The History of Mendon
In the year 1857 the first settlement was founded in Cache Valley. Peter Maughan with quite few families came from Tooele and settled in Wellsville. There was Alexander and Robert Hill, and William Gardner who came with them, and took up claims in Mendon. Alexander Hill made his home a part of the time in Mendon, living in a dugout on the north side of the north or Deep Canyon Creek, below where the Tithing Office is built. In the spring of 1858 the settlers of Cache Valley moved with the rest of the people south. Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Box Elder and Cache County settlers, (these were all the counties their settlers north of S. L.) moved with their families, stock, and all their fixtures, to any part south of S. L. County they desired to stay, some went as far as Sanpete others to Payson, Spanish Fork, Springville, Provo, Battle Creek, American Fork & Lehi.
The cause of this move was mainly the presence of the Johnson Army, who was sent to Utah, on account of false reports of their United States Judges, who went from here to the seat of government, and misrepresented the people of Utah, so much so that President Buchanan sent an army to Utah to set people right, by the point of the bayonet if no other way. The army arrived at Bridger in the fall towards winter, and through the energy of the people in the valley, mustering their forces to check the advancement of the army, and also the great amount of snow that fell just ahead of the army, they were kept from entering the valley until spring, and then they sent a committee to investigate the reports of those judges, and when this committee came to Salt Lake and found the untruthfulness of the judges report, things took a different turn. The army was permitted to enter S. L. Valley, and given Camp Floyd for their quarters, and all the people again returned to their homes. Through the overruling hand of God, the army proved the greatest blessing that could have been bestowed upon the people.
In the spring of 1859, in the beginning of May, Roger Luckham, Robert Sweeten, James G. Willie, Charles and Andrew Shumway with their families, also Charles and Alfred Atkins and families, Peter and Isaac Sorensen without families, really founded the settlement of Mendon. Alex Hill with his sons Alex, James and William, and Peter Larsen came at the same time. They all set to work making beams for their ploughs, and three cornered wooden harrows with wooden teeth, and some of them whose teams were to poor to break land with two yokes put on four yokes of oxen, ploughing one day for one man and the next for the other, then each using their own teams for sowing the land. The country around Mendon presented a strikingly beautiful sight everywhere from the river to the mountains the grass covered the arena, in its most beautiful green array, and the poor teams soon recruited and would run like wild deer on the prairie.
About the time the putting in of the grain was completed, it became necessary for all those families to remove to Wellsville for safety, as the Indians were unreliable. Accordingly all moved with their families to Wellsville, and build houses there. They would (the men) go from there to Mendon to attend to irrigating their grain, some of it had to be watered to make it sprout. There was no improvements made in Mendon until August of the same year when the fort was surveyed and laid out in lots for building. The fort was in the shape of two rows of buildings one on the north and the other on the south side of a six-rod street, the houses on either side facing the street. A four or six rod street ran north and south through the middle of the fort this was the only road through except above or below the fort. 8 rods in width was a lot, there was a street behind the houses, next to this street was corrals, and behind the corrals, stockyard and still behind the stockyard the gardens were located.
It was supposed that each owner of lots where the houses did not cover the eight-rods, would barricade the same against Indian attacks. This however was only talked of but never done.
After spending or celebrating the 24th of July in Wellsville, with stacks of pies made from mountain berries, with plenty of fat beef, & many good things that even in those early days were provided, and a great number of Indians for the second table, and dancing on the dirt floor of the bowery erected for gatherings, including meetings, the Mendon settlers turned their attention to making improvements for wintering. As already mentioned the fort was laid out in August, and logs, which then constituted the only material for building, the settlers could well make use of, was hauled on the grounds and building commenced. The Hills and Sorensen’s completed the first two houses in the fort. Alex and Robert Hill had a small log building on the creek, near where the Tithing building now stands, this was there when the settlers came to Mendon. The wheat was mostly harvested in September, the latest in October which was somewhat frosted, but was used for bread, having to haul it 28 miles to Brigham City to have it made into flour, it turned out 25 bushels to the acre.
Machines, (chaffpilars) came in from the lower valleys, and done threshing, but were purchased by settlers of Cache, none however in Mendon. The threshing this year was done in October.
In the fall of this year the Findley’s and Forster’s arrived, also Ira Ames, Gibson and Winslow Farr, Charles Bird Senior, and most of his family, John Richards and family, however John Richards Junior, was among the comers in the spring of 1859. All the Sorensen family and Andrew Andersen and wife came the same fall of 1859. This constituted about the population of Mendon the first winter after its settlement.
All lived on dirt floors few if any had cooking stoves, the old fashioned baking skillet with coals under it, and the same on top of the lid baked the bread, and although not very convenient the bread is said to be sweeter thus baked.
Private houses were used for holding meetings and as a rule all attended well those meetings both young and old. There had been a temporary organization with Charles Shumway Senior to preside during the past summer, but late in the fall of 1859, Mendon was organized into a ward with Andrew P. Shumway as Bishop. There was no councilors selected for a number of years. William Findley Junior was President of the Teachers Quorum, & was the next in authority to the Bishop.
Early in the winter the settlers set to work getting out logs for building a meeting and schoolhouse combined. Saw logs for lumber was slid and pulled by men from what is called the slide west of town. The snow was very deep hence to brake the road many men hitched themselves onto a log and pulled it to where it would run. Those logs were hauled to Millville to Edwards upright sawmill, from which lumber for [the] floor was obtained, the company then went up Millville Canyon and got out logs for the house. The weather was severely cold, yet the loggers slept out of doors several nights. It did not take long to complete the building, the covering was of dirt, shingles was not seen in Cache at that time.
Dancing was indulged into quite an extent in these early times, and the people enjoyed themselves, without money, which was about as scarce as hen’s teeth. The dances was generally gotten up by quorums, the quorum paying the music, all being invited to take part in the dance. The picnics was not always good as groceries were scarce, and many old country people had not been accustomed to cooking, still there was many picnic parties. The winter passed, the people had to get most of their wood where snow was 5 feet deep.
In the spring of 1860 the Gardner’s & Hancock’s, and Bakers made their homes in Mendon, and well it was that numbers increased, as a big labor this year had to be completed, there was also other families, Edward Wood and others. The land in near vicinity of town was first claimed, then it became necessary to make a dam on Gardner’s Creek, three miles south of Mendon as it would be impossible for the few who had to water their land from the Gardner’s Creek as it was then called to make it alone. It was thought right that those who had taken lands on the creeks where there was no dams needed should help make this big dam, as it was not considered safe to locate Mendon or to settle permanent without the number that now had taken up claims, consequently all agreed to work until the dam was completed, half working one day and the other half the next day. The dam was built and water in the ditch in good time for irrigation, to the great disadvantage of the builders the dam broke away, although much discouraged, for it was a heavy piece of work, yet they took hold with a will again and made the dam this time strong enough to stand, but the grain suffered from drought and was consequently not heavy this year.
The people busied themselves with fencing in the big field, braking up land and building log cabins with dirt roofs, willows or split quake asp sticks for covering, if anyone was well enough off to afford lumber, they were considered above par.
The Indians committed depredations by running off horses and cattle, much guarding had to be done by the settlers and at times it was not safe to go to mountains or hills for wood or timber with out they were several in company and then it was necessary to carry guns with them.
There was nothing of unusual interest occurred during the fall or winter of 1860. Clothing was not very plenty, and they did not spend very much of their time in putting on style. A calico dress answered well for winter parties or a homemade dress spun and colored, without a store to go too to buy the coloring but it had to be gathered from the flowers or herbs of the field or prairies, still clothing was more plentiful now than they had been 2 years previous before the army came to Utah, but still they were compelled to haul their grain as far as Salt Lake City, to exchange it for the winter outfit of goods and groceries and the latter being used exceedingly sparingly.
At this time there was no dry farming carried on, as there was not rain enough to mature the grain consequently there was not very big crops raised, if a man raised 4–5 hundred bushels, he was thought well to do. In the spring of 1861 Mendon (for such was the name given at the time of its organization, it had previously been called the North Settlement) was called upon to fit out a team of 4 yokes of oxen and a wagon and teamster to go to Omaha and bring emigrant, who had not the means to purchase a fit out for crossing the plains. Amenzo W. Baker was the teamster; he made the trip and returned with all the oxen he started with.
The schools in those early days were run but a small portion of the time. Amenzo W. Baker was the first schoolteacher, the school and meetinghouse, the only one in town, was fitted with desks all around the sides with long slab benches for seats, or perhaps some planks was used also. Reading, writing, arithmetic and spelling were the main studies. The teacher would hitch up a team when his quarter was out, and gather his pay for teaching, which consisted of wheat flour and what could be got from the people.
The Indians made a drive this year, taking quite a number of cows, some lost their only cow, they took them up Malad Valley. Some of the Minute Company went to rescue the stolen property. Bradford Bird, William and Alex Hill, Joseph Baker and one or two others make up to posse, they found the Indians among the cedars on the side of the mountain, the boys exchanged a number of shots with them, the Indians had every advantage, hiding behind the trees and firing. Bradford Bird was shot in the leg, but rode his horse home, still it laid him up sometime, the stock was not recovered, they had hid them among the cedars.
In the fall of this year Cache Valley sent a herd of stock to promontory on the shore of Great Salt Lake, Mendon sent quite a number of cattle, and Peter Larsen was selected from Mendon, to spend the winter out there taking care of the stock. The winter passed in peace, the people had but little trouble, few tears, trials, no lawsuits, all took part as a rule in labors and amusements. The Minute Company were supposed to be ready on short notice, in case trouble with Indians should arise. There was regular organized companies in the valley and each settlement had a company of at least ten, they all met for drill at appointed times, sometimes at Logan, Hyrum or other places. It was of great importance, for defense in a new settled country. On one occasion they was ordered to Logan, as trouble seemed inevitable with the Indians, they the Indians came down the Providence bench, and seemed very angry, but serious trouble was avoided, much to the credit of President Peter Maughan, to whose wise and farseeing course of dealing with the red man may well be attributed the saving of life in Cache Valley, he would always adopt the plan of feeding rather than fighting them.
The spring of 1862 was the latest, or as late as any since the settling of Cache, the driest land was ploughed in latter end of April, 2 or 3 days before May, the wet land was much later being ploughed but it was a good season for grain, in the spring the ground was so full of water that a creature would mire anywhere in the prairies. Two teams was this year sent to Omaha, to bring the poor, Peter Larsen and Isaac Sorensen, went as teamsters, returning after a six months trip with all the oxen they started with, the fit out for the journey was very plain, bacon and flour, a few pease for coffee some butter and eggs (which soon spoiled) was all that was furnished and that was used for sickness while camping on Hams Fork where the company stopped 11 days making crossings. There was scarcely any irrigating needed this year all the streams were high till late in the summer.
Bishop Henry Hughes settled in Mendon this year, much of the threshing this year was not done until spring of 1863, the grain thus remaining in the stack all winter.
Late in the fall of this year, 1862, father Graham was killed by a grizzly bear on Muddy Creek while attempting to cut willows. Andrew Shumway was with him, he saw the bear spring on Graham; he drove to town as fast as possible. Most all the men turned out with guns and had quite an adventure with the bear who came near killing others, so close were they that a man Dan Hill Senior of Wellsville pushed his gun down the bears throat, just then James Hill shot the bear, he was brought to town. A cub or two also was captured.
President Brigham Young was Governor of Utah till 1858. Cummings was appointed to succeed President Young, Cummings was a fair minded man treating all over whom he presided alike and with much fairness, his worst fault was drink, under these conditions the people enjoyed seasons of peace and moderate prosperity, spreading into many new valleys, however Mendon made but little progress in real estate improvements while dwelling in the fort, but had real enjoyment, they felt quite well satisfied with their conditions and circumstances if they had no carriages or even spring seats to ride on, they had no ironclad notes to face when harvest was over and their grain threshed, none were much richer than his neighbor, consequently there was little or no haughty pride.
Although Bishop Hughes did not make permanent settlement in Mendon until the spring of 1862, he was among the first who came in 1859 looking for a place to make a home, he helped survey the fort in August of that year, also cut hay in the same summer.
1863 was eventful to the settlers of Cache as has already been made mention of, the Indians had been troublesome from the fort settling. A battle had been fought in Smithfield in which two whites and two Indians were killed, and some wounded. A band of horse had been stole from Logan, a company of Minute Men had followed their track three days over extra steep mountains, and got in sight of the Indians, near a pine grove the Indians scattered, and the men had to discontinue the pursuit, as the dense forest protected them. Out of 30 horses 11 was recovered, great was the vigilance of the Cache Valley Militia which was the means of saving from death many who otherwise might have sacrificed their lives, which was the case in most all new settled states and territories.
One thousand Indians came from Oregon and made their encampment on the church farm or afterwards known as college farm, with intentions of chasing all the whites from the valley. The Minuet Company at once prepared, heavy guards was placed around the stock, men in every settlement prepared for any emergency at a moment warning. Subsequently the Indians finding the whites prepared for them, gave up their design, and returned to Oregon. But in the spring of 1863 or rather in the winter for it was in January the P. E. Conner, Commander at Camp Douglas, with 400 men started and went to Cache Valley determined to put an end to Indian depredations, so many having been committed to emigrant companies as well as the settlers in Cache Valley, although as has been said but few lives were lost, yet dangers had so often threatened. Franklin had a narrow escape, a drunken Indian tried to run over a women, she hid under the Indians horse, a man seeing the danger the women was in, shot the Indian, this enraged the whole band who rushed into Franklin, and tried to prevent anyone from leaving the town, to obtain assistance but a messenger was sent to Logan, and by next morning 300 men were in Franklin the Indians on seeing this force was willing to talk and released a man named Mayberry whom they had taken prisoner, and the Indian Chief on leaving said he had been bad and wished Brother Peter Maughan to not tell the great spirit. Maughan said he talked with the Great Spirit but would not promise to say nothing about the Indians. The chief pleaded but Peter Maughan would not consent, so the Indians brought back 100 head of horses they had storle, but kept a great many more which they said they had need of, the settlers was glad to escape as easy as they did when a day before it seemed nothing could prevent much bloodshed.
It was therefore a great relief to the settlers in Cache when Conner with his men, ventured on that arduous trip in the most severe cold, the troops passed through Mendon the frost was intense, and many of the men froze their feet. There was 400 or more Indians, and squaws and papooses. The soldiers had to ford Bear River; many getting wet, and this was done before daylight in the morning. The Indians was killed except 100 who made their escape, the dreaded Chief Bear Hunter was among the killed. Many of the troops was killed and many severely wounded, the wounded on their return stayed overnight in Mendon, the people doing all in their power for the comfort of the men who many of them presented pitiful sights, but this checked the Indians, although they accused the settlers of assisting the soldiers in their destruction, yet they dare not renew hostilities having been taught a very severe lesson.
The settlers experienced much relief from this time, and felt their flocks and herds much more secure than they had previously done.
Two teams was sent to the frontiers this year after emigrants, Ralph Forster, and Jasper Lemmon were the teamsters. The spring of 1863 was very early in February, the stock lived out, the ground was dry in the opening of spring, but rain descended and there was an abundant crop, to reward the toiling farmer.
In 1864, after a five years life in a fort where a splendid lesson had been taught and learned, it being really necessary to love the neighbors, there doors being only half speaking distance apart, which however was quite convenient in one respect, as people had to borrow to quite an extent, it was not a great task to borrow and return. But this spring it was considered safe to break up the long string of log fortifications and move them onto their new lots which they had selected, or erect new and better ones. There was many of the houses in fact most of them was rebuilt, on the lots but on being reconstructed presented a somewhat better appearance.
The city was not all surveyed at first the first plat showing but 9 blocks. Three or four more additional surveys was made until the city was complete, and there was no more lots, or lands to be added to the city. The last survey was made in 1870, on account of scarcity of water; the city was prevented from growing larger. It was not a city at this time; it was not until 1870 Mendon was incorporated.
There was not much marked for grain in Cache, and what little chance there was for disposing of grain and butter and eggs, it had to be done a great loss, as the keepers of stores was not satisfied with small profits, not was any merchants in Utah it was in those times merchants would spring up like mushrooms, notwithstanding the transportation of their goods across the plains from Omaha with oxen and mule teams yet so enormous was their profits, that they grew rich in a very short time.
When it is remembered that in these early times, a man would load his wagons with wheat or oats, which had been produced by ploughing the ground with ox teams, watered it and cut it with cradles, bound it by hand, thrashed it with chaffpilars and turned the fan all day for cleaning it, and then hauling it to Salt Lake City and sell it, and obtain less than 2 yards of factory for one bushel of wheat, and all other articles about the same rate. Yet this was done for many years, and often breadstuffs would be scarce before the next harvest would be ready, and sometimes would go as far as Salt Lake borrow wheat for flower, haul it home to Mendon, and in the fall after harvest haul the wheat back to the party they borrowed it from and pay a peck on every bushel interest, and then the party who lent the wheat would be dissatisfied, because wheat raised here was very smutty, and after hauling it to Salt Lake, or farther it would be quite black, and making it impossible for the miller to make good article of flower from the same.
One team and teamster went this year after emigrants; Joseph H. Richards was the teamster. There was general peace and prosperity during this year the grain between ‘64 & ‘65 bringing a more remunerative price than it had in former years. The chance to make some improvements, and set out orchards, while in the fort mostly peach trees was planted, but the settlers soon found that this climate was not adapted for peach raising, hence their attention was turned to apples, plumbs & for many years wild currants and strawberries constituted most of the fruit raised but now a foundation was being laid, for more extensive fruit raising.
1865 came in very favorable much grain was sown this year, more than had usually been sown. No teams was required to go after emigrants this year. The first rock house shingle covering was built this year by Joseph Baker. It was considered quite an undertaking. Also the foundation of the old part of the rock meetinghouse was laid this year. The walls laid up, but it was not covered and finished until the next year. Nothing of unusual interest occurred this year, there was quite a few what in those times was called nice log houses in Mendon.
1866 was an eventful year, after having lived in peace for three years although this could not be said of Cache Valley entirely as in ‘64 &‘65. There was Indian troubles in the valley, in several places, but it never amounted to any engagement most likely die to the wisdom of President Peter Maughan. But this spring it wad deemed necessary for the settlements of the frontier of the valley to leave and join some of the larger settlements. The militia of the valley was by this time more fully organized and general musters, or drills, of generally 3 days was ordered, and all both foot and horse companies turned out for same, one of those musters was held on the bench above Logan where the temple now stands. President Brigham Young from Salt Lake witnessed the muster, as also several others from the same place.
A meeting of all citizens of Mendon was called, all the people turned out. Mendon had been ordered to increase there population as this year the Indians seemed really determined for war, the severe chastisement of General Conner, and the whites aiding the soldiers as the Indians thought, seemed to work them up and to all appearance they seemed bent on mischief, hence this precautionary movement of our leaders, all though the valley, it was really this that always saved the people in Cache from many severe engagements; each man at this time was required to have a least 300 rounds of ammunition.
The meeting decided, or at least each one expressed his willingness rather then to leave Mendon entirely, to give up part of their land and water to admit of more settlers coming in, but to make themselves more safe they determined to build a wall around the meetinghouse which by this time had the roof on, all went to work with a will, some hauling rock, some sand and clay, and many took up the mason trade & worked with a will laying the rock. This wall was so arranged that the Indians could be fired at from any side, in many places, while the women and children was to take refuge in the meeting house, all this work was done in the time for haying, three weeks was spent at this work and it was thought necessary to discontinue labor for the present and get up the hay, as in those days there was no champion mowers nor any other kind, but the old scythe & snathe, to cut their hay and many heavy sweats rolled while the July sun poured upon the sturdy hand farmer, some who had been raised in factories before coming to Utah made extremely hard work of it, and did not succeed in getting up any great quantity of hay. The rock wall was never touched again after haying and harvest was completed, the danger of an attack had become less—and labor on the wall was never resumed.
The meetinghouse was so near completed that the 24th was celebrated in it, and a very enjoyable time was had.
It was in this year that Mr. Thurston (living at that time on the Gardner Creek, afterwards called dam stream) had his beautiful little daughter stole, by Pocatello and some of his Indians. Great efforts were made to rescue the child, but without success, it has since been learned that some Indians started back with the child but it died on the road. The parents were almost heart broken, it was extremely risky at this time to live alone away from any settlement, and was not according to council from the leaders of the people in the valley, who took great interest in the peoples welfare, and it was very unsafe to disobey their council—then as it is now.
Though this Indian excitement did not continue long at this time, yet the people was not to be left in peace, for early in the fall hordes of grasshoppers lit all over the ground, and stripped the late oats that had not been harvested.
Three teams was sent to Florence this year, Charles Bird Jun., Jacob Sorensen and Joseph Hancock were the missionaries this year to bring the poor saint from the frontiers.
While the Indian excitement did not seem so threatening, yet there was great vigilance needed on the part of all. A general muster was held at Logan on July 14th, 1866, General Benson directed all to have 300 rounds of ammunition and good guns and pistols as could be obtained, it was a great saying in those days, trust the Lord and keep your power dry. A system of flag signals was adopted to warn settlers of danger. A white flag was the signal of danger. A red one was to indicate actual hostilities for this purpose the liberty pole was removed from the public square in Logan to the bench east some 90 feet higher, it is now known as the temple bench, the flag could be seen from Providence, Millville, Hyrum, Petersburg, Wellsville, Mendon, Smithfield, Clarkston and Weston. Other places were to be warned by couriers, at these times all settlement had to be guarded much of the time day and night.
1867 brought many very serious reflections, as stated above, the grasshoppers made their appearance in the fall of ‘66, and deposited their eggs, and it was demonstrated that no amount of sloppy weather, nor hard frost weather before of after the snow would destroy the eggs. The people did not know what to do, they felt pretty sure the grain would be mostly eaten by them but the President Brigham Young counseled the people to sow all their lands and so they die, but not with very good results, as was proved in succeeding years, wherever the hoppers lays their eggs there is almost sure to be a poor crop raised. The hoppers hatched out when the grain was very tender, and spring grain was the only kind raised at this time, had there been fall wheat sown early enough to have gotten a good start before the hoppers hatched there might have been much more raised, mostly wherever the wheat had been eaten it was killed and did not shoot up again. Some farmers left patches of land to summer fallow, and this was a great mistake, as ploughing the ground was the only thing that would destroy the eggs. Much exertion was made to protect the grain. But there was not much raised, many having no more than 25–50 bushels, a few done some better, after all it was an advantage that so much land had been sown, the hoppers did not deposit their eggs this fall to any amount, the teams for the poor only went to the terminal of the railroad this year which was about halfway to Omaha. The teamsters was Traugott Stumpf and Lars Larsen and Bradford Bird as night guard. In this year there was more improvement in building than had been before, it consisted of rock houses most of them laid in clay mortar. There had been a good amount of wheat saved over from the previous year in which the grain crop was heavy, and stock had increased till they were well supplied, although stock did bring but low prices, no one suffered for anything to eat, the council had been for many years previous to save the grain when there was plenty, for times of scarcity this with all other councils given by the body of the church proved a saving to the people.
The people had been counseled by the leaders to stay at home and not go to the mines in Montana and other places, with their flower, but let them come to us and buy from us, which was generally carried out by the people.
The three days drill for this season was held on the plain west of Millville, it was an enjoyable time, and was attended by General Donald H. Wells and other from Salt Lake, there had also been other musters of companies during the summer, but the three days drill brought all together from the whole valley. Although a certain Governor of Utah had ordered these drills discontinued, yet it was not obeyed, as the danger from Indian attacks could not be considered over as yet, during this year several of the frontier small settlements namely Clarkston, Weston and Oxford was abandoned, the settlers seeking temporary homes in Franklin, Richmond, and Smithfield. Andrew Andersen moved to Mendon, he had a home in Clarkston. There was however no Indian troubles of any note but it was probably due to the continual vigilance of the Cache Valley Militia, who done all in their power to protect every place, when danger was threatening.
In 1868, the people was somewhat fearful although not many eggs was in the ground yet when the time came for the hoppers to fly, they did fly, and the air was literally full like a dense cloud, they lit on the wheat, and did much damage to it, the oats was scarcely worth threshing if it had not been for the saving enough to sow, not many oats would have been threshed. There was much more grain raised this year than the previous year it is the fact that Mendon suffered much less than some other settlements, on one occasion Apostle E. T. Benson coming up through the field on a visit to Mendon, remarked, “What has the people of Mendon done to be blessed with so much grain.” The land was all sowed again this year and so it continued every year with the Mendon people. At one time a general fast was called and the people implored the Lord to stay the ravages of the inspects, the hoppers, their prayer was answered and quite a crop left for the people at least in Cache Valley, for the destruction was not alike severe at same time throughout Utah in one county they would raise a pretty fair crop while in an other county it would be destroyed. Potatoes, Onions and other tender plants suffered most, indeed it was a hard matter to raise potatoes, when grasshoppers hatched here they would take them shortly after the [bud] was up and if they came flying they would light on them about the time they were in blossom, then there would not be many potatoes. This was a year for making money, neither before nor since has such wages been made, and the grain was in great demand, bring wheat 3–4 dollars for bushel. Hay also by hauling it to Blue Creek would fetch 50 or 60 dollars a ton, the cause of this was the railroad being built through our valleys, and it was done with quite a rush, a man with team would earn from 10–15 dollars per day. If money had been scarce in years previous to this, it was not so now, but it is an old saying easy made, also easy spent and it seemed to be correct, as no better improvements were discernible in these times than had been before or were done after when everything fell back to its old time before the event of the railroad.
All through the winter of ‘68 & ‘69 people freighted to the promontory, hence amusement this winter was less plenty than usual.
Benson, Farr, and West had a very large contract and many took subcontracts, the work continued all through the winter, which was the mildest that had been known in Cache Valley.
1869 came with an early spring, the winter had been a little unusual, on account of the work on the railroad, quite a number being of the road working and many were freighting to headquarters on the promontory. This spring the overland road was completed in the month of May the last spoke was drove connecting U. P. and C. P. Railroads. There was a big time at its completion.
At the General Conference this spring, A. P. Shumway and Charles Shumway Jun. were called on a mission to England, Henry Hughes president of the teachers’ quorum was appointed in his place. Also this spring the Zion’s Cooperative Mercantile Institution was organized and a branch of the same was organized in Mendon with a capital stock of $6.20 with shares of $20 each. Bishop A. P. Shumway was president, and Charles Shumway Sen. and Charles Bird Sen., and Andrew Andersen directors, and James G. Willie, clerk and salesman in the store. On the departure of A. P. Shumway for his mission, Henry Hughes also took his place as president of the store, and Ralph Forster was appointed vice president and Ralph Forster was appointed president of the teachers’ quorum. This year the grasshoppers were very numerous, and did much damage, about 1/2 crop of wheat was raised, after the completion of the railroad, the price of wheat dropped down again to the old standard, although the mines north made some difference to what it otherwise would have been, much flour was sold for these mines, but the flush times for making big wages was over, and with so little a crop, and prizes lowered, on the grain it was quite a change, but the people felt well as could be under such circumstances, there was always a good hope for better times. Many other settlements fared worse than Mendon some loosing their entire crop, and was compelled to go where there was a chance to earn money for a living. There was a sorrowful event in the month of May of this year, Wm. Findley Jun., one of Mendon’s leading as well as well as trusty and energetic citizens departed from this life, having contracted a severe cold while hauling freight to the railroad. The loss was severely felt by the people of the ward as well as his own family. He had but one son who did not survive him long as he died not very long after his father. Apostle Benson died suddenly at Ogden on September 3rd, of this year, the remains was brought to Logan and interred with much honor.
The three days muster this year too place on the Logan Island on September 20, 21, 22. As usual a good time was had and much appreciated, there was some of the brethren who was careless and did not turn out to those drills but it was as much a duty to muster and drill, and have guns and ammunition, as it was to attend meetings, pay tithing or attend to any other duty.
The Word of Wisdom was preached about this time with much earnestness, the council coming from the head, and it resulted in doing much good, many men who were slaves to tobacco and whiskey discontinued the use of same, and never took up the use of it again. Tea & coffee also was taught to be unhealthy, and a good number quit the use of it.
There was no material difference in the winter of ‘69 and other years [1859–1868] the people had by this time learned to make very nice homemade cloth both for men and women, every family kept sheep which was herded in a big heard in the summer in close vicinity of Mendon and in the winter each one fed their own in their yards, & spinning wheels were to be found in every house, and all the girls could spin, the weaving was partly done at home and partly in other settlements.
1870, in this year Mendon City was incorporated, the first mayor was George W. Baker. While Mendon is much the smallest town in Cache Valley that had been incorporated yet it was considered of importance as the railroad, had reached her borders, and it is a common thing to see with the approach [of] railroads, saloons and other unpleasant establishments, and it was to prevent these getting a foothold that the little city was incorporated, and it was not without good results. Prohibitory ordinances was passed by the city council, prohibiting the sale of any spirituous liquors, although this might not have stood the test of law, yet it served its purpose, as no liquor selling establishments was ever set up.
The spring of ‘70 was early, and much grain particularity wheat was sown, oats was not thought profitable while the grasshoppers was on our borders. The Utah Central Rail Road was built the previous year, and the Utah & Northern was started this year, many worked with great earnestness, as it was expected that they would receive for pay stock in the railroad, this however was never realized, and those that had done work received pay but very small remuneration.
The settlers done the grading, and the company furnished the rolling stock, and it became necessary for the people to sell out to the company, at a heavy loss.
The grasshoppers was very plentiful this year, and the farmers only realized a half a crop.
The School of the Prophets was organized in Salt Lake City this year and a branch of the same started in Logan, there was meetings held every week, Saturdays was the meeting days. All who attended was to be recommended by their bishop and they received a ticket, they were supposed to be observers of the Word of Wisdom, and in general faithful Later–day Saints.
Much work was done on the Utah Northern Railroad this year, work continuing till Christmas. Improvements in real estate progressed but progressed but slowly on account of loss of crops caused by the hoppers, but people did there best to push the railroad into Cache Valley. The Co–op did a good business, and in this respect there was quite a change. People could now sell their eggs and butter as well as their grain, this was much better than hauling it to Salt Lake and realize less for it than they could now obtain right at home. With the completion of the railroad came change of price in goods, so the times were better than they had previously been, in many respects.
Ox teams were now becoming as scarce as horse teams were when Mendon was first settled, times was getting faster and ox travel could no longer be put up with, it must be horse teams if they are ever so small, horses was improving, there was quite a few good teams now, but it was not till many years after this that Mendon got its name so high for good bred horses.
In the spring of 1871 much wheat was sown, but little oats, as a burnt child dreads the fire, the oats had proved to often a nice pastimes for the hoppers. They did not eat them but cut them from the stock & they dropped to the ground. The grain came up and looked splendid, and a fair harvest was realized.
President Peter Maughan, one of the pillars of the church, (for it was said of him that he would rather suffer his right arm to be served from his body than to disobey the councils of his brethren who presided over him) died this year in the spring, and was buried with great honors, he was a father to both red and white man. As proof of this near 200 Indians arrayed in their best uniform, followed the remains of their many years tried friend to the grave also a great concourse of people from all over the valley, followed him to his last resting place.
It was at this time that James B. McKean was appointed Chief Justice of Utah, among old settlers he is well remembered, allowing himself to be influenced by what is called [the] ring, in Salt Lake, composed of apostates & gentiles, whose aim was to influence the Government Agents, the people of the Territory, or really the Mormon people.
In consequence of this Judge McKean did not regard the people, nor the laws of the Territory, but made unjust rulings subjecting Daniel H. Wells and others to imprisonment at Camp Douglas, an appeal was taken from his decision to the Supreme Court or the United States, and McKean’s rulings reversed, thus liberating the innocent, which caused much rejoicing among all the people. Brigham Young was made a prisoner in his own house where he was guarded by U.S. officers for a time, he however enjoyed great liberty as his guard had much respect for him, but the cloud dispersed, and there was again rejoicing for deliverance, so soon brought about. The people of Mendon greatly rejoiced with the rest of the people in the Territory when the news came that President Young was again free, much anxiety was felt in these times by all the people, as the enemies was always on the alert and when one scheme failed, they were not long hatching up another, but in them all our people manifested but little fear, and they were always rewarded by coming our right side up.
1872 found the people of Mendon prospering. The completion of the Utah Northern to Franklin was the main labor outside of the common labor of farmers. Considerable work was done on this road this year although many were not so willing to work as they had previously been, as there was no cash down for work only vouchers & many said the big fish would eat up the little ones, but it was considered a duty to work on the road, and for this reason many continued their work, and the track was laid to Logan by the middle of this winter of ‘72 and ‘73. The Co–op store had done a good business up to this time. They had adopted the system of small profits and quick returns, and proved very successful, goods were offered cheap, and this drew much trade from outside of Mendon. The crops also this year was good, quite a little freighting was done by the Co–op, some two hundred miles north, the store engaged the people to do the hauling. A. P. Shumway had returned from his mission to England and was engaged as clerk in the Co–op store. Charles Shumway also had returned. Andrew Shumway was not reinstated as Bishop, but Henry Hughes remained in his position as Bishop of Mendon. The usual times of meetings and dances was indulged in, although the enemies (as the ring of liberals and apostates were considered by the whole people, and in reality were) seemed to contrive and work up everything in their power to annoy the people, when they could find nothing else mean, they would let criminals free, those of the worst kind, but it did not amount to anything except their own shame for it surely overtook these men in due time At the completion of the Utah Northern into the valley, there was an enjoyable reunion of all who had taken part in the work, consisting of dinners and dances, which was held in several settlements.
1873 was a beautiful spring for farmers, early for cropping and everything generally prosperous. Notwithstanding the order issued by Governor Shaffer, that no more general musters should be held, the people considered it their right according to the constitution, to continue these drills for their own safety to show a front to the Indians in whom they did not have entire confidence as yet, accordingly the 16, 17, & 18 days of October was occupied for general muster, in which as usual a very enjoyable time was had, it was particularly hard beneficial to those men who had hard work to get out of bed in the morning, as the call of the bugle all must be on the ground to prepare for the days duties. However the Indians scares had by this time become almost a thing of the past and the grasshoppers also had disappeared, which was a very thankful relief to the settlers of Mendon as also Cache Valley, although the people did not indulge in farming near so extensively as in after years yet some very good crops were raised and the most of the time there was a market for the grain, the store being a great advantage and blessing not to what they had formerly enjoyed, when the grain was hauled to Salt Lake City, and sold for less, often, than what we could now obtain for it at home.
But it is singular how the back is fitted for the burden it must pack, the people were not heard complaining is what we now would call hard times, but it seemed quite natural. A trip to Salt Lake, a little sugar and coffee to last through the winter, the people was strong, they were happy. The saints had faith in the promises of the Lord through their leaders, and they always proved to be true.
This year Bishop Henry Hughes was called to go on a mission to Great Britain, in those days missionaries calls were not so numerous as they became in after years, hence to be called on a mission seemed quite a task, but Bishop Hughes went feeling well, and Ralph Forster was appointed as acting Bishop during Bishop Hughes absence.
The winter between ‘73 & ‘74 commenced about the 24 of November, and lasted until the middle of April ‘74. It was a time not soon to be forgotten. All the old straw from the sheds some of which had been on there from six to ten years, was taken off and served as food for the stock. As soon as spots on the hills, or low mountainsides would become bare, the stock although poor, would be trailed through the snowdrifts between town and the hill, to find food on those bare hills. Those were hard times as the people was compelled to fed what grain could possibly be spared to the stock to thus save as many as possible, in those days each family had sheep, and these particularly suffered, and became very scabby, but at last the April sun caused the grass to spring up rapidly, and good cheer was once more restored, although the poor stock took quite a while to recuperate.
It is singular that although these extremely bad winters overtakes the people once in 8 or 10 years—yet the people would forget to save their feed after having a few prosperous years, and when the next hard winter would come along, the people would find themselves no better prepared than before, many burning their straw piles. President Brigham Young often counseled the people to take care of their straw, to stack it around the chaff (for in those days there was no straw carriers, but they separated the straw and chaff) and he told them to stack their straw around the chaff, some took the advice, and found it very beneficial, as strew in these scarce times would sell at a good figure.
The usual routine of labor, amusements, meetings labors of Teachers among the people, sociability and hope in Utah’s future greatness, as also advising to plant fruit and shade trees, that our homes may be entriuing characterized this years proceedings, improvements in homes were not so much participated in. The long spell of grasshopper years had quiet an effect on the financial prosperity of the people in Mendon as well as all Cache Valley. Mendon may be said to have been the least sufferers during all these grasshopper years.
The spring of 1874 was very late coming as has already been stated. Winter continued until the meddle of April, but when it did come at last, it brought drying winds, and in an unusual short time the ground was ready for ploughing, which would have satisfied the minds of the long anxious minded farmers, but another difficulty naturally followed the lengthy winter, namely scarcity of feed for teams to do spring work. Everything in shape for feed for stock had been hunted up, and consumed had it been possible to find straw or hay under the dirt covering of the houses, many would have been tempted to get it, this was the first, and perhaps almost the only time, the people some of them a least, adopted the old country style of cutting up the straw with cutting up the straw with cutters manufactured by ingenious farmers, from old worn out cradle scythes.
But the crops were put in the ground, the grass soon being forward enough, give strength to at least do part work. If any one happened to be treated to a double handful of hay it made him fool good all over.
The same spring the Order of Enoch, or the United Order was advocated, and the people was told to make a start and labor together, there was no real prescribed plan to work or to farm too. A preamble was got up. Apostle Erastus Snow was sent to Cache Valley to help on this business. A meeting was held at Logan to which all the wards of the stake or valley for it was not yet organized as a stake, sent representatives, as a rule the Bishops & also others in this meeting. Apostle Snow set forth the working in the Order, to some extent, they had made a start in St. George where Apostle Snow had his home, he urged the people in this valley to make a start. Acting Bishop Ralph Forster arose in the meeting and said Bishop Hughes was away on a mission, and he thought Mendon could not make a start until his return, in replay Apostle Snow asked if the Kingdom had to stop in Mendon because the Bishop was away on a mission. This saying was enough as the people of Mendon was a law abiding and obedient people, they did not see anything to do, but to take hold of the work as they had of all else they had been counseled to do. Accordingly an organization was affected consisting of a president, two vice–presidents, a secretary, an assistant secretary and a treasurer. All property belonging to a member who joined the Order was consecrated to the Order, and this was done in good faith, the members never thinking to own as their own again. About one third of the people in the ward joined the Order, the others although members of the church stayed outside, but there was no fellowship lost by those who did not join, possibly those in the order would think them rather weak in the faith, but this was all. There was 11 directors in all including president, vice–president, secretary & treasurer.
The members of the Order now went to work ploughing together, being organized into companies of 10, a superintendent over all the work, it was an advantage to work this way, the land dried very quick when the spring came after the long winter, and a patch would be dry enough it would be sowed while in good trim. It was a novel sight to witness from 10–20 teams coming into town from their work at noon and night. Each man attended to the watering of the farm he had turned over, and he also kept his own sheep, horses & for his families use, each days work was credited, and when harvest was over and threshing done, an estimate of all produced, and labor done, was made, and whatever it amounted to each day, was awarded paid. The man with 25 acres fared the same as the man with 5 acres, of the man with none at all. However this fully entering in the Order together was not done until the fall of this year. We ploughed and worked together in haying and harvest but this year each man had his grain raised on the farm, but the next year ‘75, it was accorded as stated above, all according to the labor done. It was a peculiar change to experience with some in the Order and some out and all as members of the church, and often remarks were made that it would break up again, some would say when the Bishop Brother Hughes returns, he will brake the golden calf in pieces, but for all this the brethren worked with will and quite united, although it was soon evident that the time had not come for the establishment of the United Order, yet this can truly be said, that every honest worker in this, the spirit of oneness of loving your neighbor as yourself, feeling interested in your brothers welfare along with your own, had a much better chance in this way of working than possibly can be when each one struggles for himself, when the financier who by the turn of his finger sitting on his seat can accumulate property, and he with poor finance seeking abilities may struggle from morning early till late at night and seemingly make little or no headway, but it is no hard thing for one who has labored a few years for the benefit of all, to understand at least in part the happiness, comfort and safety of a people such as were the people of Enoch or the people of Nephi when all were faithful. To work in the United Order more than once the President of our valley, Brigham Young Jun. visited our settlement, and congratulated the people in their labors—he thought they had it about right. But a faithful Later-day Saint is willing to go when told to go, and come back when told to do so, and thus it was in this case. Bishop Hughes had a dream shortly after his return where it was shown unto him, that the tide was not yet high enough to float the ship, but after awhile it would be so, and then he would take the brethren, and with the rest of the church work it successfully.
The Order Company spent a large portion of their time during the winter working in Paradise Canyon. They took a contract for hauling lumber from Paradise Canyon over the ridge into Ogden Valley, and from there to Ogden. It was nice weather up till new years, but the spring was quite late, but not so bad as the previous year. The company had got out lumber to build a cheese factory and a foundation for the same was finished in the spring of 1875–but there it remained without further completion, as in the fall of this year ‘75 the Order discontinued, the lumber was divided among the members, as also what cash they had earned hauling the lumber to Ogden. The company worked together this summer and divided up in the fall as before stated some settlement started working together, but it was of short duration, the most of them. Bishop Hughes returned from his mission this year in the summer, and immediately took his place as Bishop of Mendon.
A reformation took place throughout the church this year. And all who felt to renew their covenants had again a chance to do so and they were baptized into the United Order. Most of the saints complied with the request gladly, as baptism is instituted for remission of sins, and we should always be in the United Order, willing to go and come with ourselves and our all on the alter if tithing is required or temple donations laying our means to go on missions or any enterprise tending to the furtherance of this work as well as tending to other duties necessary for the perfecting of the saints. Those baptized into the United Order took upon themselves those obligations, thus when the final period to fully establish the United Order, they will then be willing and glad to accept it.
The winter of ‘75 and ‘76 passed as usual now that each again had his property and Bishop Hughes was in his place as a leader to council, and guide the people. The United States officials did not seem to improve, but continued their slanders about the Mormons, and using their best efforts to induce Congress to enact oppressive laws wholly to work against our people or the Mormon people, but to an extent it became an old song, and although very annoying did not so much disturb the peace and happiness of the people as might have been supposed it would. It is true that after many years of their incessant toil Congress did pass laws that really led to persecution of the Mormon people. Once in a long while a good Governor or Judge was appointed, but he was soon removed when he did not unite with the ring.
In this year the Utah Northern Railroad was completed as far as Franklin, so Cache Valley now had communication with the outside world. Although it had seemed hard enough for many to do as much work on the road as they had, we now felt well paid, having the road through our valley. Real estate advanced in value, and grain was worth more at home now than it was or could be without the railroad, soon after this all vouchers and shares were sold to a railroad company for a small price, and thus ended our shares in the Utah Northern, but we were gainers after all. Although the wages for our labor were small.
1877 was quite an eventful year. With the usual hurry to work when spring opened and get [in] the grain before the land should become too dry to cultivate with ease, there was this year a new and important labor placed upon the people. The building of the Logan Temple. In this year also Stakes were organized. Moses Thatcher was made President of Cache Stake. President Brigham Young performed a wonderful work this year traveling throughout the entire Territory and wherever the saint were located, and organized Stakes. After they was organized the Wards followed, until this time Mendon had not had a full Bishopric, the Bishop having no councilors. Henry Hughes was sustained as Bishop and he selected Andrew Andersen as 1st and John Donaldson as 2nd councilors, Quarterly conferences were commenced in this year to be held in every Stake every 3 months.
In the beginning of May the site for the Temple at Logan was dedicated, a large number witnessed the dedication. A very heavy storm of snow was had in Cache on the 2nd of May, it broke many branches from trees, gardens cereal was out of the ground, the apple trees was out of bloom and apples formed, most of which froze, as it only requires a slight frost to kill the small formed fruits while blossom will endure a pretty severe frost. After completing so great a work, President Brigham Young died in August of this year. The news of his death fell heavy on the hearts of all the saints, he had led this people through deserts, had been their guide during the expulsion a Nauvoo, and had been instrumental in building up and founding the settlements in Utah and through his wise financing abilities it had now become a prosperous and quite wealthy part of this continent.
It was no wonder that he was so much honored, that people was so moved on receiving the news of his death. The funeral was the largest by far witnessed in this country and more honor could not be bestowed upon any man or women than was showed to President Young.
1878 was a prosperous year; a very good crop was raised. President Young had promised the people that if they would be liberal in helping build the Temple, they would be prospered, the people did well in forwarding their means & going over there to work, this was the principle business outside the usual labor. The Co-op Store had done a splendid business, it was first located on Albert Bakers lot, but some years after it removed to Block 2, part of lot number 6, where the rock building in which the store was carried on for many years, it was for a long time a great benefit to the town. The Utah Northern Railroad, was now being built through to Montana, Mendon people had quite a contract near Battle Creek, named after the famous battle of Conner, with the Indians, the company returned about Christmas or a few days before.
The people enjoyed themselves this winter there being plenty for man and beast to subsist upon. The system of schools had made considerable advancement. We had erected a school house during the past few years at a cost of over 2000 dollars, but it needed a few more years to bring Utah to the front in educational pursuits, still it was now much better than it had previously been when schools had to convene in meetinghouses with a row of desks around the entire room, and none in the center except reading and reciting classes. The Sunday schools which had been in existence now 10 or 12 years was doing a very good work and much interest was being manifest in this important work. The city government was not amiss, as it had prevented liquor saloons and billiard and such like from gaining a foothold, which to the greater part of the citizens of Mendon was a source of much satisfaction.
1879 came in with promises of a good summer, crops were in, in good season, as yet very little dry farming had been attempted, consequently crops were not so large as in after years, it might have been some better as plenty of dry land was laying uncultivated, and it was supposed it could not produce anything to repay the tiller for his labor, but farmers had by this time learned the necessity of letting the land rest by summer fallowing, as manuring had not as yet been learned by the people to be appreciated. Much of the land had produced 10–15 crops, but it had not as yet had any chance of resting. Quite a good harvest was gathered this year. The price of wheat at Corinne was 70 cents. The main labor this year outside of ordinary farm work, and providing for the families, with all the necessaries which had by this time become more numerous than 10 or 15 years previous, was assisting in building the Logan Temple, the most of the people responded cheerfully, and the noble structure made satisfactory progress. In the summer of this year ‘77 Ole Sonne started on a mission to Scandinavia he labored in Denmark one year and returned in 1880. In the fall of this year, at the October Conference, Isaac Sorensen was called on a mission to Scandinavia, for which placed he started on November 4th. He was leader of the Choir, to which position he was appointed in the fall of 1859, when the Ward was organized. The settlers this winter was made to feel the pangs of another long winter, and extreme scarcity of feed in the spring, again all the straw covered sheds were left bare, to assist in keeping life in the stock, which however became very poor so much so that when grass at last made its appearance it took a good portion of the summer before much benefit was realized from the milk cows and work teams, also were but little fitted for springs work, so bad was the stock that a committee was organized to go from yard to yard and lift the cattle and horses to their feet, who were unable to get on their feet without being assisted. It would seem impossible for people to forget such times, and yet very few would save their straw and chaff over, but would burn in if they had more than they needed, if all had saved their feed in the plentiful years there would have been no need of so much suffering and starvation for when feed for animals becomes scarce it has an effect on the wheat and grains bins, much having to be used to save the stock, especially when stock brings a good price.
Improvements in houses progressed, moderately fair considering all things, stock had brought a good figure in price before this time, but now a cow could be bought at from 15 to 20 dollars.
The Dramatic Association of Mendon had existed almost from the beginning of the settlement, and worked together very unitedly, being in reality a good stay to the place furnishing amusements, and helping generally, giving benefits.
1880 was a different spring to what they sometimes experienced, but notwithstanding the hard spring there was a good harvest, it being a very fruitful year for grain, as also fruit, thus making the sufferings and hardships of the previous spring partly forgotten, there was little change in the winter amusement from one year to another, dancing and sleigh riding as also theaters, with family associations making the amusements as a rule. The meetings now kept up regular, and Sunday Schools were well attended. Young Men’s Y. M. I. A. was by this time started.
1881, a very rainy winter and spring rain continued for weeks raining almost every day. Spring work began early, but the grounds dried up so early that some of the grain had to be watered to make it sprout consequently the harvest was small, very much so this year. The fruit crops was good this year, horses would bring a very fair price also work cattle and stock was again on the advance in price, which for some time was great assistance to the sturdy farmer. An accident occurred in the Utah Northern during the winter of ‘80–’81. During a very severe snow storm Linden Baker and David Rowe was walking on the railroad track by the rocky point north of town and so heavy was the wind blowing that the boys did not hear the train coming and was picked up by the cow catcher and pitched to one side. Linden Baker was instantly killed, David Rowe not badly hurt but recovered, also James Hill was shot in the leg while out hunting and had to have his leg amputated, or the foot and part of the leg, as the shot hit about half way between the knee and the foot. Isaac Sorensen returned from his mission in the months of July of this year.
1882 was a prosperous year, a reasonably early spring, a good harvest was appreciated which was much needed, the previous year having been poor, the winter grain had been more of a failure than the spring grain, and also a severe hailstorm had injured some of the grain but this year there was no drawback in respect to crops and stock was fairly good. Our town like all others where the Mormon people dwelt, was a little annoyed by notorious Edmunds law passing both houses of Congress. Still there was not much excitement about it, the people pursued their using even tenor of way, although so often had the enemies endeavored to inaugurate means to oppress the people, but they had not succeeded, and the saints felt assured that it would terminate in good this time thus this year passed with instructions and admonitions continually for the saints to set their houses in order. The elections in these times were (if fought on party grounds, between the Peoples Party, and the Liberal Party, there was but few Liberals in Mendon never more than 4–7. In Logan they ran up to near 100.
As city officers George W. Baker was the first Mayor of Mendon. Charles Bird Sen. succeeded him, acting some 4 years, Bishop Henry Hughes succeeded Charles Bird and acted a number of years. John Donaldson was next elected but acted only one year, he moved to Snake River. James G. Willie was the next Mayor, acting only a short term. Robert Sweeten was the next, elections was held every two years, funds for running the city was obtained from selling city lots, and mercantile licenses, the expenses for running the city was small, the Mayor and Councilors for many years working free gratis, this practically was the only way so small a city could be carried on without oppressing the people.
Each one of those previous Mayors, and City Councilors had opposed a cash tax hence there had been none except dog tax, and city pole tax. The winter was spent much as usual, Christmas has already for a number of years been celebrated in Mendon, with programs and Christmas trees adorned with prizes which were drawn by the Sunday School children according to their faithfulness in attending school, although the Edmunds Law was passed, no one was disturbed this year, but comparative peace prevailed.
1883, in February of this year Alexander H. Richards started on a mission to the Southern States, he returned in January 1885. Jasper Simmons went on a mission in the fall of this year, and returned in the summer of 1884. Jens Jensen left for a mission to Virginia in March 1883, and returned in the fall of 1885.
There was no change to speak of as compared with 1882. Winter was good and crops the same. Harvesting was done with droppers, binding by hand 5–6 good hands was required to follow a good team, but cradling was now almost entirely done away. Mowers also instead of the scythe and snath had for more than ten years been used, thus making farming much more pleasant.
Stock brought a high figure; a springs calf would sell for ten dollars in the fall. A good cow 30–40 dollars, horses also were in good demand, and brought a splendid price. Grain was tolerable fair in value, and also eggs and butter, these were prosperous times and it was not hard to make a living. This was a great blessing as thus means could be easily obtained for building the Temple at Logan, the people as a rule done well in furnishing the means for this purpose nearly all responding to the same.
1884, spring was good for cropping, but not a great amount of snow fell in the mountains consequently it was a dry season and not an average crop was raised this year, it was the beginning of a series of years of persecutions, as intended to be putting in effect the Edmonds Law, which however was carried on in many instances as persecution rather than prosecuting offenders of the law, much uneasiness was felt both by those who had embraced the principle of plural marriage and those who had not, but the trials were particularly hard for the farmer as they were compelled to keep themselves in hiding the most of the time, and then at times they barely escaped, the Marshals, and spotters, who were keen at this time, spotters was paid a fee for informing on the polygamist, hence they did not miss a chance very often when they had one, but no one went to the pen from Mendon this year.
The Temple at Logan was dedicated this year and the people all had the privilege of going through at the dedication, which lasted three days. A most glorious time was experienced by all who attended. A happy and congenial feeling prevailed all around both in the Temple and outside.
Charles Bird Sen. one of the founders of Mendon, and one of the early members of the church having been with the church from Kirtland and Missouri died in August of this year in full faith. John S. Willie and George W. Baker Jun. performed 2 years missions to the Southern States & William Willie to England. All between ‘82 and ‘86.
1885, the spring of ‘85 was early, much of the grain had been sown by April 1st as had been the case the previous year, the greatest trouble the people experienced was the continual raid of the Marshals, some of them were far from being gentlemen, often insulting people when they made their visits, but it is a most singular yet pleasing fact to state, that in all these times of trouble and persecution as it may well be termed, that no rows of any kind occurred, there was an overruling providence in it all notwithstanding the hatred of many of the Marshals, the spotters generally were apostates, as also many of the Marshals, by this time many of the polygamists had went to prison. Apostle Lorenzo Snow among the rest, as a rule the brethren who went to prison stood it well, although being compelled to be in the company of murderers, burglars, and felons of all kind, yet they felt to acknowledge the hand of God in this as well as all else that transpired of a general nature. The harvest this year was good. Stock also kept in good demand. Improvements in real estate made steady but not fast progress. Political affairs were much the same, only the Liberals worked harder, to gain their points, and in the large cities their numbers increased such as Salt Lake, Ogden and other places, Logan remained about the same. The population of Mendon did not materially increase, since 1880 of ‘81. Many of the people left Mendon, to settle in Snake River which was at that time being settled, among those was John Donaldson who had acted as councilor to Bishop Hughes since 1877. Also Walter & John Paul with their families, and quite a number of others to the amount of 20 or 25 families. All settling in Snake River. Henry Sorensen who also settled on Snake River at Teton, while visiting with his parents in Mendon in the fall of this year, took sick and died while here, he was buried in Mendon.
James G. Willie was chosen councilor to Bishop Hughes to fill the vacancy occasioned by the removal of John Donaldson.
1886 brought no change in affairs, except so many had went to prison, that it seemed as if it had become more popular, and there was not so much excitement when a person was arrested as was the case in the beginning of the crusade or prosecution, but it was not a thing to be desired for anyone neither man or women to be compelled to testify in courts, with many of the Judges biased and even anxious to convict, and often did so without sufficient evidence, to justify the same. A man would rather suffer than have his family brought before those courts to testify and often asked indecent questions, yet to the praise of the heroes they stood it in nearly all cases bravely, a few recanted, but their numbers were small. This was a prosperous season with good crops, and markets much as usual. Wheat ranging from 60–75 cents for bushel, generally it would raise towards Christmas. Three Mile Creek, north of Petersboro had also been settled but had not yet been organized as a precinct or a ward, but belonged to the Mendon Ward, there was a presiding priest, who presided over their meetings, they also had their own Sunday Schools, yet under the Mendon Sunday school supervision. This accounted for the population of about 550–600. In the election of 1884 Robert Sweeten was elected mayor with Isaac Sorensen recorder, which he had held since ‘82. John Donaldson was the first recorder, which office he held till 1880, he then filled a mission to Great Britain from, which he returned in 1882. Henry Gardner was recorder until 1882 when he departed this life, a useful man in many respects, he had been connected with the dramatic associations from its beginning somewhere about 1860. John Donaldson acted as superintendent of Sunday school until he moved to Snake River, he took the place of Ralph Forster, who was the previous superintendent. 1866 ended much as the previous years had done, the principal occupations of the people was during the summer to provide for winter which though not always, was sometimes lengthy and it was important to always be prepared for a long winter, and if it was short and, mild it was so much to the advantage of the people.
Isaac Sorensen was appointed Superintendent of Sunday Schools, to succeed John Donaldson, Alfred Gardner and George W. Baker Jun. were his assistants. There had been several acting presidents of the teachers’ quorum during the last 10–12 years. Ralph Forster, Peter Larsen and Abraham Sorensen. Abraham Sorensen at this time was President of the quorum.
1887, property followed the people, notwithstanding the clergy as well as members of Congress seemed determined not to rest until they had accomplished their object. In March of this year the Edmunds Tucker Law past Congress notwithstanding there was a number of honorable men in Congress who voted against the law, yet it was hurried through by the authors of the law in such a manner, that there was scarcely time to consider it or discuss and thoroughly weigh so important a measure as this was. But it was poorly considered—and 1,000,000 dollars of our church property was confiscated. It also made times worse for polygamists, who by this time was sent to prison by hundreds.
But the people did not loose their hope nor did they think less of their religion, their leaders were in hiding, their husbands and brothers in prison. Women and children left to manage best they could, had not their faith been founded on the rock, and their united prayers ascended to Jehovah, it might have been more serious, but the saints felt sure of a triumphant outcome after all their troubles and sorrows, and the future proved their hopes to be well founded. When a man was arrested, he had his hearing, and found guilty, according to the new law, would on many occasions gather at their homes, and passed a happy evening about the same as when a missionary leaves for his field of labor, while prison life is much to be dreaded, it has a different aspect and is met in a different condition of mind when a man or women enters there for conscience sake, not having broken any law, but carrying out what their hearts sincerely felt their convictions, of being the will of heaven. Although the law was pronounced Constitutional by the highest court in the land, yet is it not like the law made against Daniel, and will turn out much the same.
The harvest was good this year, and general prosperity prevailed, log houses and four legged stools and linchpin wagons had now changed into well finished houses in many instances states carpet, with well papered and finished walls and ceilings, also carriages and buggies of all descriptions, and many other comforts, many farms were fenced by themselves, all the range that had been a common pasture, was now claimed, mostly individual claims, but some companies, and all fenced. There was however an evil in all this prosperity and seeming comfort, which did not apply to all but quite a number, of the people, in order to be up with the times, went beyond their means, and contracted debts, on which in many instances a heavy interest was paid, and this kind of a luxury a common farmer cannot well afford, thus while prosperity crowned the labors of the husbandman there was a foundation laid for an unpleasant time with a great number of the people of all occupations.
A very unusual occurrence happened in the spring of this year—the death of father Nicolai and his wife Malena Sorensen, they both died on March 30, and were buried on April 1st, both in one grave.
The meetinghouse had become much too small, and in this year the addition was made making a “T” of the building, which was a much-needed improvement for meetings as well as dances. Mendon had had the pleasure of listening to the Marshall Band for several years, it started with boys from 12-15 years old and was taught by Frank Williams, a tailor by trade, who left Mendon, when the band had a fair start, and for some time it was a little uphill work, but a foundation had been laid for advancement in the future as the boys as well as some of the girls had got a good start in music, it afterwards developed in many ways.
1888, the persecutions was no less in this year than they had been but it had become so common for men and women to be brought before the courts, that it did not create much excitement when any one was arrested, yet the victims, and their families felt it as severely as when there was but or two in a county arrested. This was a prosperous year, crops were splendid and those who kept their grain till towards Christmas realized as high as 90 cents for wheat, some kept the grain until spring thinking it would fetch 1 dollar, but in this they were disappointed as it dropped down to 75 cents by spring. The west part of the meetinghouse was built this year making of it a “T.” The Co-op farm assisted in furnishing means for this proving a great help to the ward generally.
The winter had been good, and was it not for the persecutions caused by the Edmunds Tucker Law; the people were now in the most prosperous circumstances financially, that they had ever been. And so they might have continued, if providence had guided actions, but even now people was beginning to contract debts for improvements, buggies, farm implements & — in which much interest was paid, a luxury farmers cannot well afford, and which placed many in embarrassing conditions, in a few years after.
1889 continued much the same as ‘88 except grain had dropped back again to 70 cents or 75–the highest during the year.
Hog raising, was engaged in, to some extant but not very extensively yet in Mendon as in Wellsville, it was an extensive, and remunerative addition to the farm butter and eggs added much to the circulating medium among the people, especially the women. Some improvement in building houses and barns was noticeable, but the increase in this went on slowly. 2 or 3 houses in a year or such a matter, the greatest stride in this way of progress was made in 1867 or 68, when as many as 10 houses a year was put up, all rock houses, not however very substantial the most of them were laid in clay mortar, and those laid in lime, had the mortar to weak so they cracked pretty bad, but the houses that was built now, and for many years back was frame houses, no brick houses in Mendon yet. The people as a rule were striving to do what was right, although the Quarterly Conferences and Priesthood meetings was not so well attended as they could have been by the Mendon people. The Sunday Schools were good institutions well attended and doing much good. An amusement committee was appointed who had charge of the conducting of parties also looking after celebrations days. The music for our parties was furnished principally by our own fiddlers and musicians but no band able to play from notes or written music had yet been got up in Mendon. There was for many years previous to this a Marshal Band in Mendon but their leader left Mendon and although the band which consisted of growing boys when they started could read music yet they did not make any material progress in Marshal Music after their leader left Mendon.
The Bothwell Canal and the big Dam in Bear River was started this year, in the fall quite a number went from Mendon and worked on it, and a great number from other settlements, but many would have made more by staying at home, the work on the south side of the river was discontinued, before half completed, leaving many who had spent large sums of money for fit outs, and the work stopped before they earned enough to defray their expenses. The canal on the north was continued until made useful.
The Railroad through the narrows and widened as far as Franklin was operated at the same time the new station or Depot at Mendon was built in the spring of Ninety and during the summer, as was also the [Cache] Junction Station. All these enterprises together conduced to improve the conditions of the people financially, as quite a few avenues were open for making a little extra cash.
It was about this time that imprisonment’s for conscience sake, (as it is truly termed) commenced in Mendon, Bishop Henry Hughes served a term of 6 months, except the allowance for good behavior which reduced it to 5 months, he came home in the spring. Traugott Stumpf also served out a sentence but his was a two years term he served and returned none the worse, after 20 months stay. William Willie served six months, for Unlawful Cohabitation same as Bishop Hughes. Stumpf’s was polygamy so Mendon had a share in being imprisoned for their religion.
Peter Andrew Sorensen was elected Mayor in 1889. Reelected two years later. Alfred Gardner was Recorder for several years, these were the times wheat raising reach its zenith, both for quantity and price it brought as high as 78 cents which lasted for some time, and dry farming at this period was among the most remunerative pursuits to engage in much rain fell, enough to well mature grain on any sort of and, and in many instances dry farms would produce as high as 30 bushels per acre. Hogs were at a premium those who engaged in this industry was well rewarded, also all other farm products, industries belonging to the farm, but it was fully demonstrated at this time, that it is not the amount produced, as the amount of income that enriches the family, but it is the economical way in which the means earned are spent or invested, that makes the progress. All men are desirous to make and which any farmer should be able to make, as where there is no progress there cannot be the satisfaction of happiness so much desired by all men and women. No one thought of a change so soon to take place; hence credit was largely indulged in not by everyone, but by the greater part of the people who allowed themselves to thus be entrapped. What book agents failed to lay before the people to induce them to either give their note, or promise, the farm implement agent would not be slow to make up and what he left, the organ dealer would supply and carriage and buggy agent, carts, spring wagons and too many other articles to be here made mention of, to say nothing of the merchant who of them all, dealt the heaviest blow, where heretofore men had been reluctant to go into debt 5–10–15 dollars, they would, many of them, go into hundreds in this one branch of family and farm necessities, as thought to be necessities. The reader would inquire how was it people thus allowed themselves to go into debt beyond their means, did no one advice the better way of safely providing or making use of means so laboriously earned, as the farmer laborer or mechanic means are. No one could say to the leaders who presided over the people, you did not council us in this respect, as much council, and for many years, it had sounded in the ears of church members and more church members, to not allow themselves to go in debt, as debt meant bondage but in order to be free men and women it was of the most vital importance to live strictly within their means, and not contract debts, with which they had no means to cover thus all who were among the foolish ones had none but themselves to blame for their uncomfortable conditions which overtook them a year or two after this time.
Ninety one passed, as far as common events apply, the same as previous years important changes were taking place every year, but no more so in ‘91 than in ‘90 or ‘92 and some had supposed that ‘91 would bring most wonderful changes in the world, but those (though not a great number of them) who entertained such ideas, were forced abandon the same, when the year had passed at the fall conference in Salt lake City, President Woodruff said great event would roll upon the world each year from that time but ‘91 was no exception to the coming years.
Quite an amount of city land was sold at auction about this time, it was the land west of town, it brought a good figure, and amounted to considerable money, which was used in building the city hall and defraying the expenses of the city, such as a new liberty pole, a flag, police equipments etc. etc.
There had been considerable sickness fro one time to another, about this time the scarlet fever raged to quite an extent in Mendon, there was a number of cases, some of which proved serious, but none fatal. As far back as ‘78 the Diphtheria also found its way into Mendon, some three or four cases proved fatal; there was about twelve cases in all. There was no such thing as quarantine at this time hence so many cases, but later on quarantine was established, and as soon as a case of Diphtheria or Scarlet Fever was discovered, the house where disease was found, was flagged to prevent the spread of the disease.
1892 will not easily be forgotten, in the spring at the April Conference the Capstone of the Salt Lake Temple was laid, many from Mendon attended, and the ceremony on that occasion was most impressive. Very many thousands were assembled, and not less than near 50 thousand was on the ground most of whom joined in the shout of Hosanna to the great I Am, that the Temple was so near its completion.
At this assemblage a vote was taken to finish the Temple by the April Conference of 1893, and then have it dedicated. Consequently subscriptions or donations was gathered from all wards wherever the Latter-day Saints were located an apportionment being made to each ward, Mendon did their part well in meeting their amount which was duly forwarded.
The spring of ‘92 was rather late, no ploughing had been done at April Conference, but it came out most favorable for Cache Valley, beautiful May rains and a bountiful harvest was reaped this year. But the price in grain was now much below what it had been the previous years. 50 cents a bushel was the highest while considerable was sold below that figure, so although much grain had been raised this year, the farmers did not feel very rich on account of the low prices on the products.
The persecution for polygamy was not now so severe as it had previously been; still now and then one was arrested. The Manifesto which in 1890 was published, and voted for in Conference in October of that year much done away with the previous arresting and committing members to the pen. Of course those who were found breaking the law were tried for the same, but times were much easier in this respect.
Those who may read in the future this history may wonder why the Manifesto was issued, but if they understand the workings, of the previous 6 years after the Edmunds Law was passed, and the pains and deep interest the Latter-day Saints took to try and convince the world that God had given the law to his people, and if the Edmund Tucker Law was declared Constitutional, it was direct against the Devine Law, and they who enforced the law and made it or sanctioned it would be responsible for the same. Will not wonder when the supreme Court of the United States declared the law against plural marriage constitutional, the Latter-day Saints being a law abiding people, complied with the law, and left the events in the hands of God, as he had said they should do if at any time their enemies should prevent them from accomplishing what he had commanded them to do.
Hard as had been the trails of many of the people during those years, another and perhaps a more serious one was now on the people, hitherto it had been a characteristic of the people of the church to unite in elections, the only opposition being the Liberal Party of whom considerable has been said in this short history and who up till now had continued their opposition, but now the people divided on party lines with full liberty to choose either side of the political parties to many this for a time seemed dangerous move, and so it might be except men and women were not well guarded, and full understood the object of this move. As it came through the proper channel, and was used to bring good results in the end the first election of party lines was held the count stood 50 X 30 Democrats in the majority, while much talk was indulged in and many rallies on both sides were held, yet in Mendon no serious trouble or feelings existed. Bishop Hughes proved a wise councilor in this, as also he had been in regard to staying out of debt, and Republicans and Democrats were on good terms with each other in Mendon, but it was not always so in every other place, men allowed themselves to be carried away by enthusiasm, sometimes going as far as angry feelings and works and even blows.
Our school system was now quite a good one all free schools. Schools funds obtained through taxes which was levied accordingly (Territorial & County Taxes) but the grading of Mendon schools, was not yet satisfactory while 8 months of the year would be well enough arranged, the three or four months was in winter when the schools was to much crowded, and neither teachers nor parents of children could feel well satisfied it required three schools during those 3 or 4 months to accommodate the scholars and properly grade them, this however was not reach this year, although many of the people took a deep interest in education.
The population of Mendon had not increased much for a number of years.
Sunday School work was still doing well although not much increase in number of pupils, Andrew Sorensen had acted and was voted in as second assistant for a number of years, taking George W. Bakers place, who went east to attend to, and take the study of medicine. George Sorensen also went to the University is Salt Lake, and Emil Stumpf was secretary for some time.
This was the year in which ward conferences was introduced. The first of this kind was held in May of this year. Where the people of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were asked to vote for and sustain the Bishop and Councilors, Presidents of all the Quorums, the acting Teacher Presidents and Superintends of Societies & Sunday Schools, the Choir, etc. etc.
In the summer of this year a Brass Band was organized, they purchased their instruments and in a remarkable short time they were able to play quite good, and during the winter, they became a source of much enjoyment to the people they were invited to sociable, and rendered the time quite pleasant in such a short time. Theatres and entertainments, dancing, sociables and picnics constituted the enjoyments of the people.
Jens Jensen was elected Mayor in ‘92 which he filled till ‘93.
Sacrament meetings, Fast meetings, Prayer meetings, Young Men’s and Young Ladies Meeting, Relief Society and Primary meetings also Religion classes, and Sunday Schools, and Quorum meetings were held during winter season but Young Men’s, Quorum Meetings except Teachers were discontinued during summer time, thus ‘92 passed away with all its joys and sorrow and 1893 appeared and came in good shape. The main topic in the beginning of ‘93 was for all church members to be reconciled, in order to be prepared to go to the dedication of the great Temple in Salt Lake City. Meetings was held in every ward wherever the saints were located, the object of the same was to forgive and be forgiven, many good times was witnessed in many places, and when the time for dedication arrived most all availed themselves of the opportunity of being at the dedication. And a more sublime beautiful inspiring sight cold not be witnessed, anywhere in the world, than the inside as well as outside of that great and glorious structure, it occupied nearly a month for all to be accommodated, many manifestations was shown, to those present who were worthy to behold the great things promised in the Temple. Many healings, from ailments and diseases was manifest, and never can this time be forgotten by those who participated in the same.
The spring was moderately early, and much grain was sown this spring, but not to be much rewarded, as this was a very dry season and crops especially on dry land was next to complete failure, this was more particularly the case in Mendon, altogether only 1/3 of a crop was raised, and prizes was low notwithstanding the small amount of grain raised much grain was sold at 40–42 cents for wheat, other articles sold much as the year before, in the spring of ‘94 wheat rose to 65 cents. Now on every hand could be heard the cry of hard times, but little to sell, and not much received for in, much interest had to be paid people had been used to spending means freely living pretty high. Girls must have 6–8 new dresses a year, boys had to dress up to go out in town, and so on in most everything, but now a change in proceeding was necessary, dresses must be made over, to look like new if possible, where before 6 dresses was had they must be content with three or less. Machinery on the farm is much curtailed although a well to do farmer cannot succeed without a good fit out of farm implement, such as mowers, binders, ploughs, and harrows, but sulkies and gangs was now quite numerous. All the people were not pressed hard, nearly one half of Mendon people could be said to be out of debt, while the other half was in debt, some few dangerously, others had hard enough work to climb along, while others with another good year or so could extricate themselves. A common saying at that time, “just let me get out of debt once more, and catch me going into it again,” and people were sincere in this expression.
The year passed however, with somewhat less amusements, owing to scarcity of cash, yet people enjoyed themselves, having to fall back somewhat to the old way of living, when store articles were hard to obtain, but still not coming anywhere near, doing with as little as in the ‘60’s when 7 teamsters started for Omaha with only one pound of sugar, this was in ‘62. Improvements in real estate was slow, but little being done these years of hard times. The winter between ‘93 & ‘94 witnessed the grading of the district school in Mendon. Three schools were running at once for the first time, and brought gratifying results. An election was held in ‘93, for city officers the usual work of stumping and speechifying was indulged in, but not very much angry work. Though both sides worked hard, the Democrats being victorious, still the Republicans made some gains this year, but Cache Valley was Democratic by 4 or 5 hundred. Andrew Sorensen was again elected Mayor in ‘93, George Sorensen Recorder.
In the spring of 1894, William Isaac Sorensen and Murie Baker were called on missions. Baker to the Northern States Sorensen to Denmark, both were young men, 23 years of age, three also went from Wellsville, in taking their missionaries to the Junction Station, they stopped s short time in Mendon, where speeches were made, all the young men (as they also were from Wellsville) left, feeling good, the Wellsville company numbered hundreds. They showed much respect to their missionaries.
It was a late spring, it was near the middle of April before ploughing was commenced and well along in May before cropping was finished. Feed for stock, straw as well as hay become very scarce, and any kind found ready sale, but spring came all at once and grass soon became good, there was now no public range except on the mountains, so each man must be provided with pasture for their stock, in this respect Mendon was in advance of many other settlements, as most all had share in, or owned pasture. The hard times had not diminished, although wheat went up in price as high as 60 & 65 cents this summer, but most of the grain had been sold while prices were lower, This was a prosperous year for all kinds of grain, also potatoes, and hay. Stock sold moderately well in the fall, and during the winter beef was in good demand at tolerable good figures. Potatoes from 20–27 cents, wheat 35–40 cents, oats 75–85 per hundred, butter 10–20—not much of the time over 15 cents, eggs from 8–20 & 22, cheap in spring, in fall and winter good, much loss was sustained in chickens by the chicken cholera, often dying by hundreds, and it did not seem possible to substitute a preventative although many remedies had been tried. These were not oppressive times for those who had observed the good old maxim of living within their means, while the income of a farmer was reduced perhaps from a thousand to seven or eight hundred dollars, there was an almost equal reduction of all articles, both merchandise and farm implements, and it was a noticeable fact, that an ordinary sized family could live on $150 or $200 less than they had done three years previous and do it easier, for this reason, that they took better care of everything, and did not have so many new things to make or buy, Mendon was blessed much for many years in not being troubled with diseases, there was of course ordinary sickness caused by colds, but no contagious diseases had troubled our town now for quite a number of years. Mrs. Stumpf one of the first settlers of Mendon had been troubled with a serious nervous complaint for 3 years, and is still no better.
Improvements in buildings, public and private, stood a very poor show in Mendon during these times, amusement hall and meetinghouse was still combined in one a not very desirable feature in a ward, but we hoped to emerge from this condition some time. While Cache Valley was well supplied with educational institutions the Brigham Young Academy, and Agricultural College, Mendon was not among the foremost of her Cache Valley sister settlements to furnish students to graduate at these useful institutions, yet there were a few from this place that availed themselves of this most important opportunity of educating themselves, so much so at any rate that at the commencement of school in September of this year, the two schools were taught by graduates from Mendon.
It was not such an easy thing now as it had been in years past to obtain a certificate for teaching school, it was necessary to be well informed on all branches connected with education to obtain either a 1st or 2nd grade certificate.
In the fall, in November an election was held, for a Delegate to Congress and Delegates to draft the Utah State Constitution. 8 Delegates was the number from Cache County. There was much hard fighting as both parties were anxious for a majority, but as usual there was little or no hard or unpleasant feelings in Mendon. The Democrats in Mendon as also all Cache had a large majority of votes. Bishop Hughes of Mendon was elected one of the Constitution Delegates.
The usual days for recreation and celebrations such as May Day, 4th & 24th of July, Christmas and Washington’s Birthday was kept up, each year a May Queen was crowned, and each Christmas, represented with Christmas trees.
The Sunday school this year underwent quite a change, instead of 12 or 15 classes they were concentrated and made into four classes. The Theological, Second and First Intermediate and Primary. This system proved beneficial although it required more attention on the part of the teachers in order to be able to instruct those large classes, the Sunday school work was making good progress although where the church had located. The winter of ‘94 & ‘95 passed with a number of amusements for the young, and as a rule good health among the people.
The Brass Band made good progress with their instruments and would have been much enjoyed, but for an exception. The band, some of them wanting pay for playing on celebration days which was not granted them according to their wishes, yet during this winter they (the band) took part in most of the sociables and entertainments and surprises, of which there was quite a number, as the people both old and young believed that associations of amusements were beneficial.
1895, this can truly be considered an eventful year for Utah with the Constitution Assemblage, which occupied 60 days, and in which time the best constitution to be found in any state was prepared, causing quite an excitement at times while adopting certain clauses of the Constitution such as women suffrage, and several other points. ‘95 was a fruitful year notwithstanding there was heavy frosts every month in the year. Quite a snowfall in June an also a heavy fall of snow in September, breaking down very many fruit, as well as shade trees, it stayed on the ground two or three days, but did not dill the fruit. Considerable wheat was frozen, spring wheat in parts of Cache Valley entirely killed, but in Mendon what was frosted was only partly destroyed, unfit for market but good enough feed for hogs or animals, and it was but a small amount of the grain in Mendon that was injured by the frost, the potatoes suffered more than the small grain. The price on grain was rather better at Christmas time this year than the previous year. Stock also was good sale at 21/4 on foot or 41/2 dressed, which was not high, but still there was good money in raising stock. Sheep was a better enterprise than any of the others, but Mendon had no interest whatever in it, since the local general sheep heard broke up the farmers sold their small herds off, and at this time there was no sheep, except a few kept by 3 or 4 for stocking yarn and mutton. Three deaths occurred in the fall of this year. James G. Willie, a pioneer in the fall of 1847 to Salt Lake City and a pioneer to Mendon in the spring of 1859 died at the age of 76, a staunch faithful veteran. Elizabeth Stumpf, who so long had been confined with nervous inability passed away this fall, she was one of Mendon’s early settlers coming in the spring of 1860 and father Barrett also died this fall aged 75 years. At this time could plainly be seen the things predicted by the Savior should take place before his coming rumors of war and many calamities in the world. There was many young men on missions to different parts of the world from all parts of the Valleys of the Mountains.
The Young Men’s Associations, as well as Young Ladies, and Primary, as also Sunday Schools continued this good work, many of the brethren and sisters working with patience in these organizations. Some were now getting out of their debts wholly, others partly, and some were still doubtful of success being much involved.
The election for state precinct and county officers, was quite interesting, while the territory went Republican, Cache Valley went Democratic, Mendon with the rest. Bishop Henry Hughes was elected Mayor of Mendon by one majority. The republicans elected one councilor, all the rest was Democratic.
The winter of ‘95–’96 commenced on the 4 of November, about 6 inches of snow was the first that fell, winter continued, although quite changeable from cold to warmer weather the lowest was 20° below zero.
The Priests and Deacons Quorums took charge of lighting and cleaning the meetinghouse also chopping wood and lighting fires, for several years a man had been paid for this work. Christmas as usual was a general holiday, with Christmas trees, prizes children’s amusements in the afternoon, and adult dance in the evening.
The health of all the people in Mendon seemed to be very good during the year there had been several broken legs and arms, but all recovered, although Thomas Muir who had met with a very serious accident, his horse falling on his leg while riding along the road and broke it badly, and at the end of the year was still uncertain weather he would retain his foot or loose it.
There was no change in the Bishopric this year. The Ward Conference was held in March, with Bishop Hughes, Andrew Andersen and Alfred Gardner as Bishopric. All the other organizations, or officers of the organizations were sustained, with Albert M. Baker and William P. Willie, Presidents of the Seventies, there was in Mendon 15 or 20 Seventies, who with the Wellsville Seventies made up the 28th Quorum. Robert Baxter of Wellsville was Senior President, the Mendon Seventies held meetings but not as regular, as they might have done, there had been no missionary called or went from the Mendon Seventies since 1886. Sorensen and Baker who are still on their missions, was called from the Priests Quorum, and ordained Seventies. The High Priests held their meetings quite regular; there was 12 or 15 in number High Priest. The Elders numbered over 30, held meetings with moderate attendance. The acting teachers held meetings monthly, when the Visiting Teachers reported their districts there was 4 districts to report—The Ordained Priests, Teachers and Deacons, held meetings but not regular, up till this year a man had been paid to attend to the meetinghouse and only at times did the Deacons help clean and attend to the meetinghouse, but this fall of 1895, the Priests and Deacons done all the work with some older brethren to take lead, but no pay to anyone, the work was well done.
The Sunday school held regular sessions beginning punctually at 10 O’clock Sunday morning, not missing a school for years except conference of the ward.
Relief Society meetings were held regularly at 2 P.M. on the 1st Thursday in each month, and always done a good work in the ward.
The Young Men’s Associations done quite well, their regular meetings was on Wednesday evenings, and conjoins monthly, Sunday evenings. The Young Ladies held regular meetings, Wednesdays weekly and continued during the year, while the Young Men only kept up their meetings during winter.
The Primary Associations was regular all the year round weekly, with fair attendance. Religion classes had done some work but as yet not regular.
The Choir had some difficulty in keeping together as well as they had done before the hard times, many had to be away to earn means for a lively hood, but those at home did fairly well.
The teachings of today was to keep in line with those placed to guide the affairs of the church, and neither let politics or anything else destroy the union, that saints must enjoy in order to please the Lord. Sacrament Meetings was held regular, except quarterly conference days the saints was continually admonished to live humble before the Lord, and prepare for great things, or events of the future.
1896 came with quite an early spring and the winter had been a very pleasant one and very much grain had been sown both in the fall and spring. Wheat rose in price as high as 50 cents but soon dropped, and in May and until harvest sold at 38 cents, the spring was very stormy causing some grains on low lands to be sown late, but it proved a great advantage to dry farms. The rain continued so long that much Lucerne was damaged as also hay. This was indeed a wonderful spring and part of the summer snow and rain continued to fall as late as June. There was but little hay remaining in town after winter and spring was over. The health of the people in Mendon as a rule was good, no contagious diseases among the people, the winter had passed as usual with amusements, and quite a long time there was fair sleighing. All the organizations of the ward was working in order some more perfect than others. All was reported at the Ward Conference in March with quite good satisfaction some needed improving. All the officers in the ward was sustained, there being very few opposing votes. Thursday evening testimony meetings were kept up very regularly many of the young attending. Young Men’s and Young Ladies meeting were held on Sunday evening there was no other Sunday evening meetings. There was a great change now in affairs, our leaders, or the leaders of the church was at liberty was very much inspired of the Lord to proclaim to the people the course to pursue to obtain eternal life. The officers many of them were filled by members of the church such as Governor, Secretary, District Judges and etc., and it seemed that again we were enjoying a spell of summer, which was much appreciated, still there were danger notwithstanding our liberty. Politics had gained to much control in the minds of some church members, so much so as to disregard council from the leaders, this caused through the latter portion of this year considerable trouble, men did not hesitate to come out against the council of the church leaders, among those most prominent was Apostle Moses Thatcher, in consequence of which he was dropped at the October Conference from the Quorum of Apostles. In May William I. Sorensen returned from a mission to Denmark, having been absent 27 months. Albert M. Baker Jun. also returned in July of this year having been away about the same length of time as William I. Sorensen, on a mission to the Eastern States. People were extremely busy during hay time and harvest, on account of the rainy spring and summer, haying and harvest came much of it together, but this of all years was the most bountiful harvest, and to the surprise of all wheat rose by degrees, to the high figure of 75 cents a bushel, starting at end of harvest at 36 cents. Many were unfortunate is selling early, some disposed of most of their grain at this low figure. This was a change much needed, and now nearly all was on the way to cancel their indebtedness, this raise in grain was caused mostly by the famine in India where so much suffering took place.
There was but little improvement in real estate. The tithing barn was built in this year. The district schools in Mendon, was the same as in previous year, carried on in two rooms by two teachers, a change was much needed. The church schools had now obtained great prominence although the state and was a great auxiliary to preparing young men for missions, as well as obtaining a thorough education many availed themselves of the chance, although to those living a distance from the academics the expense was heavy. The Agricultural College was in full running order, and had now been so for a number of years, so there was great facilities for obtaining education for the young. Very many missionaries were sent from all parts of Zion to different parts of the world. Mendon had now no missionaries in the field during the past year 8 or 10 had been called to go, but as yet none had departed, some were preparing to go next year.
The population seemingly increased slow in Mendon, the reason being removal to other places, marriages were not as frequent as should have been, there was at this time quite a number of unmarried men and women quite advanced in years, thus ended ‘96 with November elections, the Democrat carrying Utah, but Republicans the nation. Christmas was as usual observed, prizes for Sunday school pupils and program for all. Winter commenced in the beginning of November, but was not server up till Christmas.
Christina Sorensen Hill one of Mendon’s early settlers coming in 1859, died in the spring of 1896.
1897, with Utah a state, her own chosen officers, self government and everything that makes life real enjoyment, little or no persecution, where a year or two before times were critical. The Gospel spreading to new countries, a year or two before times were critical. The Gospel spreading to new countries, double the amount of missionaries in the field, and the power of God resting upon our leaders at home all these things as also good prizes for grain and stock and hard times past and hoped to come again no more. Such was the beginning of 1897, not that everyone would realize or appreciate these changes, there were some who considered statehood a drawback but it was by far the smallest number.
Winter of ‘96 &’97 was a pleasant winter the thermometer on one or two occasions reached 16 or 18° below zero, but much pleasant weather was enjoyed, and early in spring it looked as if we would once more be favored with one of our early springs which however did not prove to be the case, as stormy weather continued through March and April until towards the latter end of the month, so after all seed time was quite late and as is the rule a rainy April preceded a dry May, so it was this year, and where farmers were not very careful in planting their grain the greater part of it did not come up. And so it was hundreds of acres of dry land in Mendon did not come up at least very little of it and made a poor crop, for a long time the outlook for a crop on any of the dry land was very poor but some June showers, and constant cool nights made the outlook much better than it had been and altogether a good half crop was raised that is on a general average some had 3/4 or a crop while others scarcely more then 1/4. The hay crop this year was excellent, as the benefit of creameries and dairies was now fast being adopted by the people, a farmer with 12–14 cows with pastures and hay sufficient, almost had a living for a family, as all kinds of stock sold well, a good calf in the fall brought $10 and other stock accordingly. The mines of Utah also developed rapidly at this time, and many were now getting from under their heavy burdens of debts.
The Ward Conference was held early in the spring and nearly all previous officers was sustained in their callings. There was somewhat of an improvement in attending meetings, but we had as yet no missionaries in the field. Schools were as they had been the previous year, two schools run by two teachers, there was little improvement in real estate during this year, a few barns was built and some little other improvements.
It was a pleasing feature to notice that although only 30 thousand bushels of grain was raised this year against 60 thousand in 1896, there was more tithing paid this year than in the previous year.
The biggest labor of a public nature this year was building the new Brigham Young College at Logan, over $700 was apportioned to Mendon, but was not all raised this year. The fall of ‘97 was a very congenial one to those making a living by farming, much rain fell and it continued open till the middle of November affording excellent opportunity for fall grain and fall ploughing. Late in the fall, a new floor was laid in the old part of the meetinghouse the whole inside of the house was also painted giving it a nice appearance, the end of the year wound up as usual in Mendon with a nice Christmas, in which all old and young took part. There was many sociables among the people this holiday. Our leaders were still vigilant in counseling the saints in regard to their duties, and the time was drawing closer for great events to transpire on the earth.
An uncommon event connected with 1897 was that not one death was recorded.
Winter set in the beginning of December but was mild at first.
Missionaries of Y. M. M. I. Association was sent through all the stakes which had the effect of increasing the enrollment but it seemed to be difficult to keep up a good full average attendance through the year.
1898 came in with no great changes in our own little town, the price of grain continued good, and went to the highest pitch during the spring of this year, it had been since the building of the railroad in the seventies, for a short time 94 cents was paid for wheat. The winter of ‘97 & ‘98 was fraught with many amusements such as sociables, dances, theaters, concerts, old peoples parties, it was said by many that it had been the most enjoyable winter for many years, true it was that people especially saints had much cause for enjoyment, with no persecutions, a state Government, which soon became, acknowledged by all as being what was wanted, and without which there was on perfect liberty. Grain bringing good price, stock very good in the spring of ’98 a yearling brought 15 dollars, a two year old 25 dollars and other stock accordingly, these were the temporal blessings and the spiritual blessings could be obtained the same as they always had, by strict obedience to council, and keeping the commandments of God, after passing through the winter in this manner, the Sunday School, Sacrament Meetings, Young Men’s and Young Ladies Meetings, Primary and some Quorum Meetings among the most punctual of these was the high Priest Meetings, the Seventies were rather careless, the Elders not so good as might have been, the Religion Classes had only a few meetings.
The Presbyterians in Mendon, that is their Minister, a Mr. Campbell, was a very live man in his profession, like the Pharisees of old he spared no means in working against the church (Mormon) and its members not hesitating to spread and manufacture most atrocious lies, and falsehoods against the people of his own town where he had lived for years and never had been molested by anyone, but not satisfied with spreading falsehoods in our own town, he took a trip to the eastern states, lecturing against the Mormon Church, and no lie however black was too great for him to swear to as being true.
The winter was not exceedingly hard still at times quite cold, and spring came in beginning of April, very fine weather for cropping fall wheat showed well in the spring and continued so until harvest, when the best crop of fall wheat ever raised in Mendon was harvested. The spring wheat this year was below an average, caused by the long dry spell, that came after a long continuous rain through May and part of June, it was of great advantage for haying, as there was scarcely a shower to wet any hay all through getting it up. The largest crop ever raised in Mendon was gathered this year.
The Ward Conference was held in March, but few changes were made. Bishop Hughes and councilors was unanimously sustained also officers of the different Quorums, Sunday School officers, a change was made in the officers of the Young Ladies Associations, President and Counselors were changed. The Sunday school held semi-annual reviews at which they had excellent times. In the spring of this year four missionaries were called to Montana and Oregon. There names were Jacob Sorensen, Joseph T. Wood, Joseph N. Sorensen, and Delbert Bird three of those left for their field of labor in April, and Delbert Bird in July.
The legislature of the previous year, while holding their session, had a serious time, a tie lasting for weeks, for Senators to Congress, was a last broke, with only one majority electing Joseph L. Rawlins Senator.
With regard to the prosperity of Mendon it can only be said that slowly but surely it moved onward during this summer the finest dwelling house in Mendon was erected, many others was repainted this year and otherwise repaired.
The District Schools this year again divided their schools into three making it much more convenient, a school meeting was held in the spring of this year. The trustees desiring to increase the school buildings, there was need of this as the primary school had to be held in the city hall, and it was too small a room for holding a school, but the trustees were not successful this time, but like all other most useful things in the world a foundation was laid, most likely in the near future to be accomplished.
Threshing in the summer and fall was kept up, and men to hire were quite scarce as 4 machines were running, however, their fall grain again fell quite low, wheat was now as low as 42–it ranged between that and 50 up till Christmas.
Unlike the previous year when no deaths occurred in Mendon, many hearts was caused to sorrow by being bereaved of some loved one, there being 8 or 10 deaths all children under 15, the death occurred in the spring of this year. Besides the deaths mentioned, Sister Forster, one of Mendon’s early settlers, she with her husband came to Mendon in the fall of 1859. She passed off after much suffering, having been ill for several years.
Henry W. Hughes, who came to Mendon in the sixties and lived there ever since, passed from this life about the 24th of July of this year. On December 23 the birthday of the prophet Joseph Smith—the new Brigham Young College at Logan was dedicated, invitation was extended to all the settlements in the county, and many attended the services, which were very interesting. It was now Christmas, and a lovelier one never dawned upon beautiful Cache Valley, mild weather good sleighing lovely moonlight, and many enjoyed it very much. The usual Christmas festivities for old and young was attended by all and 1898 passed like the rest of the years no more to return.
1899 commenced fair as ‘98 left off, but the beautiful weather did not continue although the remainder of the winter was not as hard as some we had experienced in Cache Valley yet it was not a mild winter, and the spring was particularly cold, many cold storms from time to time, so although it seemed like we would have an early opening of spring it was scarcely an average.
The unusual heavy harvest of ‘98 did not benefit the people as much as might have been supposed, while at one time in the fall of ‘98 wheat brought 50 cents per bushel, later on it proved that wheat went down and stayed down, so much was sold at a low figure, and a very great amount was shipped to California to be held for a rise in price, at the same time those who sent this grain would draw 30 cents for perhaps a little more on the bushel, and with the paying for storage, and the low price on the grain, in the spring of ‘99 grain thus held brought nothing more than the first payment and in many cases they found themselves indebted. There was no scarcity of feed for stock; hay sold for 2 1/2 to 3 dollars a ton. Stock in the spring of ‘99 brought the highest figure for many years. Dairies also had now become an important adjunct to the farm, in fact, it was the making of the farmer—along with the stock and grain, also in many parts of Utah the beet crop had proved very successful already in Cache County very many acres was raised but with no beet sugar factory in the valley the profit on it was not so good as in Ogden where now a large factory was running successfully.
This year proved to be another of those so hard on the farmers, when not more than a 1/2 crop was realized on account of prolonged drought, hay also was quite light consequently brought a good figure.
The Ward Conference convened in the month of March of this year, the only change in ward officers was the Young Ladies Improvement Association, a new set of officers was voted in. In the beginning of March, two missionaries left Mendon, going to Europe. [Peter] Andrew Sorensen to Norway and Mathew Forster to England. Also in May Christian Sorensen left home for a mission to Denmark, all was given a nice farewell party in the meetinghouse.
The only returned missionary this year was Elias Davis who labored in Wales while absent.
In the month of March an old people social or reunion was held, all married people being invited. Dinner was served by the Young ladies, assisted by Young Men— at 1 o’clock p.m. after which a program was rendered mostly by aged veterans. Among other exercises was, Hard times come again no more by all present. The whole days celebration was among the very best had in Mendon—all greatly enjoyed themselves, and nearly everybody was present—a dance in the evening was a great success, old fashioned dances many older people danced till dismissed, all young people was admitted that wished to dance.
In May of this year, the Superintendence of the Stake attended our Sunday School, and effected a reorganization—Alfred Gardner was released from being 1st assistant being counselor to Bishop Hughes, [Peter] Andrew Sorensen on a mission to Norway, was released on that account, also [Anna] Adelia Bird now Quayle, having moved to Logan. All were honorably released with thanks for past labors in the school. Alfred Irwin Gardner also was released from being secretary—George B. Hughes was set apart as 1st and Alfred I. Gardner as second assistant to Superintendent Isaac Sorensen. Rebecca Sorensen was voted in as secretary—and Maggie Bird assistant secretary. Traugott Stumpf remained treasurer and Joseph Hancock librarian.
All the associations in the ward were working well—meetings fairly well attended.
The subject most urgently laid before the saints during the summer and fall of ‘99 was tithing, through our Prophet Lorenzo Snow, the lord made known his will to his people, and commanded all his saints to pay a full tithing, that this land my be the land of Zion to his saints, otherwise it would not, but calamities would overtake the people—quite a punctual response was made, all through Zion to the paying of tithing and all felt very happy in witnessing the same, there were however some who paid no tithing at all, showing thus their weakness of faith.
During the year ‘99 eight deaths occurred among those were Henry W. Hughes who settled in Mendon in the sixties, he died suddenly. John Lallis died in the fall after nearly two months suffering. One young man named [Edward C.] Hill 16 years of age fell from a load of hay—was run over, and died instantly. Also a 10—or 8 year old boy of Harlow Bassets fell from a wagon was run over and only lived a few hours.
In December ‘99 sister Sarah Charles Bird departed this life after many years of weakness and at times much suffering. She was one of the early settlers of Mendon having come in the fall of 1859 thus being among the first that wintered in Mendon in her house Mendon ward was organized by Apostles Orson Hyde, and Ezra T. Benson.
Among the improvements made in Mendon this year was the new school house costing near $4000, the taxpayers felt justly proud of the building, and now there would be no more need or additional schoolroom for very many years to come.
The heaviest donation this year was the Brigham Young Monument fund, $106 was assigned to Mendon, with the shortage of crops, this fell somewhat heavy on the people, there was a few houses built in Mendon this year, and some barns erected.
The fall of the year was rainy, making ploughing much land possible. Elections was held in November, an entire city ticket was elected, it was non-partisan, Robert Forster was Mayor, John Willie, Peter Larsen, John Walker, Hans Jensen, City Councilors, Alfred Gardner, Recorder, Rebecca Sorensen Treasures, John Westover, Marshall.
The year ended with lovely weather for Christmas, and it was as usual celebrated by old and young, with Christmas trees and the rest belonging to the day.
Sunday School outings had now become a necessity, holiday most of people taking part, a program in the morning. Ice cream in the afternoon and children’s party—with adult dance in the evening, some 10 dollars was realized for the Sunday school this years outing.
The greatest stir during this was the B. H. Roberts election to Congress as Representative—Congress refusing to seat him on account of his plurality of wives, very great excitement prevailed all over the United States, and polygamy was much discussed, in nearly all societies weather for good or not, future must tell, thus ended 1899—and 1900 made its appearance.
The weather all through January was very mild and pleasant, and altogether the winter was light, spring coming in early, after so many hard winters, it was indeed a treat for Cache Valley to pass through, and enjoy a winter like this one, building could be done of any kind all through the winter, but improvements in houses, barns, fences and— went on rather slow still there was always some buildings in process. A good amount of grain was sowed in the spring, the ground being in excellent condition for seeding, many of the young men spent the winter away from home, earning money and did not return until spring or forepart of the summer. The winter past much as usual, the new schools were run three months in the year two schools the rest of the time, nine months being the usual length of time for schools to be in session. The health of the people during the winter was good as a rule, no contagious diseases had made there appearance in Mendon although several towns in the Valley had many cases of smallpox.
Meetings was attended much as usual, the associations doing perhaps as much as in other years. The old peoples party was celebrated in the early spring of this year and was a good success in every way. All taking interest, and good times was had lasting day and evening. The dinner was grand, decorations good, and sociability long to be remembered.
With Sunday School reviews, old people days, entertainment’s of various kinds, sociables, and parties, with meetings of all kinds the winter like the rest in our little town glided quickly away and the time for much hard work again made the farmer put on his old labor task and make good use of the time otherwise he would soon find himself confronted with more duties than he would be able to perform. It was not now as it was 25–30 years ago, it cost but little to keep a family, where formerly $200 would carry a family safe through the year, it would now require 6-700 dollars, it kept a man as well as the rest of the family very busy to make ends meet. There was less indebtedness in Mendon now than some years previous, although some few never recovered. Stock continued to bring a good figure although not quite so good as the previous year. Sheep also continued one of the best resources of Utah’s wealth, but Mendon was no sheep town so much money which might have been made in sheep was lost to Mendon, and farming not bringing the most desirably results in dollars. Grain continuing to bring low prices, it seemed almost a necessity to branch out into something more than farming in order to meet all expenses and makes the progress desired.
The dairies had certainly done much for Cache Valley, and was a grand success indeed—but still not enough—what else could we go into. Certainly a beet sugar factory would boom Cache Valley materially and it was hoped it would soon be a material established fact, in the latter end of the year it seemed probable that one would be built, the ground was selected, a canvas made through the valley to ascertain how many acres could be put in still in this year it was not real certainty that it would be built, although there was good grounds for believing it would be.
On April of this year, a special meeting was called of all the saints, in Mendon, Apostles F. M. Lyman and M. W. Merrill being present, at which meeting Henry Hughes was released from being Bishop of Mendon Ward, also Andrew Andersen and Alfred Gardner was released from being Counselors, Henry Hughes had been Bishop for 31 years, and Andrew Andersen had been Counselor. Alfred Gardner had acted as 2nd Counselor a number of years—John H. Andersen of Logan 4th Ward was selected, and voted in a Bishop of Mendon by a unanimous vote of all the people. John G. Willie and George N. Sorensen were voted in as counselors, Henry Hughes was ordained a patriarch, he was now 76 years of age.
Shortly after this change of Bishopric the Stake Superintendent of Sunday Schools in Cache Stake, came over from Logan, and again, completed the organization of the Sunday School, Isaac Sorensen was sustained as Superintendent and Jacob Sorensen as 1st and Albert Mowry Baker Jun. as 2nd assistants. Rebecca Sorensen Secretary, Charles Bird Assistant Secretary, Traugott Stumpf Treasures, Joseph Hancock Librarian, George N. Sorensen Musical Director, Hannah Sorensen Organist, Mary E. Sorensen Assistant Organist. A yearly report of attendance of Teachers and pupils was made and forwarded to the Stake Board, also financial reports, and the Superintendent was asked to answer questions with regard to punctuality of beginning schools. Books were as standard works; tithe paying and keeping the word of wisdom, a Teacher who did not pay tithing or keep the word of wisdom was not a fit teacher for the Latter-day Saint children.
The first of was celebrated as usual, and was a fine day—much rain fell during May but very much warm weather continued during June and July. While it was exceedingly favorable for hay making, it seemed as though the grain would not possible could mature, but it did mature, and made an average crop much to the joy of the farmer for he needed all he raised with the low price of 40 cents for his wheat to pay all expenses, as farming implements now amounted to very much in the line of disbursements.
What with headers, binders, mowers, rakes, gangs, drills, sulkies, cutaways, disks, and common harrows as also threshing machines, fanning mills, with common ploughs and a farm was not a small thing to keep supplied, making the farmer anxious for grain to again bring a good round price that he might look up and feel easier. Much Lucerne was by this time being raised. It brought better returns from the land than did wheat. Leo Richards started on a mission to the Southern States on July 6th of this year.
On July 8th the Ward Conference was held, Counselor Morell of the Stake Presidency presided, a good time enjoyed, all officers of the Ward was sustained, by unanimous vote, thus passed the summer and threshing was completed, the fall was very dry until October or November. Then excessive rains fell, the ground was thoroughly soaked but little wheat was early, most beautiful weather prevailed till after Christmas, except a week or so of foggy weather, Christmas celebration was very nice, and the holidays past off pleasantly—thus ended 1900 and the 20th century began with many promising features, although much disturbance was felt by the smallpox throughout Utah. The election presidential as well as home elections created somewhat of a stir in Mendon rather more than usual, but nothing serious occurred, Mendon was as usual Democratic. Among the accidents that occurred in this year was that of John Walker who was thrown from his vehicle and lighting on a rock, was so fatally injured, that he lived only one or two days after, it was a sad event for his wife and children, the funeral was largely attended.
The improvements of Mendon during this year consisted of 2–3 barns. Bishop Andersen was preparing for a mercantile establishment, which would be in running order in the early beginning of the new year.
1901, the beautiful weather continued all winter, and once more Cache Valley was favored with a pleasant winter. Spring work commenced early, the winter was spent much as usual, the people was much in love with their new Bishop, he being a very kind man, and also a faithful and energetic man, but public improvements, except the schoolhouse was still in the background somewhat, as yet the public square was unfenced, and the meeting house without any attachments, or side rooms wherein small meetings could be held, or Sunday Schools could occupy to much advantage. The new schoolhouse was all Mendon could boast of. The Relief Society had built a granary wherein they stored their grain.
Mendon had been specially favored during this year while in most of the settlements in the valley there were smallpox cases, also diphtheria, but Mendon escaped without one single case. There were a few cases of typhoid fevers, but none fatal.
Bishop Andersen’s store had ran during the entire year making it much better than when H. R. Richards was the only merchant. The old peoples part came off in February, and was a very good time. The weather during spring was very nice plenty rain to start the grain and grass growing but the summer months were dry and hot much of the time, and it seemed for a time that much grain would burn up, but after all it was a wonder to all how so much was saved, and matured as well as it die, still there was not a full or average crop, about 3/4.
This year a new industry dawned upon Cache Valley. The hoped for sugar factory was completed, and started running the 1st of November and the amount of beets raised this year was something wonderful, 25 or 30 thousand tons, it was expected 5,000,000 pounds of sugar would be made. It was now evident that beet growing was a great success, when an acre of land would bring from 60–80 dollars, and children could do much of the work required among the beets. The ward conference was held late in the summer. President Parkinson, our new Stake President presided, he had not yet selected his councilors nor completed the organization of the Quorums and Associations of the stake and this was another change for Mendon, we now changed headquarters, as Mendon now belonged to the Hyrum Stake, the Cache Stake had been divided into three Stakes, the Cache, with Logan for headquarters, the towns of Hyrum, Wellsville, Mendon, Paradise, Avon, Millville, College Ward and Mt. Sterling made up the Hyrum Stake. The Stake officers selected from Mendon were Andrew Andersen, was called to preside over the High Priest Quorums. Andrew Sorensen was called to High Councilman and Isaac Sorensen to be an alternate High Councilman; Christian Sorensen was called as an aid to Young Men’s Associations. At the Ward Conference all the officers were sustained except perhaps a change in organists, there had been a change in the Y.L.M.I. Association, Jemima Forster was still President, Mary Hancock and Bertha Sorensen councilors with quite a number of aids, Malena Sorensen was honorably released from being ward organist, after many years of faithful labor, she had married and left Mendon. Maime Hughes was now ward organist and Maime Sorensen assistant. Andrew Andersen was President of Y.M.M.I. Association of Mendon, Mathew Forster and Mowry Baker his councilors, Jacob Sorensen presided over religion classes, Christian Sorensen & George B. Hughes his counselors. Andrew Sorensen returned from a mission to Norway in the spring of this year and Christian Sorensen in the fall of 1901, Christian Sorensen had been in Denmark 2 years and 5 months. Mathew Forster returned from a mission to England in the summer of this year.
Alma N. Sorensen left for a mission to the Eastern States in November of this year and William Cunningham Jun. a month before this time he went to California. Two or three young men were called to take missionary course in Logan B.Y.
Almost everything farmers produced found sale at a good price this year. Wheat before Christmas brought 65–70 cents, hay 4 dollars per ton, potatoes 50–60 cents per bushel, stock about the same as previous year. Dairy business was better than it had previously been. Eggs, butter, poultry and all brought good price. Fruit was very scarce, and figured high. Labor was plenty during the winter so after all it was a prosperous year the tithing paid this year was very satisfactory.
The people of Mendon were as faithful as usual in performing their duties. Meetings were better attended than they had been. The Deacons worded very good in the taking care of the meetinghouse, and councils and admonitions to prepare for the future, and build up kingdom was continually given. Christmas as usual observed by all the people, and a good time was had both young and old.
Through some oversight in posting the registration list in time to comply with the law, there was no election in Mendon this year the old members continued in office another term of two years.
Thus passed away 1901 the 1st year of the 20th Century, with it was witnessed another change in the presidency of the church, President Lorenzo Snow having passed to the great beyond, after a long life of faithful labor in the church.
1902, Joseph F. Smith succeeded Lorenzo Snow in the Presidency of the church, and he selected for his councilors John R. Winder and Anthon H. Lund. 1902 proved to Mendon farmers an exceedingly fruitful one, while it could not be said of all Cache Valley, for one Clarkston crops were below average, & others in the valley, but Mendon was far above average 20 bushels per acre on dry land was an average crop, but most of the land this year turned from 35–45 bushels per acre, many of the farmers had good judgment in disposing of their grain, holding it until it brought 75 cents and some was sold for 80 cents per bushel, however much was sold at from 53–56 cents. The winter between 1901 & 1902 was another mild and easy one, there was little or no use for sleds, what snow fell did not remain long enough to make good sleigh roads.
While Mendon had so well escaped contagious diseases in previous years, this winter it was given a taste in the shape of Smallpox, confined to one family, but it was quite severe in this family. Quarantine was established, and all gatherings discontinued for one month or 5 weeks, and thus Mendon was again lucky to escape without any more new cases.
There were few deaths recorded this year however, some were called to mourn the loss of most dear ones. Irwin Gardner died in December of this year having but a short time before occupied the position of operator at the Mendon Railroad Depot. He had been in Provo a year or two engaged in the same kind of labor—and had moved to Mendon, his birthplace, he died of pneumonia, he was a much respected young man, he left a wife and child. There was not much change from that of other winters, in the way of amusements, celebrations & etc., Christmas so established as a holiday was well observed, as also 1st of May, July 4th and 24th was vacations of much enjoyment. The Prophet Joseph Smiths birthday was now yearly commemorated.
Bishop Anderson had not as yet purchased a home in Mendon, but rented a home for his family. He spent much of this time at his mercantile business in Logan, but was always prompt in attending Sunday school. He being principal teacher in the theological class, also Sunday afternoon and evening meetings, which were well attended. In the spring of 1902, John James Ladle & George B. Hughes started on their missions, John James Ladle to England & George B. Hughes to Southern States, during the summer Hughes was released from his mission on account of his fathers sickness, he was much afflicted with the dreaded disease Diabetes, but through the blessings of the Lord and the faith of the saints in the ward he was able at the end of the year to attend meetings, having to use crutches.
Leo Richards returned from his Southern States mission December 24th having spent 29 months in the field.
Two other young men, Jacob Sorensen and John Gardner were called on missions to the Middle States, their farewell parties were held in 1902, they left January 2nd 1903. Mendon now ranked among the foremost of Hyrum Stake in having missionaries in the field.
Public improvements in Mendon was little better than usual. Some improvement had been made around the meetinghouse. Several dwelling houses and barns was erected during this year, but fences most of them in town were quite shabby; there were a few exceptions.
Mendon was fortunate in securing the service of J. H. Andersen of Lewiston for principal teacher in the day school, and there was as good or better chance for education this than the previous years.
Election for County and State officers resulted in much gain for the Republican Party, as well in Cache, as all the Counties in the State. They (the Republicans) being in the majority in legislature as also in County offices, even in Democratic Cache County. Take all in all 1902 was a very prosperous year. The beet crop was light compared with 1901—the first—15-18 tons per acre. The 2nd 10-12—in 1901 4 dollars per ton was paid in 1902. $4.15 was paid; there was a great amount of beets raised in the valley.
In January and February of this year, the High Councilors of the Hyrum Stake of Zion were given a special mission to visit in company with the teachers in the several wards of the stake every family, holding meetings in each house, and it was a joyful mission, doing all in their power to encourage the saints in keeping the commandments of the Lord.
The population of Mendon did not seem to increase but little from year to year to year, about 600 was the total number for many years. The preaching and admonition of the leaders of the stake all the way along, was to observe and do the will of their heavenly father. Paying their tithing and keeping the Word of Wisdom, also keeping the Sabbath day holy, and honoring the presiding priesthood, the Kingdom of God was rolling and spreading faster and farther.
Mendon paid a good tithing this year; still there were some who did not have faith to pay a full tithing and some not any tithing.
In April of this year Jacob Sorensen was called on a mission as a worker in the Logan Temple.
The new schoolhouse was much appreciated and the schools in the town were good perhaps the best there had been up to the present time.
Quite a few of Mendon people had taken up farms or ranches in Curlew, Bannock, and Pocatello Valleys, but so far they had not been very profitable, with drought, frost and so on the crops seldom amounted to very much.
1903, the winter between 1902 and 1903 was an unusual frosty and quite a cold winter, there was not much snow during the winter months but much cold weather, and very much Lucerne was killed, even in many places one half was killed, making Lucerne hay much less than usual, the winter passed much as usual, except many were at work on the power plant, canal and other kinds of work, for it seemed that the farms alone was scarcely enough to keep things moving, as it required so much now to keep a family going to what it used to be. There were no epidemics or contagious diseases this winter to stop schools or any gathering, hence there was a general good time realized, with the good year of 1902 and prices for grain, stock, dairy products and stock in fact everything was good sale except hay Lucerne from $3.50 to $4.00 per ton.
The dry fall of 1902 was a drawback for farmers, as but little grain took root and started growing until spring, and there was much seeding done in the spring, but this was for Mendon one of her poor years, because most of her land was dry farm land which in good years brought excellent profits, but a poor year was rather discouraging, still where farmers connected dairy, such as cows from 10–20 on a farm as also beets, potatoes, poultry and other additional resources they pulled through all right by going slow in respect to improvements, investments & while many sold much of their grain in the fall of 1902 at from 52–56 cents per bushel there was still much grain sold at from 75_80 cents. Oats also in spring brought good figures—$1.40–$1.50 per 100 pounds. Potatoes 20 cent in the fall and 27 in the spring.
Thus passed the winter, much as usual the missionaries in the field, would cost from 1500 to 2000 dollars a year, however mostly confined to few families, but strange to say those families did not seem to be any the poorer for thus spending their means, this was a proof that the great giver is true to his promises, in this as well as in paying their honest tithings and offerings.
The spring was quite backward. Stock was fed until May, and then the weather was cold so grass and grain grew slow—much land was summer followed this was an advantage as summer was very dry and consequently crops short and light from 7–10 bushel per acres. Some went more; watered land was all right, as it was good growing weather when kept damp.
In April, Mendon again changed Bishopric. Bishop Anderson was released from being Bishop on account of poor health, he was much beloved by the people, although he did not make or buy a home in Mendon, but rented, his mercantile business still continued.
Mormon Delbert Bird was chosen Bishop and set apart for Bishop, and John S. Willie and Joseph N. Sorensen were his councilors, they took hold of the work with a will, prosperity continued as before, and exhortations and admonitions and pleadings with the people to keep the commandments of God, and prepare for the coming of the Savior, by honoring and obeying the counsels of the leaders, keeping the Sabbath Day holy, dealing honestly with all men and living in peace with their neighbors, paying their honest tithings, keeping the Word of Wisdom and all other commandments, thus passed the spring, the people as usual being very busy in summer, but having some leisure time in the winter.
In May of this year George Goatman died, he was a settler in Mendon from the sixties; his wife had preceded him some years.
May as usual was a general holiday and much enjoyed. The summer passed, grain stacks were rather small, still it was not like the grasshopper year in sixties and seventies, and there was plenty to eat, and people dressed well, indeed it may be said stylish—while for a number of years, the ladies had dressed very respectable and tasty—but now trail dresses again made their appearance, by no means a good fashion looked at from any side. Grain brought a good figure, 75 cents per bushel, but stock this fall and winter dropped down, as also hogs, this worked a hardship as everybody had a good deal of stock and sale for the stock, not even good stock beef could be found, and hay not very plentiful, and beef cattle had to be kept along through the winter.
As to improvements they were not very numerous still some houses were painted and made to look new, some nice fences also was put up. The fall election was quiet, a fusion ticket was the only one got up and the vote for city officer’s small, with no opposition there was not a great stir. The Mayor elected did not qualify, so the new council will appoint a Mayor. Much snow fell in the spring in all the mountains and water was plenty, in the streams and our springs were better than last year—beet crops were good this year. Winter started middle of November, but much nice weather was enjoyed before Christmas, a good number of boys and girls attended colleges in Logan, also some took missionary course.
John Cunningham returned from a two years mission to California in November of this year.
Colen Sweeten went to Colorado on mission in June of this year—but was taken sick with typhoid fever and returned home and had not returned at the end of the year.
1904 the winter of 1903-4 was not extremely hard. Sleighing was fine for 2 or 3 months and was enjoyed, there was nothing unusual transpired in Mendon during the early winter months, times was passed much as in other winters. Meeting were held on Sunday afternoons as also evenings all the year around, and attendance as a rule quite good, they were always some who did not attend strictly to their duties, neither in paying tithing or attending meetings or other duties, but the more part of the people observed the commandments of God, to keep them, it was often said that the ward teachers did not visit the people, or perform their duties as well as they should do. Perhaps this was why the High Counselor was sent among the people on regular missions, visiting at every house both church members and those who did not belong to the church, which undoubtedly done much good. In the beginning of February, Alma Sorensen returned from a mission to the Southern States, having been absent 27 months. Wheat brought as high as 90 cents and over during this spring & until harvest. This winter was also long when we thought spring had come, then we passed through another extremely disagreeable. To the old settlers of ‘59 there was but one spring to equal this one, for muddy roads, all over Cache Valley it was the same and also in other valleys—it was next to impossible to pass over the roads. This caused a scarcity of feed for stock and hay and Lucerne went as high as 10 dollars a ton, and could not be bought in Mendon. Quite a few had to go into Malad Valley with their stock. Stock was very low this spring, and not much sake and continued the same all through the year. Wheat and beets were the only articles that found good and ready sale. Milk this summer at the dairies was also low.
Pastures opened about the middle of April this year, two weeks earlier than the previous year, much grain was sowed this year, and harvest was good but not first class, but the previous year being so poor many went somewhat behind and hindered their progress this year.
It cannot be said that Mendon made good progress in the way of building up and beautifying, but there was improvement made every year, this year some new houses and barns were erected, also fences and other improvements, but Mendon had not as yet considered the building of a beautiful meetinghouse like many of the other settlements in our stake, it was even astonishing that was being done in Wellsville, and Hyrum in this respect. Mendon however spent some 200 dollars in improving the old meetinghouse putting in all new windows and jointing the house outside which was a good and needed improvement.
Sunday School and Ward Conferences were held in the spring and early summer months, there was little or no change in officers in the Ward.
The new Bishopric were well sustained by the saints in the ward, and except in was in Mendon like it was in other wards of our stake that the ward teachers were not as faithful in visiting the people as could be desired, the officers of the ward was what could be said to be in very good condition. It is true all were not full tithe payers, and some not tithe payers at all, and at this time a man or women’s name had to go on record either as full tithe payer or not full. Meetings were fairly well attended, Sunday school good, Improvement Associations especially Ladies good, Primary, Relief Society, and all working well. Lesser Priesthood met together every other Monday evening, presided over by the Bishopric, during the winter there were old people parties, Sunday School class social parties, Deacons parties, Oyster sociables, all these were held in the meetinghouse, also parties for children. Christmas, May, 4th and 24th of July, however on the 4th as a rule there was no children’s party.
1st of May was gaily celebrated by all the people in town, and again winter was gone and nature in her beauty once more.
Elders John Ladle and Abraham Baker, returned from their missions, Ladle to England and Baker to Southwestern States having been away over two years.
In June of this year, the Hyrum Stake held a Stake Reunion at Hyrum, a very large number participated. A luncheon dinner was served, all bringing their parts from home, it was a grand success. Mendon band was there who by this time had become nice players, getting many compliments. An exceedingly unpleasant event happened on July 24th of this year, in some unaccounted for way a whole can or freezer full of ice cream had been poisoned, and 150 persons from Mendon, Petersboro and some few from Wellsville were taken down, and it was very severe, in most case four or five doctors were kept busy during the night and next day to an extent, some were three or four days getting over it, but not a single case proved fatal.
Much hay was put up this year and harvest good made a busy time in Mendon. Wheat brought 78–80 cents per bushel at threshing time; this proved a great help to people in Cache Valley, giving them an opportunity to pay of their debts. The weather through the summer and fall months was dry, so much land was ploughed dry, there was however one good rain that brought wheat up that was sowed early, but much of the grain was put in late, and did not sprout in the fall.
Mendon people witnessed a serious plague in the fall and early winter of this year. 25 cases of Typhoid fevers was reported, none of which proved fatal–but in the cases of Pneumonia which was three, all died. Sister A. W. Baker was the first one, then Charles Buist and Fred Bartlett, also.
The November election proved a land slide for the Republican party, still Mendon came of as usual Democratic by quite a majority but Cache County went Republican also the State of Utah, and the nation.
The schools were good in Mendon the same teachers except one, Mr. Larsen, in his stead Mr. Reese, a brother to one principal teacher, there were 10 graduates from Mendon in 1904.
Christmas as usual was a very interesting time for all. Weather was very fine no snow until Christmas.
1905, winter set in on Christmas day, it was a very cold day, but the winter much of it was quite pleasant, but in the early spring there was a full month of blustery stormy weather, the fall of 1904 had witnessed much sickness in Mendon, but this spring all but those who died from Pneumonia had recovered. All pneumonia cases proved fatal, there was Charles Buist, Fred Bartlett and Agnes, Amenzo Baker wife. In February, Hyrum Baker was killed on the railroad in Dakota he was buried in Mendon. The winter of 1904-1905 passed away much a usual, there was good sleighing part of the winter, as far the condition of the people spiritually there was perhaps a change for the better, it was no worse, the work was rolling along, meetings quite well attended, all associations working most of them very good. Tithing fairly good, so there was nothing to mar the peaceful enjoyment of the people, except the usual ordinary cares and trials of life, which are always hard enough under ordinary conditions, but it is not until prolonged sickness or sudden accidents overtake us that we can, and do consider our burdens, or cares hard. We had now lived in Mendon 46 years, and no one had been driven from home by wicked mobs nor by Indians, as it was in the early days of the church before coming to the valleys and it could truly be said that in the desert, by the streams, and springs, the saints had raised families by thousands and the waste places had blossomed as the beautiful rose, and the saints had implicate faith in the fulfillment of all that was predicted about Zion.
When spring did come it was which was not, it was pleasant, not like the spring of 1904 when there was cold nights until along in May and grass grew very slow, but this spring and summer the pastures were better than they had been for years. Beet crops was fairly good, wheat crops also, but not extra, there was about the same amount of wheat raised this as 1904 but it was worth 1/4 less than 1904. So really the people were not as well of as they were the previous year, but the indebtedness of our town was now reduced to a small amount to what it had been in past years.
In February the old people reunion took place and as usual a good time was enjoyed. The ward conference was held in the summer and was a good time—all officers unanimously sustained. In March of this year Mendon, as also the other wards of our stake, and other stakes was called upon to do some Temple Work, the invitation was to all who felt interested. Mendon made a good showing during the week that was given them to work. There was a number of deaths during the year, Jasper Lemmon died suddenly from heart failure in the early fall of this year; he was one of Mendon’s pioneers.
It was during this year, that the investigation before the Senate Committee on privileges and elections took place. This was brought by men and women who were not friendly to the Latter-day Saints, and who thought they would inflict great injury to the church and hoped to unseat Senator Reed Smoot whom the people chose for this high position, but the enemies of the church did not think an Apostle should be allowed to be a member of that honored body of men hence this great investigation, which however proved no injury to the church nor to Reed Smoot, but rather increased his influence, both at home and in Congress.
President Joseph F. Smith, and many of the leading men of the church was witnesses before the Committee, it was a very interesting time, and the outcome was good, as an opportunity to explain many principles of the church, and also the workings and organizations in almost every particular and as all the proceedings were published not only in America, but all over the civilized world, in reality it did more good than a great number of missionaries could have done, and the saints felt thankful to the Lord for his overruling hand in this really great event in the church and nations history.
The investigation closed for the year with perhaps a chance of its being resumed again in the future. The oldest person in Mendon at this time or any previous time, Sister Mary Walker, died in the fall of this year—92 years old.
Asa Baker a young man 20 years, while hunting deer in Deep Canyon, the snow 2–3 feet deep was found on top of the mountain supposed to have frozen to death, it was a severs shock to his mother, brothers and sisters, as it was his brother who was killed on the railroad in Dakota in the spring of this year, and this young man met his death in December. During this year a few new buildings was erected, the most costly house in town was built, William Barrett the Builder, also others but none so costly.
The 24th was fittingly celebrated this year. The Sunday schools having charge of the celebration. The grandest parade had since Mendon was settled and the day was a grand success. May also as usual, 4th of July—and Christmas were remembered and much enjoyed. Winter commenced about December 1st and there was fairly good sleighing. An event of unusual importance took place in December, it being the 100th anniversary of the Prophet Joseph Smiths birth, and the church having purchased 60 acres of land on which stood the house in which the Prophet was born, a monument to his memory was erected, and on the 23rd of December the Prophet Smith birthday, it was unveiled, and a very great and interesting time was had. President Smith and party, in all 25 and also others from New York and Boston and other places, were there in Sharon, the ceremonies were of the highest and most interesting as well as instructing nature, the party visited the home of Joseph Smith where the book of Mormon was translated, also the grove where the Father and the Son visited the young prophet, and on the top of the Hill Commorah, the company held inspiring services, then visited the Kirtland Temple, the most heavenly inspiring influence and power accompanied the party from the beginning and until their return to their homes.
The Prophets birthday was remembered and celebrated in every place where saints were located.
Christmas festivities ended the year of 1905, and while there was no very great change in the conditions of Mendon and its people, still there was some progress made. A fine 10,000 dollar meetinghouse would be a very desirable improvement also an up to date mercantile establishment, but they were still in the future.
1906, much the same as in the previous years of two there was an appearance of early spring, but it only disappointed the people, rain, snow, and much disagreeable weather continued, with roads a good part of the time almost impassable, there was immense of wet fell, indeed this year it continued until June, then there was 7 weeks of dry weather lasting through July and most of August. Then we was visited with the most soaking and steady rain lasting 4 days, and did more damage than ever was known before in Mendon, within a short time the greater part of the wheat that was cut and stacked, sprouted and was made unfit for flour, hence decreased about 1/3 in value, and not much sale for this class of wheat, but this was not all the damage, the long rain in the spring and summer, caused nearly all of the spring wheat to crust and where 60 bushel would have been raised from 10–25 was all the yield, and a much inferior class of wheat. In the whole more than 1/2 of the wheat crop was lost. However the rain made a great amount of hay, and grass, and also benefited the beet crops, which was a fine success this year, after all there was perhaps not much difference in the net income in Mendon this year compared with the year 1900. Stock was rather better this year than for several years but not back to high mark. Horses were at their best sold readily, and Mendon was now supplied with good breeds of horses. Wheat 1st class brought the low figure of 50 cents. The conditions financially of the people had improved; much there was not so much indebtedness, as there was 8-10 years ago. With regard to the spiritual conditions in Mendon, it could be said that there was some improvement, quite a number of younger people were called to labor in the associations and the ward Bishopric was alive to their responsibilities, meetings were fairly well attended, home missionaries from the stake and also appointed in the ward visited the saints and none saints holding meeting in their homes, and doing a good work. The Tithing of Mendon was a good average with their wards and an improvement to what it was some years ago. The threshing in Mendon this fall was not a profitable business—the wet wheat, also damage, and low prices made it an undesirable branch connected with farming this year, still the grain was all threshed and there was at least plenty hog, and chicken feed— the farmer who engaged in everything that belongs to the farm was pretty safe even this year, even after loosing one half the profit on his wheat, beets, milk, potatoes, horses, and everything but wheat was quite good, and the people rejoiced in the blessings the Lord had given them, with peace and good will generally among the saints and people in the ward.
While earthquakes, and famines and accidents by sea and land in coal mines, and on railroads and in many other ways was now quite common, as during this year San Francisco, Valparaiso, Kingston and other places were almost destroyed. And it had now become almost and old song to read in the papers of murders besides and almost all kinds of evils that can be mentioned, in many ways the sighs of the times were visible.
While all these things were taking place the leading nations of the earth endeavoring to establish peaceable relations between them and at the same time, making their navy much stronger–not having confidence in each other enough to put away their army while this condition existed in the world, the church was moving seemingly rapidly onward, success was heard from everywhere, the investigation in Congress was very satisfactory—the church was now out of debt, improvements in church building both for education and worship, was indeed something wonderful.
There was at this time however, a new enemy who had entered the field, it was a party who called themselves the American Party, who fought so hard—before the people entered on the political lines, they were mostly in Salt Lake—and there was nothing to base for them to adopt if it was thought, the Mormon Church could be injured thereby.
An old and esteemed pioneer, Elizabeth Willie passed away in the latter part of January. Also in the summer of this year the oldest person that had lived and died in Mendon, Mary Walker, wife of George Walker, past to the great beyond.
Quite a number of cases of Typhoid fevers during the summer and fall months was endured, none proved fatal. In the family of Alfred Gardner alone was four, and some extremely severe, notably his wife who took the fever over again after having endured an unusual hard attack and was seemingly better. Yet through the faith of the people, and the administering the ordinance of healing the sister recovered much to the joy of all.
So far not any deaths in Mendon from the Typhoid fever malady had occurred but it could not thus be said with regards to Pneumonia, there was but few survived who was taken down with that of all most dread disease. Joseph Richards, son of A. H. Richards died at the beginning of 1907, his sister Ireta died on Christmas 1906—16 years old, Joseph was 21 years old, Ireta died from Spinal Meningitis.
Joseph was scarcely dead, before the news of the death of his cousin Chester Baker, a brother to Hyrum and Asa Baker reached the home he had left but a week or two before and went to Park City to labor. His widowed mother was severely sorrow stricken, thus three of her sons, young men being taken from her in a little more than one year, and all three of them being brought home dead. Sister Baker had seen in a dream three coffins leaving her home, and when two had gone she felt there was yet another, perhaps this somewhat assisted her in her most sad bereavements. There was much mourning in Mendon at this time.
There was much sickness among the people in Mendon this fall, such as heavy colds, la grippe, and perhaps being caused by long open fall and winter, it being quite warm, but damp and seemingly unhealthy.
Old folks day and ward conference, was much enjoyed, it was at this conference Sunday school officers was changed.
Two missionaries, John Baker and Hyrum Kidman left Mendon this year. Baker in January and Kidman in April, both to the Northern States. Oscar Barrett returned from his mission to Sweden in the summer of this year.
In August of this year a change was made in the superintendence of the Sunday school. Isaac Sorensen was released from being superintendent, Jacob Sorensen Sen. and Mowry Baker, from being assistants. James F. Whitney was made superintendent and Frederick J. Sorensen 1st and Oscar Barrett 2nd Assistant. Those retiring were honorably released having labored many years in the Sunday school.
Our district schools was good the same principle William G. Reese, and now we had two of our own graduates from B.Y. College as grade teachers. There was more students attending colleges in Logan than had ever been before. The fine Mechanic Art building in Logan belonging to the B.Y. was now completed and much appreciated; everywhere the church institutions was increasing, nearly all students from Mendon attended the B.Y. And so 1906 was no more but would not soon be forgotten.
1907, There was no great changes in the big money of this year, the tithing was below that of 1906, improvements in the way of putting up good fences was steadily increasing also improving homes to an extent as also the stock of horses, two stallions, one a Shire, the other a Percheron Norman, both good horses was purchased in our town.
The dairy industry was at this time very good, milk was up to 37 cents, wheat toward spring 70–75 after threshing 60—stock was still quite low. Beef in the spring of the year brought 6–61/2 dressed. Hogs were good most of the time. So it could be truthfully said that times were good, and during this year, it was still better, as the tithing, plainly showed at the end of the year.
The winter was somewhat lengthy with another wet spring, very much rain and snow fell, making bad roads, during much of winter, and in the spring, the ground became very full of water, so much so that considerable land was made useless this season being to wet to plough, not since 1862 had such a year with wet been—the river were booming over flowing, and doing considerable damage in places—but the season was good, the early fall grain as usual was almost double the late grain, but all in all it was a good season, and all rejoiced in the prosperity, and as stated a good tithing was paid exceeding the previous year by 900 dollars. One unusual feature in this year was (as also to an extent in 1906) the high wages paid for all kinds of labor 2–21/2 dollars for common laborers all through the summer and in the fall during threshing and also beet digging, however in November quite a change came to the whole country, it was a money scare, Banks stopped cashing checks, and in parts of America there was a premium on cash. It was perhaps the worst thing that had overtaken the country for many years, it did not so much affect the farmer as it did large establishments were thousands of men were employed, the men by thousands were laid off and could not find employment, thousands of foreigners left American and returned to their countries from where they had come—matters was little, if any better at the end of the year.
LeRoy Baker returned from his mission to the southern States early in the summer of this year—Joseph C. Sorensen left Mendon for the Northern States Mission in January of this year, and Gorril Hughes in the month of November also for the Northern States Mission.
There was a change in the Sunday School Superintendence again this year. James F. Whitney was released from being superintendent on account of him being a Seventy in this year there was movement among the Seventies, they were to hold class meetings every Sunday morning at the same time as the Sunday Schools was held, making it necessary to release many in the stake and appoint others—it was the same in all stakes, this change of proceeding came from proper authority, and it was expected it would result in doing much good.
Jacob F. Sorensen Jun. was appointed superintendent and LeRoy Baker 1st and Oscar Barrett 2nd assistant.
At the November election James F. Whitney was elected Mayor to succeed William I. Sorensen. James F. Whitney did not qualify, so William I. Sorensen remained Mayor for two more, being appointed by the City Council.
The ward conference was held as usual and all officers sustained; all associations were working, and may be said was up to the times, quite a number of Seventies was ordained High Priest during this year. Sister Jack died in the fall of this year and was buried with much respect, many floral tributes and many kind words.
Vernon Bird died late in the fall from Typhoid fever, it was a great loss. 1907 ended with the people in good condition. Religiously, financially, also politically there was not contention between Democrats and Republicans, this fall the Democrats made a number of gains both in Cache Valley and other counties.
In the latter part of this year there was a number of cases of the Grip but none of those proved fatal, so now the good year of 1907 was no more and Christmas came as it always do and was much enjoyed.
1908, the panic continued during the winter and spring and during the whole year still in improved to some extent with the opening of spring, somewhat better chances for obtaining work, still not in this year was things restored to normal by any means, but the panic was not so severe nor so lasting as was that of 1893, and as has been said the farmers felt but little of the pressure of suffering as was experienced in other industries where manufacturers employed their thousands, so many were laid off of given only part of the time employment and much suffering followed however there was one thing where in there was much improvement during the winter of 1907–1908 and that was the coal supply, in the previous years there had been a coal famine, and it had been at times quite oppressing and many had been compelled to be very stingy with regard to fires for warming their homes but during this winter coal was plentiful.
Conditions in Mendon in the beginning of 1908 were good, not interrupted as had been the previous years ending, when two young people in one family was snatched from their parents and brothers and sisters by the grim monster, death, so much to the sorrow of all, but yet 1908 was not to pass without inflicting upon us or the people much sorrow, it was in the way of epidemics, in the spring and early summer of this year beginning April or May. Several times schools were closed for weeks, and in three months 5–6 deaths occurred and as it had previously been, it was mostly young people who were called away. One aged person Elias Davis died in the summer of this year, but the most mournful death this year was that of LeRoy Baker, he had filled a good mission to the Southern States, had been home about six months, got married, and was quite well, having been troubled while on his mission with some complaint, but had now seemingly, and really got over it all right, but the monster Diphtheria invaded our town, LeRoy Baker succumbed to it ravages much to the sorrow and loss of all, as he was a useful and energetic young man, to his young widow was born a son some months after his death.
A son of George W. Baker who lived in Montana was brought home dead through the same disease, also an estimable girl about 20, a daughter of Hyrum T. and Agnes Richards. It would perhaps be difficult to find in any other ward or settlement, so many young men and women taken away through death in the course of 3–4 years, as was the case in Mendon during this time.
The winter although not commencing till the near Christmas, was as the previous winters had been, quite lengthy, and the ground was frozen quite deep, this however was no doubt a great advantage to the people, a threatening calamity perhaps it might have proven so but for this freezing of the ground, in the previous summer and fall the gopher or the field mouse, threatened, if not checked to in the near future give the farmer an extra labor to perform, they were very numerous as winter set in and done not a little damage to beets and meadows, and not a little anxiety was caused by them, but when spring appeared, only now and then a muse could be seen.
This was a prosperous year as a whole although in the spring, perhaps one third (if not more) of the colts came premature and were dead, or died after, some lost as high as 6–7, and from imported costly stallions, and during the year one of those imported stallions died.
Prosperity was upon the farmer, wheat the main part, as the crop all through was good, and yielded in many instances 40 bushel per acre, and from 30–40 was an average, it was a good beet year also but for some reason, in quite a few instances the tonnage was small, perhaps not watered sufficient, or too far apart, but some went 20 tons. Dairy products were fairly good, but not up to previous years 28 cents was the highest for butterfat where it had been 35–37 the year before. Horses were still high perhaps a little lower than they had been. In the spring of 1908 wheat was 90–95 per bushel. Beef and stock much the same as usual, wheat towards end of year 80 cents per bushel.
Another year had passed, and our meetinghouse was still, to be built in the future as no start in anyway had yet been made, while at this time, the Church was spending large amounts of tithing, in helping build meetinghouses, tabernacles, and church schools, already there was church institutions of this kind from Mexico in the south, to Canada in the north. The ward meetinghouses as a rule was, the biggest part of them built by donations from the saints, the church donating perhaps 1/3 or 1/4 of the tithing towards those places of worship. Many beautiful houses, or churches—costing from 5 to 50 thousand dollars, and upwards also in the various mission fields all over the world, was housed for worship and accommodations for presidents and leading brethren of the missions erected very much to the credit of the church everywhere, and also for convenience, both for missionaries as well as those presiding and it could no longer be said by the people in high ranks, that they could not attend the Latter-day Saint meeting on account of the uninviting places of worship, all these improvements, had a good effect, as prosperity was with the church everywhere, and good reports received from all quarters, where the church was or branches of it established.
The time as usual past among the saints with exhortations and testimonies of the great and wonderful events that are to take place on the earth in this the dispensation of the fullness of times.
In the fall election of this year, the Republicans were the winner, and William H. Taft was elected President of the United States. William Spry was elected Governor of Utah. Mendon was strongly Democratic, the Legislature was almost entirely Republican; this was a very eventful election, more so the Legislature as the Prohibition wave had struck Utah in the latter end of the year, and it was of great importance that men who favored this movement should be sent to the Legislature, that laws might be past suppressing the manufacture of intoxicating drinks of all kinds. One great victory was won this year in Salt Lake County, by the uniting of Republicans and Democrats thus defeating the American Party, who was now the great big bear, doing all they could seemingly to injure the great majority, and they expected to elect many officers in the County, but to the great joy of our people, and many not of our belief—they were entirely snowed under.
In the latter end of this year, a number of earthquakes occurred, one in southern Italy and northern part of the Island of Sicily, doing serious damage, and killing, it was said 150,000 people. Another great one occurred in Spain, one city being entirely covered by a slide from the side of a mountain and much other damage was done. Several missionaries returned this year and others went out, George L. Andersen to Central States. George Anderson left 17 June 1908, Henry Kidman, 17 October, Richard Baker, 9 November. Henry Kidman, Great Britain—Richard Baker to California—John D. Baker returned in July 1908, Hyrum Kidman 1908. Abraham C. Cooley from Germany 1908.
Thus 1908 was no more and 1909 rolled in with prosperity in many ways but the Legislature was the stormy part of the winter of 1908–1909. Prohibition was first and all in importance and 80 per cent of the population was in favor of prohibiting the sale and manufacture of intoxicant—petitions to the number of 75,000 reached the halls of the Legislature asking the members of the body to enact such laws as would bring about the desired results, that the saloon evil, and drink habits might receive the blow that would prevent so much misery in our community as was witnessed at this time. But enough of the Senate members opposed it and thus made prohibition impossible at this time, the House voted for it with the exception of four being almost a unit—but the Senate majority was against it—weather the liquor faction which was quite strong in Salt lake especially) had bought those men or not was not certain, yet believed by many.
The laws however was so made that cities could go dry, or liquor could be stopped from being sold in Cities or Counties by a majority vote, and during this year and some in 1908 went dry, Wellsville in 1909, Hyrum and Logan January 1st in 1909, and Hyrum 1 January, 1910.
Arthur Kidman left for a mission to Great Britain in October 1909, Elmer Hancock to Great Britain in October 1909—Lynden Wood in December 1909—and Vance Walker December 28th 1909, now Mendon had a full corps in the mission field, all young men.
The winter between 1908 and 1909 was a very rainy one, it was estimated that double the wet of any of the previous seasons fell this winter, and destroyed much feed especially in the way of Lucerne.
During the winter and spring the price of wheat and oats advanced to a higher mark than had been known for 30–40 years. Wheat $1.15 per bushel and oats late in the spring $1.80 per pound. Horses quite high still, cattle quite good, and dairies and chickens also beets where properly attended would produce 30,000 per acre, but there was some as low as 6–8–10 tons per acre.
Quite a few mostly young men went to Bannock this year and homesteaded land so it seemed like Mendon was gong to found another settlement, they had already done much towards settling Teton and Holbrook. This spring not late nor early, water was very high for a long time at times it was necessary to go by Wellsville to get to Logan by team, and much of the land was wet until later, but work began a week or two into April.
With regard to the standing of the Mendon ward in a church capacity, it was keeping up to other wards, the tithing for 1909 was perhaps according to the income as good as 1908, there were always some whose names were on the record book who paid little or no tithing, but generally the saints rejoiced in the gospel, always looking forward to the time when the great work would be finished and wickedness would be no more.
There was in the summer of this year, a change in the Superintendent of the Sunday school, caused by the death of Jacob F. Sorensen who died from a severe cold he contracted in Bannock. He was brought home but stayed at his mother in laws, Rachel Baker. It was a sorrowful time; he left a wife and a boy a year or two old. It was among the great wonders why so many of the young men were constantly passing away, it would be hard, perhaps not possible to find another place of equal size perhaps in state where so many young men had been taken away in so few years. There was in the late fall or early winter 3 cases of Typhoid fever all recovered. One case of Scarlet fever proved fatal, it was Joseph Bakers youngest child, Maggy 12–13 years old. At this same time the people of the Hyrum ward were sorely afflicted with the Scarlet fever, it was virulent type, 7–10 persons died, some of this however extended into 1910. One of Mendon’s or Cache Valley as also 1847 pioneers died in the early fall of this year and was buried with much honor.
The ward amusements were much as usual, all the holidays were observed, and Christmas as usual with, most all the people belonging to the ward as also many visitors in attendance for Mendon was noted for good Christmas celebrations as also other holidays. There was an orchestra band, but no brass band in Mendon now, the boys who made up the band had many of them removed to other places.
Old peoples day was observed with much satisfaction, also ward conference and all officers sustained by unanimous vote there was a change in the presidency of the Young Men in the fall of this year, Joseph N. Sorensen was put in President, George B. Hughes and Charles Ladle assistants. William I. Sorensen was chosen superintendent of Sunday school with Oscar Barrett and Peter Larsen assistants. Isaac Sorensen was still Choir Leader having been in this place 50 years, also had served as Sunday School Chorister 36 years. Mendon had two members in the stake high counsel, Andrew and Isaac Sorensen; they had been in the council since the organization of the stake.
On educational lines Mendon was up with other places. Two having secured Degrees, and a number four-year courses. At this time the three schools in Mendon was supplied with our own teachers except one, the principle.
At the fall election William Bartlett was chosen Mayor. William I. Sorensen having served 4 years. There was no competition in the election, but a fusion ticket. Mendon had for several years had a health board who rendered good service to the ward.
The improvements in Mendon during the year consisted of a new mercantile building erected by former Bishop John H. Anderson, it was a credit to the builder, two handsome as well as costly homes also were built, one by Bishop Bird and the other by Thomas Muir, Jun. Some excellent barns and other improvements also were done, and if a new meetinghouse was only erected of which we had so much need it could be said that Mendon was abreast with her neighbor settlements, but this house was still in the future and who could tell how far. Much rain fell during the fall months and destroyed much grain.
The School of Cache County had now been consolidated 2–3 years, the result was in Mendon that taxes rose nearly to 1/5 of its former amount above what it had been and the schools were as good but no better then formerly. Thus ended 1909 it had in many respects been an eventful year, perhaps Prohibition may be considered the most important among the events of the year. The naming of the battleship Utah with Governor Spry, his daughter, Senators Smoot and Sutherland, Representative Howell, in New York. Governor Spry’s daughter christened the ship. It was the largest Battleship in the U.S. Navy.
Fifty years has now passed since the first settlement of Mendon, and the writer of this history was among the comers to Mendon in the early spring of 1859. I said early, but it was May or within a few days of it when those settlers came, some came a week or so before others, but all started breaking land about the same time.
In looking back 50 years and witnessing the many wonderful changes that had been brought about during this period of time, ones feelings were softened and filled with much love and many heartfelt thanks to Lord for the privilege of having passed through all the varied circumstances and conditions of this long period of time. Coming here with oxen poor and fatigued after a nine days trip through mud and rain, and the winter just having changed to spring, it was a very long and severe one, and but scant food and clothing for man, and implements for farming of a crude class compared with what they are today, still a new country to be made into cultivated fields, and everything to be done that goes to make a home or to at least an extent comfortable, for it was indeed some time before anything that was or could be called comfort was enjoyed, yet dirt roof houses would shelter families from wind and snow storms, but not indeed from the fearful rainstorms that came upon those early settlers, it is doubtful if there was any of the houses in the town or fort, that was dry inside. It was necessary to take umbrellas to bed to keep the rain off. But it seemed as if these conditions belonged to the period of that time, there was not much complaining, all were about alike and indeed and of a truth it was so. The people danced together, prayed together, and worked together and associated together, and came together in meetings, and listened to, and bore strong testimonies of the future greatness and glory of Zion, they were as sure that it would come as they were that they existed.
With poverty, Indians to contend with, a new country to be subdued, their own clothing to manufacture, from wool, and some flax, and very many other inconveniences and hard obstacles to contend against, they were in no wise discouraged but on the contrary they were encouraged although only 15 or 20 acres for their farms they felt well, it was their own and they worked and looked forward in the future for many good things in their beautiful Valley, and they was not disappointed. In the early summer of this year, a grand jubilee was participated in by all the Cache Valley Pioneers of 1859. There were several bands of music, a fine procession, automobiles and fine carriages, also an old time ox team to represent the time of 1859, a very great meeting. And after this a fine dinner in the new auditorium, for all pioneers of 1859, as also some invited guests. The day finished with ball games, and dancing in the evening. Mendon was well represented some 12–15 attended, while some of the large cities in the County had not so many as our little town.
Who can predict what another 50 years will bring us to, it is safe to say that progress will be no less the order of the coming half century than has wrought in the past half hundred years.
1910, the holidays was celebrated as usual in Mendon, with very successful amusements for old and young, as it had always been considered necessary among the Mormon people to indulge in amusement, if they were innocent, or appropriate ones, as it is necessary to have something to relieve the monotony of the constant toils and busy life that most all the people at least in Mendon were always engaged in, so it was found very useful to take part in high order pleasures both old and young. President Brigham Young encouraged this from the very beginning of settling Utah.
The winter was a very pleasant one good sleighing for three months, so much so that traveling between Mendon and Bannock during the winter done with sleds hauling out hay and grain for spring use, as it was not easy to haul it in the breaking up of the winter. Many of the people was very busy more so the young now making new homes.
Spring came in March and it continued through the whole summer with light rain, and pleasant weather, cool night which proved the wonderful protection, and maturing of the grain, though for some time it was feared it would be poor, which the spring grain proved to be, but the fall grain was a good average. Price for wheat, oats and stock in the spring early was good, wheat $1.00 bushel, oats 11/2 cents pound and etc., but later in the spring wheat dropped to 70 cents, the farmer was always at a loss to know what to do as the during a year the price would fluctuate. The people increased in property but not what could be called fast, however slow, but sure. The price for beets up to this present time had been $4.25 on the cars, but there was now an effort being made to have it raised and so it was understood that in 1911 it would advance to $4.50 per ton. The beet industry in Cache Valley added to the property of the people with the dairy part, and to some extent stock raising the farmer could manage to keep up to the requirement of time which was quite different from what it was 30 years previous. In the spring, ward conference was held as usual, only one meeting which seemed rather short, as there had generally been two sessions other years. But at this meeting the bishopric was changed, or rather two new counselors was put in. The cause of this was that Joseph N. Sorensen, 2nd counselor, had moved away from Mendon, and 1st counselor, John S. Willie had asked to be released on account of being away from home so much of the time, having a ranch in Bannock or Curlew Valley. Jeremiah Baker was sustained as 1st counselor, and Peter Larsen, Jun., 2nd counselor. Some excellent homes and barns was erected this year, also fences, nice fences which adds so much to the beauty and comfort of a home.
There was no spoiled grain this year, as the season continued dry. The hay crop was good also this year, but altogether the income was less than previous year and the tithing less than the year 1909. Mendon had from 6–8 missionaries in the field, those of 1910 going out—Wilford Sorensen, Southern States, Henry Gorril Hughes returned in July, George Andersen in February and coming home was Richard Baker in December, Henry Kidman in December.
The election in the November election resulted in Utah getting Utah, the Democrats however made considerable gains, but in the Nations the Democrats made sweeping gains. The House of Representatives became a Democratic majority besides gains in the Senate. In the fall of this year there was an insurrection in Mexico which continued during the winter, and the insurgents was still gaining. There was quite an excitement here, as there was or are a number of settlements of Mormon people in Mexico, and the war was carried on close to those settlements, but as they are Americans they along with other Americans were not required by either party to join them. This year there was no earthquakes in Utah, but the previous year quite heavy shocks was felt in Ogden and more especially north of there around the hot springs also at Garland and Fielding it was felt in Mendon but done no damage, but it did in these other places, and the people became much frightened. In 1910 there were quite heavy frosts cutting the beets to quite an extent in some localities but not very much in Mendon. In Bannock and the surrounding places the crops for some time was despaired of, but recovered and brought 1/2 crop. 1910 passed with the many previous ones as yet no new meeting house but most of the people living in hopes of having one. Sarah John Bird died in the summer of this year, one of the early settlers of Mendon while there was much sickness mostly Grip this year, only this one death was reported. As to amusements there was more this year than usual, consisting of basketball game, home theaters, dances, ward reunions, or rather old peoples day, but the young from 20 years up took and made the gathering most pleasant as they waited on their aged and older brethren and sisters and friends present as at those gatherings all were cordially invited and mostly all attended.
As to increase in population in Mendon there was not any, rather less than 10–15 years back, while Mendon furnished many settlers in other towns but in our own there was a small decrease, owing to so many going away of the young, and so many families getting older who remained in Mendon. Still children and young people seemed to be very numerous in Sunday Schools and at Sunday night meetings. We had no brass band now but had our own orchestra for our dances.
1911, winter between 1910 and 1911 was a good one and it passed away seemingly quicker than usual, the spring came in early, and was more like old time springtime’s. We had now for 5–6 years in succession had long muddy tedious spring months, which however were a benefit as plenty of water was furnished, more than we could make use of while in the past history, water had been very scarce at time so there was not sufficient for the crops to be irrigated, but in all those years quite an amount of hay was lost in the bottoms by too much water. This winter passed much as usual, while there always are more of less sickness and accidents among any people or communities but this winter as also summer was good as far as contagious diseases and deaths are concerned, which does bring great comfort to any community. The home dramatic troop did well in furnishing amusements in their line, other amusements such as dances, and sociables were indulged in. The old people time among the rest, the young people took part in the old peoples dances, and they were enjoyable, in fact in the parents Sunday School lessons it was treated in that way that old and young should mingle together in their amusements for the reason that the old may remain young and the young be looked after by the presence of older ones.
At this period of the worlds history there was many attractions, more than in former years and all were not of an elevating nature hence some care was necessary that the young might be kept in the straight and narrow for that alone could lead to life eternal. Much labor was required at home and abroad to carry on the great latter-day work. Members could not afford to allow themselves to be easy going, for the gospel had to be carried to all the world, and the saints at home had to be looked after, the temples had to be kept going, as the work for the dead was of the utmost importance, as the Lord had revealed to his people that they and their dead would be rejected if they did not attend to that part of the Kingdom. A good many made efforts to and did obtain their record of their dead relatives, and the temples at the time when the history of 1911 is being written, was well patronized, and it was a most pleasant work, and those who took part in it enjoyed it very much.
There was now, and had not been now for nearly a year, any saloons in Cache Valley, they were voted down in June 1911, many of them had been closed many months before this time, the world at this time was getting no better as to intoxicating drinks even women in the world was quite fast becoming drinkers, but the Lord had revealed to his saints that intoxicants were very hurtful and that his saints should and must not partake of these evils, and it was a pleasant thing to be able to truthfully say that very many were obedient to this commandment.
Missionary work nearly the world over was in a thriving state, although in great Britain, there was great agitation, on H. P. Freeze, (an apostate Mormon) went over there and raised a considerable stir by his falsifying statement against the church, among other statements, was, that the Mormon Elders were emigrating great numbers of young girls to Utah to become polygamous wives. He succeeded in arousing much opposition against the Elders and members of the church. Friends however were raised up through whom an investigation was consented to by the English Government, or some of her leading officers, a Mr. Churchill, and others, and this investigation proved to their satisfaction, that there was not truth whatever in Freeze’s Fables. He also went over to Scandinavia, and raised quite an excitement but all would, as always, terminate in advantage to the missionary work, as there were many who previously had taken no interest, would now want to know something about all this stir about the Mormons.
Missionaries left Mendon in 1911—Jeremiah Baker Sen., October, for Southern States. Warner Kidman, 11 October 1911, Northern States. Allen Willie left for Swiss and German Mission, 7, September 1911.
The water system was perhaps the cause of a meetinghouse not being built at this time. Committees had been appointed, and every family visited, and asked if they were willing to furnish the amount allotted to them, which allotment had been made by a committee appointed to make the allotment, but at this time again the building of the house so much needed passed off.
The getting in of water system caused quite a stir, as part of the people favored $10,000 bonding while others only 5–6,000 and then the water should pay the rest, but the 10,000 won out. Some were afraid of the big bonded debt while others did not have that fear. The system was likely to become completed in 1912.
The wheat crop of Mendon this year was an average perhaps 2/3 crop, caused by cold frosty night in the spring. The dairy business was good, average. The beet crop, the best we had yet produced. 25 cent per ton was added to the price of beets. Stock price was excellent, the highest that had been in Mendon especially toward the end of the year and into 1912.
Tithing of Mendon ward stood fine, 2–3 hundred better than other years.
There was much anxiety about affairs in Mexico, as Americans were threatened to quite an extend, and it continued into 1912 and it was hard to form an opinion as to the outcome for one rebellion was scarcely ended till there would be another uprising. Our government kept a large attachment of troops stationed on the borders of Mexico to protect her citizens if needed, up to this time there had been no interference.
Politics were not strenuous in Mendon, but the election in November 1911, gave the Democrats great gains both in Utah and all the American, or United States. The House of Representatives stood Democratic by quite a majority, and there was also gains in the senates.
Improvements in 1911 were small, some good fences and other light improvements was all that could be seen. Cement at this time took the place of lime and rock to a great extent for building, and in big or large cities paved cement sidewalks was very common, they were much needed in Mendon as the mud was very unpleasant in stormy times, but his luxury was still in the future, as also electric lights.
William Kidman, an old resident of Mendon died this year, age 92 years.
1912, was a year of very important events both to Mendon and also the whole country of U.S.A. Mendon was now progressive, in June of this year all could drink pure spring water everyday, to be sure they felt the heavy bond now weighing on them, still no one regretted the step and all took, and paid for it 50 dollars for a lot, but no one was compelled to take ore than that, nor to take any and they could have as many as they wished, some took several for stock as well as house purposes. The winter was not a bad one but was an ordinary one and spring came and work began about the first of April, however it was a cold spring, and not a hot summer. The usual pastimes for winter were observed this winter, except athletic sports which had been introduced in the last year of so, and there was now meets so called or gatherings for contests between or including the whole county or sometimes only stakes. Mendon was on many of the occasions victorious. Baseball and basketball playing was now and had been for a number of years, very popular pastimes and heavy contests were going on all over the country.
Prices for horn stock this spring went up the highest yet known and continued the same during the summer and fall, as also winter, when other years beef would drop materially in price during summer and fall months, this year there was no change. The cause of this may be perhaps in the increase of population, and also the decrease in range for raising stock, and vealing too many calves.
Wheat towards spring this year rose to the figure of a dollar per bushel, however not to remain that way very long. Some were fortunate enough to sell at that price, the Relief Society among those, they sold and bought wheat back in the fall at 65 cents per bushel, others held for higher figures, but it went back to 80 cents.
Ward Conference was held in the spring all was unanimous and a good time had in the meeting.
There was three new dwelling house erected in Mendon as also some more nice fences but nothing of a popular nature was done this year. The population remained about the same, not there was no children born, but other towns in the county were as a rule the same.
Only one death occurred in Mendon this year, a child of Muir at Three Mile Creek, north.
During this summer a very severe hailstorm, part of the valley, doing much damage in Benson, Hyde Park, Smithfield wards more particularly, some slight damage in Logan and other settlements in Cache Valley and in Beaver Dam and other places in the Box Elder Valley. There never had been anything known in this country like it before, windows, were broken, thousands of acres of grain not yet cut was entirely ruined, and a great many families were left in a very poor condition for living, having lost nearly all the years income.
The Mexican situation during this year assumed an exceedingly precarious condition. The American colonists in Mexico were compelled to leave, and almost leave their behind crops not harvested, their household furniture and many of them with scarcely more than the clothes on their backs, so hard were they pressed by the Mexican rebels that after all they did think themselves fortunate to save their lives.
They came over on the American side of the river, the people felt much pity for them, and assisted them to quite an extent, also the government furnished them tents and something [to] live on until they could find employment or someplace to start a home. No one could tell what the end would be, at the end of the outlook was no better, although, many of the colonists hoped to return to their homes, yet no one could tell what the outcome would be.
This was a good year, still all did not raise big crops but where the land was well cultivated there was full crops, 40 bushels per acre.
The hail did not hit Mendon, a very few scattering ones was all.
The Balkan and Turkish was during this year was a very noted one in the way of warfare, the four Balkan nations combined and Turkey in Europe was taken from the Turkish nation or mostly so, perhaps a just retribution for their deeds of fearful cruelty in the past towards those nations in massacring so many of the Christians.
The year was full of much excitement in a political way, the Republican Party split in two parties with two tickets in the field and much ill feeling toward each other.
The election in November resulted in a sweeping victory for the Democrats, in the United States, Utah remained still Republican, also Vermont, all the other states went for Wilson, Democratic.
Tithing in Mendon was a little better than 1912, the church was spreading in the world quite rapidly, and the faith of the people was not decreasing. The sick was often healed from very dangerous diseases, and the work of the Lord progressing in the world.
During this summer the Whooping cough prevailed in Mendon, and for months did much in reducing the attendance at meetings and Sunday Schools and other meetings.
Much rain fell in the fall and much grain in many places was damaged, as there was much late grain particularly in the north country. Mendon succeeded well in getting their grain threshed early.
1913, the winter between 1912–1913 was what we call a good winter, and was spent in much the same way as usual. The theatrical troop were especially busy assisting the different organizations who was each apportioned 30 dollars to pay for the piano that had been purchased for the ward meetinghouse.
The people of Mendon took much comfort in having good pure spring water to use and nearly every family had one or more hydrants, it made it so much handier for watering their stock as also, or, rather much more benefit in their houses. In every way in the ward if there was any difference it was for the better. Much interest had been of late taken in the work of teachers visiting the homes of members of the church, and quite a little success was the result. Grain during this year did not reach a high mark, 75–77 was the limit but most of the grain was sold about 70 cents per bushel. Horses were declining in price, whether it was the amount of horses raised, or the many automobiles now in use or some other cause, there was a great fall to what has previously been in the price. Cattle on the other hand was still in the advance, indeed not since settling of Cache Valley had horn stock been in such demand. The beet crop this year was above average, it had been a wonderful summer for rain, so either spring or fall grain was good much hay particularly first crop Lucerne was very badly damaged. Fall ploughing was fine as plenty of rain fell to keep the ground moist for ploughing, and weather for beet digging was very good.
There was but little improvement this year such as building homes or barns but still it was the year of all years, for in the spring of this year mass meetings were called and the people decided to build a meetinghouse. Committees was appointed to apportion to each a amount to pay toward it, also a building committee, the contracts for building was let, and some of the material was put on the ground, but that was all that was done in 1913, however some of the means was collected in the fall of this year.
During the latter part of this year there was much excitement in Mendon some of the people wanted an electric plant erected on the south creek, in the south west part of town, and as the town or city had not been bonded to its limit, there was still 7,000 left that could be bonded. The mayor and majority of the city councilmen were in favor of bonding, accordingly an election was held on the 11th day of November. The result of this election was 30 for and 43 against bonding.
The November election resulted in almost an entire new city administration. Peter Larsen was elected Mayor, Mathew Forster, secretary, Thomas Muir, hold over councilor, John Hughes, Joseph Watkins and William I. Sorensen were elected. Cache Valley had no saloons still they had some what they called blind pigs where liquor was sold against the law, whenever detected they were quite heavily fined. Mendon has some of them, but thus far none has been caught. At this time there is strong talk of prohibition for Utah, it would be a grand achievement could it be realized.
The Mexican trouble is still unsettled and most of the people who left two years ago have not returned to Mexico, many of them are in Arizona and New Mexico. President Wilson is very careful with regard [to] interfering in anyway, except to protect Americans in Mexico; he is proving himself a very energetic and wise leader.
The wool and sugar tariff is causing quite an apprehension, as free sugar is to begin in 1916, it is not easy to say what effect it will have on us in the western part of the Nation.
The old peoples day came off in February and was as usual a very nice time, all other celebrations, May [Day], 4th July, Thanksgiving and Christmas all were of a high type in Mendon, also 24th July. Mendon was not behind in having through celebrations.
Missionaries going and returning from and to Mendon during this year.
1914, the winter of 1913–1914 was what we called a nice winter and spring came early, that was in Cache Valley but out west the snow was very deep, and spring somewhat late. In Mendon the harvest was good all kinds of grain as also beets. The Mendon people did not now raise potatoes for export, but other places in the Valley shipped many carloads of them. Some new dwellings was erected this year, particularity James B. Hancock, also other improvements in porches, fences & etc. But the crowing building for this year was the meetinghouse, for the basement the sand and gravel was hauled from Wellsville, most of it during the winter, but as the base was entirely cement it took [a] very good deal of it, and some was hauled after spring opened. The building completed would cost 17,000 dollars and it can be said that the Mendon people done as well in furnishing those means as any other place around where houses had been erected. Before the close of the year the building [of the] basement and all outside and inside was finish except the seating. The basement was used for dancing during the whole winter.
As in all other building of this kind, the church donated 1/3 of the cost, which was a wonderful help, also the ward disposed of their ward farm which brought 3,400 dollars, so at the completion of the building there was only 3,000 dollars unpaid, which the ward would most likely be able to clear of in the coming year.
Now it could no longer be said, what is Mendon doing, the spirit of progress was among the people, and with regard to their spiritual duties there was an improvement with regard to teachers labors, the meetings of all kinds were as well if not better attended.
There was a change in the Bishopric in the 2nd Counselor. Peter Larsen, 2nd Counselor had returned from Nevada, but as he had sold all his possessions except his house and lot he was not sure he would remain in the ward so he thought it was best to release him. So John A. Gardner was appointed and sustained as 2nd Counselor.
There was quite a few who did not take part in defraying the expenses of the meetinghouse, and some of them members of the church, but it showed them to be poor members, for it was well understood by the Latter-day Saints that temporal and spiritual was one, and to be a good member, all things the Lord had blessed them with they should be willing to use to help the work along, that it might be said of them that they had wisely improved their talents. The tithing of the ward was as good as usual. The regular Bishopric visits in the latter end of the year was as usual attended to. The saints now more than ever before looks forward to, and realized that great events predicted to transpire before the coming of the Savior, was on the world. In the beginning of August in this almost like magic the great European war was precipitated. The five great nations, Germany, England, Austria, Russia, France, and the smaller countries Serbia, and Montenegro, were involved in deadly war. It seemed of a much greater magnitude that other wars, as they were strong nations and many millions of men were fighting and the fighting was severe with machine guns, scabnells and great cannons and earth and air ships, it was tremendous, indeed the hearts of all unemployed or neutrals was greatly pained to think of the fearful conditions that had come upon the world in the short time of two weeks. Turkey also at this time was in the fighting and other smaller powers at this time talked of taking part in the conflict. It affected the general welfare and business of every country.
While the farmer who had been fortunate enough to hold their wheat, got well payed, as it rose to the figure of $1.27 cents–30 cents per bushel.
The wool and sugar part was all right this year, as sugar rose to a high figure, and wool stated good.
The Mexican question was still unsettled, and much want and suffering came in its wake. The United States had troops in Vera Cruz, 7 months and withdrew them but what the outcome will be cannot be said by anyone yet. United States were strictly neutral and sent much means and food to sufferers in the war countries. We in Cache Valley also took part in the same. In Italy a fearful earthquake destroyed immense property and lives.
The Panama Canal was now completed and in the beginning of 1915 the exposition took place.
We were exceedingly thankful that we had our homes in this promised land and more so that we members of the Church of Christ, and we knew for sure that it would stand forever and rescue the whole world.
In November a ward reunion was held in Mendon to celebrate our new meetinghouse, the first dance in the basement came of this evening. A diner in the old house, children 2nd table. Program in [the] basement. It was a excellent time, nearly everybody attended.
During this year father Joseph Hardman Sen., also Alfred Gardner and sister Lallis passed away, and was with us no more but their memories are still with us.
1915, an easy winter between 1914–1915 was passed, and a profitable summer, although the water supply was much less than it had been for years, and beet crops were the lightest for years, about 3/4 crop. There was much rain during wheat growing, so the crops were good, and brought a good price especially toward spring of 1916, as high as $1.30/100 per bushel. So except the beet crops all was favorable. Stock also is good. Horses not so high as they had been, a goodly number from all over the country were sold and shipped to Europe for war purposes. Henry C. Sorensen left on January 4th for a mission to Central States, as was usual with all missionaries a farewell party was given him and a purse handed him, all missionaries received the same amount. The meetinghouse was completed, and the first meeting held in July, the Stake Presidency was in attendance, and a very enjoyable meeting was had, many comments and much praise was given by the speakers to the Mendon people for having erected such a beautiful building. The people did not feel any poorer after building the house, but was every glad that they had accomplished such a peace of work so soon after the expense of their water works. It now remained for a fence to be put up around the house that lawns might be made and the ground beautified as by this time many homes in town was improved with those pleasant surroundings.
Cement walks were made around the house at this time. The tithing of the ward was 3–400 dollars more this year than 1914. Eight deaths occurred in town this year. Mary Gardner, H. T. Richards a Mendon Pioneer, Jane Coon Baker, Sarah Willie daughter of William Willie, Lawn Bassett a child of Marie Baker 6–8 months, Sarah Lallis Bird beloved wife of Phineas R. Bird died in January 1916.
This was a dry summer, or rather latter part of summer. Hay crops were good, also grain crops, but beet crops were inferior, 15 tons where previously 20 had been gathered. Five dollar per ton was paid for beets this year, previous year $4.50/100. The Beet culture was making wonderful progress in these years, much land was planted and new factories built in our state, it was an important source of income by this time, and still bid fair to grow and increase. The burden of those times was the dreadful wars in Europe, that still was raging. With submarines and air ships, as well as tremendous guns and all manner scrabnal and machine guns and 14 nations in the struggle, it was a war as never had been known but still had been foretold hundreds of years ago. While the United states were not involved in the war, it in some respects made times unpleasant particular to the shipping part of the great business at this time, but U.S. steered clear and very much money was made in America as prices of all articles went upwards in this year. Good sale for everything farmers could raise, so times were good, but people sickened at the thought of the awful bloodshed in the war zones.
Missionaries had been called away from nearly all those countries, only a few being left to look after matters, and most of those finished their missions in United States. The amusement hall was much enjoyed, and was well fitted for our town. The fall weather was fine for threshing, seeding and beet digging and the year ended with the usual grand Christmas celebration, and 1916 came with its events, which to consider general conditions, were very eventful. The Mexican situation was still as uncertain as it had been heretofore, the United States had endeavored to assist in settling the difficulties but it was still left for Mexico to plod along, seemingly trying to establish a constitutional government but so far had been unsuccessful and they were still fighting. For many years the population of Mendon had remained the same, about 500–four hundred and seventy church members and 30–50 none church members. Utah had for many years been republican, but Mendon remained Democratic, however for school and other purposes they several times united on a fusion ticket. The organizations in the ward were all in good working order, and many, if not all of the church members were looking forward to the sighs predicted to come before the great King would return to the earth, which signs had now commenced to appear plainly to be seen in the great wars and still rumors of wars. Although at this time in the latter part of the year quite an effort was made to agree on peace proposition, it was not settled at the end of this year.
Missionaries sent from Mendon this year, was Henry C. Sorensen. Those returned was Lucy Baker and Eddis Watkins.
1916, after the usual Christmas celebration, which had been kept up now for more than 45 years, we entered upon the new year of 1916, in every respect it may be said in a prosperous condition. This winter was one of history repeating itself. It snowed and snowed till we had 32 inches level and considerable drifted. The Interurban Railroad had an experience of some note. They occupied the old track of the first Utah and Northern narrow gage road over the hills between Mendon and Collinston and it was with much difficulty the track was kept open, as on that ridge most of the time a heavy wind is blowing, but the company done its very best and the new road was much appreciated by the people in Cache Valley. The spring was cold and the first hay crop was poor and backward and worst of all was the severe spring frosts which killed all kinds of fruit in Cache Valley as also Salt Lake, Utah and many other Valleys, and also the Lucerne of which there was but little first crop. The wild hay was a normal crop but many settlements had but little wild hay and it made hay in Cache Valley very scarce, and the price of it went up to a price of 20 dollars or more. Very much of the stock, as a result, was disposed of, at a less price that had prevailed for many years. Straw was in good demand as also pulp from sugar factory, helped the people to quite an extent. But if the winter is very lengthy there will be close times for feed among the people.
The great amount of snow that had fallen made the water supply abundant as also rein enough to fully mature dry farm grain, and a good harvest was the result, and indeed it proved the banner year of all years in the way of high price for grain. Right from the machine, wheat sold at 1 8/100 dollar and very much of the grain was disposed of at this figure, but it went up and up, till it reached 1.60/100 and a little was sold at one seventy. The European war which is still raging was the cause of those enormous prices. Milk went as high 50 cents per butterfat. Eggs 40–50 cent per dozen, butter accordingly. Those were indeed high priced times, good for the producer but not so for consumer.
The beet crop was good this year, plenty of water, and most of them would turn of 20 tons per acre, but in the early November, the 5th of this month, winter commenced, snow fell and heavy frosts for this time of year, which retarded digging considerable, and soon more snow, and for a few days softer weather so that nearly all the beets were got out of the ground and hauled to the station, very dirty, from 20 to 50 percent tare. This will most likely prove an incentive for getting at them as early as possible.
There was little improvement in town this year as far as making new homes, but in the latter end of the year Mendon succeeded in getting electric light into our streets and houses, so now we needed our sidewalks paved, then we would almost be a model town, as to paving of the streets it would hardly be undertaken right away.
This was the most excitable election year ever experienced in Utah, and perhaps in the United States. The Republicans had carried Utah for very many years, but this year a Democratic year, every county went Democratic, as also the presidential. Woodrow Wilson was president of the U. S. and Simon Bamberger was made Governor of Utah.
In the summer of this year 1916 Isaac Sorensen was released from the office of chorister for the choir a position he had occupied for 56 years. Ethel Sorensen was appointed chorister. Lillian Jensen organist. Olive Sorensen assistant organist. The population, church members at this time was 429; it was less than had been for many years. There were about 50 non-Mormon members.
Many of the young people had joined other wards such as Bannock, Pocatello and other places. Mendon had but two missionaries in the field at this time Henry C. Sorensen and Ezra Kidman. Others have been called but have not yet left for their missions. Eulalia Sorensen Welch who with her husband had been called to fill a mission to New Zealand, spent the latter part of the year at the home of her parents, they would leave for the mission field February 6th, 1917. The Mexican situation at this time was even less promising that it had been. Those of the Mormon colonies who were still in Mexico were not advised to leave, so it is not easy to tell what may happen. There had been quite an exertion made in the way of peace, by President Wilson in the way of addressing notes to the nations engaged in the war, but at present it does not seem that the outlook is very favorable. All of us and all the world would gladly welcome the same were it possible to bring it about. Very much snow fell before the end of 1916, good sleighing, and cold weather ended 1916.
There was much interest manifested this year as prohibition was now sure to be made law in Utah. Both parties pledging themselves to bring the same about, it was anxiously awaited by the most of the people.
The population of Mendon at this time was less than for very many years, the church population now was 430, a year or two ago it was 470, the whole population now was about 500. The school population was about the same as for a number of years. Quite a number of men enlisted as soldiers this year and went to the Mexican borders to protect Americans from raiders of which there were not a few though the sparsely settled parts of northern Mexico.
1917, the winter continued as it had started snowing, and much cold weather until became very oppressive, with such a scarcity of feed in all Utah, or at least all the northern part of it, it became almost unbearable. Hay sold for 2–3 months the awful price of 30–35 dollars. Many cattle and horses died, and many came out in the spring very poor. There had been no harder winter since settling Cache Valley. Pastures were not opened till 1st [of] May. Wheat also went up high $2.50/100 per bushel. These were good times for farmers. With mild as high as 70 cents per butter fat, and stock up to the highest notch. True everything was almost double price that was for sale for family use, but still it was an advantage for the farmer. Beets this year brought seven dollars per ton.
But aside from all other happenings in any year since the settling of Cache Valley, or perhaps Utah, this was by far the most eventful year. Our country watched the progress of fearful European war had adopted every plan possible to keep out of it, had averted getting into war with Mexico, and in every seemingly possible way had kept out of the wars. But in the spring of this year when the Central Powers announced their submarine menace or blockade, which prevented the usual free passage of neutral ships, according to all international understandings and agreements between all nations in times of war. This brought the honor of the United States at stake, and the diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Germany were severed, and our ambassador was recalled, also the German ambassador to U.S. was sent home. This was not actual war, but very close to war with Germany.
President Wilson gave Germany every chance to prevent this was but Germany continued sinking our ships, and acting in an unlawful way, perhaps thinking U.S. dare not declare war. But in April 16, 1917 war was declared, or it was declared that a state of war existed between United States and Germany, because Germany had already opened war upon the United States by destroying her ships, and killing numbers of people. So U.S. now joined the Entente Allies, to fight the Central Powers, which consisted of Germany, Austria, Hungary, Turkey and Bulgaria.
As the U.S. Army hitherto had been very small, it now became necessary to go into millions instead of a hundred thousand. Volunteers were called for, a goodly number responded, but that process was to slow. Then Congress, which remained in session all during this summer, passed the draft law, and on June 5th 1917, all men (or boys) between the age of 21 years and 31 years were required to register in their towns. Adelia Lemmon was the registrar in Mendon; some 32–34 entered their names. On this same afternoon, a demonstration meeting was held in the meetinghouse and patriotic singing and speaking made up the program. At this time it was not known whether our soldiers would go over to Europe, or whether furnishing war material and grain and meat & sugar for the Allies, which consisted of British, French, Italians, Russians, Belgians, Rumanians, and Serbians.
There would have been no need for United States sending many troops to Europe, if Russia had remained true. But the Germans working among them endeavoring to induce them to make a separate peace with Germany, succeeded in obtaining an armistice with the Russians, and at the end of 1917 this was still in force so Russia were not now doing anything to help the Allies, thus Germany could concentrate her large army against the French and Italian fronts and this was the conditions of affairs at the end of this year. United States had already sent hundreds of thousands of soldiers to France and some of them were in the battlefronts at this time. It now was plain that the U.S. must have a million or more men in France. So they were pressing matters with all available force to fight the Germans both in shipbuilding, airships, and manufacturing all manner of explosives, munitions, guns of all kinds, machine guns, cannons, and all kinds of ammunitions, and indeed this was a busy time for all men, women and even children, knitting, sowing and making all sorts needed articles for war purposes, and everybody were willing to do all they could to help the mighty work along. Millions of dollars didn’t count much now as U.S. had to raise billions to help the allied, so there was Liberty Bonds, and Red Cross to help along which indeed it itself was wonderful and accomplished very much good. Then the tremendous expense for the great army U.S. must now have, to look at now, it would almost seem impossible to stand it but America is a rich land, and able to do most anything it undertakes.
Mendon had more volunteers according to their inhabitants, than any other town in Cache Valley at the end of nineteen seventeen there had 22 boys left for the drilling camps. Each one was given a farewell party; sometimes more would go at the same time. Those 22 were not all volunteers some were drafted, but most were volunteers. Some volunteered so they could select the part of the army or navy or marines they chose to go with. The volunteers had this privilege. This was a sorrowful time although all wanted to patriotic, yet parting with their dear ones, not knowing if they would ever meet again was exceedingly hard to endure. But it was now wartime and it had to be, so all that could be done was to make the best of it. And fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters gave their dear ones to the service of their country, as best they could, but with many bitter tears and heartaches. The fore part of this summer was very dry, and the winter grain was poor, caused by the very deep snow laying so long before it could be melted, and spring work was late being done. Another great evil, or drawback this year, was the great amount of weeds among the fall grain, mostly Jim Hill mustard, or umbrella weeds, quite a lot of sunflowers also. On this account only 1/2 crop of wheat was realized. There was no weeds in the spring grain, but most of the grain was fall wheat. The hay crop this year was above normal, so hay was down to 8–10 dollars per ton. The beet crop was below normal, on an average. But the poor crops was mostly in Cache Valley, and some of those settlements had fairly good crops, meaning Cache Valley.
The United States Government affixed a standard price on wheat, which with us here was $1.80/100 per bushel. Government also fixed a price on sugar and coal. Thus the year past as usual, not much change in anything, such as dancing, ball playing and amusements of all kinds. There was no missionaries sent from Mendon this year. Henry C. Sorensen returned from a mission to Missouri in March this year.
The Government established wheatless & meatless days to be observed by all in order to provide food for our Allies in Europe. There was fear of scarcity except great care was observed in saving, there was to be no waste in any of the households.
The fall of 1917 was beautiful and afforded fine chance for fall and winter work, it was still fine at the end of the year. As to conditions in Mendon the population was 475, a decrease, as in former years they had been 550. The district school population was considerably less than it had been some years ago, caused by many young people moving to other places. The teaching of the church was to be humble and faithful more so than ever, that the preserving hand of the Lord may be over this church and this promised land, and our boys may be protected in this war, and what we are fighting for which is liberty and freedom of all the world, and that autocracy may be broken down, and nations small and great may enjoy this freedom, for this U.S. will fight till finish.
Several nice dwelling houses were built in Mendon this year, and a number of good barns.
The tithing of the ward this year was 44 hundred dollars, this was $1,000 more than had been paid any year previous. Several old members of our ward passed away this year. Sisters Rebecca and Mary Ann Hardman & Counselor John A. Gardner, buried his wife Mary E. Sorensen Gardner, she died on the 31st December, also Glen Whitney and Mary Andersen both young people.
Utah going dry had produced splendid results in several ways. In many places already the wonderful and happy change in many families, were much of the incomes had gone for drink, now there was means to keep families comfortable both in dress and daily living, and very many homes in Utah were indeed happy. There was some sickness in Mendon, but not what there had in some of the past years. The people thoroughly enjoyed the Interurban Road, and electric lights.
The wheatless and meatless days was one day in each week every family was to eat food wherein was no wheat and meatless days one day they must not eat meat one day in each week. It is easy to see how wonderful much would be saved from a hundred million people. And it certainly brought the desired results. Furthermore with regard to saving wheat, in order to be able to get enough wheat for Europe the millers were ordered to sell as much corn, oats, buckwheat, barley all ground into meal as they did to any and all rich or poor and this indeed served its purpose most splendid although it proved a great hardship in exceedingly many homes.
1918, after having passed through two such hard winters, it was a grand change to again witness an ordinary nice spring. People enjoyed this in a high degree this winter the only unhappy condition perhaps may be said, was the food condition. While the United States had more than plenty for their own wants, there were so many millions in Europe that were in sever want, and in order to help them in their serious condition, it became necessary to adopt some plan to get enough so all could be helped. The poor downtrodden people of France, Belgium, Serbia and others where the Germans and Austrians had driven the people from their homes in a most cruel manner, and those who remained at their homes, where the Germans occupied it had most everything taken from them, or destroyed.
Here was where they adopted the plan of selling as much what was called a substitute with the flour, 1/2 substitute 1/2 flour. It accomplished wonders but was a hardship to the people in the United States, but it was indeed true charity as all pretty well pulled through till the next harvest.
There was at this time a large army of United States soldiers in France to be supplied, and the soldiers had to be well fed to make them strong to fight the Germans, which they certainly did.
The Germans were at this time pushing the Allied toward Paris, and got within 35 miles of it. Kaiser Wilhelm was counting, the hours when he would take dinner in Paris.
About the middle of July of this year the vanguard of the American army arrived at the battlefront, and they were just in time. There was only 8,000 of them, they had made every effort possibly to get there to save Paris. And it will go down in history as (if not the most) one of the most eventful battles heard of in the world.
Those 8,000 fought like lions as they really were. The French and English were retreating, but U.S. boys went after the German with such force nothing could stop them, and the Germans that day began retreating, and never again went forward but continued having to give up their strong fortifications until the Allies were at Sedan and near the Rhine. There was near two million U.S. soldiers in France shortly after this.
The allies continued victorious till on November 11th, 1918, the Germans begged for an armistice, which was granted. And thus ended the greatest of all wars since the world war.
Previous to this the Austrians surrendered to the Allied unconditionally. The Turks also, and Bulgarians.
One of the most noted events of the war, was getting Palestine taken from Turkey. So now the Jews will soon be gathering to the long looked for, and prayed for and hoped for, only permanent home for those afflicted people.
Tremendous amount of ships, railroad outfits, and war implements was turned over to the Allies from those conquered nations. The United States wanted no indemnities. They were fighting for liberty and freedom of the whole world, and downfall of Autocratic rules. So small and great nations may alike have their liberties and right given them.
Sorrow to a great extent mingled with joy of conqueror, for many homes were sad. Their dear ones left in France and Belgium. Others dying at training camps or in hospitals, and thousands lamed or disabled for life. Widows all over the lands especially Europe, as Americans loss was light compared with those who were in the war more than four years. But still there was great sorrow in United States and in Utah also, but Mendon entirely escaped, no dead no wounded, no missing, all safe at home. Still with all the sorrow there was much cause for rejoicing, and those gave their lives for their country and the world will not lose their reward.
Sister Maria Baker, a pioneer of Mendon coming there in 1860, died in the fall of this year, 84 years old, a true faithful and good women, none better in Mendon. The funeral was held at her home on account of the flu, which had made its appearance in our town as well as in all other towns and in fact all over the world, no country anywhere escaped. This awful epidemic or pest took more lives than did the more than five year war, and total loss of lives from the war 10–15 millions. This scourge did not cease in 1918. For months all gatherings were stopped. In many places they would open gatherings for a while but would be compelled to again close them.
Sister Maria Baker died from effects of the flu (or influenza) she was the only one in Mendon. Some 50–60 in town caught the flu, but not any died from it during this year, so Mendon had been more than lucky and fortunate both from war and flu.
As pertaining to making money, the war from the commencement and till the finish was an advantage to farmers and producers. The war Europe before America entered into it gave us a chance of furnishing everything that could be produced, and prices soon soared high, and when U.S. came into the war, it did not reduce any, so farmers got along fine. It was well that they did, for Liberty Bonds, war stamps, thrift stamps, Red Cross money, help for the suffering in Europe, was a continual strain and with the women knitting and sowing and everything else, but then all these things was not so hard when we had plenty, and we done it all because Utah people are, and always have been patriotic. Utah went over the top in everything that was required of them. So the war ended, and now it seems a harder task to get back to normal, than it was to carry on the war. Those were times of judgments on the world as had been predicted would come.
The fall was a fine one. All beets were out of the ground before any winter appeared. Threshing was done in good time and much grain was raised, notwithstanding it was a bad year for weds so with Mendon it was a banner year, and high prices for all farmers could produce.
Quite a number of good modern homes could now be seen in Mendon, we had everything, but paved sidewalks, as yet there was not any of them.
Political affairs were much as usual. In electing town officers it was mostly done through fusion tickets, but state or national elections was done [by] party lines. Utah had been Democratic now for a number of years, as also the nation. Wilson was serving his second term, 1920 would be [the] next election year.
The school (district) was the same as had been for a number of years. A free school system. Mendon had three teachers for eight grades; in larger towns there was a teacher for each grade.
After finishing the eighth grade at this time most of the pupils would attend high schools. From Mendon they went to Hyrum where the high school for South Cache was located. For North Cache the high school was at Richmond. Utah was among the foremost states in education.
A silver band was organized this year in Mendon instruments costing $700. The band made good headway and was much appreciated by the people.
The population did not increase, but rather fell off; one time there was 550 but now only about 475. During the war there but few missionaries called as in Europe the missionaries were nearly all called home, but in the United States they continued and made good headway. So the eventful year of 1918 was no more but would long be remembered by all who passed through it.
The missions in Europe did not stop but the local members both men and women done missionary work and it was said did remarkable well. There was always a Mission President from the Quorum of the Apostles in England and some missionaries in every country where there was branches of the church.
1919, there was no Christmas celebration in 1918 on account of the influenza. The fall of 1918 was congenial, splendid for harvesting beets and other fall work and beginning of 1919 also was fine as for weather, but no so in other respects. Sickness and in many places death and some mournful deaths where families were left without mother or father and quite a number of strong people or middle aged people died through the fearful plague, as it indeed proved to be. Thus the winter passed, not entirely without amusements, but with much less than in other years. The spring of 1919 was an unusual dry spring as well as late, it was 25th of April before the hill pastures opened. The frost also cut the Lucerne so the crop was light, and the hay crop very light in Mendon, and more so in Wellsville, and all Cache Valley.
It was a poor spring for beets, so dry that it was hard to get a good stand, and spring wheat was all poor, but fall wheat was better, but not near a full crop. Flu, as it was generally called, had abated to quite an extent by April 6th but not sufficient to hold the spring conference at the usual time, but it was postponed until June, then the general and mutual conference was help at the same. One after other had closed Sunday and other meeting were held in Mendon sometime before this, three or four months before.
It was a wonderful agreeable change that came to us now. Previously our boys had been going from us to training camps, one, two or three at a time, and they all had farewell banquets. But now they were coming home one, two or three at a time. The band would serenade them and they was made welcome home indeed. By the end of this year all had returned and then a general good time was given them, with a fine dinner, and program and dance in the evening. So now the world war was over, and although there was also much sorrow in places where the loved ones did not return, or if returned, was crippled and badly used for life. But there was this consolation, they done it for their country, and it can, and must be said that Utah was up to the mark, and went over the tow. So joy and sorrow were both to be bet, however Mendon did not loose one, nor was one crippled for life and all was happy because the fearful war was over, and the lost ones could only be healed in the hearts of their dear ones as time would pass by.
Everything in camp life is not of the best, so also it was with this war, some quite a few young men who were entire abstainers from using tobacco, contracted the habit, which was a regret to their folks at home, but others stood the test, and returned as good as they left home.
The fearfulness of the Influenza, which was spread into every land in the world and to every island, and the fact was that the islands suffered much worse than the continents, but as it was a world war, so it was a world pestilence and both were things much to be dreaded.
Men who had much to do in handling these wars, studied much to, if possible prevent occurrences like those poor years and wars, hence a League of Nations was proposed, and agreed upon by many of the nations, and the United States also was invited to join, but Congress refused to join and so we are outside of this League, but if the United States had joined in full, it would have been a strong power, but it did not come in as Congress voted it down. The majority in Congress were Republicans, and it required a 2/3 vote to ratify this treaty.
We certainly were happy when the war came to an end, and the flu also seemed to have passed, still there was yet instances of the epidemic, but in the main it was over.
The prohibition movement through the whole country had an excellent effect upon the lives if the people now that it is nation wide, splendid results are to be seen and many homes are made much happier than they were when liquor cold be had on every corner.
These were wonderful times for inventions now they could cut, thresh and sack the grain with combined harvesters. There [is] at least one in our settlement, then also headers and binders, but droppers and hand cradles were long ago done away.
This was a poor year for hay, grain and beets. The best wheat 25 bushel per acre, hay not much more then 1/2 crop. Beets the best not more than 16 tons, and many 10 tons. The dry weather continued till fall, till way in October. Land in Utah and Idaho under canals, produced abundant crops of hay also grain, and a very great amount of hay was shipped from there into Cache Valley, at high figures $25–25 in the fall, and further along between $30–40. But people were glad to be able to obtain it even at those exorbitant prices. Dairy products were correspondingly high, mild 80 cents, to offset the very high price of hay. The price for wheat was good at this time, two dollars and over.
Mendon was principally a dry farming district, what water there is, is mostly all used to water beets.
Heber J. Grant became president of the church, at the death of President Joseph F. Smith, who died shortly after the fall conference of 1918. It seemed that the leaders of the church stood for the League of Nations and peace of the world but as yet we in the United States are not in it.
High cost of living is all the talk, and it is not any wonder as everything is double, and some thing more than it was before this terrible war. Much suffering is endured in many parts of the world, not alone pestilence but hunger, and many have died from want of the necessities of life.
Two missionaries were sent from Mendon this year. Milton Jensen, to Australia and Leon Willie to New Zealand.
They were as usual given farewell parties consisting of program and dancing, and a God speed on their missions. Two missionaries returned, Ezra Kidman, from Central States Mission and Mathew Bird also from Central States Mission. He was not sent directly from Mendon, but was raised here and was thus honored by our people.
The spiritual part of the Latter-day Saints religion, as well as the temporal was kept in remembrance, and it was a constant labor in all the activities of the church from the head and through the priesthood quorums, and auxiliary organizations. One day, the last Sunday in each month was teachers report day. The high counselors on this day would visit each ward, attend the Sacrament meetings, and speak to the saints and those present, and after meeting attend teachers report meeting thus doing their best to encourage the teachers in their labors visiting among the saints in the wards of the Hyrum Stake.
At a ward conference of this year, Sister Mary I. Sorensen was released from being President of the Relief Society which place she had occupied for 11 years. Sister Mary Jensen was appointed President with Mary Hughes Bird and Ellen Bird as councilors.
Sister Juny Wood for many years a councilor in the society was at this time releases. The Relief Societies has been a wonderful power for good in our ward, as well as in other wards, in helping the poor, the sick and afflicted and looking after burying the dead, as well as informing themselves in religious and secular understanding they hold regular meetings in those lines.
The latter part of 1919 was a most wonderful and unusual time. On the 22–23 of October, snow fell to a depth of 18 inches, and did not go off that fall. All sorts of contrivances was invented to scrape the snow from the beets so they could be dug. They were not all in the factory by Christmas.
Everybody from school, college, and universities that could be hired, put on overalls and joined the throng in the beet fields, to facilitate the work. While these were hardships our lot was small trouble compared with many countries in Europe, Asia and other places.
A brass, or silver band was organized in Mendon by this time, instrument costing 700 dollars. Gill Sweeten a man raised in Mendon, but now residing at Collinston, taught the boys at first, then Mr. Christensen from Hyrum was their teacher, there was 20 in the band and by this time they played well and was much appreciated by the people of our town.
While the great world war is over, it seems a tremendous task to bring conditions back to normal. The extremely high prices of all commodities are indeed hard to control, or to reduce to normal. And it is not easy to tell how long it will take to come to something like normal.
At the election this fall, there was no party lines followed, but a fusion ticket was voted on. A pool hall was started this fall to the regret of many but some favored it, according to law, none under 21 years are permitted in them, they certainly to say the least, are unprofitable places to spend ones time.
Schools all over was by this time conducted on the free system, in larger towns strictly graded, but in Mendon we had three teachers for eight grades. The school population of Mendon was much smaller, than years ago, also the total population, which is now less than 500, and at one time it reached near 600. The cause for this being that the many younger people moved to other places, leaving more older people here.