Emily Weech, Settlement of Southern Arizona by Utah Pioneers, from Pioneer Pathways, DUP, 2008, Volume Eleven, pp. 282-285
Contributor: bhchesser Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
Mary Elizabeth Lines McBride wrote the following account of her mother, Emily Weech Lines.
My mother, Emily Weech Lines, the youngest child of Samuel Weech and Elizabeth Gould Weech, was born on July 15, 1850, at Alton, Madison County, Illinois. She was the only one of her family born in America. Her parents were from England and had come to the United States to make their home with the Latter-day Saints in Utah. They landed at New Orleans about a year before her birth. From there they went up the Mississippi River to Alton where Grandfather leased a plot of ground and built a home. His health was not good after coming to America, and he died, leaving my grandmother and their eight children to mourn his loss.
Grandmother was very ill at the time of Grandfather’s death, but she was determined to continue on with their goal to travel to Utah. The older children secured employment wherever possible and thus helped to support the family. Their neighbors were very good and kind to them. Although very young, Mother remembered how good the sweet potatoes were that their neighbors brought to them.
During the spring of 1856, preparations were made for the long trip to Utah. The home and lease on the land was sold, and provisions, clothing, and a yoke of oxen were purchased.
Their oldest son had married and decided not to go to Utah. The oldest daughter had also married while they were living in Alton, so this left Grandmother and six children, the oldest being eighteen years of age, to make the trip to Utah.
On the Fourth of July 1856, they started for the West. They camped the first night about five miles from the starting point….One day while the children were walking next to their wagon, some Indians came along and wanted Mother’s sister, who was very pretty, to go with them. They were so determined to have her, that it became necessary to hide her in one of the wagons. She was not permitted to do any more walking during the time that they were traveling through Indian territory. They arrived in Salt Lake City October 5, 1856….
Grandmother had only three pennies left in her pocket when they arrived in Salt Lake, and their food was nearly gone. The entire family went to work at anything they could find to do, and Grandmother and the youngest children went right out into the fields to glean….Since there was no flour mill where wheat could be ground, they used a coffee mill;….the meal made this way was very coarse and was then made into cakes which were baked in a Dutch oven over hot coals. This was the only kind of flour the family had that first winter….The boys worked and received their pay in potatoes….
Grandmother taught school for a while, and it was there that Mother learned to read and write….When she was about sixteen, she was employed by a family where she had to get up early to milk the cows….and do other housework….Mother stayed at this place for a year, but then she contracted whooping cough and….went home to recover….
Grandmother had a very Puritan attitude and never cared for fun or frolic, so when Mother was living at home, she was not permitted to go out much….She liked to sing….and did most of her own sewing….by candlelight.
On December 10, 1869, Mother was united in married to Henry Lines. They had a wedding supper, and while the group was in one room, someone who was not at the wedding party, opened a window and took several of the pies….To this union were born eight children—six sons and two daughters….Five of the children were born in Goshen, Utah County, Utah. The oldest daughter lived about four years and died very suddenly….
The winters in Goshen were long and very cold….Mother’s brother-Hyrum Weech, was also discouraged with conditions in Goshen, so he went on an exploring trip to the Gila Valley in Arizona. He was well pleased with what he found, so in the fall of 1879, he moved his family to Arizona.
Mother and Father were so impressed with his description of the country that they decided to move there too. They made all the necessary preparations by purchasing a wagon, food, and clothing. Mother made a rag rug, and this was placed under the canvas cover and made the wagon much warmer to ride in. Father bought dried fruit and alfalfa seed and loaded it all in the wagon,…and in the fall of 1880 they started. Father soon found that he had overloaded his team, and the going was hard and slow. Before reaching the Colorado River, one of the oxen died, and a cow had to be put in his place. At the Colorado River another family joined them, and they traveled with us the rest of the way. Our family reached Smithville, now Pima, early in January 1881. A lot was secured, and a one-room stockade house was built. Later, another room was added, and a shed which became the kitchen. While living in the stockade, two more boys were born to Mother, making six children in the house….Grandmother Weech came to Arizona and lived with us for a time. Later, Uncle Hyrum built her a home of her own.
In 1888, Mother gave birth to her sixth son and last child….She had to work hard to keep them fed and dressed to look as well as other boys in the community. In 1889, Father bought another home for the family, a five-room, adobe house situated near the Cottonwood Wash. Mother was very pleased to have a real home again….
Mother was very anxious to have her children get an education. When Alvin, her next to youngest son, was ready to enter the LDS Academy at Thatcher, Mother took him there in a buggy each Monday morning and went after him each Friday evening….
One winter her sister, Fanny Ewell, came to visit her, and they had a wonderful time visiting and talking over their early life in Utah. The old adobe house that the family had lived in so long was too large and required too much work,…so after Alvine, the last of the children to leave home, was married, it was torn down and a smaller and more modern house of concrete was built in its place. The rag carpet, which was so hard to keep clean, was replaced with linoleum. Mother enjoyed this home very much and was happy there….
She lived a long and use life and reared a large family and was a mother any child could be proud of. Her grandchildren loved to go to her home, and she always made them welcome….Father like to play the phonograph for them, and he usually had some candy.
She [Emily Weech Lines] passed away on May 22, 1932, and would have been eighty-two years old in July.
Contributor: bhchesser Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
Henry Lines was welcomed into the Lines family at the same time as his brother, John. One of twin boys, he took his place as fourth in the family as his twin brother died the same day he was born. He came as a valentine or rather, one of two valentines to their humble home in Spark Brook, a suburb of Birmingham, Warwickshire, England, on the 14th day of February, 1846. (Note records of Birmingham Branch give the birth date as Feb. 17, 1846) He had one older brother and two older sisters. Of his childhood, little is known. He was athletically inclined and excelled in foot racing and in the running broad jump. His older brother and sister were baptized the same time his parents, John Lines and Jane Haddon, but he was baptized about seven years later at the same time as an older sister and a younger sister, 11 April, 1857 by his father and confirmed on the 12 April 1857 by Elder Samuel Western.
For some time he worked in a glass factory and there learned the art of blowing glass.
When eighteen years of age he immigrated to Utah with his family in 1864. On the trip across the plains his mother, two brothers, John Hyrum and Joseph Edwin, his sister Lucy, and cousin Phoebe Cockrell (his mother's niece who had been adopted into the family) died, probably due to the unsanitary conditions they were forced to use. The first winter in the valley Henry stayed with his mother's brother, William Haddon, and rejoined the family at April conference in Salt Lake City in 1865. He made one or two trips to Mormon Headquarters in Nebraska to help assist in the "Spirit of Gathering" the saints who had no way to reach Utah. Teams and wagons with drivers were furnished by the church to bring to the Valley those who were stranded and had no means to come further. Many families were helped into Utah this way. (With the selection of the valleys of the mountains as the future home of the church ... converts were called to gather to the Utah Valley in a General Epistle from Winter Quarters under the date of Dec. 23, 1847. At the date of the instructions 12 to 15 thousand were in temporary settlements in Iowa and Nebraska.)
The family settled in Goshen, Utah County which is located south of Provo and about three miles west of Santaquin, to make a living farming. When his father was killed, Henry, as the others, was on his own to find a way to support himself. It was a blow to the family in a new country, new soil, and new people, but fortunately all the family was grown except for his sister, Alice, who was thirteen years of age.
In the "summer of 1865, Henry worked with a Cache Valley company with an ox train loaded with flour to Montana. Returning that winter, he worked at Goshen.
He participated in an event which more than any other removed the barriers of time and distance and revolutionized the economic conditions of the Territory--the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad from Omaha joining the Central Pacific from San Francisco. He not only assisted History in the making, it helped provide his wedding stake so he could be married. Henry had fallen in love with Emily Weech, dark haired, comely daughter of Samuel Weech, deceased, and Elizabeth Gould. During the year of 1869 he worked in Nevada earning his wedding stake. Three years after his father's death, Henry married Emily Weech who was also living in Goshen. A young man of twenty-three Henry exchanged wedding vows at the home of Emi1y’s brother, Hyrum Weech, December 10, 1869 and was married by the bishop of the ward. While the guests and wedding party were in one room some mischievous boys removed a pane of glass from the window close by the wedding supper and snitched several pies. There was plenty left so no one went hungry for pie. Henry just laughed about the joke. He was not as serious minded as his bride and was always ready for a joke and could laugh about things that Emily worried about.
Before his marriage, Henry had been able to work and save $500 for his marriage stake. With this money he bought a house and lot with small acreage at Goshen, Utah.
The farm included a small tract of meadow land. As the income from the farm was not sufficient to take care of all the needs of his family, Henry did some peddling and also worked at the mines in Tintic, a small mining town a short distance from Goshen. While working at the mines he met with an accident in which his left collar bone was either broken or thrown out of place and one of the bones in his forearm was dislocated at the elbow. The doctor, evidently not a very good one, fixed his shoulder alright but failed to set the bone in his arm. This left him with a stiff left arm which was quite a handicap the rest of his life.
A part of one winter he and his brother-in-law Hyrum Weech and one other man were working at a mine in Cotton Wood Canyon, Alta, Utah. One day while returning to their lodging they were caught in a snow slide and all were buried in the snow. Henry and the other man were not covered deeply and soon worked their way out. Hyrum was carried down the canyon some distance, but finally managed to work his way to the surface. It was a narrow escape for all of them and ended their mining venture for some time.
On Oct. 24, 1870 the Lines family received its first addition, Joseph Henry, and in the following years Emma Jane, Dec.l873, Mary Elizabeth 10 March, 1875, Samuel Edwin June 8,1877, William Arthur, born Nov. 2,1879, arrived to add to the joys, responsibilities and anxieties of the parents. Times were hard, money was scarce, and work was hard. One particularly hard winter was an unusually deep snow. The supply of wood gave out before spring arrived and Henry and young Joseph had to haul sagebrush from the bench above town to keep the family warm and furnish fuel for cooking until the snow was gone and wood could be hauled.
The severe winter, loss of animals, and illness of their daughter Emma Jane were some of the factors which helped the Lines decide to move to a different location where it was warmer. Emily's brother, Hyrum, had been to Arizona to investigate conditions in the territory. When he returned for his family in the fall of 1879 he gave a very favorable account of what he found and told Henry that he had filed on a piece of land for him. The family began their long trip to Arizona one morning in October of 1880. Henry had sold his farm and house and lot in town, bought a good wagon and ox team as well as a good supply of provisions and a quantity of dried fruit which he expected to dispose of at a good price in Arizona. He bade good-bye to his friends in Goshen and began the long trek to the Gila Valley in Arizona.
The trip was long and tedious, a great deal of it over very poor roads which made it difficult on the overloaded wagon and ox team. Another brother-in-law, Lorenzo Weech, started with him driving a very fine horse team and wagon. He changed his mind before getting out of Utah and returned to Goshen. When he reached Goshen, he again changed his mind, started again to Arizona and overtook Henry before he reached the Gila.
In spite of the layovers to permit the oxen to rest and recuperate, one of the oxen became sick at House Rock and died just before reaching the Colorado River. A milk cow which had been led behind the wagon was put in the team in place of the dead ox where she was kept until the end of the journey.
Part of the road to Arizona had been tedious and boring and monotonous, but this changed when they came in sight of the Colorado River which must be crossed. The name of the crossing, Lee’s Ferry, can hardly be compared to the landscape that awaited them. “Nearly every first-time visitor to Lee’s Ferry is left breathless by the engulfing grandeur of the scenery. Steep, rough, and broken cliffs soar to heights of two to three thousand feet above the river. Between them the desert river, the Colorado, dramatically breaks through the long wall of the Echo Cliffs, tumbles over the broad boulder delta at the mouth of the Paria River, then plunges into the jagged gorge of Marble Canyon. Indeed, Lee's Ferry is one of the most starkly beautiful places in the entire canyon country of the Colorado River. (The first ferryboat was launched on January 11, 1873. It was 26 feet long and 8 ½ feet wide and was named by Lee, COLORADO. A small skiff named the PAHREAH was also lunched.) The Colorado River was crossed at Lee's Ferry, the wagons and oxen being taken across on a very old and leaky ferry boat which kept men constantly bailing out the water to keep it afloat. The women and children were taken across in a rowboat. From the ferry the road led over a mountain called Lee's Backbone and was very steep and rough and dangerous road. (During these early years, if passengers-were lucky enough to escape the river unharmed they still faced the terrible piece of road known as Lee's Backbone, a one and on-half-mile route through tortuous rock gullies of the Shinarump ledge which rises sharply from the river on the left bank. The steep, hard rock surface defied leveling attempts a road of sorts was dug, picked, and blasted into what still looks like giant rock stairs. Veteran wagon drivers, well-acquainted with frontier roads, called Lee's Backbone the worst road they had ever traveled. When a wagon finally reached the summit of Lee's Backbone heading south the driver had to face a frightening, teeth-jarring descent of 350 feet to the Marble Platform. Frequently the trip from the river over the Backbone and down to the Platform would consume an entire day.)
As Henry's wagon crept up the dug way, the water barrel caught on a rock pushing out from the side of the road. It was a ticklish place to be in. A mistake in handling the team would send the wagon and oxen to the bottom of the river. It was frightening to watch the wagon as the team was carefully inched back far enough that the wagon would clear the rock. A fresh start was made and this time the barrel cleared the rock.
While camping at Big Wash, some distance from Lee's Ferry, the James A. McBride and Thomas Holladay families, who were also on their way to Arizona, joined the Lines family and all camped together at the wash. In later years, William E. McBride, son of James A. McBride married Mary Elizabeth Lines, daughter of Henry Lines, and Lawrence Holladay, a grandson of the above mentioned Holladay family married Rowena Lines a granddaughter of Henry Lines.
One night while camping on the Navajo Indian Reservation a large band of Indians camped nearby. That night Henry, not knowing whether the Indians were hostile or not, made his bed under the wagon and kept guard all night armed with a double barreled shot gun which would have been of little use in case of an attack. The Indians, however, proved to be friendly.
Christmas found the company in the vicinity of Fort Apache. From Fort Apache to the Gila River the road was mostly rough and difficult for the weakened teams, but in the early days of January 1881 the river was reached and crossed a short distance above what was called Sub Agency. In a few days the party arrived at Smithville, now called Pima, which was the first Mormon settlement in what is now Graham County. They received a warm welcome from relatives and friends and were full of thanksgiving that the long and dangerous journey was at an end.
The town lot the family was to build upon had already been saved for them as Emily's brother, Hyrum Weech, knowing they were coming, had in January of 1880, when the second drawing of town lots took place, saved the lot north of his for his youngest sister and family. It was a peaceful valley and one where the Lines family planned to make their permanent home and be happy. The Gila River zig-zagged through the valley with banks lined with Cottonwood trees. Groves of Mesquite trees dotted the valley. Mount Turnbull on the one side of the valley and Mount Graham to the Southeast made a beautiful landscape with their sides and tops covered with forest and their high peaks covered with snow. (Pioneer Town, Eastern Arizona Historical Society Board, 1979, p.l2)
Henry and his good wife immediately went to work to build a home for their family. From the cottonwood trees growing along the river bank they found the necessary supplies for their home. The trees were cut down, trimmed, brought to the building site and the logs used for the walls of the house. A trench was dug and the logs firmly planted upright in the trench as close as they could be put. Sometimes the logs were rather crooked and took a good deal of chinking to fill up the cracks. Pieces of wood were put in first and mud added to hold the wood in place. After the walls, the roof came next. Rafters were put on. Then willows were laid close together on the rafters and a layer of dirt was added. It was essential that it be quite thick to soak up the rain that fell that first summer. If the roof started to leak more dirt was added. After the rains came, the seed in the dirt would grow and houses covered with dirt would be covered with green grass and weeds. In rainy seasons weeds would grow two feet high on the roof. Later a lumber shack was added. This had a lumber roof and leaked like a sieve and was a great trial to Emily.
When they arrived in the Gila Valley, Henry intended to farm, and with the help of his young sons cleared forty acres of land. Henry was also in charge of the Church Co-op and sheep herd which ranged on the middle wash at the foot of what was then known as Stowe Knoll. The farming became difficult for him because as soon as he worked he came down with chills and fever. When he became so ill he could no longer work on the farm he went to a doctor in Fort Thomas who prescribed quinine and gave him enough for three doses. Determined to be rid of the chills and fever once and for all, Henry took all three doses at one time. Taking so much quinine at once almost killed him, but it did stop the chills for some time, and then returned again.
Freighting from Bowie, which for quite a few years was the nearest point to a railroad was one of the few means of earning money for early pioneers. Henry bought a pair of horses, fixed up his wagon and secured a freight outfit. Henry freighted from Bowie to Globe which was a thriving mining city of copper bullion, and to Fort Bowie and Fort Grant and Fort Thomas. There were soldiers stationed at each one of these army posts to insure protection for the pioneers from the Apaches. It was necessary to haul the necessary supplies to them. As long as he was on the road, Henry felt better, but if he stayed at home for a week or ten days the fever and chills returned and he would say, "I have to get out of here!” If he didn't leave the valley he would begin to shake again.
In 1888 a terrible storm arose which caused the canal above town to break and the flood waters poured through the town running around and through the Lines home. The walls settled making it unsafe to live in and the family was forced to move as the house could not be repaired. Another home was built from the floor of the one room that had been saved and the remaining lumber was purchased. A two room shack was erected with a canvas stretched overhead for some protection. That was home for the Lines family for some time.
The farmland was traded for some cows, but there was no place to -put the cows. They were simply turned loose and hoped they wouldn't get through a fence into somebody's grain field.
After all the hardships they had endured, the Lines luck seemed to change. The man who had traded for the farm decided to sell all his property and move to Mexico. Again Henry traded the cows back to the man who had bought the farm as a part payment on the man's house, a home, a real house with a roof, and a lot. This house was located near Cottonwood Wash and had five rooms. It was a fairly good house for these times. It was built of adobe and boasted plastered walls that could be whitened. There were good floors in it and a good roof on most of it. (It didn't leak in four of the five rooms). There were doors and windows and a big fireplace at one end of the living room. The family thought they had just begun to live when they moved into this home. There were nine in the family and the added rooms were a real blessing. Here the family lived until all the children were married and settled in their own homes. In later years the adobe house was replaced with a cement building built by Arthur and Milton with some assistance from the other children.
As previously stated, Henry Lines was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints when a boy of eleven years of age, but at the time of his moving to Arizona he was not a member of the church having been excommunicated from the church along with all the adult membership of the Goshen Ward in the early days of the ward's history. The excommunication, apparently an unjustified procedure came about in the following manner. The town of Goshen filed on and established a water right in a creek which was later claimed by parties who it seems were rather prominent in a Church way in the stake in which the Goshen ward was located. The townspeople were persuaded to submit the controversy over the water to the high council of the stake. They did so never doubting that the decision would be in the Town’s favor. The High Council, however, decided in favor of the other claimants.
The town was in a difficult situation. Without water it was doomed. Feeling they had not received a fair deal, the townspeople now did what they should have done in the first place, took the matter into court, won the case with ease and secured the water for the town. The High Council, feeling somewhat nettled because the ward had failed to abide by its decisions, proceeded to excommunicate the entire ward membership. All who wished, however, were permitted to be re-baptized and thus the wounded feelings of the High Council were healed and the ward membership was again in good standing. Henry Lines however refused to be re-baptized. Feeling that he had done nothing to justify his excommunication and that he had been unjustly deprived of his membership, he would not cooperate. Later in life, through the efforts of President Harry L. Payne, he was restored to full fellowship and was ordained an elder. In January, 1928, Henry and his wife Emily, and most of the family went to the temple in Mesa, Arizona and received their endowments and there the children who were with them were sealed. This was a very happy event for the family and particularly for Henry and his beloved wife, Emily. On the evening of the day this work was accomplished Henry put his arms around his wife and said, "Well, mother, this has been the best days work of our lives."
Not much remains to be told. Henry Lines was now nearing the end of his mortal journey. Eighty-two years of age, his last days on earth were not to be free from sickness and pain. Prostate gland trouble compelled him to undergo a very serious operation from which he never fully recovered. Following the operation he was stricken with pneumonia a short time after leaving the hospital. On the 11 day of May, 1932, his beloved wife died. Her death, the operation and sickness which followed affected his mind and his condition grew steadily worse until it became necessary to have someone with him day and night. On the 14th day of July, 1935, he was released from this mortal mission and passed on to his eternal reward, 89 years of age.
Compiled by E. Louise Cluff Tryon