Autobiography by E. Vernon Howell
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I was born March 2, 1882 at Clifton, Oneida County, Idaho, to Thomas A. Howell who was born September 17, 1855, at Payson, Utah and Harriet Ann Henderson who was born February 4, 1855, at Kaysville, Davis County, Utah.
My first discovery of mortal life was my mothers touch in the home, where life is shared at its best. My parents were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They had thirteen children, and I was the fourth. Six died as babies or with diphtheria. Myrtle died when she was ten of typhoid fever. The four brothers, Orrin, Vernon, Parley, and Marion, and two sisters, Emma and Chella were very close and did a lot together.
I applied for baptism at the age of seven years and told that I was too young. Bishop Farmer asked if I understood the gospel, and I proved to him that I did. He then accepted me, and I was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints. I enjoyed my childhood and the sports of skiing, skating, boxing, and sleigh riding in bob sleds. I was taught how to knit socks, half sole shoes, lace in the bottoms and backs of prison chairs.
At the close of my first school, age seven, under the tutorship of cousin Millie Howell, age sixteen, cards were placed on a table. She said, “Select the one you like best.” I selected the little boy dressed in red, and I have it now. I surprised her a few months before she died by letting her see the picture. She was an excellent teacher. I finished the district school.
My brother Orrin who was four years my senior and who gave me trouble by his teasing walked up to me with a smoke made of maple bark and asked me to hold it in my mouth while he lighted it with a match. I made about two puffs and it exploded causing me to bleed from the mouth. He had filled it with powder.
Brother Perry Bingham a neighbor hired me to work for him when I was age nine. He took four ropes, tied one on each donkey’s neck and tied each donkey to a separate shed post. He gave me a gunny sack and said, “Hit one mule over the head.” I did so, and there he continued to hang back. “Now do the same to all of them and keep them hanging.” It lasted most of the day, and those fools continued to hang back. The next morning I tied them, but they did not pull against those sore necks. He paid me off.
One night after priesthood meeting the boys gathered together. We had a fast team of horses and so did Bishop Farmer. A home missionary had visited our ward and was riding with the bishop. We boys were in close pursuit. Our sleigh was overloaded, so we arranged to pull up beside the bishop and put most of our group into his sleigh. After that we went at full speed ahead. We soon passed the bishop, but he pulled right in behind us. As we came to down grade which caused him to gain on us we were in danger of being run over. One of our horses was winded and turned toward the lane of the home where lived. This happened just where there was a culvert projecting out three feet. The bishop’s team followed in close pursuit. One of the runners of his sleigh struck the pipe and broke off one runner and part of the box. Also the missionary landed against the wire fence, but the bishop hung on to his lines. We hit the pipe and broke off our box. My cousin Wallace and I landed beside the missionary and the fence. John Howell who was the only one left on our sleigh was lying on his stomach. What happened to the other boys? Don’t ask me. The sleigh the bishop was using had been loaned to him by a blacksmith who had made it for a beautiful riding sleigh for his family. He had ironed and painted it. We all felt the loss very much.
The next Sunday was Fast Day. Brother Henry Dixon arose and bore his testimony. Then he said, “Brothers and Sisters there must be something done with the rough boys who are disturbing the peace in front of our homes.” The bishop held a streight face although it was slightly drooped. We boys were chewing our tongues nervously but were in sympathy with the bishop. He hadn’t been racing to win the race but to catch the boys and keep them on the right track. This he did! Later on he landed all of us in the mission field.
Bishop Erastus G. Farmer played a big part in my life without pay. He gave me a book “What a Young Boy Should Know, What a Young Man Should Know”. He was bishop when I received a call for a mission. I later served as his Ward Clerk. He was in the High Council later and voted for my acceptance into that council. I was invited to speak at his funeral which I did and which I considered to be an honor.
One time father said, “Vernon, jump into the wagon and go with me.” He drove one mile up to the farm land and hooked the team on the hand plow. He handed the lines to me and said, “Drive the team around this piece of plowed land and I will hold the plow.” Later on we stopped to rest the team. I suggested, “You can hang the lines about your neck. You don’t need me.” He said “You Stay. You are doing all right”. After driving for a while I picked up a rock and threw it at one of the seagulls which was flying over head. It broke a bone in one of the wings. Father started talking about how the seagulls saved the wheat crops for the saints. He stroked the bird on the back. It grabbed the skin on the back of his hand and tore off a strip of skin. Just then Orrin stepped up. I asked him to feel how smooth the feathers were on its back. Away went a strip of skin off of his hand. I moved around the team then broke to the run down through the plowed land for the house. I heard father call out, “You better heal it you little devil”. At the house I met mother who said asked if I wasn’t home rather early. I replied that they didn’t need me. I was not there to do my part at milking time but returned after dark and sneaked in by raising a window. I lay down in bed at the back with my two younger brothers. Mother walked through the room. I closed my eyes while she passed. Father spoke up, “Its time that little devil was here”. Mother commented that I may already be there. Father then came in and heard me snoring. He [missing text?] very much awake. The problem ahead was morning prayer. I was there but did not care to talk with father or God. The next thing was Sunday School. I never heard from father or Orrin again about the seagull. Mother said, “Vernon do you feel sorry about killing the seagull? I answered that I did not kill it. It was alive when I left them. It must have been father who killed the seagull.
We lived and worked on a farm. One day I was milking a cow when she ran away from me and jumped over the corral bars into a lane that extended one mile up to the foot of the mountain. Father walked over to me. I said, “That cow is going to freshen.” Father asked, “Well, son have you been milking her?” “Surely I answered”. He said, “If she freshens today, you can have the calf providing the cow and the calf are in the corral by the time the shadow of the mountain passes here.” /After breakfast was over I was on a horse ready to leave. I was told that mother would have to use the horse by one o’clock P.M.. I said okay and was soon moving up the grade. At one P.M. I was back home with no calf or cow. I was looking where I had been and saw something red like a cow. I had a quick snack and with my dog at my side we covered the one mile quickly. Was I tired? The cow ran into the brush after my dog and up jumped a red heifer calf. Down the lane they went toward home. The shadow of the mountain was upon us. Old Brock would stop for the calf to rest and the dog and I stayed back until we were near the corral. The shadow passed over us just as I slammed the corral bars up, and the cow and calf were in the corral. I threw my arms around the calf as father watched. I thought he was going to hug it too. But no, he hugged me and said, “Son, I will keep that heifer calf and its increase except the male calves until your are married. We will sell them to help pay for your schooling at the A. C. College at Logan, Utah and to help pay your way on a mission. I was about sixteen years of age.
Another time I was stacking straw at the rear end of a thrashing machine when the dinner bell rang. For lack of seats, Arthur Sant and I had to wait. After lunch we started back to the machine, a mile [away?] on a terribly hot day. Arthur who weighed two hundred twenty five pounds started out on foot. I had a horse and rode up beside him, and said, “If you will let me have your daughter Edith when we are old enough to be married, I will walk and you can ride the horse.” “Okay,” said he, and away we went with him riding the horse.
Edith was a beautiful girl and woman. While attending school in Logan, Utah at the A.C. I kept her in my mind and heart until I was nineteen years of age. In disposition she was like her father Arthur who was pleasant and interesting to work with. When I asked her father and mother for her company Arthur placed his arm around my shoulder and said, “I am pleased for you to assume the responsibility of protecting and looking after the welfare of our daughter Edith.” I thanked him and promised to live up to his trust and also Alice’s. That I did by the help of Edith to make our courtship a joy. She had proven so true and had given me encoragement in my work through her letters. Then there were father and mother who had kept praying and sending me over $2,000.00 while I was on my mission. It was the happiest time of my life up to then.
At college I was interested in carpentry, turning lathe, mechanical drawing and general subjects. I remained home for two years due to a shortage of cash. In 1897 while my brother Orrin and I were attending school at the college in Logan, Utah I had a dream during the night. Our sister Emma’s one year old baby had died and was at Father’s home in Clifton laid out on a small stand in the parlor. I described the clothing etc. to Orrin. Orrin said, “There is nothing to that”. Two hours later while in a classroom a phone call came for Orrin. He answered the call. Father told him that Emma’s baby had died and that we should come home on the train. We found on our arrival home everything just as I had dreamed.
Three years after Arthur’s promise Edith and I were keeping company. Her father Arthur was ill with a mastoid infection. I was at his home and he asked me to come over to his bedside. He took my hand and said, “My promise a few years past, that you could have Edith still holds good. I trust you to care for and love her”. Edith and I were engaged to be married shortly afterward. Arthur died in March 1902.
I received a call from President Joseph F. Smith to fill a mission in the Southern States. We decided on an engagement ring and then waited until after the mission to be married. September 18, 1902 I left home for the mission and stopped at Salt Lake City with father and mother accompanying me. I received a Patriarchial blessing be [by] John Smith, brother to President Joseph F. Smith, at the church office. I was set apart to the Southern States Mission by Joseph W. McMurrin December 18, 1902.
Elder Silas L. Richards and I traveled on the Union Pacific railroad to Cincinnati, Ohio mission headquarters. I met President Ben E. Rich and was transferred to the Kentucky Conference. There were twenty four elders in the conference. I was assigned to labor with Elmo Cluff from Provo, Utah who was one of the nicest companions ... [missing text] ... in the scriptures. We labored until the spring conference in the western part of the state of Kentucky. I love and revere his name. Now he has been dead for forty years. The 1903 conference over I was assigned to labor with Elder Horace A. Hess in Pike and Floid counties a distance of four hundred miles of where we were. We aere [were] asked to walk and visit saints on the way. We held thirty meetings, baptized six people in thirty days, and walked the four hundred miles. The walk was very difficult and the last two days were worse due to loose sand. About one P.M. on a certain day we were weary and hungry. I called at a house and asked for something to eat. Before me on a long table was a real spread of food. She handed me a tin on which were five small biscuits so hard we could not eat them. We tried using water on them with no results. I returned the tin and thanked her. Her expression showed her embarrassment. There were no houses for five miles and then there was a family of Saints. We could walk on the pipe or the railway. We chose the railway. After walking one fourth mile being tired we sat down to rest. A freight train passed by. I saw an object go from the window of the caboose and it fell into the grass. I stepped over and picked it up. It was a warm cake about three inches thick and eight inches in width. We gave thanks, ate, and started on our way. In between the rails was a package which we opened. There biscuits and pie. What a treat! Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Who can doubt there being a creator when you are in his service and receive such a lunch.
We traveled on for five more miles and stayed with the Saints. Then we were in Pike County. We came to a creek where Elder Hess stopped to wash his face. I walked up a bank. A man named Haynes was on a load of lumber. He stopped the team and said, “I saw you last night in my dreams. Where is your companion? He has red hair. Oh, here he comes.” Haynes was supervisor over the branch.
They treated us very mice. We helped them in the Sunday School, ... [missing text] ... One Sunday there was a [? f__t] was and many of the Baptist Church attended it. At evening we had a meeting in the church house. There was a small building near by containing moon shine. There were a number of men outside. While up speaking in our meeting I had to stop talking and ask two couples to be more orderly. After repeating my request the second time in came a husky man with a revolver in each hand. By this time Elder Hess was speaking. The man walked up and asked Elder Hess to wait. He turned about face and siad. “These men are here teaching us how to be saved. There are some who are showing disrespect. Either quiet down or get out.” He sat down at the front with a revolver on each knee and signaled Elder Hess to proceed. At the close of the meeting he said. “Come and preach as long as you please. We will be here to defend you”. Then a salute of guns outside lit up the sky.
The next morning a very nice looking lady about forty years of age approached us. She was well dressed and rode side saddle on a beautiful looking horse. She introduced herself as Onia Wilmonson, and we acknowledged the introduction giving her our names. She asked if we were mormon missionaries laboring there. We answered yes. She said she had just ridden twenty five miles to meet us and to invite us to come over to their home and preach to them. We visited them and found them to be a family highly educated, clean, beautifully dressed and living in a home of beauty and order. They had two daughters eighteen and nineteen and a son twenty one. The father and mother were the picture of Joseph and Mary. I have their pictures to prove it. Sister Wilmonson was the only one who belonged to the L. D. S. Church. On leaving as we reached the top of a mountain we waved our handkerchief goodbye. I have a quilt block in one of my quilts as a reminder. And so we bid farewell to the Blue Ridge Mountains of the Atlantic Coast.
On our way to conference we met Elders Richards and Molen. They told us of a lady who had been ill for weeks and at present was very [?] He [aske]d if we would go with them and administer to her. The next morning we stopped and administered to her. She appeared to be about sixty years of age. We walked twelve miles the next day then cleaned up and stepped into new suits. The following day was conference. I stepped into a clean well ventilated tobacco barn they had prepared for conference. As I stepped onto the stage a clean and well dressed lady entered from the side door, walked straight to me, and offered her hand. I shook with her. She said, “Don’t you remember me?” I replied that I couldn’t remember of ever seeing her. “Well” she said, “I am the woman you and Elder Hess administered to Friday morning in my sick bed. I was healed there and them”. She was the picture of health and appeared to be about thirty five. I can never think of her as being the same person. A blind babe was brought in and administered to after the Subday Conference and healed and able to see.
After conference, due to poor health, I was transferred to Atlanta, Georgia and placed under the care of Dr. Smulon. After a diagnosis he pronounced it was yellow jaundice. After recovery I was placed in charge of the branch and the mission office was moved from Atlanta, Georgia to Chattanooga, Tennessee. I was furnished four elders. They were Kenneth Molen, O. E. Overson, Walter Hogan, and Charles E. Rowan. This was a very able group to stand in defense of our belief and faith. I got consent of the city fathers to hold street meetings on Post Office Corner. There were twenty one steps on two sides on which people could stand or sit. We held meetings Sunday mornings at 10 A.M.. There were seven ministers of other faiths almost every meeting. This was during the Reed Smoot investigation and President Joseph F. Smith and most of the apostles were there on trail for polygamy. After each talk the Reverand Bruno would give a rebuttal to our talks. The talks were printed in the papers, and we were invited to homes and places to preach. I was impressed one night that something was doing to happen, and so I notified Sister Rich and Sister Hardy, wives of President Rich and his counselor J. Hardy, and requested that they be present the next Sunday morning at the Street Meeting. After our speaker had finished the Reverend Bruno gave the rebuttal. Said he, “Do you know what happens in the Salt Lake Temple? When they meet there is a line of young ladies standing in a row without a piece of clothing on them. Missionaries like these who have filled missions has a chance to pick out one, two or more according to the time he has put in on his mission.” So I asked if there were any ladies present of the Mormon Church who had been through the Salt Lake City Temple. Sisters Rich and Hardy, well educated, stepped sorward. I asked them to speak on the question. After Sister Rich got up to speak Reverend Bruno left, and if I ever did the right thing it was when I selected those two ladies. Two of those elders who worked with me are alive. They are Walter Hogan of Salt Lake City, Utah and Charles E. Rowan of Provo, Utah. Kenneth Molen is dead, and I do not know about 0. E. Overson.
My grand parents T. C. D. Howell and wife Sarah Stewart were living in Tennessee. They had been converted to the gospel by Zachariah Wilson and then baptized after which they moved to Utah and then to Clifton, Idaho where I was born. L lived close to them for twenty years and learned much about our people in Tennessee.
I wrote to the our relatives, the John W. Howell family, and received an invitation to stop and see them. I left Atlanta, Georgia on the train and arrived in Kenton, Tennessee February 28. As I stopped off the train I walked up to a man who looked like my uncle at home. Although one hundred people were present I offered my hand and said, “How is John W. Howell?” “Just fine”, he said. How is cousin Vernon?” “Very well”, I replied. Two days later, March 2, 1905 was my twenty third birthday. John W. and wife Mandy invited cousin Bell Odom and her half sister Lucy Flowere over for dinner. What those four people mean to me furnishes a life of pleasure. In my room hangs a beautiful painting of a bouquet of chrysanthemums painted by cousin Belle. It was a present to me by her just fifty seven years ago. She removed a nice ring from her finger to mine. Some sixteen years later I wrote to her stating that I had broken the ring. I love the memory of those two women also the two hundred present on John W. Howell’s lawn the day before I left for home. Lucy Flowere died December 17, 1960.
I arrived in Salt Lake City, Utah and made my report at the Church Offices of a mission filled and received my release of honor. Next day my sweetheart of Clifton, Idaho, Edith Sant arrived with the engagement ring in place. She was the one who had promised me, three years previously to be my wife. What a beautiful lady she was!
I was received back into the ward at home and made happy for what had been accomplished. I was made secretary in the Elder’s Quorum to President James Callon.
July 2, 1905 I was set apart as Ward Clerk to Bishop Erastus G. Farmer and served six years. I worked on the header and earned $100. That was our wedding stake. I made a cupboard and center piece. The $100.00 paid for the carpet and other furniture. Edith and I went by train to the Logan Temple where we were married November 29, 1905 by Thomas Morgan. I received ten cows and calves from father and mother. They would not accept one of our cows even though it left them with none. That fulfilled their promise made thirteen years previously. I sold nine cows with calves at side for $25.00 per head. Uncle Gus ... [missing text] ... at $[?] per day two rented rooms and each other. We surely were happy. In [1909?] we purchased our first forty acres from Henry J. Howell for $600.00 and applied the cash from the sale of the cows.
I was sustained first counselor to Ernest Dixon in the Y. M. M. I. A . In the year 1911 we sold the forty acres at a profit of $1200.00 plus two good crops of wheat. We then purchased the Swen Anderson home on the south of Clifton. On the date of September 11, 1911 I was released as ward clerk after serving six years. May 14, 1911 Bishop James W. Davis was sustained Bishop with E. Vernon Howell First Counselor and Samuel M. Lee Second Counselor and Seth V. Henderson Ward Clerk.
Before I started to keep company with Edith she was serving as a teacher in the Sunday School. She later taught in the Primary and still later was President of the Y. W. M. I. A. When Edith was president of the Mutual she would talk with me on how to govern the young people and to keep them so interested in something so elevating they would not have time to think otherwise. Edith dressed becomingly, her hair was beautiful, so it corresponded with her beautiful face. Since actions speak louder than words she had everything one could wish to find in a young lady and wife.
June 7, 1914 Bishop Davis died. Samuel M. Lee was sustained as Bishop with E. Vernon Howell. First Counselor, James L. Williams, Second Counselor and Orson Kofoed, Ward Clerk. I served for six years after which I was released and sustained as Alternate High Councilman in the Oneida Stake with Taylor Nelson as President. I served for fifteen years in the High Council before being released and sustained as Bishop of the Clifton Ward with James L. Williams, Second First Counselor, and James Ostergar as Second Counselor and Bert Winward Ward Clerk.
The greatest blessing Edith ever did for me was when she gave birth to three sons willingly. Arthur born September 14, 1906 a beautiful dark eyed lad with brown hair and a charming disposition died ... [missing text] ... was fair skinned, with blue eyes, cheerful, and good looking. He was obedient and easy to raise. He has been a real comfort to us and a wonderful young man. LeRay born September 14, 1910 with brown hair and bright eyes had a square build like his great grandfather Sant. The little boys were kept so clean and taught good manners and respectability. When Edith knew I was burdened with work on the farm and church responsibilities she would help to solve the problems and make the burden lighter for me to bear. It kept me thanking the Lord and her mother Alice for the help from Edith. The first day for Ferne to attend school Edith had him shining, and was she happy! He walked to school carrying his lunch. Two weeks later a bus drawn by horses started. I enjoyed playing with the boys and together we enjoyed the calves, lambs, kittens, pups, and other animals found on the farm. That happy and contented life was passed on to our boys Arthur, Ferne, and LeRay. What a wonderful life we all lived together. There is beauty all around when there’s love at home. When Ferne was about 14 years of age he was selected as County Valedictorian. Perry Lee who was his teacher wrote the address and helped Ferne in his presentation. It was hailed by school professors and church leaders as one worthy of consideration by old and young. Edith and I were so pleased with what Ferne had accomplished with Perry Lee to help him. Ferne and LeRay completed high school at Clifton, Idaho. Ferne was Valedictorian at his high school graduation. Ferne then attended the A. C. for one year and then both boys went for one year. The next year LeRay went and Ferne remained on the farm due to lack of sufficient funds and a back injury Ferne had received earlier. Ferne attended the next two years and graduated. Due to a shortage of cash we were forced to keep LeRay out of college for two years. Duting this time he decided on a course in higher accounting from LaSalle Extension University of Chicago, Illinois. He won the credits for graduation. This together with two more years at the U. S. A. C. as it was then named and one year at the Latter Day Saints ... [missing text] ... for the past 23 years and which position he now holds.
Ferne decided to take up a new course of study. A lady with a charming countenance, sparkling dark eyes, black hair and ready to attend a dancing party attracted his attention and so they were off. This young lady was Eda Pearl Hardwick. We had nothing only okay. He had the evidence right before him. Ob 9th of March 1934 they were married in the Logan Temple. He was clean, upright and a real husband to Eda and father of their three girls. He taught in the public and high schools for ten years and for the last twenty one years has been working in the accounting department of the M.S.T.&T. Co. He has been and still is an active member of the church and has held most of the ward positions plus two stake positions. His two oldest daughters graduated from the University of Utah. Both girls were married in the temple to returned missionaries. Carol Dawn is following right along in their footsteps.
LeRay stepped into the auto and went for a ride across the valley one evening. He got a bright idea. A degree is not all a man has to have to make a success in this life. He had made up his mind and knew what he was talking about. We asked for proof. Mary Perry was a beautiful girl and nice to talk with. Having watched Mary for years in action Edith and I decided LeRay was right. They were married in the Logan Temple. Her thinking, planning, praying and rushing for 9720 days and nights to give birth to nine babies, answer LeRay’s calls for help plus caring for nine healthy children growing up is wonderful. How she did it and still is on the move to finish the engagement, don’t ask me. He was anxious to leave the farm and to secure a position such as he now accupies as Head of the Merit System. With Mary to go with him they added a family of nine and are accupied in raising them properly. He has his hands filled serving as a High Councilman and now I just received the news has been sustained as a counselor in the Stake Presidency. It requires faith and works to advance to that position. Three of his sons Perry Ronald and Rex ... [missing text] ... have and are attending the University of Utah. Perry, Rita, and Colleen are married each having been married in the temple. The others are following similar paths.
In the year 1920 at 5:00 AM I woke from a dream and told my wife Edith that her cousin Elsie gave birth to a dead baby during the night. I said they have placed it upstairs on a stand, and I am to help them. Edith believed it to be true. I was soon on ly horse and rode for three fourths of a mile. I stopped at Marion and Elsie’s gate. Out came Marion and said, “We have trouble.” I know I told him that I knew about it and asked what I could do. He said, “The baby is dead.” I stepped in and spoke to Elsie. After taking the measurements of the baby I left for home. Later on I had the casket made and trimmed and a rough box made.
During the past For 28 years I have been was busy on my farms with hired help and my family. Our home proper consisted of 95 acres of sandy soil. On it we raised alfalfa hay and dry land wheat of over 1,000 bushels per year. Thirty five acres were pasture land. Forty acres were irrigated land. We produced about 200 tons of alfalfs hay per year. Thirty one acres were in sugar beets producing about 350 tons of beets. Sixty acres were meadow pasture and alfalfa hay. We had twelve holstein papered cows, six papered durock sows and litters, eight head of work horses, forty head of beef cattle, 300 head of ewes and 100 leghorn hens. The numbers of each varied from year to year as we used crop rotation. The boys helped Edith and me on the farm when they were not in school. I took a course of serving as crop reporter for ten years in Franklin for the U. S. Government. In return they furnished me with first hand information on the newest and best methods in farming. By applying these new methods the results were so spectacular that all the neighbors wanted to know what we were doing.
I was working at carpentry work ten miles from home. When I retired the previous night, I was restless and could not sleep and as a result was so tired the next morning that I could not handle my work ... [missing text] ... quit. At 11:00 AM a car pulled up and a man asked if E. Vernon Howell was there. I did not suspect anything unusual. Brother George Burgie, Counselor to President Taylor Nelson of the Oneida Stake and also James Fackerel, Stake Clerk, were there. Brother Burgie spoke. “We are here by appointment from President Nelson. Our message is to notify you that your name has been selected to serve as Bishop of the Clifton Ward. What have you to say?” I said, “I have no excuse, so I will abide your decision.” I was ordained bishop by Apostle Melven J. Ballord May 9, 1936. I was released as Bishop of the Clifton Ward March 6, 1938 at which time I moved to Salt Lake City, Utah with my wife Edith after leasing my farms. We lived with LeRay and Mary for eight months. We secured the plans for a new duplex. It was located on a corner lot at 703 10th Avenue K. ST. It was completed in 8 months. We moved in and rented the upper unit to Russell Jarrett. It had a beautiful setting with a view of the city. LeRay and Mary lived with us for short while their home was being built.
Ferne and Eda moved in with us in 1942. Edith and I enjoyed a rest from the farm, to live in the city, to beautify our home outside and in with everything new. We had a beautiful lawn and flowers. We joined the Ensign Ward. The people were sociable.
I soon secured carpenter work, met the payments of the home and in five years had sold by farms and paid for our duplex and had plenty to live on. I started carpentry at the age of 55 in Salt Lake City, Utah at $16.00 to $20.00 a day. This out classed the farm so much that I worked until I was 79 years of age as a finishing carpenter on homes, churches, and banks all over Salt Lake, Kearns, Ogden, Provo, and Dragerton. When there was a project of 150 homes, my partner and I would about 25 of them. We were always in demand and held our own although the other workmen were from 30 to 50. The secret is to keep your mind on your work, keep working at a good steady gate, and don’t smoke or chew. Be on the job at eight each morning with tools ready to move. ... [missing text] ... pride in your work so that the house sells readily to an outstanding couple who occupy it, such as L. D. S. members. What an ideal home it becomes for two ward teachers to enter and give their lesson on what it takes to make a home. That is what it takes to make the foundation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
While I was living in my home on 10th avenue I would travel by bus to work. A neighbor, brother Webb, who was working at the Salt Lake Temple went on the same bus morning and evening. On the way home, one evening, he said to me, “Just as I was ready to leave the Temple, one of the workers gave me a book to read this evening, provided I would return it the next morning.” He said, “I do not have the time to read it. You can read and return it to me in the morning.” Did Joseph Enter Britain was the title. It treated on the lives of leaders and especially one “Howell the Good” who was the ruler over Wales. It traced his lineage back to Mary, the mother of Jesus.
I met a relative in 1905 in Tennessee named Walter Howell. He joked me about our religion and asked me what we do in our temples? I told him that one of the things we do is ordinance work for the dead. He later went to Washington D.C. and came home with the coat of arms and the name of “Howell the Good” Ruler of Wales. One thing we do not have is the names of our progenitors from Archelus Howell, who was born in North Carolina back to our progenitors in Wales. I discovered that our name was first Howe, then Howel, then Howell.
Before leaving Atlanta Georgia to return home from my mission I mailed a letter to John W. Howell at Kenton, Tennessee stating who I was and that I desired to stop and become acquainted with the Howells there. I received the invitation to come and landed there March 1, 1905. The next day March 2 was my birthday and I had dinner with John W. Howell his wife, Lucy Flowers, and Cousin Belle Odom. After three weeks more then two hundred relatives assembled at John W’s to spend the day with me. It was a wonderful day and long to be remembered. [missing text] ... of [twe?]nty seven families. I returned home and placed it in the Salt [Lake] Temple. The work has been completed for most of those names submitted. I have been writing these live relatives for eighteen years and have sent them tracts, church books, and the Improvement Era. Hundreds of those relatives since 1905 when I first met them have been moving into the states of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, and I am corresponding with them.
In Salt Lake City Edith joined the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. They made it known to me that she was an able defender of the gospel for both old and young. After the erection of our dupoex in the city we planted lawns and beautiful flower beds. She had an operation and it was discovered that she had cancer. I used the flowers and banked them in one corner of her room. She enjoyed them for six months and then died December 1, 1943 in my arms. Eda and Ferne and their two daughters had been living with us and helping take care of Edith during her months of suffering. When Edith died they came to my rescue with their children to furnish mirth and love and saved the days from being worse than they were. LeRay and Mary lived only a few blocks away in a new house. I should not complain. My families proved to be my greatest comfort.
In July 1944 I took a trip to Kenton, Tennessee to visit my relatives whom I had visited thirty nine years previously and to gather genealogy of our kin. I collected the names of twenty seven families before returning home. It took money to make the trip and to have the work done in the temple. Here is how it was paid for. I was working at Jakes Wood making wooden jewelry. As I was just ready to leave Jake approached me. He asked if I would take samples of our goods and sell them. I took the case. At Denver I stepped into a store and sold $500.00 worth. At Kansas City I sold $400.00 worth and so on. Jake was swamped with orders. He paid for my trip. After returning to Salt Lake I entered the High Priests Class in West Ensign. The supervisor stated that they had a project for our class. He said that they had selected two men to do temple work. I t[urn]ed the names over to them. Just then our genealogist at Logan arote to find how we could get cash to pay for having the work done of a long list she had ready for the temple. I told her to mail them to me and shortly afterward I had them. They were later turned back to me finished and with no charge. God moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform.
After Edith died I sold the duplex for $15,000.00 and moved in with LeRay and Mary. I was appointed class leader of the theological class. The Bishop asked me to serve as a ward teacher which I did. I later accepted a call on a Stake Mission from Robert G. D. LaMar in the Ensign Stake. This lasted from September 3, l944 to August [1?]l, 1946.
When riding the bus to work I met Edith Casey Goddard who had come from England. She was a member of the church, had four children, two boys and two girls, and she was separated from her husband. We were married in her home on September 27, 1945. She was well educated and talented in music and singing. She continued working for the government. She was neat and clean and kept the house in perfect order. Edith and I and her four children and her mother lived in a large home which I rented. During the seven years we were married I helped put her children through college. Due to difficulties with the children and her mother we were separated and then divorced on August 5, 1952.
In the spring of 1952 I moved in with Ferne and Eda. The Beacon Ward Bishop, Wayne B. Garff asked me to serve as a ward teacher. I did it. I was then appointed to serve as director over twenty four brethren of the High Priests group who were to make contact with sixty six men over twenty one years of age, who should be promoted to the priesthood of Elder. Bishop asked me to work on the finishing of their new chapel and also to work on houses owned by the church needing repair. He gave me a list of widows who needed the locks and catches of their homes checked and fixed. All this was to be donation work. I did that one winter.
[On] July 23, 1953 I moved to the Colonial Hills Ward. Bishop McMaster assigned me to take charge of the aged people and those who were ill. I did it. After living with several people I became acquainted with a lady, Luell Osguthorpe Greenhalgh who interested me in so many ways and was good company. After one year of being out to parties together we decided to get married. September 16, 1955 we were married at her home by Bishop Kenneth Bernett. On September 19 we left on our honeymoon trip to the northwest by way of Boise, Idaho Seattle, and Vancouver. We went by auto and boat to Nanaimo, Victoria, Port Angeles, Olympia, Portland, Delles, Twin Falls on to home, a distance of about 2,450 miles. In 1956 we went to Canada and also another trip to Los Angeles and San Francisco. In 1956 we went to Bryce and Zions twice each and Grand Canyon once. In 1957 we went through Idaho and Montana. The trips north were made during the autumn when nature was displaying its colors over mountains, lakes and beautiful homes. We saw and enjoyed the people of different nationalities, their customs, beautiful works of arts, good food well served. We were glad to see the Pacific Ocean in motion and the state of California.
I received a call to fill a mission in the Sugar House Stake from Harry P. Oscarson, Stake President. This lasted from January 22, 1956 to February 2, 1958.
In December 1959 we left Salt Lake City by plane to New York and Boston to visit Luella’s son Martel and family. We had a real Christmas with his family and friends and got to see the Atlantic Ocean and Plymouth Rock. The trip home on the plane was enjoyed and was without any trouble. Lula is alert. She gave up her job at Lords as a designer and remodeling of dresses. After six years of dressing dolls she has one hundred forty beautifully dressed dolls wheich are up to date, and people dome from far and near to see them. Luella does her work right and on time. The looks to every need of mine for comfort, health, and entertainment in the home. If she has anything to say it is said. She is clean and ... [missing text] ... together from the Pacific to the Atlantic and North to Canada.
On October 26, 1962 I told Luella I was so depressed by that feeling which does all over my body when something unusual has happened. Later on a letter from my sister Chella who lives 110 miles north of Salt Lake City bore the news that Arvilla Hess had died.
My last work was for Souvall Brothers making racks for store goods. I retired at the age of 79. When I retired I took up wood carving in ernest. My first was my idea of Mary and Joseph and the donkey on their way to Bethlehem. The second large picture I called “In The Garden.” The main feature of the picture is the California Temple two years before it was completed and President David O. McKay and his wife standing out on the lawn. A Mananite is on one knee with the Book of Mormon in his hand. The temple, President McKay and his wife are finished in the natural white bass wood and the rest of the picture is painted. Since then until now January 1963 I have finished 103 pieces. Different ones have been mailed to people from Alaska to Tennessee and from the Pacific coast to the Atlantic coast. Some carvings have been done in bass relief and others have been carved in full dimension. Some are out of mahogany and others from bass wood. I have entered some of my work in the Utah State Fair Exhibits and won some first prizes. One I exhibited, a begonia out of mahogany, won a special prize, a loving cup. I feel sure the Easter Lilly out of bass wood is my choice piece. People have asked how I can set a price on each piece and cover the cost of my time and material. I decided not to set a price or charge money for my carvings but rather to make gifts of them to my relatives and friends both young and old.
At the age of 81 I gorgot to renew my drivers license and had to take the complete test over. I studied for days and nights beforehand and did a good deal of worrying about it in between. When I went down to take the test I made 100% on the written test, but was failed on the actual driving. The mext day I went back for a second cha[nce] on the driving and asked for the same man who had flunked me before. I passed with flying colors. When he told me what I had done wrong the previous day I realized it was the same thing I had done years before when taking the test. When they gave me the eye test I read off the letters so fast they were all amazed.
To the decendants of Thomas C. D. Howell and wife Sarah Stewart I extend greeting. The three eldest decendants now living are Liddie Howell Winterbottom, Wallace Howell, and E. Vernon Howell. I feel obligated to make some statements concerning the events of the past and our obligation preparatory to the future. I have lived in America, the land of freedom to all who will obey its laws and sustain its leaders, under the flag of the red white and blue. It is a choice land set apart by our creator for a choice seed “The House of Israel” and the establishment of zion in the latter days throughout the valleys of the mountains.
I have lived during the period of time occupied by fourteen presidents of the United States dating back to and including President Charles A. Arthur. I have lived 81 years out of the 132 since The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was organized. The Prophet Joseph Smith and Brigham Young preceeded my day. John Taylor was president when I was born. There have been eight presidents of our church diring my life. I have observed, studied, listened to the teachings of parents and grand parents, and prayed to know of the truth of mormonism. I have filled three missions and worked for the living and the dead at home and in the States of Tennessee. Our first duty is to set our records right in our own families and second those of our relatives. Are we ready to move and do something essential for life and salvation?