Life Sketch of John Heber Murdock
Contributor: Hilljr Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
Born at Old Church Pasture Four Miles North Of Salt Lake City Family resided in St Johns Ariz 1884-1890 and then Heber Utah. High Priest; Missionary 1884 to 1890 to Arizona and to West Virginia in 1907. High Counselor of Wasatch Stake. President of St. Johns Irrigation Co. and Wasatch Irrigation Company 1912 Farmer. Information from the Genealogical Libarary, Book Utah Pioneers. My great grand-father, John Heber Murdock was born at the Old Church Pasture, Davis county, Utah. There was not enough space to have the word Pasture included in the place name. LDS Church Records.
Life Story of John Heber Murdock by John Heber Murdock
I have been asked by my daughter, Eliza Murdock Sellers, to give a little of my life story. I am John Heber Murdock, eldest son of Joseph Stacy Murdock and Eliza Clark. I was born the 28th of April 1854 at what was then the Church Pasture, north of Salt Lake City in Davis county, Utah.
On my fathers side of the family for a number of generations they lived in the New England States, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. My mother was born in England.
I am thankful for the heritage they gave me as I was born under the new and ever lasting covenant. My first memories are connected with the Carson Valley, Nevada. My father having been called by President Brigham Young to go settle that part of Nevada. I can remember the milk house that was built over a spring of cold water and a very large toad that ate under a board by the water.
When Johnston's Army came we were called back to Utah, I was then about four years old. After we came back, we lived at Wite's Fort on Bingham Creek, about three miles west of the Jordan River. Father had quite a number of sheep and cattle, he also kept sheep and cattle for other people. One winter I remember was very hard, We had to winter the cattle out with very little hay, the weather was bitter cold and the animals suffered terribly. Every day a wagon was sent out to pick up the dead and dying sheep. Then the men would bring them one by one in the house and skin them by the light of the fireplace. There were so many that often they would work nearly all night skinning the dead sheep. That was a bad winter. You see the sheep hides were worth money and that was the reason we had to save them. During the winter I would say that we skinned at least half of our herd that died of starvation. My brother Dave and my brother Jonathan (we always called him Daunt) and an Indian boy called Pick (father adopted him) and myself, were old enough to act as herd boys and take care of the cattle and sheep that had escaped the awful winter.
One day while we were herding, Daunt decided he would go home, so we showed him the house in the distance and he started off. We thought no more about him, but when we arrived home that night and he had not come home, the folks were badly upset. And all that night they were out searching for him. Some of our neighbors came with a lantern or two, but we did not find him for three days. A Mr. Bill Hickman, who lived quite a way from us was out hunting cattle. He heard the wolves howling, and just road to where the sound came from and there he found the boy sitting by some rocks. He took him home.
Our play things were very crude. I remember we would get the jaw of a dead horse or cow and tie string to it and that made a very good wagon to pull over our dugways and bridges that we were always constructing.
The Bingham was the only Creek that flowed into the Jordan River from the west mountian. It was from this creek that we got our drinking water. I remember that we did not have any conveniences in our home, just the bare necessities to get along with. Every bit of furniture was rough and made by hand. Every day brought its work, and very hard work for all, everyone of the children had to do their share too. We had no luxuries, but we did have pleanty of milk, butter, cream and cheese that our mothers made. In the winter we had meat. Our bread was not the kind we eat now, but still the food we ate gave us good strong bodies. Everything we used was very primitive, our baking was done in a bake Skillet over hot coals from the fireplace, as was all the cooking.
Matches were unknown of so at night we would bank the fire, that is to cover the hot coals with ashes. In the morning we would uncover the coals and start a fire. Some times the coals would go out, then we would hsve to go to the neighbors and borrow some live coals. We also used flint and steel or gun powder to make a fire. We used the powder in the following manner; about one-half charge of gun powder was put in the gun, then a rag with a little powder sprinkled on it would be packed in the gun barrel, then another rag would be put in and the gun would be against the bottom of the house where some shavings and some bark had been placed and then by blowing on these sparks the mass would take fire.
On one occasion father brought home a pound of powder from Salt Lake City, to use in making fires. Steve Ross who lived with us was starting the fire. After he had fired the gun he didn't think the fire would start, so he poured a little on the sparks and before he could move the can exploded in their faces. Their faces were black and they both were frantic with pain. One ran up the creek and the other one ran down the creek. Steve's thumb was nearly cut off and neither could see and their faces were badly burned. I remember mother had dipped up the water we were to drink that day, but they plunged their hands and faces in it. Father hurried to Salt Lake City for aid. He brought back some kind of a doctor and he cut a gash about one inch long on each of aunt Jane's cheeks and one over each eye and one on her forehead. He fixed steve's thumb and put them to bed. They both carried the scars to their graves.
I must tell about the lanterns we had. Father bought two in Salt Lake City. They were made of tin with holes in the sides so the light could shine through and a handle on top for convenience in carring. A candle was placed inside. The light inside the house at night came from the fireplace and a twisted rag placed in a saucer of grease. Our mothers sewed, mended, knit and did their spinning by the light. Our house was of logs with one room and a lean to on the north which served as a milk house. As I remember it was a barren place with sage all around. The furniture consisted of a bed with two legs and the other side fastened agaonst the wall. Our mothers did their best for us, and as a mark of refinement, there were curtains around the bed. We had slabs nailed together for a table and benches. We boys slept on four sheep skins sewed together. They were clean and made a fairly good bed.
As I look back on those days I cannot but think our mothers were made of "mighty good stuff". They had been brought up in a different way and had many of the comforts of life. Here they were in a barren land with only the bare necessities and still were trying to carry on. I say all honor to our brave mothers. 1. Aunt Adaline (Sweet) Murdock, 2. Eliza (Clark) Murdock, 3. Aunt Adaline (Warner) Murdock, 4. Aunt Jane (Sharp) Murdock, 5. Aunt Elizabeth (Lizzie Hunter) Murdock, 6. Aunt Pernetta (Walker) Murdock. Aunt Adaline diden't live with father, she soon left.
One day I remember Pick and I were herding Cattle, he wanted to go and look for some water so he left me alone and did not come back. About dark I started for home. I met a wolf and he frightened me so that I ran right at him. He turned and and was so frightened that he ran away.
There was an Indian boy who lived with his people on the Jordan River and when we went there to herd the sheep and cattle, Pick always engaged the Indian boy in battle. Pick remembered some of his Indian ways for whenever he would kill a rabbit he would clean it. That is he would take out the insides and salt them (he always carried a little salt in his pocket) and he would hang it in a badger hole for future use. Whenever our cattle got on the south side of Bingham Creek they would eat a poisan weed that was almost like a bluebell. Then we would have a skinning bee.
The first knife I ever owned, my father brought home to me from Salt Lake City as a reward for skinning an old cow. I did the work with an old razor without a handle. It took me a week to do it as I was between 8 and 9 years old. The man to whom father sold the hide preised it so highly that father thought I deserved the knife.
I well remember the milk house. It was built so that half of the room was under ground so that the milk might keep cool. Mother kept finding that the cream was gone from the pans of milk. She accused us boys of this, but we declared we were innocent. One day when she went in the milk house she saw a big blow snake crawling up the wall in the cellar part. She also found that the milk had been skimmed. She had found the culprit.
In the late summer Bingham Creek would go dry, so we had to plow a ditch about a mile long in order to get water to use in the house.
While we lived on Bingham Creek, we were bothered quite a bit by the Indians. They would go to Salt Lake City, get whisky and get drunk, and then they would come our way.
One day towards evening a young squaw came on her horse and told the women as best she could that the men had gone to the city after "fire water" and that they were coming to the house. She told us to leave the house and hide. We all hid in the tall grass along the creek bottom. Father was away from the home at the time and we were alone.
After awhile we herd the Indians coming. They were galloping their horses and yelling, it sounded awful to us hidden there in the grass. They went to the house, pounded on the door and we could hear them banging things around and making a great noise.
We had the sheep all in the corral for the night and not finding anyone around they went in among the sheep and ran them back and forth until the sheep were tired and so were the Indians, finally they rode away. It always seamed strange to me that at such times "Pick" always went away alone and hid himself.
One time Two or Three hundred Indians came. It was at the time Chief Ammon died. At night they certainly made a mighty noise, singing and lamenting. In the morning we boys hurried to see all about it, just as boys always do. We found they had taken a beautiful yellow horse and cut out the juggler vein and made him run in a circle until he dropped dead. They had taken the chief up Bingham Creek and left him.
At one time father had just ridden in off the range where he had been looking after the cattle, he was riding a very fine horse. The Indians were as usual at our place and one big fellow jumped on the horse to ride away. Father was a small man, but he was very strong and very quick, so he jumped and pulled the Indian off and gave him a good trouncing.
We always had a lot of cows to care for and milk, and if they diden't all come home at night we were quite upset. This particular night one cow was missing and Aunt Esther, Uncle Niffs wife went to hunt her down on the creek bottom. She saw what she thought was a cow in the dim light and so she called "come Bossy", suddenly an Indian loomed up before her, and threw his buffalo robe over her head. She screamed and yelled for help. She was badly frightened, evidently he was just playing a joke on her, for he laughed and said "Heap Bossy Cow".
One day the women had left us children alone, we saw two men coming on horses. When they got nearer, we could see that one man was whipping the other over the head and shoulders. When they got to our house the one who was being whipped jumped off of his horse and ran in the house and got under the bed. We later learned that he had been accused of stealing horses.
Some times we would go with father to watch the men wash the sheep. They had a small pen at the edge of the water and would take one sheep at a time and wash it nice and clean so our mothers could use the wool for making yarn and clothing.
Father had three families in American Fork. They would change places with mother so that we might all have a chance to go to school in American Fork. There was not a school at Fort Harriman. I remember I called my first teacher Aunt Edith. I never knew her name or who she was, and I have often wondered about her.
President Brigham Young, George A. Smith and others often came to our house and how they did enjoy the buttermilk, and home made cheese.
Once when I was a real small boy, father took mother and us children to visit her folks at Grantsville, Utah (Clark's). We were about ten miles from home and we saw a little brown hen following our wagon. I asked to stop and she flew up on the wagon wheel. Father said he thought she had dropped from some wagon when the people were moving.
Mother showed us Black Rock at the point of the mountian and told us she had walked out to it without getting her feet wet. Now in 1933 the water is quite deep.
At grandfathers place we dried fruit. Oh, how we did enjoy the fruit, the very first I had ever tasted and I shall never forget grandfather and Grandmother Clark.
On our way back we stopped at Uncle George Briens. He gave us a small puppy and I, like all small boys was overjoyed for this dog was my very own, and the first one I ever had. Uncle told me to put him in the cellar so as to have him handy as we were going to start early. In the night I heard him whining and got up to go to him, but as I always slept on the sheepskin I spoke of, I just started to walk off, but I was on a bedstead and fell and cut a deep gash in my chin. I got my dog and got back in bed and in the morning both bed and myself was covered with blood. I still have the scar on my chin.
In the spring of 1850 father was called to be the bishop of Wasatch county and he had been going to Heber many times before the move in 1852. In the spring of 1852 we crossed the first bridge across the Jordan River just where it is now on the way to the airport. The moving of the family was quite a task, as we had cattle, horses, sheep and hogs.
We were two days getting from our home to the mouth of Parleys Canyon. I can remember the first night we camped, we had our bull along with the cattle, and some men came down with three or four yoaks of cattle and when the men turned their cattle loose, there was a mix-up, and after that we wrer careful to tie the bull up with a log chain. Every once in a while we would stop and count the sheep and hogs, and if any animals were lost we would beat the brush until we found them all. In the work my brothers, Dave, Daunt and myself were the main actors. We camped the third night somewhere near the reservoir. I think I have never saw brush so thick, our mothers would walk along the road with the small children. We camped at Bill Kimball's one night and from there we came on through the hills to Silver Creek. On the fourth night we camped at Silver Creek. Here we found good grass and water. From here we passed the fifth night among the big Cottonwoods. Here my pet colt died. And from Silver Creek we came uo the road to about where it turns to go to Park City, instead of going as the road does now over the Summet, and coming this way. We went to the right of the high point, and came down the slope, and on down and camped that night at Hailstone's Ranch.
The year 1852 is known as the year of high water. We started out that day and when we got to the place where Ben Norris later lived, we found we could not cross the river so we kept to the west side.
Ephraim Hanks from Midway met us at this point with four yoke of cattle, and the wagons were taken up the Spring Bench. We went up the hill to the top and came down one of the long ridges. And in the meantime the sheep, hogs and cattle were worked around the side of the hill, under the big cliff (where the flag is now painted). And as usual the hogs had to lose themselves in the thick brush, and had to be hunted.
Aunt Jane, who was nursing Nymohas, about dark, wrapped him in a shawl and laid him down in the grass while she was attending to the other children. Poor little baby was lost. We hunted, but could not find him. The other teams were coming down the bench. We yell, stop your teams, we have lost a baby.
Word was given by father to move on, and he and Aunt Jane would stay and search for him and so he gave the word to proceed. The lead team had just taken a few steps when they stopped, and would not go. The driver went to the head of the oxen, and there on the ground was the baby between the hoofs of the lead oxen, needless to say we went on our way, thankful and rejoicing.
That night we camped farther on and the next morning we started for Midway (that was not the name of the town then), we arrived at the settlement in the afternoon. I think the Coleman's were living there at that time, also the Roby's, McCarrel's and Ephraim Hanks.
Nothing would do Mr. Hanks, but that we should have a bull fight, and so we did and it was a big one. Mr Hanks' bull whipped ours, but we were not satisfied, so in a week we had another one. This time our bull was victorious. He had had a rest and was in good fighting trim.
The day after we arrived we went down to the land that father had bought, one half mile below the lower settlement. The place designated by some big trees, and to some of the older people of Midway it is still known as the "Murdock Place".
I remember everything was wild looking, grass from three to four feet high. Father said, "the house is here", so we started looking and finally located it, and I can tell you that it was not much of a house. Just a shack and such a wild looking place. Father had purchased the Midway bottoms with the exception of a few acres, and it was a ranch for years. I remember the first mill was here.
During the summer and fall we herded the sheep close around home. We lost a few to coyotes, and I remember that we moved what hay we could, that was left in the sloughs, with a scythe. There seemed so little to last the sheep and cattle all winter.
Along in the latter part of March we began to look anxiously for the snow to disappear on the south side of the hills. On the level the snow was from three to four feet deep, and as soon as a bare spot appeared we would do our best to get the sheep, and the cattle on these bare spots. We helped things along by turning waem water on the bottoms, and soon we would have forty or fifty acres of bare ground, from which the grass had not been mowed, and there we would take the sheep and cattle. (The warm water was obtained from the hot pots of which there were many in the Midway area). Also the river bottoms had pleanty of cottonweed, and the brush was thick. The beavers had cut down hundreds of trees. These we used for wood. Many, many things we had to learn that long hard winter, but we were able to get through.
Our first fruit gathering was fun for the Murdock clan. We boys found out that the service berries were ripe, so the Oxen were yoked up together and we put the boxes, tubs, buckets or whatever we could get that would hold berries, and we were off to Deer Creek. The bushes were loaded to the ground. We would spread a blanket or quilt on the ground, then shake the bushes. We filled everything we had with berries, then we went home and proceeded to dry our load of fruit. We were happy and thankful.
I remember our first Christmas in the valley. Sugar was unknown to us, but our mothers had a little molasses, so they made some dough and sweetened it with the molasses, rolled it out and cut it in all kinds of shapes of everything we could think of and decorated them with the dried service berries and we were as happy as could be.
We had one small room that first winter and we were so crowded. We boys slept in our four sheepskins with the wool side up and over us we spread the linsey quilts with wool batts inside. The cloth and all was made by our mothers. We were warm and comfortable. In the night if anyone moved they had to be careful not to step on anyone.
The women's bed consisted of side pieces and end pieces nailed to the wall and slats made of cottonwood. There was a curtain hanging from the top and when let down made a very small room. The bed was high enough so that a trundle bed could fit under it. Sometimes when a child was unruly they were put into the trundle bed and put under the bed for a while.
We spent our summer herding cattle and sheep. Once in awhile we were allowed to ride a horse, but at first we did not have many horses. We hardly knew what shoes were then. And when the cows fed on certain ones of the bottoms, my how we did hate to go after them. I will tell you the reason we disliked to go. Our feet were pretty tough, especially the soles, but under our big toes it was usually cracked and we would take some warm grease, put the grease on a piece of yarn and tie it around our big toes, where the cracks was. Now as we walked across the meadow land the grease would get mixed with the yarn and get under the crack. It sure did hurt, and so I have always been very grateful for shoes with a good pair of soles.
That winter we all had the itch and father was the doctor. We were given sulphur and molasses internally. Externally that was something different. Our clothes were taken off, and we were rubbed with grease and had to stand before a hot fire. I do not know what this had to do with the cure, but this I do know, it hurt a lot, but we were supposed to take it all and be happy. I do remember we itched all winter, and I do not know how we were cured, it may have been the hot fire.
There were millions of crickets on the bench, where the Tate farm is today. I disliked very much to walk over the ugly things with my bare feet. All these things have passed away and we have a better way of living for which I am very thankful.
Lots of Indians would come and many times there would be thirty or forty wicki-ups on the river bottoms. Father always fed the Indians who came to our home and often they would stay for a long time. I remember some of the Indians names, Cut-lip-Jim, Tabby, Ankatawate and Bridger Jim.
One time father gave the Indians fifteen head of sheep and they divided them among themselfs. There was one Indian in particular who thought his sheep was not big enough and refused to have it because it was not as large as the others. So father, being angry told him to be off and that he couldn't have a sheep at all. The other Indians took their sheep and went away, first cutting the sheeps throat, then putting the sheep over their horses and off to camp.
We had a big pile of poles and here the next morning when we got up there was a dead sheep lying on the pile of poles, and here came the Indian who said his sheep was too small and he asked father for the sheep. Father told him to take the sheep, never thinking what had happened. I asked father how he thought the sheep died on the poles? I had herd the sheep running in the night, and I think the Indian choked the sheep and put it on the poles.
Father said if he had his horse, the Indian would't get away with it, as I would take it away from him.
In those days father was away quite a lot of the time, and the women and children were left alone much of the time. One day an Indian rode up on his horse and demanded bread. Now Aunt Lizzie had just finished baking, and he could see the bread. She was willing to give him a generous slice, but that wouldn't do, he wanted it all. My mother was in for giving it to him, and getting rid of him, but Aunt Lizzie was of a different mind. He tried to ride his horse in the door, but she caught up a stout stick that stood just inside the door and gave him such a whacking that he was glad to ride away.
Once I remember some Indians went in the house while we were away and took a tin tea pot belonging to one of the women, and a paisley shawl of mothers that she had brought from England. Afterwords we boys found the tea pot all smashed where they had been camped.
At this time, what we called Spring Creek or Snake Creek made a seperate channel to where it ran against the mountians to what we called the White Slide, and it was here at the White Slide that we got our white wash to whitewash our house.
Finally the time came that the Indians became so trouble some that an Indian out break seemed certian. So the people were advised to move , and build a Fort. The people living in what is now Charleston moved to Heber. The people in the upper settlement, must move to the lower settlement. But they would do neither. So finally they moved midway between the two settlements, and built a fort for their protection. The town was known from then on as Midway.
We cut our hay with a scythe and our grass by hand, so you can see our farming was done in a very primative manner.
When I was about twelve years old, I went with my father to Salt Lake City. He left me with the wagon while he went to see some men. We were where the Tabernacle now stands. I climbed upon the foundation of the Temple, and I thought how grand it would be when it was finished.
Sometime after that father sent me to Salt Lake City with a cow and a calf. I herded cattle all alone in Lake Creek at the time of the Indian trouble. I was only a boy some where between thirteen and fourteen years of age. I was very large for my age. I also went to the canyons after wood.
In 1867 the Indians became so bad that all the people in the valley had to get together and live in Forts to protect themselves, One was built in Heber and one in Midway.
Today as you visit Midway you will notice a marker that tells you where the old Fort was. The houses were built around the square, and in the open space in the center was where we drove the livestock in at night.
All the boys had fun in the evening riding the steers. In the morning we would go down to the ranch to look after the sheep, as we kept them down there. One would look after the sheep and one would herd cattle mostly around the Dutch fields. My brothers Daunt, Pick and myself would herd the cattle and sheep.
At this time father lost a number of horses and finally a peace pact was made with the Indians, but it was not permanent. From Midway we moved to Heber.
Here it was that I began to take part as a man in building roads and hauling wood. This hauling or should I say getting of wood was no small matter. As we were now a very large family and it took a lot of wood to keep us warm as we had no coal. The winter days and long winter nights were bitterly cold. The winter lasted from October until April.
I remember going to Salt Lake City to Conference. I think it was in 1874 on the third day of April. The snow was three feet deep on the ground.
During the period of 1868, father was called on a mission down on the Muddy River in Nevada. He took two of his wives, and their families. Aunt Lizzie and Aunt Nettie, leaving Aunt Jane and my mother and their families in Heber. Aunt Eunice being in American Fork.
My brother Dave went along also. Father took cattle and sheep with them and left and Echo was the nearest to us, and it was at this time that hay sold for one hundred me to care for the ones he left behind. During the fall of 1869 the railroad was coming dollars a ton. I paid in Heber, twenty dollars for a sack of flour that weighed pounds. The flour was anything but good, not the fine flour of today one hundred.
My clothes were home spun and now I was to have a real shirt. I had a horse that I prized very highly. I thought he was all a horse should be, but one day Mr. John McDonald saw me riding by, and hailed me over and offered me seventy five dollars for my horse. He would also give me a shirt to boot. I thought how badly we needed the money for flour, and other things, and besides the shirt I meant a lot to me. So, Mr McDonald took my horse and I took the money and the shirt.
The grasshoppers were very bad at this time, and took our crops of wheat. We plowed ditches and turned the water into them. We killed many, but not enough of them for they took the wheat crop.
Our lights were not very good, but we got along with them. The fire from the pretty good and when we had what we called a “bitch”, this was a twisted rag put into a fireplace was tin pie plate with some tallow and when the rag was lighted we had a little light from that source. Tallow in those days was just as essential to our lighting system as electricity is to our day. Our best light was from a candle, but it wasn’t always that we could get candle wicking, but when we could get it, then the tallow was put in the molds which were about eight inches long and our mothers would make as many dozens as they could. When we had a party all were to take candles. These were placed about the room in convenient places. This was our lighting system. One good coal oil lamp gave more light than all our candles. It was about this time I first saw a coal oil lamp, it was a wonderful thing and was talked about in all our homes, and discussed many times.
Aunt Jane was our reader, and many times I would be off on a horse through the bitter cold to borrow a novel. Anything to read as books and paper was scarce. I will never forget how thrilled we all were as the lamp was lit. It seemed to us we had never seen such a wonderful thing as that lamp.
The school house was where we held our parties and dances. Our clothes were in the fashion of the times, or as near as we could get to the fashion. The girls and women wore hoops and yards and yards in their skirts. I remember that it took ten yards for my wife a skirt, and she was very small. The men all had jean pants or sometimes buckskin pants and whatever we could get for shirts. All the men wore boots and rough looking ones at that.
There was always someone that played the fiddle or accordion, and we had square dances, waltzes, polkas and shottishes. We did have such good times all together, all the same. Some times we would take wheat or oats to pay for our tickets, and then we were given a number. There was always one appointed to act as the floor manager, and when your number was called you could dance. Otherwise not and the floor manager was very particular that there was no ringing on or dancing out of your turn. This really was a breach of etiquette. Dances opened and closed with prayer, and we were taught that you could worship the Lord, in a dance as well as in church. The dances commenced at candlelight and ended when the candles were all gone, if they lasted until day light, we danced until that time.
I must tell you about killing the snakes, as often now days we hear the expression “The pioneers killed the snakes, and built the bridges”. This is how we did the job of killing the snake. When we first came to Midway, there were hundreds of rattlesnakes. They were all over the place, and they had chosen for their den a place situated north, a little west of Memorial Hill about one quarter of a mile. They had chosen what once had been a hot pot, but was now a dry pot as we called it, and of considerable dimensions and height, which has since been blasted and hauled away and used for making lime. This pit or den housed hundreds of snakes. It was quite a past time for the boys, we would take long sticks with hooks on the end and pull the snakes out from the rocks and cracks. This way we killed hundreds of them.
In 1935 I could no longer see to paint, so I am making children’s furniture, chairs, tables, ect. I give them to my grandchildren and great grandchildren. I also make jumping jacks and dolls. In fact, anything to keep me busy.
The first mill I remember was owned and operated by John Van Wagoner, and was known as a undershot mill, meaning that the water went under the wheel instead of going over the wheel.
The machinery consisted of a hopper and the millstone, the flour that we got was just like chopped feed, and they ground every thing else that happened to be in it.
We tried washing the wheat, and also picking it over, but neither was practical. We ate quite a bit of boiled wheat. Our mothers would have us boys and girls pick out the seeds and dirt, then they would wash it clean in a big iron pot and boil it all day long. Then we would eat it with milk. It tasted very good to hungry boys.
The first mowing machine that came into the county was bought by my father. It was known as the “Woods Mower”. When we put it on the ground to mow the Midway bottoms, where the grass could not be touched with a scythe, this machine went right along cutting as fast as the horses could walk. That was a great day for the Murdock’s. Five acres of hay cut in one day. There was one fault with the machine, and that was this, they had not learned to temper steel, and that part of the mower known as the knife head, it would not stand the strain and we would have to go to the blacksmith two or three times a day to have the knife head mended.
This was fun, at least it looked like fun at first, but alas, it was not. There was the old grindstone with a long handle and a bucket of water, and a cup and the boys took turns while father held the knife up one side, and down the other. My, but our arms would be tired.
All our raking of the hay was done by hand, with a wooden rake until father rigged up an affair to help us. He made some wooden rake teeth fixed on a pole, and hitched horses on, and that helped a lot, as we could bunch the hay, after a fashion, but we had to re-rake it with a hand rake.
The first harvester was a cradle and a scythe. Sometimes we could cut one acre a day, or two if the wheat stood up good. We bound by hand, and raked by hand, this was slow work.
The next was a “Dropper Mower” with some slats behind the cutter and a lever to raise the hand end of the slats and a reel on the machine to knock the grain back when you put on a bundle, pulled the lever and the stubble’s did the rest, and you had your bundle and it was all ready to be bound by hand.
Our next binder was old side rake, an arm around the table, and gathered the grain as it fell over and pushed it off to one side, and the machine did not have to stop.
Our next binder was the old wire binder, It took two span of horses to pull it. It would bind the bundles, but it would leave the heads and butts all together. It would drag behind until they got so heavy that the wire would break.
Our next binder was the “March Harvester”. Two men stood on the platform, the grain was elevated to them, and they bound it by hand. In ordinary grain and with good luck you could cut five acres a day.
Now comes the twine binder, what a blessing it was. Some man had invented a piece of iron that would tie a knot, and cut the twine. This was a most wonderful thing to see. The machine came into the field and it would cut and bind without missing a bundle, ten acres a day. This machine was indeed a blessing , but greater than that, we now have a great harvester that cuts and thrashes forty acres a day, and puts the grain in sacks.
These men were my companions; William Rasband, Henry McMillan, Thomas Clotworthy, Thomas Hicken, William McMullin and John Smith.
Father, oft-times in a homey way, but in a way that always carried his point, so that anyone listening knew he spoke the truth. He had been a Block Teacher for years and never missed an opportunity to go to his monthly rounds. More than one person came in the church through him, with the help of our Father in Heaven. Many of these lived near father.
Father was a dynamic speaker, and one would sit up and listen. My father was a man who wanted to do good to all mankind. In our home he taught the gospel to us by example. He loved a good time, liked to dance and sing.
I liked to sing so well that I was determined to learn the notes, then I would learn any tune. I learned without the aid of an organ or piano. Sister Ann Harvey, a good friend of the family helped to teach me the notes. She came one day with a board from a bolt of cloth, and on it was the musical scale, all written out and so began my music course that gave me such happiness.
I got a tuning fork so I could get the pitch and I was off in the fields, doing chores, and I was always at it, do, re, me, fa, so ect. When I went to the field I would take the Sunday School Songbook, and at noon while I rested and ate my lunch under the shade of the wagon, I was studying my music. I learned so well that I could sing any tune given to me. I could never sit idle.
My first girl friend, as they say today, was Jane Duke.
I enjoyed my self in many ways herding cattle, sheep and in farming, hauling wood and building roads. In making canals for water, clearing land of sagebrush, and many other things that the pioneers must do.
My schooling was under the direction of Aunt Eunice, father’s first wife, and later William Chatwin, William Lindsey and John Gallagher, who later became my father-in-law.
I was baptized by William McDonald. I was ordained an Elder by John Lyons, and I was ordained a High Priest by William Henry Platt.
I took time out to look at girls, and after a time I found one that I thought was just the finest girl of them all. Her name was Mary Elvira Gallagher. She was very small and very beautiful. She weighed 90 pounds, while I was six feet two inches and weighed 200 pounds. She could stand under my outstretched arm. We were married 15 December 1873 in the Old Endowment House in Salt Lake City, Utah. We had Ten children.
St. Johns, Arizona is on the Little Colorado River.
In November 1937 I had the privilege of making a trip to Canada, Niagara Falls, Palmyra, the Prophet’s home and the Sacred Grove, Hill Camorah, Kirtland, Nauvoo and the Carthage Jail at Carthage and Independence Missouri.
My heart was filled with thanksgiving, and praise to my Heavenly Father for this wonderful privilege. I had always lived in hopes that I could travel over that part of the country where my people suffered so much.
I am thankful for the testimony of the truth of this Gospel. And that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God lives, and that Joseph Smith is a prophet of the living God.
JOHN HEBER MURDOCK
Thomas Calvin Murdock
Contributor: Hilljr Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
THOMAS CALVIN MURDOCK
Birth: 7 Jan 1902 Heber, Wasatch, Utah
Death: 4 Aug 1959 Heber, Wasatch, Utah
As told to Ohleen Campbell Hansen by Vernon Murdock, July 15, 2009
Tom Murdock was the son of John Heber Murdock (1854-1941) and Emily Ann Bond (1873-1966). He was the fourth of six children. Their family lived in Heber, Utah in a home built by Tom's grandfather, Joseph Stacy Murdock. It was called the Carthage jail house. It was actually used as a jail for a time. The jail was on the second floor. The family lived on the first.
Tom married Millie Lindsay on 7 July, 1921.
Tom Murdock worked in the Spring Canyon coal mines. He weighed the coal as it came out of the mine. Among the miners were many foreigners. There was a lot of fighting among them, especially when there had been drinking.
Tom's father-in-law, Andrew Lindsay, was also a miner, as were many of the Lindsays generations back. Andrew Lindsay worked the mines in Park City, Utah.
Tom's father, John Heber Murdock, owned land in Provo where BYU housing was later built (Heritage Halls and Deseret Towers). John H. Murdock lost his farm during the depression when he was unable to pay his bills. For a long time, his yellow brick home remained with the student housing built around it.
Tom would have preferred farming, but he had no land. His family lived on 6th South in Heber. He built the home with the help of his father-in-law, Andrew A. Lindsay, whose home was next door.
With farming in his blood, Tom rented land from farmers for the season in addition to working in the mine. He and his boys would dig out ditches, repair fences, and raise hay and alfalfa on the borrowed farmland. They always got a good crop. After one or two seasons, the farmer wanted his land back because of their work on it.
When the great Depression hit, farmers fared okay, because they could continue growing crops. That was not the case for miners. The mines were shut down as the price of lead and zinc fell. There was no work available for these men and no available food supply.
Tom would go out in the morning to look for work each day. He left home carrying his lunch bucket on his shoulder. At the end of a long day, he came home with maybe a squash for work he had done, or maybe with nothing. Sometimes a guy named "Risky" would give him work milking his cows by hand. Milking contributed to Tom's strong grip. He could take you down with his grip.
Eventually, concerned with how to feed the family, Tom plowed up every square inch around their home into a garden. His family became as independent as they could by planting their own food. They also had a cow, sheep, and a pig. Tom always had a couple of work horses that he leased as well. Tom loved horses.
One of the horses was named Charlie. Charlie was a riding quarter horse. He was playful and high-spirited.
Tom finally gave in and went to work for the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) and went to California to do a project. He was paid $30.00 per month. Out of that money, he purchased his own food and clothing. The rest was sent home to Heber for the family. Vernon worked for 10 cents a day to help out the family. At Thanksgiving time, a matchbox (6x4x2 inches) was filled with candy and mailed to Tom.
One of the CCC projects was at Strawberry Reservoir in Utah. The workers were driven in the back of an army truck to the new work location. It was known that a few of the men were from Heber, so they drove that truck straight through without stopping to keep the men from heading home. Holding his old leather suitcase in front of him, Tom jumped from the moving truck as it rounded a curve. He went home.
For at least one summer, Tom worked at Currant Creek where a road was being constructed. He wore a big brimmed hat, Smokey Bear style. It became floppy, so he asked his wife, Millie, to fix it for him. She soaked the brim in starch and sugar using weights to shape it. Tom took the hat back to Currant Creek. While sleeping in his tent one night soon after, squirrels ate the brim completely off the hat.
When the mines re-opened, Tom spent several years doing different things. He worked at the blacksmith shop or worked as a hard rock miner inside the mine. The mine owners weren't necessarily fair to the workers. It was common to remove someone from the job just prior to retirement so they would not earn their pension. This happened to Tom.
Some nights, Tom came home from the mines, had supper, and walked down to the river to go fishing. Later he got an old wood-rimmed bicycle, so he would ride it down 6th South to the river. He always came home with fish. They "lived on fish."
Next, Tom went down to work at Geneva Steel. He maintained ventilation fans all over the plant. He enjoyed doing mechanical work and rode a bicycle between the buildings as needed. He received awards for his ideas on how to improve processes at Geneva.
Tom and Millie had seven children---Hope, Doris, Thomas, Calvin, Vernon, Kathleen, and Lee.
When Calvin died at the age of seven, the family couldn't live in their house for a time. It was feared that meningitis would be developed by other members of the family. All of the furniture, blinds, and curtains were removed from the house so that it could be fumigated; then it was aired out for several days. During that time, the family lived next door in the Lindsay home.
Tom went to church once in a while. He didn't really like to be in crowds. Millie was more the religious one. In those days, someone could be called up from the congregation during the meeting. One evening, the Bishop called on Tom to say a prayer. Tom stood up and walked out. He didn't go back for a long time.
Tom and Millie were sealed in the temple in 1939.
Tom was an outstanding fisherman. He was #1 champion fisherman of the whole area. Millie's sewing club had an annual fishing trip to Trial Lake in the Uintah mountains. It was assumed by all that Tom would win each year. The last year he did it, Tom caught fifty trout. Joe Olpin came in a distant second with five or six.
Tom had his first heart attack on Father's Day, 1959. They didn't have any good treatments for heart problems back then. He died on 4 August, 1959 at the age of 57. He was very proud of his grandchildren. Tom and Millie eventually had a total of 25 grandchildren.
Andrew's home was moved to its present location on the east corner using two teams of horses. It had two rooms on the bottom and two rooms on the top. Andrew built a lean-to kitchen and a small bathroom with a bathtub and toilet.
Andrew Lindsay's home is now owned and lived in by Vernon and Liz Murdock. Rooms have been built on the west and north side. A basement was also added.
Tom's mother-in-law, Martha Sulser Lindsay, died upstairs in their house. She was very heavy. It was difficult to get her down the narrow stairway after her death.
Tom's father-in-law, Andrew Lindsay, died next door in Tom and Millie's house. He died in Kathleen's bed. It really bothered her to sleep in that bed.
Primary was held after school on Tuesday afternoon. The children walked home past Aunt Mamie's house. She was Grandpa Lindsay's sister. Aunt Mamie would call out, "What did you learn in primary today?"
Thomas Calvin Murdock
Contributor: Hilljr Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
THOMAS CALVIN MURDOCK
From memory and what he told me of his childhood
by Millie Lindsay Murdock (wife)
THOMAS CALVIN MURDOCK, born Jan. 7, 1902 in Heber City, Wasatch Co. to John Heber and Emily Ann Bond Murdock. He was named for his father's two brothers and was the fourth child of this couple. He had Marella and Leah, older sisters, and Paul, 2 years older. Ellen and Edith were younger.
John H. was married to Mary Galligar and had two sons and four daughters. Mary died and left him with seven children. his oldest daughter, Millie Witt, was a few months older than her step-mother and always felt she should have all the say as far as her father was concerned. She was a great help to him before he remarried and it was hard for her to let go.
When Tom was a few months old, his mother was in the hospital in S.L. very ill for some time. Marella was only 7 but had part of the responsibility of caring for her baby brother. She had him in the baby buggy, taking him for a ride. As she was crossing Lake Creek bridge the wheels went off and Tom landed in the water and had to be fished out. The "first family" always maintained he was drug up and survived because he was tough. His mother was ill so long. He was always very independent, wanting to depend on no one.
There was not complete harmony between the two families, but the "first" all accepted and liked Tom, perhaps because he stood his ground with everyone.
John H. raised bees and when Tom was about 5 years old, he and Paul went with their father in the wagon. While he was tending the bees, the horses were stung and ran away. It threw Tom in the midst of the bees, and they stung him unconscious. He remained "out" for some hours. His mother said there were bees in his mouth and nose, and he was covered with welts. He was afraid of bees the rest of his life, I think the only thing he was ever afraid of besides bulls.
His childhood and Paul's was around their horse, Creepie. Creepie had been a cattle horse and would stop quick and they would both go over his head. Paul always lit on his head with Tom on top and Creepie gone home.
Tom and Paul used to sing; they both had good voices. Their father taught them to sing, "I am a Mormon Boy," and he delighted taking them places and having them sing. Tom never sang in later life except with the congregation. When he did, people listened. He had a beautiful tenor voice.
He was shy when it came to doing anything in public. I don't know why, as he could always speak his mind with "colorful" adjectives and no one ever wondered what he meant.
Most people who knew him best and longest have said the thing they remember best is his quick wit. I think no one was quicker on the draw when it came to humor. Sometimes it was a little sharp -- even more than a little sharp.
He loved the mountains and hiked many miles in all of them--climbed Timp several times and knew the location of springs, fish, and deer. He was a master at fishing and his family never wanted for trout.
When he and Paul were in school, their father often got them up in the middle of the night to separate two fighting bulls. Either their full was out or another got into the corral. J.H. was night blind so it was up to the boys. Of course they were frightened of fighting bulls, but their dad would give each a pitchfork and tell each which bull to go for, then the signal, and they would charge. How they ever escaped being hurt I'll never guess. In later years his older brother, Heber, was killed by his bull. He thought it was tame. They can't be trusted.
Whenever Tom had nightmares, it was of bulls or bees.
He always moved very swift, was athletic, and quick. When working, he worked fast and if you helped he expected the same fast action.
When he was 15, he stayed with a sheep herd four days and nights -- alone. He was very uncomfortable over the safety of the sheep and himself. No one will every know what it's like to be alone in the mountains with no one in miles. The coyotes howled all night and often made off with lambs. It's a very lonely feeling. I can't imagine being alone, but it was lonely when I was a child with grownups. When he told me about it, he was terrorized at the memory.
The mountains were one of the things he loved best. His favorite thing was to work on the forest and live in a tent. When cooking over a bonfire, his favorite meal was fried potatoes with lots of onions and grease. When done, he added a can of cream corn and lots of pepper. Of course, he had meat and Postum or hot chocolate with canned milk. Whenever I was too sick to cook, he fixed this for the family.
He was known to have a short fuse and if near, you might be showered with sparks.
A horse was one of his favorite things, and he rode like he was part of the animal. He was always tall in the saddle. Some of his courting was done on horseback. He would ride up and down the road past our house, looking straight, tall, and handsome.
After finishing eighth grade, he quit school to help his father on the farm and went back three years later. But in a small town it's hard to be in class with students that much younger. He was in my class although three years older.
John H. Murdock owned the confectionary for some time. He was town Marshall for years and took all prisoners to his home to sleep and eat. Grandma never knew when or how many, but I doubt she was ever very upset over the arrangement. He always felt it was better to help and encourage the youn people than put them down. He was, however, a very strict father and loved by his family.
John H. was one of 32 children. His father had six wives. John H.'s parents were Joseph Stacy Murdock and Eliza Clark. His father was the first bishop of Heber, sent here by Brigham Young who instructed him to marry an Indian girl to promote peace with the Utes. There were fifteen brothers that went to school at the same time. If the door was locked in the morning and it was cold, whey would take a pole and run at (the door?), of course it couldn't hold against them. They would greet te teacher from inside when he arrived. They would have the wood fire going in the pot-bellied stove, sometimes red hot. They all grew to be large men--all but two or three more than 6 ft. tall and broad. They all grew to be civic leaders, but John H. was the most religious of all.
Most of Joseph Stacy's descendants are successful and many leaders in church activities.
When Tom was about 3, if angered he would "swear" and say, "Dog and pig and soro and hog and cat," and all over again. He had a gentle side, but seldom let anyone see it. He was sympathetic and kind, but the side he let everyone see was impatient, quick tempered, and couldn't care less what anyone thought.
He loved children and enjoyed rocking the baby. We always had one.
Tom was artistic. He could draw, had an eye for color and form. He liked beautiful things and always felt that he had few of the things he really wanted.
He always wanted a nursery and would have done very well, I'm sure, as he could make things grow and his garden was second to none although it was raised in rocks. He always raised a garden large enough for the family use all summer--string beans, beets, corn to bottle enough for winter, and carrots, potatoes, and onions to last all winter in the cellar. When we did corn and beans, we all worked together, and what a job!
He was always very neat. His clothes had to fit and be clean and mended. He never wore anything ill-fitting. He usually had high top shoes when he kept clean and, if not for work, polished.
I've never seen prettier hair--soft, curly, always clean and combed. He was always proud of his hair and kept it nice. To him, western clothes were the best looking because they were fitted, so most of the time he wore them. He disliked to wear his suit but liked dressy casuals.
No one had a quicker wit or was better at a party, if he wanted to, but he liked outside better than indoors. He could out fish, out hunt, and out hike, yes, and out work anyone he came up against.
We met the summer of 1919--both very young and great dreams of a future (together I'm afraid). It was at the Schnieters (sp?) Hot Pots, I couldn't swim and I turned out to be the target of the evening. I was never so near drowned. Hot Pots was never my favorite place to go. Of course Tom could swim very well.
For his size, he could out hand wrestle or out grip anyone. He said it was from milking cows and working hard.
We were much too young when married but both worked at making a home for the family we had. We didn't have time to consider "planned parenthood." How glad I am now that our concern was to care for and provide for all and not to say only one or two. How very wise we were to welcome each one and enjoy and love them all. We always said we hoped the day wouldn't come when we didn't have a baby in the family. It never has. What a great blessing!
For a few years after our marriage, we lived in Provo and Rains, Carbon Co. In Provo, Tom worked on a farm and made very little, but he loved farming.
After our first year of marriage, we went to Carbon Co. and lived in Spring Canyon, a wide place in the road called Rains. It was built in a small canyon and a stream ran down the middle of the town. The stream was in the bottom of a deep wash. People used to throw their garbage in it. Company houses were built on either side of the wash which was spanned by a bridge. Nothing was owned by the people, it was all Company. We bought our groceries at the Company store and anything else we needed -- it not, no job.
Tom was weighman for Carbon Fuel coal mine, although he didn't go into the mine, he came home black as soot. I couldn't tell him from the waps and coloreds until he used much soap and water. It was an hours job scrubbing up after each shift. As spring came, need for coal would decrease, and it got so they only worked two days a week. During the summer, people went in debt for living so the company had complete control over its workers. By the time winter and full employment came, it took every cent they could make to come out even by spring. Some people never got a check.
When it came to going in debt to live, we left the coal camp with no regrets or close friends. At the coal camp, they had a big dance every Saturday night. Everyone went; we only went once. By midnight, most had been drinking for hours and a big brawl followed. We were able to get out and home. It wasn't easy. After that on Saturday night, we locked the doors and stayed home.
We then came to Heber and work at the mine here. During the winter the men all had to stay at the mines boarding house. The roads were not fit for travel only part time. It was at this time he became a fine chess player. He also did some skiing. The men got along well and were always glad when winter broke and the could once more commute.
To get to work on time, they left home at 5:A.M., a habit of early rising I still have and he did also as long as he lived.
Tom had to get up really early as he had to milk the cow before going. I always got up, built the fire, and had the kitchen warm before I got him up at all. Dinner was always ready a few minutes after he arrived home in the evening. We always had plenty of vegetables and fruit, milk, butter, and fish in season, and of course, homemade bread.
True, Tom had little money as you might guess, but what there was he loved to shop for me a dress or hat, even shoes. Vilate, who owned Vilate's Shop which had high class merchandise, loved to see him come. He had such good taste. She always said he should have been a clothier; I'm sure she was right. The very nicest clothes I ever had were the ones he picked out. They had to fit, and he liked color. He never chose anything that wasn't the latest style. In those days we had to wear a hat and he picked the cutest hats in town. If you wore a hat, it called for gloves; I have a drawer full. It was very important when we went anywhere that my hair be done (by me), my heels be high, and my dress be to his liking. When possible, he bought me a dress for Christmas and one for Mother's day; then I only needed one summer dress and one winter dress. He always wanted my percale house dresses to be stylish, too. When the girls got (older?) he liked to help them chose clothes.
When working at the mine, every year there was either a strike or a shut down. We never had a chance to save very long as this would soon eat up the few dollars _____ together.
Tom drove a model T Ford until 1945 when we got our first and only brand new car, a beautiful black Chev. Perhaps that was one of the happiest days of his life. It was one of the very first after the war, in fact, we were the first ones in town to get one. Tom got it from a dealer friend in Park City.