Robert Gibbons (deceased)

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About Robert Gibbons

HISTORY OF JOSEPH GIBBONS My father Compiled by Robert G. Gibbons

Joseph Gibbons was born in the Parish of Walcot at Bath, Sommersetshire, England June 9, 1852, son of James Gibbons and Ann Shuttleworth. "My Father, James Gibbons, was born January 27, 1825. My Mother, Ann Shuttleworth, was born January 24, 1813. My Father married Ann Shuttleworth in 1848. Father Joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in 1848. My Mother joined the same church in 1854. They had four children of their own--James, Lucy, myself, and Annie. They also adopted a girl some years after my brother James died. Her name was Rosina. My parents were in poor circumstances due to the fact my father lost his eye sight soon after they were married. This place the burden of earning a livelihood on my mother. My father, shortly after they were married, went in swimming and took cold and it settled in his eyes, causing a film to cover them. A so-called eye doctor poured acid on his eyes and this made them worse, and it was not too long before he was totally blind. My father was able to see the first two children dimly, (James and Lucy), but he was totally blind when Annie and I were born. Because of this great tragedy, my parents were in poor circumstances so far as these worldly goods are concerned. My mother had to work very hard all her life to support the family. However, my father did learn to make baskets through the kindness of some lady friends who helped my mother. This made it possible for my father to earn a little toward the support of the family, but the great burden rested upon my mother, and it was a struggle for her. In spite of all her hard ships and disappointments, mother was always patient and pleasant with all those around her and always willing to help anyone who was in need of her help. She was very anxious to give her children all the education she could so she kept us in school as long as possible. I am sure she felt the loss of schooling in her life and wanted to see it different in respect to our lives.

My brother James died in infancy and it was some years later that my parents adopted a little girl, Rosina. I am sure they felt that she could take the chair left vacant by my brother James. My older sister, Lucy, and I helped as soon as we were able to find work to help lighten the burden placed upon my mother. When I was ten years of age, I went to work as a errand boy, earning two shillings a week, which was equivalent to fifty cents in American money. My wages were gradually increased until at age 19. I then received nine shillings a week or two and one half dollars. This, however, was not attained until I had worked five years.

My mother was very serious and devout in her views and had a strong testimony of the Gospel from the time she joined the church in 1850. She and our family had a great desire to emigrate to Utah so we could live among the Saints who were gathering in Utah. In 1854, my grandfather, John Aaron Gibbons, and his two brothers emigrated to Utah and lived in Ogden. In 1868, fourteen years later, my grandfather sold some property which he had acquired and sent the money to Liverpool, England, in order that our family could emigrate to Utah. With the money, he sent plus some we borrowed from the Perpetual Emigration Fund, my father, mother, and three sisters (Lucy, Annie, and Rosina, my adopted sister), myself, also two uncles and their families (there being 20 persons in all) obtained enough to emigrate to Zion. This was a great blessing and privilege for all of us. As my mother often said, "Our prayers have been answered and we are going to Zion to live among the Saints in peace without the fear of mobs and violence which we have endured in England." I remember times when we were compelled to close our meetings as the mobs broke out the windows in our little church. Finally, we had to meet in private homes. The ministers of other churches were always exciting the people against the so-called Mormon Elders. On the fourth day of June 1868, we sailed on the ship John Bright, a sailing vessel from Liverpool, England, to New York with over 800 passengers aboard--nearly all Mormons.

At the time my sister Lucy was 18, I was 16, Annie 14, and Rosina was six years of age. With faith and hope, we felt sure of a safe journey to the place where we could mingle with the Saints and worship without being molested. The journey on the ocean was pleasant most of the way. One night a storm arose and all the passengers were ordered below deck. The ship rocked to and fro. The wind blew terrifically. Trunks and other luggage of all kinds were thrown from side to side. We held on to our bunks as we expected to be thrown out every time the ship gave a lurch. My mother often said after the voyage was over that she would never forget that storm at sea. Toward morning, the storm abated and it was so calm, hardly a ripple could be seen on the water. Everyone was thankful to see morning come. A storm at sea at night is one of the most weird and mournful experiences one can witness. The following morning we were called to prayer and a meeting each morning at nine o'clock as we always had prayer after breakfast. This particular morning, the president of the company, brother James McGraw, said, "This morning the Captain of the ship would like to talk with us." He said that the storm was the worst storm he had ever seen or experienced and he had been in charge of many loads. He said that if he had not had a company of Mormons on board, he was sure that we would have been at the bottom of the sea. He knew from previous experiences that the Lord protected and watched over the ships when Mormons were aboard, that he was sure he would land safely for this reason. He also stated that there was something about the Mormons he could not describe. They were so well behaved and gave him no trouble. This was a great testimony to all present. We landed in New York the 15th of July, having been six weeks and three days crossing the ocean. We stayed two days in Castle Garden, New York at which time we went by train to Laramie, Wyoming, that being the end of the railroad. When we reached Laramie, there were teams and wagons from Utah waiting for us. The majority of these teams were mules which seemed strange to me. The Young people and those who were able, were supposed to walk as the wagons were to carry the food and bedding needed for the journey. Also, those who were unable to walk. We averaged 25 to 30 miles a day. Sometimes if we did not find water we would travel further. Part of the way we carried water with us. One part that I remember which was called the Bitter Creek Route and the water was bitter, unfit to drink. Mother and my two younger sisters rode in the wagon. The rest of us walked nearly all the way. By the time we reached Salt Lake City, our shoes were worn out. We arrived in Salt Lake City on August 19, 1868 and remained there over night and the next traveled to Ogden. Our relatives were living in Ogden and we lived there for two year. We were four weeks and three days coming from Laramie to Ogden. We had enormous appetites and Grandmother was able to satisfy them which I know was no small task.

My father made baskets for the neighbors and he received a bushel of peaches for each basket he made.

I went to work for the Union Pacific Railroad at a place called Devils Gate in Weber Canyon. My wages were $2.50 a day & board. From here the gang I was working with was sent to Promontory and worked on the contract known as Benson, Farr, and West. The Union Pacific and the Central Pacific were trying to reach this point. On this job, my pay was $3.00 a day and board. This was a dangerous place; men were frequently killed for trifling causes. I worked here for six weeks and then quit. Several of my relatives and I decided to go to the Bear Lake country and look over the country. We walked carrying our provisions and bedding on our backs and took one cow. We arrived at Laketown, June 2, 1869. After seeing this part of the country, we decided that it would be a good place to live. Grass and timber were abundant, and there was plenty of land that could be taken up and plenty of fish in the springs and lakes as well as game in the hills.

We returned to Ogden and I worked on the Central Pacific for a short time. Then I returned to Bear Lake, bought two city lots and took up 20 acres of land. Then I returned to Ogden to make a little more money. I next went to worked for the C. P. At *Terrace (100 miles west of Ogden) laying track until the railroad was completed from Salt Lake to Ogden in 1870. I became ill and was taken to Ogden where I lay prostrate seven weeks. I became so deaf I could not hear a threshing machine twenty rods away. This was the most severe illness of my life. I was healed through the power of the Lord.

In October 1871, (I was 19 years old) I returned to Bear Lake because of the death of my mother. My Father and family had moved to Laketown in November 1870. They secured an old log house to live in but it was not very desirable as it was lacking in the conveniences even of that day. We had very little furniture and a dirt floor, but it was the best they could find. This winter was so long and the snow so deep that no one was able to go through the canyon. The mail only came through once a month. My sister told me that mother had not been well during the winter. No doubt the privations she had the pioneers who endured the many hardships in this life and rearing the family were too much for her. Mother died February 26, 1871 in Laketown. She was a faithful Latter Day Saint, and can be numbered among will receive the reward that is in store for the righteous.

After a short stay in Bear Lake, I returned to Ogden and worked on the railroad in Little Cottonwood Canyon on the road leading to the celebrated Emma Mine. While here in the month of June, the snow was so deep at the head of the canyon that all you could see of a sawmill located there was the smoke stack on the engine.

The following winter I worked in the round house of the Central Pacific Railroad. The Spring of 1872 I worked as a brakeman on the Salt Lake Division. The freight began to pour into Utah at such a rate that the company put on extra trains and worked day and night. I will here state that the influences that were at work within me, that prompted me to quit the railroad and return to Bear Lake and follow the occupation of a farmer were from the spirit of the Lord. Had I stayed on the railroad, I may have contracted many bad habits, as many of my friends who stayed did. In fact, I had already started to smoke cigars and drank some liquor, but I thank my Heavenly father that since that time I have been able to set such things aside.

After leaving the railroad, I came to Bear Lake with two young men. We walked all the way and upon crossing the hill leading into Laketown from Round Valley, we met two young men and two young ladies taking a walk. One of the young ladies was Mercy Weston later became my wife. I courted Mercy for a short time. One day her sister, Louisa Weston, who was going to Salt Lake to Marry brother Hodges, told us we had just as well make up our minds and go with them to Salt Lake and be married. We, in company with several others, left Bear Lake by team and wagon to be married. We arrived in Salt Lake October 5, attended conference 6, 7 and 8, and were married in the Endowment House in Salt Lake on the 9th of October 1872. My wife was born Feb. 3, 1855, and hence was 18 years old. My wife and her family emigrated from England in 1870, came across the ocean on a steamer to New York and the rest of the way by rail to Ogden. The railroad had been competed before they came out to Utah. Her parents were very well provided for financially, having brought $35,000 in cash with them so they were considered wealthy at that time. They directly to Bear Lake after coming to Salt Lake Valley.

We lived with my wife's family that first winter while I built a log house on one of the lots I had purchased previously. We moved in the home I built the following spring. On October 10, 1874, our first child was born. We named him Joseph. In 1875, I was baptized into the United Order by President William Budge of Bear Lake Stake. On September 24, 1876, our second son was born, and we named him Edward James. In October I took my blind father to Ogden as my grandmother wished him to live with her. During my absence, and in the absence of his mother, our little boy Joseph, two years old, drank concentrated lye and it took eighteen months for him to fully recover from the effects of the lye. It would cause him to choke while eating. One night in the spring of 1878. I was awakened by our little boy jumping up and down in bed screaming (he was four years old.) Upon asking him the cause of his fright, he said there was a pig biting him. I had a presentment of approaching evil. I do not think I ever felt such a sensation before or since. I tried to think it was only a bad dream. About two days later, we killed a pig for family use. The next day as Joseph was eating a piece of the meat, a piece stuck in his throat. Nothing we could do would remove it. He could not swallow even a little milk or water for five days. We prayed for him and had the Elders administer to him. On the fifth day he appeared to be dying as we noticed he was turning purple. I could not stand to look at him. In desperation I went out and secretly prayed. I think I never prayed more earnestly in my life and I testify the Lord heard my prayers. A short time after returning to the house he asked for a drink; he drank heartily and then threw it all up and with it came the piece of meat. It had become very hard. After this incident he had no more trouble with choking while eating. On July 15, 1878 our first daughter was born. We named her Ann Elizabeth. In October 1879 I was called to be Superintendent of the Sunday School at Laketown. On April 2, 1880 another son was born whom we named Frederick. In the Fall of this year I was chosen President of the Y.M.M.I.A. About this time I was also appointed Post Master of Laketown. However, my wife did this work as the post office occupied one room in the home. My wife did my work in a great many instances. She had a very quiet nature, but she was a great help to me and is behind me in all my undertakings, besides rearing and taking care of a large family. I must also confess she has copied all my history as I of the am a poor writer.

In February 1882, the public signed a petition to be sent to the Senate and the House of Representatives in Congress in Washington, D.C. asking them to pause and consider before they enacted laws to deprive us of our rights as American citizens. That we were satisfied with conditions as they are, that many of us owe our existence to the principle of plural marriage against which so much had been said. There were four petitions to be signed. One in behalf of the citizens, one from the Relief Society, one from the Y.M.M.I.A., and the Y.L.M.I.A. The people turned out in mass to sign their name.

April 3, 1882 a girl was born. We named her Annie May--she was our fifth child, there being three boys and two girls now.

In April 1883 I became acquainted with Katharine Newcomb of Paris, Idaho. She and another young lady came from Switzerland for the Gospel's sake. They had no relatives, so they came and lived with us. About two months before I married Katharine, my friend married the other young lady. At this time, I had no money and so my wife Mercy went to her father and borrowed $100.00 that we might go to Salt Lake and be married in the Endowment House. Katharine was seventeen years old. When we had been married two years, Katharine gave birth to a girl. We named her Maggie. My wife took care of them and they continued to live with us in the same house until Maggie was one year old. This was 1886. At this time, I secured a home not far from our home and Katharine and her little girl were moved in 1886. On February 17, 1884 Mercy gave birth to a son. We called Walter Francis. My wife Katharine helped care for them. On July 6th I was appointed a delegate to represent Laketown in the interest of the Logan Temple. I went to Logan and we organized an association called the Logan Temple Educational Association. On January 12, 1886, my wife Mercy gave birth to a son and we named him William Shuttleworth.

March of this same year I took part in a theatrical performance. On November 29th of the following year, my wife gave birth to a daughter--her eighth child and we named her Laura. In February 1888, I was called on a mission to the Southern States. I spoke to the authorities and had it changed to England in order to gather some genealogy. I became very ill and my mission was postponed on this account, left April 8, 1889. When I left for my mission, there were twelve in my family--nine children, my two wives (Mercy and Katharine) and myself. To leave a family this large took a lot of faith that my Father in Heaven would bless us and help the ones that were left at home to provide the necessities of life. Just Previous to this we sold our place and bought a piece of land with no house or barn. We rented a log house and while I was on my mission, my wife, Mercy, and the boys built a house and a barn with a little help and moved on to the farm we had bought. While I was on my mission, my wife Mercy gave birth to another son and she named him James Nehemiah. I returned from my mission in May 1891. On February 3, 1892, my wife Mercy gave birth to a daughter, Mercy Lenora. In April 1893 my wife Mercy and I attended the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple. This was very impressive. As we all know, it had been 40 years since the church started to work on this magnificent structure. I am sure it will stand until the coming of our Savior to rule and reign here upon the earth. On May 10th this same year I was ordained a Bishop to preside over the Meadowville Ward of the Bear Lake Stake.

In the spring of 1893 we bought a home in Meadowville for my wife, Katharine. On May 2nd we suffered the loss of our little girl, Mercy, who was 4 years of age. She was only ill a few hours and we will never know what the trouble was. November 14, 1900 myself and wives went to the Logan Temple and received our second anointing.

In the Spring of 1902 at which time I with my wife, Mercy, and the younger children of her family moved to LeGrande, Oregon, I had been advised to go to a lower altitude on account of my health. We remained there 7 years. My wife Katharine had given birth to two children, Estella, born March 6, 1896, Leonard Arthur, born February 3, 1901. My wife Mercy had given birth to four children--Hyrum, who was born June 1, 1894; Olive Viola, born February 6, 1897; Elma Jane born September 24, 1899; and Robert Gifford born August 25, 1901. I became improved in health, but impoverished in wealth. While in Oregon, our last child was born--our daughter Beulah. My wife, Mercy had fifteen children in thirty years, her first being born when she was nineteen, her last when she was forty-nine (eight boys and seven girls). My wife, Katharine, gave birth to three (two girls and one boy).

In 1909 we moved from Oregon to Logan and bought a farm near the Logan Sugar Factory for $1800.00, twenty acres. We later sold this for $7,000.00. Mercy and her family upon arriving in Logan, lived for a few months with our son Edward who at the time was bookkeeper for the Hansen Livestock Company. That winter we rented a home in Providence and the children attended school there. The following year we bought a home in Logan.

In March 1910, I bought a home for my wife, Katharine, on the Canyon Road and moved her with her two children to Logan. Her oldest daughter Maggie was married at this time and living in Ogden. October 3, 1911, we lost another daughter, Elma Jane, age 12, with ruptured appendix. This same month our son Edward and his wife left for a mission to the Southern States. He was the third son to go--Walter and Joseph having gone on a mission previously. January 1918, President Ballif of the Cache Stake asked me to take charge of the 8th Ward as Bishop. I was then 66 years of age. On March 10, I was set apart as Bishop at Cache Stake Conference by Apostle Talmage and Ivins, President Ballif and counselors Oliver H. Budge and Joseph Quinney assisting. It was not necessary for me to be ordained Bishop as that had been done 15 years previous. President Wm. Budge then being President of the Bear Lake Stake. March 11, 1918, the Logan Temple was opened for the first time since it was damaged by fire November 1917. March 22, 1918, we gathered donations for payment of repairs on the Stake Tabernacle.

March 26th, attended meeting in Tabernacle where President Grant spoke of the war and the necessity of everyone buying Liberty bonds. March 31, all clocks were put ahead one hour for Daylight Saving Time. January 1918, my wife Mercy with her two youngest children went to Canada to visit with our three daughters there. She was gone two months. When she returned, my wife, Katherine, went for a month to visit with her daughter in Ogden. This is one advantage of polygamy--I always had a wife home. However, this soon had a sad ending. On August 17th my wife Katherine passed away. She had been ailing and steadily growing worse for about two months. The same day her daughter, Stella, gave birth to a girl at the Budge Hospital.

October 13, all public gatherings closed on account of flu epidemic. November 14 I sold my wife's place on the Canyon Road for $2,600.00. I kept one-third and divided the remainder among her three children.

February 9, 1919, flu subsided and public gatherings resumed. February 23, attended meeting at 2:30 in the Tabernacle and listened to three returned missionaries. Brother Everton told of many cases of the healing power of God administrations of the Elders. One sister who had not been able to walk for years was carried into the water on a stretcher to be baptized, afterwards walked out of the water, walked home and there-after attended to her household duties.

Another elder told about himself and other elders who were in a house preaching when the estranged husband of the daughter appeared and shot his wife. The elders attempted to interfere; when he turned his gun on them, the cartridges refused to explode. He then turned the gun on himself. When he did this, the gun fired and killed him. March 16, flu raging again--all public functions closed. Myself and family all ill. It was estimated there were six to eight hundred cases in Logan. There were accounts of twelve deaths in one local paper.

August 21, a great day in the history of Logan. Soldiers Welcome Home Day. More people here than ever before in the history of Logan. A grand procession of all the boys and men who enlisted. Many beautiful floats, four brass bands, dancing on the street, grand display of fireworks.

September 9, went to the Tabernacle to hear a talk against the League of Nations by Rueben Clark, an international lawyer of some note. On the 12th day I went to the Tabernacle again and listened to B.H. Roberts uphold the League of Nations. Sunday, January 30, 1921 was observed as a special fast day for the purpose of raising money to aid the children who are starving in Europe. We raised over a $100.00 in the 8th Ward.

March 8, 1921, our son Robert went to Salt Lake City today with the Logan High School Basketball Team to play in the State Tournament having won the Division here. I have attended the games played in Logan and I think they have a good team.

Monday March 14, I went up town to attend the reception held for the high school team. They won the State Tournament defeating the teams they played all four nights. Our son Robert was named "All State Guard" and Bishop Shaub's Son Wesley was named "All State Forward", this being quite an honor for them to receive. This week end they will play the champions of Colorado, Greenly High School. March 21, I think everyone in Logan was up town tonight to welcome the high school team home from Colorado, having defeated that team twice. One the 25th and 26th of March they are going to play the state champions of Montana and if they defeat them they will be the Rocky Mountain Champions, the first high school to win it. I am going to see them play. The games will be played at the Agricultural College in the Smart Gymnasium. March 27, the games of the last two nights were very exciting and the Logan High won both games. Robert was named "All Rocky Mountain Guard" and Wesley "All Rocky Mountain Forward". September 7, 1922, our son Robert left for the mission field today, he is our fourth son to go on a mission. November 1924, our son Robert returned home from England yesterday after being away 26 months. Yesterday was also Thanksgiving Day, so we had this added reason to be thankful.

The remaining 9 years of Father's life was spent entirely in the Temple and doing research work. Although he had done considerable before this time, he did research work and obtained 1200 names personally, did endowments for 3,323 persons, there being 200 done by members of the family.

He kept all these records. He was at the Temple on Friday, December 23, 1932. He had all his records up to date and in order. Father passed peacefully away without a struggle or any suffering, on January 2, 1933.

  • TERRACE--was the largest of the Central Pacific towns built in Utah. It was locatd 7 miles east of Watercress and 32 miles from the nevada boarder. The company built their huge 16 stall roundhouse and repair shops at Terrace. It also had a large depot and many supply warehouses, as well as schools for employees' children, stores, saloons and other businesses. Some of the firms doing business at Terrace included Cave & Hinley's general store. William Grose's meat market, Smith's fruits and vegetables, Parry's Saloon, King's Hotel and the Pearson & Eager Livestock Company. Railroad employees were taxed $1 per month to maintain the library.

Terrace's population quickly soared to more than two thousand, not counting the six to eight thousand Chinese laborers who called it home for a time. Many of them remained or returned to operate stores and shops, and built a Chinatown second only to San Francisco. The Chinese shops featured items like wild rice, seaweed, duck and dried fish. Opium was sold openly for $7 a bar, enough to last a careful smoker one month. Terrace's population 30 years later was still 900, by that time nearly all Chinese.

Until the famed Lucin Cutoff was built across the Great Salt Lake in 1903, Terrace remained the Central Pacific's largest town and maintenance station in Utah, but after the line was shortened, most of the shops were moved to Elko and Carlin, and the big town slowly faded away. Since it was a busy place for three decades, it is a favorite place to hunt for relics.

Regarding the letter written by Joseph Gibbons to his daughter in Canada on Dec 20, 1929: The dates and ages coincide with the age and death date of Elizabeth Ann gibbons, who was a cousin to Joseph Gibbons. She is buried in the Laketown Cemetery next to Ann Shuttleworth. She is the daughter of William Belcher Gibbons a brother to William. William and his wife Mary Wilkes had hour children all born in Wales. Three children married. Elizabeth Ann Gibbons emigrated from Wales in 1863 at age 35. The child that never married died in Laketown and is buried next to Ann Shuttleworth in Laketown.

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