Biography of David Graham Barclay
Contributor: Pam Carter Created: 2 months ago Updated: 2 months ago
by Beulah Gardner Larsen, niece
Sources: sisters, Margaret B. Gardner & Robena B. Buckley,
“David Graham Barclay was born 7 March 1874 in the town of Alexandria, Dunbarton County, Scotland, to Michael and Margaret Finlay Barclay. He was 4-1/2 years of age when his parents emigrated to Utah as converts to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“They sailed from Liverpool, England, on the 14th of September 1878 with a company of Latter-day Saints. Captain Henry N. Nesbit was in charge of the ship, the “Wyoming.” They arrived in New York on the 25th of September. They continued on to Utah by train, arriving in Salt Lake City on October 3, 1878.
“After the Barclays checked in at the Church offices in Salt Lake City, they came on to Provo where Jane Barclay Meldrum resided with her husband George Meldrum.
“David's father purchased a quarter of a city block on the corner of 4th North and 4th East in Provo. Here the family of five settled down to make their home. Besides David there were two younger sisters, Margaret, age 2-1/2 years, and Robena, a baby of 10 months. Another son, Michael, and a sister Janie were also born into the family after they arrived in Utah.
“David's mother passed away when Janie was eight days old. The last words of David's mother were, “Take care of my Dave.” Her anxiety for her first-born came from the fact that he was not as easily handled as the other children. He needed the steadying hand of his mother, for he was only nine years old when she died. Within three or four years time, his father's health was broken, the family funds were expended, and Dave as he was called, like the other children went into the homes of others to live.
“Dave lived and worked for a number of people, but always when things did not run smoothly he ran away. Among those that he worked for were Charlie Turner, Ben Roberts, and a Mr. McPhee of Wallsburg, Utah. Aunt Robena remembers Johnnie Moore who thought a great deal of him. He worked for Mr. McPhee while his father was teaching in Wallsburg.
“Dave must have been about eighteen when he ran away and joined the U.S. Navy where he learned to be a cook. H served on the battleship, “USS Wyoming” for eight years. He was under the command of Admiral Dewey. Due to the years spent on the ship, he walked with the swagger of a sailor, and because of this walk, his friends called him Dewey. [See "Discussions" for questions about David's military service.]
“Dave came home after his term in the Navy, where he stayed with his sister Robena and her husband Samuel H. Buckley. They were living at that time in the mining town of Mercur, where Sam was working for the Manning Mining Mill, south of Mercur. He was the engineer of the ore train which ran between Manning and Mercur, and he was able to secure a job for Dave as brakeman of the train.
“When the Manning Mill broke down, they all moved back to Provo. Same and Robena lived in a two-room house with a lean-to on the back. Dave slept in the lean-to with Sam's brother Will (John William).
“Robena was confined with her first baby, and Sam’s sister Mamie came to live with them and help with the housework and the new baby. The baby was born Feb. 26, 1900, and named Pauline. The Sunday before Pauline’s birth, Dave hired a surrey and took Sam, Robena, Will, and Mamie for a ride. This was a wonderful treat for the family. After Pauline was born, he bought Robena a lovely gold pin with her name on it.
“When the baby was three months old, Dave and Sam secured work at the Golden Gate Mill, and the family moved back to Mercur. Here Dave and Mamie fell in love. The Buckley family were not sure that Dave was the type to settle down and so were reluctant of the marriage, so Dave and Mamie decided to elope. They planned to meet each other at the ball game one September afternoon and run away. Mamie went to the game, but Dave did not come, and the next day she asked one of his friends as to his whereabouts. She was told that while the ball game was in progress the previous day, he had taken the afternoon train for Salt Lake City.
“From Salt Lake City, he went on to the west coast and rejoined the Navy for another term. The ship he served on was the “USS Wheeling.” Two months later in November, Mamie contracted a severe fever and in December passed away. Later on, Dave wrote Sam and asked what Mamie thought of him for running away, and it was then that he learned of her death.
“In 1906, Dave's sister Robena and husband Sam were once more living in Provo when a messenger came from the Telephone Company on Center Street, saying Sam was wanted on the phone. Dave told Sam he was working as a cook on the train running between Salt Lake City and the west coast. The train was called “Harriman's Private Line.” He said when he had some leave, he would come and see them. Perhaps Sam was too hurt over the heartbreak and death of his sister Mamie to encourage Dave to make the visit for he never ever came. The last that he was seen by any of his family was at Mercur, Utah, when he ran away from the elopement with Mamie.
“Occasionally, the family received letters. Dave's sister Margaret who lived in Spanish Fork was the last to receive one. It arrived the day before her last child was born, which would be January 29, 1922, for her daughter Elaine was born on the 30th. Women were always kept in bed ten days during confinement at this time, and when Margaret was up and around again, she was unable to find the letter. All she could remember of the address was that is was post-marked “California.” Dave undoubtedly felt the family had no interest in him and never ever tried to contact them again. His sisters Robena and Margaret tried to trace him through the Navy records but failed in their efforts.”
A search of public records showed David living in Utah and Pennsylvania. His letter to his sister in 1922 came from California. He appears in the US 1880 census as a child with his family and in the 1900 Census as a brakeman living as a roomer in Mercur, Utah, aged 26. David's military registration card of 1918 was for David Graham Barclay and recorded his birth date records, and that he was a single man, aged 44, and a construction laborer at the Jenkins Arcade in Pittsburgh, PA. The US Census for 1920 poignantly records that he was unemployed and lived in an alms house in Hempfield, Westmoreland County, PA. No later census records have been found listing a David G. (Graham) Barclay.
The almost waterless town of Mercur, Tooele County, UT, where David and Sam worked, failed, disappeared and then was reborn several times as gold, cinnabar, and then gold mines closed and reopened. Mercur almost completely burned in 1895, but was rebuilt rapidly and boomed in 1900 when David and Sam were there. The railroad for whom they worked brought cyanide from Manning, site of the first cyanide mine in the US, to be used to release the gold in ore at the Mercur mines. Mercur was again destroyed by fire in 1902, rebuilt in the 1930s and then completely disassembled during World War II when gold mining was banned. Nothing at all remains of Mercur, and the property is closed to the public.
Biography of Michael and Margaret Finlay Barclay
Contributor: Pam Carter Created: 2 months ago Updated: 2 months ago
BIOGRAPHY OF MICHAEL AND MARGARET FINLAY BARCLAY
Primary source: A typed biography by their granddaughter, Beulah Gardner Larsen.
Additional sources are handwritten notes and a biography by grandson Mark Barclay Gardner based on interviews with daughters Margaret Barclay Gardner and Robena Barclay Buckley, two short handwritten histories begun by Maggie, Michael Sr's own journal, Michael Jr.'s autobiography, letters between Mark and his brother Harold Barclay Gardner, official temple records, and shipping records from the Church Historian's Office. These have been combined by Janet Gardner Stoddard.
“The small Scottish town of Leslie lies fairly central in the shire of Fife. Here in the mid-seventeen hundreds lived a Scotsman by the name of William Barclay and his wife Mary Stark Barclay. They were the parents of seven sons and two daughters. Their fourth son David was born on April 22, 1796.
“When David grew to manhood, he became a plowman by trade. He married Margaret Ford who bore several children. After her death, he married Jean Graham who became the mother of three more children. Her third child Michael was born on August 29, 1839. The David Barclays were hardy folks. He lived to be 82, and she lived to be 81. They spent their entire lives in Leslie of Fifeshire.
“Michael, son of David, did not follow the pattern set by two generations of forbears. With an earnest desire to seek knowledge and to better his advantages, he cast his lot in the city of Glasgow. Although Michael left behind the forest of Lomand and the beautiful country of Loch Leven, he took with him and kept throughout his life the righteous training of his stalwart parents. Who else but a proud Scot trains his son to be a proud Scotsman and teaches him honesty, honor, a respect for labor, and a love of God.
“Michael sought schooling and a genteel way of life beyond the limits of his own family. He lived in a day when schooling was limited to the favored few. How he managed his good education, we do not know, but we are aware that his tastes favored the arts. His love of poetry, literature, and his chosen profession of window design and drapering point the direction where his main interests lay. Because he sought schooling and employment in Glasgow, he was one day to meet and court the lovely Margaret Finlay.
“Margaret's parents were Robert and Margaret Roxburgh Finlay, who lived in the shire of Ayr, which is about 25 miles south of Glasgow. Robert was born on October 4, 1805, at New Mills, Ayrshire, and his wife Margaret Roxburgh was born July 29, 1802, at Galston, Ayrshire. They were married on June 22, 1823, at Galston. Their children, however, Robert, Margaret, and John were born in Glasgow, Lanarkshire. Here it was they chose to live out their lives, and where they lived in comparative comfort and abundance. Margaret Finlay was born to them in November 1845.
Michael Barclay and Margaret Finlay made their wedding vows on June 4, 1873. He was a bachelor nearing his 34th birthday, and she was a bride of 27.
“The home of the bride and groom was a house of thick stone walls, high gables, and a thatched roof. A flickering fireplace lent warmth and cheerfulness. Beautiful embroidery and skillful needlework by the bride's own hands added a genteel touch, while lovely cut glass, dainty china, and her own initialed sterling silver added graciousness as well.
“Best of all the lovely gifts that marriage brought to Michael was the gentle, lovely Margaret herself. He had waited long to choose his wife, and the waiting was not in vain. Kindly and benign in spirit, Margaret tempered his actions, serving as a balance for his impetuous nature. Kindly, sweetly in troubled moments, she could sway him and bring him calm out of chaos. Pride and self-assurance wee in the very walk of Michael. Honesty, honor, and determinations looked out of his deep-set eyes. In his heart was a love and loyalty for the Gospel and his Maker, but also in the depths of those large blue eyes one could discern impatience.”
“There was a good income for the newlyweds. Michael designed and draped the windows of one of Glasgow’s largest department stores, the place where he had met Margaret when she also worked there.
“One day while at work, Michael found a sum of money hidden behind the drapery materials he was using. He immediately took the money to the manager. Michael had a strict sense of honesty and commented at one time, 'I never picked up so much as a pin from the floor of the store that did not belong to me.' Yet another day he found more money which he returned to the manager. When he found money a third time, he realized his honesty was being tested. Indignantly, he gathered up the money and, approaching the manager, said, “'I feel this money is bing placed among my materials for my benefit. If I ever find any again, I shall consider it mine.” Needless to say, he found no more money.
“Michael and Margaret had an inborn pride in their forbearers. As each of their five children were born, they gave them the names of their loved ancestors. When their first wee bairn came on March 7, 1874, he was named David Graham Barclay, David for Michael's father and Graham for his mother's maiden name.
“Twenty three months later, a daughter was born on January 11, 1876. She was christened Margaret Roxburgh Barclay. This was the name in full of her maternal grandmother, as well as her mother's name.” She was always known as Maggie, perhaps to distinguish her from her mother.
“Great grandfather's name of Robert Finlay was chosen for the third child, but when a daughter arrived instead of a son in December 1877, they named her Robena Finlay Barclay.
“It was possibly some time within the year following Robena's birth that a wonderful, yet distressing, thing happened to the little family. Michael and Margaret heard the message of the Mormon missionaries. It rang a clear true note within their hearts, and so, despite protests from friends and family, they accepted the truth. They were baptized on August 1, 1878. Acceptance brought criticism, ridicule, and difficulties almost too hard to bear, so the young couple decided to leave and come to Zion where they might worship in peace.
“Sadness, but also hope, where in the hearts of Michael and Margaret as they prepared to leave their loved Scotland. There was hope of finding enduring peace and happiness among the Saints of Zion, but concern at leaving their comfortable home and Michael's fine position for a new and recently pioneered country. Sadness came with the rejection of their immediate families. Both Margaret's and Michael's parents had passed away, but their brothers and sisters turned their backs on them. To be called 'crazy' because of religious beliefs by his won family members was indeed difficult for the pride of Michael Barclay, so their footsteps led them from Scotland's soil, and never again ere they to have direct contact with those they had once called 'loved ones.'
“it is also the lot of those who give up friends and country to part with loved possessions. Little could be taken on the long journey to America, so much had to be left behind. Margaret packed the long wooden box with great care and selection. Into an oval tin about the size of a hat box, she carefully folded her small girls' best dresses and the red satin christening robe. Three bairns had been christened in the lovely red robe, and in time another wee soul would be on its way, whose christening would take place on the other side of the great Atlantic.
“Only the best of her children's clothes could be taken, and the choicest selections from her own beautiful wardrobe of clothes. Her best china, her engraved silver teaspoons, her fine sewing chest, and her jewelry were selected to come. Two items from her trousseau which were completely made by hand were a waist petticoat and the night cap that kept her beautiful hair in place. Tiny rows of dainty tucks, beautiful embroidery insertion and ruffling, and seams of the tiniest stitching made it a work of art to behold.
“Sad are goodbyes and departure, but even more sad are departures without goodbyes. We wonder how many gathered on that September day to say goodbye to the Barclays. At least we know Maggie McClain, a kindly cousin of Michael's, wrote him until his death and kept him informed about his family. Until his death, his good friend Andrew Reike also shared a Scottish newspaper with him.
Shipping records in Salt Lake recorded: “Michael Barclay, Margaret Finlay Barclay, David Graham Barclay, Margaret Roxburgh Barclay and Robina Finlay Barclay sailed from Liverpool September 14, 1878, on the ship Wyoming under Captain Henry N. Nesbit. On the ship was 609 Saints (321 British, 213 Scandinavian and 57 from the Swiss and German Missions) and 17 returning missionaries. One old gentleman died on the ship and was buried at sea. The company arrived in Salt Lake City October 3, 1878.”
“While they were at sea, a terrible lightening storm arose. Inf ear Margaret gathered her children around her and huddled in the corner of a cabin. In terror she held them as close as she could, fully expecting the ship to go down.
“When Michael and family arrived in Salt Lake City, they were taken to the Church Office. A check was made on everything they had brought with them, and one tenth tithing was paid on it. This set a pattern for Michael to follow in paying tithing that remained with him as long as he lived. Whether in sickness or in health, with sufficient means or in want of life's necessities, he always paid an honest tenth. He kept an account of the garden vegetables he raised and of everything that was given to him—in his own words: 'My tithing—I paid it.' 'I want to be a Latter-day Saint in every and all requirements.'
“After the Barclays checked in at Salt Lake City, they came on to Provo. Michael had a half-sister Jane Barclay Meldrum living there. Jane and her husband George Meldrum were also converts from Scotland, and it was in their home the Barclays found shelter until Michael could provide a home of their own. It appears George was a missionary in Scotland, because he is listed as having baptized Michael and Margaret before they left for America. They were rebaptized in May of 1879, as were many early saints after reaching Zion, this time by J.E. Booth.
“Michael purchased a large lot (one-fourth of a city block) on the corner of 4th North and 4th East Streets, at the bottom of the hill below where the BYU campus now stands. Their first home was a one-room log house. Later a one-room lean-to was added to it. It was built of 10 inch boards with thin board stripping on the outside to cover up the cracks. There was no plaster or insulation to add warmth, only white wash to lend to the appearance. It was used as their kitchen. In later years when Michael went to live with his daughter Maggie, her husband moved the lean-to on a flat rack to Spanish Fork, where it was used as a shanty behind their home, first as a coal house, and then to store outdoor equipment. It still stands right behind the back porch of the house on 135 East 400 South.
“They were very poor. Manual labor was a new experience for Michael. He realized this was a new and untamed land and that muscle and brawn were a necessary part of it. Without question he laid aside his education and hunted for work.” Son Michael said, “My father had an awful time finding a job. He finally got a job with the Denver and Rio Grande Railway, building a railroad for $1.50 a day. This was tough work for a man who had been working in a store.”
Beulah related that the “Barclays retained their genteel appearance, however, although others said they were distinguished most by their devotion tot he Gospel. On Sunday, the family always went to church. Mrs. Keeler, who lived on their block and later befriended daughter Maggie, said they were a handsome couple, that she loved to see the little Scotch family as they made their way to church. He 'was always stately and trim, and she in her beautiful clothes with their son and two little Scotch lassies dressed in black velvet dresses.' The little girls also had buff colored shoes with tiny bows up the front. Mrs. Keeler said she tried to find some excuse to be outside if Margaret was passing by. 'She always looked so lovely, and she carried herself with the grace of a lady.'” Maggie remembered that they also had two beautiful white dresses with sashes.
“Margaret was an immaculate homemaker, even in her little log house. Although Maggie was considered an excellent manager and a good housekeeper, Michael told her once, 'You are not the housekeeper your mother was. She could have found her thimble in the dark.'
“Michael, like his wife, was meticulous. He walked with the stride and step of a gentleman. His boots, as he called his shoes, were polished and shined as he walked the dusty streets of early Provo City. He would look sadly at his shoes and say, 'Dirty, dirty America!' He had been used to a country of cobbled and bricked streets, where frequent rain kept dust at a minimum, a far cry from arid Utah. Heavy physical work was unlike the work he had done in Scotland, but it was the association with uncouth and unrefined workmen that caused him the most discomfort.”
After Michael's work terminated on the railroad, he found it difficult to find another job, for paid work was scarce. He wrote in his journal: “I was at one time about 12 years ago in a great distress of mind as I had been without work for a considerable time—my finances were getting pretty well run out and unless I could work whereby I could earn something I would be pretty 'hard up.' I had tried everything and everybody some time back for employment. Always and in very instance had got the same answer—'No.'
“I had one day just returned from my usual rounds, asking for work, when a thought struck me forcibly—that I ought to ask my Father to give me that which I was craving for. I spoke to my wife. She at once urged me to do that. Before retiring for the night I prayed to my Father as I had never done before—simple earnest and emphatic.
“Next morning after breakfast I went up to the superintendent of the Asylum [the mental hospital]—They had just begun to take out the earth for the foundation. I was told, “Why his is just gone to the Railway Depot.' Did I not meet him? I followed walking as quick as I could—asked there for him. He has just this minute gone to his home, being about 2 blocks. I went and asked his wife. She said, 'He has just gone.' She came to the door with me, but no, could not see him.
“I then gave up all hope for that day. Walking up the street just at the place where the Tabernacle stands, the Superintendent of the Woolen Mills was coming down just opposite. He came across to me and said, 'Oh, Barclay, you were asking for work from me one day lately—have you got a job?' 'No Sir, I have not.' He said, 'Go up to the Factory and ask for two men (naming them). Tell them I sent you up for the job, as I was speaking to them this morning.' I did so, saw them, was hired to begin on Monday morning at 7 o'clock. This was Friday. On coming home, near the fence to my house, the whistle blew for 12 o'clock. I was struck motionless and stood still. It was such a direct answer to my askings. I got into the house, told my wife, and we both knelt down and thanked my Father for His special care an immediate answer to my request.
”I have made a point to ask My Father almost every day—tell him all my wants. He hears and answers them almost every day.”
Michael began work in the factory department of the woolen mills. Later he worked in the woolen mills store. His son reported that he was a manager of the East Coop store located on the corner of Center and University Avenue. His daughter Beulah said he clerked there.
Beulah wrote, “For four years, the Barclays enjoyed their humble home. It was orderly and clean, as were the orderly rows of vegetables in Michael's garden. Everything that he did was attended to with pride and care, and the children loved to sit in the garden and eat strawberries directly from the patch.
“Maggie remembered the bread sticks her mother baked. They were eight or nine inches long and as big around as an adult's finger. Rebena's one memory of her mother was an afternoon when she and Maggie were sent with a little tin bucket to buy yeast from a Mrs. Ewins. Mr. Ewins took the two girls along with his children down to the Railroad Depot on the south edge of town, and while they were at the depot Robena remembers she saw her mother coming to find them. She was wearing a white blouse and a long dark skirt.
“At the time the Barclays arrived in Provo, their son David was one and a half years old. Maggie was two years and nine months, and Robena was a baby of ten months. May 3, 1880, Michael Jr. was born. Michael always joked that his mother brought him from Scotland without paying his fare because he had been born eight months after their arrival. Shipping records, however, indicated the family had come almost two years earlier. He was disappointed to learn that as it spoiled a good story. [ Michael Jr. was a wonderful storyteller.]
“On December 26, 1882, the last child, a daughter, was born. Margaret and Michael decided to christen her Jean Graham, again using Michael's mother's name. Maggie was seven when Jean was born.
“The day previous to the baby's birth was Christmas, and Michael took his four children to a Christmas party. It was held in the top of a downtown building and planned for all the children of Provo. Here each child received a candied apple. It was a happy occasion, but little did they realize it would be the last time they would enjoy each other as a complete family.
“There was only one doctor in Provo. He was known as old Dr. Pike. He was not available when the baby was born the new day, so Mrs. Rawlins, a mid-wife, delivered the baby. Several days later when Margaret became very ill, Dr. Pike was called in. Part of the placenta had been left inside, and she had what they called 'child-bed fever.' Dr. Pike was unable to do anything to save her, and she passed away in the early morning just as it was getting daylight on January 3, 1883.” Michael Jr. wrote sadly of when “his beautiful dark-haired mother died.” The baby was just eight days old, and it had been just a little less than ten years since Margaret and Michael were married.
“Friendly neighbors made their way through the snow to Michael's door. One of the first of these was Joseph B. Keeler, and Michael sobbed on his shoulder, 'What shall I do?'” Maggie remembered him sitting on a chair facing backwards. He put his head in his arms on the back of the chair and sobbed over and over, “What shall I do? What shall I do?”
“The children were taken to the home of Jane Barclay Meldrum where the family had stayed when they first came to Utah. The children stayed at their home overnight, but as young as Maggie was, she was aware that George did not want them there even for that long.
“Maggie slept that night on the floor, and as the large clock on the wall ticked away and struck the hour and half hour, it also struck her heart with a feeling of despair. She tried to tell herself that if she went to sleep, she would wake in the morning back in her own home with her mother. She did go to sleep finally and awakened in the morning by the striking of the clock, and again she had to face the tragedy of no mother.
“While the children were gone, Margaret's body was prepared in the little home for burial. Bottles of ice water were placed by the body, while cloths wrung from salt-peter water were placed on the face to keep the color. This process had to continue throughout the night as well as the day until the time for the funeral. Thus Margaret was laid away in the manner of those early days.”
“Before her death, when Margaret realized she would not live, she thought about her oldest son David. He had been the most difficult of her children to handle, and her last words were 'Take care of my Dave.' She also hoped that a cousin, Margaret Barclay McKinlay, who had a nursing baby of her own, might raise little Jean. This cousin, wife of George W. McKinlay, agreed to do so, and they adopted the baby. Although Jean Graham was the name Michael had registered on the Fourth Ward records for the baby, the McKinlays had her blessed as Jean Graham McKinlay, the daughter of George W. and Margaret Barclay McKinlay. They always called her Janie.
“When Janie [Jeanie] was very little, the McKinlays moved to Teton, Idaho. The only time Michael ever saw his daughter again was when she was twelve years old. The McKinlay family came to Provo for a visit, and Jeanie made the acquaintance of her father and two sisters, Maggie and Robena.
Interestingly, however, when her nephew Harold Barclay Gardner obtained sealing records for his family many decades later, he found that as an adult Janie had changed her name back to Jean Graham Barclay. This information came from Salt Lake Temple records, N-6550, Book F-lvg, page 269. The official temple sealing record, dated May 19, 1930, shows her sealed along with her sisters Margaret Roxburgh Barclay and Robena Barclay to Michael and Margaret Barclay, the parents she never really knew. Brigham M. Young, the prophet's son, and Mrs. Martha Keeler were proxies for the parents, and the three sisters are marked 'Living' on the record, obviously having acted for themselves. Despite being raised in different homes, they got to know each other as adults and chose to be sealed to their birth parents and to each other as sisters.
Mark wrote that after “his wife's death, Michael did his best to care for his family. He continued working at the Coop store, and hired girls to look after the children while he was at work. During that time some of Margaret's lovely rings and jewelry came up missing. Whether the hired girls were responsible, or whether the children themselves carried them out and lost them, no one knows. Michael was the unobserving type about things in the home, especially at this time.” His daughter Maggie remembered “well the grief of my father.” She said that at first he was out of his mind, like a man possessed. Beulah wrote that one neighbor said Margaret had been “lovely, calm, and beautiful,' a balance for Michael who, although a man of culture, was quick tempered. His missed her calming spirit sorely. Several months later he obtained his patriarchal blessing to help him through this time. He was promised he would be healed, that better days would come to him and that the 'evil spirit and influence' that was plaguing him should leave.”
Beulah wrote: “A year or two later, however, another tremendous blow fell on the family that dramatically postponed Michael's healing. “ Michael Jr., added “father was in the store, and somebody came in to get some molasses. He used to have 40 gallon barrels of molasses on a pedestal. The molasses barred was dry ; he lifted a new barrel, weighing about 400 pounds, onto the pedestal, and fell to the floor paralyzed.” Mark, his grandson, understood that two men had been lifting the barrel, the other man lost his grip, and the entire weight suddenly fell on Michael.
“I remember,” Michael wrote, “ Joshua Dunn bringing him home laying in a little red delivery wagon driven by a white horse. Someone came to help carry him in the house and put him in bed. He laid there a year on that bed unable to move. He had a little electric machine that operated on a battery with two little handles attached to somewhere, and they were coupled he used that electricity for therapy, taking hold of that so long each day. I took a-holt and I got a terrible shock. His money was soon gone, and we children were all little.” The injury was diagnosed as a broken “main sinew that ran from his shoulder to the big toe.” [A contemporary chiropractor suggested that that probably Michael injured both his upper and lower back, crushing the nerves that went to his left arm and leg.]
Maggie thought her father was not in bed the whole time, because he could not be, but that he was told he needed complete bed rest to heal. Regardless, it was a terrible time for the family, one Maggie did not like to talk about. She rarely did. “The hardships that followed the little family are just as well forgotten.”
Michael Jr., was less reticent. “ Maggie and Beanie took care of me, and we roamed around. Some days we didn't even have a crust of bread in the house, and we often depended on the kindness of the neighbors. Sometimes we foraged in garbage cans for food. My father was independent; he kept all his problems to himself. Well, we went out and played with the other children. Of course we would be over there about mealtime, and they would invite us to eat, and we would get something to eat once in a while. One Christmas Eve we didn't have anything to eat in the house. Reed Smoot's sister, Olive Bean, had a large family there, and she came in with a big basket of food, which we made last for an entire week. (Reed Smoot, who later became a famous senator, age 18, was the delivery boy at the time.) I will never forget that as long as I live. She had a lot of good things to eat including some twister doughnut. We did not let people know we were really hungry. They made us a fine Christmas. Well, we stayed that way until I was about six years old in April 1866.”
Maggie added simply that they were “four dirty kids.” She said they did have “the four oldest children...and Michael had our picture taken for the first time at a studio in Provo that year.” She was 10-1/2 at the time. Jeanie was not in the picture as she had gone to Idaho with the McKinlay's when she was a baby.
By1886 Michael had sold most of his large lot, and moved his little house and shanty to the corner of the lot he did keep. When that money was gone, he sold his wife's watch, her lovely clothes and some china. Mark said he finally had been able to walk, but his left leg was badly damaged, and he had to use a cane. His left hand was lifeless, badly swollen, blue in color. He would often sit and rub it.
The portrait of the family taken in August the year the children had to leave shows a somber group. Michael's whole body looks beaten. Certainly his spirits were as well. It must have been extraordinary painful for this proud man to have to give away his children, especially since for some of them the outcome, at least initially, was so poor.
David, the oldest, Maggie said, “shifted for himself.” Michael Jrs. Noted that he “worked for various farmers. He worked for a Mr. McFee in Wallsburg, and for Charlie Turner, “ a successful farmer; but he didn't like farming. [Charlie actually wanted to keep David. He liked him very much.] He had a hankering for the ocean. After a short while he left on a train for San Francisco where he got a job as a cabin boy on a ship going to China. He made several trips, and then one time when they were back in San Francisco, the crew was 'shanghaied.' He was gone four years on the ship and when he came back they just didn't give them anything; they just turned them out. He joined the Navy and served two terms.”
Other accounts suggest that he was 15 when he left or 18 when he joined the Navy. Michael believed David served in Admiral Dewey's fleet on the USS “Wheeler.” Beulah through it was the “Wyoming,” Dewey's fleet, however, had no ships of either name nor did the Navy.
Michael's conditions were initially terrible. He wrote that “In about April of 1886 when I was nearly six years old, this man David Jones came over. He lived a block away and was plowing up the potato patch. The potatoes were deep enough in the ground so they had kept. I was working like a trooper picking them potatoes. Jones said to my father, 'This boy is a real worker. Why don't you give him to me?' Well, my father decided to do that; it was the only thing to do, since there was no chance of him to ever be well. He had a wonderful education for teaching school, was a wonderful writer, and was good in the store business. But he couldn't work. He'd write a little and then just go to pieces. So he decided to let this man have me; he said if he'd be good to me, he'd consent to let him adopt me. My sister, Maggie, and myself put things I had in a basket.” [Michael Jr.'s son LeRoi actually has adoption papers that were drawn up June 30, 1886, which changed Michael's name to Michael Jones.]
“I stayed with this fellow, David H. Jones, who was a good strong husky Welshman. He was a mean fellow and had a violent temper and as poor as he was, he would get mad and beat a cow or horse with a club; and that was about the way he used to treat me. He was brought up before the Church several times in 1887.”
Beulah explained that he was “frightened, abused, and beaten so severely that the neighbors finally took him to court. Mr. Jones had threatened Michael and so intimidated him that when they went to court, Michael dared not say a word against him, but when they asked Michael to remove his shirt, and his scarred and bruised body was viewed, he was taken from Jones, and a Mr. Jim Bean took him to live with him. Here he was treated with kindness, and from Mr. Bean he learned the sheep business. Mr. Bean also gave him a few sheep for his own, which Michael increased each year until he was finally in the business for himself.” Michael was legally restored to his father in papers dated October 1, 1894, and his birth name. Was restored.]
“When Maggie was eleven, she went to live and work at Milner's boarding house. Mrs. Milner was an English lady, the ex-wife of Judge John B. Milner, a very prominent lawyer in Provo.” Maggie wrote: “Mrs. Milner was a good kind person; in a eleven room house with no modern conveniences there was plenty of hard work to be done. Washing bed sheets and table linen by hand. Although she was good to me, I had to work very hard.”
Her son Mark reported that “she worked from morning to night with no days off. In short, she was driven almost like a slave for the five years she remained there. If there was even a let up in the work at the boarding house, she was sent to the homes of Mrs. Milner's married children. However, Margaret did her work well and may have remained longer had not the 'cussed' Milner daughters started to openly abuse her. So at the age of 16 she secretly sought other work which she found at the home of the Joseph B. Keeler's.
“The Keelers were refined, religious and well educated people. They lived in what could well be considered a mansion in that day including the sweeping staircase from the first to second floor.
“Here she was encouraged to attend church with the family and to go to a few classes at the “Y.” She still worked hard, but, Maggie said, “the Keelers were very good to me and treated me as one of their own.”
Beulah reported, “The Keelers were a fine family. Brother Keeler served as Stake President and as Patriarch and was the person who ordained Michael to the office of a high priest. They admired Maggie's parents and loved her. She was happy with them and married from their home.
“Robena, aged five, was adopted by the Jessie Fullers, who had no children of their own. They were very kind to her and 'dressed her like a princess,' according to Maggie. They were afraid of losing Robena, so they would not let her see her sister, which was a great loss to both girls while they grew up.”
Mark added: “They showered attention on her and gave her every advantage, while Maggie worked and struggled. The difference in their situations left a mark on Maggie, who always felt a little inadequate and 'rough.
“Michael divided Margaret's beautiful china and silver and sent some with Robena to the Fuller's for safekeeping. Unfortunately, Mrs. Fuller chose to use some of them until they were no longer nice. He entrusted the rest to Mrs. Milner, which were kept in her buffet, but they came up missing one day after her oldest daughter had gone back to California after a visit.”
Beulah continued: “Michael Sr. had a good education, so he applied for a teacher's certificate at the Brigham Young Academy. He passed the examination and taught school for a year at Wallsburg. However, the trials Michael had been through had taken their toll, and his nerves made it impossible for him to go on teaching. He tried writing for newspapers such as the Press and the Deseret News, but the income was insufficient to sustain him. Finally his son Michael, now a young man, had a room built for him on the back of his daughter Maggie's home in Spanish Fork.
“The trials Michael experienced would have been difficult for anyone but especially for a man of Michael's temperament. At first he was bitter, but with time regained peace of mind. During the days when he suffered from his injury and his heart and mind were wracked by the needs of his children and the loss of his wife, he asked for a blessing from the Priesthood. He was promised in the blessing that the Lord in time would 'heal him in the twinkling of an eye,' Being a man of great faith, he looked forward to the fulfillment of this promise the rest of his days, though little did he realize this would occur when His Father in Heaven called him home.”
Michael's journal reflects this faith that sustained him. Most of his journal consists of quotations from sermons, religious poetry, and gospel teachings, along with his own testimony of the gospel. He introduced them by writing: “More important that the story of an ancestor's life are the thoughts and convictions of his heart and mind.” One learns much of his mind by reading the thoughts he collected to pass on, but in between them are his own spiritual experiences and poignant, very personal thoughts, expressing the healing and comfort they brought at last to his spirit.
“I asked the Lord to tell why I was afflicted, if I had sinned in my first estate, or otherwise done that which was a sin in his sight. A still small voice whispered in my ear. 'The Lord is displeased with none except those who will not acknowledge his hand in all things. Your affliction is and was placed upon you as a check against your impetuous nature. It is for your good and for your salvation.'
“I wish to say to others who sorrow because of their afflictions: be of good cheer, be comforted, for the hand of the Lord is in all things for a wise purpose.”
He also related a dream he had during the night between September 23 and 24, 1898. In it, he was in the Nauvoo temple. He saw there brethren and sisters he knew, among them a Sister Harris, Joseph F. Smith's sister and a member of the Provo Second Ward. They wee joined by the Prophet Joseph Smith and President John Taylor. Before the Prophet left, Michael knelt before him and received a blessing. Joseph told him 'that an Angel of the Lord, or possibly the Lord himself, would come and restore my lameness and make me well again, would do it instantly like a flash of electricity.''” Still dreaming he left to go home to his wife and family, but awoke to reality before he reached them. Still the dream brought him comfort.
He wrote of his dead wife: “M–, are you content and pleased with me? I ask that of myself. I review my own conduct—all my secret thoughts are passed before me and in the light of God's Holy Spirit, and if anything suggests itself to my own mind then if I had not had it, I try and adopt it. M— is living by me as though she were present at my side. I live in the constant and firm faith of her companionship. Death has not separated our spirits. The veil is between us at present, but all the same she is beside me every day, still unseen but not unfelt. The veil is growing thinner every day, and it will one day vanish and pass away, and then we will be united, never more to part.”
Mark wrote, “Michael went to live with Maggie and her husband Brigham when Beulah was a baby but before little Margaret was born. He especially loved Margaret. When she got diphtheria on her first birthday, he was the one who noticed she was not well, because she failed to nurse. He called the doctor who came, examined her, and put up the yellow flag of quarantine. She suffered terribly before she died.” Beulah could remember her mother going into another room at times and covering her head so she couldn't hear the struggles of her baby that she could not ease. Baby Margaret's death was a real sorrow to everyone and yet another loss to Michael.
Michael was very involved with his grandchildren. Beulah recalled, “Michael didn't always agree with Brig about handling the children. He was a strong minded man and sometimes domineering.” But he loved his family very much. “He would follow little Archie as he toddled around, and when Archie started to go in the wrong direction, he would reach out with the crook of his cane and carefully bring him back. Archie disliked being bathed very much, and Michael would share his supper with him and then tuck him into bed. Maggie often found him asleep when bath time came around.”
“Michael lived in the added-on bedroom behind Maggie and Brig's room [now the stairs to the attic and a hall to a bedroom added behind it.] He had a table there between two closet doors on the outside wall, and a little old two-hole coal stove that had been used to heat the shack from his old home. His bed was along the inside wall. There he read his Scottish newspapers, the Press he still wrote for occasionally, and had a measure of privacy. He often wore a gray cape that was lined with red flannel, and used to say “Get me my tippet.”
On May 9, 1889, Michael received his temple endowments and was sealed to his wife in the Manti temple. He recorded in the book he kept of his temple work that he was also sealed to two of Margret's sisters, Jannie Finlay and Catherine Finlay who died as young women long before he and Margaret were married. He was sealed to a fourth woman, Elizabeth Lockhart Dysart of Fife, Scotland, who died in 1856, the same year Catherine died. He wrote in his journal that plural marriages were only acceptable if done by commandment and with the expressed consent of the first wife, so it may be possible that he and Margaret had discussed this action when she was still alive. At any rate, such sealings without prior marriage are no longer performed.
Michael wrote several times about his temple work.
“I have had baptisms, washings and anointings, ordinations, endowments, sealings, and adoptions for them [the dead the same as if they had been here in the flesh. I will go and meet them on the other side of the veil, and so will all who are called to do this work and have done it. I will hold the Keys of Salvation too in their behalf through thee endless ages of eternity.”
“There is no power nor principle I rejoice at more than that of the Latter-day Saints to build houses to the God of Heaven, then go into them and redeem our dead. Pen cannot write, nor can man speak what glorious things are in the midst of us. To be a Savior to my Father's house, 'O what a most glorious honor.'”
“My wife, Father and Mother, uncles and aunts are looking on and watching us here. Their bodies are in the grave, but their spirits are awake and living. They are mingling with the righteous and they feel and have an anxiety about their friends and relatives here.
“There is a room in the Temple set apart for those who go there in all humility to have visitations from their dead, when they have anything to impart to us. I have been there and know whereof I write.”
Because of his faith and certainty about what follows, Michael did not fear death. He asked in his journal that God would “lead me by his Holy Ghost to be faithful and true that I may at last reach the haven of eternal rest.”
“The night before he died,” Beulah wrote, 'Pa,' as the children called Michael, felt ill and went to bed in the back bedroom. He said he didn't want to eat. He always kept the Word of Wisdom, but Maggie thought a stimulant would help him, so she made him a cup of coffee and gave him some soda crackers. Then she read him his mail which consisted of two letters. One was from the Infirmary stating that Michael's old friend Andrew Reike, to whom he had forwarded his Scottish newspapers, was dead and had been for six months. 'Dead, Andrew Reike dead!' he exclaimed. He was agitated and threw off the blanket Maggie had put over him. She left to go to bed.
“Just after midnight, Maggie gave birth to her fifth child, a son named Mark Barclay Gardner. The next morning, November 10, 1908, Fanny Nielson, the hired lady in the home, took Michael his breakfast and told him about the new baby. He asked what time it had been born. He didn't go into the mother's room, as he did not believe in entering a woman's bedroom until three days after her confinement, so he never saw them. He did go to the telephone on the living room wall to phone the announcement to the Press. He took down the receiver but found himself too weak to make the call, so he sat and wrote the message: “Born to Mr. and Mrs. Brigham Gardner a bouncing baby....' on the back of an envelope. The message trailed off at the end and was scarcely readable. He asked Fanny to make the call, and then made his way to his room and sat down in the chair at his table. In a few minutes Fanny heard a thud. Michael had slid from his chair to the floor. He had passed on as he had been promised, freed from his infirmities 'in the twinkling of an eye.' He was 69 years old.”
Dr. Stoddard recorded on the death record that he had died of apoplexy, a stroke.
Michael was buried beside his wife in the Provo City Cemetery.