Hyrum Nelson (1863 - 1938)

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Birthdate:
Birthplace: Franklin, ID, USA
Death: Died
Occupation: Blacksmith, saw mill and shingle mill operator
Managed by: Della Dale Smith
Last Updated:

About Hyrum Nelson

Hyrum Nelson was born Jan. 10, 1863, at Logan, Utah, to Price Williams Nelson and Lydia Ann Lake. Price and Lydia Ann belonged to pioneer families of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and crossed the plains in the same pioneer company. Hyrum, who went by Hite, was the seventh of 13 children who lived to adulthood.

    Hite's family moved from Utah to Idaho to Nevada and back to Utah before Hite came to Arizona with his father and five brothers about 1870. They came by way of Lee's Ferry on the Colorado River and settled at Moencopi in northern Arizona; the rest of the family came later with Hite's mother. From Moencopi the family moved to Payson and finally to nearby Pine, Ariz.
    In 1880 while in Pine, Hite helped his father build the first grist mill in the Payson-Pine district. The mill was made of Malapai rocks and operated by waterwheel power. Hite also helped his father plant and maintain an apple orchard at the same location. This Nelson homestead and orchard was later purchased by Hite's son, David, and kept in the family.
    While visiting the Tonto Basin in March 1885, Hite met Martha Frances Sanders, who had come to Arizona with her sister and brother-in-law. In October 1885 Hite and Martha traveled with chaperons to St. George, Utah, and were married in the St. George Temple on Oct. 15. Hite was 22 and Martha was 20.
    Hite and Martha had their first child at Tonto Basin in Arizona but left six weeks later with Hite's parents and siblings for Mexico. The Mexican government had issued land grants for the Mormons and many took the opportunity to escape anti-polygamy laws in the United States. Although Hite and the other Nelsons did not practice polygamy, they went to Mexico because they enjoyed settling new frontiers and wanted to help.
    The Nelsons put up a grist mill in Cave Valley, Mexico, where they ground corn for bread and corn meal mush. The Nelsons also manufactured a turning lathe which they used to make chairs from oak and maple from the Sierra Madre mountains. Hite later used his skill on the lathe to furnish his own home and to make money for his family. Also, with the help of Martha and his boys, Hite tanned and made deer hides into buckskin. He also was an expert game hunter and provided meat for his family and others.
    In 1892 Apaches began raiding fields in Cave Valley and driving off stock. The trouble climaxed when two Apaches and a squaw raided the Thompson ranch near Hite's home and killed a Thompson boy and his mother. Another Thomp-son boy, Elmer, was shot in the chicken coop but not killed. Elmer's five-year-old sister, Annie, escaped the house and ran to the coop to hide, where she found Elmer. After the Apaches left, the two children headed toward Hite's home for help; Elmer passed out on the road, but Annie found Hite and brought him back.
    Because of problems like these, Hite and Martha moved to Colonia Dublan in 1892 with their three children. In 1896 the expanded family returned to the area, where Hite set up a shingle and sawmill. Hite served in the area as ward clerk and Sunday School super-intendent. In 1906 he purchased a home in Pacheco, where he continued work as a sawyer and ran a blacksmith shop in the winters. Due to the Mexican Revolution, many of the Mormon colonists were forced back to the United States in 1912. Hite and Martha returned to Arizona after more than 25 years in Mexico with only one trunk and a roll of bedding.
    Hite enjoyed reading and especially enjoyed Church literature. In his later life he served a mission for the Church in the Southern states and was a good missionary because he made friends easily and was well read in the scriptures. Hite died at the home of a son in Phoenix on Jan. 29, 1938, at age 75. He was buried in Thatcher, Ariz., and was survived by Martha and 11 of his 14 children (three of his children were still born).

-- Sources: 1. Typed autobiography of Sarah Loraina Nelson. (Reprinted on Sarah Loraina NELSON Web page.) 2. "Hyrum Nelson." Nelson Family History, Volume 1. pps. 164-68. On record at Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.

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Hyrum Nelson's Timeline

1863
January 10, 1863
Franklin, ID, USA
1887
January 8, 1887
Age 23
Roosevelt, AZ, USA
1889
1889
Age 25
1890
April 10, 1890
Age 27
Chihuahua Municipality, CHIH, Mexico
1891
September 30, 1891
Age 28
Colonia Dublán, CHIH, Mexico
1894
January 16, 1894
Age 31
Cuauhtémoc, CHIH, Mexico
1895
October 22, 1895
Age 32
Colonia Dublan, CHIH, Mexico
1898
November 19, 1898
Age 35
Colonia Dublan, CHIH, Mexico
1938
August 23, 1938
Age 75
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