Contributor: Kath3spin Created: 3 years ago Updated: 3 years ago
Henry (also known as Harry) was born on the 24 April 1881 in Stockton, Durham County, England. He was the first child of Matthew and Sarah Edwards Hackwell. H had four brother and three sisters. Louisa born 15 February 1883, Joseph born 20 April 1884, Sarah born 31 December 1886, Francis (male) born 21 October 1888, Matthew born 1 November 1890, Harriet born 21 June 1892, and Richard James born 5 February 1896. The family moved from Stockton to West Hartlepool, Durham County England in 1886. Henry was five years old at the time. When Henry was six, he started school in the first grade. He was a good student and completed four years of schooling. At the end of his fourth year, his teacher said he did something wrong and beat Henry with a whip called the "cat of nine tails". He made Henry take off his shirt so this whip cut through his flesh on his back. Henry did not want to go back to school and he had been a good enough student that they gave him a certificate of completion.
At the age of ten Henry went to work in the coals mines. At about the of fourteen he went to work as an apprentice in the iron and steel foundries and metal factories. It took four years to fill an apprenticeship. Henry completed this and became a certified iron worker, a mechanic, an engine fitter, and blacksmith. He made steel shafts, wheels, gears and engines for large ships, locomotives, and train cars. Henry joined the army when he was eighteen. He was placed in the calvary because he had an ability with horses. This is where the Hackwell men may have inherited their ability to care for horses.
Hundreds of years ago in England, men only had first names. As the popularity grew it became necessary to add a sire or last names. Many families were assigned last names according to their trades. If you built houses, for example, your last name would be carpenter. This explains where the name, Hackwell, derives. In England, a cab or taxi was called a "Hack". Hackney was the breed of horses that pulled these hacks. A "Hackey" was the driver and the expert in his field. A good driver was called a "Hack-well".
In England, the calvary would parade their horses up and down the streets on holidays with their horses well groomed and ribbons braided into the tail and mane. Their saddles and equipment would be polished and their swords flashing. When you joined the army in England, you were in for life. You had to have a special circumstance to get your name off the list. You could also pay someone to take your place. Henry accomplished this by emigrating to the United States of America. While being in the army in England you could live at home and walk to your base six days a week. This was only in times of peace for the country. When walking to the base each morning Henry noticed a lady scrubbing her front porch. This was in the town of Church Kelloe. This was the custom of most households to clean the porch each morning before going to work. The houses had no front yards. They were built next to the street. This is how Henry met Elizabeth Hodgson, born 12 May 1880. She was a year older than Henry and the third child of Christopher and Elizabeth Jane Potts Hodgson. Henry was at this time twenty years old. They became good friends and were married 18 August 1901. At their time of marriage Henry was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Elizabeth was a member of the Church of England. They were married in the Parish Church in Kelleo, Durham County by the Vicar W.R. Bremet of the Church of England. Christopher Hodgson was a witness. Henry was an Elder in the LDS Church, the branch of West Hartlepool and at the time of marriage, was the branch clerk. He said the only place for them to meet was in the upstairs of an old saloon. They had to sweep beer cans away from the entrance before they could get into conduct the church services. Elizabeth went to the LDS branch with Henry. They had the LDS missionaries come to their home. One of the missionaries was R.H. Spencer from Indianola Utah, USA. Elizabeth was converted by both Henry's efforts and that of the missionaries. They went east of Hartlepool out to the ocean for the baptism. An Elder gave the prayer and then held her hand as they walked down the beach into the water until a wave passed over them. She said she lost her hat because it blew away. Elizabeth was baptized and confirmed a member of the LDS church on 16 October 1902. This was about fourteen months after their marriage.
Henry and Elizabeth started making plans to come to Utah, USA because they wanted to be closer to the church. They also thought they could progress better financially. In order to raise a family they saved all money possible but it was not going to be enough. Henry borrowed enough money from the family of their missionary, R. H. Spencer of Indianola Utah, USA. To come to the USA, Elizabeth would stay in England two more years and eight months. She taught school and cleaned enough houses in order to make money to go to the USA. Henry came from England on board a ship to New York, USA then by railroad to Salt Lake City. He arrived in Indianola, Utah on 6 May 1903. He then went to work for the R.H. Spencer family in Indianola doing farm work and herding sheep. Henry had brought with him many keepsakes and heirlooms that belonged to Elizabeth. These were special to her but not realizing their value Henry traded them off for a fraction of their value for tools and other things he needed to get started in life. This problem was typical with many emigrants to this country. Elizabeth came to Indianola in August 1905. Her mother went with her to the ship and told her she would rather follow her to her grave than to see her go to the USA. Elizabeth never had any relatives come to the USA. Her sister Amy Hodgson emigrated to Canada and stayed there the rest of her life. Elizabeth was very patient but timid and shy. When living in England it was very different than in Indianola. You could go to markets and shops everyday and one stored any food or supplies. She arrived here in August and did not know how to prepare for winter. She did not know how to make a fire in a wood burning stove and she lacked many of the skills that were necessary for pioneering. In England she had learned knitting, needlepoint, quilt making and she sewed and made all of her clothes. She had not learned to bake and prepare food or how to store food. They suffered real hardships that first year. Henry was gone most of the time herding sheep. Henry was a man who could solve most any problem. While he was herding sheep, one night he was cutting wood into small pieces to start fires with. He was holding the wood with his left hand while splitting it with a hatchet in his right hand. As he struck the wood with his hatchet, he cut off on of the fingers on his left hand. He picked up the piece he cut of, went to the sheep camp and cleaned off the hand and the finger he cut off. He put the piece he had cut off back on the short finger, then wrapped a piece of cloth around the injured finger and while holding it tight, dipped it in warm mutton tallow. Then he removed it to allow it to harden then repeating until he had made a cast around his finger. This finger reattached itself and heal perfectly. The only scar he had was a line around the finger. Henry kept on working for the Spencer family. Their first child, Sarah, was bon on the 10th of July 1906. Elizabeth wasn't happy in Indianola. One of the problems was an old Indian woman who would come to her house to beg for bread. She was called Indian Mary. Henry and Elizabeth decided they ought to move to Salt Lake City. Maybe things would be better there. So late in the year 1906 they moved there. Elizabeth worked part time cleaning houses. Henry had a hard time getting work. The only jobs he could get were cleaning outhouses, hauling garbage, and shoveling coal. They stayed in Salt Lake City about one and half years. Then Henry got a job as a section worker for the railroad in Wells, Elko County, Nevada. Their second child was born in Wells, Nevada on the 16th of May 1908. They named him Alfred Henry. They lived in a section foreman's house. This was an isolated outpost on the railroad with tramps that stopped and begged for food. Aunt Harriet was staying with them when a tramp crawled through a window in the house. She went home after this and told everyone what bad place this was. Three years later, after getting married, she was living here with her husband, William, who worked for the railroad. Early in the spring of 1910 Henry and Elizabeth moved back to Indianola.
Henry went back to work for the Spencer family. Much of their pay was given in groceries. One day they refused to give any more groceries. Henry quit work at Spencers and was able to get a job as a section worker for the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad, whose tracks ran all the way through Sanpete County. This time they stayed in Indianola for 13 years. My mother was their third child and was born on the 29th of June 1910, the same year they moved back. They named her Louise All the rest of their children were born in Indianola, Utah. A girl named Ruth was born on the 8th of July 1912. A girl named Henrietta was born on the 26th of August 1914. A boy was stillborn about 1916. A girl named Dorothy Isabella was born on the 19th of May 1919. A girl named Beatrice Faye was born on February 2 1922. This time while living in Indianola their lives were on a more permanent basis. Henry was able to purchase a milk cow, a pig and horse to be used for transportation. He also purchased a four wheel buggy to be used when the weather permitted. He purchased a one horse sleigh called a cutter to be used in the winter. The snow in the winter in Indianola would get up to 4 feet deep, enough that you could ride over the top of fences. They would heat bricks on their stove and put them on the floor in the sleigh to help keep warm.
Henry became a naturalized citizen of the United States of the 26th of September 1914. Henry was a very active member of the church in Indianola. He was the song leader or chorister, ward clerk, and a counselor in the Sunday School Superintendency. In 1922 or 23, Henry Hackwell was given a leather bound Book of Mormon and a leather Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price by the Indianola Ward Sunday School, North Sanpete Stake. This was given to him for the work he did in their behalf in the Superintendency and as Chorister. He sang in most funerals. He was also the Justice of the Peace in Indianola. Henry didn't lot to borrow from neighbors and would go without instead. He didn't like to lend things out to people either. He like to stay on his own side of the fence, and he made sure his family didn't cause any trouble for anyone. Elizabeth was a counselor in the Relief Society. Henry bought his first automobile while living in Indianola. This car was a 1923 Model T Ford with two seats and a cloth top. It did not have a clutch or a transmission stick. It had four pedals on the floor, one for the brake, one for the forward, one for reverse, and one for the gas or speed which did not exceed 30 miles per hour. Henry was an expert at driving horses but he had a lot of trouble with a car. They car would not stop when he yelled "Whoa" and pulled back on the steering wheel.
Henry and Elizabeth left Indianola on the 1st of July 1923 and came to a railroad depot east of Gunnison Utah about 3 miles. It was an isolated area which they did not like. But Henry accepted this job with the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad because it was his first chance to get a job as a Section Foreman or boss and meant more money and a furnished home to live in, including coal, water, and electricity. One day Henry and his family came home from town and he drive into the garage next to the house but he forgot which pedal to push to stop the car, so he drove into the garage and right on through the other end.
While living at the depot in Gunnison, Sarah, their oldest daughter, met Lowell Titus Christensen, who lived about1 mile from the depot and married him on the 27th of August 1923. In early November 1923, Henry was offered the job as Section Foreman in Ephraim Utah. Later in November 1923 the family left Gunnison and moved to Ephraim Utah into the section house that was furnished to them as part of the job. A section house was built of lumber on the outside and inside could be cold in winter, but the railroad furnished all the coal they needed to burn to keep warm. The family like this location and Henry never moved again. When Henry was working on the section close to Ephraim sometimes he would come home in the middle of the afternoon about 2 or 3 pm and stay for about 30 minutes. He and Grandma Lizzie would have tea and cake. Other times he would come home a little early and they would have tea and cake then. This was a very traditional English customer. Grandpa also wanted all his meals on time He followed a very strict schedule. His breakfast was at 7 am, dinner was at 12 noon, and supper at 6 pm.
For people who don't know what working on the railroad consisted of I will explain here what it required. A railroad track is the road the train runs on. Henry's job was to maintain it and keep it safe for the train to run on which meant keeping the rails parallel with the correct distance between them and to keep them properly secured to ties that they rested upon with steel spike driven by hand. The ties were made of wood and had to be replaced periodically. The railroad company furnished all the supplies needed for the repairs, they also provided a motor car for the men to ride on and a trailer to haul supplies on. Henry had a crew of 2 to 4 men. If there was a major repair, Henry could hire more men on a temporary basis. He was assigned to maintain a section of the track from Manti Utah to Thistle Utah which was about 40 miles. When Henry got the job at Ephraim in 1923, it was the most run-down section of the track in the D&RGQ Company. Within 2 years time, he had repaired and improved this track so much that he won an award of a free trip to Chicago for a week. He did not take the trip. He thought it was dishonest. Every depot station in the railroad had a station agent who conducted business for the company. The agent in Ephraim was James Gordon. He and Henry formed a Hackwell and Golden Coal Company which they operated for about one year. Mr Golden gave away so much coal that the company was discontinued.
In the mid-1920's, Henry had 2 major operations in Salt Lake City. The first one was an appendicitis attack while working on the railroad. They rushed him to Ephraim then telegraphed the railroad office in Salt Lake City to clear all the tracks then send a fast train to Ephraim to get Henry. It traveled back to Salt Lake City to the St. Mark's hospital. His appendix broke before they got there but they were able to save his life. He was confined to the hospital for quite a while. This special train could travel twice the speed of an automobile. Within another year, he was back in St. Mark's hospital for a hernia operation, probably caused by the first operation. The railroad paid for all of this, but it was still a hardship on the whole family.
Henry and Elizabeth went to the Manti Temple on 17 March 1926 and were sealed together for eternity. Their son Alfred married Delma Seedweeks who was from Manti, on the 6 April 1927. Early in the year 1928, Henry bought a home in Ephraim close to the R.R. Depot, located at 50 South 200 West. It had a rock foundation and a partial basement with a big yard, a barn, a corral, a chicken coop, and a pig pen in the back. They owned a cow and a pig. He kept the cleanest barn, corral, and pens in Ephraim. He kept all his tools in their proper places. On Saturdays he would cut his lawn. If I was there he would give me a quarter to pick up the trash off his lawn which was mostly old apples that fell off the tree.
Their second girl, Louise married Charles Lorenzo Peterson on 8 August 1928. Elizabeth, at this time, was suffering bad health from a continuing kidney problem. She died on 2 May 1930. She was 50 years old. She was buried in the Ephraim Cementery on 28 May 1930. She died of Bright's Disease. The death of Elizabeth created a big problem for Henry. He was left with 3 young daughters to care for and no mother to help. They youngest was Beatrice Faye, she was only 8 and had a very bad heart which restricted her physical activities. In 1931, when Henry was 50 years old, he received an award fro the D&RGW Railroad for being "the Best Section Foreman" in the whole company. They also sent him a check in the amount of $50. This made him feel so good that he went to the store and both himself a new suit. Henry decide he needed some help in order to take care of these young girls, so he started to look for someone to help him. His fourth daughter ran away to Nephi with William George Funk who was from Manti. They got married She was only 17 years old. Her name was Henrietta and was married 18 November 1931. After this episode with Henrietta, Henry decided he better make up his mind. He had been seeing a lady named Mira Jensen Peterson, whose husband had died. She had one boy and four girls. So Henry and Mira decided they could help each other with their problems. So they got married 31 December 1931 in Nephi Utah. They had a daughter who was born on 28 August 1932, they named her Helen Hackwell. Henry and Elizabeth had planned a trip back to England, but when Elizabeth go sick and later died, he gave up the idea.
Ruth Hackwell, Henry's third daughter, received mission call from Bishop P.C. Peterson to the Northern States in Ohio area on 7 May 1937. She never married and was killed in an automobile accident in Vales, California on 13 June 1949. She was buried in Ephraim on 20 June 1949.
Henry's fifth daughter, Dorothy, was married to Douglas A. Jorgensen on 5 August 1938. The youngest daughter, Beatrice Faye, died on 22 January 1941 of heart failure. Henry, at this time, was a high priest in the LDS Church. He and Mira did a lot of work in the Manti Temple for post family members. Henry had a talent for choosing women he could marry and get along with. Both Elizabeth and Mira were very patient and ambitious and helped Henry a lot. I need to list here a few things I forgot to put in before. Henry was a very nervous man and very ambitious. He would come to visit us and after about a half hour or less he would get up and clasp his hands behind his back and start walking around the room saying he had to go. When he shaved his face he would not let anyone in the area around him. He used an old straight blade razor. He like to read a lot and his favorite sport was football. He had played it in England but in there they called it Rugby. He always had the biggest and best radio that was possible to buy. He also would demand that his children would come and visit him on holidays and family gatherings. He would furnish all the food. Mira and her daughters would cook it all. At these family gatherings I learned some of the things I have written here in this history. Henry was not a mean man but he was strict and a good administrator. This is why the railroad wanted him to be a boss. Even then he was firm he helped his children financially if they needed it. I admired Henry and I have inherited some of his abilities. He owned a 20 acre farm north of Ephraim between Highway 89 and the railroad tracks. He leased this out to a man on a 50/50 basis of the crop harvested with the stipulation that the man deliver Henry's half into his barn behind his house in Ephraim. This is how Henry got the hay to feed his cow.
Grandpa Henry Hackwell wore a cap almost all the time when he worked. The caps were made of heavy black leather. When he dressed up such as for church he wore an English derby type with a high crown and a short brim. These hats were always black.
Henry retired from the railroad in May 1946. The men and their wives who had worked for Henry on the railroad arranged a party for him at the community campgrounds on Saturday night in Ephraim Canyon. They were Mr. and Mrs. A.L. Lund, Mr. and Mrs. Ferald Anderson, Mr. and Mrs. Cliffe Wilde, Mr Emroy Johnson, Mr and Mrs Helmet Peterson, Mr and Mrs Ivan Lyons, Mr and Mrs Gordon Thompson and Mr and Mrs Otto Seedweeks. They also gave him a gift as a token of appreciation for his long service.
Henry died on 27 May 1950 in Salt Lake City Utah after a major surgery for a brain tumor. He was buried on 31 May 1950 in the Ephraim Cemetery beside Elizabeth. At the time of his death he had 27 grandchildren and he owned 2 homes in Ephraim. Of everything, one home was for Mira to live in and the other for her to rent out for her income. Mira lived another 35 years. Upon her death these two homes would return to Henry's children as an inheritance. Eventually they were sold. Mira died on 5 March 1985 at the age of 91.
Written by Charles H Peterson