Memories of My Brother Ira written by Lois E. Jones
Contributor: trishkovach Created: 3 years ago Updated: 3 years ago
He was born December 16, 1884. I was then four years old lacking 2 weeks. Great grandmother Abigail Smith Abbott of Ogden was visiting her eldest daughter, Emily Bunker, and son Myron Abbott, in Bunkerville. Father called on her the morning after Ira was born. He said, “A new blacksmith came to town last night.” She said, “Do you think it will hurt your business any?” “No,” said Father, “The new blacksmith is my son born last night.” When Ira was about two years old, he was a great dancer. Ready for bed in his nightie, mother would pin it up and while Father whistled, Ira would dance for us. He then slept in a trundle bed. Elethra and I slept in a bed in the kitchen. We lived in a two-room house. The front room was one step higher than the kitchen.
We children ran barefoot in summer and an evening chore was to wash our feet before going to bed. I remember Ira sitting in the doorway washing his feet. The toes had been stubbed and were sore and Mother had put a handful of bran in the water as a cleansing agent. After they were dry, she would rub mutton tallow on them as a healing lotion. I remember him crying as he went thru this ordeal.
Once when he was quite small he had run away and waded in the ditch and his trousers were wet and soiled. Father was away at St. George and expected home that afternoon. Ira’s punishment was to be put to bed while Mother washed out and dried his pants—soon he was missing, and later found sitting astride the beam of the roof looking up the road to see if father could be coming.
Once he went with father for a load of sand. Ira crept under the wagon to be in the shade. Father was loading from the other side and suddenly drove the horses up a few feet for better shoveling; the hind wheel ran over Ira. I remember how white Father looked as he carried him in and laid him on the bed and sat down and wept as Mother looked him over for injuries- and found him not badly hurt due to the soft sand he was lying on when run over.
Ira was trying to chop wood. When I went with a pan to pick up some chips, he thought I had filled my pan, but I reached suddenly for more and the axe cut my hand. I still carry the scar after 70 years.
Ira’s hat was badly worn but there was none to buy in the small general merchandise store kept by Uncle Sam Crosby-when a freight wagon had brought in new merchandise, Mother went in to make some purchases. On the counter she saw a stack of children’s hats. She picked one up and lifting Ira’s old one she placed a new one on his head to check if it fit. Ira very surprised and not expecting a new hat, threw off the new one and held firmly to the old one much preferring to continue to wear the hat he was accustomed to wearing.
The water was often out of the canals and ditches and water was hauled in barrels for home use-being open barrels which Father had made-he covered them with an old quilt and held it down with a hoop. As he went for work to the farm, not far from the river, he would take a couple of barrels and bring them home full of water—As he was about to leave, Ira asked if he might go along. “No, not this time,” said Father and Ira seemed to accept that and left but when Father arrived at the farm, Ira popped out from under the quilt that covered the barrels and said, “I came anyway, father.”
Father was working in the blacksmith shop when he heard Ira’s voice from outside asking, “Father, may I ride old Doll?”-our white mare. Father looked out the window and there sat his little son on Old Doll. He had ridden her to the shop to ask permission.
Once, needing to refill the water barrels, Mother and our neighbor, Bertha Wittwer, loaded the barrels for both families and sent me with Ira and Albert Wittwer to the river to fill them, our fathers being up working on the dam. We did not fill the barrels from the bank but drove into the river to make the task easier. When we tried to pull out, the wagon was settled down in quicksand. The horses, when they couldn’t pull it out, both laid down in the river. Ira and Albert unhitched the tugs and got the horses out and went to town, a mile away for help. Father and Bro. Wittwer had to get help and dig the wagon out.
From Father’s diary:
January 1, 1908- On the 10th of September, 1907, my oldest son Ira J. started for Provo to attend the Brigham Young University and at this writing he is there and doing well.
January 9, 1908 Father was called to preside as Bishop of the Bunkerville Ward and soon thereafter he received this letter, dated Provo, Utah, January 15, 1908.
To Joseph I. Earl, Bunkerville, Nevada.
Dear Father: I hope this letter finds you felling as well as it leaves me. I am boarding with Lillian Corry her sister Ethel also is with her. Congratulations to you dear Father. I hear you have been chosen Bishop of the Bunkerville Ward. You could have knocked me down with a feather when I heard the news. I know you are worthy of such an office but it struck me, Am I worthy to be the Bishop’s son? I know that the appointment of bishop does not consider the worthiness of a son. I hope to and am going to be as good as possible. You, father, have always set me a good example- one worthy of imitation. If the Lord will aid me with His watchful care, I will try to be an honor and a credit to you and that you may never have to say unto me, as the Saviour said to the Jews, “How often would I have gathered you unto me as a hen gathereth her chickens, but you would not.” I know there is a great responsibility placed upon you, but I pray the Lord will bless you and give you strength of both body and mind to perform the labors placed upon you acceptable unto the Lord. This is the desire of your loving and affectionate son, Ira J. Earl. P.S. Give my regards to your councilors, J. Nephi Hunt and D. Henry Leavitt.
June 1, 1909 Father writes: I work with the bees, Harold and the other boys do most of the farm work. Ira looks after the stock. Viola and the younger children help with the bees. I have 100 colonies.
July 11, 1911 All is well for my family. Harold is at work in the Muddy Valley. Ira is at Logan, Utah attending school there.
November 26, 1914 Ira is running a store in Moapa for a Mr. Gunn.
October 23, 1915 Ira is working at Goodsprings, Nevada
July 1908 Ira and Orson Leavitt were working in the cantaloupes in Overton for W. L. Jones
February 3, 1907 Ira J. Earl Jr. presented on behalf of the young people of the Bunkerville Ward a sacrament set of individual cups- the first to be used in the ward- it had cost them $37.25.