The Lucas Family Story
Contributor: marmiehill Created: 8 months ago Updated: 8 months ago
By Emma Lucas Blanthorn, daughter of Charles, and sister to Charles Edward, and youngest sister to Kate Lucas Simpson - July 1982
Charles Edward Lucas, born in Salt Lake City on the 30th of June of 1877, was the son of Charles Lucas, born 24 July 1847 in Bloxham, Oxfordshire, England; and died in Grouse Creek, Box Elder, Utah 4 October 1928. His mother, Marian Maiben, was born 8 June 1853 in Keokuk, Lee, Iowa 8 June 1852 when her parents were en route to Utah, after sailing from Liverpool, England to New Orleans, then up the Mississippi River to Keokuk, and then to Salt Lake City by ox team. She died at her daughter Emma's home in Grouse Creek on 4 October 1933.
Marian met Charles Lucas in Salt Lake City. He had come to America from England with his mother, Ann Morley Lucas, leaving his father behind. After her arrival, Ann married Edward Brain in polygamy. He was a musician in Salt Lake City.
After the marriage of Marian and Charles in December of 1872, a meat shop was established and Charles plied his trade as a butcher. Three of their children were born in the City before they determined to pick up stakes and move some 200 miles away in June of 1879 to the northwest corner of Utah in the Grouse Creek Valley.
With a team and wagon, they made their journey to the sparsely unsettled valley located three miles from Nevada on the west and 15 miles from Idaho on the north. Their first home was a typical pioneer dugout in the side of a hill in Section 18, Township 11, Range 18, on what was then known as the West Fork of Grouse Creek, and later Etna. Later after hauling logs from the nearby canyons, a house was constructed of logs with wooden floors from slabs, which were covered with rag rugs made from discarded clothes that were torn into strips and then sewn together. The log house had three bedrooms, one of which contained a rock fireplace. The largest room served as a combination dining-front room. The kitchen was small and contained a wood-burning stove for cooking and heating. Marian was an excellent seamstress, having learned the art from her mother, who was responsible for the costuming at the Social Hall and Salt Lake Theater, where her father performed in plays and instructed in ballet. Far away from that center of activity, Marian at her Etna Ranch obtained a huge bolt of material and proceeded to outfit the entire family, including shirts for the men. The children were always well-dressed; and even though the girls often showed up in dresses from the same bolt of material, they were all styled a little differently because of the variation in pattern Marian was so capable of creating. Early available photographs show the girls in dresses embellished with ruffles, gathers and fancy flounces.
On the ranch, the home life of the Lucas family was very orderly and disciplined, but difficult for Marian as she was rather frail and did not adapt easily to the rough frontier environment. The order maintained in that home might be envied according to today's pattern. Marian and Charles always knew where their children were, and the children always knew what was expected of them - when meals were served, they were expected to be there and on time.
Charles was an early riser. He would get up, start the fire in the wood-burning cook stove, and prepare breakfast, which was served promptly at 6:00 a.m. It usually consisted of a cooked cereal (usually oatmeal), toast and milk. This early hour was necessary because the children had outside chores, milking and feeding to accomplish before school attendance. A one-room log schoolhouse was about one mile from their home, the first built in Grouse Creek Valley. The children arrived earlier at the school than their counterparts, as they performed the school custodial duties such as cutting kindling and building the fire in the school's wooden stove, so that the building would be nice and warm when the other students arrived.
Just as the morning meal was very orderly, so was the evening. Promptly at 6:00 p.m., the children assembled to eat. This meal was prepared by Marian, the breakfast by Charles, mainly because Marian was frail or oft-times pregnant. It was sharply at 6:00 to avoid eating in the dark or doing chores in the dark. Charles never approved of accomplishing any work after sundown and instructed the children in a like manner . His workaholic habits were thoroughly ingrained in all of his children, especially Charles Edward. The evening meal, always hot, consisted of meat, vegetables, and homemade bread. Everything on the table was raised on the farm. Cattle, chickens, pigs, and geese could be found on the ranch, and the plants that were cultivated were harvested and stored in a cellar for later table use, as well. Carrots, turnips, beets, potatoes, cabbage, etc., could be found in the ground cellar ready to supply the family's needs. One way Charles' old city occupation came in handy was the slaughtering and dressing the beef. For preservation, the meat was placed in a large crock of salt brine. Fruit, both wild and cultivated, was dried; and wheat, the most important staple was grown and taken to exchange for flour at the mill in Oakley, Idaho, 40 miles distant to the north. The family thus subsisted independently, providing their own clothing, food and shelter.
The point of order in the Lucas household has been mentioned before. Charles was a "no-nonsense" disciplinarian, and the children were quick to react when he spoke. He wanted everything in its place and everything right on schedule. This was ingrained in his personality and infused into the other members of his family household. When the children came home from school, they quickly changed clothes and were off to do their chores, mindful always that their place at the table was required promptly at six. Certainly, it was around that house, no nagging, coaxing, insolent or argumentative back talk was allowed. This is not to say that the parents, the father, for example was vexatious, only that he commanded respect as the titular head of the household; and while others may have commented that he was stern and too stringent in requirement or control, physical force was never exercised to keep anyone in line. This was the behavioral pattern and atmosphere the children were raised in, including Charles Edward, who was born in 1877, the third of ten children, and a boy of two when the family removed from Salt Lake City to the Grouse Creek Valley. He was very handsome, with blue eyes and dark, curly hair, standing 5 feet 7 inches tall. Slender and well-mannered, he was quiet, reserved and conservative, although in later years he appeared predisposed to nervous, impatient energy. The "early to bed, early to rise" syndrome formed an identifiable pattern in his own home after his marriage in 1907. At Etna, in spite of the fact he was male with a vast number of females in the family, he never brought down superior weight or force to bear on them, or sought to domineer in any way, but treated his sisters kindly.
As a young man on the ranch, he rode horses, driving and collecting cattle and planted crops. Transportation in those days was by horse and buggy. The Lucas family had a white top buggy which they drove to activities four miles away at Grouse Creek, which later became the dominant community in the Valley. Before his marriage, at the age of 25, Charles was called to go on a mission for the LDS Church and entered the mission home at Oakley, Idaho, on 13 October 1902. He left Salt Lake City the following April in 1903 for the Eastern States Mission.
Charlie's only brother, Henry, did not fare as well. "Jake" as he was called, left the family home one day, in the same year as Charlie's departure for his mission, to work with the animals on his father's cattle outfit. He was kicked and struck with both feet by a horse on the right side and suffered internal damages, which resulted in his death at 21 years of age.
When Charles returned from his mission in the Eastern States (Massachusetts), he met and married Ethel Greenway on 3 April 1907. Ethel had been converted to the Church in England by a Grouse Creek resident, Albert Richins. When Albert sailed home to America, he brought Ethel with him; and she lived with the Richins' family until her marriage to Charles. The two made their first home in a small cabin on the Lucas Ranch, where their first child, Elva was born. By the time Bertrum came along, they were living on Willard Hale's ranch at Etna, which they had rented. Ethel died as a result of giving birth to this second child, even though she was whisked by wagon to Lucin, loaded on the train, and transported to Salt Lake City for medical help. Upon the death of Ethel, the two children Elva and Bertrum, came to live with their Grandmother and Grandfather Lucas on the Etna Ranch. Charles married a second time, Orilla Amy Jorgensen. The Isaac Jorgensen family was neighbors of the Lucas family, and Charles borrowed the white-topped buggy to do his courting until September of 1910 when they were married. Charlie was still on the Hales' place, but in 1912, they decided to move to Cache Valley, settling on a farm in Hyde Park. After Charles and "Rill" left the Grouse Creek Valley for Cache Valley, Charlie's parents followed suit, moving with the two girls, Maude and Emma who still remained at home. The journey was made with their belongings piled high in one wagon drawn by a team of horses. Charles and Marian did not remain long in Cache Valley, and after a year's time returned to their old home in Box Elder County, but this time settling at Grouse Creek, instead of Etna. During their stay at Hyde park, Maude married Lester Williams on the 18th day of December 1912 of Paradise, Utah.
Charles and Rill had moved back to Grouse Creek also, after buying a store. When their first child, Edward, was two years old, he was playing with Bertrum and Elva on the hillside behind the store building. Suddenly the latter two came running down the hill to report something was ailing Edward. Emma, who was working at the store ran to where the young boy was lying on the ground and she immediately carried him to the house. His father was away, having traveled to Lucin, some 20 miles away to the south to pick up freight off the train for his store. Orilla was over at the grandparents' home which was nearby. After notification, she along with George and Ellen Blanthorn, rushed to the scene and first aid was applied to try and revive Edward - but to no avail. He was no doubt a victim of "Aethusa", a fool's parsley resembling a carrot which is poisonous (sometimes called wild parsnips). The other two children had gathered the plant on the hillside as well, but since it was bitter to the taste, it is assumed they spit it out. Edward, however, being smaller, swallowed what he had gathered, and this resulted in his death. Edward is buried in the Grouse Creek Cemetery along with his grandparents, Charles and Marian, and his step-mother, Ethel, and Uncle "Jake".
A happier event is recorded after this untimely incident. Charles was again away at Lucin bringing store goods home, when Orilla gave birth to twins - Veda Marian and Vida Rebecca - both girls, with the assistance of Ellen Blanthorn and Mary Hadfield, trained midwives.
Charles and Rilla sold their store in Grouse Creek and moved with their children to Logan.