Story of the life of Hyrum David Davidson and his wife Eliza Hawkes Davidson, by a daughter Leona D. Kennard, February 1962
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Story of the life of Hyrum David Davidson and his wife Eliza Hawkes Davidson, by a daughter Leona D. Kennard, February 1962
Hyrum David Davidson was born 2 January 1864 in the Third Ward of Logan, Cache County, Utah. He was the third and youngest son of Thomas Davidson and his second wife, Ellen Hall Davidson. He was christened by B. M. Lewis. There is no recorded date. He was baptized by Ozro Crockett. There is no recorded date, but it is assumed that he was baptized at eight years of age. His two older brothers were James Hall Davidson and Richard Hall Davidson. His mother had one son by a previous marriage. He was known as William Fergus or William (Bill) Davidson. Thomas Davidson had eleven children by his first wife, Anna Davidson, his first cousin.
When Father was eight or nine years old he danced the Highland Fling in the Thatcher Opera House. His sister, Isabelle Davidson McAlister, taught him the dance and made a Scotch costume for him. He danced on the stage many times after that.
When Father was eleven years old his father was in a run-away with a team of mules. He was seriously injured and died six or eight weeks afterward. Father left school to help support his mother. He took any job he could get and turned his meager wages over to her. His mother and her four boys lived on the corner of First East and Center Street across south from the tabernacle square.
At twelve years of age Father worked for John Larsen on his south ranch for twelve dollars a month. John Larsen always told what a good worker Father was. Each morning at 5 a.m. Larsen would go to Father’s bed, pick him up, stand him on his feet, and tell him that it was time to wake up and get to work.
When Father was fifteen he went to work on a farm in Idaho for Thomas E. Ricks. Later he freighted, then worked on the narrow gauge railroad. He drove the stagecoach through Utah and Wyoming before and for a year after he was married. For many years he carried a large silver watch with a dent in it which was caused by a bullet shot at him when he was the boss of a group of teamsters.
Father was full of fun and liked by all who knew him. As he grew up he was in demand as a dance “caller”. At that time only two round dances such as the waltz and two-step were allowed during one evening. All others must be square dances.
At one time Father, Horatio Hawkes (Uncle Rash), and Cal Cressall (Uncle Cal) went to Cal’s ranch near Cache Junction in sleighs for straw. They had dinner, loaded the straw, and started back with the two sleighs. Father tipped over and reloaded the straw three times before he got home. He always laughingly contended that if Cal had sold him the straw instead of giving it to him, he wouldn’t have tipped over.
Father enjoyed outdoor sports, especially fishing, hunting prairie chickens, grouse, ducks and other wild birds. He would never hunt deer. He was an excellent shot and participated in the local target and trap-shooting contests. In 1890 he received the gold medal for winning first place in the Cache County trap-shooting event.
When he was hauling freight from the depot on West Center he would stop in to see how the Hawkes family were. His mother-in-law would say, “Come in, Hi, and have a cup of tea with me.” He never left until he had carried in enough wood to fill the wood box almost to overflowing.
One of the highlights of Father’s life was his trip to Camp Kearney, California, the first week in March 1918 to visit his son Seth. Seth had joined the army 6 April 1917, the day war was declared and he was now preparing to be shipped overseas. Seth took Father many places and showed him a very good time. How proud Father was of this fine son of his and how proud Seth was of his Dad. No father was prouder of his children than he.
Father was an inspiration to his family in honesty, fair dealing, integrity, dependability, and high moral standard. Dirty or smutty jokes were never allowed in the home. He had a keen sense of humor and always looked on the bright side and made the best of everything. One of his pet sayings was, “It won’t hurt as much when it gets better.”
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Eliza Annie Hawkes Davidson was born the eleventh of November 1863 in a one-room log house at 356 West Center Street, where Mariondale Avenue is now. Later a four-room frame house was built in front and the log room was used as a shanty. She was the oldest of nine children born to Frances and Eliza Cole Hawkes. Eliza Cole Hawkes had one son, Clarence Christopher Cressall, by a previous marriage. Francis Hawkes had previously married Georgiana Madsen. She had died when her first child was born. The child died a few months later.
The parents, Francis and Eliza Cole Hawkes and their ten children were a happy and united family. The children were:
Clarence Christopher (Cal)
Eliza Annie (Mrs. Hyrum David Davidson)
Francis William (died when 3 ½ years old)
Sarah Ann (Mrs. Harry Worley)
Martha Maria (Mrs. William Brough)
Horatio Paul (Uncle Rash)
Nellie May (Mrs. Milton Curtis)
Elizabeth (Mrs. Edmund Rudolph Gibbs)
It was pioneer times and there was much to be done. At an early age Mother helped with the garden, herded cows, tied bundles of wheat, shocked wheat and did other necessary outside work besides helping in the house. When she was five and Cal was seven, they took a yoke of cattle from the Highway to Brigham Young’s pasture (where the Logan sugar factory was later built). They had expected to have to walk home, but they were made very happy when a man with a team of horses offered them a ride and took them right home. This was a rare privilege as very few people had horses. The usual mode of transportation was by ox team. (The church farm at College Ward had fine cattle. There were Durhams, Devonshires, and others.)
When Cal was hoeing and stripping sugar cane for his Uncle Walter, he found a lovely doll’s head in the road nearby. Walter Cole told Cal that he could have the doll head if he would strip extra rows of cane. So Cal earned the doll head, took it home and his mother made a body for it. This was the choice toy of Mother’s childhood. (They used an old piece of board sharpened on one side to strip the leaves from sugar cane.)
There were many Indians around and they were always after food. One day three big Indians went into the Hawkes home, locked the door, and sat by the fireplace. Grandmother Hawkes was very frightened and placed herself between her three children, Cal, Eliza and Frances and the Indians. The Indians took the brass tacks from the old trunk and told Grandma Hawkes to “go back across the big water.” The dinner was roasting in a pot on the fire and the Indians sat around waiting. Grandfather Hawkes drove into the yard, unhitched, and went toward the house. The Indians got up, unlocked the door and left without a word.
Another experience with the Indians was when some of them went into the Hawkes home and sat with their legs stretched out so that Grandma could not cross to get things from the cupboard or other part of the room. They asked, “Where is your man?” Grandma said that he was not far and would be back soon. Hour after hour they sat there and roasted potatoes in the fireplace. Finally Grandma stepped across their legs and got what she wanted. After Grandfather Hawkes arrived home the Indians left. Before leaving one of the Indians put his hand on Grandmother’s head and said, “Brave squaw.”
School facilities were meager but Mother had the best that was offered. She went to the Second Ward School located on First South and Third West. It was an adobe building that served as church, school, and community building. Later a brick building was built there. It was called the Card School. She attended there also. “Limpy” Davis, “Aunt Etta” Birdneau, Sarah Holden, and George Parkinson were some of the other pupils. She attended the Fourth Ward School, called Miss Ida’s School, which was one block east of the old fire station, where later the jail stood, and behind the present Wilkinson’s Store. “Miss Ida” was a good teacher. Eliza’s education was cut short because she had to work and help support the family. She had made very good use of her time in school and she was always a good reader, speller, and penman. By working, she made it possible for the younger brothers and sisters to get more education than she had.
Eliza learned to knit, then she taught her mother how. They knit the stockings for the family. Mother also knit and sewed carpet rags when she worked at Squires. Grandmother Hawkes depended on Mother for many things.
Mother worked out doing housework at the very early age of fourteen. After her father’s accident, which paralyzed his one side, she was one of the chief supports of the family. Fannie Greaves, who was working at John Squires, wanted a holiday and Mother took her place. Fannie refused to go back there to work as Mother was too quick and too well liked. So Mother stayed on and worked there for three or four years. She slept at home but was at work by 5 a.m. so as to be in time to make the early morning fires. While working at Squires the girls stayed in the kitchen while the men folk were around. Mrs. Squires watched Mother because she was afraid that Mr. Squires was “making up” to her as some of the town gossips were saying that Mother was already John Squires’ second wife. Her sister, Sarah, took her place at Squires when Mother was called home to take care of the family while Grandmother Hawkes went to Paris, Idaho, to care for their Grandmother Cole in her last illness. John Squires said to Sarah, “You might be as good looking as Eliza, but you’re not half as handy.”
Mother worked at Kimball’s and then at Peter Maughan’s for about two years. She worked by the day at Charles W. Nibley’s. She was working at Fielding’s when she stopped to be married.
One day when Mother was working at Nibley’s, Brother Nibley put his arm around her and called her “a lively cricket.” Mrs. Nibley scolded Mother about it. Mother said, “I wouldn’t have your old man if you gave him to me. When I want a man I’ll get one of my own.” Little did Mrs. Nibley know that her husband had asked Mother to be his second wife and she had refused him.
Mother was working at Peter Maughan’s home at 125 East Center Street when she met Hyrum Davidson.
As a teen age girl Mother spent one summer in Boise, Idaho, visiting with and helping an aunt. She also went to Butte Montana, for three months to visit and help her Uncle William and Aunt Annie Cole. She became very homesick while there. William Cole, her mother’s oldest brother was the chief engineer at the Anaconda mine. While mother was visiting there the elevator operator at the mine misjudged the floor the elevator was on and in bringing it up to the surface, crashed it into the top of the shaft killing some of the workers. (The elevator was operated from the outside.) Fearing trouble with the other men, William Cole told the operator, “Start walking and get going fast.”
No brother and sister were ever closer that Mother and Uncle Cal. He took her everywhere with him. One Saturday night a group went to Providence to a dance. They had a good time but got home very late and were scolded by their mother. As it happened, the next morning Cal and Mother broke out with the measles. Then the whole family had them. As Mother grew up she never lacked for boyfriends. A standing joke at our home was the story of the fellow who asked if he “might see her home” from Mutual. She answered, “Yes, you can sit on the bridge and watch me go by.” She had a date and the fellow did sit on the bridge waiting for her and saw her go by with the fellow, who later became her husband.
Mother got her musical ability from her father. He sang and played the harmonica very well. Brother Knowles was the Second Ward Choir Leader as well as the Sunday School chorister. Mother joined his singing class and was very active in it. They presented many programs and went caroling each Christmas.
Leina Farrell, Alfred Farrell’s father organized a tabernacle choir. When Brother Alexander Lewis was the tabernacle choir leader Mother belonged and was one of the soloists. Some of the other members were Jane Thatcher, Kitty Watterson, Lucy Cardon Smith, Kate Smith, Emma Smith, Mr. Lamoreau, John Wilson, Joseph Wilson, George Lewis, Enoch Lewis, Joseph Morrell, George T. Baugh, and Frank Baugh, Sr. Grandfather Hawkes always said the Mother was the best singer in the valley. She sang solos a great many times in the Thatcher Opera House. One favorite she sang there was “After the Ball Was Over.”
When Mother was about eighteen she had a severe toothache and so she went to the dentist, Stover Napper, to have the tooth pulled. After pulling the tooth, he examined it and found that he had pulled the wrong one. He pushed it back into the hole and pulled the aching tooth. The tooth grew back and Mother was never bothered with it.
Mother was very active in church circles. She taught Sunday School and was M.I.A. Counselor to Fanny Wood (later Mrs. Holland) for a number of years. She was always active in choirs and other musical groups.
People liked Mother. She was quick, capable, and congenial. She had many friends. One of her best friends was Florence (nicknamed Flo) Holland. Sometimes they made dresses alike.
* * * * *
Hyrum and Eliza Davidson were married 3 April 1889 by A. G. Barber in the front room of the Frances Hawkes home on West Center Street. Afterward Bishop Lewis asked Mother, “Why didn’t you come for a recommend? You know that you and Hyrum could have got a recommend.”
They made their first home in the two front rooms of the Joel Ricks home on the corner of Second East and Second South. From there they moved to the Erickson home at 390 South Second East. Here their first child, Eliza Myrtle, was born.
They purchased a lot from N. M. (Miller) Hansen on the east side of Fourth East between Center Street and First North. Here they built their home. There was a large concrete room, a large kitchen, and a good-sized hall (with storage space toward the north) that connected the rooms. The front room had entrances at the west and the south. There was also a south entrance into the hall from which you could go into either the front room or the kitchen. The kitchen held a table large enough to comfortably seat the family of nine, chairs, cook stove, cupboards, a good-sized flour bin in the southwest corner, and a blue enamel sink with a pump in the northeast corner. The front room of necessity was an all-purpose room----a living room by day and with beds being made up so it could be a bedroom at night.
Later four rooms (two downstairs and two upstairs with a stairway) were added to the south side. Still later the original kitchen was pulled back to make room for a modern kitchen with adjoining pantry, closet and bathroom. The original kitchen became “The Shanty” which was used for wash room, cobbler’s bench, work bench, and storage space.
This was “Home” 60 North 4th East, Logan, Utah, where seven more children were born, Edith Ellen, Martha Edna, Georgene May, Sylvia Arminta, Hyrum Seth, David Richard, and Sarah Leona. This was where the children grew and developed, where love and happiness prevailed, where sadness entered with the death of four-and-a-half Arminta. She had diphtheria (it was called membraneous croup) and despite everything the doctor or parents could do, it was not enough to keep her.
In 1901 Father and Mother bought a one hundred sixty acre dry farm, five and a half miles northwest of Clarkston, Utah, and a few miles southwest of Weston, Idaho. The south fence was on the boundary of Utah and Idaho. This was always known as “The Ranch”. Here they built a one-room frame house at the foot of the hill and they dug a well close to the house.
The official description was obtained from J. N. Larsen Real Estate Agency at Preston, Idaho, is as follows:
160 Acres in W1/2 SW1/4 Sec. 28,T16S,R.38E and E1/2 SE1/4 Sec. 29, T 16S,R. 38E
November 1, 1901 Richard C. Smith and Rebecca Nichols Smith sold this 160 acres to Hyrum D. Davidson.
This was not recorded until November 11, 1904.
February 14, 1910 Hyrum D. Davidson and Eliza A. Davidson sold this property to John E Myler
This was recorded November 26, 1919
+ 600.00 Mortgage to H. D. Davidson
John G. Kennard obtained this information from Ted B. Larsen, Real Estate, Preston, Idaho, on December 11, 1961.
Aerial Photos in S.C.S. Office, Preston, Idaho show the location of The Ranch
Aerial Photo numbers D H W -5F-91 ----6/30/49
Father and Mother were determined that their children would have an education. Work never interfered with school, and when it was time for school to start the children were in Logan ready for the first day.
Father left the Logan home for the farm early in the spring to get the ground ready and the crops planted. Mother would wait until school was out, then taking the boys and most of the girls with her in the wagon, she would drive one team to the farm. The two boys, though young, were a real help on the farm and with the chores. Two of the girls were left in Logan to care for the garden, the chickens, mild the cows, and to do other needed tasks. Some return trips had to be made to Logan during the summer to get supplies or to supervise the Logan property and to see that the girls were all right. Myrtle and Georgene were generally at the ranch, but the other girls took short turns. It was a long trip in the wagon, or sometimes in the buggy, and a tiresome one, especially for the parents. The trip was a rich experience for the children. They learned to love the great out-of-doors and to see the beauty in the sky and clouds, the mountains and everything in sight. They were taught the names of the flowers and other plants as well as the names of the birds and to listen to their calls. We always sang along the way and learned numerous songs. When we neared the ranch the children would often climb out and go over the knoll instead of riding around it.
One year I remember Father had an extra good crop of wheat and he was very happy about it. The header crew finished cutting the Miller grain just to the south of us and pulled onto our farm just about dark. There was time only for one swath to be cut around the field before dark. That night there was a severe hailstorm. The next morning the header crew moved on because there was no more wheat to be cut on our land. That hail had taken practically all of the crop.
One time as Mother was driving the buggy to Logan with Leona as her only company, we met a herd of cows on the “cow lane” (Highway 89, now). The herd was coming toward us and one of the cows got between the horse and the buggy shaft, breaking the shaft.
I remember the flowing well where we always stopped for a drink as well as to water the animals. It was on the cow-lane about where we turned north toward the ranch.
Father would close the farm house after the crops were harvested, the plowing or summer fallowing done and the fall grain planted. He would then go to Logan for the winter, where he took jobs to help the family finances. In Logan he ran a truck for the Independent Telephone Company for a number of years. He hauled stone for the temple from the quarry in Green Canyon just east of North Logan. He hauled lumber for the temple from the saw mill up Temple Fork in Logan Canyon. He hauled gravel, or did any other available job. He hauled logs from the canyon. When he was expected home all of the family would listen for his wagon to cross the “red bridge” on Fifth East. His wagon had a distinctive sound that the family could not mistake. The shout rang out, “Here he is.”
When working in Logan Canyon the teamsters would camp overnight under an overhanging rock called Temple Rock. This was just above the Forks in Logan Canyon. At that time there was room for forty teams and wagons to be sheltered there.
One day Father was driving up the canyon and made a sharp turn. There was a large mountain lion lying in the middle of the road a short distance away. Father took another trail, by-passing the lion, which continued to lie there undisturbed. This happened on the old road directly below the present dugway in Logan Canyon.
One night Father had taken the horses farther from camp than usual because there was better feed there. It became dark before he returned and all of the way back to camp he could see two bright eyes following and circling around him. It was so dark that he could not see what kind of an animal it was. He was relieved and happy when he got back to camp. The next morning when he went for the horses he found tracks of a lynx all the way.
Many years later Father plowed some of the first, if not the very first, furrows around the mountain to make the new road known as the dugway in Logan Canyon. He quit working there when one of the other men’s teams rolled down the mountain side. He said he thought too much of his horses to take that chance.
Times were hard. There were limited finances and a large family to support, as well as Grandmother Davidson. Father had rented a little house for her from George L. Farrell at 122 North Fifth East. The family shared with her and saw that her needs were filled. Father had always been her chief support, but after Uncle Dick’s death 18 June 1898, caused by Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Father was her only support. Grandmother passed away in her home on 5th East, 5 November 1908.
The Davidson family always looked forward to the Fourth of July celebrations. The children dressed in their best, with the girls in ringlets and new dresses that Mother had made, were always taken up town to see the parade and to enjoy the program and games that were held on the tabernacle square.
The circuses with their long parades were other “special events” that we enjoyed together.
Mother’s frugality came into play. She sewed, made over clothing, and planned to keep the girls looking good. Each girl had pretty white pinafores to wear over the woolen dress. Each night the girls had their hair put up on papers so the ringlets would be fresh the next day. Mother was a hard worker and diligent in all things. The big washing was done on the board with a boiler on the stove to boil the clothes. When an animal was butchered, the meat was cared for, lard was rendered, and soap was made from the scraps and accumulated grease. Nothing was wasted. There were always chickens to take care of, cows to be milked, and butter to be churned. There was a big garden and raspberry patch. As the girls grew old enough they helped. The boys did their share, too, as they came along. An orchard had been planted at the south of the house. This furnished pie cherries, plums, prunes, eating and cooking apples, as well as the winter supply of apples. Both parents worked together to build a happy home with high standards. They sacrificed much so each child had the opportunity for an education. Father always said, “There won’t be enough to fight over when I am gone, but you will all have your education.”
Father was good at handling horses. He could drive three or four teams in tandem with ease. He always owned a very good team of heavy horses. He took great pride in them and they always got the best of care. His last act each night and the first one in the morning was to go to the barn and check to see if his horses had enough feed and were all right. Their harnesses and other trappings were always kept in perfect condition.
Three or four times during the winter he would hitch the team to the bobsleigh, go pick up Grandma and Grandpa Hawkes and the younger children and take them for a sleigh ride. The family generally spent Thanksgiving and Christmas with Grandma and Grandpa Hawkes.
With all of the work to be done, neither family nor church was neglected. Mother taught the older girls duets, choruses, and all sorts of songs. She joined the ward choir, but with all of the pressing duties of home with her young family, she had to discontinue. She was active in Relief Society and enjoyed her block teaching. She was a member of the Relief Society Sunshine Committee for a number of year and truly took sunshine into the homes. If anyone needed help she was always one of the first to respond. She was active in William B. Preston camp of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers, and held most of the offices in that camp. She was the camp president for three terms.
Both parents encouraged and insisted the children go to church and be active. At one time Father was approached by the Bishop as to the possibility of his going on a mission for the Church. But due to his large family and the meager financial circumstances he felt that he should not leave. After talking it over, the Bishop agreed. Father always supported the Church. If there was labor to be done, or if anyone was in need he would always be one of the first to help. He, Ephraim Mickleson and the Hanson boys hauled most of the gravel for the new Seventh Ward Church on First South and Fourth East.
It was the custom to call people from the audience to speak in sacrament meeting without previous notice. One evening as Father was leaving the meeting, the Bishop told him that one of these times it would be his turn. Father would do anything for anybody, but he had a great fear of standing before the public. After this he never went to sacrament meeting unless he knew that there was a special program prepared and he was sure that he would not be called on to speak.
After having five girls Father and Mother were overjoyed when Seth, then three years later David arrived. Father took delight in taking his boys with him and in teaching them everything from farming to fishing. He was always on hand to witness any activity or accomplishment. He watched their bicycle races and later watched Seth’s car and motorcycle races. He always cheered them on and they felt that he was behind them in all they tried to do.
Father had a terrifying experience while he and the two boys were hauling hay from Weston to the ranch on a sleigh. They hay started slipping and he yelled to the boys to jump. He jumped clear, but the load covered the boys. Not knowing where they were, Father did not dare use a fork, so he clawed his way with his hands to find them, calling to them all of the time. David was cut on the barbed wire fence, but not as badly as Seth who had landed straddle the wire fence and was weighted down with hay. The three always said that it seemed like hours while the boys were underneath the hay and they could hear Father calling. No doubt it was only a few minutes. Father was both relieved and thrilled to find that neither boy was seriously hurt.
Father had the misfortune of having a broken leg three times during his married life. He broke the right one, then three or four years after he broke the left one. In three or four years later he broke the right one again. Once was when he was going down Logan Canyon with a load of logs. He was driving two horses on lead with two mules next to the wagon. The load tipped over and Father suffered a compound fracture of his leg. One of the mules kicked him, breaking his nose, as he was unhitching them from the load. He was alone, so he had to ride one of the horses five or six miles down the canyon for help. Another time he broke a leg when he was hauling gravel to help build up the river bank of the Little Logan in Martineau’s pasture (where Central Park is now). As he got off the front of the wagon, the horses became startled and started up, pinning Father’s leg between the double tree and the wagon. The last time he broke his leg he was crossing the Smart bridge which crossed the Logan River near the Fred Kleopfer place. It was a rickety bridge with loose planks. Father was in the buggy and as he neared the end of the bridge the buggy swayed and he thought it was going to tip over so he jumped. When he landed on the side of the bank, he hit a partially submerged log breaking his leg and splintering the bone. A fellow came along and Father asked him for help. The fellow laughed and didn’t believe the leg was broken until Father stepped down and splinters of bone pierced the skin.
There was much work to be done, but there was also fun. Each summer the family would spend from one to two weeks in Logan Canyon. The wagon or the white top buggy would be loaded with food, bedding, and baled hay for the horses. The team would be hitched up, the family climbed aboard and we were on our way. Often the riding pony would be tied on behind. Off we would go singing some merry song. Will Hansen was generally with us. (Once George W. Thatcher asked Leona if her father sang and she said “Yes, at home.” Thatcher said, “I thought so. He had one of the most musical speaking voices I have ever heard.) It was a leisurely trip with stops for lunch or just to relax or to see things. Camp was made for the night at such places as DeWitt’s Pasture, Hattie’s Hollow, or any other convenient place. Horses watered and fed, fish caught, games and stories around the campfire and off to bed. After a hearty breakfast the next morning on we would go farther up the canyon to Ricks Spring, Red Rock, Tony Grove, Camp Adeline (below the present dugway) and others. There the permanent camp would be made and it would be headquarters until it was time to return home. Memories are dear of the fording of Logan River, the family all crawling along the ledge in Rick’s Spring for a picture, pine bow beds that caved in, fishing, hiking up the mountains, horseback rides to White Pine Lake and other places, also the programs, stories and singing around the campfire. Yes, even the night the bear came waddling out of the underbrush toward the campfire and everyone running and screaming toward the tents only to see the bear stand on its hind legs, and hear a hearty laugh from Father as the fur coat fell to the ground by his fee. The metallic sound that announced that a rattle snake was near always caused everyone to stop suddenly where he was and look carefully to locate the snake before another step was taken. There was seldom a time when rattlers were not killed and the rattles taken home for souvenirs.
Father always felt sorry for Mary Hansen Johnson (Mrs. J. E. Johnson), who was a widow, and he often took her youngest son, Elmer, (or Pud as we called him) with him on the wagon. Pud would see Father driving out the lane on the wagon and call, “Brother Davidson, can I go with you?” “Yes, but you must ask your mother first. Hurry and I’ll wait,” came the answer. Father was always a friend of boys.
The Davidson home was always the center of fun and good will and relatives and friends gathered there. Sunday dinner was always set on the large dining room table and it was a rare occasion if there were not extra places set.
There was always fun to be had and the younger crowd gathered there and Father and Mother mixed in and helped with the fun. It was the headquarters for house parties, the springboard for dances, sleighing parties and the like. It was not unusual to come home and find some of the crowd there talking, laughing, singing, or playing the piano. The doors were always open. Hyrum, Oliver, Will and Roy Hansen, Fred Kloepfer, August and Paul Nelson, William Doutre, Max Groesbeck, Heber Lowe, Cyrene Bagley, Elmer Hendricks, Calvin Rawlings, Thomas Hendricks, Inez Larsen, LaVerne Larsen, Alice Olsen, Ragnald Broberg, just to name a few who were regular visitors.
Hyrum Hansen, whose mother had died a number of years before, said the Davidson home was the only home he ever knew.
Father and Mother chaperoned a group of the young people on a week’s outing at Bear Lake.
Father called for many of the ward dances that were held in the old Seventh Ward church on the corner of First North and Fifth East. He was a good dancer and it was he who taught all of the girls to dance.
It did not matter what the children were participating in nor how busy our parents were, if it were at all possible, the parents were there to see, support of chaperone.
As the children grew up they were very active in the church and held many positions in the Seventh Ward and participated in numerous activities there.
In 1910 the dry farm was sold and property bought at the east end of Center Street adjoining Logan River. This was always know to the family as “the land”. This enabled Father to be with his family more. He raised sugar beets. He also had a large raspberry patch, large strawberry patch, pasture for the cows, and a truck garden. A few years later the Center Street road was extended to the river, thereby cutting The Land in two. Father had to donate half the width of the street. The city paid him for the other half.
Father later bought some hay land just north of the Logan City limits. Here he raised enough alfalfa to fee the cows and horses through the winter. There were always two cows, a team of horses, a riding pony, and sometimes more.
The family had a practical lesson in economics the year that Father had a bumper crop of onions, but due to the oversupply on the market, he could not sell them. He sacked them and stored them in the buggy shed, hoping to be able to sell them later. In the spring he hauled them out and dumped them, sacks and all. Many people thought that he was very foolish when he plated onions the following year. But he said that others would probably be frightened out and that there might be an onion shortage, and that he would be able to get a very good price. He had a good crop of onions that year and he always said that due to the onion shortage the price was high and he was able to make enough to give him an average profit for both years. Father hauled gravel, drove the city sprinkler, and took other jobs to supplement his earnings.
Time passed. The children left home for employment or to be married and to establish homes of their own. Edith contracted typhoid fever and passed away 4 October 1917 leaving a tiny boy and an infant daughter five weeks old. Mother contracted the disease and was very ill for some time. After she recovered she took Edith’s two children and cared for them for two and a half years.
Father and Mother were always thoughtful of others and were always on hand if needed. Father went to Trenton, Utah to take care of William Brough, Martha Hawkes’ husband, when he had the flu. Nellie Hawkes was there, so Father returned home because he was not needed. In spite of very good care, Uncle Will died.
Sometime later Father, Mother, David, William Doutre, and two children had the flu. Mother and baby Edith almost died, but all finally recovered. Leona was the only one in the household who did not contract the flu. The epidemic was at its worst. Help could not be obtained. Father left his bed to take care of the stock. He never fully regained his health and strength.
It used to be the custom at graduation time for the graduates to receive bouquets of flowers during graduation exercises. Relatives or friends in the audience would send them up to the front during the program. When Aunt Nellie graduated from high school, she felt all alone and very bad because she would not get any flowers. On the night of graduation, not one but several bouquets were sent up to her at different times. She was very happy that she had as many flowers as the other girls. Her thoughtful, though busy, sister Eliza, knowing how Nellie felt and also knowing that there would probably be no flowers for her, had cut many flowers she had raised and made several bouquets. She had taken these to the exercises.
When Father’s brother, Jim’s (James Davidson) home burned at Tyhee, Bannock County, Idaho, Father having no available cash, borrowed money on his life insurance policy and gave the money to Jim.
Father took sick the day before Christmas 1919 but insisted on being up on Christmas Day so as not to spoil Christmas for the family. He took to his bed the day after Christmas and grew steadily worse. He passed away with the “flu” and pneumonia at 12:30 p.m. on 4 January 1920. All of his children except Seth, who was in the army in New York City, were at his bedside. Seth arrived for the funeral, which has held in Logan Seventh Ward church on 11 January 1920 with burial in the Logan City cemetery.
On 15 April 1926 Mother suffered a stroke or cerebral hemorrhage which paralyzed her right side and deprived her of her speck. She lay suffering until 5 May 1926 when she passed away. Her funeral was held in the Logan Seventh Ward church and burial was in the Logan City Cemetery on Mother’s Day, 9 May 1926.
Mother lived six and a half years after Father passed away. She was always very active although suffering from high blood pressure. Two weeks before she was stricken she dressed up like a little boy and went to a party Georgene was giving. Mother had six offers of marriage after Father passed away, but she always said that she and Father had a happy life together and she had no desire to remarry. Both Father and Mother died in the back bedroom of the family home. This had always been known as Father’s and Mother’s bedroom.
Father and Mother lived good, rich, and full lives. They were very hard workers. They left a host of friends and loved ones. This was witnessed by the fact that the Seventh Ward church was filed to capacity and with many standing at each of their funerals.
L. H. Kennard said, “Leona, your mother was one of the finest women I ever knew. There is none better in the church. I never knew your father, but I have never heard but good about him from anyone who knew him well or had business dealings with him.”
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Story as told by John Broberg to Leona D. Kennard, summer of 1958.
“Wood dances” were common in the Seventh Ward in the early 1900’s. The president of the Relief Society would often contact Hyrum Davidson and ask for wood for the widows and the poor. He in turn would get teamsters M. Mouritsen, Ephraim Mickelsen, Manuel Petersen, “Little” Carlson, and others to go to the canyon for wood. “Come on fellows, let’s get the wood and then we’ll have a dance afterward.” Many of the older teenagers went along to help. It was winter, the weather cold, visibility poor, and the road almost indistinguishable. The sleighs were loaded high with birch and maple. Sometimes the sleighs missed the road and capsized. Everyone would help right the sleigh, reload the wood and be on their way again. With the return of the wood gatherers there would be plenty of wood for those in need. The men met in the church on the corner of First North and Fifth East where they served a good supper by the women of the ward. Later the same building was the scene of a ward dance with “Chris, the Fiddler” (Chris Jacobsen) furnishing the music, and Hyrum Davidson calling the dances. Swedish polkas, Danish Clap Tucker, and other square dances and one waltz were enjoyed by the united ward members.
Sam Burgess and Hyrum Davidson went after wood. Sam had made his sleigh runners straight instead of spread, and he tipped over with his load several times while going down the canyon. Each time the wood had to be reloaded.
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May 3, 1961
Mrs. Leona Kennard
I remember well your father, Hyrum Davidson. As a boy he lived at 125 E. Center Street in Logan. This was the old Peter Maughan home which included also the Hendrickson land on the east and the skating rink land on the west. West of the old home was a double row of big lilac bushes which extended to the tabernacle square. The whole place was surrounded by a high picket fence.
Your father would come up from the “island” with his well-matched team of iron gray horses on a load of gravel. The harness on the horses was “dolled up” with beautiful ornaments and the well-kept outfit would correspond with a beautiful car or truck today.
Your father’s cheery voice, pleasant smile and neat appearance have all been reflected in the personalities of his lovely family.
Your parents were good friends of my folks, Peter W. and Mary Maughan. They treasured the friendship of Hyrum and Eliza Davidson for their many sterling qualities.
Love and best wishes to all of you,
Howard J. Maughan