John Peck Chidester

23 Dec 1831 - 10 Jan 1897

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John Peck Chidester

23 Dec 1831 - 10 Jan 1897
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by Ida Josephine Sargent Chidester Way back in 1861, John Peck Chidester, who was a Pennsylvanian by birth, came with his father John Madison Chidester to Washington, Utah and is listed in Washington records with about 50 families who were called by Brigham Young under the date of October 13, 1861,

Life Information

John Peck Chidester

Born:
Married: 23 Oct 1851
Died:

Washington City Cemetery

300 East Parkview Dr
Washington, Washington, Utah
United States

Epitaph

Born in Michigan / Susan - Wife of J.P. Chidester - Born in Penna.
Transcriber

trishkovach

January 6, 2012
Photographer

Catirrel

December 29, 2011

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John Peck Chidester, Obituary

Contributor: trishkovach Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago

HISTORY OF JOHN PECK CHIDESTER St. George, Utah, Jan. 12 1987 By David Chidester I take the present opportunity of announcing the death of John Peck Chidester ESQ. Which occurred on the tenth day this month, at Washington, Utah. The cause of his death, organic disease from which he suffered untold pain and distress. He was the father of a large family and had them all with him at the time of death. Among them was John F. Chidester of Panguitch, Ex-senator of the State Legislature. The deceased was born Dec. 23, 1831 at Summerfield, Monroe county Mich. His life has been one of usefulness and public service to his fellowmen. He was always on hand to assist the poor. His first public work was performed when a boy on the Nauvoo Temple and in the spring of 1846 he and his father ran a ferryboat and ferried the Saints across the Mississippi River at Nauvoo. Soon after he became a mechanic and assisted to build a horsepower gristmill at Winter Quarters in 1847. In the year of 1850 he immigrated to Salt Lake Valley and in the fall of 1851 he married Susan Foy. Soon after he moved down to Palmyra, near where Spanish Fork now is. He took an active part in defending the settlers in the Indian War. He was one of the first to move to Spanish Fork and build up that place. In 1858 he moved with his family to Parly's Park and remained there until the year of 1858 when he moved so Salt Lake City and went to making spinning wheels which were used extensively in those days. In 1862 he was called by Pres. Young to move to Dixie. He responded and reached the Grapevine Springs on Christmas day, and Washington Utah, 1st Jan. 1863 where he lived from that time until his death. He has held a number of public positions and in them has given much satisfaction. He was head mechanic under Appleton Harmon in building the Washington factory, superinteded the scaffolding at the St. George Temple from the commencement of the building until it was finished. He was also one of the foremost workman in the canal and great **** in the tunnels of this canal that brought on the heart trouble that ended his life. He labored zealously to obtain a record of his family and has 1500 names on his record, some of whom he has done the work for. The record he turned over to his oldest son John F. Chidester with the admonition to complete this work as soon as possible.

History of John Peck Chidester Family & Descendents

Contributor: trishkovach Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago

by Ida Josephine Sargent Chidester Way back in 1861, John Peck Chidester, who was a Pennsylvanian by birth, came with his father John Madison Chidester to Washington, Utah and is listed in Washington records with about 50 families who were called by Brigham Young under the date of October 13, 1861, to the Southern or Dixie Mission. These 50 families bolstered up the settlers who, after several years of colonizing, had become discouraged and there were only 20 families left in Washington at this time. They arrived just as winter set in, and shortly after their arrival, a great storm set in and many of them had no shelter but the wagons they came in. All through the winter months the rain fell incessantly until these few settlers likened it to the biblical events of Noah’s day and they have always referred to it as the 40 days and nights of rain which flooded the Virgin River and destroyed many villages in Washington County. Washington stood on higher ground and escaped some of the worst floods but it took their crops and gardens. When spring came these few settlers started in to build a dam on this treacherous river so they could plant crops and cotton and try to make a living. Some idea of their hardships and struggles from 1861 to 1865 is told in the way they worked to dam the river. Every time the floods took the dam out their crops were gone and they all suffered terribly with hunger and Malaria Fever. So the fight against the Virgin was started in August 1885 with John Peck Chidester of Washington, Utah, Richard Morris and Anthony W. Ivins of St. George as a committee to plan the construction of the dam. John Peck Chidester had some training as an engineer and carpenter. He proposed that they build a Pile Dam, so they commissioned John Peck Chidester to explore the Pine Valley Mountain and ascertain if he could obtain suitable timbers for building this dam. The supply of timbers was obtained and John Peck Chidester let no grass grow under his feet. Getting these timbers to a loading place was a Herculean task but finally they were secured and on February 11, 1886, John Peck Chidester was appointed superintendent of construction for the dam. John Peck and his father John Madison had worked as carpenters on public buildings both in St. George and Washington and he was the chief carpenter on the construction of the old cotton factory, cutting the timbers and doing the mortise work all with hand tools. He also built the Tithing Barn and Granary in Washington and was paid $4.00 per day for all this work, part in ditch credit, some in hay, grain, flour or orders on the factory. He built the Pile Dam a few hundred yards below the old dam. The work moved ahead rapidly and by July 13, 1886, Superintendent Chidester reported that the piles were all driven but that further labors were at a standstill until crops were up and ore timbers hauled from Pine Valley Mountain. Finally some men were able to help and after the piles were cross sectioned, Indians were utilized to roll rocks off the mountain into the dam. They were paid fifty cents a day. Men labored in the water which was up to their waist to finish the dam and put the water in the ditch to save crops. The dam was still unfinished but they continued working all through 1887-88 and crops suffered as a result of it not being completed and sickness overtook the community so no one was able to work. Finally after four years the dam was completed and the people looked at it with satisfaction and said, “now we have a dam that will last, we have mastered the Virgin River”. But their joy was of short duration as in December 1889, terrible storms and floods hit the town and continued until the dam was completely destroyed. The people were very discouraged, some were leaving but the board called a meeting of stockholders and decided to have Superintendent Chidester build a new dam. Robert C. Land, John Peck Chidester, Richard Morris, Isaac McFarlane and Charles W. Seegmiller were assigned the job of deciding were to build the dam and how to do it. A site was chosen three miles above the old dam site and John Peck Chidester, Charles W. Seegmiller and Isaac McFarlane were the three men who chose the site and started in to build another dam but they had a hard time. The dam was completed in February 1891 and from that day to this, the dam has held firm. Just to show what kind of man John Peck Chidester was the story is told of how the man worked with wheelbarrows to make a tunnel to divert floods and were only getting $5.00 per day so John Peck Chidester, who was one of the general committee raised their wages to $7.50 per day. Today his farms on both sides of the Virgin River are watered when it is most urgently needed through the efforts of this good man. John Peck Chidester was a counselor to Bishop Funk for many years and when Washington was incorporated he was elected as a councilman with Mayor Thomas J. Jones and also owned a mercantile business. His wife, Susan Foy Chidester served as Relief Society President and Aunt Evaline Sproul and her mother, Susan Foy Chidester were among the first women who worked at raising cocoons and helping in the silk industry. Susan Foy Chidester raised some of the first mulberry trees in Dixie. She had a tree right by her upstairs window where she kept the cocoons and long tables and could reach through the window and gather mulberry leaves to feed them. Susan Foy and Evaline Sproul made some beautiful silk and it was a beautiful cream0colored silk that she took to the fair and won fist prize. She had ten yards of this silk to make her a dress. She also made some silk for Theodore a silk handkerchief about one yard square. He used it for a neck scarf and it was lovely. Susan Foy made some green silk which was used for Temple Aprons. This was considered a fine weave. The family of John Peck Chidester was talented singers and musicians. His sons, John Foy and Myron played the violin. John Peck was also a talented musician. He played the violin which he made and was very particular about it. His son John Foy was very anxious to learn to play when he was a young boy but was told not to touch the violin which belonged to his father. However, his mother, Susan Foy and her sister realizing this strong desire decided to let the boy practice on his father’s violin while he was at work. John Foy had a natural talent and was son playing the tunes he had heard his father play. This secret was too good to keep from the boy’s father, so they told John Peck about this. He was skeptical so they devised a scheme whereby John Peck was to leave the room supposedly to go to work and they would give the boy the violin. He started to play and his father listened while he played all of the tunes. Finally he could conatin himself no longer and walked in. John Foy was quite perturbed, expecting some penalty. His father was so pleased and could hardly believe what he had heard about the boy’s ability, so he gave his son John Foy the violin, and gave him lessons. As years went by he was one of the leading musicians in Southern and Central Utah and in 1892 John F. Chidester, George Hanks and William T. Owens build the first dance hall in Panguitch, Utah and also a resort at Panguitch Lake. This was the largest dance hall south of Salt Lake City. They had George Hanks at the piano, William Owens at the drums and triangle and John Foy the violin. People flocked from all over to dance at this beautiful, spacious dancehall. When the crowds were so great no one was allowed to dance two dances in succession. James A. Worthen was manager and if anyone broke ethic rule James merely gave them a look or pointed his finger at them and they immediately left the floor. He would call out “those who did not dance the last dance may choose partners” for the waltz, two-step or whatever the case may be. These three men also formed a race track company and built a circle track. Some of the best race horses in Utah, Nevada and Arizona came to this resort. People flocked there from everywhere to spend a week at the Twenty-Fourth Celebration at Panguitch Lake. Theatre troops from New York City came and the hall was lighted with acetylene or Carbide Lights and it was a beautiful place. The orchestra sometimes numbered six. This was really a wonderful resort but like Salt air and old generals, it just faded away. The violin which John Peck made and which he gave to his son Joyn Foy was handed down to Samuel H. Chidester who now resides in Bicknell, Utah. Sam is another one of the Chidester musicians, having taught privately and in schools in Utah, as well as having trained many dance bands. Uncle Myron Chidester helped to organize a band and Uncle Andrew Sproul and his brother Angus and daughter Emmeline and son Masel Sroul were members of this band. Uncle Myron and Uncle Andrew Sproul were among the greatest entertainers Washington hand. They were both talented singers and were good in amateur theatricals and minstrel shows and wish a number of friends staged some wonderful shows and negro minstrels did many clever things with their guitars, banjos, mandolins and singing. They also had a wonderful Ward Choir. Uncle Andrew had a beautiful, clear tenor voice and a family of the most talented singers I ever knew. John Peck’s Family entered Washington, Utah five days after the very first settlers, letting their wagons down over the Black Ridge by ropes. They helped build the town of Washington, Utah and all of the family helped in the cotton industry. Susan Foy and her daughters and some of her granddaughters, namely Almina Chidester Ogden, Emma and Jennie Ruby worked in the factory. Some of this is taken from memory and some is taken from the history of Washington “The Red Hills of November” by Andrew Karl Larsen. John Foy Chidester lived in Washington until his wife Mary, lovingly called Mamie, died. Then he left his chidlren, Sabina, Theodore, John N and Mary Asenath with his mother and sisters and went to Beaver to study law. Upon his return he practiced law and made a wonderful career for himself. After the death of John Foy’s wife Mary and a lapse of two years, he came to Panguitch and in 1885 married Almina Worthen. He worked occasionally at carpenter work and in 1889 he served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the Southern States. Jenson’s Church Chronology states that John F. Chidester of Panguitch and his companion George H. Burgess while laboring in the mission field in Tennessee and South Carolina in 1889 were assaulted by a mob and banished from their field of labor. They were laboring without purse or script and a post office in the vicinity was robbed and they were suspicion by the people and would have undoubtedly been killed but were protected by a family of converts, Hasting (Bud) Thompson, who held the mob at bay with a shotgun. Later they were taken into custody by officers and held a few days until the real culprits were apprehended. Then the officers paid their way out of the state, being embarrassed over the situation, they said that they would buy them a ticket to wherever they wished to go ad they were able to have transportation to a conference they were to attend. At the time they did not know how they would be able to reach their destination. Later the Thompson family came to Panguitch and some of them still live here. This was the only missionary from Panguitch that was mobbed. However, details of this story were told by John F. Chidester’s wife Almina to her daughter Almina Ogden as follows: John F. Chidester and his companion George E. Burgess while laboring in the mission field in the Southern States received word from the mission Headquarters to proceed to Chattanooga for a conference. John F. Chidester and his companion were at a loss to see how they could reach their destination without the funds to buy a ticket as they were laboring without purse or script. They proceeded to go into a grove nearby and knelt in prayer and asked the Lord for help so that they might reach their destination. They had started on their journey, obeying the council to come when they were overtaken by the officers of the law and taken into custody. They were at a loss to know on what charges they were being held and were informed that the post office had been robbed, the post-master killed and that they fit the description of the wanted men. They were placed in a jail which was even farther from their intended destination than before and held for thirty-six hours, at the end of which time they were informed that the guilty parties were apprehended and they were released. To make amends the officers told John Foy and his companion that they would furnish them with transportation to wherever they wished to go. This was the solution to these two missionaries arriving at the conference on time. Tickets were purchased on the train for the trip to the conference. John Foy Chidester held some of the most important offices in Garfield County and held many religious offices both in Panguitch and Richfield, Utah. He was Superintendent of the Sunday School in Panguitch after he returned from his mission. As mentioned he went without purse or script and left his family with no visible means of support but his wife Almina took her four step-children to the Al Haycock Ranch, where she did the milking of approximately fifteen cows made butter and cheese, corded wool, made soap, took in washings which she did on the board, sewed by candle-light, bartering her services as a seamstress for the children’s shoes; her sewing machine being purchased by John F. with the first ten dollars he had after they were married, and which machine she kept until the moved to Richfield, Utah. After John F. returned from his mission the first job he obtained was helping to build the first jail the county ever had and it is still standing today. In 1885, John F. Chidester was admitted to the practice of law before the Utah Bar at Beaver. He served as county attorney in Garfield County, was county clerk and recorder, was the chairman of the first Republican Party. With the transformation of Utah from a territory to a state, John F. Chidester served as a member of the Constitutional Convention and while there made a determined fight for women suffrage, and was attributed through his efforts of getting the vote for women more so than any other person in the convention. Emmeline B. Wells was one who watched John Foy Chidester on all of his activities for Women Suffrage. John Foy said at one time, it seemed as though every time he turned a corner, Emmeline B. Wells was there to help push the cause along. After the bill passed at the Convention giving the vote to women Emmeline B. Wells, as a token of gratitude, presented John F. Chidester with an autographed volume of Elliot’s Felex Holt, The Spanish Gypsy, Jubal and other Poems, inscribed with the following: Hon, J. F. Chidester Panguitch Chairman Committee on Elections & Suffrage – From one who appreciates the magnanimity he has shown for women, and who graciously tenders him her simple need of praise – Signed: mm Emmeline B. Wells Salt Lake City – April 25, 1895 John F. Chidester was elected State Senator from Garfield County to the First General Assembly of Utah in 1896. He aided in the adjustment of public policy and interests to the new statehood. Prior to his term as senator he served Garfield County as mentioned before. Upon expiration of his term as senator he was elected attorney for the Sixth Judicial District. When his term as senator expired and the office of district attorney of the Sixth Judicial District was created, John F. was first to hold that office, which position he held for six years. In the year of 1902 John F. was appointed Judge of the Sixth Judicial District and in the year 1906 moved his family to the town of Richfield, Utah, where the new Court House had been erected. John Foy Chidester displayed great wisdom while rendering his decisions as Judge. In all the years that he served on tenth bench as judge he had but one decision reversed; this was reviewed by the Supreme Court and reversed back to his original decision. John Foy Chidester was characterized by people generally as the Abraham Lincoln of Utah. The present generations who are descendants of John P. Chidester all speak for themselves. There are some highly talented and proficient business men, people of the arts and sciences, and tody we are here to pay honor and tribute to a wonderful man and his posterity. John Foy Chidester organized the Chidester Family Reunion, the first two were held in Washington, the third one was held at his home in Richfield and he took care of everyone in the way of housing and food. Ida Chidester also helped with this first reunion and contributed a piece of her literary work for the same. The purpose of these reunions is to keep the family united and to get a history published of all members and the gathering and completion of all genealogy. This is but the beginning – please submit yours.

John Peck Chidester Pioneer of 1850

Contributor: trishkovach Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago

He was such a little fellow to be already a part of a great movement that was to lead him across a great nation — an adventure that was to occupy him most of his lifetime. Being a member of Zion’s Camp in 1834 was a distinction for one so young, and a bit lonely, too–for there were no other children to play with, even if there had been time to play. Of course, there was the new baby sister, but that was no fun! It only meant that Mother was always busy with the baby. There wasn’t room enough on her lap any more. He would just have to grow up fast and be a strong, brave man like Father. John Peck Chidester was a born pioneer, born to pioneer parents, John Madison Chidester and Mary Parker, in St. Petersburg, Sommerfield Twp., Monroe Co., Michigan, 31 Dec. 1831. Michigan, the crossroad to the west, saw the streams of migrant wagons crossing Lake Erie from New York, some to stay in this virgin land, others to push on to the west. There were also wagon trains from Canada pushing along the Raisin River to newer, more fertile plains. Already, when John was born, there were converts to the Mormon Church, the fruit of the labors of such missionaries as Parley P. Pratt and others, who were following this route to join the Mormon Prophet, Joseph Smith, in Kirtland, Ohio. The Chidester's had only been in Michigan a year or two and were well situation on a fine farm. A comfortable home had been built by the time little John was born. A year later missionaries brought them the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the parents, John Madison and Mary Parker Chidester, were baptized. Then early in 1834 the Prophet’s brother Hyrum came to Michigan with a call for able-bodied men to join Zion’s Camp–and little John was embarked on a great adventure. Growing up in those turbulent early years of Mormonism was not all bad. There were many wonderful times along the way as well as the times of hunger and suffering. There was the companionship of the sons and daughters of the great leader of Mormonism, the great excitement of military clashes, and the challenge of the unknown that has always been manna to youth. Such growing up built men of steel and strong will. There were also the times when children as well as adults sat at the feet of a Prophet of God and drank in the peace and sureness that Joseph was always able to instill in his followers. Faith was born and grew to fruition in the breast of this young man. John was baptized 19 June, 1840 in Nauvoo, Ill., by Freeman Nickerson. By the time John was sixteen years of age he had learned to work beside his father as carpenter and turner. He had helped in the building of many of the houses in Nauvoo; and most importantly of all, he had helped to build the Nauvoo Temple. So it was, that when the need arose, in that fateful winter of 1846, for the Saints to cross the Mississippi river, John helped his father to build a ferry. More often than not, it was John who guided the craft until it reached the Iowa shore and disgorged its precious cargo of migrant Saints. This service he continued to perform until all Saints who were leaving the besieged city were safely away. At Winter Quarters John continued to work with his father as they built a horse-powered grist mill to grind grain into flour to proved bread for the migrating Saints. He helped, in the next years, to fashion the wagons and carts of the pioneers. In the spring of 1850, not yet nineteen years of age, it was the turn of John and his family to cross the Great Plains to Zion. That same year the Foy family was making the same journey and it is entirely possible that the two families journeyed together as independent pioneers, arriving in the Great Salt Lake valley in the late summer. Thomas Birk Foy, listing himself as of German descent, and his wife Catherine Rebecca Fink, who said she was of Welch descent, had joined the church in western Pennsylvania early in 1840 or late in 1839. Leaving Wheatfield, Indiana Co., Pennsylvania, almost immediately after baptism, they and their five children settled in Warsaw, Hancock Co., Ill., just a few miles from Nauvoo. Three more children were born to the family in Warsaw; another was born during the trek across Iowa; one was born the December after their arrival in Salt Lake City in 1850 and the last child of the family was born in 1853 after the family had moved to Farmington. Their second child, a daughter Susan (Susahhah) was born 4 April, 1831 in Wheatfield Twp., Indiana Co.Pennsylvania. She was baptized in 1840 in Warsaw, Ill., by her father. It was inevitable that Susan Foy and John Peck Chidester, with so much in common, should be attracted to each other. They were of the same age, crossed the plains and settled in Salt Lake City the same year, and each had a deep and abiding faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They were married 23 Oct. 1851 in Salt Lake City. John’s first big adventure as a head of a family was to take his bride to pioneer the area at the southern tip of Utah Lake, living in Palmyra and belonging to the Spanish Fork Ward. The ward was organized 21 Dec. 1851 and listed the Chidesters as members. Their children, born in Spanish Fork were: John Foy born 2 Feb. 1853 Mary Catherine born 15 Feb 1855, died 13 Apr 1857 Susan Emma born 2 Dec 1857 Their home was a dug-out, constructed by digging a hole in the ground of five feet deep, with steps leading down into the room from one end. A roof of willows and mud protected the inhabitants and a fireplace in the end opposite the stairway provided heat, light and a place to cook. The young couple entered into the life of the new community with vigor. Not only did they work with might and main to establish a home in this new frontier, but they were concerned for the welfare of their neighbors, a trait by which they would be known throughout their lifetime. Many times they invited less fortunate families to share with them the little they had. Probably the only public building the Chidesters eery really knew in Spanish Fork was an adobe school house which was the first building to be erected there. Church was held in a bowery, a shelter that had been constructed of tree branches spread on a framework of poles. Such open air meeting places were the usual thing in new communities. Even conferences in Salt Lake were conducted for a number of years in sucha bowery. During the winter months when the weather was too inclement for meeting in the bowery, the ward members met in small neighborhood meetings. If the meeting in their neighborhood was not held at his father’s (John Madison Chidester’s) home, it was usually held at the home of John P. and Susan. Hannah Cornaby, pioneer authoress, tells of one snowy Sunday when she and her children were alone, lonesome and worried: “Brother John P. Chidester called to tell me of the meeting, offering to carry the children if I wished to go, adding that his wife, Susan, expected us to dinner after the service.” In those early struggling years the young family experienced a grasshopper plague and the resulting famine. With others of the community they milked the sweet, sticky substance from the leaves of trees in Provo river bottom to add to their sparse diet. With the eruption of the Walker Indian War of 1853 John was commissioned a Captain in the Nauvoo Legion. His wife and child, with other families, sought refuge and protection from Indian attack by living in the adobe school house. They dug roots for food and lived the best they could. Most of the men were away in camp and harvest had to be neglected. Discipline as strict in the military encampment. Tempers flared easily and accusations were sometimes made without justification. Yet, these were men who had grown up in rough times and needed a stern hand. An incident of the Spanish Fork camp is recorded in Treasures of Pioneer Heritage, Carter, V 3, page 296: A military trial of Private Pratt found guilty of stealing horse shoes. Punishment–guarded three days and to have a quart of cold water poured down his uplifted arms once a day. This was performed twice then remanded on plea of the prisoner. There was another malicious charge preferred against Captain John P. Chidester of Palmyra but nothing proved against him. 24 July 1853 At home John and Susan were actively engaged in civic affairs as well as in the ward. John helped to build irrigation ditches, build fences, make roads, build a bridge across the river, and anything else required for the betterment of the community. He spoke at length at civic and church meetings to bolster flagging spirits and urge loyalty to church authorities. The grasshopper plague of 1855, followed by drought, wrought such havoc that it is a wonder that the little community survived at all. Spring of 1856 saw potatoes selling for $3.00 per bushel and flour at $10.00 per hundred weight. The settlers sent to Fillmore to buy shorts and bran to sustain them until times could change. They bartered their clothing and anything they could possibly spare in trade for food. It was during this trying time that the family was called on to bury their second child. In spite of famine and hard times, the Mormons sustained themselves with celebrations. Especially for the Twenty-fourth of July. They gave thanks for the land they had come to inherit, for their religion and all that was good. What a great day that was, and oh how those pioneers could celebrate! Following is an account of the Spanish Fork celebration of 24th of July, 1856 (the famine year) as published in the Deseret News: At sunrise, a single volley, hoisting flags and United States flag unfurled under the direction of the Committee of Arrangements. At 7 guns announced the hour for assembling the people at the Bowery; at 8 procession was formed under the direction of James Wilkins, Marshal of the Day, assisted by Albert R. Thurber. Order of mar; 1. Corp of police, front guard 2. Martial band 3. Bishop and suite with chaplain 4. Members of Zion’s Camp of 1834 5. Pioneers of 1847 and Mormon Battalion 6. Mayor of City Council with banner 7. Officers of the Nauvoo Legion 8. Committee of Arrangements 9. Father and Mothers in Israel 10. 12 young men dressed in black with banners 11. 12 young women dressed in white with banners 12. Visitors 13. Citizens 14. Capt. John P. Chidester’s company of infantry, rear guard. At 9, at the signal of the volley, the procession moved to the residence of the Bishop, formed in open order, received the Bishop and suite, with Chaplain of the day; music by the band. The procession passed through the principal streets to the Bowery, where the Bishop and suite were seated; salute from the cannon. Prayer by Elder John M. Chidester, Chaplain, Mr. Amos Stiles, orator of the day, delivered a spirited and able oration, subject THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES, followed by interesting speeches by Messrs Zebedee Coltrin Lewis Barley, Levi M. Hancock and Mathew Caldwell. An ode composed for the occasion was read by Samuel J. Raymond. Songs, toasts &c concluded the services of the forenoon. Benediction by John M. Chidester The famine years were so severe that the fall of 1858 saw the Chidester families and many others leaving Spanish Fork. The winder of 1858-59 John and his family lived on the Pratt farm in Parley’s Canyon, a sort of relocation center. In the spring of 1859 the little family moved back to Salt Lake City and settled in the old 16th Ward. There John earned a living by building spinning wheels. In Salt Lake City two more children were born: Lodema Elizabeth born 9 Sep 1859 Myron Alfonzo born 6 Mar 1862 In November if 1859 John and Susan went to the Endowment House where they were endowed and sealed for time and eternity. Myron Alfonzo was their first child to be born in the covenant. There was no sealing of children performed until a temple was built. Accordingly, it was not until 24 Jan 1878 in Washington, Utah, that John could record in his book that “today we had our first four children adopted, they not being born under the covenant, John F., Mary Catherine, Susan Emma and Lodema Elizabeth, Susan Emma standing for Mary Catherine.” A visit of President Brigham Young and other church authorities to the struggling community of Washington in southern Utah in the spring of 1861 resulted in the decision of the brethren to call more settlers to what had become “The Cotton Mission.” As early as 1855 the missionaries to the Indians at Santa Clara had demonstrated that cotton could be raised in the mild climate of Washington County. In 1857 the first group of settlers entered and established the town of Washington. They were mainly converts from the southern states with cotton raising experience. However, the battle with the problems of irrigation and the debilitating effects of malaria to which they were so subject, were so forbidding that most of these people soon moved elsewhere, leaving only a few to fight to make real the Prophet’s dream of an independent people. Accordingly, a committee was appointed to prepare new colonizers. The selection was made with an eye to providing the community with complete facilities for living. There was to be a gunsmith, a tailor, baker, carpenters, stone masons, shoemakers–all the skills essential to complete and independent living. At the October conference of 1861 a list of the families “called to the Cotton Mission” was made public. Among them was John P. Chidester, carpenter. When called, John and Susan prepared to leave the comforts of Salt Lake City and embark on another pioneering venture. They had very little besides their devotion to each other, their faith in the Prophet, and four small children. Their resources were meager and there was a baby coming, so it took some time to prepare for the journey. It was fall of 1862 before the family was ready to leave. The journey south was a pleasant one most of the way. It was a lark to sleep in the open under the star-lit sky. The Indians were at peace again and the young couple had high hopes for the future. Beyond Cedar City, however, the road became more torturous. The Black Ridge with its deep, winding canyons and rocky hills defied the travelers. Many times loads had to be lightened so the oxen could pull the heavy wagons up a steep incline, then the goods pottered up. Brakes had to be applied on downgrades, and sometimes a decar or cypress tree attached to the wagon was used to slow the descent. At least once the wagon had to be lowered down a precipitous hill by the use of ropes. Although other groups had passed this way before then and had tried to build a roadway, each rain that came carried away the loose, sandy soil exposing boulders that would have to be moved or covered up before the next vehicle could pass. Traveling to “Dixie” was a constant challenge. The Chidesters reached Grapevine Spring on Christmas Day, and camped there to water and rest their weary animals and to gather their own strength for the remainder of the journey. Then on through Grapevine Pass they traveled to reach Washington 1 Jan, 1863. There they made camp on the banks of Hill Creek. They were home! Even though they were met by yellowed, fever-ridden, discouraged inhabitants, the Chidesters knew they were in Washington to stay. Neither drought, famine nor malaria would conspire to make them desert the valley they had been called to settle. Every skill they possessed would be used to the utmost to meet the challenge of the country. The first winter, their home was the wagon box in which they had made the journey south. John worked hard to add a brush and sod shanty to ward off the icy winds and add room for his family to flex its muscles. He learned to work with adobe bricks and with rock to build more substantially and eventually, as the years passed; he was able to build a fine home for his family. It still stands in the heart of Washington to attest to his skills as a builder. The walls are thick and sturdy, protected those inside from the wintry blasts and from merciless summer sun alike. The woodwork of the interior shows skill and imagination. The timbers in the attic are sturdy and have withstood the ravages of time. Four more children were born to John and Susan in this new homeland. The first, a son, Robert Edgar, was born 24 Sep 1864, in the trying and poverty stricken years of resettlement and famine. He died 3 Oct. 1865. The twins, Evaline and Emaline, were born 18 Feb. 1868; and Lucinda Jane joined the family 29 Aug. 1870. John was quick to clear his land and begin planting, an activity so essential to his family’s survival. He planted cotton, of course, along with vegetables for the family and grain and hay for the cattle and for bread. He planted fruit trees which one day would permit him to go out on the highways as they were developed and improved, to peddle his produce to those who lived in areas where fruit would not grow so well. Grapes and peaches came to be the main cash crop. It was well enough to raise that which the family could use, but there also had to be commodities which could be converted into cash. Grapes and peaches were not only sold as fruit, but were used to make wine. As early as 1866 the county court granted to William Theobald the right to distill grapes and peaches with the proviso that the license should be revoked if the distilling should prove subversive to the public morals. Nearby Silver Reef, a mining town of indeterminate character, provided a ready market for the spirits, and many of the Saints, including John, entered into the wine making business. Much of it found its way into the northern districts where it was sold to migrant wagon trains for sorely needed cash. Wine of their own make was also used quite widely in the church sacrament services. The practice was banned in 1876. But for this reason, John could say that he made wine “for the church”. With the demise of Silver Reef and the replacement of the wagon train by railroad, wine making became less lucrative and eventually fruit was fruit again. Moreover, the usage of wine as a beverage had become so prevalent that the authorities counselled against its use in sacrament services and forbid its manufacture and use by the people. In order to have farms it was necessary to provide water to irrigate the land. While Washington was blessed with ample water from springs for culinary and town garden purposes, water for the farms in the bottom lands, known as Washington Fields, must come from temperamental and unpredictable Virgin River. Since the founding of the settlement in 1857 there had been a constant and often failing battle to control the river. Brush and rock dams would be build only to be washed out in a spring flood, or by a cloud burst somewhere along the upper river that would send a devastating wall of water down the stream. Canals would be choked by silt and debris. So expensive was the process of keeping water in the fields that it is estimated that by 1869 the townspeople of Washington had expended more than $70,000.00 in water projects alone. Each year John worked with his neighbors to build canals, clear them, build and repair dams. He usually was allowed $2.00 per day “ditch credit” for his work to be applied towards his water assessments. In 1864 there was a drought. Even though the men worked hard on the ditches there was still no water. It was known as “the Starving Time.” The price of foodstuffs sky-rocketed. Corn meal sold for $15.00 per hundred weight; flour was $20.00 to $25.00 per hundred weight; molasses was $4.00 per gallon, etc. And there was no money to buy with! Somehow the family survived, except for the baby, Robert Edgar. John’s skill as a carpenter was recognized early. He worked on most of the public buildings both in Washington and St. George. He built the old Tithing Barn and Granary which stood for many years on the southeast corner lot opposite the John D. Lee mansion. He helped to build the Stake Tabernacle in St. George, the school and chapel in Washington. From 1865-68 he was the chief carpenter and superintended the construction of the cotton factory, cutting the timbers and doing the mortise work all with hand tools. By the time the cotton factory became operational the Chidester children were old enough that they began working there. The mother no longer had to spend most of her time spinning and weaving at home–the factory did it better and faster–and Susan found time to help out there, too. From then until its closing, the family took an active part in its operation. After it ceased to operate continuously it was the Chidester girls who hastened to man the looms when visitors came to see the mill. They participated in another adventure at this time also–the culture of silk worms. Susan and her daughters converted the attic to the production of silk fiber, where they kept the worms and their cocoons. John planted mulberry trees close about the house so that in tending their charges the girls would only have to open the attic windows to reach out and pluck the mulberry leaves for the worms to feed on. Several of these trees still shade the lovely old house. The family was close-knit and full of fun. They took their hardships stoically, made the best of them and enjoyed life. It was said in the cotton factory that Myron (the second son) kept the work from being hum-drum with his jokes. Both the boys, John Foy and Myron, played the fiddle and combined with other musicians to provide music for the dances and celebrations. The people danced in their homes, in the old cotton gin mill at Enterprise and in other public buildings. They even danced on the hard Shinarump sand ledge which is now the spillway for the Washington Field Dam. In the early years this ledge had been worn smooth by the tramping, flailing and winnowing of grain and made a most acceptable dance floor for a summer’s evening of fun. They danced and sang their cares away. They enjoyed life and living. In 1871 a new interest came to Dixie. Because of the troubles encountered in temple building in Salt Lake, it was decided that a temple should be rushed through to completion in St. George. Work missions were organized from all of southern Utah to spend time in St. George. They came from Sanpete, Fillmore, Beaver, Kanab, Rockville, Virgin City, Minersville, Panguitch, Cedar Springs, Washington, St. George and Santa Clara. John P. Chidester went daily to add his bit to the building of a House of the Lord. He superintended every bit of scaffolding from the beginning of construction till the finish. During this period of time President Brigham Young instructed the people of Washington County to enter into the United Order way of living. The towns were organized into individual orders on a voluntary basis. The complete order lasted for only a year, but it would seem that some functions carried over for a longer period of time. From the Journal History of the Church, dated Aug. 13, 1877, p. 2, the notes of clerk-historian James Bleak records: Monday 13th At board meeting of the United Order held in St. George among other business it was decided Elder Eli Whipple be honorably released from the duties of Supt. of Mt. Trumbull Lumber making dept. and that he be Supt. of the Pine Valley department of the United Order. On motion the appointment by the Presidency of the St. Geo. Stake appointing Elder John P. Chidester Supt. of Trumbull department was duly ratified. This activity went hand in hand with John’s assignment at the temple. As soon as the temple was completed and dedicated, John added a new activity to his calendar. He began assiduously to search out and do the work for his kindred dead. He and Susan went frequently to the temple. They encouraged their children to go, too, not waiting till they were married, but taking out their endowments as son as they were old enough so that they could go with him to the temple–a family united in all its activities. What a glorious day it must have been for him when he could write in his journal, “Today we had our four oldest children adopted to us”–cementing anew the family bond! He kept a faithful record of all work done–when, who the proxy was and his or her relationship to the dead, who performed the ordinance, who the witnesses were. In 1878 John P. Chidester was elected to be councilor in the city government and served most ably. John had been ordained an elder by his father, John Madison Chidester, in 1851 in Salt Lake City. On the 19th of Aug. 1869, in Washington, Utah, he was ordained a Seventy under the hand of John Young Sr.; and 19 Mar 1881 he was ordained a High Priest by Pres. Wilford Woodruff. The following day, Mar 20, 1881, he was set apart to be a counselor to Bishop Marcus Funk. This position he held until Dec. 8, 1888. As spiritual leaders of the flock, the bishopric was more than ever involved in the temporal problems of the people. Bishop Funk was not only the spiritual head, he was also the Mayor and President of the Washington Field Canal Company. He knew the capabilities of his counselors and used them accordingly wherever he saw fit. On 29 Aug. 1885, John P. Chidester, Anthony W. Ivins and Richard A. Morris were appointed to draft plans for the building of a pile dam on the Virgin River. They completed their assignment and presented the plans to the stockholders. The stockholders accepted the plans and authorized the board to proceed with construction. John P. Chidester was appointed to explore the Pine Valley mountains to find suitable timbers for the project. This he did with dispatch and was then appointed superintendent of construction. He was to be paind $4.00 per day, part in labor (that is, in ditch credit) and part in “available means” (hay, grain, flour, orders on the Factory, or other commodities.) Superintendent Chidester pushed the work forward as rapidly as he could, but many factors caused delays. There was indecision as to how to build the spillway, the inroads of malaria that sapped the strength of the workers, the lack of funds for so big an undertaking. It was an arduous undertaking. Most of the work had to be performed by the men standing waist-deep in the water of the river. In the spring especially, the water was ice cold. John worked by the side of his men, encouraging them by his presence as well as his words. By Jan 7, 1889 the stockholders received the report that the dam was completed. The canal had been finished earlier and some water had been turned out into the fields in 1887 and 1888. Now that the project was completed it was hoped that many more acres of land could be brought under cultivation. Hopes were doomed to disappointment, however, for on 7 Dec. 1889, the largest flood ever known on the Virgin River ripped out the dam and twisted the piles as if they were straw. More than $10,000.00 and the sweat of many men were washed away as if rubble. Again John P. Chidester was selected as a member of the committee to find a new site for a dam. The committee made its investigation and reached the decision that a dam could be built at a point where an outcropping of rock bordered the river on the north bank some three miles above the site of the Pile Dam. The plan called for making a rock and earth fill across the six hundred foot fiver bed to force the waters to find a new channel over the rock stratum on the right bank. Here it could be controlled and water secured for the canal. A spillway was to be cut in the rock stratum on the north side and an iron gate in the cut was to regulate the flow of water into the canal. The three men who formulated the plan were John P. Chidester, Charles W. Seegmiller and Isaac C. Macfarlane. A later revision of the plans placed the level of the canal six feet higher than originally planned. The executive committee of 1890, which included John P. Chidester, estimated the cost of the dam and canal to be $29,291.00. It was to cost considerably more than that before it was finished in 1891. And at last the river was conquered. This diversion dam still functions. John had been in the field, working in the water with the men; he had helped to build the tunnels through which the canal would have to carry the life-giving water; and he had been there in executive sessions, making the decisions and bringing them to fruition. His brother David was to maintain later that it was this activity, especially in the tunnels of the canal that brought on the heart condition which ended his life a few short years later. After the completion of the dam and as his own health deteriorated, John contented himself to care for his farm and orchard, to make the yearly trips to peddle his fruit and molasses, and to work on his genealogy. At his death 10 Jan. 1897, he had compiled 1500 names and had done the temple work for most of them. He had sent names to the Manti temple for his brother, Joshua Parker, to do and had kept the entire family busy. This record he turned over to his eldest son, John Foy Chidester, with the admonition that he was to complete it as soon as possible. In 1882 Susan Foy Chidester was sustained and set apart as Relieve Society president of the Washington Ward. She held that position until her husband’s death in 1897. She survived him ifve years, passing away in Panguitch, Utah, 14 July, 1902, at the home of her son, John F. Chidester. She was buried in Washington beside her husband. Susan and John had completed their call to the “Cotton Mission.” Sunset and evening star And one clear call for me! And may there be no moaning of the bar, When I put out to sea, But such a tide as moving seems asleep, Too full for sound and foam, When that which drew from out the boundless deep Turns again home. Alfred Lord Tennyson This story researched and written by Thelma Chidester Anderson, May 1972.

John Peck Chidester, Miracle of the Quail

Contributor: trishkovach Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago

MIRICLE OF THE QUAIL By Lettie Dewey Snow My grandfather, John Peck Chidester was nineteen years old when he was traveling with his parents and five brothers and sisters across the plains. The company became very short of food in fact all they had was a little tallow and a little flour. They traveled until they became so weary they could go no further. They camped, placed their wagons in a circle and turned their horses to feed. They spent the night and when morning came the men of the company took their guns and went in search of game, any kind to sustain life. Mother was trying to scrape a little flour from the bottom of the barrel to make our breakfast when they noticed it began to grow dark. "Do we have to go to bed Ma?" said little Joshua, who was six. His mother looked up and saw a black cloud over the sun. The cloud seemed to be moving as if it were leaves. The cloud came closer and eventually it was discovered that the cloud was quail. The quail settled on the wagon wheels, the tongues and all around. When the pioneers had killed enough to secure what food was needed the birds flew away. When the men returned tired and hungry and discouraged for they had seen nothing, the women had plenty of quail all cooked and ready to eat. NOTE: The name Chidester comes from the Chit-Chit Cathedral in England.

John Peck Chidester

Contributor: trishkovach Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago

John Peck Chidester 1831-1897 John Peck Chidester was born December 23 1831, in Somerfield, Michigan Territory. He was named after his grandfather. His father was John Madison Chidester; his mother, Susannah Foy Chidester. As a child be went through the hard and perilous times that the Saints endured in going from Ohio to Illinois. The family had gone through cholera epidemics in Zion’s Camp and also suffered with malaria in the new town that became Nauvoo. They were true pioneers and helped build Nauvoo, the beautiful. They enjoyed about two years of happiness in Nauvoo where several more of John M. Chidester’s children were born. The persecutions became more violent, and the Saints started to leave Nauvoo in the winter of 1846. John was now about 13 years old. John P. and his father, John M. built a ferry that helped take the people across the Mississippi River. It was operated until every Latter Day Saint who wished to leave Nauvoo had crossed the river. In the winter of 1846-47 the family moved to Garden Grove, Iowa, and then moved on to Council Bluffs the following summer. They settled in Ferryville, a small town outside of Council Bluffs. John M. and his son John P. built and operated a grist mill that was run by horse power. The operation of the grist mill, producing flour and corn meal, greatly helped the life style of the Saints there. All of these events gave John P. experience and knowledge be would use the rest of his life. The Chidester’s were scheduled to leave for the west on one of the early wagon trains but failed to go due to some last minute changes. The church authorities decided that it was far more essential because of his creative skills, for John and his family to stay to help the embarkation of others. Wagons and cats needed to be built and repaired to make the journey west. John P. again grew with experience, having been taught by the college of hard knocks. During these years in and near Winter Quarters, father and son were grinding corn, building wagons, carts, temporary living quarters and everything else that was needed. It was in the summer of 1850 that the family actually made the trip across the plains. They were independent pioneers and were not attached to any company. After wintering in Salt Lake City, the family moved to Bountiful where father John made a living by building spinning wheels and other articles of furniture which he was well qualified to build and which were in great demand. They moved to Spanish Fork and then in the fall of 1858 to Parley’s Park. They remained there the winter of 1858-59, moving then to the Sixteenth Ward in Salt Lake City. “It was inevitable that Susan Foy (the second child in the Foy family) and John Peck Chidester, with so much in common, should be attracted to each other. They were married and soon were pioneering the Spanish Fork area on the edge of Utah Lake. Their first home was a dug-out. Timber around Spanish Fork was difficult to obtain and very scarce. The dug-out was comfortable, affording protection from summer heat and winter cold a like. It was constructed by digging a hole in the ground about five feet deep, with steps leading down into the room. 4 roof of willows and mud stretched over all and a fireplace in the end opposite the stairway, provided heat, light and a place to cook” “The young couple entered into the life of the new community with vigor. Not only did they work to establish a home in this new frontier; but they were concerned for the welfare of their neighbors, a trait by which they would always be known.” The training and experiences that John P. learned from his father John M. helped him to succeed in all that he accomplished the remainder of his life. He was commissioned a captain during the Walker Indian War in the reactivated Nauvoo Legion. Due to Indian activities they sought refuge in the adobe schoolhouse, dug roots for food and did the best they could. No harvest occurred that fall so there was little or no food. The ensuing grasshopper plague and drought decimated the family, eventually forcing them to leave. After a short time at Parley’s Park and a brief time in Salt Lake City, they were called to participate in the resettlement of Southern Utah. On Sunday, October 19, 1862, Thomas Bullock read both the father’s and son’s names from the pulpit, when be read the names of 200 missionaries to go to the Cotton Country. Both of their names are listed as coming to Washington in 1861-1862 on page 39 in The Red Hills of November by Karl Larson. It is recorded that “The journey south was an easy one most of the way. The Indians were at peace again and the young couple had high hopes for the future. Beyond Cedar City, however, the road became more tortuous. The Black Ridge with its deep, winding canyons and rocky hills, defied the travelers. Many times loads had to be lightened so the oxen could pull the heavy wagons up a steep incline, then the goods portered up. Brakes had to be applied on down-grades and sometimes a cedar or cypress tree attached to the wagon to slow the descent. At least once the wagon had to be lowered down a precipitous hill by the use of ropes (This is known as Peter’s Leap.) They reached Washington 1 Jan 1863.” Chidester’s first winter in Washington was tough. Their borne was a wagon box which many of the pioneers bad to use until they could build a more substantial house. He worked hard to erect a brush and sod shanty to help keep the family warm during the winter. Even in Dixie, the winters can be rather chilly. He learned to work with adobe bricks and rock which be later used to build more monumental buildings such as school houses both in Washington and St George. He soon was involved in building or helping to build homes for others. Prior to 1873 he built a two-story home for his family on Lot 3 Block 29 (in the resurvey of 1873) in Washington City. This home is still standing (2002). He is the first recorded owner of this property. He was quick to clear the land to begin fanning. Cotton, vegetables, grain, fruit trees and vineyards are some of the things be planted. In order to have farms, water was necessary to irrigate the land so that trees and plants would grow and survive in this hot, dry, desolate desert. Washington had ample water from springs for culinary and town gardens, but water for the farms in Washington Fields had to come from the Rio Virgin River. Diversion dams were built only to be washed out by flash floods. There was constant need to replace and repair these dams. Chills and fever, known as the ague, and just plain hard work affected their effort to repair or replace these dams. The dams washed out twice in 1857, ‘58 and three times in ‘59 and at least once every year thereafter. The original pioneers of 1857 were completely worn out rebuilding the dams. Brigham Young recognized this problem and called the 1861-62 pioneers to come and reinforce the Cotton Mission. To correct the problem of dam failure, the pile dam was conceived and built. It was to solve the problem forever and would be the dam of all dams. It consisted of driving four rows of piles into the river bottom so that the tops of the piles farthest up river were the tallest. They were then tied together like miners do in the construction of square set timbering. These squares were then filled with rocks and brush, which was to stop the floods from washing out the dams. John P. was selected to be superintendent and was given the job of finding, procuring and installing the piles. The timbers had to be 20 to 25 feet long and 8 inches at the tip. John P. did not let any grass grow under his feet; He found and obtained the timbers from Pine Valley Mountain. They were very difficult to obtain due to the steepness of the terrain. The pile dam was started in 1886 and finished in 1889. Sorry to say, but the dam was completely destroyed by two flash floods in December 1889. The populace was devastated, many residents of Washington left and the population decreased by 50%. Those who stayed were too poor to leave. Half of the homes were vacant. John P. did his job, but the quicksand in the bottom of the river proved to be the reason why the pile dam failed. It was necessary to find another place to build a new dam, or leave the area. At the water organization’s stockholders meeting a motion was presented and carried to select five men to find another dam site using anything or anyone to complete their task. John P. Chidester was one of the five. Quoting from The Red Hills of November by Karl Larson, on page 105 we read: “Isaac Macfarlane proposed that we go to Richey‘s threshing floor (Richey is James Richey who built the first cotton gin mill on Millcreek in 1858 and is the ledge of rocks which now constitutes the spillway of the present dam.) He suggested a rock and brush dam there. We went up to survey a ditch from a big rock that had fallen down on the south side of the river bed John P. Chidester was with us. Isaac said ‘We’ll put our head gate behind this rock‘. Then we surveyed for the ditch. When we got up on the land away from the river I said ‘John, I don‘t like this proposition. ‘He said ‘We must have water. ‘There was a curve there I didn’t like; I was afraid that the flood would cut in and destroy the ditch, dam, etc. He asked ‘What will you do? ‘I said, ‘There is a hogs back coming down from the hill; we’ll cut that down the right distance and make an apron [spillway]; we’ll in, turn the river over the rocks and have a dam that will be here for our children and our children’s children.” So the Washington Fields Dam was built where the Shinarump Sandstone crosses the Virgin River, which eliminated the quick sand problem. John was the engineer who helped build the Washington Fields Dam. He suggested that the water being taken to the diversion canal should be taken to the rear of the dam first and then put into the canal. It was built so the water was taken to the canal from the front of the darn through a tunnel. John P. said they would have trouble with this because the area and entrance to the tunnel would always be choked with trash. He was correct. The dam was changed soon after being built to the way John P. had suggested and has never given any problem since. See the diagram on page 110 of The Red Hills of November showing how the dam was first built and on page 116 a diagram showing how the dam was changed as it is today. Building the dam at this location raised the elevation of the diversion canal by 45 feet above the location of the original brush and rock dams. This meant that the land that could be irrigated doubled in size and greatly increased the number of farms that the pioneers could develop. One of the first engineering jobs that John P had was the building of the Cotton Factory in 1865-70. He was the chief carpenter and superintended the construction of the factory under Appelton Harmon, the general contractor. John P. obtained the limbers and did the mortise work in fitting the large timbers used in its construction. He did this mortise work by hand using hand tools. Again from The Red Hills of November on page 130 we read; “During the erection of the St. George Temple, John served in the surveying of timber sources and superintended the scaffolding on the building. During much of the time he was also serving his community in leadership capacities, from being member of the bishopric in the church to heading committees for civic ventures. He cared for his aging parents and accepted from them the responsibility of continuing the work of record keeping.” He was chosen to be a councilor in the city during the same election that selected the first mayor of Washington City, Mayor Thomas J. Jones in 1877. After the Cotton Factory was completed, the laborious work of making cloth was solved. Mother Chidester had more time to do other things. The factory could do the spinning and weaving better and faster than those doing the same at home. With this new time Susan and the girls converted their attic to the production of silk fibers hoping to make silk dresses. John planted mulberry trees around the house which the girls picked to feed the silk worms. The children were old enough to work in the factory as well as Susan, which gave the family added income. From its early beginnings until it ceased to operate continuously they took an active part in its operations. The Chidester children were called on to operate the looms when important visitors came to see the factory during its slow operation times. John P. also built the tithing building and barn that was located just west of John D. Lee’s stone mansion. The tithing building is still used but has been moved to the Washington Fields. He contributed much to the success of Washington City. One thing that does not appear in the Chidester’s histories is that there is no mention of the rainstorm known as the 40-day and 40-night rain of 1862. This rain caused much damage and changed many of the town sites along the course of the Virgin River and other streams.

John Peck Chidester

Contributor: trishkovach Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago

John Peck Chidester John Peck Chidester, son of John Madison and Mary Josephine Parker, born 23 December 1831 in Summerfield Township near Petersburg, Monroe County, Michigan; died 10 January 1897, Washington, Washington, Utah; married 23 October 1851, in Salt Lake City, Utah to Susan Foy who was born 4 April 1831 in Wheatfield Township, Indiana County, Pa; died 14 July 1902 in Panguitch, Utah; buried in Washington Utah, daughter of Thomas Burk Foy and Katherine Fink. Their Children: 1. John Foy Chidester, born 2 February 1853, Spanish Fork Utah; died 7 July 1917, Richfield Utah; married Mary Nicoll and married Almina Worthen. 2. Mary Catherine Chidester, born 15 Feb 1855 in Spanish Fork, Utah, died 13 April 1857. 3. Susan Emma Chidester, born 2 December 1857 in Spanish Fork, Utah, died 20 Feb 1938; married George Carlos Dewey. 4. Lodema Elizabeth Chidester, born 9 September 1859, Salt Lake City, Utah, died 1 June 1935; married Alfred Amasa Ruby. 5. Myron Alphonzo Chidester, born 6 March 1862 in Salt Lake City, Utah, died 18 April 1921; Married Sarah Ann Jackson. 6. Robert Edgar Chidester, born 23 September 1864 in Washington, Washington, Utah, died 3 October 1865. 7. Emeline Chidester (twin), born 18 February 1868 in Washington, Washington, Utah, died 29 October 1942; married Samuel Hood Murray Stewart and Joseph Sylvester. 8. Eveline Chidester (twin), born 18 February 1868 in Washington, Washington, Utah, died 27 April 1946; married Andrew Sproul jr. 9. Lucinda Jane Chidester, born 29 August 1870 in Washington, Washington, Utah, died 27 July 1947; married James Robert Waters. Growing up in the turbulent early years of Mormonism was not all bad. There was the companionship of the sons and daughters of the great leaders of Mormonism, the great excitement of military clashes and the challenge of the unknown that has always been manna to youth. By the time John was sixteen years of age he had learned to work besides his father as carpenter and turner. He had helped in the building of many of the homes in Nauvoo; and most importantly of all, he had helped in the building of the Nauvoo Temple. In the fateful year of 1846, John helped his father to construct a raft and ferry the Saints across the Mississippi river. More often than not it was John who guided the craft until it reached the Iowa shore and disgorged its precious cargo. In Winter Quarters, John continued to work with his father as they build and operated a grist mill to provide flour for the bread of the migrating Saints. In the spring of 1850, not yet nineteen years of age, it was the turn of John and his family to cross the Great Plains to “Zion”. That same year the Foy family was making the same journey and it is entirely possible that the two families journeyed together as Independent Pioneers, arriving in the Great Salt Lake Valley in the late summer. Thomas Burk Foy, listing himself as a German descent, and his wife, Catherine Rebecca Fink, who said she was of Welsh Descent, had joined the church in waster Pennsylvania early in 1840. Leaving Wheatfield, Indiana, Pennsylvania, almost immediately after baptism, they and their five children settled in Warsaw, Hancock, Illinois, just a few miles from Nauvoo. Three more children were born to the family in Warsaw; another was born during the trek across Iowa; one was born the December after their arrival in Salt Lake City in 1850; and the last child of the family was born in 1853 after the family had move to Farmington. It was inevitable that Susan Foy (the second child in the Foy family) and John Peck Chidester, with so much in common, should be attracted to each other. They were married and soon were pioneering the Spanish Fork area on the Edge of Utah Lake. Their first home was a dug-out. Timber around Spanish Fork was difficult to obtain and very scarce. The dug-out was comfortable, affording protection from summer heat and winter cold alike. It was constructed by digging a hole in the ground about five feet deep, with steps leading down into the room, A roof of Willows and mud stretched over all and a fire place in the end opposite the stairway, provided heat, light and a place to cook. The young couple entered into the life of the new community with vigor. Not only did they work to establish a home in this new frontier, but they were concerned for the welfare of their neighbors, a trait by which they would always be known. With the eruption of the Walker Indian War, John was commissioned a Captain in the re-activated Nauvoo Legion. His wife and child, with other families, sought refuge in the adobe schoolhouse, the only public building in the community. They dug roots for food and lived the best way they could. The men were away in service so there were no harvests that year. The ensuing grasshopper plague and drought decimated the fortunes of the family, eventually forcing them to leave. After a short time the resettlement center of Parley’s Park and a brief time in Salt Lake City, they were called to participate in the resettlement of Southern Utah. The journey south was an easy one most of the way. The Indians were at peace again and the young couple had high hopes for the future. Beyond Cedar City, however, the road became more tortuous. The Black Ridge with its deep, winding canyons and rocky hills, defied the travelers. Many times loads had to be lightened so the oxen could pull the heavy wagons up a steep incline, then the goods ported up. Brakes had to be applied on the down-grades and sometimes a cedar and cypress tree attached to the wagon to slow descent. At least once the wagon had to be lowered down a precipitous hill by the use of ropes. They reached Washington 1 Jan 1863. The first winter, their home was the wagon box in which they had made the journey south. John worked hard to add a brush and sod shanty to ward off the icy winds and add room for his family to flex its muscles. He learned to work with adobe bricks and with rock to build more substantially and as the years passed he was able to build a fine home for his family. John was quick to clear his land to begin planting crops to sustain the family and to bring in much needed cash. He planted cotton, vegetables, grain, fruit trees and vineyards. His skill as a carpenter was used to build the school house and other public buildings in Washington and St. George, as well as home for the people. In order to have farms in was necessary to provide water to irrigate the land. Washington had ample water from springs for culinary and town garden purposes, but water for the farms had to come from unpredictable Virgin River. Dams would be built only to be washed out in the spring floods. There was constant need for repair and rebuilding of canals and dams. Finally after years of trial and error, it was John P. Chidester who engineered and superintended the construction of the diversion dam which held and is still serving the people of the valley. From 1865-68 he was the chief carpenter and superintended the construction of the cotton factory, cutting the timbers and doing the mortise work with hand tools. By the time the cotton factory became operational the Chidester children were old enough that they began working there. The mother no longer had to spend most of her time spinning and weaving at home—the factory did it better and faster. Susan found time to help there, too. From then until its closing the family took and active part in its operation. After it ceased to operate continuously, it was the Chidester girls who hastened to man the looms when important visitors came to see the mill. Susan and the girls converted their attic to the production of silk fiber. John planted mulberry trees close about the house so that in tending their charges the girls would only have to open the windows to pick the leaves for the worms to feed on. The family was close-knit and full of fun. They took their hardships stoically, made the best of them and enjoyed life. It was said in the cotton factory that Myron, the second son of the family, kept the work from being humdrum with his jokes. Both of the boys, John Foy and Myron, played the fiddle and combined with other musicians to provide music for the dances and celebrations. During the erection of the St. George Temple, John served in the surveying of timber sources and superintended the scaffolding on the building. During much of the time he was also serving his community in leadership capacities, from being member of the bishopric in the church to heading committees for civic ventures. He cared for his aging parents and accepted from them the responsibility of continuing the work of record keeping. After the completion of the temple and the dam, as his health deteriorated, John contented himself to the care of his farm and orchard and to making the yearly trips to peddle his fruit and molasses—and to work on his genealogy. At his death he had compiled 1500 names and had kept his family busy doing the same work. The record was turned over to his eldest son, John Foy Chidester. In 1882 Susan Foy Chidester was sustained and set apart as Relief Society President of the Washington Ward. She survived her husband by five years.

Zion's Camp

Contributor: trishkovach Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago

John Peck Chidester, a member of Zion's Camp, was born December 23, 1831 in Somerfield Township, Monroe County, Michigan. Arriving in Utah with a company of Saints about 1848, he was one of the first settlers of Spanish Fork. He was commissioned as a Captain in the Nauvoo Legion and participated in the Walker Indian War of 1853, He married Susan Foy October 23, 1851, and moved with his family to Southern Utah in 1862, settling at Washington, where he lived until his death, which occurred January 10, 1897. Source: LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, by Andrew Jensen, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1936; vol. 4, pg. 688.

Chidester, John Peck, Washington City Historical Society

Contributor: trishkovach Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago

JOHN PECK CHIDESTER (Copied from Chidester-Chichester Heritage, researched and compiled by Elmer Clarence Anderson and Thelma Chidester Anderson. Submitted by Jerree Crouch in February of 1995. Typed by Georgene Cahoon Evans, Historian, Washington City Historical Society.) Growing up in Mormonism Migrating to Utah JOHN PECK CHIDESTER, son of JOHN M. CHIDESTER and MARY JOSEPHINE PARKER (CHIDESTER), was born the 23rd of December 1831, in Summerfield Township, near Petersburg, Monroe County, Michigan. He had the following brothers and sisters: Name Birth date Place of birth John Peck 23 Dec 1831 Monroe, Michigan Eunice 18 Feb 1834 Florence, Ohio Mary 30 Aug 1836 Liberty, Missouri Jared 18 Ma r1838 Far West, Missouri David 5 Jan 1840 Nauvoo, Illinois Joshua 1 Feb 1843 Nauvoo,Illinois James Madison 11 Apr 1845 Nauvoo, Illinois Esther 18 May 1846 Montrose, Iowa Willard Darwin 29 Mar 1850 Council Bluffs, Iowa Mary and Jared, born during the years of mobbing and moving, both died as toddlers. Growing up in the turbulent early years of Mormonism was not all bad. There was the companionship of the sons and daughters of the great leaders of Mormonism, the great excitement of military clashes and the challenge of the unknown that has always been manna to youth. By the time John was sixteen years of age, he had learned to work beside his father as carpenter and turner. He had helped in the building of many of the homes in Nauvoo; and most important of all, he had helped in the building of the Nauvoo Temple. In the fateful year of 1846, John helped his father to construct a raft and ferry the saints across the Mississippi River. More often than not, it was John who guided the craft until it reached the Iowa shore and disgorged its precious cargo. In Winter Quarters, John continued to work with his father as they built and operated a grist mill to provide flour for the bread of the migrating saints. In the spring of 1850, not yet 19 years of age, it was the turn of John and his family to cross the great plains to 'Zion." That same year the Foy family was making the same journey, and it is entirely possible that the two families joureyed together as independent pioneers, arriving in the Great Salt Lake Valley in the late summer. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- THOMAS BURK FOY, listing himself as of German descent, and his wife, CATHERINE REBECCA FINK (FOY), who said she was of Welsh descent, had joined the Church in western Pennsylvania early in 1840. Leaving Wheatfield, Indiana, Pennsylvania, almost immediately after baptism, they and their five children settled in Warsaw, Hancock, Illinois, just a few miles from Nauvoo. Three more children were born to the family in Warsaw; another was born during the trek across Iowa; one was born the December after their arrival in Salt Lake City in 1850; and the last child of the family was born in 1853 after the family had moved to Farmington. It was inevitable that SUSAN FOY (the second child in the Foy family) and JOHN PECK CHIDESTER, with so much in common, should be attracted to each other. Marriage and Spanish Fork John Peck and Susan were married and soon were pioneering the Spanish Fork area on the edge of Utah Lake. Their first home was a dugout. Timber around Spanish Fork was difficult to obtain and very scarce. The dugout was comfortable, affording protection from summer heat and winter cold alike. It was constructed by digging a hole in the ground about five feet deep, with steps leading down into the room. I roof of willows and mud stretched over all and a fireplace in the end opposite the stairway, provided heat, light and a place to cook. The young couple entered into the life of the new community with vigor. Not only did they work to establish a home in this new frontier, but they were concerned for the welfare of their neighbors, a trait by which they would always be known. Their first child, John Foy Chidester, was born 2 February 1853, in Spanish Fork. With the eruption of the Walker Indian War, John was commissioned a Captain in the re-activated Nauvoo Legion. His wife and child, with other families, sought refuge in the adobe schoolhouse, the only public building in the community. They dug roots for food and lived the best way they could. The men were away in service, so there were no harvests that year. The ensuing grasshopper plague and drought decimated the fortunes of the family, eventually forcing them to leave. Parley's Park, Salt Lake City, and Southern Utah After a short time in the resettlement center of Parley's Park, and a brief time in Salt Lake City, they were called to participate in the re-settlement of Southern Utah. The journey south was an easy one most of the way. The Indians were at peace again, and the young couple had high hopes for the future. Beyond Cedar City, however, the road became more tortuous. The Black Ridge with its deep, winding canyons and rocky hills. defied the travelers. Many times loads had to be lightened so the oxen could pull the heavy wagons up a steep incline, then the goods portered up. Brakes had to be applied on down-grades and sometimes a cedar or cypress tree attached to the wagon to slow the descent. At least once the wagon had to be lowered down a precipitous hill by the use of ropes. They reached the settlement of Washington the first of January, 1863. A new year and a new life. The first winter, their home was the wagon box in which they had made the journey south. John worked hard to add a brush and sod shanty to ward off the icy winds and add room for his family to flex its muscles. He learned to work with adobe bricks and with rock to build more substantially and as the years passed he was able to build a fine home for his family. John was quick to clear his land to begin planting crops to sustain the family and to bring in much-needed cash. He planted cotton, vegetables, grain, fruit trees and vineyards. His skill as a carpenter was used to build the school house and other public buildings in Washington and St. George, as well as homes for the people. The Washington Dam In order to have farms, it was necessary to provide water to irrigate the land. Washington had ample water from springs for culinary and town garden purposes, but water for the farms had to come from the unpredictable Virgin River. Dams would be built only to be washed out in spring floods. There was constant need for repair and rebuilding of canals and dams. Finally, after years of trial and error, it was John P. Chidester who engineered and superintended the construction of the diversion dam which held and is still serving the people of the valley. Cotton Factory From 1965-68 he was the chief carpenter and superintended the construction of the cotton factory, cutting the timbers and doing the mortise work with hand tools. By the time the cotton factory became operational, the Chidester children were old enough that they began working there. The mother no longer had to spend most of her time spinning and weaving at home---the factory did it better and faster. Susan found time to help there, too. From then until its closing, the family took an active part in its operation. After it ceased to operate continuously, it was the Chidester girls who hastened to man the looms when important visitors came to see the mill. Silk Production Susan and the girls converted their attic to the production of silk fiber. John planted mulberry trees close about the house so that in tending their charges the girls would only have to open the windows to pick the leaves for the worms to feed on. The family was close-knit and full of fun. They took their hardships stoically, made the best of them and enjoyed life. It was said in the cotton factory that Myron, the second son of the family, kept the work from being humdrum with his jokes. Both of the boys, John Foy and Myron, played the fiddle and combined with other musicians to provide music for the dances and celebrations. St. George Temple Other Activities During the erection of the St. George Temple, John served in the surveying of timber sources and superintended the scaffolding on the building. During much of the time, he was also serving his community in leadership capacities - from being member of the bishopric in the Church to heading committees for civic ventures. He cared for his aging parents and accepted from them the responsibility of continuing the work of record keeping. In 1882 Susan Foy Chidester was sustained and set apart as Relief Society President of the Washington Ward. After the completion of the temple and the dam, as his health deteriorated, John contented himself to the care of his farm and orchard and to making the yearly trips to peddle his fruit and molasses---and to work on his genealogy. At his death, he had compiled 1500 names and had kept his family busy doing the same work. The record was turned over to his eldest son, John Foy Chidester. John died 10 January 1897 in Washington, Utah. Susan survived her husband by five years. She died 14 July 1902 in Panguitch, Utah -buried in Washington, Utah. The children of John Peck Chidester and Susan Foy (Chidester) were: Name Birth date Death date Married John Foy 2 Feb 1853 7 Jul 1917 #1 Mary Nicoll #2 Almina Worthen

Life timeline of John Peck Chidester

1831
John Peck Chidester was born on 23 Dec 1831
John Peck Chidester was 8 years old when Samuel Morse receives the patent for the telegraph. Samuel Finley Breese Morse was an American painter and inventor. After having established his reputation as a portrait painter, in his middle age Morse contributed to the invention of a single-wire telegraph system based on European telegraphs. He was a co-developer of the Morse code and helped to develop the commercial use of telegraphy.
John Peck Chidester was 28 years old when Petroleum is discovered in Titusville, Pennsylvania leading to the world's first commercially successful oil well. Petroleum is a naturally occurring, yellow-to-black liquid found in geological formations beneath the Earth's surface. It is commonly refined into various types of fuels. Components of petroleum are separated using a technique called fractional distillation, i.e. separation of a liquid mixture into fractions differing in boiling point by means of distillation, typically using a fractionating column.
John Peck Chidester was 31 years old when U.S. President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring the freedom of all slaves in Confederate territory by January 1, 1863. Abraham Lincoln was an American statesman and lawyer who served as the 16th President of the United States from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. Lincoln led the United States through the American Civil War—its bloodiest war and perhaps its greatest moral, constitutional, and political crisis. In doing so, he preserved the Union, abolished slavery, strengthened the federal government, and modernized the economy.
John Peck Chidester was 43 years old when Winston Churchill, English colonel, journalist, and politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1965) Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill was a British politician, army officer, and writer, who was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955. As Prime Minister, Churchill led Britain to victory in the Second World War. Churchill represented five constituencies during his career as Member of Parliament (MP). Ideologically an economic liberal and British imperialist, he began and ended his parliamentary career as a member of the Conservative Party, which he led from 1940 to 1955, but for twenty years from 1904 he was a prominent member of the Liberal Party.
John Peck Chidester was 54 years old when Louis Pasteur successfully tests his vaccine against rabies on Joseph Meister, a boy who was bitten by a rabid dog. Louis Pasteur was a French biologist, microbiologist and chemist renowned for his discoveries of the principles of vaccination, microbial fermentation and pasteurization. He is remembered for his remarkable breakthroughs in the causes and prevention of diseases, and his discoveries have saved many lives ever since. He reduced mortality from puerperal fever, and created the first vaccines for rabies and anthrax. His medical discoveries provided direct support for the germ theory of disease and its application in clinical medicine. He is best known to the general public for his invention of the technique of treating milk and wine to stop bacterial contamination, a process now called pasteurization. He is regarded as one of the three main founders of bacteriology, together with Ferdinand Cohn and Robert Koch, and is popularly known as the "father of microbiology".
John Peck Chidester died on 10 Jan 1897 at the age of 65
BillionGraves.com
Grave record for John Peck Chidester (23 Dec 1831 - 10 Jan 1897), BillionGraves Record 568476 Washington, Washington, Utah, United States

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