Don Cleveland and Alice Velma Ogden Smith by Don Cleveland Smith
Contributor: Will Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
Don Cleveland Smith, the son of Don G.A. Smith and Nancy Greene Homer Smith, and paternal grandson of John Lyman Smith, son of John Smith ( the prophet Joseph Smith's uncle) and later Patriarch of the church. We trace our Smiths to Edward Smith born in about 1500 in Honks, Lincolnshire, England.
On April Fool's day, 1 April 1897, a little past 10:00 AM, I arrived at the cabin, with the help of my Grandmother Homer, the official midwife in that area, and my mother. I was also welcomed by my sister, Nancy, who had arrived a little more than two years before, when they lived in Oakley, Idaho. What puzzled me was no one was fooled, not even my father. Of course, my mother expected me!
The setting was a one room log house, near the circling South Lee "Crick" which meandered through my Father's homestead ranch in "old Haden". The ranch was located about 20 miles west of the Grand Teton Peaks on the Idaho side of the mountains. The North end of the valley tapered off over a vast prairie land for many miles without any high mountain ranges, while the other three sides, were hemmed in by tall and somewhat rugged mountains. This valley had drawn the name of Teton and had been the rendezvous of trappers and hunters. Originally it had been called Pierre's Hole, after a prominent trapper. Elk and Moose were plentiful, but at that time I do not remember deer. The streams were full of several varieties of native fish. A great variety of game birds and songster were also native of this beautiful, though somewhat wild and primitive territory. There were cougars, coyotes, and a few antelope, but the fox was not native to this valley. The coyote was a menace to the owners of sheep and poultry.
The surname, Smith, can be traced a few generations into England and stemmed from the trade names of persons who were gold, tin, silver or black "smiths'. ( Dad used to joke that Adam's name was Smith, but one made a mistake, they changes his name!)
Our cabin had one small window, a strong heavy door with no hardware except two huge iron hinges. The lock for the door, which served also as a handle with which to open the door, was a heavy latch with a latch string so it could be pulled to lift the latch and open the door. At night, the latch string was pulled inside so that no one form the outside could enter. The room was furnished with one bedstead made of a wooden frame. Both ends of the frame had holes drilled every few inches. A rope was interlaced back and forth from side to side and then from end to end and tightened to make secure support for the big straw tick, which served as a mattress. Each fall at threshing time, the straw tick was emptied and refilled with clean fresh straw. Other items of furniture were, homemade table, washstand, a cupboard to hold a few dishes and the food, and if lucky, a couple of chairs, no luxuries like dressers, etc. Farmers raised cattle, sheep and poultry. Field crops were timothy, red top grass ( which grew tall enough to be gathered as hay ), a hardy variety of alfalfa, and red clover. After 68 years, i stood on the spot where our log cabin, hand hewn and built by my father, stood. I was flooded with wonderful memories of my childhood, our old horse, Tige, the stables and places I had fed calves, pigs and chickens. I remember the day we went to church on Sunday and heard our Patriarch speak in tongues and give the interpretation. I stood in awe and wonder as I gazed at the Grand Teton Peaks, this, the prettiest side of the mountains. With alarm, I remember the walks through the snow to school with Nancy as we eyed the packs of coyotes along the way. In my mind's eye, I could see the great white hares, which were so well hidden in the snow, impossible to find unless one stepped too close. Then, away they would dash over the drifts to hide again. I drew water from 60 foot well my father dug by hand. How did he do that? I picked tame strawberries the first I had ever tasted, that couldn't compare with their tiny cousins in flavor. I have never forgotten the trails my parents endured for me that I might live and thrive and fulfill the measure of my creation and have this God given privilege of working out my salvation to be able to inherit the Celestial Kingdom.
In Riverside, where my parents moved, I met a lovely brown eyed-beauty named Alice Velma Ogden, who was born in Michigan and was a convert with her parents, William Edmund and Ester Low Ogden. It was 1918, the US was engaged in World War I. I enlisted, but was turned down. Alice and I were then married in the Salt Lake Temple 8th of May 1981. Soon after, I was inducted into the army and left to be trained in California for war. Alice came to California to be near me. Next I was sent to Camp Mills, Long Island, New York, where we were outfitted for the trip to France. Although the Armistice had been signed, we embarked on the USS President Grant for our trip across the Atlantic. When out a few days, we were re-routed and sent to Camp Lee, Virginia, where we were finally mustered out. Our Children are: Dale Ogden, Velma Marie, ( died a couple weeks later) Grace, Bessie Mary, Alice Dawna, Etta, (stillborn) and Marilee (drowned with five others in a car accident in Pocatello, Idaho when she was 17). When mother was baptized in Michigan it was November and icy, but even after running a half mile home in wet clothes, she never got as much as a sniffle. Alice died in 1971 and Don in 1990 in his 95th year.