William Dix II and Elvira Jones
Contributor: afoley Created: 8 months ago Updated: 8 months ago
Taken from Sheppard Family HIstory compiled by Linda Cranney and Susan Fredrickson
William Dix II and Elvira Jones were DeVaun’s paternal grandparents. William was the son of William Dix and Martha Davies. He was born on September 29, 1853, in Aberdulais, Cadoxton, Neath, Glamorgan, Wales. He was the se¬cond son and the fourth of se¬ven child¬ren, the children being born between 1846 and 1861 and appar¬ently most of them living beyond childhood. His father was from England, and his mother was a native of Neath where apparently the family settled as most of the child¬ren were born there or nearby.
William’s father was a supervisor of some kind in the iron works, and William grew up in the middle of the extensive coal mining and iron-smelting region of South Wales. We know little specifics about William’s childhood. At the time, indus¬trial pollution was severe in the area, but child labor prac¬tices had had some reform. We do not know at what age, but at some point William followed his father into the metal industry as at the time of his marriage his occupation was listed as a “denbler” in the tin works. Waldo Dix, William’s grandson, related his memories of his grand¬father and some of the stories he had heard. He said that William had worked in the steel mills and told of wearing wooden-soled shoes as protection against the heat of the floors in the mills. On the birth certificate of his children born in Wales, William’s occupation is listed as “rollerman” which probably involved rolling refined iron into various shapes. William ap¬par¬ently did not receive sig¬nificant schooling as he signed his mar¬riage certificate with a mark (X) as did his father who was a witness. Later, letters written in his name to his sister-in-law were apparently dictated to his wife, Elvira, who wrote for him. Waldo said that William had been a champion boxer in Wales and at some point held the Light Heavyweight title for the British Isles. We do not know whether he achieved this honor before or after his marriage.
William married Elvira Jones on October 17, 1874, in the Register Office in Swansea. He was listed as being 20 years old on the marriage certificate although according to the birth date we have he would have been 21. William’s residence was listed as Bennett Street in Landore, Llangyvelach, Wales. Whether this was his parent’s home we do not know. Elvira’s was living at Pwel-y-Cwam, Llangyvelach, at the time of the marriage.
Elvira Jones was born July 23, 1854, in Tredegar, Monmouth, England, to William and Mary Mathews Jones. Mary had been baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in 1845 with her mother. William Jones had been bap¬tized in 1850 about the time that he and Mary were married. William and Mary lived mostly in Treboeth in Glamorgan, Wales, where most of their children were born. Why they were in Tredegar when Elvira was born we do not know. Monmouth was a bor¬der county that was considered by custom to be part of Wales but at the time of Elvira’s birth was part of England. Today this area is part of Wales as the county of Gwent. Elvira was the fourth child and second daughter of William and Mary. An older brother and sister and two younger brothers died as infants or small children. Elvira’s only surviving sibling was a sister, Mary Ann, who was almost three years older. Elvira also grew up amid the coal mining and iron production industries as her father was a filler and collier, apparently being involved in coal mining. However, Elvira was apparently able to receive some kind of schooling as she was able to sign her own name on her marriage certificate. Letters from Elvira and her mother to her sister years later show an appreciable level of education. The letters appear to be written in the same hand whether they were from Elvira, her mother or her husband. Elvira apparently was the one who wrote the letters as dictated to her from the others as both her mother and William signed certificates with an “x,” and Elvira was able to sign her own name.
Although Elvira’s parents had joined the church before her birth, they appar-ently did not stay closely involved with it. Most of her mother’s family who had joined in the 1840’s had emigrated to Utah by the end of the 1860’s. We do not know why William and Mary did not also emigrate at that time, whether it was for financial, family or other reasons. Mary Ann and Elvira were not baptized as children which may be another indication that their parents were not actively participating in the church at that time. We do not know when Elvira’s father died or the circumstances surrounding his death, but he was deceased by October 1874 when Elvira was married. Elvira was 20 years old when she married William Dix.
William and Elvira settled on Dinas Road in Landore, Llangyvelach, Glamorganshire where they had three sons: David, 1875; Thomas, 1877; and William Jones, 1879. About this time the family was contacted by Joseph R. Mathews, who was Elvira’s cousin, son of their mother’s brother, and who had come from Utah to serve a mission in Wales. In May 1879 when baby William was four months old, Elvira and her sister Mary Ann were baptized by Joseph R. Mathews. Mary Ann was still unmar¬ried at this time. William was not baptized at that time and, according to Waldo Dix, was not happy about Elvira joining the LDS Church. He and his family were asso¬ciated with the “Independents” in Wales.
Mary Ann emigrated to Utah in September 1879 not long after her baptism and found a position close to her mother’s relatives in Southern Utah. Her mother desired to emigrate as well but wanted to wait until Elvira and William could also come. Mary Ann sent money back to Wales to help pay for her mother’s passage. In the correspon¬dence between Mary Ann and the family in Wales there were many references to how much it cost to come and how patience was needful. There was also some doubt at first as to William’s willingness to come. Mary talked of waiting until after Elvira’s confine¬ment as otherwise Elvira would not have anyone with her when the baby was born. The baby she was referring to must have been a daughter Elizabeth who was born to William and Elvira in May 1880 and who died just a few days after birth. Mary Ann became engaged, and both Mary and Elvira expressed their desire in their letters to be in Utah when she was married. They also apparently had opportunity to see and visit with their cousin Joseph as he went about his mission activities.
In the end, William was the one who came to Utah first, emigrating on Saturday, May 21, 1881, with the party organized by cousin Joseph Mathews when he returned to Utah from his mission. He came on the steamship Wyoming with a group of 278 Saints on board, 24 of whom were from Wales. The cost of William’s passage was 14 pounds 18 shillings. It is possible that there was not enough money for all to come and that William came first to find a place for them or earn enough to bring them later. The com¬pany landed in New York on June 1 and traveled by train to Salt Lake City, arriv¬ing on June 10, 1881. William had not been baptized in Wales before he left but was bap¬tized by Joseph Mathews on July 3, 1881, in the Salt Lake 19th Ward. Later that month Mary Ann married Joseph Mathews Perkins, her first cousin and son of Jane, her mother’s oldest sister, in Cedar City. Her mother and sister were not able to be there.
Elvira, with her mother and children, did finally emigrate in September 1881 also on the steamship Wyoming. This steamship over a twenty-year period carried 10,473 Latter-day Saints across the Atlantic, more than any other vessel. The passage between Liverpool and New York averaged just under 11 days. This same steamship carried Mary Ann, William and later Elvira with the rest of the family across the Atlantic Ocean. Elvira and family sailed from Liverpool on Saturday, September 3, 1881, in a company of 644 Saints under the direction of Elder James Finlayson of Payson, Utah. It was the fourth main company of the season to depart. According to Waldo Dix, William told of tears shed by relatives left behind when the family came to Utah. There were pleadings to leave David, the oldest son who was six years old at the time, behind with relatives in Wales.
Elvira was in poor health when she made the voyage. She was seven months preg¬nant with Daniel. According to Nellie Dix, Elvira’s daughter-in-law, William, who was the baby of the family at two-and-a-half years old, cried all the way across the ocean. Even with her mother along to help, it must have been a challenge to manage three small children while being in late pregnancy. David, who was six at the time of the crossing, remembered “spitting through knot holes” on the ship. The company arrived in New York on September 13, 1881, and traveled on by train, arriving in Ogden on September 21, 1881
When the family was finally all together in Utah, William and Elvira and pro-bably Elvira’s mother Mary stayed with the family of Elizabeth and Tom Roberts in Woods Cross, north of Salt Lake near Bountiful. Elizabeth Roberts was Elvira’s aunt, her mother’s sister. Elvira gave birth to another son, Daniel, in November 1881.
Waldo told of how when William and Elvira arrived in Salt Lake, Bill “took any work he could get and for a time he worked on the construction of the City and County Building for Elias Morris and Sons who were doing the stone masonry on the build¬ing.” William may have worked for Elias Morris and Sons, but probably not on the City and County Building as the construction on that building began in 1891 after William and Elvira had moved south. Waldo also told of a time when William walked to Murray when he heard of a possible job there, possibly in the smelters in Murray. A cousin of Elvira’s had declined to loan him a dime for the street car fare to Murray, say¬ing that William could walk there. It was a distance of about seven miles. William had promised Elvira that he would not fight after they came to America, but Waldo told the story of how a group of men who knew of his skill talked him into fighting a boxer who came to the valley, thinking that they could win a lot of money by betting on William. Waldo thought they probably won their bets.
William and Elvira moved to Cedar City about a year and a half after their arrival in Utah. William took what work he could find. He is on the city records for working for 10-1/2 days on the new city ditch in the fall of 1883. In February 1884 William, at age 30, was ordained to the office of teacher in the Aaronic Priesthood in the Cedar City Ward. Priesthood advancements were not at all standardized at that time.
About 20 miles west of Cedar City was Irontown or Iron City. This town had grown up in the 1870’s when extensive ore deposits were discovered nearby which re¬sulted in another attempt at smelting iron in spite of the poor record of the original Iron Mission in Cedar City in the 1850’s. The enterprise went well for a while, and it was from this source that the iron was obtained for the 12 cast iron oxen replicas supporting the baptismal font in the St. George Temple. However, by the 1880’s profits had begun to decline because of cheaper iron from the east. The smelter was apparently still oper¬ating when William and Elvira moved down south and may have been part of their moti¬vation for moving due to William’s experience in iron production. Also, there was a siz¬able Welsh community in Southern Utah. The family apparently moved to Irontown sometime after February 1882. William and Elvira’s son William (Bill) re¬mem¬bered living in Irontown. He said his father was a blast furnace man. One of Bill Dix’s earliest memories included the beehive ovens that were charcoal kilns. Accord¬ing to ward and family records, William and Elvira’s daughter Mary was born in Irontown or Iron City in September 1884. Mary died when she was two years old after the family had moved back to Cedar City.
The family did not stay in Irontown very long. In January 1885 they purchased a “dry” lot (apparently referring to the lack of irrigation rights) in Cedar City for the price of $30. The parcel was lot 12 on block 20-1/2 with the address of 234 South 500 East and measured 132 feet across the front and going back 198 feet. There he built a log cabin for his family. William took any job he could get in Cedar City.
In Cedar City Elvira gave birth to another daughter, Martha, in March 1887. By this time, Elvira had been an invalid for many years, apparently plagued by heart pro¬blems. Elvira died eight months after Martha’s birth on November 13, 1887, at the age of 33. Earlier that year Elvira’s sister, Mary Ann, had also died in Cedar City after childbirth leaving three young children behind. Elvira’s mother, Mary (Grandma Jones), came down from Salt Lake to help with the children after Elvira’s death. Her heartache after losing both of her daughters in such a short time can only be imagined. William was 34 years old and left with his four sons ages 12, 10, 8 and 5 years old and an infant. Martha, the baby, died the next summer at age 15 months.
Grandma Jones stayed to help until William remarried four years later. His new wife was Emma Holland. She had been widowed three years before. She and her hus¬band had both been born in Lancastershire, England and had had three surviving child¬ren born in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Utah. Emma had joined the church in England at age 12, but her husband had not been a member. Her husband, William, had been a miner in the mines of Silver Reef, Utah, (west of Leeds) until most of the mines closed in 1884. He died in 1888, and Emma had been running a boarding house in Silver Reef after his death. She must have been one tough lady to run a boarding house in a mining town on her own. She eventually moved to Cedar City with her three children.
Emma and William were married on December 28, 1891. Emma’s children were Louise (known as Lou), age 21; John, age 16, and Sarah, age 14. William’s sons were David, age 16; Tom, age 14; Bill, DeVaun’s father, age 12; and Daniel, the youngest, age 9. Lou had been crippled as a child after her hip was injured when she crashed down on a see-saw after another child got off. She never married but became a professional seamstress in Cedar City and apparently continued to live at home with William and Emma. William’s log cabin at the time of his remarriage was home to nine--three adults and six children, four of them teenagers. According to DeVaun’s father (the third son, Bill), most of the time the Dix boys more or less raised themselves. Their education was limited, and once they were old enough to get jobs they probably helped support the family and themselves. However, Donna Moss, a granddaughter of Daniel, seemed to think that Emma was a significant influence in her grandfather’s childhood as he was the youngest son. Emma’s granddaughter, Jenny Winterose, remembered Emma as a won¬derful sweet person who had a good brain and kept an immaculate house. William and Emma welcomed Emma’s mother Lois to live with them in the latter years of her life until she died in 1908. Emma died of pneumonia in 1912 at age 62, more then 20 years after her marriage to William.
William worked at jobs as he could find them. At times he worked as a day laborer for the city. The going rate for city day laborers at the time was $1.50 per day or $2.50 if they used their team of horses. According to Waldo, he worked for Billie J. McConnell in construction “mixing mud” or mortar for the plasterers and bricklayers. One story Waldo remembered was how when the Palace Drug building was being remodeled and refurbished on lower Main Street, William had a fresh batch of plaster mixed. The young man who was the hod carrier (a laborer who carried supplies for bricklayers and plasters) enjoyed chewing tobacco and made the mistake of spitting into the freshly mixed batch of plaster. He later told Waldo how William had told him, “by ‘ell Burt, if you spit in that one more time, I’ll beat the ‘ell out of you.” William was a “mortar specialist” for the building of the Cedar City Tabernacle which was built between 1883 and 1887. His sons helped as well. Most everyone in town donated labor or materials or helped raise money for this project. William had never worked in the coal mines in Wales but did work in the mines near Cedar when he could not find other work. He did not like farming and never worked at that. Waldo told of one lux¬ury the family enjoyed. It was William’s practice when the boys were still home to buy half a beef when the weather was cold enough to keep it from spoiling. This provided a hearty breakfast of steak to go with potatoes before they went off to work.
In 1897, Cedar City was selected as the location for a branch of the state normal school (for teacher training). Publicly it was said that Cedar City was chosen because of its central location and excellent educational record, but privately an important con¬sideration seems to have been that alone of the towns in Southern Utah competing for the school, Cedar City was the only one without a saloon or pool hall. The official name was Southern Branch of the State Normal School. It was a branch of the University of Utah and was known as Branch Normal. It was to have two divisions: The Normal School which offered college courses for teacher training and the Preparatory School which offered instruction in the subjects needed for entrance into the Normal School (basically what would now be senior high school).
The town worked hard to finish the Ward Hall that could be used for the school to start the next fall. William and his sons helped in the building of this hall. The build¬ing was also to be used for community recreation and meetings. However, after school had been in session two months, it was ruled that the building did not meet the law’s requirements for a separate building on land that could be deeded to the state. Another building would have to be built by the next fall. This was a problem as winter had already set in and available building materials had all been used for the first build¬ing. The town was not going to let the school be taken away, so they decided to brave the mountain snows to haul lumber for another building. In January 1898 began a ser¬ies of expeditions through brutal winter conditions to cut and haul the lumber from Cedar Mountain and Cedar Canyon, using sleighs in the deep snows. The Dix family was involved in hauling the timber and also in hauling rock from the quarry by the knoll north of Cedar City. This first building built with such sacrifice became known as Old Main. In 1903, a new building was begun to accommodate the expanding enroll¬ment, and William Dix was in charge of manufacturing the brick for what was to be the Science Building. The school later became a branch of Utah State University (Branch Agricultural College) and is now Southern Utah University.
Some quotes from interviews in 1947 about the building of the school 50 years before follow:
“Bill Dix, Sr., was a specialist in sand and lime mortar of the type we used in those days. I remember his being there at work and always with one of his four sons, Bill, Tom, Dave or Dan. who were somewhere near my age.” (Horace Dover)
“I believe every brick that went into the first Normal School building and most, if not all, of the brick that went into the Science
Building was done under a contract taken by Mr. Dix. The boys and men I worked with put in 10, 12 and sometimes 14 hours a day and Sunday without time-and-a-half for overtime.” (Alex Rollo, editor of the Iron County Record and good friend of William Dix)
William and his boys gained a reputation around Cedar City as hard workers. Mixing lime rock with coal to be fired into bricks was hard work. The whole brick-making process was hard and dirty work. Bill worked often for the Dutton Brickyard south of town near the current Wal-Mart. Lehi Jones, who was born in 1890, said of William:
“Cedar City could not have gotten along without them. That group of men--the Dix bunch, the Corry’s, the Walker’s, and the Rosenberg’s--that’s who did things around here. That is the group that built the BAC (Branch Agriculture College) out here. A lot of people get credit, but that whole group did most of the work and did not get any credit. If there was anything hard to do, they knew how to do it and they were willing to do it.”
“He was a mud mixer and helped to build many of the buildings in town. He helped build the D Stevens building in 1911. A hod carrier would probably carry 100 pounds of mud up the ladder, which meant you had to be strong. And the Dixes were all strong.”
When other work was not to be had, William would mine coal. In the 1900 Census, William listed his occupation as miner. This was also very hard work that was done by hand with picks, shovels, homemade cars and wheelbarrows. The mines were up the canyon and were operated sporadically to meet local needs for coal to burn.
Waldo remembered that his grandfather always went to the barber to be shaved and never shaved himself, this being the custom in Wales. William had a thick mous¬tache which curled up at the end. He also had a very fine voice but would never sing anything but Welsh songs. None of the boys inherited his voice although Dave played the harmonica and jews harp and Dan played the guitar. William had weighed 175 pounds in his prime boxing days back in Wales. As he got older he developed “inflam¬matory rheumatism” in his legs but still liked to spar with Waldo and teach him the finer points of boxing. When LeRoy Dix was in Wales during World War II, he visited relatives who showed him the towns where the family lived before leaving for America. LeRoy met a 96-year-old man who remembered William. “The man told LeRoy that Bill Dix ‘was a bit of a lad in his day’. . . referring to his prowess as a fighter.” William had quite an accent but was easily understood. He liked to eat Nabisco Shredded Wheat for breakfast. He also would hide his money under little pieces of cardboard that he lined his shelves with.
The Welsh people in the area stayed close to each other and loved to sing and drink. William was a heavy drinker and smoked a pipe most of his life. Clemont Adams, a former bishop to Nellie Dix recalled, “Things were different in those days in terms of the Church. When it came to smoking and drinking, it was more or less ac¬cepted. They talked about it at Church but did not do much about it. Most of the men smoked and drank.” William loved to say, “Wales was Wales before England was born,” pronouncing England with an “H:” “Hengland.” When there were Welsh song¬fests, usually held at the Palmer home where Welsh converts would gather for nostalgic sessions, William would always join in.
As the boys grew older, they started to marry. Dave married Elizabeth Ellen (Nell) MacFarlane in 1902; Tom married Catherine May Dover in 1903; Dan married Emily Corry in April 1904; and Bill married Hazel Elizabeth Haight on December 7, 1904 (these were DeVaun’s parents). Dan, the youngest son, died at age 30 in 1911 in what could have been the first drunk driving death and was one of the first fatal automobile acci¬dents in that part of Utah. Andrew Corry owned the car, and Daniel was a passenger with several others who had been drinking. They were cutting figure 8’s at high speed out on the flats after 3 a.m. on a Sunday morning in May when the car rolled over. Three others, includ¬ing the driver, were killed, and Daniel was ser-iously injured. There was no hospital in Cedar City, and he died two weeks later. Daniel left a wife and three small children. His widow, Emily, later married Hazel’s older brother Conrad. The other boys were blessed to live long lives; Dave into his 60’s (1939) and Tom and Bill into their 80’s (1963 and 1960 respec¬tively).
In 1906, the Iron County Record reported that William Dix had a visitor, his cousin John Dix from Frisco. This could be San Francisco or the Utah town of Frisco. If John lived in Utah then chances are that he was a member of the church, meaning that perhaps other members of the Dix family joined the church in the British Isles. This cousin may have been the John Dix born in 1855 to John and Sarah Dix, John Sr. being William’s uncle who reportedly inherited the family property in England.
A famous Dix family story recorded by William Palmer is related in almost its entirety below with minor editing and corrections. At the time of this event, Bill was a mine boss.
Among the converts to the Church who settled in Cedar were William Dix (Uncle Bill) and his wife Elvira. . . Sister Dix was an invalid most of her life here. She had heart trouble. She was a very beautiful and lovely woman with clear white skin, long black hair, and clear black eyes that sparkled with good humor. She was never able to get out much here, but she was a beloved woman by all the people and especially by the Welsh people of Cedar among whom were my father and mother. They went often to see her.
William and Elvira had come to Utah for the Gospel’s sake, but she, of the two, was the most sincerely converted. She was so anxious to get well enough to go to the temple before she died, and she kept plead¬ing with Uncle Bill to get himself ready so they could go if ever an upturn came in her health. But Uncle Bill was careless. He smoked a pipe, and he liked a drop of Dixie wine, and he worked at the coal mine with men of the same habits. So it was easier for him to be careless.
At last, Elvira, despairing that she would ever be well enough to go to the temple, exacted a solemn promise from Uncle Bill that he would go as soon as possible after her death and have their sealing done.
Elvira did not live long after that. She gave up trying to get well, but every day she kept reminding Uncle Bill of his promise and pled with him never to forget it.
After she was gone it was harder than ever for him to change his ways. His sorrow depressed him, and his little family worried him, and his friends consoled him with their wine and their sympathy. For a long time Uncle Bill kept recalling his promises to his dead wife, and he would resolve to do what was necessary to keep them, but his will to do it grew weaker as time passed into years. His living habits put him farther and farther away from the Church.
Then something happened to Bill that changed his life in one thrill¬ing hour. He was digging coal with Tom Williams and Tom Dutton. They were working together in the same room. Noon came and they sat down right where they were working and ate their lunch. Then Tom Williams stood up and said, “Let’s go outside and have a smoke before we go back to work.” Dutton stood up and said, “Yes, let’s all do that.” Bill said, “You fellows go out and have your smoke and get a little fresh air. I will sit here and take a little nap until you come back.”
The two Toms went out, and Bill leaned comfortably back against the wall to rest. Suddenly the room lighted and Elvira was standing before him. She looked youthful and radiant. She said, “William” (that was what she always called him), “William, get up and go out.” He was too thrilled to notice what she said. He started to scramble to his feet, and he said, “Elvira, oh Elvira, is it you?” He moved toward her, and she vanished. He slumped back on the floor thrilled with the thought that he had seen her and heard her voice again.
Suddenly she appeared again and said, “William, get up and go out.” Again, what she said did not register. Again he said, “Elvira, oh Elvira, you are so beautiful,” and he moved again toward her, and she vanished. He sat back against the wall thrilled that he had seen his wife and she was truly alive.
She came back a third time and said firmly, “William, I told you to get up and go out, now get up and go out, at once.” Then she vanished. This time her words registered, and he arose and walked slowly out marveling at what he had seen.
A few yards from the entrance he met the other men coming in. One of them said, “You decided to come out, did you Bill?” Then Williams caught sight of Bill’s face. He said, “What’s the matter Bill? Are you sick? You’re as white as a ghost?” Bill answered, “Elvira came and told me to get up and go out. I saw her as plain as I ever saw her, and it was her natural voice.”
Suddenly there was a great crash and a roar in the back of the mine, then a stiff puff of dust-laden wind came out. The men hurried outside and waited there for several hours. Then they went cautiously inside to see what had happened. They found that the whole roof at the end of the mine where they had been working had caved in. Their tools and lunch pails and jackets were under thousand of tons of rock.
Bill thought he knew why Elvira had come to save his life. He had not done the work he had promised to do. It changed Bill’s life. He straightened up and went as soon as he could to the temple and had their work done.
He told me this story himself, and I am giving it as nearly exact as I can. I was impressed by his earnestness and evident sincerity. It was my pleasure later, as Stake President, to sign his temple recommend.
Wm. R. Palmer
P.S. This is written for and at the request of Bishop Parson U. Webster.
We do not know when this vision occurred, but William began the process of preparing himself to go to the temple. William Palmer who recorded the story was William’s bishop at the time and worked with both William and Joseph Mathews Perkins, William’s brother-in-law and widower of Mary Ann, Elvira’s sister. William and Joe Perkins apparently were quite close, their wives being sisters and both family coming from Wales. William and Joseph entered the St. George Temple on the same day on October 5, 1920, to receive their own endowments. William was sealed to Elvira, and Joseph was sealed to Mary Ann with Mary J. Perkins Schoppmann, Joseph and Mary Ann’s daughter, serving as proxy for Elvira and Mary Ann. This was 33 years after Elvira and Mary Ann died and 8 years after William’s second wife, Emma, had died. William Palmer was later the stake president for 25 years until 1950. He wrote the story of Elvira’s appearance in 1957 as he remembered it.
Waldo related how when he was about eight years old, he would go up to his grandfather’s house to light the fires for him in cold weather--sometimes trudging through two feet of snow before going on to school without benefit of rubbers or overshoes. Since Waldo was born in 1905, this arrangement very well could have been started after his step-grandmother, Emma, died in 1912 leaving his grandfather alone. When the house was warm enough for William to get up and moving about on his aching legs, he would be content with hot tea and graham crackers for breakfast and would then fix his own meals the rest of the day. He always had Sunday dinner with Dave and Nell and their family who lived nearby. Nell told how they would watch each morning for the smoke from William’s chimney to be sure he was all right as he insisted on living along until the end. Other grandchildren helped with cleaning his house and chopping wood.
DeVaun’s memories of her grandfather were sparse. She remembered visiting his house which was quite a ways from her own house in Cedar City. Mostly what she remembered was a little man with a dish of candy behind a curtain. She was seven when her family moved away from Cedar City in 1920, and she apparently did not see her Grandfather Dix much after that. William Dix II died on December 14, 1928, in Cedar City at the age of 75, ten days after coming down with the flu.
At his funeral, William’s good friend Alex Rollo commented that when the missionaries came to Wales and visited him, he believed every word they spoke and that there must be a hereafter. William said he often failed in doing his duty as a church member because of the weakness of the flesh but hoped he would meet his wife who preceded him into the next life. The hope was expressed that William’s sons would be as honest and upright as their father.
Sources: Groups sheets from Donna Dix Moss and Robert Dix; birth certificate of Elvira Jones; marriage certificate of William Dix and Elvira Jones; letters from Mary Jones, William Dix, and Elvira Dix to Mary Ann Jones; “Mary Mathews Jones,” “William Dix and Elvira Jones,” and “Emma Holland Dix,” by Bob Dix; “Child Labor,” and “Industrial Revolution,” World Book Encyclopedia, 1989, Vol. 3, p. 456 and Vol. 10, p. 249; “Waldo’s memories of Grandfather William Dix,” transcribed by Waldo’s wife, Vi Dix; “William Dix,” by William R. Palmer; “Silver Reef,” by Bart C. Anderson, Utah History Encyclopedia, (eddy. media, utah. edu), Utah Handbook, Bill Weir and W.C. McRae, 1997, p. 266; Max Dix’s memories of stories told by his father, Bill Dix; DeVaun’s memories of her grandfather, William Dix, and stories her father, Bill Dix, told.