William Wayne Clawson

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About William Wayne Clawson

William Wayne Clawson History

Submitted by

This was written by Jean Elkins (granddaughter), with the help of Kirk Clawson (son), Blanche Lewis (daughter), Nancy Bond (daughter), Mildred Bond (daughter-in-law), and Bonnie Myers (grand-daughter). This was sent to the Clawson Family Organization, June 22, 1998 by Jean Elkins. ( A few liberties were taken by correcting a few spelling errors and by changing a few word tenses. The original copy is on file with the MCFO)

William Wayne Clawson History

Son of Moses Clawson & Sarah Ann Inkley

William Wayne Clawson, born the 5th of May, the 5th son of Moses Clawson and Sarah Ann Inkley, he was born in Toquerville, Utah. Wayne was 4 years old when his father died. Sometime after Moses's death Sarah Ann remarried. She married Brigham Lamb. Wayne had very little schooling ,he maybe went as far as the 3rd or 4th grade.

When Wayne was small, he would go swimming in the Virgin River in the summer time. He would get sun burned. His mother would tell him not to go any more because he would be cooked if he went again, this never stopped him. So out of desperation she sewed his shirt on him, sure that this would stop his swimming in the river. well when the boys came from town to go swimming, he said, I can't go, my mother sewed my shirt on me! They assured him the could fix that. They'd take his shirt off and after the swim they would sew it back on. What fun they had, after a good swim, home he went no one would know. but his mother did, they sewed it on with a different colored thread. His mother was so mad at him for disobeying she took her shoe off and gave him a spanking with it. That almost broke his heart. To think his mother would hit him with her shoe.

When Wayne was 12 years old, one day bro. Lamb ordered him to get the horses and saddle his horse. bro. Lamb was quite a disciplinarian. So when he gave an order her expected it to be done at once and right. Wayne got the horses and saddled Lamb's horse, but he didn't pull the cinch-up tight, just enough so when Lamb went to swing up into the saddle it turned and he fell off. Brother Lamb was quite a big man, so he fell hard. Wayne hid so he could see what happened. Bro. Lamb was so mad that Wayne was afraid to go home. So he ran away. He went to some big cattle outfit called the Hash Knife Outfit. Wayne was young and small so he became the flunky. He carried for the horses, got wood and water, built fires and helped the cook. This was the Kid job. He had been there sometime when one night a Cowboy told Wayne to go get some water. Wayne said I already got the water, they had to go down a canyon to get the water. The last few nights they had heard a Big Cat scream, since it was quite some distance from camp Wayne would get several buckets of water before night. Well this night one of the Cowboys thought he was smart, he threw a bucket of water out and ordered Wayne to go gets some fresh water. Wayne was afraid because of the Panther or Big Cat screaming. It must have shown in the way he was acting or something. The Cowboy was showing off too. But to his dismay someone stepped out of the night and said., "if you want water get it yourself. Wayne is not going to be your flunky anymore. He is going home with me!" Bro. Lamb had been looking for Wayne. Wayne's shoes were worn out with holes in them? His pants and shirts were dirty and ragged. But it was good to be going home. His mother was glad to have him home again. His mother was also afraid he may get into trouble again so she wrote to his brother Joe in Taylor, Arizona and asked if he could come live wit him. Wayne was 14 when he went home with Joe, he never came back home to live. Joe and his wife Kate came and got Wayne to go live with them. Joe had a freighting business, Wayne worked for him. Wayne had taken up smoking, while with the Hash Knife Outfit, Kate wouldn't have it in their home. so she sewed his pockets shut to make him stop.

By the time Wayne was 19 years old he had his own wagons, and his own freighting business. He freighted all over the Navajo Reservation. Wayne's sister Lena lived in Fruitland New Mexico, so When he was over that way he stayed with her. It was there he saw his future sweetheart for the first time.

One day when he came into town he saw some kids playing ball. A girl ran after the ball, lifted her skirt and jumped over the fence after the ball. A few days later he saw her again, riding bareback, no saddle, but straddle the horse, he said riding like the wind. "That's the girl for me, he said, I'm going to marry her."

Across the street from Lena's home lived the family of Ira Hatch. It was there Wayne would go to visit and enjoy young people. Wayne played his guitar, and the young people would sing, sometimes late into the night. One night one of the girls Lelia asked Wayne if he would like a drink of water, he said that he would. So he followed her and as she passed a bed she jerked the quilt off the bed and there was that black haired girl Wayne had said that he would some day marry. She would run and hide each time Wayne came over. Minnie Kirk Hatch was her name.

William Wayne Clawson and Minnie Kirk Hatch were married Oct 2, 1893, in Durango La Plata, CO. Their first home was in Fruitland, NM. Wayne was still freighting, Minnie would go with him quite often for the first year.

Soon after the birth of their first child, William Leroy, Minnie wanted to visit her sister LaFinita Ashcroft, at Ramah. Wayne had a long trip to make and it would be a good time for Minnie to visit. He had to load his freight at Ft. Wingate, so he took her on to Ramah, then left for his run. He got back in Fruitland late one night from a long trip to find a letter from Minnie telling him to come as soon as possible for Roy was very sick with a high fever. Wayne took care of his horses, saddled another horse and left for Ramah. He never got out of a trot all the way. He covered close to 150 miles in about 14 hours He only stopped long enough in Gallop to change horses then on to Ramah. When he got there just after sundown Roy was playing on the floor, just fine. Wayne was tired. He told Minnie "Don't ever scare me like that again."

Wayne like his brothers always had good horses, in fact he had the best in the country. Wayne drove a 4 or 6 horse hitch. It took a good driver to handle that many horses. That Wayne was, he was always in demand to haul freight somewhere. He had two wagons. A Indian boy by the name of Charlie drove with him when he needed someone to drive the second wagon. One time Charlie was with him, they were going up near the Lukachukai Mountains. Early that morning while they were hitching up Charlie ask Wayne if he'd like to see a real Indian Raid. He said the old chief wanted to show the young braves how it was done in the old days. But it was forbidden by the government so they had to be careful. Of course Wayne wanted to go. Charlie said they had to be very careful . They made camp around noon in a place where they were hidden from any that was passing by. They walked for several miles to a nice open meadow with trees all round, they hid themselves behind a big fallen log where a big cedar tree fell over it and was very good cover for them. Charlie told Wayne to be quiet no matter what was happening, they could not make a noise or sound or they would be killed. Just about sundown a wagon with a man and his wife and 2 or 3 small children and their cows came into the meadow. They made camp and had a big fire going to start supper. Just as it got dark, Indians came from everywhere. They jumped over the log where Charlie and Wayne were hiding. They killed the man and woman, Killed the cows, and burned the wagon. Wayne said that he didn't know what happened to the children, but it was awful. Of course this was all a setup. The people were Indians dressed like white people, and it had all been staged so that the young braves could experience a raid and see what it was like. Then they made a big fire to cook the meat from the cows they had killed. Wayne said that he was so scared, most of the braves had scalp's hanging from their belts. Then Indians came from everywhere men, women, and children for the big celebration. They danced and ate all night. Just before dawn when they had settled down and were tired. Charlie motioned for Wayne to follow him. They crawled away very quietly. It was around 10 am when they got back to their camp. Charlie told Wayne Don't tell anyone, if the government ever finds out about this there would be trouble. Wayne never told anyone for several years. While Wayne and his son Leslie were traveling near Ganado, AZ he told Leslie the story.

Another time Wayne was by Ganado, AZ and he always carried pitchy wood with him to build his fires with, it was cloudy and looking like snow. Wayne made a camp had supper prepared for the night, made his bed just under the wagon tongue and his little dog "Dash" was near him. Sometime after midnight he heard Dash growling, the horses were acting up. Wayne told Dash "TO GET IT". Dash went out barking, but soon came back whining. By the Wayne had a fire going, as soon as he could be threw a burning stick at the big yellow eyes. He kept a fire going the rest of the night. It took him quite a while to get the horses settled down. He stayed awake the rest of the night. He was ready to leave the next morning before sunrise. When he started out he could see the tracks of a big panther.

One time Wayne had 2 men from Ramah with him on a freight job. They were heading for the San Juan, it was cold and snowing when they stopped for camp. Wayne was the only one with a bedroll, He offered to share with the 2 men. He told them that he wanted the middle, thinking that he would be warm. Both men were large, they each took a quilt and wrapped up, Wayne was left with nothing, for the quilts were pulled tight and left to gap in the middle. Wayne said that he didn't think that it was working, both the men told him they were fine. Wayne thought that morning would never come. He never spoke to sleep in the middle again.

Wayne was a good camper and like to camp, so he didn't mind the trail and life as a freighter. But he also wanted to be home with his wife and family, it was growing from one to 3 more children, Blanche, Lawrence, Louis. He wanted to be close to home. He found them a little home in Mancos, CO. There he worked the sawmill. One day while the children were playing, they decided to go down where Dad worked. They played follow the leader down to the sawmill. They went up big rocks and down them by the river. Well Blanche fell off one of the big rocks and hit her head, cut her leg real bad and she was unconscious. A neighbor lady came by and told them to keep her quiet. There was no Doctors close. She was so small, but prayers were said, and she soon woke up. It was several days before she was well enough to be moved. Then Minnie wanted to go to be near her family. Minnie's father had gave each of his children enough land to build a house on. Wayne, Minnie and the children made adobes. The children Roy and Lawrence would stop the straw into the mud. Minnie and Wayne would put the mud into forms to make the bricks. Then the sun would dry them. They soon had enough to make a small cabin. Wayne started freighting once again. They did move around some, but always came back to Fruitland to their home. more children were born into the family, Ethel and Mary Minnie. While living in Fruitland, each fall they would take the whole family and all the wagons and go to Durango to get their winter supplies.

One fall Wayne Had a big barrel of apple cider in the cellar. Every few days he would taste it to see if it was ready one day he called on Ray Kennedy to tell him if it was ready to drink. When they went to taste it, it was gone! The barrel was empty. The cellar stunk of cider from that day on. Years later Wayne said he thought Minnie had made a hole in the barrel and drained all the cider out. Minnie never admitted to doing it.

One day a man from Ramah came by their home, while eating their friend was telling about the land Mr. Carr was selling in Ramah. Minnie wanted to move back to Ramah, she had lived there as little girl. So Wayne once again moved his little family. Wayne found some good land and nice place for his family. They built a home, it was big for the ever growing family. But it was home and all enjoyed it and were happy. Charles Leslie was the first of their children to be borne in this new house.

Everyone said that Wayne had the best horses in the country. He farmed and ranched. He had quite a few head of cattle. Wayne met the chief of the Zuni Tribe, Jesus Eriacho. They became the best of friends. Later they were in a partnership. Wayne had a homestead near the Zuni Reservation, Jesus had his sheep close so they were always seeing each other. Jesus told Wayne many stories about his life and ways of the Zuni people.

While in the partnership, some Mexicans stole some horses belonging to the two men. They went after them and trailed them over into Arizona. They caught them near Springerville, AZ. They had the Sheriff from St. John, AZ with them to help. The Mexicans went to jail, one Pat Garcia from Atarque was among them and was in jail for 5 years. After Pat was released he came back into the country. Wayne and Leslie were hauling lags for a store to build south of Ramah, when Pat pulled a gun on Wayne. He told Wayne he was going to kill him for sending him to jail. Wayne tried to talk him out of it, but Pat was mad, finally Wayne said, "Well if you are going to shoot me go ahead and do it, but let Leslie go. Remember that you will go back to jail for the rest of your life." Pat sit there for sometime, then turned and rode away, and said that he would let him go this time.

Another friend that Wayne had was a John Miller. (The story around Ramah and the area is that John Miller was Billy the Kid.) He lived south of Ramah on a ranch with his wife. One day Wayne came upon him butchering a cow with Wayne's brand on it. Wayne just sat on his horse and said nothing. The horse stomped and Miller turned with his gun drown and ready to shoot. Wayne said that he had never seen anyone move and pull a gun so fast in his life. Miller said, "Wayne I nearly killed you, how long have you been there. "Wayne said, "Not Long". Miller told him to never do that again, to come up singing or whistling or making noise for he would hate to kill a good friend. Wayne gave him the cow and told him to ask next time.

Nancy Tamar was born into the family in 1911, then on Dec 2, 1915 twins, Calvin Albert and Alvin Calbert were born, what a blessing this was. Wayne had a good ranch and a good farm. He begin to have a good profit from all the hard work. There wasn't much cash, but it was a good life. One winter there was Diptera in Ramah. All the children got it, and Minnie nursed them once again there was no Doctor. Each day she would clean their throats. When spring came they all started to get better each day. One nice spring day Mary Minnie took a set back and by night she had a high fever. By morning the angel of death came to their door and took Mary Minnie. What a sad home it was.

In the spring of 1916 some families from Ramah were going to Utah. Their oldest son Roy and wife Susie were among those going. Susie's parents were also going. It was a joke when Uncle Billy Hamblin rang his bell everyone would follow. Well Roy talked Wayne into going. Minnie didn't want to go, but Wayne told her he would go and see how it looked. So he went, and when he came back after 6 months he wanted to move. Minnie wasn't to fond of the idea but she went with him. Wayne told her how they grow anything. What Wayne didn't know was that they grow anything, but could not sell it. There was no market for product in the area. Minnie's father had told them to stay in Ramah, work the land, live as you should and the Lord will bless you. The next spring they loaded everything they had in 2 wagons. Sold their cattle and ranch, and home to Jesus Eriacho. They headed for Utah, Lawrence and a friend would sing the song all day as they traveled. When they got to the Colorado river it was running high, they had to wait for 2 weeks before crossing. Minnie wouldn't go over on the ferry, she was rowed over in a boat, she sat flat in the bottom of the boat and kept her eyes closed the whole way across.

They had a good place, you could raise anything, but still no market. So Wayne was forced to work away from home. In Nov. 1918 one more son was born, Floyd Kirk.

After 5 years in Utah, Minnie talked Wayne into going back to Ramah for the winter. Wayne told her OK. So they loaded one wagon with food for the winter and bedding and clothes, and Minnie's sewing machine. They left on 7th of Nov., when they came to the Colorado River, once again Minnie refused to ride the ferry and so was rowed in a boat. One day as they stopped for lunch, they got the fire going and the horses taken care of. A young man walked up to their camp from out nowhere. Wayne talked to him some and asked him to eat with them. He said that he would, Wayne offered him coffee and he said that he didn't drink coffee. Wayne asked him what he was doing with the Indians, he told him that he was drawing pictures and writing stories about the Indians. Wayne asked him what he drank as all the Indians drank coffee, he said that he only drank water, because where there is coffee, there is also water. After dinner Wayne was busy with the horses, and cleaning up camp, he turned around and the man was gone. He could not be seen any where. No one had seen him walk off or knew where he went.

They stopped at Keams Canyon to rest on day and looked out over the canyon, the kids went to pick pinions, there was a lot that year. Minnie told Wayne that she wasn't going back to Utah. Wayne told her "You lied to me Minnie. You said the winter then we would go back. I should of known when you had to pack to the sewing machine." They left everything in Utah. The cellars were full with fruit and vegetables. The smoke house had hams and such hanging in it. The pictures were still on the walls as well as the furniture was all there. Ethel had married Ted Graff and lived there. Louis was on a mission, Lawrence was in the Army fighting in WWI. They both came to Ramah as soon as they could. Lawrence married Hollis Parsons. Blanche had never left Ramah and was married to Jesse Lewis, the house she lived in was to small for the family so they moved into a small one bedroom house that belonged to Will Bond. There they camped for a while. One day Jesus and his son Leo went to see Wayne and Minnie. When they saw the way the Clawson's were living they moved them back to their old house that he had bought from them when the moved to Utah.

Minnie took in some motherless children to help raise and make money for the family. After a time Wayne bought them a new home, but could never get back to where he was before more moving to Utah.

Wayne was afraid of snakes. One summer while hauling hay, someone lifted a big fork of hay, and there was a water snake. Wayne went crazy. Leslie was helping with the hay and lifted up a fork of hay and there was a frog. He grabbed the frog and dropped it down Wayne's shirt. Wayne went crazy again. Couldn't get his shirt off fast enough, Wayne was going to give Leslie a spanking, Lawrence held his dad while Leslie ran. After Wayne got calmed down it was a good laugh for all. No one ever played another trick like that again.

In the spring of "23" a group of men were sitting around the Trading Post owned by Athling Bond in Ramah. They were talking and someone said "Lets go find Adam's Diggings". There was a tall tale about somewhere some men had hid some gold. All were killed except this Adam, he was supposed to have told someone where it was. Athling supplied the food, Wayne was gone about a month, they all came home with no food or GOLD. Another time when they were living in Fruitland a man by the name of Evans had a Saloon Wayne and some other men were there playing cards and who knows what else. Minnie and the kids were at her sisters home and they were all tired. Minnie, her sister Lelia, and Sara Evans went to the saloon, Minnie got Wayne, made him go home. The next day Minnie's brother-in-law Joe Hatch came by and told them "Boy some old witches sure played heck at the saloon last night. They burnt it down." No one said anything, it was never rebuilt.

One day in Gallup the Army at Ft. Wingate had been hauling freight and got stuck in the mud, up to the hubs. They ask if anyone could help pull them out, the man at the Livery stable told them the only man that had a horse that could pull like that was Wayne Clawson. Wayne happened to be in Gallup that day. They asked Wayne if he thought he could pull them out. Wayne said I'll try. He hooked up his team with Carbet in the front. The big team dug in and pulled, slowly it moved, the wagon box came out. Carbet was a big brown stallion. Wayne always said if you talk kind to a horse he'll do anything for you.

One time the Relief Society was having a dinner and had make quite a few cakes. Minnie was the 1st counselor. There was a big Chocolate cake the men had been eyeing. The other men coned Wayne into going and stealing the cake. He slipped in and while the other men kept the women busy, Wayne stole the cake. He almost made it to the door, when a Sister Becky day grabbed him. The other men ran when they saw the Wayne was caught, Sister Day was a big woman and could make 2 of Wayne. She stood him on his. He late said that she tired to kill him, but he never tried to steal food when she was around.

In May of 1928 when the Temple in Arizona was opened, Wayne and Minnie took all their children and went to the Temple. They were sealed for time and all eternity. Ethel was still living in Utah. at the same time Louis and wife Myrtle Bond and Jim Bond and Nancy were married. In 1939 Leslie took Wayne and Minnie to the Utah so that they could have Ethel sealed to them in the Salt Lake Temple. They then had the family complete. After the trip to Salt Lake City, Leslie took them down to Wayne's home town of Toquerville, Utah. When they came to the Virgin River, Wayne was sure that it had shrunk and the Big Rock Candy Mountain was smaller than he remembered.

Wayne and Minnie had many friends among the Indian people. A good Indian friend named Chee had a home some land above Wayne and Minnie's home, asked Wayne if he wanted to plant some potatoes up there. They did and the potatoes grew very good and they got several wagon loads of potatoes off that land that fall.

In May of 1941 Wayne went after wood for the winter, on the way home the horses broke loose and Wayne fell. Leslie was with him, he helped him up and they went on home, but Wayne was hurt, he never recovered. Wayne had cancer and died in June of 1941.

Wayne was not much of a church goer. Minnie and Wayne always had family pray morning and night. They always taught their children the gospel. They had 2 sons that became Bishops in Ramah, Louis and Leslie. They had 2 sons that served in the Bishopric. Wayne taught his children to be fine upstanding people in the community. They worked hard and tried to be fair like they had been taught. Alvin was a great scout leader and earned the Silver Buffalo and retired from Fort Wingate. Leslie was a school teacher and principle for 43 ½ years. Blanche and Nancy and their husbands had ranches and have raised great family and upstanding citizen in their communities and church. Calvin worked for the Forest Service, Ethel and husband had dairy farms in Utah. Lawrence worked for the Railroad. Kirk is a fine saddle maker and rancher. Roy was a rancher and farmer, also served a mission among the Lamanite people. All of the children had ties to Ramah, and the life that Wayne and Minnie had taught them about. He left a great heritage and a great family he loved and they loved him. 10 living children at the time of his death. 56 grandchildren, a great number of the great-grandchildren. This has grown to a great many descendants of Wayne and Minnie Clawson.


Ramah Cemetery


McKinley County

New Mexico, USA


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William Wayne Clawson's Timeline

May 5, 1873
Toquerville, Washington, Utah, United States
December 4, 1890
Age 17
November 16, 1894
Age 21
Fruitland, San Juan, New Mexico
November 21, 1896
Age 23
Fruitland, San Juan, New Mexico
December 22, 1898
Age 25
Fruitland, San Juan, New Mexico
March 22, 1901
Age 27
Fruitland, San Juan, New Mexico
June 27, 1903
Age 30
Fruitland, San Juan, New Mexico
April 6, 1906
Age 32
Fruitland, San Juan, New Mexico
March 5, 1909
Age 35
Ramah, McKinley, New Mexico