Richard James Myers - 31 January 1892 - 21 October 1973
Contributor: trishkovach Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
Richard James Myers
31 January 1892 21 October 1973
Richard, the fourth child of Joseph William Myers and Luna Elizabeth Dickinson, was born
in a log cabin in Panguitch, Garfield, Utah. He tells the story of having his bottle until he was quite
old. Carrying it in his back pocket, he needed only to ask a friend or relative to fill it with milk
whenever he wanted some. One day a neighbor, Mrs. Shields, told him, ARichard, when your break
this bottle, it is your last one.@ On the way home he stumbled, broke the bottle, and never dared
ask for another one.
A fun pastime was fishing in the canal that ran through the farm. Suckers came from the
Sevier River and this is what he caught. Uncle Ike Dickinson tells of going here for a visit and
asking Richard what he was doing. AI=ve been a fishin= in the old canal,@ was the reply.
A birthday is a time to be remembered and his sixth one was no exception. When people
asked him about it, he would say, AI turned six the day Mother cooked the beans.@ Like all
youngsters of his day, he started school at age six. It was a one room log cabin in Cleveland (now
Spry), Garfield County. There were several grades in one room. This same year, he and Pearl,
his sister, were playing Blindman=s Bluff. Richard was blindfolded and walked right up behind a
horse. Of course the animal was frightened and it kicked him right in the face. Uncle Ike rode sixty
miles for a doctor. Richard was unconscious for several days. When he finally came to, there were
apparently no ill effects except for bruises and scars.
Luna, his mother, died in childbirth when Richard was only eight. Baby Blanche went to live
with Aunt Trisha Myers Woolsey in Escalante. Things were very different now, with no mother in
the home. Neighbors and relatives came in to do the cleaning, etc.
His father, Joseph William, drove the mail route to Escalante and when Richard was
fourteen years old, he began driving a mail route from Panguitch to Marysvale. It took twelve to
fourteen hours one way. Using a white top buggy, he had to change horses three times on the trip.
He would stay in Marysvale the rest of the night and begin his return trip the following evening at
7:00PM traveling through the night. Winter time brought deep snow over the mountains and one
New Years Day, at 32 degrees below zero, Richard, on horseback, faithfully delivered the mail.
During the good months he would sometimes take passengers in the buggy and this would bring
in a little extra money.
The Parker ranch, home of Butch Cassidy, the outlaw, was just off the road between
Marysvale and Panguitch. One night on the way home, Richard and his brother, Jess, fell asleep.
The horses strayed off the road and ran the buggy into Butch=s shed. Remembering all the stories
they had heard about the Cassidy gang, they were very frightened. The buggy was stuck in the low
shed, so they cut the horses loose and high-tailed it out of there. Luckily, the outlaws were not
When the outlaw=s mother died, Butch, alias Roy Parker, came home. Steering clear of the
law, he visited at night, but Richard got a glimpse of him.
He met Jennie Dean Wilcock about 1909. Their parents were friends and he remembers
saying Jennie was his girl. A renewed acquaintance on the 4th of July 1910 at Panguitch Lake
where there were horse races, saw the beginning of their courtin=. They were married the following
May in Spry at Jennie=s father=s ranch. They celebrated with a dance at the school house.
That evening Joseph William, Richard=s dad, was racing his prize horse when a cow walked
out in front of him. The horse threw Joseph, breaking his hip. Richard put him in a wagon and took
him to Panguitch to the doctor, and stayed with him all night. Jennie stayed at home with her
parents. Some wedding night!
The newlywed=s first home was at the sawmill where Richard worked. He earned enough
lumber to build a two-room frame house. Being familiar with the road to Marysvale, he also hauled
freight, the trip taking five or six days. Jennie was with her parents in Spry when their first child, a
girl, was born 29 November 1911. She was named Ulala after a favorite cousin. Now they needed
an addition to the house, so Richard hauled lumber for lumber and earned enough to make it five
rooms in 1912.
In 1914, Richard bid on a mail route to Parowan, getting the contract for four years. He
drove by Panguitch Lake in the summer and from Spry up through Bear Valley in the winter using
a buckboard wagon. Then in 1918, he and his brother, Jess, got the route to Marysvale again. But
Jess died the following year, 1919.
On the 14th of August 1916, their house caught fire and burned down. Jennie was home
with the three little girls, Ulala, Dean and Ardella. All they managed to save was the old trunk with
$200, money earned taking passengers on the mail wagon. Not to be deterred, Richard started the
next day to haul rock for a more sturdy home. They moved into their new six-room Abrick@ on the
15th of December 1916. He and his Uncle Ike Dickinson did all the carpenter work and traded pigs
and cows for the plastering.
Six miles south of the Panguitch homestead, Richard took up 400 acres and built a threeroom
house in Castro. But the rattlesnakes were so bad, they had to leave. Then five miles south
of Panguitch, they tried sheep ranching until the dam gave way. For two summers they rented a
ranch at Panguitch Lake where Jennie and Joseph William, her father-in-law, milked 24 cows. She
made about 25 pounds of cheese every day and sold it for additional income. ARich had range
rights at East Fork [Sevier River], about five or six miles from what is now famous as Bryce
Canyon,@ remembers Ardella. And the several thousand sheep were summered there under the
care of Rich=s father, Joseph William, and various of Rich=s daughters who accompanied their
Joseph William Myers lived with Jennie and Rich and shared in everything they did for
about twenty years. Frank, Richard=s nephew, lived at this ranch with them and Rich continued to
drive the mail route from Panguitch to Marysvale. Back in Panguitch, the family ran a small general
store, Dew Drop In, where Jennie=s homemade ice cream was a featured treat.
When the dam washed out again in 1924, they gave up the farm in Panguitch. Rich moved
his family to a farm he purchased on West Mountain near the community of Spring Lake. A wagon
load of household goods was sent on ahead and Rich piled kitchen items, clothes and quilts into
the old Dodge touring car. With seven little girls atop the baggage, they moved north to Utah
County. AIt must have been quite a project to drive all of those sheep, the milk cows, and horses
this distance of 200 miles,@ observed Ardella.
After a couple of years, the harsh winters dictated another move. With the proceeds from
the sale of 200 acres north of Ruby=s Inn near Bryce Canyon, they bought another farm and settled
into the little gray frame house at the Spring Lake location immediately west of what is now I-15.
The Depression years of 1931-32 were very hard for the family. They lost or sold almost
everything including the Panguitch farm to get out of debt. Rich was compelled to take out
bankruptcy. Even in this desperate situation, he managed, over time, to pay all his debts.
Businessmen in town always thought highly of Rich for his honesty and integrity.
Then another devastating fire in 1933 left the family homeless again. Grace helped to
rescue the same old trunk and the two little girls, Merla and Jessie. They lived in the chicken coop
that winter with the poultry in one end and the family in the other. With the help of sons-in-law, Noal
Butler and Howard Peery, the basement of the new house was finished in December 1934 and the
Myers family had a home once more.
Swimming in Spring Lake was a social pastime for the youth. However, it was about a one
mile walk from the house. So, Rich bought a bicycle for Merla. It was her job to bring the cows in
from the pasture for milking and he wanted them there on time.
Since 1924, Richard had operated a school bus route from Spring Lake to Payson while
continuing to farm. Then in 1941, he got a franchise to operate four buses to Geneva Steel for four
years and maintained the school bus routes as well until 1947. In those twenty-three years of
busing, he hauled more than a million passengers.
In 1943, Richard purchased the dance hall and some tourist cabins in Spring Lake. He put
in a new cement floor and held dances for two summers. Grace remembers dragging baled hay
over the floor to make it slick for good dancing. He made quite a profit on that purchase, buying
for $4,000 and selling for $14,500. Adding the money from the sale of three threshing machines,
Rich bought land and a motel in Provo in December 1947. Additional units increased the value
when the property was sold in 1957.
ATry and try again,@ his grandfather had told him. AIf you are a quitter, you will never get
anywhere.@ Richard had been completely broke twice, not $5.00 in his pocket. All of the sons-inlaw,
daughters and even grand-daughters helped with the motel work. Moving into a new home
7 October 1957, they promptly set about realizing another dream by building a four room modern
cabin on the old homestead property at Panguitch Lake.
Celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary with all their daughters and sons-in-law, and
numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren and other family and friends was a wonderful
milestone. He passed away 21 October 1973, and was buried in the Payson Cemetery.
Compiled and Revised by Nola Rae Olson
additions from Ardella, Grace and Beth Myers
footnote: Rich homesteaded 100 acres about six miles north of Ruby=s Inn. Another 80 acres and 20 acres
were in the same section with a 1926 valuation of $1500.00 for the above three parcels. He also had 40 acres
about seven miles northeast of Panguitch, valued at $800.00, and a Panguitch town lot consisting of 1.04
acres purchased from his father for $1.00 with a 1926 valuation of $1500.00 (Garfield Co.,UT deed bk K p71).
His father had suggested they ought to buy some of that colored land. Rich replied, AWho=d ever want to come
out here!@ The 100 acre, 80 acre and 20 acre property, with a listed value of $2000.00, was deeded to the
Payson Exchange Savings Bank November 13, 1926. He then purchased a 28 2 acre farm just west of I-15
on December 18, 1926. (Utah Co.,UT Deed Record #259 p101).
Unknown who wrote the word “Papa” and “California.”
On the reverse in Ardella’s handwriting is “R. J. Myers, taken
when he went to California with [a] train load of sheep.”