Eliza Jane Smith and Butch Cassidy connection
Contributor: Todd Millett Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
George Brown Rust was about age 29 when he went to run his maternal uncle Peter Brown's farm in Hanksville, Utah. He was single, and probably engaged at the time to Melinda Elvina Roberts, who was still a teenager.
Eliza Jane Smith was a young school teacher in Hanksville, which was a supply post for Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch. While George was in Hanksville, he was the Sunday School Superintendent and Eliza Jane was his secretary. Someone in the Wild Bunch took a liking to Eliza Jane. Eliza Jane needed to get away from the unwanted attention. She asked George to marry her. He took her to the Logan temple along with his finance Melinda Elvina Roberts and the three of them were married on 21 December 1887.
Eliza Jane's brother accompanied the party to the temple. George and Melinda's was the official marriage on the books. George and Eliza Jane's marriage was probably documented in a less official location. Melinda later told her granddaughter Arda that the two wives got along well together, that Melinda loved Eliza Jane like a sister. The three probably lived together for a while, but the US Marshalls got wind of the plural marriage situation and came looking for George. Melinda returned to high school in Richfield some time after the marriage. George and Eliza Jane moved to Mancos, Colorado. Eliza Jane got pregnant and died in childbirth along with the baby in 1889.
As told by Arda Ann Hansen Pritchett on 18 December 2014.
As I Remember My Father, Absalom W. Smith by Bert L. Smith
Contributor: Todd Millett Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
"AS I REMEMBER MY FATHER, ABSOLOM W, SMITH”
by Bert L. Smith
When I was born my Father was 62 years of age; because of this, I remember him as a man advancing in years. He was about 5 feet 8 Inches tall and weighed around 150 pounds, medium complexion, gray eyes.
My first recollection of him was when we stood In our kitchen. He was talking to the members of his family - the event being the marriage of his daughter, Eliza, to George Rust, who soon returned with his bride to southeast Utah, his home. This was about 1888. A more vivid picture comes to me some two years later when Father, had returned from Hanksville, Emery County, Utah. He had gone to Hanksville to put distance between him and Salt Lake City where the U.S. Marshal was rounding up the men practicing polygamy. He paid us a visit in the fall and stayed for some little time and decided to take my brother Sam back with him. I should explain that while Aunt Mary Ann, the fourth wife, and Father were at Hanksville, Mother and we kids were staying in the big house located near the Draper road on State Street. Continuing with Father's a visit back to Draper in the fall, he usually brought us a barrel of molasses and some corn meal and would take back merchandise that was more accessible in Salt Lake City and needed at their new home. I am sure Mother was very much upset at the thought of Sam's leaving.
Father had visited around this crisp spring morning as he was getting ready to leave. He impressed me as a man of strong will and determination. I was likely more impressed at my age than I would have been had not Sam been waiting to get in to the wagon with him and leave us. Father finally hitched up his team to the wagon. The team had been resting for some time and were full of life. I recall that the horses ran and jumped and Mother thought It was rather dangerous for a nine year old boy to go along. Father Insisted that the team was perfectly safe and just to prove it let them run like wildfire. I was only six years old when all this happened. Soon he returned with the horses quieted down, and they were on their way.
The following period of time until Father returned was anything but pleasant. The condition of the farm, which I will discuss later, was such that crops produced for cash ware almost nil. In addition to the corn meal and molasses which Father brought up from the South, we produced meat, eggs, milk, and grain for flour. This represented the food for that generation. While in Hanksville, Father built a small house and had some acres of land under cultivation. It was his belief that everyone should assist in Community improvement. He did much work on the small house that was used for church and school. He also was interested in getting water out of the Muddy River for the community. Our home In Draper consisted of a very large two story house and also a large barn, 200 acres of land on three aides of the Draper-Riverton road at State Street, also 150 acres on the Jordan River. The farm land on State Street gradually went to alkali and except for small spots It was temporarily valueless for production of farm commodities.
Soon after the Manifesto was signed in 1890, Father disposed of his holdings in Hanksvllle and returned to Draper. After his return he mapped out a plan to reclaim the land which had gone to mineral by digging open drain ditches and keeping the water table down. Father was over 70 years of age and since we boys (Elisha, Orson, Parley, Sam and myself) ranged in age from 10 to 16 years, we were not able to accomplish much in this direction. To say that our economic condition was impaired would put it mildly. To show how really low the Standard of Living was (and to include the West generally would be only fair) we raised a large acreage of potatoes one year down on the Jordan farm. We sold a railroad car of potatoes through Mr. Rideout’s store - he furnished the sacks and we delivered the potatoes to the railroad. A car of potatoes would weigh in the neighborhood of 25 tons. When Father got the return after freight and bags were paid for, there was enough money left to buy five suits of clothes (knee pants), with shoes, hats and sox, which represented between $50 and $60. Today those potatoes would have a value of between $750 and $1,000.
Father was a quiet man and rather stern in his appearance, but agreeable in the main. We five boys near the same age enjoyed our sports and games. We had a large apple orchard near the house in which we set up a croquet set. As soon as dinner was over, we were off to play croquet. Father was getting along in years and felt he needed a short rest after dinner, which he enjoyed every day. After the rest he would come to the edge of the orchard and shout, "Boys, it's time to go to work". There was something about his voice which carried finality without any slang or swearing. May I say that on a hot July day the urge comes to young boys to loaf around and waste a little time, but not so with us. His voice cleared the air of any doubt and we were ready to go to work.
Father was always an early riser. During the cropping season down on the Jordan farm, which was two and a half miles from our home, Father would go down to take care of the irrigation at 3 O’ clock in the morning; he would return about 7 a.m. This would give him an opportunity to encourage us boys in the line of our duty. Very often this was essential. If I were to undertake to say what gave his such decided influence over us boys, it would be he got a great deal of experience raising a large family early in life. Only once can I remember his taking a switch to me for not paying attention to details. He had asked me to put the calves in the calf pasture and I had placed them in the yard. He seemed to have the quality of knowing how much to say and how to say it and further than that he did little talking. He was not the visiting type; however, he did enjoy sitting around with the family and let them do most of the talking. His natural disposition must have been helpful in guiding his children without the use of the “rod”. His teaching was done almost entirely by example. As I look back over the years, I am impressed with the respect in which he was held by his family, his neighbors, and the community at large. He was always fair with other people; he believed that one should treat others as they would like to be treated. I recall that when the neighbor’s cattle got into our field, if it was the first time he would say "Well, accidents will happen but it must not become a habit". If they continued to bother, the owner would have to pay as Father would expect to do if his cattle did damage to others under similar circumstances.
I recall one of his nieces visiting our place in the winter for some weeks. She was a schoolteacher who lived in the East. She told many stories and jokes and read much from book. That was the one time I remember Father's laughing a great deal. He would laugh until the tears came and no noise was heard.
He and I were down on the river farm for the purpose of planting some turnips. We were going to broadcast the seed and he asked me to bring him a bucket of sand. When I asked him what he was going to do with it he said that he was going to plant it. That was one time I thought I should never have come down to the farm alone with him. Later he explained that adding sand kept the seed from being too thick on the ground.
He attended church regularly and was always interested in community betterment. He was active in a limited way right up to within three months of his death, which occurred at 84. When Father felt that the end was near he asked a representative from each part of his family to get together and divide his property – there was an attorney In the group and they reached an agreeable division of his property in one day's time. There was considerable property but it did not have much money value at that time. One farm recently sold for $50,000. Father was sick for two or three months before the end came. Several of the children took turns sitting with him. Some of the elder boys were so impressed with his life that they caused the immortal words of the poet to be placed upon his tombstone. "His life was so gentle and the elements so mixed in him that nature might say to all the world this was an honest man”.
Draper, Utah December 5,1954