sailor boy by the name of Joseph F. Doxford who knew first aid. He cleansed the wound with a silk handkerchief on the end of a stick. Matt Stanley was made as comfortable as possible. He was soon well and able to work. [Editorís note: little did she know at that time that she would later marry into the Doxford family.]
The next mishap came to Brother and Sister Rasmussen and little Mary Smith. They had disobeyed orders and were traveling alone from Richfield to Glenwood to do some trading. These people were Danish and wore wooden shoes. When they were going along the dugway nearing Glenwood, the Indians came upon them. The Indians took the shoes from the man and woman and beat their brains out and filled their bodies with bullets. They killed Mary Smith after abusing her shamefully and sticking greasewood into her body. A baby girl and a small dog were left unharmed. The men who were on guard on a peak gave the danger signal and men from Glenwood soon reached the scene as it was not far from Glenwood. We never felt safe. We were always afraid of another attack. The Indians were on the warpath and they stole everything they could and killed several people
We had some very pleasant gatherings along with our troubles. The first school I attended was in Glenwood. My first teacher was James V. Williams, Melissa Andersonís Father. He was the youngest drummer boy in the Mormon Battalion. He was a wonderful character, always good to everyone. Both he and his good wife were loved by all the people of Glenwood. I was only eight years old at this time, but as I sit and write I can recall many incidents of our association with these good people. He would call us together by beating his drum. The school house was built of logs. The floor was the bare earth and the seats were planks laid over big rocks. A large fireplace furnished the heat. Our books were small primers with the alphabet and words with one syllable, a slate and a spelling book. We were promoted by book instead of by grade. For a short time we were very happy, but we were not permitted to live in peace very long. The Indians were so hostile that the soldiers were called to help protect us. They stayed with us three months and during that time the Indians were peaceable, but as soon as the soldiers left us we were attacked again. The people of Alma which is now Monroe, Jericho, Glenwood and Salina were advised to move to Richfield, so that the women and children would be better protected while the men went in groups to the fields for where there is unity there is strength.
At this time the crops were very good. We now had plenty of grain, potatoes and small vegetables. As a result the people were generally healthy. Although at this time my little sister Elizabeth Jane almost 2 years old took sick and died in 1865, She was among the very first to be buried in Glenwood.
Some time between the fifth and fourteenth of April 1867, Joseph Wall, John Killpack and Peter Olroyd went to Brigham Young telling him of the danger that confronted them day to day. So through the advice of President Young we were preparing to move once more. On the fourteenth of April, Bishop William Seelet came to our rescue with wagons and teams and helped us to move out. On the morning we were preparing to move, about daybreak, Sister Eda Williams gave birth to a baby boy. This was James Williams, brother to Melissa. We left that very morning about two hours after the baby was born. We loaded Sister Williams into a covered wagon making her as comfortable as possible and started on our way. We had to cross the Sevier River as there were no bridges. When our wagons started through the river the oxen came loose from the wagon tongue letting our wagon down into the water. Men came wading out to help us. This frightened my sister Mary Ann and me. We cried for our grandmother who was already on the other side of the river.
After traveling a short distance, there was a separation in our company, as Brigham Young had sent word out to different settlements for the people to take care of us for a while and it was here that the roads divided and led off to the different towns. My grandparents-the Sampsons and their family moved to Holden. My Father stayed in Gunnison. We children were very sad at leaving our grandparents. We went to live with Sister Elizabeth Gribble a widow with six children. While we were here, we were treated very well. We were happy when we found that Brother and Sister Williams from Glenwood had also settled in Gunnison not far from where we lived. This was the only family that we knew that had settled here and we became very dear to each other.
A little later Fatherís brother, James (Abbott) Lemmon, persuaded Father to move near him. He sent a man with an oxen team for us, and we went with him to Rockville. [Editorís note: Rockville was originally settled in 1861 and is 4 miles SW of Springdale.] We traveled three weeks before we reached Rockville. Then we went a few miles out to a little place called Northrup where my uncleís beautiful farm was located near what is now known as Zionís Canyon. [Editorís note: Northrup was originally a small pioneer community at the confluence of the North and East forks of the Virgin River. It was settled in 1861 and later absorbed into Springdale.]
We lived in a one-roomed rock house not far from my uncleís home. We did all our cooking over the fireplace. There was a cave in the low mountains where the Indians sometimes roasted pine nuts. This served as a playhouse for my sister and me. We were the only small children on the farm. We had many happy hours in our cave playhouse. We made our own dolls and often roasted pine nuts. We helped to gather peaches and to strip the sugar cane to make molasses. The people of Dixie had a hard time because they could not raise wheat. They made molasses and peach preserves, put them in 25-40 gallon barrels and took them to Sanpete and traded them for flour and potatoes. When flour was brought home and we had some white bread...oh what a treat! When the corn was ripe we made bonfires and husked the corn for market.
My uncle Alumbeeís wife, Aunt Lydia Lemmon who lived in Parowan, came to visit us and said if Father would send us to her home she would make us some new clothes which lacking a motherís care, we were badly in need of. My brothers Peter and William [Editorís note: William would become the Father of my grandmother Alda Johnson in the future] by now were old enough to go to dances but they had only one good suit, shirt and pair of shoes between them, so they had to exchange, each wearing them part of the evening. The dance hall was a large bowery with a dirt floor. Those were hard times, but we were happy and loved each other and felt so near to each other.
Father now decided to leave Dixie and go north to Little Cottonwood [near Salt Lake City], where his brother Peter Lemmon lived. When we reached Parowan, Aunt Lydia persuaded my Father to leave us girls with her and she would take care of us. As the journey to Little Cottonwood was a long one and not knowing just what he was going to do when he reached there, Father finally consented to leave us with her. He took his two sons Peter and William along to look for work also in Cottonwood. [Peter would be about 12 and William 14 at this time.]
My aunt and uncle were very good to us and it was here that we were baptized in the church. I was 10 years old at this time and my sister was eight. This had been neglected because of our moving around so much. Aunt Lydia soon found good homes for my sister and me. My home was with a family by the name of John and Mary Jane West. My sister Maryís home was with a Mrs. Worden, but Mary could not stand the hard work here, as she was not very strong and had been quite frail. We wrote to Grandmother Sampson who now lived in Holden, Millard County and Grandmother sent word for Father to send Mary [photo below] to her, which he did.
I was very lonely after my sister Mary left and so I worked hard to keep my mind off of it. I learned to milk cows and keep house. I went into the mountains to cook for the boys who were herding sheep when I was eleven years old. After three weeks, I went down to a ranch five miles north to help care for thirty cows. Sometimes the men and boys were there to help but very often Manett-an Indian girl and I were left along to care for them. Here I learned to make cheese. The West family had raised Manett from the time she was a tiny baby. Her Indian Father was angry with her mother and was going to kill her. In order that the baby wouldnít be harmed, her mother gave the baby to the West family and made her get-a-way. Manett and I worked together and became very good friends, but we never had time to play. We each milked fifteen cows night and day, helped cook, wash and iron and although I was only eleven years old, I knit my own stockings. My first spinning was to make yarn for a carpet. I got very lonesome to see my Father, brothers and sister, so Father came to Parowan to get me. I was very happy to see my loved ones once more. My Father then took me to Holden to my sister and grandparents and he returned to Cottonwood.
While in Holden, I worked for a family by the name of Elliott. I was here one and one-half years, then I went to Salt Lake City to care for Father who had met with a serious accident. While greasing a saw in the Saw Mill at Cottonwood, his fingers were caught and three of them cut off and his hand was badly cut also. The nearest doctor was in Salt Lake City which was about forty miles away and they had to go by oxen team, so by the time he reached a doctor he was very weak from the loss of blood. Father and the two boys had saved money to come and visit sister and me but it took it all their money to pay the doctor bills. Father and I went to live with a Mrs. Lee. I took care of Father and helped with the housework for our room and board. Taking care of Father was my first case of nursing.
The people of Sevier Valley were now called back to their homes, as the Indians were now peaceable. Uncle Peter Lemmon came to take us back to Glenwood where we met our grandparents once more. The people were all glad to get back, although some of us had to live in dugouts until our homes were built. Father dug into an old Indian relic room. This room was our home. I soon got work helping my Uncle William and Aunt Margaret Sampson. I taught Aunt Margaret how to make cheese. My training in Parowan came in handy. I was chosen teacher in Sunday School and helped in this position until I was married in the year 1874.
1. Information on towns taken from Utah Place Names by John W. Van Cott, published in 1990.
2. Burial information-John Lemmon Jr. is buried in Glenwood Cem on Black Knoll Rd along with his wife's parents Isaac Sampson Jr and his wife Martha Hendrix. Mary Jane Sampson Lemmon died in Ephraim but we don't know where she is buried probably in Ephraim but she's not listed in the burials there. http://webapps.dced.state.ut.us/burials/execute/searchburials
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