Life History Sketch of Carl Leslie Williams
Contributor: Will Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
Life History Sketch of Carl Leslie Williams
(Some of the following excerpts of the life of Carl Leslie Williams are taken from the book “HISTORY of IDAHO”, Vol. iii, page 355. Published in 1959)
Active participation in the public life of Idaho has marked the career of Carl Leslie Williams who started farming and livestock raising nearly forty years ago, and now owns and operates a large acreage of land in the Moreland area west of Blackfoot.
The son of Joseph and Alfreda Anderson Williams, Carl Leslie Williams was born March 19, 1897 at Taylorsville, Utah, which was the birthplace of his father. His mother was born in Augerum, Sweden. The following children were born to this couple: Joseph Elmer, Jennie (Frame), Carl Leslie, Delpha (Thomas), Lawrence Alden, Mildred (Junkin) and Warren Ferris Williams.
Mr. Joseph Williams, Sr., moved his family to Idaho in 1912. He was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serving on a mission to the southern states and was a member of the Blackfoot Stake High Council.
Carl Leslie Williams attended public school in Taylorsville, Utah, and Moreland, Idaho, the Brigham Young College and the Utah State Agricultural College at Logan, Utah. His farming and livestock career began in Eastern Idaho with a homestead. He operated his father’s and uncle’s sheep outfit and later became a partner. After his father’s death he and his Uncle Parley purchased his father’s interests, and he later purchased his Uncle Parley’s share and acquired some ranch property. By 1936 he had increased his sheep operations to 6,000 head of ewes with range rights. Later when the County auctioned off desert land for taxes he bid in large tracts of land, having great faith in the underground water supply of the area.
After World War II he purchased well drilling machines, heavy land leveling and farming equipment. He drilled the wells, made the ditches and leveled the land, and put large tracts of land under irrigation. He sold several thousand acres which are now producing farms. He has one of the largest farming operations in Eastern Idaho. Having great faith in the future of Idaho, he is still developing more land.
In World War I he served with the 62nd Infantry, 8th Division. He has been active in the Latter-day Saint Church, serving in the Sunday School, Mutual Improvement Association, and Bishopric of the Moreland Ward and member of the Blackfoot Stake High Council, for ten years.
Mr. Williams has been active in Politics. He has taken keen interest in many matters touching the welfare of the community. He has served on school boards, and was director and vice president of the Eastern Idaho Grazing Association, for many years. He was president of the Peoples Canal Company, the Moreland Pump Association, and was one of the organizers and first president of the Upper Snake River Underground Water Users Association. He was a director on the Idaho Reclamation Association board, and served briefly as a member of the Blackfoot Chamber of Commerce.
On October 18, 1917, at Logan, Utah, Mr. Williams married Jennie Lindsay, daughter of Warren Parks Lindsay and Susan Eveline Welker who were among the early pioneers of Idaho. Mr. Lindsay was born in Kaysville, Utah, July 22, 1862 and Susan Eveline Welker was born in Bloomington, Idaho, March 19, 1866. He moved to Bear Lake, Idaho when he was but two years old and in 1897 moved his family to Moreland, Idaho, in the Snake River Valley, helping to develop that area. Mrs. Jennie Williams was born in Moreland, Idaho, January 10, 1898, and is an active member of the Latter-day Saints Church, having worked in all the Auxiliaries in both Ward and Stake and served for seven years as Stake Primary President.
Mr. and Mrs. Williams have a son and a daughter: William Ray, born September 3, 1925 at Twin Falls, Idaho (he died in a farm accident on April 10, 1967), and Gwendolyn, born November 27, 1929 at Boise, Idaho.
William Ray Williams served in the armed forces from January 1945 until April 1946, in California and the Philippine Islands. He served his church in the Western Canadian Mission from 1947 to 1949, as Stake Sunday School Superintendent, and was a member of the Bishopric of the Riverside Ward. He married Enid Robertson Their children are: Carolyn, born June 8, 1950, died Mar 11, 2006; LeGrande Robertson, born January 3, 1952; John Dewey, born June 23, 1953; Susan, born November 8, 1955; Douglas Ray, born February 6, 1958; Roger David, born October 16, 1959; and William Mark, born January 1966.
Gwen married Larry E. Wheeler, son of Austin and Lurlean (England) Wheeler. Larry served in the armed forces in the Philippine Islands at the end of World War II. They have three children: Steven Larry, born October 22, 1949, died May 23, 2000; Leslie Ann (Dance), born April 16, 1951, died Mar 28, 1984; and Darrin James, born February 16, 1965.
C.L. Williams died at St. George, Utah on March 19, 1979. He passed away on his 82nd birthday. Throughout his life he had a unique relationship with medical doctors. They always seemed to think that it would take longer for him to recover from his many accidents and operations than it actually did; he seemed to know he would heal faster than doctors predicted. During his life he suffered from deafness in his left ear. Accidents throughout his life left him with a broken leg, broken foot, broken collar bone, broken fingers; his right hand was smashed by an electric post pounder. He suffered various injuries from accidents with horses—he believed he could break any horse, even the wildest ones. He had a hip replacement, cataracts removed, an operation on both hands to remove scar tissue growth so he could straighten his fingers, a stomach hernia caused when the abdominal wall was torn as he was pulled up out of a water well.
He believed in hard work and in being self-reliant and that you got out of life just what you put into it. He liked to quote a few lines of verse he learned from his sister Delpha, “We are not here to play, to dream, to drift; there is hard work to do and loads to lift; shun not the battle; face it, ‘tis God’s gift.” When he heard the old saying, “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch”, he remarked, “If you don’t count your chickens before they hatch, you won’t set the hen.” This reflected his philosophy that at times you have to take chances in order to succeed.
C.L. Williams’ attitude toward life is best stated by the following two poems:
The man who never had to toil to live,
Who never had to win his share
Of sun and sky and light and air,
Never became a manly man
But lived and died as he began.
Good timber does not grow in ease,
The stronger wind, the stronger trees.
The further sky, the greater length.
The more the storm, the more the strength.
Do not pray for easy lives—
Pray to be a stronger men.
Do not pray tasks equal to your powers—
But powers equal to your tasks.
Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle,
But you shall be a miracle.
Every day you shall wonder at yourself
At the richness of life which has come to you
By the grace of God.
Building Fence with Grandpa (Carl L. Williams)
Contributor: Will Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
By LeGrande Williams – June 15, 1991
The summer vacation was about at the half-way point and the excitement of a new job experience was long worn off. Like the morning crow of a rooster I heard Grandpa call downstairs to us. “LeGrande! John! Are you going to sleep your life away?” I hurried to get five more seconds with my eyes closed before rolling out. Grandpa waited patiently as we finished breakfast and moved out the door.
Building fence was fun in a way, even after finishing several miles already that summer, there was a feeling of accomplishment every time we set a corner post. This morning we picked up where we had left off the day before on some bottom ground bordering Merthan Ellis’ farm. Setting posts wasn't as difficult for us as it might have been because we made use of a post pounder that was mounted on the front of a tractor. It was fashioned like a small pile driver. A large weight was lifted by hydraulic power up a rail and release when it reached the top of its stroke. The pounder could cycle every four or five seconds and in about eight or ten strokes slam one of the sharpened wooden posts a couple of feet into the ground.
Grandpa would place the next post in line with the others and my job was to position the tractor up to the post and hold the brakes while John held the post against the driver in a vertical position. Grandpa ran the hydraulic valve that cycled the driver. We had pounded in a lot of posts so far that summer without a hitch. I guess the more routine a job gets the more care should be taken to stay alert and pay attention to what you are doing.
Grandpa had always lived a charmed life I thought. One time while trying to break a horse, he had gotten tangled up in the lead rope while the horse went wild and all that happened was all his clothes were stripped off leaving him alone naked with the horse. In the early days of drilling irrigation wells in the valley he would be let down the wells on occasion to try to snag onto lost drilling tools or check out other problems. He was known to take chances with life and limb many other times in order to “get the job done” and nothing serious ever happened. One time though when he was being reeled back up a well hole he got stuck and tore some muscles in his stomach. From then on he sent Uncle Jack who was a small kid for his age down every time they had a problem.
Most people in the community would agree that grandpa lived a charmed life but nobody knew better than John and I after the time he decided to get rid of some old dynamite that had been left in the old sheep camp for years after he had drilled his last well. “Old dynamite gets unstable and dangerous so we better get rid of this,” he said. We helped him pile it up on the ground outside the sheep camp and watched as he lit it on fire. He then joined us a couple hundred feet away behind the pickup truck for it to go and when it didn't right away my brother Doug stood up to see why. At that moment she blew and knocked him to the ground and broke the windshield out of the truck. One other incident angels were surely watching over him. He was driving down the road when one of his hired men pulled out in front of him with a tractor and front-end loader. The loader was positioned at windshield level and took the roof clean off his new Chrysler Newport and sent him careening off the road just shaking him up a bit.
Well Grandpa steadied the post with his hand on the top and with the other hand reached for the hydraulic control. Up when the pile driver to the top of its stroke. Grandpa’s eyes were looking down at the point of the post and his mind was obviously somewhere else. He was probably thinking about the good life he had had, the blessings of the two good grandsons that were with him helping him fence the desert of maybe he was thinking back on his wrestling days in college how he went undefeated, or maybe he was thinking of the times when he and his brother did exhibitions at the county fair by braking bricks on their stomachs with sledge hammers, I don’t’ know. In one more second though he would come to reality.
The pile driver started down with all the mercy of a machine and landed smack on his hand. The steel of the post driver always made a ringing sound when it hit and the post would answer back with a deep thud. There was a different sound this time I’m sure but I didn't notice from the seat of the tractor, John said that he saw grandpa’s hand up there steadying the post but that he didn't say anything because he just thought that Grandpa would surely take it off before he pulled the valve lever. I didn't know anything had happened until I saw Grandpa holding his hand up to his stomach still in the yellow cotton hired hand gloves he always wore. He never yelled out or jumped up and down or ran around in circles like I would have done. How could he let that happen, I thought, just pound his hand with the driver? I could imagine what his hand looked like inside the glove. The charm continued though, the next day he reported only a sore hand, no broken bones.
I remember thinking as a boy that adults didn't feel pain like us kids did and that when I grew up I wouldn't probably feel tooth aches or ear aches anymore or at least I would be able to stand the paint or ignore it. I don’t’ know if he went to the doctor, he usually did treatments on himself with his Nuns Black Oil, anyway building fence continued while we gained a lot of respect for the mindless machine.