Norman Proctor Fackrell and Elizabeth D. Meeks
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NORMAN PROCTOR FACKRELL and
ELIZABETH D. MEEKS FACKRELL
Norman Proctor Fackrell was born October 14, 1870, in Overton, Nevada, to David Bancroft Fackrell and his wife, Hannah Proctor. Norman was the third child of this marriage, being preceded by Enos Proctor and by Herman who died as an infant.
Norman’s parents were called to participate in the Muddy Mission and left Bountiful, Utah, in 1868 for what was then thought to be land within the boundaries of Utah. They settled in Overton and began the task of raising cotton and other crops as part of the greater Cotton Mission of Southern Utah. This mission was one of great hardship because of the heat, malaria, destitution, difficulties of transportation and hostile Indians. The final blow to these stalwart settlers was the determination that the Muddy Mission was in the new State of Nevada and Nevada was demanding back taxes be paid to them in gold. Brigham Young visited the mission in 1870 and advised the people to abandon the mission and either return to their homes or to settle in Long Valley, Utah. David Bancroft Fackrell chose to go to Long Valley with his family.
By the time he was one year old Norm was living with his family at Mt. Carmel, Utah, and when the United Order was formed at Orderville in 1875 his family was one of the first to consecrate their earthly goods to the Order. His father served as Secretary of the Board of Directors and Norm and his brothers grew up in Orderville.
As a young child he lived in a small shanty with his parents, ate at the children’s table in the communal dining hall and attended school about three months of the year. When he grew older he worked at various assignments in the industries conducted in the Order--the sheep herds, the shearing sheds, the farms, the dairy, and even a stint at shoemaking He must have proved himself very responsible because at a very young age he received assignments by the Board of Directors to work with his father in managing the soap making and the store. His father often took his family on selling and buying trips and by age sixteen Norm was hauling freight for the store as far north as Salt Lake City and Corinne.
In the fall of 1890, when Norm was 20 years old, his father was arrested for practicing polygamy. According to a history of Hannah Proctor Fackrell written by her daughter-in-law, Elizabeth Meeks Fackrell, they had to go to Beaver, Utah for the trial by team and three witnesses went with them, namely, Mary Jane Meeks, Ruhanna Adair and Nell Spencer Hoyt. On the return trip, it was so cold and stormy they nearly perished (sic) and Hannah took cold and had a stroke soon after arriving home and only lived ten days after. She passed away Jan. 6, 1891 and was buried in the Orderville cemetery. The polygamy charges against Norm's father were dropped and he did not serve time in prison.
On February 3, 1892, Norm married his sweetheart, Elizabeth Dalton Meeks, in the St. George Temple. She, too, was a child of Orderville. Her father, Dr. Priddy Meeks, joined the United Order in August, 1876, when Libby was two years old. Norm and Libby knew each other well growing up in a small community and their daughter, Eula, describes their relationship as “a life-long love match.”
Norm and Libby purchased a farm of twelve acres about one-half mile outside Orderville and owned a herd of sheep which was pastured in the hills. These ventures were successful and Norm had time and the desire for community service as well. He served as President of the City Water System and was Justice of Peace. Norm and Libby were both good singers and musicians and entertained in many public performances. Their first son, Lewis Norman Fackrell, was born December 14, 1895, and a second son, Heber Meeks Fackrell, was born April 26, 1907, there in Orderville. Both boys were delivered by their grandmother, Mary Jane McCleve Meeks, who was a midwife.
In 1898 Norm’s father and some of his brothers and sisters and their families moved to Riverside, Idaho, an area just west of Blackfoot, and homesteaded land. By 1907 Norm and Libby decided that their future also lay in the Snake River Valley of Idaho and shortly after Heber was born, they moved to Thomas, Idaho, just five miles west of Riverside.
They purchased 80 acres of land from his brothers, Rodolph and Trenor, built a house to live in, cleared the land of sagebrush and built the ditch system which would irrigate the land. Rodolph was a skilled rock mason and he helped Norm and Libby build their house, which was a fine roomy house for its time.
Two daughters were born to Norm and Libby in their new house - Mary Ina on January 29, 1909 and Eula Isabel on April 15, 1913.
The Fackrell families helped each other with their work and often got together to visit, tell stories, play their musical instruments and sing. They liked each other, which spoke well of the way they were raised, and as long as they were able they visited each other frequently.
Within a year of arriving in Thomas, Norm had purchased some registered Jersey cows from Ogden, Utah, and they were the beginning of a fine dairy herd. Norm loved and cared for his cows and they won many prizes at the Southeastern Idaho State Fair. The success of a farmer was dependent on his animals and his were always well trained and in good condition.
Libby was the one who planted the flowers, shrubs and trees, making their home beautiful in a dry land. With Norm’s help she cared for their garden and fruit trees which supplied most of their food. She practiced the home arts of cooking, sewing, quilting and was an especially fine dressmaker, making clothes for her family and helping others with their clothing needs. As a young woman in Orderville she had apprenticed with a seamstress who went around to people’s homes to do their sewing. She learned patternmaking, a skill that she shared with her friends and neighbors all the years of her life. She also spent a summer at her sister Nancy's dairy in the Orderville hills and became adept at butter-making. She learned to make such quality butter that after they moved to Idaho she was able to sell it to a restaurant in Blackfoot who paid her extra for delivering it to them.
Libby’s great love was Relief Society and she was an active member until she died. She served in the ward and stake organizations in Thomas as counselor, teacher and visiting teacher. She walked or went by buggy to meetings and to visit the sisters. One of the things she was often called on to do was to nurse the sick. The doctor would stop by and ask her to come with him when someone needed extra care. That, of course, was a family tradition since her father was a doctor and her mother a mid-wife. She would have picked up a lot of medical training helping her parents in their medical practice.
We can speculate that Norm was successful in his farming operation since he I was able to buy the newest farm equipment on the market and had a telephone and automobile when few others did. He made loans to friends and family and donated funds to the schools in the area to buy books and athletic uniforms. Their home was open to people who were “down on their luck” and needed a job or a place to live for a while.
Service to his community was important to Norm and in the Thomas area he served on the People's Canal Board, the local school board, and as clerk for the local elections. His judgment became well enough trusted that he was often asked to mediate in disputes between his neighbors, especially in matters concerning water rights.
The children in their family were the fortunate recipients of Norm and Libby’s interest in good schooling. Lewis started school at age eight in Orderville and finished years four through eight in Thomas at age 16. He then went to Logan, Utah, to complete his education at the Brigham Young College and the Agricultural College. It was not long after he finished his schooling that World War I intervened and Lewis joined the U.S. Army Corp.
He served in France as a member of the transportation division driving a truck. He arrived back in the U.S. with spinal meningitis and was hospitalized some months before he could come home.
Heber attended grades one though eight at Thomas and then completed his high school in Blackfoot, living there during the week and coming home on weekends. He graduated in 1927. In the fall of that year he was called as a missionary to England. He served there two and one half years and then returned to farm and eventually complete a Bachelor's Degree and teach school.
Ina and Eula both attended grade school at Thomas, too, and by the time they were old enough for high school there was a high school at Moreland, so they could finish their schooling while living at home and riding a bus to school. Ina went on to nursing school in Idaho Falls and graduated with a degree in nursing in 1928. She became a practicing nurse. Eula married at age sixteen, but always maintained an interest in keeping well-read and sharing her knowledge and skills with young people.
After successfully farming for many years, Norm and Libby retired when he was in his early sixties. Norm eventually developed rheumatism and around the early 1940’s began having small strokes which partially paralyzed one of his legs and rendered him unable to do the hard physical work necessary for farming. He sold his farm to his son, Lewis, and moved to Blackfoot where they could have more conveniences. Norm and Libby lived there for about fifteen years, still able to drive to visit their children and relatives for most of that time. Libby died from a heart attack on February 16, 1954 and Norm died four years later on February 1, 1958. They both are buried in the Thomas/Riverside Cemetery.
This life history was compiled in June 1995, by Lois Fackrell Worlton, granddaughter of Elizabeth M. and Norman P. Fackrell.