Contributor: koand Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
Born: 1861 June 1, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah.
Son of Wilford Woodruff and Sara Delight Stocking
Died: 1946, Feb. 5, Tremonton, Box Elder, Utah
Being the son of the Prophet brought him no special privilege, life was tough in early Utah. As a small youth, he was nearly killed by Indian’s while herding his grandfather’s cattle. His life was saved because of his courage in the face of danger. To avoid a beating at school, he ran away from home at the age of 9. He learned quickly to survive on his own wits. He was known as “the kid” by his cowboy buddies around the Evanston, Wyoming area. He learned to compete with the bears and the snakes, to calm a stampede, or to survive a blizzard. Eventually he came home, but he still had a wild streak. He was known for his bronco busting ways. Folks would come from miles around to watch him break horses (a Sunday pastime). One time when he met his father his horse kicked out the spokes of his carriage. Inspite of being a bit wayward, he always honored and revered his illustrious father.
He nearly trampled his future wife and her sister into the ground, riding a wild horse, made wilder by holding a cat by its tail in each hand, and letting them claw the sides of the horse. “What a terrible man,” thought Bertha Jensen. I’m going to marry that girl thought Marion. Love moves in strange ways. They were married in 1887. The early years of their marriage were spent in Salt Lake. He helped grade the hill in front of the capital and worked as a mule driver with the Salt Lake Trolley system. Marion still had a wild streak. He was an expert in the making of home-brew. One time, in a drunken state he rode his horse into the house, breaking up the dishes and the floor. On another occasion he rode an out of control horse into a police buggy, overturning it. He was chased all through the valley. Landing in jail, his illustrious father had to bail him out.
In 1897 the family moved to Tremonton. Marion helped construct the canal that brought water to the parched land. The family lived in a dugout until a cabin could be constructed. A home was later built on the front of the log cabin. They homesteaded the land, grubbed out the sagebrush and made it into a farm and orchards. Indians from Washakie on their way to Brigham City would often make the Woodruff home a “stopping off place.” He earned the respect of the Indian people. Marion was noted for his good sense and homespun humor. The family of 11 grew and married. Although they took on two different religions in the family they were still closely-knit. Family reunions were big affairs and the family had a great appreciation for each other. Marion was a man of a thousand stories. His life was a magnification of the grit and stamina that made and tamed the wild west. In his older age, he would often sit under a tree in the front yard, whittling or braiding leather and entertain the grand kids, who were mystified with his tall tales, that were quite likely true.
One of the great traits of the Woodruff family was their care for the poor, the ill, the wayward or the less fortunate. Their home was always open to those in need, and they shared their love and what they had. They cared for their family, their extended family, and all their friends and neighbors—as a matter of fact, it didn’t really matter. They cared for everyone.
(Alan J. Hill 10-11-97)
For Further Information See
Hill, Alan J.; Neither Saints Nor Sinners—Just Good Folk, Publishers Press, Salt Lake City, Ut., 1983.
Life Story of Marion Woodruff (As told by Elmer Woodruff a Son)
Contributor: koand Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
I've been thinking that we aught to record some of the things that Father used to tell us when we were kids. He'd sit up stairs in the spare room with us and tell us story after story. Some of them still remain with us. I remember that both him and mother was telling us how they met in Wyoming. Mother worked in a hotel there. The first time she met father she thought what a mean ugly man he was. He was riding a wild Burrow in Salt Lake City, he had two cats one by each tail pulling them up the side of the Burrow, to rake it and make it kick and buck and carry on. She said he was the meanest man in the world. But anyway I don't know how or why but sometime later they got married. He told us different stories like that.
He used to chase around with quite a wild character, Will Monard. But he used to make his wife put an apple on her head and he would shoot it off with a pistol. One time he took a looking glass and did it. I don't think he was wild I think he was crazy. Another time he was hunting Bear with him. They found some tracks that went into some underbrush. He sent his dog in there, no he went in there first and the bear got ahold of him he screamed and called for the dog. The dog started nipping at his heels than the man got out. Then he turned right around and went back in there to get his dog out. My dad said you crazy fool what's the matter with you? The friend said don't you think a dogs life is worth saving after he has saved your life? He said he wasn't scared of nothing. Father told us many stories like that but I can't recall them right now.
Another time he told about brakin a horse in Salt Lake City. At that time the policeman rode around in buggies. He was breaking a horse at the church farm. Years ago they used to give stalk fruits and vegetables for tithing. So he was breaking horses for the church at the church farm. he was breaking this horse one day, the horse ran away with him and ran into the police buggyl. They straightened up their buggy and they chased him all day until they finally caught up to him. the caught him a ways out of Salt Lake. His horse gave out. They put him in Jail. His father came (Wilford Woodruff) and said "My Conscience, my Conscience Maine. What have you done now." I guess he gave poor Grandpa Woodruff quite a bad time because he said that he was the black sheep of the family. He lived more with an Uncle in Fort Harimine that any place else. he tells the story about there. He said that one time he was taking the cattle out away from the town to graze them then they would bring them back the next night. he and another boy was watching the cattle. They decided to go swimming. All at once they looked up and saw of cloud of dust. Here came a band of Indians. the one boy was able to get dressed and get away but by the time father did it was too late. He jumped on his horse and went right in the middle of the cattle. He crouched down as low as he could. The Indians circled him and kept pulling their arrows back and finally said "heap Brave" and they cut one steer out and filled it full of arrows. They cut it up and hauled it away. By this time the Men had come out after him from the fort. He said that his uncle said that if thats all they wanted lets let them have it. So they did not pursue them.
Father used to raise watermelons. Some of the local kids were always commin in and stealing them. One night it was pitch dark black and he could hear then in their buggy out in the melon patch. He snuck out there they were talkin low, and feeling them to see if they were good. father plain and loud said "Here's a nice one. They were all so shocked and one of them said "No one can have fun with you. Can't even steal watermelons and have fun." They didn't steal any more watermelons after that. He was awfully good to everyone. Our kids loved him so much. One day our kids were playing around him and making a big dust. He had asma really bad and I knew that wouldn't help him any. I got after the kids and told them to go home. And leave grandpa alone. He said you leave them kids alone just bring the hose here and wash the dust down. And let them play here. He didn't want the kids to go home.
Father chewed Tobacco and everybody from Lee and I on up would have to have a taste of his chewing tobacco. He'd cut off a chunk about the size of a Pea. And he would say swallow that. We'd swallow it and we'd be sicker than a dog. He even did that to our girls and boy would they come home sick. Lila was about half mad, but they didn't ever want to chew after that.
Father used to tell about a big bully he knew when he was herding cattle in Wyoming. He was in a saloon one night and this big bully tried to pick on him. He tried to get him to leave him alone. But this bully said he was going to punish this little runt. They started fighting and this guy was a big heavy set guy and he through father around and sat on him. He said I'll tear your mouth to pieces. He stuck his fingers in my mouth and started to tear it apart. I chonked down on his fingers and he was crying bloody murder. He was bawling and carrying on pleading and begging but I just kept on chewing. The harder he'd pull the harder I'd chew. He said I chewed and chewed until the blood came out of his fingers. Then finally I let go and I figured the next time I saw him I's get a real wallipin. But the next time I saw him he apologized to me. He had both his fingers wrapped up. He said you know I was drunk and didn't realize what I was doing. You taught me a good lesson not to pick on somebody half my size because there is always a way that a person can defend themselves. And you done it just right. I'm sorry for what I did. And boy was I relieved.
Now I would like to tell you about some things father did while we were raising our families. We bought a Pony. A bay pony, It was as gentle with the kids as could be. Lids could ride on that pony from front to back and it didn't bother him at all.
I had an aunt May, mother's sister. She wanted to ride that horse. Daddy put the saddle on this horse. And got her up there. That horse would not move a leg. Father took the reings out but he just wouldn't move. He tried to lead it but to no avail.
Father loved that old horse but one day it fell, when he was riding it. He was 82 then. Lee and I decided that we had better sell the pony after it fell with dad. Lee and I could never catch that horse but the kids could. So whenever we wanted him caught we would send one of the kids. They could walk right up to him.
One time we took him Deer hunting, after killing two deer, we hung them on each side of the horse. We ran into old nick and he said whats the matter with you kids you want to kill that horse. Don't you never do that again. The poor old horse really has a load on him.
Dad did love horses and he loved children, and he loved life. He had to go through a lot of things his wife was seventh day Adventist. And she held church services in our home. And he would walk up and down the road on Sunday and when we were there he would come to our house and stay.
Dad was Superintendent of the school for 6 years. But a bunch of boys were caught stealing watermelons. And back in these days when you were caught doing something like that. You were suppose to get up in church and ask for forgiveness.
Father was told that he should ask these boys to get up in Sunday school and ask for forgiveness. And he said not me. I've done things bad when I was young. And that's a good way to chase children from the church. He wouldn't do it. later they released him from his position.
Every time dad would have a party I think everyone in Tremonton would come. It was a muddy muddy day in November. And everybody came in wagons. They had to have 4 horses on the wagons to get through the mud. I rode up the lone it was a regular bog of mud. when it was raining and soft any way we had a good crowd even in the rain.
We bought a 1917 model T Ford. Dad drove that but never any thing else. Once or twice it got away from him. One tome he took fence posts out all along the rode. But he did like to drive it. But when we got a gear shift he never drove again.
I was driving this car when I was 16 years old. It got to where it got a bad crank shaft. I would grind off the cap then take off the oil pan fix it then It would go again for another week. We had a cousin in Salt Lake, His brother in law owned a garage. He wrote and told father it was foolish to let me work on that car. He said if we would send it down he would fix it as good as new. We could have bought a new car at that time for $200.00. So we sent it down there and we got the bill. I don't remember just how much it was but it was for more than a new car would have cost us. Dad said " oh it's better than anew one." But boy how he did shang high us. He had on there 4 new spark plugs and another place 4 parcilins for spark plugs, 4 new fenders, paint 4 for 4 fenders. Boy I don't know. Lee and I would look at that bill and laugh. We would say dad why don't you do something about it. Dad would say will I don't know, " If they feel good about it I'm not going to do anything about it." So that is the way it went. He was so good hearted. He would give the shirt off his bock. I remember sometimes when it was a good sunshiny day. Him and John T. Hansen and Albert Hansen and Tom Kay sometime, would stand on the southside of the house, each with a pocket knife. They would get a wood keg to sit on and they would sit down and whittle and tell stories by the hour. they had the best time of their lives just sitting there telling one another stories. But I'll tell you something we just don't do enough for our people when they are alive. And oh how we miss them when they are gone. And also my dear mother. I know that she felt that what she had in the church was right. But she was hist so misled. Bless her heart she tried her best to show us we were wrong. We did so many mean things to hurt her feelings. Lee and I when we were young. I f we can just think about the things we did when we were young. If she can listen to me now I would want to apologize. I know by now she is where she ought to be because she loved the lord and did what she thought was right. Now I cant think of too much more to talk about my father and mother.
Lee and I loved to shoot the 22. One day we were shooting out into a tree. We wanted to see how many times we could empty the 22 into the tree.We got pretty good. I had a gun that would hod about 17 shells. We had a pump in the corner of the house. One day I came in and put the gun down to get a little drink. My dad said, "Is that gun loaded?" and I said yes. He said I'll tell you something when you come into the house son you unload that gun. He said I'll go unload it. He want outside and shot everyone of them bullets. In the air-bing-bing-bing I pleaded for him not to do it. He said now you've learned something today you just don't bring a loaded gun into the house.
He tried to teach us right from wrong. And he like I said was a very loving father. I remember we had very little money and a time or two Lee and I wanted something so bad and I would cry and I know that He and mother would go without so that Lee and I could have a little money to do something that we wanted to do. We want to remember our parents while they are here upon the earth, and if this goes down to our great grand children just remember to honor your parents for thy are they are the ones that brought you up and took care of you. When you were sick how many times I remember when I would come home sick. My mother would try to do everything in the world to comfort me and my father also.
Many years have passed since my mother and father have passed on and Lila's mother also. She was the dearest friend I could ever have she was like a second mother to me. And I loved her very much. She would actually take my side against Lila. And Lila would kind of get mad. She did it I know just to tease Lila. But she was so good to me and a wonderful woman. She was full of fun and pulled pranks on people. I remember she helped a man with a headache. He always complained that he had a headache. So grandma said come over and I'll give you something that will cure your headaches. He did just that and she wrapped his head up in rags then poured molasses over the top of his head. It ran down his face and everywhere. But you know he never did complain of a headache again. That was Eliza Madsen.
These things about my Father and mother are being recorded on tape. I hope when we get home from our mission I can put them down on paper. Lila and I love our Mission very much. We want to be humble in doing the Lords work. We do love all of our children and all of our posterity to come. Please look to the Lord and know that he is the only one who can bring you peace and happiness. Now when we do wrong we suffer because the Lord gave us a concience and the way in which to know right from wrong. So when we do things that are wrong we suffer for it. That is our makeup, the more you do whats wrong the easier it becomes, and you start feeling good about it and you don't suffer. And thats the time it starts to be to late because then somethings got to happen to make you back away. And if you son't back away then It's to bad because we do have a Heavenly father. I know that Jesus lives. We knew that Joesph Smith was the Prophet and that we have a true prophet upon the earth. Spencer W. Kimball. He is 84 years old and travels all over the world. He had a cancer in his throat and the Dr. said he would never talk again. He goes all over the world and preaches sermons. Has had open heart surgery. Each time the Doctors have said he would never live through it but each time he does. Through one of his surgery one of the apostles laid his hands on his head and blessed him that he could go through this. This I know that he has great faith. The lord said if we want something to happen we must have great faith. It's hard sometimes we get a blessings and we hope it is going to work. But sometimes we should wait until we know without a shadow of doubt.