Don Carlos Clayton
Contributor: SouthPawPhilly Created: 9 months ago Updated: 9 months ago
DON CARLOS CLAYTON SR.
1857 - 1940
An autobiography written by Don, in first person, with a few paragraphs from a sketch of his life by an unknown author which I will insert enclosed in [ ]. Both were written in the 1930's when Don was in his seventies.
I was born in Salt Lake City on the 31st day of October 1857, and herded cows as a livelihood when I was 13 years old. Once, while herding, I was almost killed while trying to get a rabbit and I was under the cliff and struck my head. It almost killed me.
[Don Carlos Clayton Sr. was born in Salt Lake City, October 31, 1857, a member in the 17th ward. He was the son of William Clayton, the Pioneer, and his second wife, Margaret Moon Clayton. The winters of Don’s boyhood life were spent in tuition school where he passed to the fourth grade in reading and to decimals in Ray’s Arithmetic. His boyhood summer days were chiefly spent herding cows where one time he came nearly to losing his life. The boys were hunting for a rabbit which had hid in a wide crack in a very large rock. While Don was searching in the crack, the other boys climbed to the top of the rock and caused a good sized rock to fall and strike Don on the top of his head, cutting a deep gash. Doctors said if the rock had struck Don one half inch nearer the forehead it would have killed him instantly. Our Father spared his life.
The first surgical operation ever performed in Utah was performed upon Don when he was about 9 years of age. Dr. Heber John Richards removed three stones from the bladder, in his mother’s home where he climbed on the operating table made of boards placed on trestles covered with a quilt and sheets. The chloroform was given to him in half of a rubber ball. Again our Father restored him.]
I am the son of William Clayton, who was the composer of the hymn, “Come, Come Ye Saints”, and Margaret Moon Clayton, who was married to William Clayton in Nauvoo in 1843. She was his second wife. My mother was the first, or one of the first women to be married in polygamy. My mother was certainly loyal to the Church because she had faith in the Prophet Joseph Smith. Mother and his first wife, Ruth, ( who was Margaret’s older sister), lived together in the same house after they came to the Rocky Mountains. [The following children lived in the old Clayton home at one time: Ruth’s children- Newel, David, Ann, Algena, Brackets, and Brigham; Margaret’s children - Joseph, Arabella, James, Lavinia, and Don Carlos.]
We always had prayer in our home and were taught by our parents to have respect for the Gospel. Our home environment was of the best. There was hardly an evening without the house being filled with friends. Often the family would entertain them with music. Father was one of the most generous of men. Many people from the old country were taken in for some time until homes were found for them.
Our Mother tried to be regular in family prayer. Those sisters were devoted to each other. One would not do anything without consulting the other. We never had any serious quarrels in our home. We were one family and the girls did not spin (yarn or thread on the spinning wheel) on Saturday. Aunt Ruth did her weaving in the kitchen or basement, we had a big loom. My mother filled the quills of the loom. Mother was loyal to Aunt Ruth. They got along fine. My father, William Clayton, was very quiet, he hardly ever talked. I remember going to him once and asking him to assist me with my arithmetic, it was decimals and he gave me very good help. I only remember him eating with us once and that was on a Christmas.
We had a big iron kettle that held 10 to 12 gallons of stew. We put it in cans and covered it with tallow. It would be made quite thick. We killed several beef each fall to make potted stew. [Don helped to make the tallow candles which were used to light the home. These were made from the tallow from their own beefs, melted and run into 12 molds at one time. He was baptized when he was about 9 years of age, in City Creek, by Thomas Higgs. ]
I had a big music box which represented seven different instruments. It cost about seven hundred dollars. We had one of the first pianos in town. The boys had an orchestra of their own. There were three violinists, Newel, Joseph, and Heber. The girls played the piano in the home. They were Violet, and Belle. Jim played the piccolo and flute. Dave the bass violin. [These children of William Clayton played for the dances of the 17th Ward right where the 17th Ward Chapel is now. (1936)]
My father, William Clayton, had charge of a freighting outfit between here and Montana and also one between here and California. Father had as big a telescope as there was in Salt Lake City. We used to go out in the open at night and look at stars and father would teach us these things. Father was a good provider. One Christmas, father gave all of us children a tin tumbler, it was painted wine color on the outside and just plain on the inside. We thought it was wonderful because dishes were scarce.
I believe more people came to my father to learn about the Gospel than any other person in the Church. Father paid the immigration of a boy from England. He was called Matthew Clayton and was left in charge of our house to burn it when we went to Provo as Johnson’s Army was coming into the city, Matthew Clayton went to Saint George.
Mother died when I was 13 years of age. She died in Salt Lake City in 1870. I then went and lived with Aunt Sarah Anne. I think she was father’s seventh wife. Her home still stands on North Temple between West Temple and First West. My mother died in what we called the big house on the corner northwest of Temple Square.
[When he was 16 years old he and others were requested by President Brigham Young to be baptized into the United Order, which was done in the old 16th ward. He received his endowments the same year in the old Endowment House. He joined the volunteer fire department when he was 17 and helped extinguish fire in the burning Cliff House, with a hand pump, and other primitive machinery. No salaries were ever paid to these willing firemen with Chief Ottinger as the leader.]
In 1873 or 74 some of us boys were hunting ducks over Jordan River on our farm and while we were preparing to go out after ducks I was preparing breakfast and one of my brothers was cleaning his gun when the gun discharged and blew a hole in the wall just a few inches above my head. In 1875 brother Heber Clayton, son of the first wife, went to Panguitch with his family and I accompanied him and taught school in 1876 at Panguitch. We arrived in Panguitch in the fall of 1875. In the spring of 1876 I was employed by the Elders Quorum to work on the Salt Lake Temple. I was paid $1.00 a day. This compensation came mostly in groceries. I cut rock for five months on the Temple Block. In the spring of 1877 brother (half) Arch and myself bought a yoke of cattle and started back to Panguitch, about the 6th of May, and traveled to Salt Creek Nephi and stayed all night. [In May, 1877, he returned to Panguitch with his brother Archer Clayton. Before leaving Salt Lake City they purchased a yoke of oxen from the Church Farm. The oxen were not ‘broke to work’, and had to be ‘herded’ all the way.] When we woke up the next morning there was a foot of snow on the ground. We remained there two days before we went on. We arrived in Panguitch about the 20th of May 1877. Panguitch at that time was just a few scattered homes and one store. We worked there for J.W.Crosby about three weeks of farming. [They arrived in Nephi, May 10, where it snowed about 11 inches during the night. This date is important in Don’s life because of it being the birthday of his promised bride, Mary Marinda Kartchner. The boys resumed their journey May 12 and arrived in Panguitch about one week later. Today one may go to Panguitch in a car in three hours, where Don spent three weeks. His object in returning at this time was in preparation for his coming marriage.]
I met my wife Mary Marinda Kartchner in Panguitch while teaching school there. Her father and her mother, Margaret Casteel, had a four room log house. I played the guitar and taught Mary to play. We used to go to Jesse Crosby’s house to play, because they had an organ, which my brother Arch would play. Dancing was our principal amusement. We would go to the different homes and dance, have plenty of blueberry pie and meat.
My wife was quite a belle. She was about the belle of Panguitch. My wife went out with Tom Huston. I see him now once in a while and he tells me I stole his girl. My wife also went out with John L. Sevey. He nearly beat me to it, but I think her parents persuaded her to take me. I asked her father who was working in his blacksmith shop. “I don’t know whether you can have her or not”. Then I asked, “Can I marry her?” and he said, “Yes”.
When she decided to take me, we went to the St. George Temple to be sealed for time and all eternity. About the 26th of May we started for the St. George Temple with Marinda’s family. Her sister Sarah was to be married to Ninian Miller . Sarah was a widow with two children from a previous marriage. Ninian Miller had a wagon, and one little pony called Spider and I borrowed another horse from Al Palmer, Marinda’s brother in law. Miller and I and the girls road in one wagon and her parents road in the other. The first night we camped in a yard in Parowan. Brother and Sister Kartchner slept in their wagon and we slept out on the ground. The next night we camped at Kannarrah. The next night at Bellview with friends of the Kartchners. The next day, the 30th of May, we reached St. George.
We all went into the Temple on the first day of June, 1877 on Brigham Youngs’s birthday where we young people were married. John D.T. McAllister performed both ceremonies. We stayed in St. George for several days. I had to borrow $5.00 from my brother to pay expenses. We bought five gallon of wine to treat the boys at home. On our return trip we camped the first night at Virgin City, the second night at Pipe Springs, and from there we went to Long Valley to visit some friends. At Cottonwood Wash the sand was so bad, Minda and I had to walk about 25 miles. The teams could hardly get along with empty wagons. The next night we stopped at Orderville, where we had friends. The next night we reached Hatch Town. The next night we went into Panguitch, about the 15th of June, where we had a wedding dance. Some of the boys called on us and we brought out the wine and treated them, a good time was had by all.
Minda and I lived in Mark Kartchner’s house, a two room log house. We had a step stove, which I had brought from Salt Lake. My wife had some bedding she had made and I had some which I had brought from home. I was now farming for Jess Crosby. My wife and I entertained by singing frequently in public.
The Kartchners received a call from President Brigham Young to go to Arizona on a settlement mission. For the next three months we were preparing for the journey as we were required to take two years provisions with us. We started on the 15th of November 1877; Ninian Miller and I and our young wives, with three yoke of oxen and two wagons. We drove to Kanab and there Brother Kartchner bought a yoke of good leaders. He let us have them, so that meant four yoke of oxen all together. We put boards across the wagons on which we slept. My Father-in- law had three yoke of oxen on two wagons and one span of horses on the third. Al Palmer, son-in-law, had two wagons and four yoke of oxen. John Kartchner had two wagons and three spans of horses.
The first day we only went seven miles to Butler’s Ranch, then to Hatch where we stopped several days to gather our loose stock on the range. We had in all about 30 or 40 head including a few of mine and some of Miller’s. We made sour-dough bread baked in a skillet. We would turn the stock out at night and hunt them up in the morning. Among us we had a few chickens and some pigs, along with seed grains, potatoes, and other supplies to establish a new community. We first camped at upper Kanab and then Kanab, then we went about 25 miles further where we stayed for several days to prepare for the barren country ahead. We had to have a barrel of water on each wagon. When we had to have a two day camp we could only spare a bucket of water for each animal. We cross hobbled our horses to keep them from wandering too far. When we reached Navajo Springs, we knew we were about seven miles over the Arizona line. Cedar was plentiful, so we had fire wood. We had a dry camp at Buckhorn Mountain, but the next day we reached Houserock, where a spring came out on the rock, and the water ran into wooden troughs. We stayed there for several days and waited for other members of our party to catch up.
Our next stop was Jacobs Pool, where we had plenty of water. Then we went to Soap Creek, where we found good feed and since some of the animals were getting tender footed we rested there for several days. Then we went onto Badger Creek and Lee’s Ferry. Part of the teams were ferried across by a man named Johnson. Next day we all got across by about 2:00 p.m. Here we filled our barrels as our next camp would be about a day on. We traveled across the river on Lee’s Backbone Upper Ferry. After we ferried across the river we went over a mountain called Lee’s Backbone. There is one place where there is just room for a wagon and a drop of 500 or 600 feet. One of the company came within two inches of running over the ridge. There were lime stone tanks with depressions in the rocks which held the rainfall. These were used for watering. Sometimes they were about 15 miles apart. We camped at both the Lime stone and Cottonwood tanks. The next day had to be a dry camp at Limestone Tanks, any water would disappear into those caves called tanks. The next day we went to Willow Springs, about ten miles from an Indian Village. We stopped there about a week in order to give our cattle a rest. It was now Christmas Eve, but we went on to the Little Colorado River. We left with ox teams traveling late into the night. It snowed about eight inches early on Christmas morning. Some of the little children had to get in the snow in their bare feet. In trying to find water for the cattle we started out to find the Colorado River. John Kartchner went about 100 feet away and started to scream. Later they learned that it was not a wild animal as he had thought, but one of the dogs in the camp. No water was found. The stock were turned out at night in order to get feed and they had to be rounded up again in the morning.
Next we forded the Little Colorado River, and in three days arrived at Brigham City and Sunset which were about a mile apart. Here the first Mormon settlements in Arizona had come. The United Order was being practiced at Sunset and Brigham City. They had one big family table for everyone.
On the 15th of January, 1878 our company formed a camp on The Little Colorado River five miles south of St. Joseph. William Flake was assigned to our company. He had two families and came from Beaver, Utah. We formed a United Order and our first hymn around the big campfire was “For the Strength of Hills We Bless Thee”. John Kartchner was selected as leader with William Flake as First Councilor and Don Carlos Clayton as Second Councilor.
We set our wagon boxes on logs and built a stockade by digging a trench and fitting log together by a flat piece of timber. The round cottonwood logs were held together by wooden pegs. We had a kitchen and a bedroom and we had two or three stoves. I mixed bread for about 75 people. We milked about 40 cows, and made pens for the calves. Some people left Sunset and joined us, which made our supplies run short. We had frost bitten wheat, which made very black bread. We put cornmeal in the muddy water to settle it. I made yeast bread from a start we had brought with us. I baked about twenty loaves about three times a week. For supper we usually had mush and milk. We had plenty of butter made by a little upright churn. We called the place we settled Taylor after President John Taylor. (Brigham Young had died August 1877) It was about twenty miles south of Winslow, Arizona.
About a mile from Taylor was a big box canyon, but we couldn’t get water out of the river, so we went about a mile east of our camp and started building a dam, so we could get irrigation water on our land. We thought it would take about a month to complete, instead it took eight months. Finally we got water in our canal. The first night after completion a heavy storm came up and washed out our dam, and also washed out Sunset’s dam and Brigham’s dam.
After the inundation we appointed William Flake and Alma Z. Palmer (note by Virginia B. Grundvig: this is Phoebe Draper Palmer Browns’ youngest son) as a committee to go up Silver Creek and explore for a new location. They made arrangements to purchase Stinson Valley from A. M. Stinson for ten thousand dollars, to be paid in so many head of cattle each year. We left Taylor the 3rd. The next morning, August 4, 1878, my first child, Clarence LeRoy, was born in a covered wagon with an ox team hitched to it. [his wife’s Mother acted as mid-wife. After this night of suffering by the young mother, Don retired to a sagebrush and offered a prayer of gratitude for his wife’s spared life and for his son Clarence.] We laid over the next day on the 5th. Miller and Kartchner remained with us while the rest of the company went to Stinson Valley and on the 6th we arrived at Stenson’s Ranch. Stenson told us that he didn’t have enough water for himself and when we told him that we expected to make a settlement he thought we were crazy.
Upon our arrival at Stenson Ranch William Flake had charge of the buildings and we moved into one of those Spanish Style adobe buildings that was formerly used as a stable. William Flake was going to live on the west side of the Silver Creek. The rest went on the east side and started a dining hall to live the United Order again. Some converts from the south came to live with us because we had better supplies. We felt alright about it as long as everyone was willing to work. Polygamy was practiced among our settlement also. Kartchner’s sons and sons-in-law settled on the east of Silver Creek in the upper end of the valley. I stayed in the valley and milked 40 cows. The women folks helped some, and the Kartchner boys went up to Mo-geonne Mountains to get logs. We never completed our log building, because when it was part way up apostle Erastus Snow came and advised to make one settlement in the valley. He advised us to move on the west side of the creek. He though it unwise to have two settlements. This broke up the United Order and we all moved on the west side of the creek. Other orders had been broken up and others weren’t in sympathy with it. After that the only place where the United Order was being practiced was in Orderville in Long Valley. The officials of the church didn’t think it was time to practice it. He suggested that we name the town Snowflake after himself and William Flake.
The families first starting Snowflake were: John Kartchner, William D. Kartchner, Mark Kartchner, Ninion Miller, Don Carlos Clayton, Alma Zeremiah Palmer, William Flake and his two families, James Flake, Albert Minerly, the Morris family widow and two sons, and Mr. Stewart and Bob Talley.
Erastus Snow sent for John Hunt from Nutroso to act as Bishop with William Flake as first counselor and John Kartchner as second counselor. Ninion Miller was Superintendent of Sunday School with Don Carlos Clayton as first counselor and John West as second counselor.
Kartchner and others had homesteaded the townsite and they relinquished their rights when the property was divided by drawing. We then proceeded to fence our individual sections. We built a canal on the east side and west side of the valley and anticipated building a reservoir below Stewarts farm but this was not built until after I left I lived in Snowflake from 1878 to September 1888. During this time we had four more children born to us; Vinnie Belle, Don Carlos Jr., Lillie, and Vilate.
In 1881 I took my family back to Utah on a visit to Salt Lake with Ed East and his family. We thought we had supplies enough to last us through. About 20 miles on the other side of Willow Creek our supplies were low. We looked back the road and saw two wagons. Ed threw his hat in the air with glee. We found the wagons were Brigham Young Jr. and Erastus Snow. They furnished us with provisions until we reached Brigham. We remained in Salt Lake during the summer. On our return trip to Arizona we came to a pool of water which had remained from the rains. I volunteered to test it out by riding my horse through but got stuck in the mud and the horse fell over with me and I got soaked. We spent our time in farming and building up the country after we returned.
In 1883 I made a visit back to Utah with Joe Frisby but when we got to the Colorado River we were told it could not be crossed and went back. I was employed to take care of a station where they changed horses at the forks of the road about 40 miles south of Snowflake. I remained there about two months. The Indians (Apache) used to camp near there. One time I was milking a cow which belonged to the Forest Dale people, but while it was straying around an Indian took the cow and calf also. Another time I loaned an Indian my horse for one day. He said he would bring it back tomorrow. He kept it two weeks and brought it back and said, “Me good Indian, I brought back horse today when I said I would bring it back tomorrow.” My wife’s children were with me.
About 1885 we were at what is called Phoenix Park. We were peeling bark to tan leather. We would take a log about 10 feet long, peel one side of it when the sap comes up bark can be easily peeled. Dry the bark, put hides in vat and juice of bark on top and it tans the raw hide into leather. A report came at the time that Indians were on the war path and we set out with a guide that night and came into Snowflake for protection. We learned later it was only seven Indians on a stealing expedition. The white men were really worse than the Indians for stealing cattle. They stole nearly every horse we had. Flake was sent to the Salt River to investigate one time and found 50 of our horses. They had a robber roost on the mountain where they hid the horses. Flake brought the horses back. Later the thieves got to fighting among themselves and killed some of their gang. In 1886 the law got hold of them and broke up their roost. This robbers roost was located on the Mojohn Mountain, a part of the White Mountains between Snowflake and what is now called Roosevelt Dam.
While at Snowflake I took an active part in the activities of the town, especially dramatics. We had the idea that our colonization was a life long mission. So I went to President Taylor and told him we had been there 10 years and they said we could be considered released after that length of time. We were told we could go where we wanted.
We decided to come to Utah as our prospects in Arizona didn’t seem too bright. My brothers and sisters were doing well and they encouraged us to come. We started with covered wagon and one team of horses in the spring of 1887. With my wife and five children, it took us three weeks to reach Kanab. My wife slept in the wagon with the younger children and Clarence and I slept on the ground. While in Kanab we stayed with my brother Heber Clayton who was a carpenter. I worked with him for a while and Minda was busy giving birth to William Oren. When Minda was able to travel again we went on to Panguitch where we visited for several days.
When we finally arrived in Salt Lake my folks proposed loaning me money to buy a place. Dr. Dunford loaned $150, Jim $500. Other brothers and sisters made it up to about $1,000. I bought a place on Provo Bench from Dagbert Whipper for $1,000. A two room adobe house with 30 acres of ground, 3 shares of water. After 2 days I found that David Jones wanted to sell 50 acres and 10 shares of water for $800, so I sold what I had bought and bought David Jones place. I bought a set of logs and built a house and added a lumber kitchen that fall (1888). There were seven children at that time and we all lived in the one room. I dreamed that everything I had was burned. It worried me so I warned my wife to be careful. I put up 75 tons of hay that fall. About this time Lillie was about five years old, her mother was washing, she took matches and went between the two stacks of hay and lit a match, we lost both stacks. Everything including the barns was burned except the house.
Right away we moved to Salt Lake City. We lived in the Silk Factory at the entrance to Memory Grove. Here Joseph Kartchner Clayton was born on December the 31, 1890. I worked on the road and for the city hauling gravel. Some days there was mud clear to my knees. The Mormons and Gentiles were opposing each other at the time at the poles. Then Gentiles (Liberals) were undertaking to get immigrants in. When I registered they questioned it because they claimed I came to Salt Lake just to vote. The Mormon political officials advised me not to register because trouble might arise. I played a fife in the fife and drum corps for the Peoples Party.
Clarence and I came back to Provo Bench in February 1890. We had an extremely cold spell. Later the family joined us on the bench. We fenced the land, put in wheat, orchard, and strawberries. One day Clarence and Don went with me to get fence posts west of the Utah Lake. Both boys were on the wagon and there was ice on the ground. The wagon slipped down the hill and tipped over. I followed and expected to find both boys dead. I found Don first and Clarence further down the hill. Neither boy was hurt much and they were able to drive the team home.
I soon decided that we needed more house, so I made enough adobes to build a two room house. When I was hauling the sand to put up the house, I had Don and Lillie with me, Lillie was pushing the shovel up and down in the sand, and a good jolt threw her off and the wagon ran over her from hips to shoulders. I stopped and ran to her. She was gasping for breath, I had Brother Booth come out and administer to her. She was running around in two weeks as if nothing had happened. We were not so lucky with Oren, who died of Scarlet Fever at the age of four. A little later I had Mathews build three more brick rooms to my house.
My son Kimball was born about 1891, Cornelia was born to us about 1893 and Verena was born about 1901. I was ordained President of first Elder’s Quorum on the bench. I was a second assistant Superintendent of the Sunday School in the Timpanogos Ward, and I was also presiding teacher.
Brother and Sister Nuttall and myself organized a dramatic association for the purpose of buying an organ for our ward. Some of the plays were: “Ten nights in a Bar Room”, “A Forest”, “That Raskal Pat”, “Little toddly Tim”, ect. I usually took the comic part.
When Clarence was married, he and his wife Stena Fugal Clayton lived in the two north rooms for about a year. Earnest was born to them in 1901. He was just one and a half years old when Clarence died of Typhoid Fever. He and Oren were both buried in the Pleasant Grove Cemetery. I was away much of the time working at mining when they were running tailings through at Mercer. I then sold out on Provo Bench to William Care for $13,000 with $6,000 cash and 7% interest. We went to Millcreek (in Salt Lake Valley) and paid $6,000 to Hugh Park for ten acres and a four room brick house with a flowing well.
Mr. Care now wanted me to take back my place on Provo Bench as he got tired of the fruit industry. I did so but couldn’t make enough to keep up the taxes and interest, so I let my sons take it over. About this time I lost a good companion, my wife died in March 1919. After they married I deeded everything to the children and two years later I married Annett Brown Bartlett and am now living with her in Salt Lake City.
About religion, I certainly know that the Gospel is true. You can’t prove that the Father and the son did not appear to Joseph Smith. No one can refute the fact that Heavenly messengers did appear to him. All scriptures are in harmony with his teachings. The Lord over-ruled the evil designs of Satan for the peoples good. If there were no wrong there would be no right, we must all be tested. I would like my children to know that. I don’t think Joseph Smith could have withstood the persecutions that he did if he had not been divinely called. It also would have been impossible for a person to write a book such as the Book of Mormon out of his imagination. All of the revelations he received correspond with the Scriptures. I don’t think we are here to gain a temporal prosperity. I have never tried to take advantage of anyone, I believe this in accordance with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I would like my posterity to believe in the Supreme Power, for I know that God lives and that He and the Son appeared to Joseph Smith. My advice to my posterity is to keep the commandments for in keeping them you will have eternal life. This life is only a drop in the ocean of eternity and it is to prepare us for eternity. For if in our Spiritual life we made preparation for this life, how much more important it is to make preparations for eternal existence. I have never doubted the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ from both Spiritual and Scriptural point of view.
I was ordained a Seventy by Jonathan Golden Kimbal. At the time he said “You can easily trace your ordination back to Levi Hancock and he was ordained by the Prophet Joseph Smith who was ordained by Peter, James and John. In 1915 I was set apart as a High priest. In 1930 I started to do Temple work principally for the Clayton family, in 1934 I was set apart as a regular temple worker. Since 1919 I have been endowed for over 3,000 people. I ride nearly twelve miles to the Temple and back every day (on his bicycle). I will be 80 years old October 31, 1937.
Mary Marinda Kartchner Clayton
Contributor: SouthPawPhilly Created: 9 months ago Updated: 9 months ago
MARY MARINDA KARTCHNER 1860 - 1919
Written July 1965 by Theresia Marinda Clayton Pyne, ( a granddaughter) Orem, Utah
Be it said that most of this story of Mary Marinda had to be gleaned out of the past through memories of her now surviving children: Don Carlos Jr., Joseph Kartchner, and Verena Clayton Morgan, from a history left by her husband, Don Carlos Clayton, and one of her father, also a letter by her brother, Orin.
Mary Marinda Kartchner was a daughter of William Decatur Kartchner and Margaret Jane Casteel. She was born in Beaver, Utah on 11th of May 1860. The eighth child of a large family - Sarah Emma, William Ammon, Prudence, John, Mark Elisha, James Peter, Alzada, Mary Marinda, Nowlin Decatur, Orin, Euphemia Arddomona.
Mary’s parents joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while Joseph Smith was the prophet. They arrived in Utah on the 27th or 28th of July 1847. They were one with the many who colonized parts of California, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona.
When Mary, who was called Mindie by some of her family, was about nine years old she traveled by wagon and ox team to San Bernardino, California with her parents. Mindie’s mother hid her under a mattress while they traveled through the Indian country. Mindie stayed there almost breathless, her heart pounding rapidly, fearing that any moment Indians would swoop down upon them. The sincere prayer of a small girl was answered for the family returned to Utah to fulfill the call of a mission to colonize Arizona.
They returned to Beaver and soon after moved to the Muddy (now Overton, Nevada), then to Parowan, Utah and in 1871 they moved to Panguitch, Utah.
The following story about Mindie’s early life was written by her younger brother Orin:
“Mindie was 11 years old, Nowlin 9 and Orin 7 when they moved from the Muddy to Panguitch (which means fish in the Piute language). They lived six years on the Muddy and six years in Panguitch.
In the summer of 1871 while these three children were still the same ages, the father and older boys stayed in town, building two homes, one for each mother, while Grandma Kartchner moved into Freemont Pass, where she milked cows and made cheese with only the help of the younger children. Mindie helped tend babies, and did almost the work of a grown woman. Orin tells that she was not afraid of anything or anybody. She would go with the little boys after the cows then help milk them or she would stay with the baby while the mother was away.
Aunt Lizzie, the second wife, stayed in town and cooked for the men folks while they were building the houses. These same three children had their pictures taken along about this time, and Mindie washed their faces and hands and combed their hair so they would look very neat. She would fix Orin up a little more carefully than Nowlin because he didn’t appreciate it like Orin did.
Very often in the mornings before they left for school, Mindie would inspect their faces and hands, necks and ears to see if they were clean enough, then comb their hair and see that their shoes were clean and blacked. Mindie did not know what it was to be lazy. Nor would she stand any taunting or imposition. Once when Orin was ten years old his teacher gave him a sever whipping for flipping a tiny clod and hitting his playmate on the ear and then both laughed. It made Orin unconscious and to have Typhoid Fever, but he was heard to say, “You bet if my sister Mindie had been there he wouldn’t of whipped me.” She was mad in a minute if anyone picked on her little brothers. In those days the parents paid the teacher for each child’s schooling, but when the teacher came to collect the pay for Orin his father said, “There won’t be any pay for this boy,” and the teacher knew what he meant.
When Mindie got to be about sixteen she was a beautiful girl with fair hair and lovely blue eyes. She had several real nice boy friends who were glad to come long distances to see her. But she did not take a fancy to any of them until she met young Don Carlos Clayton Sr. from Salt Lake City whose brother, Heber, lived in Panguitch. They lived in a big house where they held school for a while. Don came and stayed with his brother for a time and Mindie could not help but admire his shiny black hair and his dancing brown eyes. Being well informed they hired him to teach school there in his brother’s house. Then it was that Mindie and Don were attracted toward each other and were married when she was seventeen, and Orin tells what a handsome couple they were. When Orin was only seventeen, their dear mother died and during those first sad grief stricken days Orin went to live for a time with Mindie and Don. We praise her name to this day for her diligent care over him and her comforting words of love and kindness. Two years later when Orin was only nineteen he was married to Anella Hunt, and that also was a great help to him in overcoming his grief for his mother. Then when he took his bride to see Mindie and Don he was filled with gratitude because of their loyal greeting. He never went to Mindie’s place that he didn’t feel like he had really “got back home.”
Don Carlos Clayton Sr. came to Panguitch, Utah in 1875. It was here that Mary met this dark eyed, black curly headed young man, who was industrious and who moved quickly about. He taught Mary how to play the guitar. It was delightful and thrilling for Mindie as they went to the different homes playing, singing, and dancing for an evening of entertainment. Don was always grateful for the sufficient servings of meat and blueberry pie. They especially liked to go to the Jesse Crosby’s home because he had an organ which Don’s brother Arch could play.
Mary had other devoted admirers who were seeking her approval of marriage. Tom Houston and John L. Sevy were trying to beat Don’s time. They seemed to have more material riches than Don. It was through the wise counseling with her parents and an innermost desire to further the work of the Lord in righteousness, Mary decided to accept Don’s proposal. Don was afraid to ask Mindie’s father if he could marry her, but he was more afraid to ask her mother. He finally gained the courage to do so.. After their consent the couple decided to go to the St. George Temple. Mary’s parents wanted to do some temple work also. Before they left on this journey, Don borrowed $5.00 from his brother Arch and a horse from Al Palmer, Mindie’s brother-in-law.
The journey to the temple was started with Mary and Don, Sarah, Mary’s sister, who was a widow and had two children by a Mr. Twitchell. She was going to marry Ninion Miller. The two young men and their sweethearts rode in one wagon. The parents rode in another. They arrived in St. George on the 30th of May and on 1 June 1877 the four young people were married in the St. George Temple.
As they returned to Panguitch Mindie’s heart was rapture thrilled. She trudged along by her husband’s side for the distance of about 25 miles in sand ankle deep. The team could hardly pull the empty wagon through this deep sand. Upon returning to Panguitch a wedding dance was held for the newlyweds. Sarah had sprained her ankle which made the dance unpleasant for her.
Here in Panguitch Mindie had the joy of setting up housekeeping in her first home which was in two rooms of a log cabin that belonged to her brother, Mark. She was delighted to cook on the little step stove that her husband had brought with him from Salt Lake City. With the bedding that Don had and that Mindie had made, they managed in their first humble home. This wasn’t for very long, for at spring conference Mary and Don, with the Kartchner family and other people, received a call from the church to go to Arizona, to build up the country. The couple was busy working with her family preparing for this experience. They needed a two year’s supply of provisions.
On the 15th of November in 1877, Don and Mindie, with Ninion and Sarah, started for Arizona, with three yoke of oxen and two wagons, in company with the girls parents who had their own wagon and oxen. There were also other people in this company. When the party arrived in Kanab, Utah, Sarah and Mindie’s father bought a good yoke of leader oxen for them. They also had a few head of cattle.
This journey was long and hard. Christmas Day was spent on the banks of the Little Colorado River. It snowed that night about six inches. Soon after this the company arrived in Brigham City, Arizona. The 15th day of January 1878 this party of people formed a camp on the Little Colorado River south of St. Joseph, Arizona. They formed a United Order and with thankfulness they sang “For the Strength of the Hills we Bless Thee”. Mindie was happy that Don was called as a second counselor in the Order.
While camped at this river on the 4th of August in 1878, at 6:00 a.m. the dawn of a new day brought a new life to Mary and Don. After a long night of patient suffering and the loving care of her mother, who performed the duties of midwife, her mother placed the tiny baby in Mary’s arms. She was overjoyed as she gazed upon the beautiful baby boy. Don was grateful also. He retired to a sagebrush and offered a prayer of thankfulness for his wife and the new life which was entrusted to them. They named the baby Clarence LeRoy. When the baby was three days old, Don and Mary in company with her parents and sister Sarah and husband traveled about twenty miles to Woodruff and camped all night. The next day they went on to Stinson’s ranch (Snowflake).
Christmas Eve, December 24th in 1880, Mary and don were visiting with her father and mother. Mary was always proud and grateful to her quick thinking, fast moving husband; because of this he was able to save her father’s life through mouth to mouth resuscitation. The following is taken from William Decatur Kartchner’s diary, which is published in Our Pioneer Heritage, “Vol. 6 page 352:
“December 24th at 3 o’clock I found I was in bed not breathing. Don Clayton and family were visiting with us and stayed all night. Sister Kartchner raised an alarm. Brother Clayton raised me up and blew in my mouth and administered by the laying on of hands at which time I came to again at six o’clock. I was found to not be breathing and was some seconds again without breath when they sent for John, my eldest son. They again administered and thus I was redeemed from the fit.”
With implicit faith and through the power of the Holy Priesthood many Miracles were performed. God helped and protected the Saints to fulfill their missions.
Don and Mary worked hard together trying to make things work out in a prosperous manner. During this time they were blessed with their first baby girl, Vinnie Belle. She was born the 3rd day of June 1880.
In the early part of 1881 Mary was ready to go on another journey. She and Don with the two small children traveled to Salt Lake City. They returned to Snowflake September 12, 1881 just one month after her Mother’s death. Mindie tried to help make the passing of her mother lightened by comforting and helping the younger children. This couple tried hard for ten years to make a success in the Snowflake area. During this period of time a baby boy was born, who was named after his father, Don Carlos Jr. on November 9, 1882, and a daughter Lily Vilate April 2, 1885. Mary was happy with her children. One of her greatest desires was being fulfilled.
Having received word from Don’s brothers and sisters stating that they were doing fairly well in Utah, and encouraging them to come back to Salt Lake City, and since conditions in Snowflake didn’t seem very prosperous, they packed their belongings in a covered wagon with one team of horses and started on the journey back to Utah.
At night Don would sleep on the ground with their son Clarence, while Mary slept in the wagon with the three younger children. Mary was extremely happy when they reached Kanab for soon after their arrival, another son was born. He was named after his two grandfathers and Mindie’s brother Orin, William Orin on the 27th of August 1887.
The family stayed at Kanab for three months. Don helped his brother Heber who was a carpenter. They traveled from Kanab to Panguitch and stayed for a while then they proceeded on to Salt Lake City. Upon arriving in Salt Lake, Don’s family loaned the couple money to buy a farm on Provo Bench (now Orem).
One day when Mary was washing the little daughter, Lily, who was now about five years old, tried to get her brother Don to go with her and play with some matches but he wouldn’t. He being older knew the danger of playing with matches. Lily took the matches anyway and soon the two stacks of hay were ablaze. This was a great loss for the hay was needed for winter feed for the cattle. In the fall they moved to Salt Lake City where Don was able to receive employment for the winter months.
The spring of 1889 Mary and Don with their family attended April Conference in Salt Lake City. Mary always felt that the baby Orin was exposed to scarlet fever at this time, because a child right next to them had a high fever and vomited. It wasn’t long after they returned home until Orin became ill with Scarlet Fever. He had a high fever which Mary was unable to decrease and he passed away on the April 26, 1889. This was the first great sorrow for the family. Mary and Don were grief stricken as they traveled with the little casket to Pleasant Grove, Utah for burial.
Many of Mary’s winters were spent in Salt Lake City where Don was employed in the winter months. In 1890 they lived in the old Silk Factory building near the entrance of Memory Grove. Joseph Kartchner was born here on December 31, 1890. They returned again in the spring to Provo Bench.
About 1892 Mary wanted to visit with her people in the fall in Snowflake, Arizona. So the family traveled again by wagon and team in company with a family by the name of Tuples and West Willis. When it was hot, dry and windy while traveling across the barren land and they could find no water for the crying thirsty baby Joseph, Don Carlos Jr. said to his father, “I’ll never travel like this when I get to be a big man.” They were able to find some water in the sand stone rocks which were cup shaped on the top. The family were overjoyed when they reached Snowflake. They stayed all winter, the children went to school. After a well spent visit with their loved ones, Don and Mary returned to Provo Bench in the spring of 1893.
Mary was happy to arrive home. She was expecting her seventh child. Farm work was hot and tiresome. On the 9th of September 1893 Mary Cornelia was born. Life on Provo Bench was such that many Sundays the family would be unable to attend church, and Mary would gather her family about her and read from the bible. They would always kneel at morning and night and have family prayer.
The Claytons had an enjoyable life while living on Provo Bench. They would gather with many friends and neighbors for evenings of entertainment. Mary and some of her children would sing and play their guitars. Always at Christmas time the family would go caroling with pride and pleasure to be able to bring others happiness.