Alvin Verd Washburn
Contributor: Russell808 Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
Jesse and Luella were married and excited to now be living in their own home, the only red brick house in Huntington, Utah. Jesse had brought the coloring for it from Redmond, Utah on the Sevier River, and had dyed the bricks one by one as they were laid. They put wallpaper in the living room. Using money that Luella had earned teaching school, they purchased a new bed, a dresser with fill -length mirror, and a wash stand. They were hurrying to complete the home in anticipation of the birth of their first child. On July16, 1897, with the help of Grandmother Woodward, Luella delivered a 7½ pound baby boy they named Alvin Verd Washburn. The cost of delivery was $3 paid by Jesse repairing Grandmother Woodward’s buggy wheels.
Lucia records in her journal, that she was determined that her new house would not have bed bugs, although few homes in those days were free from such pests. As was the custom, Luella spent nine days in bed following delivery. Some of this time was spent counting the bed bugs as they crawled up the white bedroom wall. As recorded by Luella, “Each day more [bugs] came even though those of the previous day had been slaughtered. It was the mystery and horror of my life to know from whence the pests came. As soon as I was up and about, I went to the corral for investigation. The new rag carpet on the front room floor bad a nice soft layer of fresh clean straw under it. I soon discovered that said straw, taken near the chicken coop, had been the original home of the pests. And with great diligence they were eradicated.”
The young couple canned flints and vegetables and dried fruit and corn in preparation for returning to Provo, where Jesse bad been attending the BYU Academy. On September 1, 1897, Jesse and Luella loaded the wagon, hitched their horses, Jim and Bolly and started with Verd for Provo, camping at night and taking three days for the trip. Jesse completed the year’s schooling. Returning to Huntington following graduation, they began preparations for another school year. However, schooling was postponed when Jesse received a request from LDS Church leaders to spend the next two years doing missionary work in Arizona and New Mexico. Luella was expecting another baby in late August so they selected September as the month he would leave for the mission.
Within a few months, Luella was invited to join Jesse in the mission field to teach school in Franklin, Arizona. Verd was to spend the next year and a half with his parents in the mission field. When school closed that first summer, Luella and Verd traveled north to Alpine, Arizona, a little town in the mountains, where they spent several months with Luella’s father’s oldest brother, Uncle Erastus Wakefield and his wife Marie. They later returned to Franklin to teach the next school year. When that school year concluded, Luella and Verd traveled with Jesse and the other missionaries to Denver for a missionary conference and then returned to Huntington to prepare for the birth of another child. Jesse finished his mission and returned home that fall.
The year Verd turned 9, the family moved to Duchesne, Utah, to homestead. At the time of the move, the Washburns had four boys: Verd, Jesse Nile, Thomas Daniel, and Don Elden. Grandmother Washburn decided to move with them. Verd remembers the journey: “We stacked our family and all our belongings into the wagon and began to travel the 110 miles to our new home. After eight days of herding cows and restacking baggage we find our [homestead], a totally worthless piece of ground above the place where Starvation Reservoir is now. The name fits. It was a very dry and desolate area with no chance of obtaining irrigation water so we anxiously looked for new land.” This was the spring of 1906. They were able to find better land in a location they called River Bend. Soon after building a structure in which they could reside on the homestead, the family built a little home in Duchesne. Jesse and Luella began teaching school in Duchesne in the fall of 1907.
Verd indicates that being the oldest boy had advantages, but it also carried “more than my share of responsibilities.” He took care of the poultry, cows, and horses along with helping to plant and harvest crops. In 1909, the family acquired an additional 160 acre homestead about three miles east of Duchesne that Verd described as “beautiful ranch land.” They named this ranch Rooks Nest.
When Verd was sixteen, a serious accident occurred. Verd’s account of the incident, as told to his granddaughter-in-law, JaNel Moore, he states the following, “One afternoon I hitched the horse to the buggy and loaded on a large plate glass window which I was taking to the [Duchesne] house. The driving was difficult for nowhere was there room enough for the glass except standing in front of my seat. I got to the house safely but the horse stopped before we reached the hitching spot. I took the whip but I couldn’t reach over the glass and so I put my foot on the wheel axel. As the whipped horse jolted my foot slipped into the wheel spinning me out of the wagon to the ground. I was a horrible sight. Both bones in my right leg were broken and the skin was torn off the back of my knee. We sent for the doctor in Vernal and the 61 miles he had to drive took him all night A break of that sort really caused problems for although the bones needed setting the wound in back could not be covered so as to dress and care for it. The doctor made a cast out of a wooden box, with a hole in the back for access to the wound, put my leg in it and put a 10 pound bag of sand on my foot. I was kept in bed for three months but it seemed an eternity. Although I’m sure that all was done that could have been, my knee (in the mending) formed a new socket two inches behind the original one. Today doctors are amazed I can even walk and pictures have made my right leg famous in medical journals.”
As Luella remembers the incident, “Only the Lord’s mercy kept him alive until the doctor arrived, and what poor Verd suffered cannot be told. With the help of the Lord, the wonderful nursing of Clyde Stevens, and Verd’s faith and determination, after a long and terrible year he began to get out a little.” Nile records of the incident, “In telling of it, we usually say that his leg was ‘wrapped around the axle.’ I don’t suppose that was actually true. Nevertheless, Verd’s leg was mangled beyond recognition. For months Verd lay on a hospital bed in the front room his leg propped up at a steep angle, and with a twelve-quart bucket of rocks tied to the foot.” Nile states further, “Verd spent considerable time at home recovering following the accident. He liked to sing and play the trombone. Through considerable sacrifice, the family acquired a piano for him to play.”
Nile’s writings provide some wonderful insights into family life in Duchesne. “In the early days on River Bend Ranch we had a great deal of trouble with the coyotes killing our poultry, particularly the young turkeys. We kept our mother turkeys in small cages or coops which we made out of birch limbs fastened together with wire or nails. After a few of these were upset and the broods taken, we began tying two heavy rocks on the ends of a wire, making a device which we would throw across the coops, with a rock on each side. One would think that it would have taken a steam shovel to upset the thing. It didn’t. It took only a hungry or mischievous coyote. One morning very early, long before daylight, father sent Verd on one of the horses on a jaunt toward the north. I don’t remember what it was for, but I am sure it had something to do with predators. Any way, while Verd was gone, father got the shotgun and began a surveillance of the turkey cages. As morning began showing signs of appearing over Blue Bench, surely enough, a coyote slithered into sight, like a shadow, sniffing about from end to end and from side to side. Father waited tensely for a chance to pot the marauder without at the same time potting the turkey hen. And then the chance came. Just as father was ready to pull the trigger, the wily beast came to a full stop, its alert head poised to one side, and then it took off through the undergrowth for parts unknown. A minute later father heard what its keen ears had detected . . . the high, clear musical notes of Verd’s fine baritone voice, singing lustily, as he came across the hardpan on a gay morning lope.”
Verd’s inventive and mechanical talents provided the family ranch with what might have been the first electrical power in Duchesne County. Nile tells the following story: “. . . a small canal had been built near the top of West Bench, carrying water from the river to the top of the hill. Verd, always mechanically inclined, got a ‘bright’ idea. We went to work and dug a shallow ditch down the hillside from the canal. Then we constructed a race, about six inches square, of one-inch lumber. At the lower end Verd put a nozzle with a mouth about an inch in diameter. When the water was timed into the flume, the pressure mounted. By the time it hit the nozzle, the force was tremendous, and when it burst out of the end, it would have knocked a man down. Somewhere the resourceful Verd bought a dynamo which he installed solidly at the end of the spout so that the incalculable pressure set the dynamo going, and presto! A wire from the generator to the top wire of the fence carried the power a block to the house where another wire led it inside, and we had electric lights!”
Verd graduated from the 8th grade and that fall began school at Brigham Young Academy. In addition to his other classes, he studied voice. He loved music and stated that his voice was “an instrument I could carry with me always.” Returning to Duchesne at the end of the school year, he was set apart as the Sunday School Superintendent in his local church congregation. Although young, this experience prepared him for the Church mission call to the Southern States Mission which he received in July 1914 at the age of seventeen. The mission headquarters was in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Verd had been promised in a priesthood blessing that he would complete a mission. Luella records, “Had it not been for this promise I wonder if we would have had faith enough, considering the condition of his leg, to have accepted the call.” Before leaving for Tennessee, Verd was fitted with a lift for the shoe on his injured leg. The family reports that he left his crutches behind. Despite his physical limitations, he walked hundreds of miles in the mission field, successfully completing his mission.
Nile was thirteen and Tom eleven when Verd left for Tennessee. They took over the ranch chores until Verd’s return two years later. In reporting on his missionary experiences, Verd stated, “The [missionary] work was very difficult and there were few rewards but serving my Heavenly Father was a wonderful experience for me which I have never regretted.” Verd began work for the Duchesne Lumber Company doing their plumbing. He soon decided to go into business for himself as a plumber and doing automobile repair on the side. More cars were coming into the basin, and Vail loved mechanic work. He reports being fascinated by automobiles and watching the Pierce Arrows and Packards as they traveled along the highway.
Verd also formed his own band to earn additional money and to provide the young people with recreation and entertainment Verd had a rich baritone voice. He played the saxophone. He also “really liked the way young women look at musicians.” One such was a pretty school teacher named Grace Marrott. Verd was chorister at the church. Nile records, “[Verd] fell in love with, and married, a wonderful young woman, Grace Marrott. The fellows used to say that for our meetings Verd chose all the hymns in the book that contained the word ‘grace.’” Verd and Grace were married June 13, 1918 in the Salt Lake LDS Temple.
In 1922, when Jesse and Luella moved from Huntington to Provo, Verd moved his wife and young son, Alvin, from Duchesne to Orem, Utah where he began an auto repair business located at 600 North and State Street. It was the first business on what is now known as the Orem bench. They lived in a small frame home next to the business. Verd records, “I found that not only did I enjoy mechanics but I was very good at it and my business grew so that I expanded to a service station and then to a large garage on the corner. I took pride in my business and treated my customers as friends, never charging them a dime more than the job was worth. They trusted me for not only the work I did for them but for the way I treated them as well. I feel this is why my garage flourished.” Verd was associated with a radio and appliance store in Provo during the depression, and worked on the construction of Geneva Steel for two years. He also owned the first automobile dealership in Orem.
Verd and Grace had four children; Alvin M. Betty Paul D. and Gloria. To house the growing family, Verd built a larger, cinder block home in Orem. He also formed another band and reports to have played at over one thousand dances, mostly church functions. He was also active in many singing groups. When the children were almost grown, Grace began to experience serious problems with her heart and she also had surgery to remove cancer. Verd and the children rallied to help her, assisting with the washing and other household chores. On a 4th of July holiday in 1947, Grace became seriously ill, and no doctors could be found. An ambulance was finally secured, but on the way to Salt Lake City, the ambulance had mechanical problems. When they finally arrived at the hospital it was determined that she had a kinked intestine. Grace was too weak to survive surgery, and she passed away July 6. After a lonely year as a widower, Verd married Eleanor Mildenhall Moore in Angola, Indiana. She was a widow with five children. Verd later reported that over the years of marriage to Eleanor, her children came to be counted as his own.
Verd suffered an additional accident just before Christmas in 1949. While working in his garage, his overalls caught fire from an acetylene torch. His already injured leg was further damaged. He was hospitalized with third degree burns. Once released from the hospital, Ella, who had nursing experience, cared for him. His recovery took several months. Despite his physical limitations, Verd continued to work and be active in church work and civic activities. Eventually, hindered by the aches and pains of age, injury, and rheumatism, the large garage became too much work for him. He sold the land, but retained one small garage where he worked for several additional years. After 50 years in the automobile repair business in Orem, Verd finally retired in 1970.
Verd’s philosophy of life is recorded in his personal history, “I’ve always felt that doing more than my share was very important. I’ve been very involved in civic affairs and served as city councilman and also as president of the Orem City Chamber of Commerce. I’ve also loved teaching in the LDS Church. The gospel doctrine class and the high priests group have both seen many years of Sunday mornings with me. Not only in religion but in every aspect of our lives I’ve found education to be very important. I’ve always regretted not getting a college degree because I’m sure this experience would have opened many doors for me. But I know that the greatest influence in any family is a strong religion. The ties the church forms can conquer any problem. If we hold together as families we will always have friends and counselors amid us to help.” Verd was also known for his compassion for others with disabilities. There are many stories of his care and financial help to those with special needs and to struggling student couples. Alvin Verd Washburn passed away September 2, 1980 at the age of 83.
 Sister Lela was born August 31, 1899 and died October 4. Jesse was in the mission field when the death occurred.
 Alvin Marrott was born in Duchesne, Utah, May 15. 1921. He received training in heavy equipment repair, and was an aircraft mechanic in World War II. He owned and operated car dealerships in Orem for (successively) Fiat, Toyota, and Datsun (Nissan). Alvin married Juna Louise Christiansen June 15, 1951. They had five children Jerry, David, Mark, Michael (who was born with a congenital heart defect and lived just 11 weeks), Carl, and Shellee. His wife Juna Christiansen was diagnosed with cancer in early 1989, she died October 16,1990. Alvin suffered from serious heart problems. He died suddenly on March 10, 1992, following complications from a minor surgical procedure.
 Betty was born January 5, 1924 in Orem, Utah. She moved to Los Angeles in 1943 to attend Woodbury College. She married Robert N. Neidhamer in Dallas, Texas on October 19, 1947. Betty and her husband resided in the Los Angeles area for most of their marriage except for three years of residence in San Francisco. Betty was an accountant for Shell Oil Company. Robert was a corporate sales manager for Beverly Hills Transfer and Storage. In 1984, they retired and moved to Palm Desert. Robert passed away July 29, 1986. Betty continues to live in the Palm Desert home.
 Paul Dean was born February 11, 1927 in Orem, Utah. He served on a destroyer escort ship during World War I. Following military duty, he attended Brigham Young University, and then saved as a missionary for the LDS Church in Eastern Canada. Upon completion of his mission, he married Virginia Dale Johnson. They are the parents of five children, Paul, Kevin, Travis, John, and Emily. Paul owned and operated Paul’s Floor Coverings and Customform Countertops in Orem and was active in the community. He passed away on October 7, 1994 after thirteen years heart problems. Virginia continues to live in Orem.
 Gloria was born January 12, 1929 in Lehi, Utah. Following graduation from high school, she attended McCune’s School of Music for two years where she studied voice. She married Arnold Mecham in 1950 and they had two children, Anthony and Cathy. She later married Jack Leslie Wright. Two sons, Tracy and Kim, were born to that marriage. Gloria currently resides in Orem, Utah. Like her brothers, Gloria has also experienced heart problems.
Written by Larry Washburn
"Voices from the Dust" a letter from Jesse Alvin Washburn to his descendants
Contributor: Russell808 Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
Voices From The Dust, a time capsule letter from the Pioneer Ward, Provo, Utah 1930
From: Jesse Alvin Washburn and Luella Wakefield Washburn
Provo, Utah, Utah, United States
9 October 1930
To the following members of the Washburn Family who are living fifty years from the present:
Alvin Verd, Jesse Nile, Thomas Daniel, Don Eldon, Barr Valentine, Victor Fred, Hyrum Clyde, Roland, Clinton Woodrow, Margaret Marie Washburn and descendants of all:
I have tried to project myself in the future and imagine conditions fifty years hence when this letter will come to light again. This is the spirit in which most of the Book of Mormon was written. What will each of you have accomplished? What will your attitude towards life be? What will be the conditions under which you will be living? Will you have improved upon the examples and the lives of your parents? Will each of you now stop and take inventory of the past? Just where do you stand? Are you satisfied with the past?
It has been the ideal of mother and myself to have each of you fill an honorable mission. To date the following have done so: Verd, Nile, Tom, and Don. I also, have filled a mission. As I write this letter, I am wondering if we as parents will live to see our desires fulfilled. Perhaps not. We are arranging for Fred to be the next. He will probably go in January of 1931. Should we not live to reach our ideals, will those who have had this advantage, assist those who have not and see that the desires of your lives have been accomplished? When you read this letter you can fully answer the questions.
It has also been our desire that each one should get through college. At least, have sufficient education to make you efficient citizens. At this time writing Nile is the only one who has completed a course (degree) in college. Tom, Don, and Barr lack but little and will no doubt finish within the year. When you read this where do you and your children stand?
First, last, and all the time, our greatest desire has been for each of you to remain clean and pure in your lives. In our weak way we have tried to set the example. Where we have failed have you each improved and made the conditions in your own families better?
It has been and still is our testimony that the gospel as revealed through the prophet Joseph Smith is true. Again we repeat it. There is no salvation except through the plan revealed. Your own future happiness and salvation here and hereafter depends upon it.
We cannot express in words, out thankfulness and appreciation to the ones that the Lord has given us. None of us are and have done all that we might, but we are thankful that you are active in the work of the Lord. We are grateful indeed that the youngest of the family is our baby girl, Margaret, now eleven years old.
At the time of the writing, mother is president of the Pioneer Ward Relief Society. Her efforts have been successful. I am principal of the Provo L.D.S. Seminary which position I have held for ten years. I have written one book and it is published, “Before the Bible, and After the Book of Mormon.” I have also, completed a story of the Book of Mormon for young people, “From Babel to Cumorah.” It is not yet published. I have a desire to write a simple story of the Old Testament from the Latter Day point of view.
Verd is in business for himself at Orem, on the Provo Bench. Nile is teaching school at Lehi, Tom has been a Traffic Manager at Zion’s Canyon for some time. Don has recently returned from a mission to Germany. Barr is working for the Western Electric Co. Fred is also working for the same company in Salt Lake City. Clyde attends school and works for Headquist Drug Co. part-time. Roland attends High School and carries papers at evening for the Herald, a local newspaper. Woodrow attends Junior High School and Margaret, the city schools.
We express our thankfulness for Grace, Verd’s wife, and for Violet, Nile’s wife. They are good girls and we hope that when you read this each of you has been equally fortunate in securing good mate for life. At the present, Verd’s family consists of Verd, Grace, Alvin Marrott, Betty Jean, Paul Dean and little Gloria. Nile’s family consists of Nile, Violet, Van Hillas, and Beverly. The children are some of the best in the world. What will they and their descendants be in fifty years?
We are living at 748 West Center Street, Provo. The home is not yet paid in full. When you read this letter what are your remembrances of that home?
As I write I am listening to the strains of violin being played in Boston, Massachusetts, as it comes to me over the radio. When this letter is read, what changes will there be in the world of science and invention? I hesitate to suggest for the possibilities of science are unlimited. Will this sound antiquated to you as the report of fifty years ago would sound to me now.
And now, Dear Children, we close this letter to you, and to your descendants fifty years hence. Out testimony is that God lives---Joseph Smith was and is the Prophet of God. This Latter Day work is true. May you all remain steadfast, and not a single fall away. With prayers for your protection physically and spiritually,
We are: Jesse Alvin Washburn
Luella Wakefield Washburn
(Father and Mother)