Hugh Stewart Geddes

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Hugh Stewart Geddes

Birthplace: Plain City, Weber, Utah, United States
Death: August 24, 1934 (75)
Banida, Franklin, Idaho, United States
Place of Burial: Preston, Franklin, Idaho, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of William Geddes and Martha Stewart
Husband of Anna Martina Geddes
Father of Hugh Lester Geddes; Moses Peterson Geddes; William Peterson Geddes; Archibald Peterson Geddes; Elva Peterson Geddes and 5 others
Brother of Agnes Stewart Peterson; Mary Geddes; Annie Geddes; John Stewart Geddes; Susan Geddes and 3 others
Half brother of Joan Campbell Randall; William Stewart Geddes and Private

Managed by: Private User
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About Hugh Stewart Geddes

Hugh Stewart Geddes

Excerpts and summaries taken from “A Short Sketch of my Father's Life” By His Daughter Estella Geddes Paton. Summaries of her words are italicized. (Please see the entire 22 page biography. It's very good.)

My father, Hugh Stewart Geddes, was born in Plain City, Utah, July 25, 1859, the first son of William Geddes and Martha Stewart. In those days they had very few comforts of life and just the necessities. My father had few opportunities. He never got to go to school until he was passed nine years old.

The only fuel they had in those days was sagebrush, so in the fall they had to haul in a large supply. Pa would go with his father to what they called The Little Mountain to help gather the brush. All the other boys were in school.

On one of their trips, as they were coming down from the Little Mountain with their load, Pa asked when he could start to school. Grandpa said, “Next winter, but this winter we've got to have a boy around the house to keep the wood box filled.”

So, Pa was passed nine before he started to school and, of course, he was far behind the other boys of his age, and felt so ashamed that he would stay out whenever he got a chance and that came pretty often.

Pa was small for his age and seemed to just stay short and stubby, and what made him feel worse was that his sisters would sing a little ditty about, “The Little Men.”

So, his secret prayer was that he might grow up to be as tall as any of his brothers and so he did, but he was very self-conscious over limited schooling and turned his interest to sports. He became quite a baseball player and a really fast footracer. He could beat any of his brothers at sports and won most of the foot races on the Fourth of July, but he still was determined to get some education.

He worked with his brother Joe in the Dobie yards in Ogden as a hod carrier. He made up his mind to get an education at that point. His father encouraged him to learn the Blacksmith trade. He started to work for Christopher Folkman in Plain City. He worked for Mr. Folkman about a year for $5.00 a month.

About this time Pa, having a good team, got work helping to construct the Oregon Shortline from Granger to Pocatello. He started his first real job with team and scraper. As they went over the ground they found wagon tires and many relics of the Johnson Army who had camped along the way. Pa worked about a month with his team but with having to buy grain and hay he was making practically nothing. So he had decided to quit, but just at this time the Blacksmith quit and left his job. When they found out they still had a Blacksmith in camp, Pa was given the job and, of course, he was prepared as he had brought his tools with him.

From here on he really made money, sharpening plow points and shoeing horses and was saving his money with the thought of going back to school.

It happened that just before Pa left a preacher came into camp and asked the Boss if he could hold a meeting. He said he had a very important and interesting subject to discuss. The Boss gave permission and told him he would have the boys clean up the storeroom and get it ready. By night it was all ready with boxes and planks for seats and the counter for the rostrum.

Of course, everyone was there. But all the preacher did was slander the Mormons. He said he had been all through Utah and that the Mormons were the worst people he had ever met.

After about an hour of slander and abuse, he asked if there were any Mormons in the house. Pa stood up and said, “Yes, I'm a Mormon.” He had been wondering how he could defend himself and his people and when the preacher said, “Bring him up,” Pa walked up without resistance, wondering what they might do and praying that God would give him utterance that he might be able to defend his people.

As soon as the Old Boss saw who they were bringing to the front, he arose to his feet, he was a very large man, over six foot tall and weighing over 200 pounds. He called out, “Is this the young man's people you are talking about? Well, this young man has been with us nigh on to six months and in all that time, have any of you ever seen him drink, or even take a drink of liquor? And have you ever seen him smoke a cigarette? Or has he ever gone with any of you to Evanston for immoral purposes?”

The crowed was hushed. They they began yelling, “Put him out! Put him out!” and the preacher jumped for the back door and ran about four miles to the nearest railroad station and they never saw nor heard of him again.

He finally was able to go to school in Logan for a year. The next spring he volunteered to work at the Salt Lake Temple Quarry, as his father and two older brothers had—cutting and drilling rock.

Pa said it seemed to him that those big boulders of granite had just been placed there on purpose for the building of the Temple.

After marrying his sweetheart, Martena Peterson, he worked at the temple quarry two more months, then took a contract gathering and milling salt for money to pay off some debts and buy furniture for a home. Shortly after, the couple moved to Preston, Idaho. After their first two children were born, he was called to serve a mission to New Zealand. He was given a farewell party and $200, moved his little family back to Plain City, where they would be well taken care of, and left for his mission Oct. 15, 1888.

They found their Idaho home with no doors, broken windows, and floorboards broken by cattle. In a few weeks however, things were fixed up and they were in the same old home with sandy hills in the back and the Bear River rolling along about a half a mile a way. On January 31, 1892, Maud Lauretta was born here. Later, Hugh bought a small farm nearer town where Moses, Grant, Elva, Arch, Donald and Ralph were born. Here Hugh was called to be the first bishop of the Preston Second Ward February 3, 1902. Estella continues:

In the year 1906, my brother Hugh was called to the Southern States. That very fall, Grant came home from school with a bad cold and fever. Ma put him right to bed and the next day Pa called the Doctor. When he pronounced it Scarlet Fever for a few minutes we were all horror stricken. Pa asked the Doctor if there was anything that could be done to prevent the others from getting it. I remember Pa saying, “Dr. Cutler, I will be willing to sacrifice everything we own if we can just walk out with our family.” But Dr. Cutler said, “Hugh, they have all been exposed and there's nothing we can do.

By Christmas, the whole family was down with that dreaded disease. At that time it was very contagious and, of course, we were quarantined. Dr. Cutler tried all over to get a nurse, but it was Christmas time and it seemed that none were available. When the Dr. came down Pa had him call the doctors in Salt Lake to try to get nurses, but at that time it seemed an impossibility. The ones that might have been available were gone for the Christmas holidays.

So, it seemed that there was nothing to be done. There was only Pa and Ma and me to help the best I could and they were all down at once. As I've already told you, Hugh and I had the Scarlet Fever when Pa was on his first mission and now Hugh was away on his first mission.

Night after night, one of us would take our turn for an hour's rest while the other two tried to care for all six of the children, ranging from 16 to eight months. “A real hospital,” folks would say as they came and looked in through the window. Of course, the whole ward helped all they could, but there's always just those few who carry the load.

Sister Julia Jensen was president of the Relief Society and she did all she could. June Jensen and William Daynes were Pa's counselors. They took over the ward and Albert Porter, our very dependable boy, kept up the outside chores, such as feeding the stock, milking, carrying in the wood and coal, and helping in a dozen other ways. Our relatives, as well as friends, brought in kettles of soup or beans and sometimes a cake or apple pie or just something. There was such a little time to spend preparing anything, and very often we'd only have one meal a day.

The thing I will never forget was the big Christmas dinner that Brother and Sister Montague brought on Christmas day. They brought it over in a big tin tub. A real Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. They carried it in and set it down on the back porch, then knocked on the door and, of course, I was the first one to open the door and say come in, even before I remembered that we were quarantined.

Then Pa came out and greeted them and Sister Montague said, “Bishop, we've brought over your dinner.” With tears rolling down his cheeks, Pa tried to thank them. Then they drove away in their old bob sleigh, waving and saying, “We'll see you again.”

There set the big tub so Pa carried it in and when I lifted the cover there on the very top was a lovely Christmas cake covered with white icing and laying across it was a long-stemmed pink rose with two buds almost ready to burst. Could you imagine at that time of the year in this part of the country, a real rose at Christmas? But Brother and Sister Montague were real flower-lovers and I was sure that rose was picked from that big wooden bucket in their hot house.

And then there before our eyes was the biggest, best-looking roast chicken I most ever seen! A kettle of mashed potatoes that were as white and fluffy as the new-fallen snow, and a big bowl of chicken gravy, a bottle of choke-cherry jelly and that wasn't all, pushed in at the side was a two-quart bottle of peaches that looked like they'd just been picked and pushed in whole. Yes pickled peaches. And, now, I'm almost forgetting to mention the pan of hot biscuits that must have just been pulled out of the oven, they were still warm. I'm telling you, when Mrs. Montague did anything, she did it up brown. What a wonderful dinner! But only part of the family could even taste it. Now I shouldn't have laid a wet blanket over such a dinner, and yet through the years it has never been forgotten, and so Christmas day ended with gifts lying all over the big dining room table unopened and December was gone forever.

[On January 5th Arch, Hugh's six-year-old son died, and the next Sunday, their baby son Donald was laid in a little white casket, and his mother's arms were left empty. Moses Geddes was said to have been raised from his death bed after his father and uncle Joe gave him a priesthood blessing.] Estella said “I've never heard such a powerful prayer. Our house fairly shook! And through faith and the power of the priesthood, they were raised as it were, from their death beds.”

After continuing his calling as bishop, Hugh would later serve another mission to New Zealand, and be ordained a Patriarch. After his children had all moved away and his wife Martena died, he served another six-month mission to California. He remarried a convert from New Zealand named Catherine Strong, originally born in London, England. Home wasn't the same for the children with her there. Hugh's health eventually began failing after his 31-year-old daughter, Elva, died of pneumonia. He died very suddenly of a heart attack on August 24, 1934 at the age of 75.

Estella writes: He was brought to my home and was taken from here to the old Opera House where he had a wonderful funeral and yet how little we ever know of a burdened life well lived.

Pa was a true and devoted husband, a loving father. One who will always be remembered with loving pride and we all cherish his memory.

Estella G. Paton

February 12, 1962

  • Hugh wrote a 145 page autobiography that tells more about his life and mission to New Zealand.
  • Another short sketch of his life can be found in “William Geddes and Descendants” Compiled by Martha Geddes, 1966.


Hugh S. Geddes Dead In Idaho: Hugh S. Geddes, 75, the second white child born in Plain City and a pioneer of Preston, Idaho, died at his home in Preston, Friday, August 24. Funeral services will be held in the opera house in Preston, Monday afternoon at two o'clock. The son of William and Martha Stewart Geddes, pioneers of Plain City, he spent his boyhood and early manhood there. After his marriage to Martina Peterson, who died six years ago, they moved to Preston, where Mr. Geddes was a prominent farmer, business man and church worker. He remarried about five years ago.

He fulfilled three missions for the Latter-day Saints church, two in New Zealand and one in California. At the time of his death he was a patriarch in the Oneida stake.

Surviving are his widow, Mrs. Katherine Geddes, and the following children: Hugh, Moses and Grant Geddes, Mrs. Estella Patten and Mrs. Maude Murray. Also surviving is a brother, Hyrum Geddes of Redlands, California, and the following sisters: Mrs. J. Sutherland of Logan; Mrs. Margaret Stevens and Mrs. Joan Randall, both of Preston; Mrs. Eliza England, Mrs. Emma England and Mrs. Susie England, all of Moreland, Idaho; and Mrs. Sarah Ingerbretson, who resides in California.

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Hugh Stewart Geddes's Timeline

July 25, 1859
Plain City, Weber, Utah, United States
March 18, 1885
Preston, Oneida, Id
July 28, 1887
Preston, Franklin, Idaho, United States
January 31, 1892
Preston, Franklin, Id
September 18, 1894
Preston, Franklin, Idaho, United States
July 23, 1897
Preston, Oneida, Id
March 31, 1900
Preston, Oneida, Id
February 12, 1903
Preston, Oneida, Id
May 9, 1907
Preston, Oneida, Id