Memories of Great Uncle Wilford and Aunt Mary
Contributor: srodyx Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
My mother's mother had passed away before I was born. My only memory of her side of the family were visits with my mother to Uncle Wilford and Aunt Mary in their Provo home. Aunt Mary was such a kind, sweet person who always seemed happy to visit with us. Their home is still standing and is the same home that my grandmother was raised in. Her father, I believe, built it and it was a simple adobe pioneer home. I remember sitting in the front room and looking into the kitchen..which was a step down while Aunt Mary prepared food for us. As I listened to the conversations it was a connection for me to people long gone but important to my family roots. I believe Uncle Wilford introduced my parents and helped a long line of family members as they attended BYU. One vivid memory I have is sitting under a grape vine arbor in the yard. The plantings around were pioneer vintage. It seemed like a link to me of ancestors who planted them.
Autobiography of Wilford Earnest Thatcher
Contributor: srodyx Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
The year 1888, the 7 day of February, I came into this world, one of a family of 13 -- six boys and eight girls and one half brother. Three of my brothers died the first year of their lives. One girl was born after me but did not live.
My father was 64 years old when I was born. The first thing I remember was when he was working in the Woolen Mills and I would go with my sister to take his dinner to him. He would always share it with me.
When I was four years old I was taken by Eddie Holt to the Brigham Young Academy to a kindergarten class they were having there. I learned little poems that my father was always glad to hear. I could tell he was proud of me.
I started to school when I was six in the old Franklin Grade School on 7 west and 3 South in Provo.
My mother was 20 years younger than my father and she was a very good housekeeper. We children were kept clean and spotless. She spent her time looking after her family and keeping boarders. She would let me help her cook and I became a fair cook, which stood me in hand when I was older and had to cook my own meals.
When I was about six years old my father became sick with the Palsy and he could not go to work anymore and this is why Mother took in boarders to help keep the family.
I was always an outdoors kid. I liked to hunt, swim, and fish. I was happy if I had a gun or a fishing pole over my shoulder and on my way to the river. I learned to swim while very young and I was a very good swimmer. The Provo River and Utah Lake were both model places for a young boy to grow and enjoy life. The hills and mountains around Provo were also good factors in the life of a growing boy.
When father was sick I used to have to go and take him for a ride in his buggy and an old mare that my sister Hattie's husband gave him so that he could get out. I took him down to see how far the lake had come up toward Provo. At one time about 1897 it had come up to and passed Walter Cox's place and was well up toward the railroad that went across Main Street. As I remember there was not near the fuss made over it as in the Spring of 1952.
About 1904 I went to Garfield when they were building the smelter. I was driving a dump cart and I thought I was really grown up. I worked until the horse backed over the dump and the boss fired me. This was my first experience at being laid off but it was not such a good job as I have discovered since, but I have had worse ones. While there I was almost crushed with a big rock that was thrown in the air three or four hundred feet and landed almost on me. I have had many narrow escapes since then. I have worked on construction most of my life. I worked in Eureka, Utah in the Blue Rock, Iron Blossom, and Colorado mines, but I did not like mining.
In 1909 I left Provo and went to Idaho and worked for some time in and around Idaho falls. I worked there in the summer and in the fall I would return to Provo. Thin in 1912 I went to Soda Springs, Idaho and made my home there for 21 years. In 1913 I was working in and around Malad, Idaho and I had my recommend in the Malad Ward. From there I had it moved from there to Milo, Idaho and from there to Soda Springs and then to Meadowville in the Idaho Stake. In 1914 I homesteaded ten miles north of Soda Springs. I worked at different jobs that I could get. Some times in the timber and sometimes on construction.
I was very active in the Church, although I was an habitual smoker and it was in 1917 before I quit and I have not had one smoke since then.
I was ordained to the priesthood in 1916. In 1918 I was ordained a High Priest.
In 1917 I went to Chesterfield, Idaho to work for Kepler Sessions. While there I met Mary Rose Tomlinson whom I married about one year later in the Salt Lake Temple, March 20, 1918.
The fall of 1918 I went into the U.S. Army and was stationed in San Diego, California at Fort Rosencran [Rosencrantz]. I was discharged in December and returned to my home in Soda Springs.
I have worked in the Church wherever I have been. I was ordained a High Priest at 30 years old. I have been a counselor for two bishops and one presiding elder. I have served as a home missionary in 4 different stakes going as far as 25 miles in a snow storm to attend a meeting by appointment.
I have had a very interesting life, I have been able to make a living for myself and family wherever I have been and under any condition that has presented itself. The Lord has blessed me more than I can say.
[Added: Wilford and Mary also lived in Roosevelt, Clawson, and Provo, Utah. They were the parents of six children, three girls and three boys. Five were born in Meadowville, Idaho, near Soda Springs. The last was born when they lived in Roosevelt, Utah. Wilford died 3 Mar 1959 doing what he loved, fishing. He had gone with his cousin, Jim Halladay, to fish on Utah Lake early in the morning. During the day a sudden storm came up and their boat was capsized. Though they were both experienced fishermen, and knew the lake very well, both were drowned. Wilford's body was recovered the following day, March 4th. Jim Halladay's body was not recovered until six weeks later. Wilford is buried in the Provo City Cemetery in the Thatcher plot with his father, mother, and other family members.]