Life Shetch and a Short History of Mormon Bird…

A pair of short historical sketchs of the life and times of Mormon Bird, as written by a family member.

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Mormon Bird

Mormon Bird was born January 15th, 1854 in Cottonwood, Salt Lake County, Utah. His father was Charles Bird, Sr. and his mother was Sarah Ann Dundsdon. She was the second wife of Charles Bird, Sr. Father had four sisters and six brothers; four half sisters and six half brothers.

Father lived in Mendon and received what schooling was available at that time. He was the oldest son and used to herd cows up in the pasture with other boys. He and his half brother, George, used to herd sheep. One night they were herding sheep and the Indians came with their war cries, dad tipped the wagon box and hid under it, taking the end gate out so they could get in and out. They were only about twelve or thirteen years old.

Father was tall in stature and very erect. He had hazel color eyes, brown hair, and was very thin, he also wore a mustache. When he was twenty-one years old he married Emerine Elizabeth Gardner in the Endowment House at Salt Lake City, Utah on October 4, 1875. She was the first operator for the telegraph office in Mendon. After they were married they moved to Mendon where they built a rock house on the lot where the home now stands. Later he built two rooms south of it and as the family increased, they built on to that. They were the parents of twelve children, Mormon, Margaret E., Ida, Vernon, Clarence P., Hazel, Irma and Earl (twins), Orlie, Lucille, Cyril and Afton. Ida died at the age of eleven years, Orile two years and Vernon twenty-one years. Father was seventy-two years old and Margaret was fifty-two years old when they went to California in January 1931. Father went to spend his time with his daughter Irma and she went to be with her daughter Marguerite who had her first baby. She never did get to see her daughter and grandchild as she contacted pneumonia and died.

… the children as long as they worked for him. He sent two sons on missions for the Later-day Saint Church. Mormon Delbert, who was named after him, and also Cyril, who went on a foreign mission. After he was first married, he and his oldest son Delbert, hauled the mail between Mendon and Wellsville with a team. He was one of the first men to own a binder machine, and he did custom cutting for people. He was a machinist, fixing machines for various people. He planted sugar beets for the Amalgamated Sugar Company. He was water master of Gardner’s Creek Company. He was road supervisor between Logan and Mendon the work all done by horses at that time. A carpenter by trade, he built and remodeled homes.  He built the home his son Mormon D. Bird lives in. He was one of three trustees when the Red School House was built which still stands. He helped build the schoolhouse in Petersboro. He knew most of the landmarks in Mendon and helped people to survey their land. He was a very staunch Republican in politics, always at the pools on Election Day registering and counting the votes. He was a City Councilman.

Dell tells when he was hardly old enough to reach the seat on the binder, he and father were cutting grain and father had a very serious accident in the field just below the farm. Father got his hand caught in the binder machine. He had to get him home and aunt Maggie Moslander was there and she took care of him. Father had a very severe attack of Inflammation Rheumatism and had to be rolled in sheets, he was this way about six weeks. As he eventually got better it affected his heart some.

In the spring of 1894, Mormon Bird took a contract with the U.S. to carry mail from Mendon and Wellsville. The contract was for four years at a salary of $1500 a year. It was hauled by horse and buggy or wagon, there was no railway to Wellsville. He hauled all the freight for all the stores and also passengers; he made six trips a week. Dell assisted father throughout his reign. Father was postmaster of Mendon from 1923 to May 1932, a short time before he died, he resigned. In his later years, his picture came out in the paper. He being the oldest Postmaster. It was taken with the youngest postmaster at the convention of Utah Branch National League of District Postmasters. It is said, he had dispensed mail to 550 persons for seven years. When he gave up the postmaster job, it was handed down to his son Delbert.

He and mother lived to celebrate their Golden Wedding Anniversary, October 4, 1925. Mother passed away two and a half months later, December 18, 1925. After that, he lived in the old home with Afton and Pearl and family. He was a lover of children and their children helped to fill in his loneliness in his declining years.

When we were children and were ill, father would sleep with us in his arms and sweat us; we would be well in the morning. He was a very good doctor. During his later years he suffered with hardening of the arteries. He became very ill, but was never taken to the hospital.

Afton and family took care of him and also his sons, in the old home to the very end. Such love and devotion I have never seen before and was rendered to him and I am sure the Lord will bless then for all the kindness and loving care which they gave him. Cyril and Blanch also took father to their home for three months, to relieve Pearl and Afton of some of the responsibility. There he was treated with loving care.

He died May 28, 1932 at the old home. His remains were taken to the Lindquist Mortuary and they brought his body back to the old home on Memorial Day. His funeral was on the 31st of day of May. There were five members of the Hyrum Stake High Council present. The grave in the Mendon cemetery was dedicated by Elmer J. Hancock.1

Author Unknown


Mormon Bird II

Mormon Bird, a son of Charles and Sarah Ann Dunsdon Bird, was born January 15th 1854 at Cottonwood, Salt Lake County, Utah. They moved up to Mendon in 1859. They build a rock home on the corner where the schoolhouse and post office (were). The first church meeting was in my father’s house and the first store was in Charles Bird’s house, my father’s home. There was twelve brothers and sisters: Mormon, DeLoss Perley, James Dunsdon, Mary Jane, Phineas Reeves, Jeddiah M. Grant, Anna Adelia, Hester Maria, Amanda Lusina, Sarah Ann, Heber Charles.

I worked down to the depot and delivered mail to Wellsville. That is where I met my wife, she was working down there, she was the telegrapher operator. In (4, October, 1875) we got married and had twelve children: Mormon Delbert, Margaret E., Ida, Vernon, Clarence P. Hazel, Erma, Earl & Orlie (twins), Lucille, Cyril and Afton.

I was a carpenter and built many houses. I learned the carpenter trade from my (half) brother George Bird. We built a number of house and barns in Collingston, Utah. Among the many houses I built in Mendon are the following: William Reeds, Phineas R. Bird, DeLoss P. Bird, Afton Bird, David Buist, the west part of A. W. Richards, the east part of William R. Hughes, part of William Bartletts, part of Wayne Willies, Henry Stauffer, except south wing, some of John Ladles. Remodeled the Byron Muir home, the home when Alfred Gardner owned it. Built Melvin Muir, when George Lemon owned the place. East part of the Larsens. The last house I built was that of Mormon D. Bird, my sons home. I done carpenter work in good many other homes in Mendon such as hanging doors and finishing (the) insides.

I had a small farm. I was a good hand with machinery and my father had one of the first self binders that was used in Mendon. It was a wire binder, it tied the bundles with wire. Some of his brothers showed the wheat. Later twine binders came in use, he wore several of them out as they did a great deal of custom cutting. They used horses in those days. My son Mormon Delbert was helping me in all of this. I  would get up early and go out when harvest season was on. My son Mormon would follow later with three horses to change in order that we may keep the binder going. I went out before breakfast. My son Mormon would bring (it) out to me. I was cutting wheat one time just below the old tithing granary on Willard Richards farm. I was walking alongside the binder and I reached over, took hold of the leaver, to move it and the kicker came around to kick the bundle and my arm throw with the bundle, it cut a very bad cash in my wrist. My son Mormon and I unhooked our horses as soon s we could. I jumped on my horse and went home. Mormon followed with the other horses. Maggie Moslander was visiting my wife, they gave me first aid. My arm got all right without any bad effect.

My Sister Adele Bird was the fifth postmaster. Then my daughter was the seventh postmaster and I Mormon Bird was the twelfth postmaster, then my son Mormon Delbert was the thirteenth postmaster. My son Afton’s wife Pearl was fourteenth postmaster. Later years he lived with his son Afton and Pearl, they took care of him till he died, 28 May, 1932.2

Author Unknown

footnote line

1. Mormon Bird, Author Unknown, unpublished manuscript.

2. Mormon Bird II, Author Unknown, unpublished manuscript.