David Stevenson 1829-1906
Contributor: Hokie374 Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
David Stevenson was born in Kirkcubbin, Down County, Ireland, November 1, 1829. He was a son of Alexander Stevenson and Elizabeth Rainey. He came to America about 1855, along with his brother John. They went to Ohio where they went into business together, but they didn’t get along in the business, so David sold out his interest to John, then came west, landing in Utah and Nevada, where he started another mercantile business, but was not satisfied so he sold the business and bought a freighting outfit. He hauled ore and etc. from Panguitch to Panaca, Nevada until about 1862-64 when he again sold out and moved to Utah.
In 1864 he met and married a widow by the name of Sally Adams, maiden name of Sarah Carroll. To this union was born one son, 12 of September 1865, at Heber City [Utah]. David and Sarah separated and he then went back to Nevada. There he started hauling freight again. (David Alexander died October 16, 1867). Then he continued in Nevada until 1867 when he drifted into the Panguitch area, and there he met and married Catherine Justet, an Italian girl who had only been in the country 9 years and who was very young. After his marriage to her they moved to Escalante, Utah.
There David entered into the sheep business which was successful until the panic of the Cleveland Administration, which very nearly bankrupted him. Afterwards he went into stock raising and farming where he became very wealthy.
David could not stand to stay in one place very long, so he started to wander from one place to another until he nearly lost all of his cattle in the winter of 1892, being unable to purchase feed for them. In June of 1893 he lost his wife, Catherine, leaving a large family of small children, seven in all, ages from 9 days to 15 years. They were David, 15; Daniel, 13; Brigham, 11; Andrew, 8; Moroni, 6; Esther, 3; and a baby 9 days old.
After the death of Catherine, David never recovered from the shock of losing all his cattle and the death of his beloved wife. As he was getting old and becoming an easy victim of disease, he became very ill in the winter of 1893 which left him with Bright’s disease and asthma. He was forced to let three of the children go to live with strangers. Alma and Mrs. Jewkes took the baby and Moroni to their home. W.W. Moffit and wife took Esther, but the baby only lived until 9th October, 1893.
We were then forced by poverty to give up our home and we moved into an adobe lined lumber shack in the south part of Orangeville where we existed, I don’t know how. I think partly from begging and partly from stealing something to eat. My father, however, managed to keep us all in school. We all had a fair education, all graduating from the 8th grade. We lived in poverty until my brothers and I were old enough to obtain jobs, which were very scarce and wages were small. In fact, a boy did well to get his board and clothes.
Father was able to keep us all on the farm in the summer and in school in winter. In the summer of 1895 he bought another home in the south part of Orangeville, after he had made a trip back to Escalante in 1895 where he found several head of cattle and horses he had left there when he left to move to Orangeville. This helped a great deal and we were able to get along much better from then on. We were still one of the poorest families in town, but from about 1897 on, after four years of poverty, we emerged a bunch of good workers and as such we were able to obtain work easily. In 1896 Moroni was allowed to return home, but Esther still lived with the Moffits, and has taken the name Etta Moffit. She never left them until their deaths and still goes by that name.
About 1900 we abandoned the old farm where we never could make a living and started working for wages. Dan took up sheep herding, I followed farm work and railroad construction jobs. Andrew and Moroni kept working the farm and as farmers they could get jobs. Father almost became an invalid. In 1904 Dave and Dan got married and moved into Sunnyside, a coal mining camp, where father lived until his death in 1906.
All of the children moved to Sunnyside and stayed until 1912. In 1912 myself, Dan, and Andrew, and Moroni all filed on homesteads on the Uintah Indian reservation which had been thrown open for homesteading. Andrew died in January of 1918, my own wife in December of 1918, Delphia West. Andrew’s wife Clara Allred died on the 2nd of March 1920 and Dan died on the 19th of February 1933.
Written by Brigham Young Stevenson, January 10, 1951