James Afton and Essie Knight Harward Story
Contributor: dbknox Created: 9 months ago Updated: 9 months ago
Life Story of
Afton & Essie Harward
Compiled by Russell L. Harward
James Afton Harward – Early Years
James Afton Harward was the tenth child of fifteen born to Ozias Strong and Frances Eva Curtis Harward.
Afton was born in this cabin on 26 June 1902, on their Lost Creek farm located three miles east of Willow Bend, later named Aurora, in Sevier County, Utah in the USA. The year after his birth, the family moved their two room cabin across the Sevier River to Willow Bend.
That move made it easier for the children to attend school there. When Afton started attending, he went with three older brothers: Orson, Harvey, and Sharland and a sister, Elmira. His older siblings: Simmons, Blanch, Harold and Lula had passed away shortly after their birth or in their early childhood and his older sister, Frances Eva, had married by the time he started school. He also attended school with several cousins. After Afton , four more siblings were born: Heber, Thomas, DeVoyle, and Marilla.
Afton had a fear of water all his life because he had some life threatening experiences crossing the Sevier River. On one occasion when Afton was very young he was tied into his highchair in the wagon while crossing the Sevier River. The horses lunged into the river causing Afton and his highchair to fall into the river. On another occasion when he was a young boy, Afton and his brothers were late returning to Aurora from Lost Creek for the week-end. Rather than traveling to Siguard where there was a bridge, they decided to swim their horses across the river. Afton was frightened so they tied him in the saddle, took the reins and led the horse into the river. The experience almost scared him to death. However that experience did not stop him from being baptized by Seborn J. Golden in the Manti Temple June 28, 1910.
Ozias and Frances Eva had planned to build a new house on the corner south of Day’s store, and construction had begun when Ozias died on 7 June 1917, just 19 days before Afton’s 15th birthday.
Ozias’ request was that the house be completed, a request that was fulfilled as Frances Eva and her sons with help from others finished building the house.
There have been some additions to the house but it still stands on Main Street in Aurora in 2007. It is as sturdy and as nice as any home in town and stands as a tribute to Frances Eva Harward and her family.
To the northwest of the new house stands the two room cabin the family moved from Lost Creek and was then used as a granary. A smoke house and a cellar were also built and they planted a fruit orchard. To the north of the granary was located an ice house, filled each winter with ice from the river, and covered with sawdust to keep for summer use. People came from all around to get ice from the Harwards. A well had been dug by Ozias and his boys before his death. It took many days and more than once they might have quit, but Ozias insisted that they continue. At 320 feet under hardpan they were rewarded with some of the best water in the valley.
On the south of the corral was a stable where they kept six horses. Ozias always had some of the best horses in the valley and his sons were as proud of theirs as he was of his. Afton shared his father’s love for good horses. A chicken coop and hog pen were located to the west of the corral, and they always had enough hogs and chickens to meet their needs.
Where the Spencer Store is now there was once a post office, barbershop, and a grocery store.
Afton, his brothers and his sisters, used to trade eggs for licorice pipes there. One day while playing, Sharland threw a hoe and hit Afton in the head, cutting him just above the eye. To make amends, Sharland hurried to the store and soon returned with some licorice pipes just for Afton.
James DeVere, Afton’s eldest son said, “Dad has told me many times about the things he enjoyed doing when he was a boy. He said when the work let up in the winter they would catch jack rabbits in a bobsleigh, had town dances, and ice skated on the river.
He told of the family camping trips to Maple Grove and Fish Lake.
Dad was a fast foot racer, and loved to run, as did his brothers.
While DeVere was working with Afton’s cousins, Mel and Rulon Harward, at the Steel Plant they told him stories of how fast Afton could run. Mel said as a boy and a young man he would bum a ride to Aurora and neighboring towns shooting the breeze and betting. He said that he would bet that Afton could outrun anybody in the county. He said that many times they would sit in the shade of Day’s store and wait for Afton to get his day’s work done at Lost Creek and ride into town on old Tony. Mel would meet him and tell him that he would give Afton half of the betting money if he won the race. Mel said they always came out ahead. He said the most money that he ever won was when Dad outran a quarter horse for fifty yards. Dad loved animals, dogs and all kinds of farm animals. He especially loved horses and had some good ones. When he was 18 years old, he took a job helping to build the road from Scipio to Levan. He had a real good team of horses that could pull a road grader from Scipio to Levan and back again in 12 hours.
Aunt Almira said that they both took their summer wages and bought their first car together. It was a Model “A” Ford like the one pictured above. Afton didn’t have much schooling, because in those days, children didn’t have much schooling, especially boys. He graduated from the 8th grade, excelling in math. DeVere said “I remember when I was having trouble with math in school, he was a big help to me. Like me, he was not too great when it came to writing and spelling.”
In 1973 Afton recorded the following: “In 1921, at age 18, I worked on Highway 91 from Nephi to Chicken Creek Reservoir, which was down by the Juab station that has been moved away now. That used to be as far as the railroad came in the early days where freight was picked up at the Juab station. It ran from Salt Lake Branch to Delta. I helped hard surface the road. I ran the grader with my big team. I’m not sure what they call that reservoir now, but it is located about 12 to 15 miles south of Levan.
We just graded and put on the base of the road that ran from Scipio to California. (His horses pulled a Fresno like the one pictured above) The team of horses I had, included one that weighed 1800 pounds and the other 1600. There were very few teams on the road that could equal them in moving loads. For a while I had my team on the “A” frame to help load gravel. Those teams bigger than my team would come and get stuck, so they would take their teams off and I would put my horses on and do the job. After I used my team to smooth the road, they used 8 head of horses to pull the roller after we watered it down. We camped at the Juab station from early April until November. I went to Aurora to get grain because feed for the horses was very scarce at Levan. We gave them alfalfa timothy hay when we could get it because it gave them more strength without bloating them.”
In the fall of 1923, after the farm work was done, Afton got a winter job at the Jumbo Plaster Mill in Sigard. While there he stayed at a boarding house in Vermillion (north part of Siguard), where he met Essie Knight, who worked there.
Essie Knight - Early Years
Essie was born August 11, 1903 to Jedediah Knight and Clarissa Frances Minchey (pictured above) in Emery, Emery County, Utah, the eleventh child of a family of thirteen children. She was blessed and given the name, Essie Knight by Bishop Alonzo Brinderhoff on October 1, 1903.
She wrote the following in her life’s sketch: “Father bought a place in Cleveland, Emery, Utah, some forty miles northeast of Emery. We moved to that place in June 1906. This picture was taken in 1952 and shows a dilapidated condition through lack of care by those who lived there after we did.
Although I was only three years old, I was very much impressed by the tall straight poplar shade trees and a little old gentleman who sat at the side of the house with his dog laying at his feet.
The house was a one room rough frame structure with a lean-to on the east side and a porch along the west side. It was surrounded by trees and old fashioned flowers-holly hocks, lilacs, ribbon grass, roses of red and yellow, perennials sweet peas of white and shade of pink and lavender.
In the fall father build a good size room at the north end of the porch which provided for general household use, kitchen, dining room, wash house, etc. The original part of the house served as bedrooms.
We moved to this home in June 1906 (I was nearly 3 years old) in Cleveland, Utah, from Emery, Emery County where I was born. There was three rooms plus an attic and eight people to live in it. How did we manage?
The farm provided all essential maintenance for family and livestock. (bread, butter, eggs, milk, meat and all kinds of vegetables—potatoes, squash, beans, corn, etc.)
Oh, harvest time was great. Potatoes to be dug, pickup up in seamless sacks, hauled to the pit and dumped in. Squash to be buried in straw, corn pulled from the fodder, shucked and tossed into the bin. Beans were then picked from the vines. All of this took time and a lot of it. Work for little hands like mine. Yes, everyone had his or her job and was busy, but not too busy to give thanks to our Heavenly Father for his bounteous blessings. We each had been taught everything we had was a blessing and we must give thanks to Him for them. We were taught by example. Each morning we as a family kneeled around the table and father offered the prayer. There was no need for any family member to go to their work, to school, or just be around home without the protection of the Lord. And again in the evening at supper time we kneeled around the table. I used to have real bad nightmares so in my secret prayer I always asked for help.
I am reminded of the many times I was administered to. I felt sure that my Father in Heaven would hear.
On January 9, 1907 mother gave birth to another baby boy, her twelfth child. I can remember so well how proud and happy I was to have a baby brother. I thought I was quite a big girl. I could rock the cradle or sit in the rocking chair and hold him on my lap. (Essie was age four at the time.) You see I was helping to tend my baby brother. This baby was blessed and given the name of LeVoy J. Knight.
I remember one Sunday afternoon when he was about two and a half years old Permelia and I was tending him at home while the folks were at church. Suddenly we missed him. When we found him he was up at the corral lying on a pile of loose hay fast asleep. His face was all scratched and tear stained. We woke him and he could talk well enough to tell us, “The old rooster did it.”
As far back as I can remember, mother worked in the Relief Society and was a Visiting Teacher. She also taught in Primary. Father was an ardent Sunday School worker. He was chosen as Assistant to the Sunday School Superintendent on August 18, 1907. He labored as such until October 17, 1915 when he was chosen as Superintendent which office he held until we moved to Sigard, Utah in November of 1918.
As my health was poor, I often stayed home from church with my grandmother.
She often sang me a song: “Hark, hark, the dogs to bark. The beggars are coming to town. Some in rags, some in shags, some in velvet gowns.” I don’t know why but that song planted a fear in me and I did not dare leave grandmother’s side.
Grandmother was short and heavy set. Her weight was not healthy. She had a bad rheumatic condition; her legs and knees being very crippled and weak. As long as I can remember she walked with a cane.
My grandmother Knight (Janette Laird Knight Colby) [father’s mother] lived with us from January 1903 until she passed away in 1916. When I was a very small girl, I sat on her lap often and she told me stories about crossing the plains with the pioneers. She and my grandfather (Nathan Kinsman Knight) crossed the plains in the same company. They met at Winter Quarters and were married there. Nathan was born January 16, 1802 in Mansfield, Lamoil County, Vermont. Nathan’s first wife, Lois Witham, passed away after bearing 5 children. Shortly afterward he joined the church and later married Lucinda Churchill and they lived in Kirtland until persecution drove the saints out and he took his family to Missouri where he was wounded in the Haun’s Mill massacre. Lucinda died in Nauvoo and Nathan left there along with the other saints. It wasn’t until he arrived at Winter Quarters that he met and married Janette. Nathan was 30 years older than Janette but they married anyway. They traveled on to the Salt Lake Valley with the rest of the saints where they arrived in 1847 or 1848. After their arrival in the Salt Lake Valley, they went north to Logan but later settled in Ogden. On November 3, 1855, Nathan and Janette received their endowments and were sealed in the Salt Lake Endowment House. By 1858, Nathan had moved his family south to settle the valleys south of Provo.” They ended up in Glendale, Kane County, Utah where Nathan died in 1874 and was buried in the Glendale cemetery. Janette then married Ransford Colby but was later divorced. That is how she came to live with us.
We moved from this home to town in 1913 so we would be closer to school. These pictures were taken in June 1952 so the old house had had a long time to depreciate and become dilapidated after we left it. So many different people lived in it, it was not taken care of. We kept it clean and neat with flowers and garden all around. It was in this home that my mother and grandmother spent many hours wool carding it into small batts then spinning it into yard. We would then knit sox, wristbands, etc.
Harvest time came and there was plenty of work for all. Hay to be cut, raked and piled, then hauled to the corral and stacked. Three crops during the season. There was fruit to be picked and bottled or dried. Potatoes to be dug, picked up, and put in the pit, squash and dry beans to be gathered and stored. Then came the grain harvest. How enthused we were when the huge grain binder was pulled into the field (by team not by tractor) and begun cutting the grain. Permelia and I would follow along behind gathering up the bundles and hand them to the men to be stood in the shock. When this stage of the harvest was completed the grain was hauled and stacked. Finally the huge thrashing machine was pulled into the yard and placed in just the right position among the grain stacks. When everything was in readiness away it would go. You see there was not modern machinery or equipment in those days. A great deal of this work had to be done by hand.
A poem by Alice Morrey Bailey depicted the scene:
“WHEN THE THRASHERS CAME
Such gloried days as this will soon be gone when calliopic Whistles split the dawn in heralding the thrashers creeping roar. From farm to farm across the valley floor it takes its stand between the cone shaped stacks. The wagons wait with bails of twine and sacks. The grainery stands apart with empty bin and soon no shout will rise above the din…”
After the grain was hauled out of the field and the last crop of hay was cut and hauled, we children took the cows to the field and herded them on the stubble. We thought it was work but we liked it. We loved to romp in the stacks of new straw and gather out the twine that had been used to tie the grain bundles. We hunted bird nests in the sheds. We were fascinated with the blacksmiths shop with all the tools and equipment where the farm machinery, horse harnesses and garden tools were repaired. How I loved to pump the forge and watch the billows roar. We helped to feed the chickens and gather the eggs. Interesting busy farm life, work for all.
In 1908 father bought three hundred stands of bees and went into the bee business which proved to be a successful enterprise but it took a lot of time and work and, of course, some expense to get the necessary equipment to start. There must be material for bee boxes and slats. The wax foundation to be put on the slats for the bees to store the honey in. There must be extractors, smokers, bee vails and aprons. . The vail was made of screen wire that fit down over the brim of the hat. The bottom of the vail was soldered and fastened under the arms and around the bosom to hold the vail down so the bees couldn’t get up under it. This was to protect the face and eyes from the bee stings. Oh yes, there were plenty of stings for all whether they be in the apery, out in the field or around the house. I got many stings and always in the face. Many times I have had one or both eyes swollen shut. Father would often console me with the words, “That bee was just dying to give you a kiss”. [When a bee stings or loses its stinger it dies.] The bee apron was made of white canvas and covered the front of the shirt and pants down well over the knees.
Sometimes a swarm of bees would collect and fly away. To follow them quick someone would give the alarm and if we could get under them we would run along. We would throw water or dirt up among them. This would make them settle to the ground or sage brush or willows and they could be smoked into a box and taken back to the hive. Of course, many swarms got away entirely.
Our home was located below the canal and in the summer when we had a hard rain storm the water would swell and overflow the bank and spread to the house and field twelve to fifteen inches deep. I remember how amused we children were as we watched it but it usually proved quite damaging to the crops. Sometimes there would be several feet in the root cellar and the cistern where the household water was stored. This meant that the water would have to be pumped out, the cistern cleaned and refilled.
As the years passed, this enterprise did prove successful. Although father had to hire some help, he was able to clear himself of all debt, and he was the means of teaching several young fellows the bee business including my brother Nathan and my brother-in-law Hans Mortenson, a cousin, Sammy Knight, and Uncle Moroni Minchey who lived with us for several years and worked with father all the time in the bees.
I did not start school until I was seven years old (in September 1910). Mother and father thought that because of my poor health and frail condition, it would be better for me to wait. I went with Emeline Mortenson, Hans’ sister, and I remember during the day that I started to cry and the teacher, Miss McKay, took me up to Emeline’s room. Miss McKay, an old made of about 40 years from Huntington, was my first teacher. She was serious and inconsiderate. Oh how cross she would get. Of course, she had her pets but I certainly wasn’t one of them. My teachers in the second and third grade were Grace and Leona Cox, sisters from Orangeville, Emery County. They were both very kind, sweet and efficient teachers.
My second year in school I went until Thanksgiving when I got very ill. I wasn’t able to go back for several months until spring when the weather was warm. I had to walk two and a half miles so my third year I stayed in town with my sister Ida.
I was eight years old August 11, 1911 and father and mother took me over to Brother Jack Ward’s to be baptized. Sister Ward and I were to be baptized in the canal by Brother Ward. He baptized his wife and was helping his wife out of the canal and they slipped and fell being nearly submerge in water. It frightened me and when it was my turn I was so frightened of the water I backed out and would not be baptized. I had to think about it and worry about it for another month. I was then baptized October 1, 1911 in John Johnson’s pond by Elder Daniel Johnson. I was confirmed the same Sunday by Lewis P. Overson.
During the summer we children: Permilia, LeVoy, Clifford and I had whooping cough. (I can’t remember about Nathan and Richard.) We took our dinner up to the Cedar Mountain on the 4th of July because we couldn’t mix with other children.
I was not always the good little girl that my parents had taught me to be. I did a few things for which I was punished. The one such thing that stands out in my mind was one day when my cousin, Verda Minchey, and I were walking to primary. We had to pass a particular pasture where an elderly widow put her cows and she raised a very little patch of lucern seed when she had cut and piled ready to be hauled into town. Unless my father or some good neighbor hauled it for her she put it in sacks and each day as she brought her cows to the pasture and got them in the evening she carried those sacks on her back. This one day Verda and I decided we would scatter it (the lucern) out again thinking no one would see us. Out of no where came the poor old lady. We scampered out of the field across the road and to an uncle’s home. She found us but we denied doing it but she knew us and we couldn’t fool her. She told our parents about it. I suffered that night and for several nights. When I went to bed it seemed the tick of the clock said, “You naughty girl…you lied”. One Sunday after Sacrament meeting mother and dad took me to her home and made me ask her to forgive me. I think that was the hardest task I ever had to do, but I got the most relief than I ever got from any task I had to perform.
I think now of the big celebrations on the 4th of July. A big parade in which everyone who wished could make a float and enter. Buggies were used for floats and drawn by teams. Some were beautiful, spirited horses. Old Polly and Chub were used on our float when we entered. Sometimes father drove and sometimes Nathan would drive. Of course, there was always several families who did not enter the parade and they with other families from out of town were on the sidelines to watch. The parade would start at 9am led by Ernie Davis’ band on a large float made on a flat hayrack decorated with red, white and blue bunting and large flags were fastened along the frame. Narrow strips of bunting were woven through the spokes of the wheels. The parade would start at the church and proceed either west to Henry Edens Grove or east to Oviatts Grove. They were both a distance of 1 ½ miles from the church. Each family had their dinner prepared and spread on a quilt on the ground. After dinner everyone joined in the foot races at which the winner was given a nice prize. Of course, the losers always got suckers. I remember of winning several races for which I got a fan, a cute little hat, and a doll. Later in the day there would be a ball game between the married and single men and sometimes the ball team from a neighboring town. On some occasions there would be horse racing. At night dancing for grown ups to the music of Davis’ orchestra. The orchestra was composed of Mr. Davis’ family. This orchestra played for nearly all the dances held in Cleveland but Mr. Davis would not take part in Church activities nor attend church meetings. So a few men in town organized a three or four piece orchestra and played for the MIA dances. This caused feelings and confusion so Mr. Davis built an amusement hall in town. He had dances every week and since he and his boys drank and smoked all the time, it was allowed at the dances. Sometimes the dances became a little wild then he had to put a check on it as the young folks who were active in the church got so they would not attend his dances and he lost out considerably by allowing intoxication and unruly.
My brother LeVoy started school in September 1913. May parents decided it was best to move into town because it was too far for LeVoy and I to walk so they rented a little three room frame house about three blocks from the school and about one half block from the church.
While we were living in this house I saw the first Indians I ever saw in my life. Two squaws with their papooses on their back and a little girl came to our door and asked for some salt and water for the little girl. She was sick to her stomach. I was so frightened, I ran into the bedroom and hid until they were gone.
When I was about 11 or 12 I had a Sunday School teacher who was much different from my first school teacher. He was so kind and considerate of the children in the class. He was very devoted to the gospel and taught its principles by the way he lived. He was brother Christian Mortensen, a convert from Denmark. He taught the class to bare our testimonies, what we should say to express our love for our parents and for Heavenly Father. He told us that we should know that we really did have a Father in Heaven to whom we were praying. I loved his wonderful sweet wife too. They were the parents of one of my brothers-in-law. To us they were Grandma and Grandpa Mortensen.
About a year later in the late spring of 1914, Father bought this house, the old Tom Davis home two blacks from where we were living and we lived here until we moved to Sigurd, Sevier County, Utah in 1918. It was a big house, four large rooms down stairs.
When we had lived there about a year, mother opened up a hotel so we had salesmen ( or drummers as they were called) of dry goods, hardware, clothing, etc. The transportation then was train and buggy. There were several settlements where there was not a hotel so the drummers would work in those towns then come back and stay in our hotel at night.
We also had theater troupes come. They would put on a play at the theater two or three nights. I remember the Walter Stock company which consisted of five men and three ladies. They were fine people and very kind and considerate. They seemed to enjoy our plain country life and home grown food – meat, vegetables, home made bread, pie and cake. They came about every three or four months. Of course we were always given free passes to the performances.
Afton Courted Essie and they were married
Well to resume the story, Afton met Essie and on 28 January 1924 they had their first date. They went to Salina to a “Harvest Ball”. On another date, during their courtship, Afton and a young man he worked with took their dates to a dance in Salina, where commodities were required as a ticket to get in. Essie rode with Afton in the back of a Model “T” truck. His friend had been drinking but was driving on the way home, when one of the tires fell off the truck. Afton tried to get his friend to stop, but he wouldn’t, so Afton jumped out of the back of the truck while it was still moving, picked up the stray tire, threw it in the back of the truck, and jumped in after it. They continued on their journey minus one tire on the truck or at least so the story goes. Essie recorded that On 28 February 1924 Afton gave me a ring to say “I love you”. Well of course, I said, “I love you too”.
Afton and Essie were married on March 28, 1924 in the Manti Temple.
They moved into this small house in Aurora, where their first child, James DeVere was born on the 5th of January, 1925.
Moved from Aurora
In 1926, after years of drought and failed crops Afton’s brothers loaded up their families and moved to Provo in one day. He joined them with his family, and the next day started work at the Ironton Steel Plant in south Provo. He worked there until the spring of 1928. In the meantime their second son, Darr, was born on the January 18, 1927.
In the spring of 1928, Essie persuaded Afton to move closer to her family in Crescent, southern Salt Lake County, where their third child, another son, Conrad, was born on July 12, 1928.
Afton worked for farmers in the area until the spring of 1929, when he moved his family back to Provo, and he returned to work at the Ironton Steel Plant where he stayed until the plant closed in 1962.
On September 1, 1931, their fourth son, Sherman, was born, followed by two sons, Ned on the October 22, 1933 and Donald LeRoy on January 15, 1936, both of whom died shortly after their birth.
James DeVere said of his Father in the sketch he wrote, “our Dad was a good man and a good father, but like a lot of newly married couples making a living and starting a family, they were not active in the church. From the time that they married until we older boys started in scouting and Aaronic Priesthood, they were not very active. But when I became a scout, Dad was put on the troop committee in charge of first aid. That got him started and he was on his way into activity again.
In 1937, one year after the Church Welfare Program had been instituted, Afton was called to be the supervisor of the welfare project to raise corn, peas, tomatoes and green beans, because of his experience as a gardener. The produce was taken by ward members to the Sharon Industry cannery located on the Canyon Road to be canned for the church welfare program. This project, along with others such as the building program displayed his ability as an organizer and supervisor.
This is a picture of our home on 800 East in Orem, Utah , looking south west.
On May 4, 1944, their seventh son, Russell, was born, and their eighth son,
Eldon, was born on November 25, 1946.
In April, 1947, Afton was set apart as Elders Quorum President, where he served until he was ordained a High Priest on the 16th of April, 1954, and sustained as second counselor in August of the same year. Again in December of 1954, he was called to be first counselor where he served until 1956, when he and
Essie were called as Stake missionaries, serving there until December, 1958. When the Hillcrest ward chapel was built on 800 East in Orem during the mid 1950s, Afton and two other men worked almost as many hours as all the rest of the ward members put together. That building became the Orem 12th and 24th ward building.
In 1956 Afton and Essie moved their two youngest sons, Russell and Eldon, to a new house at 1425 South 640 East in Orem. After Afton retired from the steel plant in 1962, he worked as the custodian for the Orem 12th ward where he had so faithfully served during its construction.
He worked in that capacity until 1969 when they purchased a mobile home and moved into and managed the trailer park at 320 South State Street in Orem. Afton could not stand to be idle so he started working part time for the Deseret Industries in Provo and later at the regional welfare distribution center in Lindon until 1981.
Afton and Essie were very missionary minded and supported four sons on full time missions and saw four grandsons fill honorable full time missions. Like his parents, Afton attended the temple faithfully and frequently, especially after he retired.
Golden Wedding Anniversary
He and his brother, Tom, lived as neighbors in the Golden Age Apartments in American Fork. They attended several temple sessions at the Provo each week together the last few years of Afton’s life.
Afton and Essie loved to fish and spent many enjoyable days of their retirement catching trout, which they both loved to eat. Many of the fondest memories their family shared with them centered around fishing trips to such places as Deer Creek Reservoir, Strawberry Reservoir, Fish Lake, Yellowstone River, and many other lakes and streams.
James DeVere wrote, “I have never heard Dad sing in public, and I don’t know that her ever did, but when he was busy working on the job, in the garden, or while he was doing housework, he was always singing or humming. As I sit and think of him, I can hear him half humming, half singing ‘My Wild Irish Rose’, ‘Oh, My Father’, or ‘In the Garden’. Not only did he carry his load in life well but he also did the washing, ironing, bottled fruit, quilted, and did the house work.”
On Christmas day, 1981, Afton called his son, Russell, in South Dakota, to wish him a Merry Christmas. After visiting for few minutes, he bade Russ goodbye, telling him that he was going outside to shovel snow off the sidewalk, and turned the phone over to Essie.
When Essie hung up the phone, she went to the door and found Afton face down in the snow, having suffered a stroke in his 79th year. Their son, Eldon, was quickly summoned, and he arrived in time to revive him with the emergency personnel. He was rushed to the American Fork Hospital and his sons were asked to hurry home.
DeVere came from Chester, Utah, Darr from Las Vegas, Conrad from Portland, Sherman from Loomis, California, and Russell from Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
All of them were with him as he came out of a coma briefly, looked around at his sons around the bed, then passed through the veil from this mortal existence just before midnight on the 30th of December, 1981.
He was buried in the Provo City Cemetery on January 4, 1982, next to his two sons, who preceded him in death.
DeVere wrote that after their Dad’s death he came across a few lines that Dad had written down on September 7, 1978: “I, James Harward, will attempt to leave a few thoughts of my life. What is the purpose of life, more than to know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ that Thou hast sent? As I turn back the pages of my life (76 years), I think of the beautiful June day, in 1902, the 26th day, the most beautiful day of the year with the most beautiful flowers on earth in bloom. It is most beautiful to me. It was my father’s choice also. I think of the song, ‘My Wild Irish Rose’, the most beautiful flower that grows. As we turn back the pages of time to our childhood, I think of the things I liked to do, such as singing to the cows and birds as I milked, and to see how far I could squirt the milk, especially if there was someone to hit, and in return have the cow hit me with her tail, or kicked the stool out from under me. Such was life. I used to enjoy hunting jack rabbits with my older brother.
Well, here is another day; it is 5:30 in the morning. I must write while my mind is clear and my body is rested. What I said about the cow, I was thinking that in this life we must pay the price for what we get either good or bad. I have been a lover of some animals – horses, dogs, and swine, which we always had when I was young.
I would say to you young people, be happy and keep a song in your heart and learn to sing the songs your Father in Heaven would have you sing. As we grow older we have responsibility to think about, learn to work, and take care of ourselves.
Well, it is a beautiful day outside to enjoy. I have been thinking about what I should say that would help you to know how I feel about life, with the temptations and unhappiness going on in this world at this time. I was thinking of the song ‘Have I done any good in the World Today?’
If we pray humbly to our Father in Heaven, He will show us the way. If you would read the 4th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, there are only seven verses in it, it could help you more than I could tell.”
How fitting that the Doctrine and Covenants, 4, is a missionary scripture. It sums up the work that Afton was involved in during his mortal years and now, undoubtedly, during his spiritual waiting years.
At the time of Afton’s death in 1981, he had 8 sons, six living, 31 grandchildren, and 6 great grandchildren. Among his descendants are members of Stake Presidencies, Bishoprics, High Councils, Melchizedek and Aaronic Priesthood Quorum Presidencies, Stake and Ward auxiliary organizations, teachers, social service workers, salesmen, business managers, and other professional and skilled workers.
Afton was not a rich many monetarily, or educated in terms of the world, but he taught his children to work and persist in doing the right things. He taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ in word and action. He never claimed to be perfect, but he did the best he knew how to do. For all this our father should have some credit. If not for financial help, and maybe not always encouragement, then by all means implanting in us the desire to work and the ability to work.
Life sketch of Essie Knight Harward
By Essie Knight Harward
This little donkey was a dear little old pet and we had a lot of fun with him. Yes, and he was as stubborn as any donkey but he was much easier to ride than any horse I ever rode. We rode him to the farm to herd cows. We rode him to run errands.
As I said, my Grandmother had lived with us 13 years since 1903. She passed away in the spring of 1916 at the age of 84 years and 9 months. The school principal, Joseph Jenkins of Provo, stayed in our home one winter (1916) and it was while he was there that my Grandmother Knight passed away.
In November 1918 we moved to Sigard, Sevier County, Utah, arriving there the day after Thanksgiving. The folks loaded covered wagons with our most necessary belongings (household items, clothing, machinery). My uncle Frank Minchey was the teamster for one load. A family friend, Mason L. Snow, and my brother-in-law, Jim Allred, drove the one in which Mother, LeVoy, Clifford, and I rode. Father was detained for three weeks. He was preparing bees for the winter so he and my sister, Permelia, arrived before Christmas so we had our Christmas festivities in my brother, Alma’s home. It was the first year of influenza. All schools were closed. The children of each family having an appointment for a certain time three days a week with the teacher so no two families were at the school house at the same time. We were given an assignment for the next day. William Connell was my teacher.
…things but were told to do them and we were expected to be obedient. We were taught while yet quite young to respect our parents, each other and to have respect for ourselves.
Some advice from father and mother: Speak and think only good of everyone. Pretty is as pretty does. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
When I was young I was quite shy and backward. My sister Ida was President of the Primary and she gave me some special opportunites. One year on the 4th of July as a singing part on the program she had us put on a drill. We marched on the stage carrying flags and singing “We are all enlisted”. On occasions like this I had a white embroidery dress with a sash of contrasting ribbon and my hair in ringlets. Ordinarily I work my hair in two braids down the back.
My Courtship with Afton:
1. On28 January 1924 was our first date. We went to Salina to a “Harvest Ball”.
2. On 28 February 1924 Afton gave me a ring to say “I love you”. Well of course, I said, “I love you too”.
3. On 28 March 1924 he said “I do” and I did too.
1953 …to Medford, Grants Pass and down the coast highway to Eureka, California then San Francisco where we visited the Northern California Mission home and met sister Gardiner. We went to Exeter and Visalia and visited church in both towns. We talked to several converts and contacts of the missionaries. We again went through St. George and Cedar City to home.
In July 1957 we left home on our vacation trip. This time we went through the west part of Idaho to Boise and Caldwell. We travel Highway 95 to Lewiston, Idaho and Spokane, Washington. We came back across Idaho to Missoula, Deer Lodge, Butte Mountains and to Yellowstone Park.
Again in 1958 we went to Yellowstone Park through Idaho. To date, September 1958, we have been in nineteen of the forty eight states.
Genealogy and temple work:
I have been a member of the Genealogical Committee in three wards including second assistant to the Chairman, ward secretary, member of Visiting Teaching Committee and Temple Committee. I have done several hours of research in the genealogical library in Salt Lake City and through correspondence to relatives and others. I have done endowments and sealings for many who have passed on.
Church leaders and outstanding characters I have met:
I have met and visited with German Elsworth Sr., president of the Northern California Mission. S. Dilworth Young, president of the New England States Mission in 1949. Thomas Gardiner, president of the Northern California Mission.
I have met and made friends with several students from the Hawaiian Islands who have come to BYU. Kay is one of those students too. She is an outstanding person as a wife, mother, daughter-in-law and school teacher. Another outstanding character is sister Martha Rogers, a convert to the church from Canada. She is a sweet, considerate and sincere person.
A Life Story of Ozias Strong Harward
Contributor: dbknox Created: 9 months ago Updated: 9 months ago
Grandson John Oral Christensen said of Grandfather Ozias Strong Harward--
"What I remember best about Grandfather Harward, is how he liked his eggs raw; his boots; his hard-working will; his fine horses; and fine, clean yards. I also remember the thrill he got in riding in the new Ford, bought by Father (Ozias's son-in-law, John A. Christensen)-- his first car."
Ozias Strong and Frances Eva Curtis Harward
Excerpts from a Life Sketch written by Marvel Harward
Ozias Strong Harward was the sixth child of Thomas and Sabrina [Curtis] Harward, born the 13th of November, 1862 at Fourth South and Fourth East in Springville, Utah. His Father [Thomas Harward] had built a home on 3-3/4 acres of land which was assigned to the family as the saints settled in Springville. Ozias was welcomed into the family by his parents, one brother, William Henry, 8, and three sisters, Sarah Ellen, 6, Celestia Ann (Lettie), 4, and Sabrina Eliza, 2. His uncle William and Aunt Sarah with her young son, William Thomas, 4, lived next door.
At a young age Ozias would go with his brother, [William] Henry, to herd livestock along Hobble Creek where he caught his first fish, as well as enjoying all the wonders of nature. In 1866 when he was 4 years old, the Black Hawk war broke out. Precautions were maintained for the protection of the settlers against the Indians who would attack the settlement, drive off livestock and set fire to the buildings and haystacks. The Black Hawk war lasted two years before a peace treaty was signed. The Indians were paid for their lands in Utah valley and eventually moved to a reservation in Duchesne County.
At the age of six, Ozias began attending school at a recently remodeled school house in Springville. There he received a few years of schooling. He learned reading and spelling and according to his daughter, Elmira, learned his multiplication tables well. Ozias was baptized in Springville in February, 1876 by William Bromley.
Thomas Harward moved his family in 1877, to Sevier County to homestead on Lost Creek just east of present day Aurora. Ozias, along with his other brothers, helped to clear the sagebrush and rabbit brush from the 40 acres his father had traded for the 3-3/4 acres in Springville. It was hard work that summer to build a new home, a sod dugout. They plowed the ground, planted wheat, potatoes, and hay. The following spring they built a two room log cabin with a huge fireplace in one end of the big room. Ozias became an expert with an axe as he helped his father and brothers bring wood from the mountains to build the cabin and provide firewood.
In 1879, a school house was built just east of the Rockyford canal. It had one room and was used for school, church and recreation for the small community. Jabez Durfee was ordained as the first Bishop of the new Willow Bend (Aurora) ward on February 27, 1881. William Henry Harward and Daniel Morgan served as his counselors. As Ozias grew to manhood, he too, took an active part in church and on March 31, 1880 he was ordained a Priest by his father. His first position in the ward was secretary to the Young Men’s M.I.A. It was while serving in that position that he was first attracted to the beautiful, brown-eyed maiden, Francis Eva Curtis, who was serving as the Young Women’s M.I.A. secretary.
A new desire and hope for the future developed between these two Mutual Improvement Association (M.I.A.) secretaries. Thomas Harward had homesteaded more land on Lost Creek and now with the prospect of marriage, he gave Ozias 40 acres of land. Ozias immediate set to work gathering materials to build a good home for Eva including wood shingles instead of a dirt roof. The house had two nice windows and a fireplace with a big chimney. He made the dooryard hard by hauling gravel and packing it down well. He built neatly arranged corrals, sheds, and a stable. By this time, horses were available and Thomas as well as his sons had good stock. Ozias learned well from Thomas to provide loving care for those horses.
Ozias was ordained an Elder by Harry M. Payne and on February 4, 1885, Ozias and Eva were married in the St. George Temple by John D. T. McAllister. They had traveled to St. George by wagon.
Their first child was Simmons [Harward] who was born on March 30, 1886. He died two years later on April 15, 1889 of diphtheria. Their second child was Blanche and she was born November 22, 1887, but died after being exposed to measles on December 20, 1887.
Lonely at the loss of their two children, Ozias and Eva locked up their home and went to live with his parents, Thomas and Sabrina. While living there, the third child, Francis Eva, was born on July 22, 1889, and they soon returned to their own home.
In 1890, Ozias was called to the bishopric of the Aurora ward as a counselor to William R. Stevens.
On October 17, 1891, Eva gave birth to their fourth child, Harold. He was a very intelligent child and seemed older than his age. He contracted “Bright’s disease” and was invalid for several years before his passing on June 10, 1898. Ozias happened to be hauling freight to Ely, Nevada, at the time. All at once, Ozias’ team stopped dead still. A peculiar feeling came over Ozias and instantly he knew Harold had died. He quickly disposed of his load and hurried back home to find he was too late for the funeral.
Lulu, their fifth child, was born October 27, 1893, but died eleven months later of “summer complaint”. About this time, Ozias built a two room house with frame lumber inside and out. They moved into this house in 1894. Ozias was very diligent in his work in the bishopric as well as his farm work. In order to meet his responsibilities to the Aaronic Priesthood Quorums, he would cross the Sevier River by swimming his horse across the Sevier River before bridges were built. He would stop his own work to go to the tithing yard to take care of his responsibilities there.
Their sixth child, Orson Alfred, was born on January 31, 1895, soon after, Ozias became ill with pneumonia and pleurisy. He was down for six weeks during which time his niece, Elizabeth Kennedy, and her husband moved in to help with the farm work. Through faith and blessings of the Lord, Ozias recovered and resumed the care of his family as well as his work in the bishopric.
Number seven, Elmira, a daughter, was born January 27, 1897, and number eight, Ozias Harvey, was born on November 20, 1898. In quick succession came number nine, Sharland, who was born September 22, 1900, followed by their tenth child, James Afton, born June 26, 1902. The past year had been difficult because Bishop Stevens had resigned and Ozias assumed his responsibilities until a new bishopric was called in 1902. When that occurred, Eva was called as the ward Relief Society President. Ozias then moved his family across the river into the main part of town across the street from the school house. This house was a one room log house that was later used as a grainary and was still standing in 1981.
In 1903, the first telephone was installed and for some time there were only 3 phones in town. The railroad had been built a few years earlier with its first train arriving at night, whistle blowing, bell clanging and a light so bright that you could hardly look at it. The townspeople were all thrilled with the new mode of transportation. To celebrate the completion of the railroad, the Denver and Rio Grande, let anyone ride to Salt Lake and back for $4.00 and many took the ride.
On March 4, 1904, Leon, their eleventh child, was born. About this time Ozias, with the help of two brothers-in-law, Ezra [Hoten Curtis] and Phillip [James] Mason, built a new frame home complete with two porches and sawdust to insulate the walls. The upstairs was not completed until 1914. Number twelve, Heber, was born on November 20, 1905. On December 18, 1907, Thomas Rudolph was born the thirteenth child of Thomas and Eva.
Ozias built his corrals north of the house and on the other end of the block was the church lot where the first amusement hall was built in 1906. It was a neat frame structure with classrooms in the basement. The seats could be taken out of the main hall for dancing, recreation programs and stage plays. Wilford and Tillie Ivy brought a beautiful organ for the church when they moved to Aurora from Scipio.
The townspeople enjoyed the new amusement hall until 1910 when it burnt to the ground. The building used gas lights but when they went out, the care taker without thinking, struck a match to see if there was any gas in the tank which caused an explosion. No one was injured but a fire raged. Towns people formed a bucket brigade from the near by ditch. Ozias mounted a ladder to pour water on the flames until it got too hot and while trying to get down fast, he fell. The fall injured his leg which bothered him the rest of his life.
Number fourteen, Devoyal, was born April 25, 1910. The church building was rebuilt in 1911 and this time the towns people used bricks. Ozias donated a team, and his son, Orson, hauled the bricks from Gunnison. Sharland remembers helping to unload the bricks in Aurora when he was 11 years old.
[Frances] Eva [Curtis] gave birth to her last child, Marilla, on March 9, 1912. In the spring of 1915, Ozias took another severe sick spell. The Elders administered to him and he soon was up and about, but his health continued to decline until he passed away on June 7, 1917. Eva was left with nine children at home, the youngest was five year old Marilla. The oldest living daughter, Francis Eva, was married at the time.
After Ozias died, Eva directed the family by patriarchal order. Orson, the oldest living son, took charge of work assignments on the farm. Working together as a tightly knit family then provided the means of support for all the family. After Sharland moved to Provo, it wasn’t long until the entire family sold all their holdings in Aurora and moved to Provo in 1926.
Ozias and Eva set the standard of excellence in the gospel early in their family and Eva carried on as a widow for 34 years.