Monday, February 22, 2010
Happy 75th birthday Grandpa!
Here's a little short memory for you that, in my mind, characterizes so much of what is good in my Grandpa.
Our family likes to visit Gibson Dam. It's beautiful and isolated and not too far from where I grew up. Grandpa and Grandma Heagy come often because they love being in the mountains. One time, I must have been in junior high or high school, our family was watching the fury of water at the base of the dam. Grandpa convinced me that it would be okay for us to actually walk underneath the enormous double jets of water that shot out hundreds of feet from the dam, creating the entire Sun River. The whitewater always terrified me, and the roar of the water shooting out of those two pipes was thunderous, but right under the spouts, the rocks were high enough out of the water that you could walk across them if you kept right next to the wall of the dam. CRAZY! Not only was it terrifying to be underneath that much fast-moving water--I felt like it could have taken my head plumb off if I stood up straight--but the rocks were slippery and wet and water and spray dripped down on you. So of course, we did it, and Grandpa came with. When we reached the other side there was a small rocky bank against a cliff wall. We waved at our family, looked around, might have stacked a few rocks into a little cairn to prove we were there, and then scrambled back under the jets. Well, when we got back, much to our surprise, we had company. Some men in uniforms were there to chew us out. Park service? Dam employees? I don't remember. But they chewed Grandpa out with a stern warning never to do that again.
I wasn't really afraid of those guys, after all, I had just defied death. So what I remember most of all was my Grandpa's face. So polite and respectful but still smiling with those white Hollywood teeth.
Somehow I suspect that there have been a few more rock cairns on the far side of the dam since that day.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Harriet Betsy Cook Teeples only actually lived in Arizona for five years. She and her husband, William Randolph Teeples, settled in Pima, Arizona, which is south of Snowflake. Here is where my GGGrandma Eunice Rosella Teeples was born. While there Harriet took charge of a small store and post office that William built. They kept her very busy and often she had to stay up most of the night to receive the mail.
"After we had been at Pima nearly four years, my husband was taken dreadfully ill with an abscessed liver. After a long illness he died June 5, 1883 at the age of 49 years. His death was a heavy blow to me. I was left alone with five small children. The oldest being a boy of 13 years. [her daughter Beatrice had married by this time]. I was then appointed postmistress and kept it nearly a year, trying very hard to get out of debt and collect from the people who owed us, but made small progress in that direction. I turned the books over to my creditors in the spring of 1884 and they collected; I was very happy to know I was out of debt.
I decided to go back to my parents and friends in Utah. I resigned to post and prepared for our long journey, although I did not know how we were to go as we had no money to go on the train, which was 44 miles from Pima. However, we packed up our wagon and were all ready to start when a young man came along and said, "I will drive your wagon and furnish my own food if you will haul me and my bedding." He was from Utah and was there on a visit. His name was James McClellin, and thus the way was opened for us to come.
My son sold our cow for $40 and we started on the 28th day of April 1884. We traveled four days. In the Magillan Mountains we came to the Black River, which is very deep. As the ferryboat was on the other side, the boys tried to swim a horse across, but the horse and mules all refused to go, so we camped there for four days waiting for help. About ten o'clock on the fourth morning we saw some soldiers coming at the head of 500 Indians who were moving to another reservation. One Indian, who was an excellent swimmer, swam the river and brought the boat back and they helped us across.
We traveled on ten miles to Fort Apache and camped near the Fort that night. Then the next morning we traveled on to Woodruff on the lead of the Little Colorado where my oldest daughter lived and here we rested a few days. Then, leaving her, we started on again and I did not see her again for 10 years. When we came near the Holdbrook Railroad Station we drove into a stream of water and stopped to let our horses drink. When we tried to start again the team could not pull the wagon out of the bottom of the stream as it proved to be quicksand and in trying to get out we broke the wagon tongue. The boys rushed to a farm nearby and got a farmer's team and pulled the wagon out backwards. The young man went to the station to see if he could get a wagon tongue. There happened to be just one tongue there and it fit our wagon. He obtained it and put it on the wagon and we started on our journey again."
Here is a link that includes a virtual walking tour of the current Fort Apache site.
"As we came to Sunset, one of our wagon wheels got out of order. This town had broken up and all the people had moved out except one man and he was waiting for someone to come back after him and his blacksmith tools. He repaired our wagon, but if we had been just a little later he would have been gone.
...We had to go over "Lee's Backbone" again, but I didn't drive this time. When we got over the big mountain and down the river, the ferryman told us we were taking our lives in our hands by crossing the river. There was only a small rowboat to cross in. This the two men rowed and my son held the halter rope and the horses had to swim. They took the boat upstream about a mile and started across, but the river was so rough and the pitching and tumbling timbers frightened the first horse so badly that he snorted, leaped, plunged, floundered, and pulled the boat downstream even with the wagon. I watched all this take place way out in the middle of the river and was so frightened it made me feel ill. I went out a little way from the wagon where I could not see them in the angry waters and I earnestly prayed that Father in Heaven would help us cross this river safely and be permitted to carry on our duty to him. When I arose and went back to the wagon I saw my son on the other side of the river holding his horse by the rope and swinging his hat to me. One fine horse refused to swim and almost drowned.
The river calmed down until the floating timbers were sliding along without a splash. When they came for the wagon I had dinner prepared for them. As they sat down to eat, the ferryman said, "Do you notice how calm this river has become? I have lived here 20 years and I have never seen this happen before. I can't account for it." But I knew why it was. We took the wagon apart and crossed the river nine times in moving our little outfit. The ferryman said he couldn't cross another outfit until the high water was over. But we were across and we went on our way rejoicing."
They continued into Utah, parted ways with James McLellin, and traveled until they were stopped at the Sevier River because of high water and stayed with friends.
"We heard that the bridge at Selma, 20 miles below, would be fixed the next day, so we unloaded our wagon and went there. The bridge was not fixed, but the bridge gang helped us across. We walked across two long logs, which had been put there for a footbridge. Over these the men carried our trunks and bedding and led our horses making them swim. They tied a long rope onto the wagon and pulled it across, then carried my two younger children over. They wouldn't take a cent, shook hands with us, told us good luck and we again went on rejoicing. We stopped at my husband's cousins' home that night and when he saw us coming he threw his cap in the air and shouted, "Hurrah for you! I didn't think you were so lucky!" and I said, "Well, when I make up my mind to do anything and ask for the help of the Lord, I generally do it."
The next day's travel included the incident where Eunice, age three, was thrown from the wagon and badly hurt. You can read about this in an earlier Story Apples posting, Bump in the Road: Eunice Rosella Teeples.
Harriet and her family traveled on and eventually re-settled in Garden city, Utah, where Harriet lived a long life, never again marrying. She lived the last four years of her life in Sun River, Montana, with her daughter Eunice McCann. She died at the age of 89.
It really shrinks history's time line for me when I realize that I knew my great-grandma LaRue McCann Ely who lived near us, and LaRue knew Harriet, her grandma, an honest-to-goodness, called-by-Brigham Young pioneer, crossing the plains as a child and then settling various areas as an adult. That's only two degrees of separation!
I've found that in my life, when things start to get into a really panicky situation but I've done everything I can do, then is the time to sit back and watch the fireworks--the Lord's hand in my life making things way better than I could have imagined or expected. This account really illustrates the fireworks concept for me. Harriet must have had great faith for the Lord to bless her so much and for her to see so clearly "by whose hand [she] was led." This could have been the worst, saddest time in her life, but in this journey alone I count seven separate miracles or obvious blessings from the Lord. Go back again and see if you can find them, then look back in your own life and see if you can find a few more. I bet you will.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
I recently finished reading The Undaunted by Gerald Lund, about the "Hole in the Rock" pioneers who built a trail across Southern Utah's treacherous red rock terrain. Then I had to go back and read Harriet Betsy Cook Teeples' account of being called to settle in Arizona, and her journey.
(Me-->Mom-->Grandma-->LaRue McCann Ely-->Eunice Rosella Teeples McCann-->Harriet Betsy Cook Teeples) Incidentally, Harriet is part of my straight maternal line, all mamas, so I always feel a special connection to these women, much like I do to my Paternal line, where everyone has the last name of Haynes.
I used to work for one of BYU's Academic Vice Presidents. She was from Arizona and her family's joke was that Brigham Young gave her ancestors the ultimatum, "You can go to Arizona or you can go to Hell." When the obedient pioneers arrived, they looked around and said, "I thought we picked Arizona!" Well, I think Grandma Harriet had a similar opinion. She had been living in Holden, Utah, (near Fillmore) when she and her husband had decided to move north to beautiful, green Garden City, near Bear Lake, where her parents lived. They sold out and packed up..."just as Apostle 'Rastus Snow came to Fillmore to call people to go to Arizona. Well, taht was one of the trials of my life, but I did not refuse to go, but I could not leave Utah without bidding my folks goodbye, not knowing that I would never see them Again. So, while my husband was preparing to go to Arizona, I, with my four children started for Bear Lake in a white topped carriage and over the 300 mile journey, my second daughter, then 14 years old, was my teamster. We stayed in Bear Lake three weeks and then returned to Holden and from there we started for Arizona on the 29th of October 1878." She sounds like a pretty determined (read here: stubborn) lady who wasn't afraid to go after what she wanted.
A little background on Harriet before I tell you the rest. At this point in her life she had already crossed the plains with her family when she was three years old, losing her older sister to Scarlet Fever and a baby sister born in Winter Quarters. She had lived in Salt Lake, Manti, Goshen (which was established by her father, Phineas Wolcott Cook) where she was married at the age of fifteen to William Randolph Teeples, shown here. They lived in Salem and then Provo. In 1863, when she was 19, she and her husband and little girl were called to settle the Bear Lake area with her father's family (he was a polygamist). This was a 300 mile journey and has its own stories to tell, another time. They lived there for two years and then moved back about 400 miles south, to Holden, to escape the harsh winters in 1865, where they stayed for the next twelve years. Over this time she had six more children, losing a four year old son when a falling log killed him, her eldest daughter at age fifteen to the measles, and a baby who only lived for a month. So, Harriet and William and their four children were leaving for Arizona at ages 44, 34, 14, 9, 5, and thirteen months. I'm guessing that her daughter Beatrice, at 14, was a lifesaver.
" We traveled past Kanab and Johnson Settlement and on down to Colorado [River]. The people there told us to cook enough food to last 3-4 days for everything near the river was petrified to stone—and we found this true.
As the river was low, they had a ferryboat that would hold one team and a wagon, so the company of twelve wagons all crossed in one day. When we were ready to go over the big mountain called “Lee’s Backbone” we found the road up the side of it to be a series of stone stairs. It was one mile to the top and was so steep that we had to use all the teams on one wagon. At the top there was along a one mile long and very narrow dugway, so very narrow that the wagon wheels would be within six inches of the edge and we could look down and see the steep side of the mountain and see the river more than 500 feet below. I drove a gentle team around this dugway with my baby in my lap.
When we got around the top of this mountain we stopped on a flat place, tied all the wheels and got ready to start down the south side of the mountain. My husband told me to stay and he would come back for me. I stayed a few minutes and then started down. On making a sharp bend around a big rock, one wheel struck it. With much effort I got by this and soon met my husband coming back after me, and he said, “How in the world did you get around that rock?” I told him and he said, “You’ll do!” We camped at the foot of the mountain that night and started south the next morning over very rough roads and wild country. Water was very scarce. We had to haul it in barrels and many times our cattle and horses were very thirsty.
We crossed the Little Colorado River by fording it as the water was very low, but we had to hurry as it had a quicksand bottom.
When we came to Brigham City on the west side of the river we were invited to dinner in the large dining room of the United Order as many of our friends were there. From there we went up along the side of the river passing Snowflake and Showlow Creek and finally on christmas Day we stopped at a place called Cluff's Ranch. We had known the Cluffs in Utah, so we felt wehad some friends there and we pitched our tents there for the winter.
walking arizona is a great blog by John Tanner that discusses several of these sites and their histories, with photos, some seen here. The red cliff picture is part of the trail of Lee's Backbone, which is right next to Lee's Ferry. Here is a little bit from James Tanner's Walking Arizona blog that talks more about this horrible cliffside road.
At the time, future LDS Church President, Wilford Woodruff, who visited this area several times, in his diary described the backbone as "The worst hill Ridge or Mountain that I Ever attempted to Cross with a team and waggon on Earth. We had 4 Horses on a waggon of 1,500 lb. weight and for two rods we Could ownly gain from 4 inches to 24 with all the power of the horses & two men rolling at the hind wheels and going Down on the other side was still more Steep rocky and sandy which would make it much worse than going up on the North side. The trip down the backbone and across the river tested one's resolve to continue the trip. As one weary traveler observed, If Mr. Lee had a backbone as bad as that I surely pity him. It didn't seem possible for the horses to pull the wagons up as the road was so sleep and the boulders so big, and it was just as bad on the dugway on the other side. Everyone who ever came over that piece of road had great cause for thankfulness they were not killed."
Also, there is a restoration project for Brigham City, Arizona, right now, and here is one of the buildings from it. Is it the large United Order dining room? I don't know.
The last picture is of a Reservoir on Cluff's Ranch, five miles from Pima, where Harriet eventually settled. I don't know if it existed at the time or if it is manmade, but it shows the area a little.