The Life of James Moses Jex, Written by Himself
Contributor: GreatLakes0928 Created: 3 years ago Updated: 3 years ago
I, James Moses Jex, was born at Barford, Norfolk, England on the 6th day of December 1890, the seventh child of a family of twelve children born to Richard Moses and Louisa Watling Jex. I was blessed 10 May 1891 by Elder J.J.Ward.
My grandparents on my fathers line were Moses Jex, born at Little Plumstead, Norfolk, England, and Susan Maria Smith, born at Neatishead, Norfolk, England. Of these grandparents I recall many things in my childhood days. They were very devout members of the LDS faith and taught their children to be honest and devout. They were the parents of twelve children, ten of which grew to maturity. My father was their eldest son. As long as I can remember my father was very devoted to his parents. They embraced the faith in England and cherished their belief until they were buried in the Spanish Fork Cemetery.
My grandparents on my mothers line were James Watling, who passed away at the age of 42 years. The family of eight children was raised my my grandmother, Louisa Trowse Watling. My mother was her eldest daughter. My mother often spoke of the joy and sadness of her life. Being the first of her family to accept the gospel, she told me of putting two babies in a carriage and walking three miles to attend street meetings to assist B.H. Roberts, Anthon H. Lund and Charles W. Penrose, because she had a beautiful singing voice.
I was a baby when my parents left the Norwich Conference to emigrate to Zion. There was an Elder in the Norwich Conference who was released to return home. He took the money which his mission would have cost and decided to pay for the emigration of a worthy family to Zion. My parents and their children were chosen. My mother often related to her children many times what a sad parting it was when she left her mother and family in England.
Since I was the baby of the family when my parents left England I did not learn much of the land of my birth, however, I have heard my parents speak of England and its natural beauty which was their privilege to enjoy.
When my parents left their native land aboard the U.S. Nevada for America my mother was ill much of the trip. Of this emigration there were some sad experiences. Four of their children had their shoes washed overboard, which necessitated my father buying new ones to continue on the journey. After buying shoes and a ticket on the train to Utah he had only sixty cents in cash. They took the train to Utah. On their way to Hamilton Fort, Iron County, which is just out of Cedar City where they were to settle, the train passed through Spanish Fork where my father’s parents and some of his brothers and sisters had settled. The train did not stop at Spanish Fork, so they were only able to wave at them as the train went through town.
Hamilton Fort was no doubt settled as a fort for freighters traveling as protection from Indians. The home our family lived in was an old camp house. Mother often spoke of poverty, sorrow and sickness of that pioneer life. Rather than to give them milk, it was thrown out on the ground for the pigs. No wonder mother was sick. It was in this camp house that my sister, Susan, was born on 7 March 1893. As I reminisce of things my parents have said, it was a cold winter and a the time of her birth they took quilts to keep the snow from falling on the bed.
While they were living at Hamilton Fort, Elder Anthon H. Lund, their dear friend was at a conference in Cedar City. When he saw mother so sick and discouraged he gave her a blessing and a promise of life to complete her work on earth. Brother Lund always called her his Mission Mother.
I do not recollect at all the events until I was located in Spanish Fork in 1893 where we settled on the East bench in a log house at about 9th East and Center Street.
The little log home with a lean to at the back often comes to me, especially the fruit trees and the bowery where I recall many little events of my preschool age. On the bowery was lilacs and vines which offered we children an ideal playhouse. My sister, Ruth, being 14 months my senior, along with Nellie, Alice, Will and Richard, I felt that I was cared for well. Our little log house had a wide west window shelf where mother kept flowers which often took her time.
Little by little life began to unfold and just across the street lived Mr. and Mrs. Heber T. Robertson, my first boyhood friend entered my life. His name was Wells Robertson. Our mothers soon learned the devotion and eager minds of their children. We were so determined. We kept peeking in on a mother pig until one day his dad pick us both up and said, “Now, in the pen you go”. All of my life I had a fear of Mr. Robertson because of this. His mother was so sweet and tried to help us feel different but to no avail. As long as his father lived, although I was a father myself, just to see him, the fear of that event occurred.
My friend and I ventured like two little cub bears, hand in hand. We learned that Sister Samuel Hold had a little baby boy and we wanted to see it, so this kind sister took us in and settled our curiousity. My grandparents Susan and Moses Jex lived a little farther west, so it was nice to venture to her house for a sweet cake or a little of Grandma’s attention. My Aunt Ruth and Uncle Dick (R.H.Jex) lived on the way, so if I was ever missing I could always be located in one place or another.
In the year 1897 my parents purchased a ½ city lot from Spanish Fork City at 6th North and 3rd East, where they built a home patterned after my mother’s home in Sparham, England. I recall the home being built. One time I was on the roof with my dad and got dizzy and he helped me off. Home construction must have taken root for through the years I have been very interested.
The old home was in a very sparsley settled part of the city which afforded plenty of play grounds for we children. As I look back I can hear my father calling we children when bedtime came around. The neighborhood children would tell us our dad was calling.
I recall that one day my older brother, Will, got some matches and made a fire in the little stable where we kept our horse. Seeing the few flames spreading I ran to the house, informing our mother. In a few minutes it would have taken a large barn and outbuildings of our neiber, Henry Gardner. Mother rushed out and soon the fire was extinguished, but little brother received a chastisement from older brother for telling on him.
My brother, Richard Charles was six years my senior. I seemed to enjoy my life with him. He often sat on the bed to tell me a story. One evening near my bedtime he had to leave and go water a garden for Uncle Dick. I guess I cried and finally he told my mother to let me go and not worry for he would take care of me. I followed along. He left me at the end of the garden telling me he would be back. So near my bedtime I fell asleep in one of the rows of potatoes. When the water got to the end of the row it ran under me and woke me up and he later found me drenched. He took me home and completed my bedtime story. My grandparents, Moses and Susan Jex were a very few feet from me, but their bedtime was early and I wanted my brother Richard.
One day I followed my brother, Richard into a neighbors barnyard. I made a shortbut and went on through a herd of sheep. An old buck kept knocking me to the ground as fast as I stood up. I began crying and calling for my older brother. He on hearing my cry came for me. As soon as I was near his side I felt contented.
In our home we had a large jug and bowl, not interior plumbing as in our present day. All water was carried in and out. There was a little staircase to an upstair sleeping quarters. We had a little lamp I recall lighting and perhaps singing a few songs with my two sisters, Susan and Elizabeth, kneeling at the knee of our sick Dad or our angel Mother for our evening prayer, then taking our little lamp and go upstairs to bed because for a long time we had no electricity in our city and home. Everything was in order..lamp always cleaned and ready, for my mother often said, “My dear boy, our lamp must be full of oil and clean. We were happy even if my home life had some sad condition(s.?) My father through the years was never able to hold us young children on his knee because of his crippled limbs. He was ill 36 out of his 68 years.
My parents were very strict about keeping the Sabbath. They had affection in their marriage, which gave untold strength to their children. As long as I can remember, “Love At Home” was sung at the close of our family time together. I never remember seeing food eaten without a word of thanks. Later learning that the Savior prayed 40 days and fasted for strength it was such an example for all of us as the Lord’s children.
One time Brother Will and I were very young and as children hunger was our thought, so we knelt down and prayed and a kind old lady gave us a little bag of cookies. Yes, child faith,. Seeing answer to prayer builds faith.
I remember an experience my parents had with me. I was put to bed on a Thursday night and they became alarmed when I didn’t wake up. They took me to a doctor. After checking me over he said, “Just take him home and when he gets ready he will wake up.” The second day I called, “Daddy”. It has always been a great habit of mine through the years to sleep off an illness. Just let me rest, it being a great healing process.
When I was a very small boy I would be taken to the wheat fields East of town, known as Mapleton Bench. My sisters and I would glean wheat. In those days the wheat was planted by a man walking along and throwing the wheat over the fields. Many times the wheat would fall along the fences and ditch banks. When it grew and got ripe the farmer couldn’t cut it with a machine, so after the grain was taken off from the ground we could go and break the heads off the grain we found standing or laying on the ground. Many times we would be so happy when we could fill our bags near full. This went on all day. We had our lunch and in the late afternoon our brother came after us with the wagon and many times we would have maybe ten or twelve sacks full. The sacks would be taken where there was a threshing machine and when he came home we were real thrilled to see perhaps two or three hundred pounds of thrashed wheat. This was the way we children helped to have flour for mother to make bread to feed the family.
Also in the fields grew wild ground cherries and we would gather them and my mother would make such nice ground cherry jam. Oh I wish I had some of the lovely jam so you could taste it. It was so good.
I have such fond memories of living near my Grandpa and Grandma Jex. Their little cottage had its covering of English Tea Vine. Inside the home was my busy Granma Susan, with a white apron on and everything in the home so neat to behold. Out in the yard was flower gardens, chickens, all being interests of my young life. Seeing them and their many habits, such as neatness in the home and surroundings. I can see the lamp cleaned and filled with oil, Grandma’s hair combed and a white apron before preparing breakfast. Grandpa seeing that the pig and chickens were fed before he would eat his breakfast. This was so impressed upon my mind that I was never able to eat my breakfast before my livestock. It hurts me to this day to see dumb animals neglected. Grandpa Moses made pets of his animals. I guess this is where I get my desire to have pets.
Since childhood I have made a pet of animals. Often Dad called my mothers attention as I came towards home, a rabbit in my arms, a chicken on my shoulder and a calf following along as I gave my sick daddy a little thrill. At times when daddy could get around the yard, if he found my pets with no food, he opened the door and turned them loose. I would say, Dad, did you open the door or gate?” Each time about the same words, “Boy, they can at least find something to eat.”
One time with my chickens I had a game rooster which I used to fight with other roosters. The crowds gathered around too often to suit my father. He told me to quit, but this was not stopped. One evening when I returned home from the field my mother has some nice chicken and dumplings for supper. When I went to care for my fighting bird, I learned I had eaten my share of it for supper. These were very strict rules with my parents, but of worth in my later years.
Our family rest room was at the end of a long path leading to our home. We had an old turkey that often escorted my sisters to the restroom but became impatient at waiting, so it turned out very dangerous. One day he attact our dad. Soon after that we had a turkey supper.
I was near seven years when I commenced school. My father took me that first day and when all were lined up ready to march into the room, I stepped around the corner of the schoolhouse into the arms of my father, so I was soon taught the importance of attending school.
Our schoolhouse, the old Snell School, had a large room with a stove in the middle of the room fired by wood or coal. Benches and blackboards all began to impress me of the reality of school life. The bell when it first rang from the tower at the top of the schoolhouse gave me a fright and my brother put his arms around me impressing me of no danger.
My first grade teacher was Lottie Bush, who married Charley Davis of Lincoln High School. I learned to enjoy the routine of school. My second grade teacher was Nettie Armond. This teacher was very strict. Many a child received a very severe whipping from her. They were sights I never will forget. I went two years to her.
During my second year at school my friend, Parley Johnson, had a pet goose. It got in the habit of being at our heels often. Other children would tease him and in the air he would fly until one morning John F. Morgan, our principal, had his duffy hat ruined by our goose so we had to have him remain home.
In my third year of school I left home at 5 o'clock in the morning to walk five blocks to build a fire in the furnace at the school house. My father, who was the janitor, came later. I returned home, did my milking of a family cow, ate my breakfast and walked back to school. We thought little of such tasks for most everybody had the work to do.
My fourth grade teacher was J.W. Calderwood. Being in his grade I was promoted to the fifth grade, but I never attended school after the fourth year. It has been a struggle over the years that have passed, but I took out a correspondence course and have always studied by reading and figuring out my problems of life.
So many times I can see my dear mother pour out some hot water in a cup with just a little piece of butter and some bread for our lunch. We ate it and ran off to school. Sometimes we would have a slice of bread and jam. Sometimes I would take my slice of bread and jam and run to school to meet my friend, Parley Johnson and we would exchange our slices of bread..his would have milk on sugar on it. Our night meal often consisted of perhaps a rabbit, chicken, or pigeons made into a pie, and a large bread pudding for dessert.
At one time my parents for their son James, gave him a pair of new home made shoes. I felt so bad for they had a buckle instead of a lace, as I felt would add to my dress neatness of appearance in church as other boys. Dad said, "Boy, all people do not see your feet, but the whole body makes the boy." At that he gave me a pair of nice lace shoes. A nice way found to give me courage and appreciation of what they could see in their child.
Another time Mother made me a pair of pants. Naturally I had pockets, for boys need pockets for pick up. This time being about as wide as I was tall. Dad said, "Boy, now you are all backside and pockets.'' I remember crying, but happy Dad had to add the spice.
In the year 1897 my parents took us to the Salt Lake Temple to be sealed. Of this trip I recall everything that took place.
In our childhood was built an addition of a large room onto our home as our dining room. The summer evenings in our old home, a family of eleven children, carpet rags were made into sacks of balls. My parents had decided to put a carpet down. Yes, it was so pretty as I can see it. A neighbor, J.R. Williams, had a stack of nice oats straw. I can see my older brothers carrying a sheet full of straw to put under our new carpet, what a beautiful floor. To complete our Christmas we all had new straw in the mattresses of our beds. The love and unity in a hone makes it a home.
In this large room Father had made a corner bracket and placed a lamp on it with a bright reflector. It made much a beautiful sight as he would reach up with his cane and move it this way and that way.
My mothers home was her first thought of all her children, boys and girls learned to take care of a home. I can hear my father when we boys hindered our sisters, exchange of work found we boys cleaning house and washing dishes.
Father could entertain and create lots of fun, taking matches or tooth- picks and place them fooling so many of sudden changes, moving one or two picks, and see some things made. One of the girls would be asked to hold it in a certain place, unaware to them, I recall toothpicks flying over the room.
Father was able to do so many things, such as sketching a sail ship with a lead pencil. I sat at his side, though young watching him splice large and small ropes that farmers brought in, at tines watching men try to find where he had made the splice. Also watching him place a long rod in the stove and get it to a certain heat, having one of the older children hold it while he took a strip of glass, make a coil or two around it, knowing just when to stop. For some years those coils were to be seen, but they eventually became lost. None of his children were able to do the same trick.
After our days of gleaning and herding, our evenings were spent singing songs, sewing carpet rags and doing needlework. Sewing became a very interest- ing labor and in 1903 I had some needlework sent to the Worlds Fair at St. Louis, receiving first prize. I was naturally a thrilled child.
In my young days I had several occasions when I was injured. On one occasion I was sent to get a long pole to pind a load of hay. I tied the pole to the harness of the horse. We went over a ditch bank and the pole flew up, frightening the horse. Off I went, the pole striking my shoulder. I then walked back to the field and reported what had happened. We had two sisters with us, so we all four got on top of the hay expecting to hold it on the wagon. All at once, over it went. I commenced to cry and could not be comforted. When we finally arrived home, the horse and pole were there.
As a child I made a windmill. I decided to put it on top of the barn about 20 feet up. My dad sat by the window watching me, turned his head and I was gone. He had my mother go and look for me. I had fallen to the ground on a manure pile and was getting my breath back and ready to complete my adventure. The windmill stayed there a long time.
We had an old family horse named Old Dick. Sister Ruth and I kept pointing our finger at him until he flew in a rage, near getting her under his feet. He quite often got sick. Our father would put some medicine in a bottle of water, after which he was better. We often had to laugh at Old Dick.
One time mother put my sister, Susan and me on his back to take a warn meal to Grandma Susan Jex. The old begger decided to eat grass along the way and Grandma's dinner was real cold by the time we got there. One time brother Richard took him and another horse on a wagon to the canyon. Old Dick got sick and an old family horse left the family circle.
One day an older boy took my brother Will and me and hung us on a picket fence by putting our shoe between the pickets, hanging there until someone helped us down. We were often late returning home from school because of this. Father had warned us not to let it happen again. So one day when the older boy caught brother Will, I locked my arms around him. We beat on him and tore his shirt and he never bothered us again. We were obedient to our dad and we knew we had his support.
The old home had a cellar and our fruit and vegetables were left there, My mother being a wonderful cook, we all can recall her many entertainments such as weddings and holidays.
Mother so many times took a little flower or two, pinned it on a person, they say, ''You are now ready for others to admire." Then she would smile over their smile they gave in exchange.
Our mother could bring a smile or a laugh to the face of others. Sister Susan and I laughed so much one time my dad said, ''You could both die laughing."
One time we boys were trying to out do each other by chinning ourselves. An old Danish brother said to me, "Jim, how many tines can you go?". When I told him, he said, ''You use your fingers.'' At that he took his two little fingers and chinned himself two times to one of ours, to our amazement. We boys never did learn to chin our- selves using our little fingers.
The old Central School of Spanish Fork, built in 1898, as I view it today I can see at least half coal bucket of dirt swept off the floor, no paved playgrounds and no nice carpet in the school house.
Work, toil and get the old Central School ready for the next day.
During the latter part of the 18th century was the days of open saloons, with so much drinking and seeing careless men. I found that because I was small and quick I could stand behind a man and go through a door and the door would close behind me. As soon as I was observed I was sent out. Each time I saw many things. I finally told my dad what I had seen. He was my ideal and was disappointed at my going in such a place. It was do doubt a concern to my parents but they always helped me build courage to repent.
My father was sick a great deal, but he did remarkably well to stand the routine of a large family. Perhaps his great wit relieved the pain of his body. One time my brother, Will, bought a record playing machine. It had a horn on the end of an extended bar, sending the sound out. He and dad were returning home from Grandpas home with it. The old driving horse was so slow my dad took the horn and said, ''Come on you slow bugger'', and the horse ran away. After that the women folks could never drive him. Mother and two of my aunts were driving him home from Springville one day and they were thrown out of the buggy and were through with that horse.
As a child ten years old I took the old family horse and rode three miles to meet a friend to go to a sheep camp where we were both to receive an orphaned lamb. My friend left ahead of me, but gave directions how to get there. But darkness was soon upon me and I became lost in the dense timbers on the mountain. As I attempted to guide my horse, the animal wanted to go a different direction. I commenced to cry and in my frantic state I remember crying out. "Oh Heavenly Father, please take me home to my mother". I had no sooner opened my eyes when the horse turned around and I sat and let him go. Very soon I saw a light in a farm house window. The horse took me home with no lamb, but with a heap of experience that has no doubt been my guide to humble faith.
In my childhood the Northeast portion of Spanish Fork was mostly fenced enclosures to feed livestock. My brother Will and I drove as many as twenty head of cows. They were to be at a certain place by 7 A.M. for us to proceed with the herd. My friend, Nephi Swenson, took his parents stock. After putting all stock into the pasture for the day we were both provided with a horse on our way. Venturesome Nephi and James were most interested in seeing how far we could get out on our horses neck. We were pretty near the ears of the horse when we had to no through a rather wide stream of water. The horse, desiring to drink a little, found us both in tue water. A good laugh On us.
A certain cow in my herd was so slow I finally got on her back with a few rocks in my pocket to throw at the other cows. It was quite a thrill. One morning this cow was not at the starting place so I took my herd anyway.On the way back a little girl friend, LaReta Evans was driving the slow cow. We walked hand in hand on the way back home. There was a lot of sand by the side of the stream. We succeeded in building a model farm in the sand. So busy that the afternoon grew late. My brother, Richard, came to find a lost girl because LaReta had not returned. She later became the wife of Dr. Wells Brockbank of Spanish Fork.
One Sunday evening four of we boy friends accepted a job to thin beets for 35 cents a day. About ten o'clock we struck for 50 cents a day. The man refused to pay it so we all quit. We stopped off at the swimming hole for a good swim on the way home. Returning home I found my father sitting on a bench in the yard. Being surprised to see me, I told him what I had done. His answer was, "Did you not know that from 8 until 12 and from l until 6 you sold your services to that man? Do you mean to tell me that I have a boy that cannot give one days work? Just open up your lunch pail and eat and go back to work and tell the man I sent you." I did so with a very humble heart. This Job lasted for three weeks, receiving fifty cents a day for my labors and a lesson of lasting worth to me taught by my companion father.
A certain time of the year there is a layer of cotton that falls from cottonwood trees. One morning I was driving 15 head of cows and and old red bull to the field for the day. The old bull was so slow I lit a match to the cotton.. it burned so fast that it started a stampede. After that the old bull was always in the lead.
One day my brother, Will, and Nephi Swenson saw a pretty black and white kitten and decided to catch it. They failed, buy oh my, the part they caught was most potent, causing neither boy the privilege of going into the house.
I was not very large as a child. My sister and I were baptized the same day, 7 Sept. 1903 by William Grotegut and confirmed by Albert Swenson.
On January 3, 1904 I was ordained a deacon by David Williams. It was very soon afterwards that I was put in as president of my group.
We met in a very little hall, very much different to our beautiful places of worship today. Everybody on a Sunday assembled. When there was separation for classwork a curtain was drawn. Behind this curtain we deacons would hold our meetings. There were no electric lights, just a lamp. We sat at our little table with pride and humility as we enjoyed planning our work. During those days, every Saturday we had work to do. Once each month we gathered fast offerings. We had our home made wagon. On it was a five gallon can and a box. Flour was put in the can and eggs and butter were put in the box. When we went over our beat we went to a home where they had a large flour box. The flour was emptied in the big box and the eggs and butter were put in a large cooler in the cellar to be given to the poor people in the ward. Each time we collected fast offerings we kept a record on the board of how much each deacon had gathered. I remember seeing our names (James Jex and Parley Johnson) gathered so much today. We were always interested to see how much we had gathered. I wonder where that record is? I bet our Heavenly Father has it and some day I will see it again because He knows what we deacons do when we are ordained and giving work in His church. On another Saturday we paired off cutting wood, cleaning up yards for the poor, but a kiss and often a large sweet cookie we received for our busy day in honoring our priesthood Another Saturday some of us chopped wood for widows, some cut lawns. As I think of many of the dear old sisters would most always give me a kiss and say, ''God bless you my boy, some day you will be old."
Just a little fun we would have at one of the homes of many of the Danish people who would have wooden shoes sitting outside..they wouldn't wear them in the house because they were very often dirty. We would put our feet in them and step dance a little.
One other interesting event. We used to have a deacon party or dance. In our church was a large stove in the middle of the hall where we would have a dance. We would dance around the stove. One time I remember Parley Johnson and I took a girl to the dance that usually started about 2 o'clock and we would take the girls home before dark so we could do our evening work. My father and mother saw us going with the girls. We were walking along a hold of their hand and my girl had to leave hold of my hand to pull up her stocking. I never liked her anymore. When I got home my father said ''Did you have a good time?" I told him what had happened. He laughed and I cried about what had happened to me that day.
I was 12 years old when I saw my first picture on the movie screen.
My brother, Will, and I used to haul wood and have a large round stack. Some of them would be seven feet wide, piled up to a point and there would be enough wood to last all winter and summer.
One time I was working for a man, Lewis Miller, at Mapleton east of Spanish Fork, A great rain storm came up. We tied our horses to a fence and got under a wagon to escape the rain. All at once a lightening bolt came under the wagon. We were not far apart, but he was sent several feet away. I was dazed but his lips turned dark and always remained so. We were able to hook up our team and go home.
The winters seemed so long in the early part of the 19th Century..snow mostly 18 to 20 inches deep that gave us at least a month of real fun as our horses were fitted to stand on the slick snow. So much fun was had as we sleigh load of young folks let our horse go around and around the telephone poles in the center of Main Street.
I worked for a while for an old gentleman, C.R. Larsen, doing cement work. We had made a cement mixer out of an old engine and the mixing was taken care of. We built a cement wall ten feet high around part of the World Drug Store at 199 N. Main St. The cement was mixed by hand and taken by wheelbarrow by a number of we teenage boys up a plank. Often being a little short in stature, I fell to the ground with the wheelbarrow on top of me. The sidewalks, curb and gutters were put in and you can still see traces of its being laid in that locality as we had our large flat piece of iron on the ground, two on each side, turning the mixture back and forth.
While I was yet in my 15th year I had an experience that was most remarkable. I had taken a horse and buggy to deliver a can of cream in town, as we were on a ranch in the river bottoms of Spanish Fork. We milked a number of cows for Wellington Wood while he was on a mission. My brother, Richard, took the contract and I lived with him before his marriage in 1907. I had delivered the cream. On my way back the can kept working back on the wagon. I threw my arm back. Having a large fur glove on, the horse became frightened and made a fast move, throwing me between the wheels. I had both lines tied together on my right hand and was unable to release my hand because of the large fur glove. I was pulled along the frozen ground, the back wheel resting in the small of my back. I finally got my hand free and the wheel passed over my head causing my nose to bleed. It was such a cold day. I got up and walked along. The horse went on about a quarter of a mile. My brother, seeing the can, and me missing came for me. The blood from my nosebleed had frozen to my waist line.
Just the experience of a boy trying to face the hardships of our time.
Twenty five to fifty cents a day was the going wages.
About this time we had an old family horse called Old Nigg. He was coal black. I decided to hook him up on the buggy. As I put the harness over his back it frightened him. He kicked me just above the ankle. In a few minutes a lump came up as large as a small chicken egg. My mother was in Salt Lake City. I had a job thinning beets. I went to work. At night my daddy noticed me favor my leg and asked to see the injury. When I showed it to him it was red up to my knee. There was an old man, Mr. Jones, who made plasters that looked like Aunt Jemima Molasses. He put a plaster around my leg from the ankle to above my knee. Each morning I went with my dad for a treatment.
The third plaster had a hole in it about the size of a penny.
I returned home with daddy and spent most of my time laying on a long school bench in the yard. The tears of pain and the comfort I received from my father has never left my heart. The next morning there was a yellow spot in the hole in the plaster. Mr. Jones was such a kind, patient old man, but just to hold my father's hand I could lay and let him proceed. This morning he put some white powder on this spot, The tears and endurance was so hard. Often my daddy would say, ''Try and rest boy," and his manly hands on my face often gave me rest. The next morning Mr. Jones took a pair of tweezers and lifted the spot clean. Yes, dear ones, the little silver spoon used left a hole in my leg you could have placed a golf ball in. Eight months I used crutches and never felt comforted other than near my father.
One time my friend and I had an old horse refuse to pull a buggy, so we being unable to get him off a railroad grade, ended up pulling the buggy with the horse following. What a laugh my dad got out of this.
My dad told me about an experience he and his friend had on their way home one day when they were kids. They saw a donkey and a cart standing outside a house with a picket fence. The two busy boys decided to unhook the donkey, put the shaves through the pickets of the fence and hook the donkey back up with the fence in the middle. They stood and watched as the elderly man decided to return home. When he saw the condition of his donkey, he said "Bless me heart, Billy, how did you get in such a position?" He went back in the house and he and his old friend decided they must saw off the shaver, doing so he got on his donkey and returned home.
I worked along with my father. His trade was paper hanging and painting.
This line of work was not very interesting to me. I told my father I did not care for it. He did not object but made me promise that I would not waste my life but take up another trade.
My mother told me any times about her interest in gathering primroses from her English flower garden, making them into beautiful clusters and selling them to save up money to pay the expenses of another child being born into their home, while they still lived in England.
After we moved to Spanish Fork, no doubt the incentive came to her heart that some day she could have a florist business. I remember many times being given a few nicely arranged flowers to take to a sick person with the sweet words, ''Sister or Brother Jones is ill, take these to their home as a little cheer to do them good.''
My parents rented a building downtown and stocked it with flowers, potted plants and groceries, hoping to make their way on a larger scale. They built a greenhouse adjoining our home. We children got the glass from Mr. Anderson's Photo Shop. We cleaned the negative off the glass by dipping it in lye and sliding the negative off with knives. This glass was used to build the greenhouse. On July 4, 1906 they had the store downtown all decorated for the holiday and a fire broke out and destroyed everything in the building. It was not covered by insurance. It was then their lot to mortgage their home and pay off the loss they received. They then rented another place known as the Gardner building and started up business again.
My dad always made the designs. Then they would fill them with moss and then cover them with flowers. Mother always kept the windows decorated with lovely displays each season or holiday.
I went to Salt Lake at 15 years of age and drove a team for the Salt Lake Horse and Mule market.
When work started in the fall I went to work at the Sugar Factory in September and December 6th had my 16th birthday. From September to December or January for six years I worked at the factory. In 1911 I went to work at the Farmers Coop Store. During the next two and one half years I worked in various departments - delivering of groceries, farm machinery, cleaning separators, and the task of collecting bills. I made many dear friends in Spanish Fork, Springville, Payson, Benjamin, Mapleton and all around the farming communities.
When I started working at the Farmers Coop it took four men to hook up Old Dick, a determined horse. In two weeks I could just place the harness on his back and Old Dick did the rest. It took a lot of lump sugar, but each time I got him to do as I asked he received a cube of sugar. Many times the yard at the store was pretty well filled with other folks who came to purchase goods. They would watch me call Old Dick to come because I was ready to make my delivery trip.
Like magic, here he came with the wagon, back it up against the door..
each time as he stopped he would turn his head for he knew I would give him a reward for successfully following my desires. I never thought of not giving to a pet.. a disappointment..they are and become most human.
It was during this time that I bought my first horse and buggy and commenced to become interested in the opposite ***. Before this tine I had interests of my days with rabbits, pigeons, ducks and chickens, but finally I got a horse. He had a white face and was very nervous. A piece of paper, a pool of water on the road and he would jump one way or another.. off I went. I commenced to trade around several different ones I got. One was a small Indian pony. She was very fast as I commenced to drive her on a cart. She seemed very hard to kick. I told my father. ''Wel1 boy, give her all she want'', he said. I filled a sack full of straw. It was suspended from the roof of her stall. As she would step back and touch the sack, up in the air it went..as fast as it came back her hind feet sent it in the air again. I left it all night. When I saw her the next morning she stood with all four feet close together and had not even eaten her food. Yes, as long as I owned her, the moment you laid your hands on her back she just folded up.
I finally bought a little black mare from a Carter boy at Santaquin, Utah. She was poor but I liked her appearance. My days of pride began to change. I eventually had one of the nicest outfits in the south end of Utah County. Kindness and proper training developed her into a beautiful animal. I often hitched her to my buggy, left her standing because I failed to say, ''Go on Spot". My father often said you should not do that, but I was a happy and carefree person and my stock most always received a lump sugar and a handful of something to eat. My friends envied me of this animal and gave me all kinds of offers to buy or trade, but no. Often when we saw girls on the sidewalk I let her stay on the road. If the girls decided to go for a ride, I just said, ''Come on pet." It was most interesting, for she came and turned the wheel for our easy entrance. When I left for my mission I left her a young cold, but while I was on my mission she was killed by a train.
About this tine my father had a telescope we could adjust the view for a distance of twelve miles. When my brother Dick went courting with his sweetheart, Florence, who worked at the Utah County Infirmery, the little brothers could watch them through the telescope.
My brother, Will, had been dancing in Salem, Utah. One night I went with him. I saw a girl names Celia Hiatt there and danced a little with her. On 2 July 1911 we met again in Spanish Fork where she was sith her sister. Delia and Brother-in-law Charles Bates. I took her home from the dance and made a date to celebrate the 4th of July with her at Spanish Fork. During the next few years we had a steady courtship. I bought sheep covers for my buggy and was buying a home and planning to get married when the spirit of a mission came in to my life.
One Sunday my friend, Parley Johnson, and I were attending a Stake Conference and we both felt the spirit of missionary work, I told my girl, Celia, that some day my friend and I were going on a mission. She expressed her willingness for me to go. When I took her home I told her mother I was going. The next morning I was sitting at the table and told my mother I was going on a mission.
She broke down and cried, but said, "My boy, if you are to go the way will be opened up". Two days later the Bishop called to talk to the folks and my brother, Dick. Friday evening while returning from work I met the Bishop (William Grotegut). I told him my story and my financial condition. I told him I would go.
Eight days later I received my letter from Box B. I had 26 days to get ready. I sold my equity in the home, 13 head of sheep, one cow, my horse and buggy and was ready to go. I left a yearling colt for a driving animal, but when I returned from my mission it had been killed by a train.
Many interesting parties of various types were held as farewells to me. The store where I worked gave me some assistance in various ways. My boss gave me my whole outfits of clothing. Such friends I have tried hard to appreciate as the years have passed on.
On 5th of April 1914 I left for the New Zealand Mission. My mother had fallen on the back steps and cut her face and blacked both of her eyes, so she did not accompany me to Salt Lake. My father went with me and saw me off at the Union Station. I glanced just one more time as the gate was closing between us and I saw my father being helped off the ramp by his nephew, Fred R. Rowland.
After going through the Temple I was set apart by Francis M. Lyman. That evening I met my three companions who were also going to New Zealand, Wm. E. Heaton, Orderville, Utah. J.W. Birk, Alpine, Ariz. J.W. Burnett, Hooper, Utah. Many jolly times were enjoyed in route to our missions. At Portland Oregon, we assisted the elders in a street meeting. Our party sailed from Vancouver, B.C., stopping at Victoria, B.C. Hawaiian Islands, Suva. Figi Island, arriving in Auckland, N.Z. 5th May 1914 We joined the Elders and our dear Mission President, William Gardner, from St. George, Utah. We rested up two days and then went to various fields of labor. I remained in Auckland where I did the cooking for twelve elders and assisted in the branch, speaking and holding cottage meetings, and working in the print shop at setting type and assisting with the mission paper (The Messenger).
One could write a great deal of my missionary days, but I will only cover parts of it, as I kept a daily journal and many things of interest were recorded there. During my mission I met 150 elders.
From the reports I had President Gardner gave me the honor of being the most studious elder and among the twelve elders at Auckland I was termed the leading scriptorian. When I returned home I had better than three hundred passages of scripture at my command. Missionary life has many cherished memories. I have seen evil spirits cast out and sick healed on many occasions.
During my mission I had eleven different companions. My finances got very scarce after the first year and many days I traveled without funds but was given many meals and blessed the food in many homes. One cannot tell the amount of good done while laboring as a missionary for this wonderful Church of Jesus Christ.
I was blessed many times while on my mission, and since that time, to use my Priesthood in the blessing of the sick and helping others. While on my mission, one Charles Spencer was healed from cancer. Elder Thomas Grimshaw annointed and I sealed the annointing. The blessing took a great deal from me. One morning after a morning session of conference, Elder Grimshaw and I were called to a home to cast out an evil spirit. When we stepped into the home the lady was twisted in many ways. When I went to seal the anointing she pulled her head back, but when our hands were removed she fell limp to the floor. In the afternoon session of conference she attended and bore testimony to the power of the Priesthood.
There was one dear family I would like to mention. It was Bob and Elizabeth McFarlane and their children. The mother kept a pad in the kitchen, and when I called she would get her book and our time was spent explaining our beliefs. This seemed to be of great worth to her. Shortly after I returned home, she and her two daughters, Bernice Baxter and Katherine Douglas were baptized by my succeeding companion Rodrick Miller, of Shelby, Idaho. I corresponded with them many years. The mother, Elizabeth McFarlane passed away at 84 years with a strong testimony of the truth of the gospel. She told her family in her dying words to remember Elder Jex and the teachings of the gospel.
I presided over two branches, one at Ohemmega, just out of Auckland, and the northern Waimo Branch.
I was released to return home in April, after having farewell gatherings in two districts. I was asked by President Gardner to remain two months longer than my assigned time. I later learned that he was being released and wanted me to return home with him, so it was July 11, 1916 when my mission days ended. It was a rainy day and some of my friends walked miles in the rain to see me off. As the boat sailed from Queens Wharf at Auckland, N.Z. I felt worse than when I left home. I did not enter my cabin on the boat, but as the scene vanished in the distance, I took from my pocket a pad and wrote the following lines:
I left my home and parents, some twenty-eight months ago,
To go and preach the gospel to a people I did not know.
While going to that people. I traveled over land and sea.
To the far away land of New Zealand which was a home for me.
I had some grand experiences while among the people there.
Some were real exciting, while others were rather fair.
The poor, the lame, the aged, just the same,
Were dear friends of mine because they seemed in pain.
It was July 11, 1916, when these experiences ended there,
So with a word of thanks I tie a lasting knot of care
Which is a a knot of friendship, I hope will ever be,
With the land of dear New Zealand, and my friends across the sea.
The two years and 2 1/2 months of my mission were over. President Gardner, being in his 76th year and completing his third mission, left with me aboard the Steamer SS Maloura, it being the same ship I sailed to New Zealand on 5 April 1914.
When we arrived at Salt Lake City, I met my dear mother at my Aunt's home. The joy of meeting her was priceless to me. We visited two days in Salt Lake and went down to Spanish Fork. It was a grand welcome. Most of my brothers and sisters were at the station. My old boss from the store saw the family and stopped a moment to welcome me home. He was also kind enough to tell me my job was open anytime I was ready. The scene at the old home was sad. My dear father was so crippled up. I noticed that he had failed a great deal, but his manly heart had held him up for this event of his life.
I was told that each morning during her son's absence, a tumbler, knife, fork and spoon were placed at the side of the table so she and father would not forget me soon. She gave them to me as a keepsake, but over the years the tumbler was broken and the others lost.
The joy of meeting old friends and neighbors all made a very fitting climax to my missionary days. Now the period of adjusting to a new life had opened itself to me, I had my welcome home and arrangements in the ward, being the Fourth Ward at Spanish Fork. A missionary group was made up and a complete tour of the Nebo Stake was covered. Each Sunday night there were such joyful times.
I was put in the Sunday School class work, also Mutual Presidency, being first counsellor. I was later called to labor on the Stake Mutual Board. This lasted four years. It was during this time when the first Fathers and Sons outing was commenced. We each had our weekly assignment in the various wards home nights, two wards visited in connection with the outings. Today it has grown to be a great event in the wards and stakes of Zion.
To My Sweetheart (written in the missionfield)
As I sit, the time o'er takes me,
With this letter in my hand.
Then my thoughts revert back homeward,
Then rush back to foreign lands,
Where the teacher called experience
Bids me come and drink my fill,
Though my heart yearns for my sweetheart,
Still my spirit says, "I will".
Yes, I'll strive to learn life's lesson,
Gladly glean from knowledge's store.
So that I may feel more worthy
Of that sweetheart than before.
Now I pray to God, our Heavenly Father,
Give me health and strength to do His will,
That the needing after parting,
May give greater pleasure still,
Than the times we once had together,
Now gone before in life.
It's true the time seemed only moments
In our quickly fleeting life.
Now my sweetheart, may our Father
Give you health and comfort too,
So that the time will pass quickly
When I shall come back home to you.
Then on earth there will be no more parting,
Never more for you and I,
Then the flowers will be more fragrant,
And a clearer blue the sky.
Then we will battle on together,
Hand in hand we will gladly go,
With our hearts and souls determined,
Fighting hard at every foe.
Then success may crown our efforts,
Not in worldly gain alone,
But by little deeds of kindness,
We'll build for us a heavenly home.
Four months after my return home from New Zealand I took the hand and heart of Celia Hiatt, my missionary sweetheart. On 6 December, 1916, on my 26th birthday, we went to the Salt Lake Temple and were married by Brother J.H. Christensen. Celia's good friend, Marguritte Martin and her husband to be, Angus Taylor, went to Salt Lake with us on the Bamberger Train and were married the same day.
Volumes could be written about our marriage but could not contain the joy which she has brought into my life.
When I returned home from my mission I was in debt for a portion of my mission. The Sugar Factory was being built at Spanish Fork. I went to work as a steam fitters helper and I guess this work must have suited me very much as it became my trade in later years. I received $7.50 a day and soon paid off my debt to the New Zealand Mission for $137.00.
I went back to the Farmer's Coop Store, but I was never very interested in the work. so I decided to leave.this place of employment. I received a nice letter of recommendation from them, which I kept. It said: ''To whom it may concern: This is to certify that the bearer. James M. Jex has been in the employ of the Farmer's Cooperative Association for the past three years as a clerk and machine clerk. He has proven himself to be capable and energetic, a good young man with good clean habits and fine Christian conduct. He leaves to better his condition and carries with him our best wishes for his success. April 19, 1921.
Signed M.D. Warner, Manager
After our marriage we rented a three room house in Spanish Fork.
In November 1917 we moved to the Slavish Fork bench for a few months, then in April 1918 we moved to a little white cottage one half block east of the World Drug Store, which was one half block from the Farmer's Coop Store, where I worked. It was at this house that our first born son, James Lorin, was born 5 May 1918.
The last ten days of my father's life I never left his side, If I did, he inquired as to where I was. Often enduring the pain of dying, he would say, "Oh boy, pray for me that I may rest". So many times he went to sleep and on awakening say, "Thanks boy, I had a nice rest". He died 9 March 1919.
We bought a little home by Uncle Jack's Blacksmith Shop where our second son, Frank Richard was born 11 Dec. 1919 We lived there until we moved to Shelley, Idaho where I worked at the Shelley Merc. for one winter.
One experience I have to laugh at Celia and I. Delia, her sister, had a nice kitchen cabinet. Celia spoke of it. My dad said to me ''Go ahead and make one''. In his shop was a folding bed for him to lay on. We spent time drawing up a plan, in spare time gave her a nice kitchen cabinet. When we moved to Idaho the cabinet was too wide for the 30 inch door. Other times there was a piece of door frame that could be removed to get the cabinet in but when we moved to the ranch we sold the cabinet, also the electric washer.
In the spring of 1921 we bought a ranch in Blackfoot, Idaho in the Rose Ward.
It was the fourth day of February 1922 while we were living on the ranch in Idaho. The grip of a cold winter still remained.. from all reports it was one of those hard winters in Idaho. The temperature had stood at 36 below zero. The snow was about 18 inches deep and with the cold driving wind the roads to and from our little farmhouse it was almost impossible to travel except my sled or on horseback.
My dear companion and I along with our two little boys, Lorin and Frank, remained in the little home with snow drifted three to four feet deep on three sides, which made for us a cozy abode, with the Priesthood of God and a loving mother and companion who was then expecting her third child.
In the home that day was Aunt Ann Jackman and Aunt Lillie Hiatt, At the request of my dear companion, I made a phone call to the doctor who had been notified. The phone call was worded something like this, ''The snow is too deep for me to come out. In a few minutes I will drive my car over to the Groveland River Bridge and remain in my car until you come." The distance the doctor traveled was two miles and I traveled about five miles.
Expecting to make this trip I had made a sled out of the front gear of a buggy and for a seat I built a box affair about ten inches high, a shield affair in front to keep the snow out of our face. I hooked the gray mare, Old Kit, on the sled, wrapped myself in quilts and set out to meet Dr. Beck. All along the way I could see a fence post up through the snow, but most of the way the fences were buried up by drifted snow. At times the horse had a hard time to travel. All the time my thoughts were back in the farm home, knowing that an expectant mother was waiting and waiting for my safe return. I finally got my passenger and started back. He was a tall man and it seemed as though his chin was between his knees. He said, "Mr. Jex, this is a hard way to practice medicine". We finally arrived at the little home. I can see the smile of relief and thankfulness to the Lord for our safe return.
The doctor had very little time to wait before she was given a beautiful little girl. The shining eyes of her two brothers made a wonderful addition to the little farmhouse. Three hours later I started back with the doctor to his car. It was evening when I returned and was about frozen. As the doctor left the home, he said, “If you need me, call again”. But the doctor didn’t see his patient any more. The third day Aunt Ann left and went home, so with the help of a neighbor woman, Mrs. Norman Bingham, who came in to bathe the baby, the Lord being with us, my dear companion got along. We named our little girl Eileen Elizabeth.
The little girl grew and naturally developed as a jewel in our lives. When our little girl was two months old, Uncle Wilf Hiatt and Josh Parker, a neighbor man, and myself, made a trip to the Lavas to get a load of red cedar wood to burn. It was a long drive, about twenty miles. We succeeded in getting our wagons loaded, and on the way home I was driving and as the front wheels of the wagon started up, the team left the wagon and I was thrown over the wheel, breaking two of my ribs.
The men repaired the wagon, re-loaded the wood, and by arranging some odd shaped timbers, I was helped on the wagon and drove home. It was after dark when we arrived. Josh Parker helped me in the house and took care of my team. This was a trip never to be forgotten. After that my health began to go down. I became stiff in my joints. While doing my watering on the farm I would sit down and remove my boots, many times shedding tears at my efforts to carry on. The doctor called to see my wife, who was sick, and found me down also. On examining my throat he found it necessary to remove my tonsils, which was done three days later. My limbs soon became normal and the routine of life continued.
We had a number of small wiener pigs. I often threw grain on the ground. Pigs, chickens and pheasants ate together. Lorin and Frank had their fun trying to ride the pigs. Frank’s legs were so short he was mostly on the ground, but Lorin succeeded in riding most all of the nine pigs. As I often drove my team to the barn the two little boys sat upon one of the horses, but short legged Frank had to sit with his feet straight out.
Even a calf will tackle a great task. Milking two cows, and not feeling to return to the house to empty a full bucket, I put a handle on a five gallon honey can. The can was full, and to my surprise, I heard the can rattle. A partly grown calf had tried to drink all the milk and had fallen to the ground, bloated. I called a neighbor man who came running and inserted a piece of garden hose down its throat and out came the milk. What a worried looking calf after tackling such a big job.
While we were living in Idaho, Lorin had a little drum we got him for Christmas. His brother, Fank got mad and put his foot through it, so I put a piece of board in it. His mother played in a dance orchestra in the Rose Ward. Lorin would come in with his little drum and sit there by his mother and play that drum, keeping time with the music.
Unfortunately, winter soon set in. After helping the neighbors to harvest their crops, we just got in one day on my crops when it stormed and I had to leave five acres of potatoes and three acres of hay frozen in the field. Such was the winding up days on the farm.
We then packed up our 1916 Ford and stored most of our furniture, until it was picked up for us one year later. We had lost everything. My wife’s brother, Don, died on 3 November 1911, so on the 5th of November, with our two little boys and our little girl, 50 cents in cash, and no job or home, we returned to Utah.
When we got to Payson, Uncle Julius Stone, my wife's widowed brother-in-law, was just leaving to herd sheep up in the mountain. His little home was all stocked up for the winter. He handed me the key and said, "Here folks, move in. I know you will re-stock my home when you're through".
Being in this home one week, I received a phone call from Mrs. Oren Lewis, who had a general merchandise store. She had learned that I was available to work, so we then moved to Spanish Fork. Our furniture was stored in Idaho. We had an old couch and a few pieces of furniture, so our humble home began again.
We had decided we wanted to settle in Provo to be near the Brigham Young University where our children could have a better opportunity for an education. We left Spanish Fork on the 4th of June 1923 and moved to Provo. We lived in J.H. Ashton's old home in Pleasant View. Later we moved to the Wade home on 8th West and 2nd South.
While we were living at the Wade home we had some rather interesting experiences. One day Eileen toodled across the street and put her arms around Don Hawke, a neighbor boy, and brought home the measles. This was a hard disease for her, she bled at the ears, nose and mouth and was deaf for some time. Her brothers naturally took the disease from her. I recall many times her mother and I would sit in the dark room with her that her eyes might not be affected.
One day Grandma Hiatt paid us a visit. As time came for her to take the Orem car back to Payson, I got in the old 1916 Ford in a hurry. Frank was with Grandma in the back seat. There was just time for Grandma to run and catch the Orem Car train. Busy Frank tried to shut the door. As I turned around to go back down the street, he went out the door and I went on down the street, not knowing he had fallen out of the car, until a man yelled, "Don't you want your kid?" Yes, he was running after the car.
I took a correspondence course in Sanitary Engineering, from Scranton, Pennsylvania, and when we moved to Provo I became an apprentice in the plumbing field. I worked for Buckley and Haws Plumbing. I took out my own license in January of 1931 and have operated a successful business ever since. Many times I did work for different professors at BYU in exchange for tuition for our children to attend the BYU Training School, which cost money to attend. It wouldn't have cost extra money for them to go to the city schools, but we felt that they would have better teachers and opportunities at the Training School. I also had the opportunity to do much of the plumbing work in the expansion of BYU, as well as other buildings in Provo.
The year of 1924 and the special day of July 24th found us moving into little old 1050, the little brown home at the end of the Brigham Young University orchards. There were apple, prune and cherry trees. These orchards went 10th to 12th North on 2nd East. When they were in bloom it was a mass of beautiful perfumed blossoms. When the fruit was harvested it produced hundreds of bushels of fruit. Many a time our girls took their quilt, a salt shaker, and a good book to read as they laid out under these trees. You could find them many times with their dolls or paper dolls, being entertained by the hour under their own "special trees.
We purchased this little home from E.W. Payne. The architects would call it a "Salt Box House" in design. It had wooden slats that were painted brown, and was surrounded on three sides by fruit trees.
August 13, 1924, shortly after moving into our little home, our second girl, Betty Louisa was born. She was a bright and busy girl and was welcomed by her big brothers and sister.
Our little brown house gave us such a feeling of contentment. It was often better known as the "neighborhood nursery", for children were always welcome at our house. Many a time large rings would be made on the floor with chalk and the boys and girls would play marbles and cause the home to vibrate with the commotion.
It seems as though the center of most every growing city must have a hub, or a point of interest for the city to expand. As I think back over my life, many times during childhood the trend of thought was the great school at Provo, Utah, the BYU. In 1923 the enrollment was less than 500 students and the Maeser building was the only building on the "Upper Campus". The College Hall on the "Lower Campus" had the capacity to seat 800 people and was used for many programs, as well as church meetings.
In the early days of life, I remember knowing Pres. George H. Brimhall's mother. The old soul sat by the side of the home of Pres. Brimhall. The old home had a willow fence and "Grandma", as we called her, watched we boys that the willow fence was not taken away a willow at a time. As I came to Provo I became acquainted with this great man, as well as other leaders at BYU.
President Franklin S. Harris and Christian Jensen, who both held the reins of leadership were such fine men. Perhaps President Harris became so well planted in our children's heads because he leved just on top of the hill from us and we knew him well. He bought so much property for the school, and today his far sighted ventures are worth so much. A notation of interest, as President Harris left BYU to take over Utah State Agricultural College at Logan, our fourth daughter, Margaret, decided to go there to school. We all went up to Logan in our old family car and made necessary arrangements for her entry. President Harris left his busy office and joined us on the lawn to eat the nice lunch mother had prepared for us.
After President Harris came President Howard S. McDonald. He also found the common folks, and knowing I was a Plumbing Contractor saw that I had an interest in the great expansion of BYU. Then came President Ernest L. Wilkinson, a small but great man to go down in the history of the school. It was our privilege in the Manavu Ward to be associated with these men, as well as other great leaders and teachers.
At the time we moved into our little brown home we attended church at the College Hall on the lower campus because our new Manavu Ward had not been built. Nephi Anderson was our Bishop, followed by James M. Jensen. As our family grew in number our beautiful Manavu Ward chapel was built. Bishop Wilbur Sowards was our bishop.
Our little family was such a joy to me. Sometimes when it was time for me to return from my work at Buckley and Haws Plumbing, the two little boys would put Eileen in the wagon and go out to the mailbox, which was down the long driveway and partway up the street, and meet me as I came home. I would get off from my bicycle and put her on the seat to give her a ride home. Frank would get in the wagon and Lorin would pull him to the house.
On April 15, 1926, our third daughter, Mary Ellen was born. March 1, 1928 brought our fourth daughter, Margaret Ann to join our family circle.
One Sunday morning, my wife, Celia, and I left our children in Sunday School, leaving Lorin to take them home. We drove to Spanish Fork. Mother was ill. Brother Richard and his family had left for California after taking her with them on a trip to Idaho. How well do I remember the spirit of my mother as I sat on the side of the bed. She turned her head to one side, saying, "Who passed the door?" I said, "Nobody", but she knew it was father and it was time for her to join him. Her passing left a great sadness in our hearts. She died 21 October 1930. We buried her in the Spanish Fork Cemetery alongside our dear father.
Our little brown house was soon too small for our growing family so it was taken down, furnishings stored in the garage, stove out under the trees, where we camped until two basement rooms were finished with a floor, where we moved in while we finished the rest of the house.
"1050", as our home was known, its rafters rang with youthful shouts, songs and laughter. Each year its windows and walls were decorated with holly and Christmas trimmings. Many evenings there were sounds of music and dancing and as time went on there were echoed the beautiful strains of wedding marches and many large gatherings for departing and returning missionaries and visiting relatives from far and near.
This house was known for happiness and sadness all in the fulness of life. It was this house where our last two daughters were born. Rhoda Joyce on 24 August 1932, and Celia Merlene on 21 March 1935. It was also at this house that our first real sadness came in October 1940 when Grandpa Hiatt passed away, leaving a cherished memory in our hearts and home. He had come to Provo on the Orem Car to visit us because he wasn't feeling well. We kept him with us and cared for him. Others of his children came to be with him and to help what they could, but Celia and the children cared for him through the day, then I would help at night. He finally passed away peacefully, and we buried him in the Payson Cemetery along side his beloved "Betty". The love of this man will remain through the years as a cherished memory.
At our home at the end of the lane, we always had a cow, as well as chickens, a pig, and other animals. One afternoon our family cow got out of the barnyard and ran back and forth on the BYU football practice field. My wife's brother, Leon Hiatt was at the home shortly afterwards and was determined to put her in the enclosure. He and some students would get her near the gate and then away she would dart past them. They were determined, but my wife said to let her go for I would be home soon. They finally gave up. When I saw Leon he said that if he had an animal like that he would kill her. As I went out, he came to help me. I sent everybody back. Leon told mother, "That's one animal Jim will never get alone". I walked out on the field, the cow started to run. I said, "Well, Lilly, what in the worldare you doing out here?" She stood still. I walked up, put my arm over her neck and we both walked along together. When Leon saw it, he said, "I'll be damned". Yes, livestock was the interest of my Grandpa Moses Jex and I often thank the Lord for giving me the same respect for dumb animals.
Garth Ferguson, a neighbor boy, had a pet goat. As our children were going to school, most every time Eileen could run the fastest, but the goat was right behind her.
We were always blessed with good neighbors, Karl and Francis Miller, Orrin and Almira Baird, the Buckleys, Johnsons, Parkers, Poulsons, Kimballs, Bradshaws, Hansens and many others who proved to be good friends and provided many happy hours of association for our children.
Each child born in a home is responsible for a happy memory. As I think of eight being born I will record a few thoughts.
James Lorin: When he was old enough to talk very well, his daddy would sit on the doorstep with him. One night he surprised me with a cute expression. Just as the moon came up behind the high mountains, he said, "See Daddy, the moon is on". For a long time he reminded us of its appearance in a like manner. Lorin was always musically inclined. He learned from his mother to play the piano at a very young age, and brought joy to many with his talent. He could also play other musical instruments. It seems he was always involved in the plays and mucsical things at school. Lorin married LaNeeda Nielson of Marysvale, Utah. They have raised a wonderful family of boys.
Frank Richard: He was our second boy. His arrival brought pride to his father. He was named after both of his grandfathers. He was a very short, cotton headed child, and felt at home with older folks. One day he came home with a few words. Their meaning surprised his parents. Trying hard to change his trend of thought, I sat by him and asked him just why he said such words. He looked at me straight in the eye and said, "Daddy, they get in your mouth and you have to say them out".
Frank's 6th birthday was on a Saturday. He got up and went to the bathroom and washed, came out all dolled up and said to his mother, "What shirt shall I put on?" She said, "Put on the one you had on yesterday, you don't need a clean shirt". He said, "Well, if I'm going to school, I need a clean shirt". She said, "You're not going to school, you can't go yet". He spent almost all day long saying, "I wish I had never been born, six years old and can't go to school".
At the time I had my plumbing business, Frank was always ready to follow his dad on the plumbing. Just to try and catch him sometimes I would say, "We'll do a little job here and we'll just do this and that", but Frank was a chap just like his father..he planned his work ahead of time. As through the years I suppose some of the greatest achievements have been made by Frank where he has worked in different places, BYU, Alpine School District, and in our own business he was there, and he stayed with me while Lorin was on his mission.
The two boys were different. I've seen Lorin, he could take a play the piano and enjoy it, but the smell of opum we had to use in the plumbing business, I've seen Lorin turn deathly sick and loose his meal because of the smell. He took up with music, he was the highlight of music.
The boys both went to the same mission, the East Central States. Both left from Manavu Ward.
Frank married Elsie Farrawy of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. They have six wonderful children, four boys and two girls.
Eileen Elizabeth: Our first girl, being so hard to get her attention when she sat on my knee. It took a long time to get her to give her daddy a kiss. Ready to be on the go, I would say, "Kiss me and then you can go". In a hurry she would lay her face against my cheek, then slip to her feet and run.
Eileen has always been with her mother. You never see her any place but what she was close to her mother. Different times after her mother had done a big day's work, it would be customary for her to say, "Well, come on Mom, go to bed, call it a day, or make Marinda a pair of britches and call it a day".
The thing that is interesting about Eileen as she got older she worked in different places. She was an experienced waitress, and very quick and very apt. But the thing that she had was perhaps quick in saying something that she was sorry for. But I don't remember a person that could forget quicker than Eileen could.
Eileen married Paul Peay from Provo, Utah. They are the parents of two children, Ronald and Roberta. Roberta passed away when she was two years old. Ron is my oldest grandson and an outstanding young man.
Betty Louisa: She was named after both of her grandmothers. Being so full of fun and adventure, often hanging by her feet from a treetop, yelling, "Daddy, Daddy". About as soon as a change could be made she was in another tree.
Our smiling Betty. I think of Betty and revert back now to the place of her childhood where she was born. She was the first one born in the little brown house at 1050 N. 1st E. in Provo City, Utah. The place was surrounded by apple trees, prune and cherry trees. It was a very common occurance for Betty to be up in the tops of one of those trees, with her legs slapped over the limbs and her head hanging down, with her hair hanging down, and all her clothes over her body, would yell out, "Daddy!". I would look at her and yell, "Get down out of that tree". She would soon be out of the tree and in another.
One day the wind was blowing a gale, I don't see how a chicken could have stayed on top of the barn, but there was our Betty on top of the barn, the wind a blowing her clothes and her hair. She saw her daddy come out of the house and yelled out, "Daddy". And I said, "Get down out of that barn". Smiling Betty, I often called her, and I think we can all say amen to that today.
Betty married Ralph L. Sharp of Thornton, Idaho. He was a missionary companion to Lorin. They are the parents of six boys and two girls. They are all very interested and active in the gospel.
Mary Ellen: She most generally caught sight of the first dandelion in bloom that her mother could have a centerpiece on her table. She maintains a desire for little ditties.
We know Mary, all of us. Today the life of Mary is very essential to all of us because of her great achievement as being one of the members of the General Board of the Sunday School of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But reverting back to her life, it seems as though Mary was always somewhat a reserved girl. But you know, we had a little stream of water near the little brown house where the girls were born. The girls used to go up there and swim and Mary came in contact with some Poison Ivy. For a long while she suffered with the occurance of that experience. But it seems as though through the years she has been a peacemaker, one that could balance things out with her kind thoughts.
Mary was born in the little brown house. I picture different scenes of the little brown house, the Saturday night baths, the clothes lines filled with clothes and dresses for our girls, the garden, the animals, and the many flowering fruit trees. It is nice to remember that it stood in the Northwest corner of the present George Albert Smith Fieldhouse on the University campus. We had tried to get all of our children to take music lessons, but it seems like they didn't take to the piano much until they grew older. But as they grew older they took up their music.
Mary is now married to Joel M. Jolley of Tropic, Utah. It seems like Joel was born down among those beautiful canyons. There must have been a lot of things that have developed in his life that have given him the personality that he has. They have a nice family of four boys and three girls and they are musically inclined and very busy.
Margaret Ann: She was no doubt a great deal like her Aunt Ann Jackman, rather quiet, but could show appreciation very quickly. She stepped out just a little bit different. She had a voice that responded to training very quickly. She was given voice culture and became a very fluent singer. We have all enjoyed the singing voice and the musical talent of our Margaret. She is quite a personality. Margaret to me is just like my mother, Grandma Louisa Jex. I've known her to stay up all night preparing flowers for burials. She was a great decorator, she enjoyed arranging things, and as I see Margaret engaged in flowers, her apt way of doing things stirs my memories.
Margaret married Albert Moyes from down at Beaver, Utah. She met him while they were both going to school at Logan. They have a nice family of five boys and three girls (one of their girls, Wendy, a twin to Dale died soon after birth). They are all very engrossed in missionary work, so there is lots to be thankful for.
Rhoda Joyce: Our little Joyce was always a small child. Often after beginning to run around would tip on her toes as she approached you. Yes, it was quite a sight. Her health was bad and she spent eight months in a bed that was taken from room to room, as it had wheels for easy moving. Her painful hours caused from Rheumatic Fever were often relieved as she cuddled in bed with her daddy, who near lost his left leg with an infection call Strep Poison. No doubt such a seige caused a tender spot in her father's heart.
Joyce was named Rhoda after her grandmother Betty Hiatt's half sister, Rhoda, who she found 72 years after being separated from her people. Joyce was born after her mother had made a trip back to Missouri with Grandma Betty Hiatt to find her folks.
Joyce married William Bernile Westenskow from LeGrande, Oregon. They have a wonderful family, four boys and two girls. The thing I would like for you to remember, she took to the piano. She played it a great deal, so her father and mother's request was that Joyce should have our piano. That's the thing I've enjoyed about our children, they have been well satisfied with the way we have tried to do things.
Celia Merlene: Then comes our number eight child. Frank had wanted a little brother and was so disappointed at having another sister that he wouldn't even look at her when she was born. She was named Celia after her mother. She was a child that sure took her time, not caring to talk. We took her to Dr. Garn Clark because she didn't seem interested in learning to talk, and he just laughed and told us that she was perfectly alright, but she had so many to wait on her and do her talking for her that she got what she wanted the easy way. But, my oh my, when she got started, the home received much excitement.
She was always a child that liked to do things. Whenever it rained you could find her outside with an umbrella, singing to the top of her lungs.
The thing that always interested me with Merlene, she was born on the birthday of my friend and missionary companion, Alonzo E. Cox. It's nice to remember Mr. Cox never had any family. They had one child and it died shortly after birth, so they always more or less treated our children as their own, especially Merlene. So many family occasions we have had with the Cox's. Many a time we would pack our lunch, load our kids in the back of our old truck, and drive to the Cox farm in Mapleton to eat with them down by the little pond they had. On the way we would drive over a certain bump in the road that made the kids squeal. They called it the "Tickle Belly". As each of our children got engaged it was customary for them to take their husband or wife to get the approval of the Cox's.
Now Merlene married Erest Turner, another boy from LeGrande, Oregon. There must be something about the state of Oregon that gets in the Jex blood. We call him "Mike". He is quite a large fellow, just as big hearted as he is big. They have had six children, two boys and four girls. Their first little boy just lived one day. Merlene had gone to the hopital with an attack of appendicitis and they had to operate. The baby was born too early to survive. They named him Russell Jex Turner, but always called him "Rusty".
Different sets of twins have been born in our family. Merlene has a pair of twin girls. Mary has boy and girl twins. Margaret also had boy and girl twins, but only the boy (Dale) lived. His sister, Wendy, only lived one day and passed away because of a heart condition at birth.
Life in general has been interesting. Thanks to our wonderful in-laws throughout the the years.
Just a word or two about my sweetheart and bride, Celia C. Hiatt. I first met her when she graduated from the 8th grade. Her sister got sick and she went to live with her sister and brother-in-law, Lene and Julius Stone and their three children. While she was living there she completed a lot of her work toward her schooling. She did some paper work for her brother, Leon, and his friend. She helped them write their papers and they graduated. They both told me later on that if it hadn't been for Celia, they never would have made it.
Your mother and I commenced our real courtship in 1911 when she was sixteen. We courted for a few years and our plans were in the making to get married in 1914 when the desire came to my mind to take a mission, because I felt that I wasn't good enough for the little girl who became my bride and the mother of our posterity.
The story of my call has already been repeated. Celia and I soon made other plans, but the mission was so paramount in our lives we couldn't think of anything else. We hated to part with each other, but we felt it was important for our future together.
She waited for me for 27 months while I had my mission in New Zealand. It was hard to carry on a correspondence. In those days it took two months to receive a letter. We had to get the old letters and read them to see if their were any questions.
We were married four months to the day from when I got back from my mission.
We all become known by different names, or little sayings as we live together as bride and groom. Ours were Celia and Jim. If you knew the heart of me as I know the thought of you, we could laugh and play together, how happy we would be. As a family unit we tried to maintain a few habits to live our years as one. Life can be a beautiful garden to care for and to enrich the bonds of wedlock. Folks, do not live as one without learning the most important habits of each other, for such reasons there can be smiles as well as tears to display our happy moments.
A man can house or stone, but it takes a mother's sweet spirit to make it a humble home. Our little home in Spanish Fork where Lorin was born, the one there where Frank was born, then on the ranch in Idaho, Bingham County, where Eileen was born, and the humble home nestled in the trees of the BYU campus have contributed so much to the family circle as it has expanded into eight children that were given to my sweetheart and me. As your years add up, just picture a few endeavors of others and do not place too much value on earthly interests. We were never rich in material things, but we were wealthy in home and family.
We spent much of our time taking our children to be with either her family or mine. I always felt that “her people were my people and my people were her people”. Many a times we have put our children in the back of our truck and driven to Idaho so she could visit with her sisters Ann and Delia and her brother, Wilf and their families. Sometimes I would come in from work with a feeling that we should go to Idaho, so we would get things ready and be on our way, only to find when we got there that we were needed for some reason and we were blessed for following the feelings (or promptings) that I had.
It seems as though we never did very many things away from our children. We took them places with us. Now and then we would go on a little trip with George and Eva Hickman, or Marguerite and Angus Taylor, who had the same wedding Anniversary as we did, or we would go to Salt Lake to the Temple as often as we could. But it seems that most of the time we were involved with the many activities of our children.
All of these things, folks, are building factors for family life. She has stood by me through the years, and I tried to do my part, so our children all had the privilege of being born under the covenant, because we were married in the temple. Never feel that your mission is ended because you will have to face it some time or another.
My bride always worked along with me, in the garden, in the home, and everything we did together. She was very handy at sewing, making many clothes for our girls. She learned cooking from her mother, who was a very good cook, fixing many “Southern” dishes from North Carolina, biscuits, sweet potatoe pie, parsnips, chicken and dumplings and many other delicious things. Celia helped with the money for our children’s education by taking in boarders. It seems like there was always “company”, either relatives, children’s friends, or college students eager to spend time at the home, where they never went away hungry, either physically or spiritually.
Celia was exceptionally musically inclined, playing the piano and teaching our children to play and to sing together. We always sang with our children as we rode along the highways in the car. She was very apt at helping them with their studies and giving them ideas to help with the extra activities that were so much a part of their lives.
It seems like Celia’s hands were never idle. When we were planning for marriage before my mission her hands were busy tatting for home planning. So often I found her with a pin in her mouth and a tatting shuttle in her hands. I often found that I had one of her tatting shuttles in my pocket, but it didn't matter, she had other shuttles which she used so she could keep busy. She made tatted lace that she sewed on all of our curtains. The Lord told us His Glory is Intelligence and we tried to plan for building our future home by learning His great plan.
It was our desire to give our children the best of everything we could. No sacrifice was too great for her to make for her children. She had a great deal of faith and courage. It was very hard on her to have our two boys go into the Navy during the Second World War, and to have Eileen and Betty's husbands be gone overseas soon after the birth of their first babies. We made a home for them and their babies for better than two years, and they were a joy to all of us.
My sweetheart was a support and comfort to me all of her days. We had our struggles and our difficult and hard times, but we did not lack for affection and real companionship, for which I feel to thank the Lord.
Each day has its problems
As they unfold one by one.
The little tasks we accomplish
Are the things we well have done.
Angry words we are releasing
Should never leave our lips with haste,
For they often change our thinking,
And can be seen upon our face.
Today I should be pleasant,
As the evening rays of sun,
Giving kindness to another,
Before the setting of the sun.
Then when another day
Each task we must begin,
With love and devotion to each other,
For we just live and live again.
After 45 years side by side, the passing of my bride, your angel mother was bound to make a deep impression on your father's years. 15 December 1961 will ever be a sad day to face as my years unfold. We had just left the wedding reception of her nephew's boy, Duane Hiatt, at his bride's home in Spanish Fork. We were there with Joyce and Vernile, and Celia's brother, Leon and his wife. Celia had seen many of her nieces and nephews and had a nice visit with many of them. We walked down the walk between beautiful Christmas Trees on this snowy night. As I helped her into the car, she slumped over on her brother's shoulder. We thought she might have fainted, but she had died instantly, without any feeling of pain or suffering, her heart just stopped beating. Death was sweet to her, but no one will ever know how hard it was on me to lose my bride and sweetheart so suddenly.
The children and their companions came to Provo as soon as they were notified of their mother's passing. All of them spent the night at our home. We were all so stunned and heartbroken to lose the association and companionship with our dear one in so sudden and unexpected way. They stayed and helped make the arrangements for her burial and funeral.
We had a viewing at our home across the street from the Manavu Ward, then her older grandson's carried her across the street where we held a lovely funeral service for her. There were so many friends and family who came from far and near. There were beautiful flowers and hundreds of cards, notes and letters received from friends, relatives, and scores of former BYU students who had lived at our apartments or had been friends of our children. Everyone who knew her loved her as the great lady she was. We placed her in the Provo Cemetery on 19th December 1961. Parting with my sweetheart was the hardest trial I have ever had to bear.
The Lord being very close to me I will carry on being a parent to those of you have enriched our home of humble endeavor. To date finds me at the start of my days activities in the temple where I have found such a comforting place to settle at times an unsettled mind. The beautiful temple so near stands as a beacon light to the Lord's children. I would suggest we all try to go there often.