Oscar William Mann Life Sketch
Contributor: Simini Created: 7 months ago Updated: 7 months ago
OSCAR WILLIAM MANN
Born March 29, 1893 in Bluffdale, Utah
This history also contains what information we have about Oscar's parents,
Oscar Leslie and Frances Ann Joyce Mann.
Oscar had a hard childhood. He was the second child of Oscar Leslie and Frances Ann Joyce Mann. Oscar Leslie was born March 1, 1866 in Cottonwood, Salt Lake. Frances Ann Joyce was born May 23, 1867 in Leicester, England.
Frances came from the Isle of Man when she was 8 years old with a Mormon family and lived in Bluffdale. She was a tiny woman; spirited and known for being stubborn.
We do not have much information about her. When she was asked about her life by her children and grandchildren, she didn't want to talk about it. Oscar Leslie was described by his daughter-in-law, Ruby, as the sweetest man who ever lived. Oscar Leslie died on June 18, 1933. He was deaf, and was gathering coal on the railroad tracks for fuel for his home. He did not see the train coming, as he was bent down, and could not hear the whistle. He was hit by the train, his legs were cut off, and he died of his injuries. After his death, Frances Ann went to live with her daughter, Sarah and her husband, Earl in Springville. She died March 29, 1943 in the Payson Hospital.
Oscar's older brother, Leslie Moroni, was born in Draper, Utah on April 7, 1891. He died when he was almost two years old on March 31, 1893 in Taylorsville, Utah. Oscar's younger sister, Sarah Eva, was born on October 26, 1895 in Provo Bench (Orem). She died on October 4, 1943.
When Oscar was a baby, his parents moved to East Union. His father worked in Sandy in a smelter and became temporarily blind from the effects of lead poisoning. The family moved to Salt Lake and his mother took in washing and young Oscar sold the Salt Lake Telegraph and The Deseret News newspapers on the streets.
In 1900, his father regained his sight and was able to go back to work. In 1902, the family moved to Northern Idaho, which Oscar says was a “wild and remote place, inhabited by Indians, cowboys and wild animals.” They lived on a 620 acre ranch bounded by mountains, and inhabited by wild chickens, bears, mountain lions, deer and elk. His father planted hay and raised cattle. In 1904, when the crops were at their best, great swarms of crickets destroyed all the grain and vegetables. With a long winter facing them, and no food supply for them or their animals, they were forced to sell the cattle for a small amount of money and move on. They packed only the necessities in a wagon and traveled for many days to Eastern Idaho. They had horses with sore shoulders, broken wheels on the wagon, and they suffered from thirst. They strained water from drying lakes and river beds through a blanket.
They arrived in what is now called Idaho Falls. His father went to work at an adobe making plant. Oscar attended grade school. They moved 12 miles east to help with a farm owned by a Mr. Davis. Mr. Davis had a large sheep herd and many wild horses. Oscar spent a lot of time with Mr. Davis, who taught him how to set a trap, identify animals by their tracks, use a rifle, fall a tree, lasso a horse and ride. Mr. Davis gave Oscar a pony.
In the fall, the family moved again, this time to Provo. Oscar attended school part time and worked because his father had poor health, and he needed to help his family financially. In 1913, Oscar went to work at the State Mental Hospital as an attendant, then as a stationary fireman, and then as an assistant engineer.
He married Elaine Lawrenza Westphal on October 11, 1914. They had one daughter, Cozette Elaine, born October 30, 1915.
Oscar met and fell in love with Ruby Helena Anderson. He divorced Elaine and married Ruby on February 9, 1917 in Preston, Idaho. They had nine children—Preston Joyce “Billy”, Ina, Lyle Oscar, Carol M., Grace Cecile, Marian Louise, Merrill, Gerald Ernest “Jud”, and Ronald Mads. Billy was killed at age 11 when he was run over after falling off the back of a wagon, and Merrill died at 17 months from pneumonia as a result of being burned when he climbed up to the stove and fell into a pan of boiling water.
Oscar worked hard to provide for his large family, but these were difficult financial times and money was scarce. In the fall of 1917, Oscar went to work for the Union Pacific Railroad as a station engineer. In 1922 and 1923 he worked in Los Angeles as a machinist in the railroad shops. He returned to Provo to work for the railroad. He lost his job there when the stock market crashed in 1930. Over the next few years during the depression, he farmed, drove a truck for the Boulder Dam Forest Service and Provo Electric Company and was employed by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Core) which was formed by the government to provide employment. He earned only $36.00 a month with the CCC, building trails and doing other projects, mostly in Arizona. He came home every couple of weeks. He then worked at Pacific States Iron Pipe Company as a machinist from 1931, until he was called back to the railroad in 1941.
He belonged to the International Order of Odd Fellows and the Brotherhood of Railway Machinists. He was a member of the Woodmen of the World for 45 years, and served as the secretary for this organization for 13 years. He liked to ride horses and loved gardening. He raised gladioli for some florists.
Marian remembers, “Our yard was the gathering place for the neighborhood kids. Mama was very patient. Daddy built swings and a teeter-totter. He also built an arbor with a gliding swing and built a swing for little kids. We had a lawn area in the back and a large garden. On Easter, Daddy took us and a bunch of neighbor kids to a beautiful grassy hill up near Slate Canyon on the foothills east of our home. We packed a lunch and hiked to a series of three wells and rolled Easter eggs.”
Oscar was a baptized member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, but did not attend. Ruby attended Relief Society on Tuesdays and had good visiting teachers, but did not attend on Sundays. The children were all baptized and the parents saw to it that they got to church. Oscar's obituary says that he was a ward clerk, so perhaps he became more active in his later years.
In 1945, Oscar was working for the railroad again and the family was doing a little better financially. Oscar had an affair with Golda Buell Huntington. It was a shock that had bitter consequences for Ruby and the children. He later came to Ruby and asked her to take him back, but she refused. They were divorced and Oscar married Golda on September 26, 1946 in Farmington, Utah. Oscar did not help Ruby financially. The stress of everything caused Ruby to have a mental breakdown and she was hospitalized for six months, then lived with her daughter, Carol in Idaho for another six months before returning home.
From Karen—I never knew my Grandpa Mann. My father lost all respect for him and did not have any contact with him and never spoke about him. One day, when I was about four or five years old, my cousin Larry, who was couple of years older, put me on the handlebars of his bike and took me to see Grandpa Mann. His wife, Golda, took a picture of us. It was the first and last time I ever saw him.
Oscar died of a heart attack on September 28, 1961 in Provo, Utah.