Samuel Ezra West

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Samuel Ezra West

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Parowan, Iron, UT, USA
Death: Died in Pinetop-Lakeside, Navajo, AZ, USA
Cause of death: Chronic Myocarditis
Place of Burial: Lakeside Cemetery, Lakeside, Navajo, AZ, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of John Anderson West and Mary Jane Robinson West
Husband of Julia Ellsworth
Father of Emma West Sponseller; Ezra Joseph West; Karl Bates West; Ida West Hansen; <private> West (Sheehan) and 5 others
Brother of Joseph Anderson West; William Heber West; Maroni Edward West; Amulec Isaac West; James Alma West and 5 others
Half brother of Elizabeth "Lizzie" Jane Whitney; Margaret Hannah West; John Anderson West; Erastus Horace West and Sarah Anna West Crandall

Occupation: Sheep Rancher, Sheepman / Farmer, Hotel Owner, Storekeeper.
Managed by: Della Dale Smith-Pistelli
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Samuel Ezra West

The following information, "The West Family of Lakeside Arizona," was written and provided by Lonnie A. West of Mesa, Arizona. John Anderson West was his great grandfather and the brother of my second great grandmother, Nancy Malinda West Rollins. Lonnie Amos West is my third cousin.

Samuel "Ezra" and Julia Ellsworth West came to Woodland, now part of Lakeside, with their five children in 1897. Both Ezra and Julia were from noted Mormon pioneer families. Ezra 's father was John Anderson West of Snowflake and Julia's father was Edmund Lovell Ellsworth of Show Low. The West and Ellsworth families first arrived in the White Mountains of Arizona about 1880 along with the influx of other early Mormon pioneers. He was a sheep man in the early days, and was always faithful to the Church, and he could quote pages of scripture from memory. Family legend said that Geronimo promised never to hurt him or his family because he admired Brother West's bravery in an encounter he had with Geronimo. This legend began as a story about Ezra and The Apache Kid, another famous renegade Apache, who has now been largely forgotten. The Apache Kid story is more believable because Ezra was in the same vicinity and the time frame is a better match.

There is another photo of Samuel under the Media Tab above, which shows him with his sons and a brother. Shown in that photo are, left to right: Karl Bates West, Samuel Ezra West, Ezra Joseph West, (unknown), Joseph Alma West, Laverne West and Earl R. West. Ezra and Julia first met at a church meeting and eventually fell in love. She was 16 and he was 19 years old when they decided to get married in 1886. In those days for Mormon couples to be married in the church they would have to travel by wagon to the nearest temple in St. George, Utah, along what came to be known as the Honeymoon Trail. It proved to be an eventful trip and Julia would later tell of the dangers they faced:

"We traveled the distance from Show Low to St. George in a light wagon, traveling most of the way alone. We had a small but very good team. At the Little Colorado River we had to take our wagon apart to cross on a boat. We had a very narrow escape from being drowned and the ferry man worked frantically to keep us from going into a whirlpool where years later he was drowned. At one point in our travels Ezra had to go quite a way to find water for the horses. He left his six-shooter in the seat for my protection. Not long after he was out of sight a group of Indians surrounded the wagon on their horses and poor little me had to face all that war paint and feathers alone. They asked for something to eat and I showed them the almost empty lunchbox and after a while they decided to leave, much to my relief, but being used to Indians I was not as frightened as I might otherwise have been. We were fifteen days going and sixteen coming back. Ezra shot an antelope and some rabbits on the trip for our meals. We buried part of our grain for the horses when we were going and dug it up on our way back. At some places the horses could hardly pull what little load we had on the wagon."

After getting married Ezra and Julia settled in Snowflake where Ezra's father gave them a lot on which to build a one-room cabin. There they began their own sheep ranching business. Ezra learned the business from his father and from the age of nine had tended to the family's sheep. Right from the start of their marriage, Ezra had to spend a great deal of his time away from home herding the sheep. Even so, during the next 11 years five children were born to the West family. The children were Emma, Joe (Ezra Joseph), Karl, Ida, and Dena.

Whenever at the sheep camp Ezra made good use of his time by reading good books and studying scriptures. As Joe and Karl grew old enough to help, they went to the sheep camp with him where they grew a close family bond. While Karl was still very young he had a great desire to have a violin. He knew if he had one he could learn to play, so using his initiative, he got a few things together and made himself a violin. He used a large baking powder can for the body and other such items that he could find around the sheep camp. He made the neck and pegs out of carved wood and the strings out of sheep gut. He used hair from a horses tail to make the bow and when it was all completed it looked and sounded pretty good. He learned to play many tunes while herding sheep.

The family moved to Woodland when Dena was still a baby. She was born in July of 1896. They bought a 160-acre ranch from Abe Amos (whose daughter, Elsie, would one day marry Earl West, Ezra and Julia's son). The family pitched in to help clear the stumps, trees and rocks from the land, making it a very good ranch where they raised sheep, goats and cattle. Here four more children were born, Lavern, Earl, Mary and Gwendolyn. Ezra worked hard to be a good provider. People were surprised that he was able to raise more and better crops than was expected of a man who was away with his sheep so much of the time. When harvest time came, his grain bins were always full and the bars were filled with hay. Sons Joe, Karl and later Earl and Lavern all worked with their father on the ranch with tending sheep. Their time was divided between the two. Sheep herding would sometimes take them as far away as the Salt River Valley.

When Ezra and the boys were gone it was up to Julia and Emma, and later the younger girls, to take care of the ranch. It surely could not have been easy for them. There was no water in the house, unless it was carried in, and no electricity. There were cows to milk and feed, gardens, both vegetable and flower, to plant and care for, and the irrigating of the entire place, all of which was no easy task. In addition to this, Julia made all the clothes for the family and kept them washed and ironed. She always kept her home clean and she cooked for the whole family. Julia taught all her children to work by working with them. Whenever the children would tire, Julia would remind them with the old saying, "there is no excellence without labor."

When at home, the boys slept either in the bunkhouse or in the barn on the hay. Their bedding and beds were kept clean and nice just the same as the beds in the house. All five girls shared one bedroom in the house. Ezra and Julia had a feather bed in the front room that Julia would make up to look beautiful and then use a broom handle to smooth it out.

At times the family would move back to Snowflake with the sheep in the winter so the kids could go to school there. Other times the kids would go to school in a one-room schoolhouse in Woodland. In the winter when the snow was deep, the kids would ride to school in a sleigh with hot rocks to keep their feet warm.

One time when Ezra happened to be in the sheep camp alone cooking his supper over the campfire when two Indians came quietly up to the fire with guns in their hands. They were hungry and one of them had been wounded and needed care and rest. At that time there was a renegade Indian called The Apache Kid who was notorious for his crimes. There was a reward of $1,500 offered for him, dead or alive. A Sheriff's posse had been chasing him but he had eluded them even after being wounded. In his dash for freedom he had chanced upon this unassuming sheep camp and figured it was just what he needed for his hideout. when these two Indians arrived that night and demanded aid at the point of their guns, Ezra gave them their supper and dressed the wounds of the Apache Kid. Both them being armed it would have been foolish for anyone to try to capture them either dead or alive. However, Ezra had no desire to kill anyone, so the idea of trying to capture them seemed out of the question.

When Ezra prepared the meals he always tried to keep his face toward them and to keep his gun in sight as it leaned against the wagon wheel even though the Indians were always between it and him. In the daytime, the Indians would go out in the brush and hide out until night just in case anyone came into camp. Ezra would tend his sheep and in the evening would fix supper for all of them. The Apache Kid was a tall, straight and handsome Indian. Ezra said he had never seen an Indian so good looking or with such cruel eyes. He said that while cooking a meal those eyes would follow him back and forth from the chuck box to the fire and that he hated to meet his gaze because he couldn't stand the cruel look from those steel eyes. The Apache Kid could speak good English and once in a while would leave his silent mood to talk, but usually would remain silent during the entire meal. The wound was well cared for and in a weeks time he had healed a great deal, so the Indians decided to move on. Before he left however, the Apache Kid brought out a beautiful pair of moccasin boots with beads of color and excellent workmanship and gave them to Ezra in appreciation for his care.

Ezra and Julia's youngest son, Earl, always loved horses. When he was real little he would drag a bridle around with him. One day he hung the bridle over his mother's knee talking to the horse all the time. As he tried to slip the strap under his mother's foot, he said, "hold your tail up horsie." Wen Earl was 9 years old, he drove a team and wagon 60 miles to Holbrook for supplies by himself. His mother had fixed food for him to take and his father had put in the feed for the horses. He slept out four nights and all he could hear was the buzz of the telegraph line on steel poles. He had to leave the collars on the horses because he was too small to take them off. He could only remove the harness and back hands. The men at ACMI loaded the wagon for him.

As Earl got older he would break wild horses and make them his pets. His first and most loved pet horse was a buckskin named Dollie. He and Lavern were both great riders and cowboys. They were regular bronc riders in the local rodeos and in 1916 they broke 125 horses to ride for the Whiteriver Land and Cattle Company at Haystack Flats. Earl West won first prize at the Cooley, Arizona, Rodeo in 1921.

Ezra was the proud owner of the first car in Lakeside. When it arrived all of the kids wanted a ride, so Ezra agreed to take them to school. When he got there he couldn't figure out which lever stopped the car, so he just drove around in circles until he finally yelled, "Judas Priest, just jump off."

In about 1910 Julia was involved in an accident that caused her trouble for the rest of her life. She was riding in a buggy driven by her sister, Retta Hansen, with her two little girls, Gwendolyn and Mary, in the back. The horse got spooked and took off running and then made a quick turn. Gwendolyn was thrown from the buggy and Julia jumped off to save her. Gwendolyn was unharmed, but Julia broker her leg above the ankle. There was no doctor and the bones grew together crooked. she later had to go to Salt Lake City to have it re-broken and set. This helped, but in later years arthritis set in and she needed to use crutches to get around.

Son, Karl, also had his share of accidents, being run over by a loaded wagon and accidentally shot twice. The first mishap occurred in 1898 when Karl was just six years old. He and his older brother Joe were experimenting with an old army gun one morning. Karl put a cartridge in the gun that wouldn't fit so Joe attempted to hammer it in. The gun went off and shot poor Karl through the foot. Julia said there was no one to send for help because Joe wouldn't move and just kept crying, "I didn't mean to Mamma." Julia carried Karl part way across the field and to Bishop Hansen's place. She yelled and yelled until she thought she was going to faint, but the Bishop finally came and helped them back home and bandaged up Karl's foot. when Ezra got home they took Karl in the wagon to Snowflake to see a man that had been a doctor. He told Julia to keep vinegar on the wound all night, so that's what she did and poor Karl just screamed and cried all night long. The doctor came by the next morning and said, "that's too bad, I didn't think to tell you to dilute the vinegar." Karl's little toe never did grow after that.

Karl's next accident happened when he was 9 or 10 years old. He went with his father to Show Low to get a load of hay. After getting the wagon loaded and starting out Karl somehow fell off and the wagon wheel ran over his head and arm. It tore his scalp back two or three inches long and one or two inches wide. He was scratched and bandaged up when they got home, and his mother said he was a pitiful sight. Karl's closest brush with death came in June of 1916 when Karl was 24 years old. Karl himself tells the story:

"I had been married a little less than a year to Irma Hansen. We lived on my father's farm in Woodland. The crop had been planted and everything of nature seemed to have an atmosphere of peace and promise of a good harvest. I had just finished my lunch, when my youngest brother, Earl, came riding up as fast as his horse could run. All out of breath he said that a wild stallion had gotten in with the gentle horse. It was impossible to corral such a wild animal, so the only method to use was to crease him. This was the old time way of the early day cowboy. To do this they would shoot the horse through the thick of the neck, stunning the animal long enough to tie him with a rope.

Three times this was tried but was unsuccessful. At last the horse made a run for his old range, going through barbed wire fences as if they weren't even there. The last wire gate was too much for him and he stopped. Earl had not noticed that I had left my horse and gone through the brush and trees on foot, to make sure the wild animal did not break through the gate. Seeing an opportunity Earl decided to try once more to crease him. Unfortunately, the bullet hit a little too low and the beautiful big stallion fell dead to the ground.

I must have been in the wrong place, for the bullet went through the brim of my hat twice and then buried itself in my left temple. i was the one that was creased, I guess, for I fell limp on the ground. I first remember my brother was wiping the blood from my temple when all at once, the blood gushed out like water from a faucet. He pulled my hat down over the wound, and put his arms around me and prayed most humbly and earnestly for God to spare my life. As I was watching the blood gush from my head, I calmly compared it to the many times I had killed sheep. When their throat was cut, they would bleed a minute and die. I thought I would soon be going to my happy hunting ground."

Julia takes over the story here:

"Earl helped Karl get on his horse and then made a ride for his life all the while trying to hold his hat over the wound to stop the blood. They got to Bishop Larsen's house where Karl was laid on the ground. He had lost so much blood that he couldn't talk above a whisper. I got word that Karl had been shot and was dying. I was washing when the news came and I started to run. Ezra overtook me on an old workhorse. I jumped on behind him kicking the horse very step. When we got to the lake the cinch broke. Ezra asked me if he should stop and fix it, I told him no, so we galloped along as fast as the poor old awkward horse could go. My hairpins were all gone out of my long hair and I was still kicking the horse every step. When I saw the horse and saddle and my youngest son covered with blood my heart stood still, but I ran to Karl and asked him if he was going to die, and he said, "No, Mother." I knew that he would be spared again."

The bullet had gone in right near the temple and followed the bone around lodging in the back of Karl's head near the neck. Blood poison set in before anyone knew the bullet was still there. Dr. Redewell from Phoenix just happened along and he took the bullet out. The wound was infected, but the doctor threaded a cloth through the wounds and said to pull that cloth out one inch every day and it would heal. The family followed his instructions and Karl recovered in time to welcome his first daughter, Geraldine, into the world a month later.

In 1914 Ezra purchased some land in Lakeside from John L. Fish and started to build a large home, with the intention of using it as a hotel. The home was far from completed when the family moved in however. Everyone had to pitch in until it was gradually finished. Karl West made the 19-room floor plan, possibly based on his grandfather's home in Snowflake. It was a two-story building with nine bedrooms, one bath and a balcony upstairs, and four bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen, pantry and two porches downstairs. There was also a large living room and dining room with a large fireplace that made for many memorable evenings of singing and get togethers. The family spent many happy years running this hotel for travelers. Julia's expertise as a marvelous cook was no doubt a joy to her lodgers.

Right next to the house was a store built by son Joe West and it was operated for many years at different times by Ezra, Karl, Joe and Lavern. This store was called the Pine Cone Garage and Grocery where food, gas and a little bit of everything was sold. The West family also planted a lovely orchard near the hotel, which bore fruit every year. They would always have plentiful crops of apples, peaches, crab apples, plums and gooseberries. They also had a wonderful garden thee. Four cabins were also built on the property and were used as rental units. Youngest son Earl was given a corner lot on which to build himself a home and the old Woodland ranch was sold to son Lavern.

Joe (or E.J.) West was the family entrepreneur. He became a builder and store owner in Lakeside, Show Low, Snowflake and Taylor as well as having construction companies in San Diego and Phoenix. He owned water works in Show Low and at different times he was also in the dairy business, the rental business and served as an executive of an insurance firm. During the 30's and 40's his Blue Moon dance hall and cafe in Show Low was the number one place for entertainment in the White Mountains.

The 1918 flu epidemic took many lives in the White Mountains. Elma, the wife of Joe West was one of them. Julia took in their five children until Joe eventually remarried. He then reclaimed four of the children, but youngest son Alma, remained with his grandparents and was raised as their own. Also around this time, Ezra and Julia adopted a Mexican boy named Frank Quinn into their family. Frank was about 15 years old when he wandered into Ezra's sheep camp starving and exhausted. He explained that Pancho Villa had killed his parents and that he had escaped. Frank lived with Ezra and Julia until his death in 1939. He called them Daddy West and Mama West. In addition to their grandson, Alma, and adopted son, Frank Quinn, Ezra and Julia raised their five girls and four boys to adulthood on good homegrown food and with no doctors with in 80 miles. All nine children lived to be over 70 years old and Lavern lived to be 102.

Ezra suffered for several years with diabetes before complications from the disease took his life on August 15, 1938, at the age of 72. Sometime after the death of her husband in 1938, Julia sold the hotel and went to live with her children. Julia lived her last few years with her son Joe in Mesa where she was confined to a wheel chair due to arthritis. She died at the age of 89 years old. Ezra and Julia, as well as several of their children are buried in the Lakeside Cemetery.

The following information was taken from public records found on Ancestry.com by Della Dale Smith-Pistelli:

In the 1870 U.S. Federal Census for Parowan, Iron County, Utah Territory, Samuel was 4 years old, living with his parents, John Anderson West, 39, and his plural wife, Mary Jane Robinson West, 21, along with his siblings. Elizabeth, 9, Nanette and Martha J., both 11, (maybe twins?), and John Anderson West, Jr., who were the children of John Anderson West, Sr., and his first wife, Betsy Fish West. Mary Jane's children were Samuel Ezra West, 4, and his brother William Heber West, 10 months old. John was working as a farmer, and his real estate was valued at $400 and his personal estate at $400.00.

By the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, the family had moved to Snowflake, Apache County, Arizona, and were listed there as: John, 49, Mary Jane, 32, Samuel E., 14, Joseph A.., 12, William Heber 10, Moroni E. 8, and two other children were in the home, Sarah H. West, 16 and Martha J. West, 10, who are listed as "boarders". John was still working as a farmer, and his sons Sam, Joe and William were all laborers, probably on the family farm.

Samuel Ezra West married Julia Ellsworth on April 21, 1886. Julia's mother was Mary Ann Bates. In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census for Show Low, Navajo county, Arizona Territory, Ezra and Julia had been married 14 years and had six children: Emma, 12, born in November of 1887, Ezra, 10, born in November of 1889, Karl B., 8, born in November of 1891, Ida, 5, born in December of 1894, Sedenia, 3, born in June 1896, and Laverne, 2, born in May of 1898. Ezra was working on the family farm they owned free from a mortgage.

In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census for Lakeside, Navajo County, Arizona, they family is listed as: Samuel, 43, Julia, 39, married for 23 years, and had 9 children: Emma, 22, Karl B., 18, Ida, 16, Dina, 18, La Verne 11, Earl, 9, Mary 6, and Gwendolyn, 2. Samuel was working as a wool grower, and his son, Karl, as a sheep hand on the home farm.

By the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, the family was living in Mesa, Maricopa, Arizona, Samuel, 54, Julia E., 50, Dina, 20, Earl, 18, Mary, 15 and Gwendolyn, 12. Samuel was the owner of a sheep ranch, his daughter Dina was working as a public school teacher, and his son Earl as a farm laborer. Their son, Joseph West, 29, was living next door and was working as laborer on a sheep ranch. Living with him were his children, Marzelle, 9, Marian, 7, Hazel, 5, Virginia 3, and Zelma, 1 year old. His wife, Elma, had passed away in the 1918 flu epidemic, and obviously his mother, Julia, helped to raise the children at that time.

I cannot find Ezra in the 1930 U.S. Federal Census, but he passed away on August 18, 1938, and was buried in the Lakeside Cemetery in Navajo County, Arizona. His wife, Julia, lived for another 20 years and passed away in 1958, at the age of 89. Ezra's death certificate indicated that he died of chronic myocarditis and diabetes meilitus, and had been a hotel proprietor .

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Samuel Ezra West's Timeline

1866
May 25, 1866
Parowan, Iron, UT, USA
1887
November 2, 1887
Age 21
Snowflake, Navajo, AZ, USA
1889
November 25, 1889
Age 23
Snowflake, Navajo, Arizona, USA
1891
November 27, 1891
Age 25
Snowflake, AZ, USA
1893
December 26, 1893
Age 27
Snowflake, AZ, USA
1896
1896
Age 29
1898
May 16, 1898
Age 31
Pinetop-Lakeside, Navajo, AZ, USA
1904
July 14, 1904
Age 38