The Life Of Samuel Matthews B.1843
(as dictated by himself)
I was born in North Hill Bedfordshire, England, on the 4th of May, 1843. My parents names were William Matthews and Elizabeth Flinders Matthews. My Father was born in North Hill Bedfordshire England. Mother was born there also. My father was one of a laboring class of people. He would hire out to farmers, and do work such as shearing sheep and all kinds of farm work. He worked for a mister Fuller 16 years and was turned off because he wouldn't go to the Church of England on Sunday in a year. My mother was turned out of her home the day she was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Her parents being very prejudiced she hired with a family named Facely, from the time she was baptized until she was married.
Father and Mother lived in England about 8 years after they were married. They were the parents of three boys. I was the oldest, George the next, and Tim the baby.
We left our home and went to Liverpool and stayed there several days before we set sail for America.
Before leaving we sang Mormon Hymns, one of which was, "Farwell all Earthly Honors."
We set sail for America on the 2nd of Oct. 1850, in company with Christopher Layton, Samuel Martin and Family, and others. I was about eight year old. My mother was suffering from tuberculosis. We had been on the sea about a week when one night my mother awoke my father and told him she was going to leave him and that night she died.
My mother was buried in the sea. She was wrapped in a sheet covered with a tar preparation which was waterproof. A weight was tied to her feet, then she was put on a plank and slid into the sea. I watched until she was gone and then father took me back to my berth. I had to sleep on the outside to keep the little boys in bed. We had a terrible storm on the sea for three days and nights and we were not allowed to go on deck. On the ship we had oatmeal crackers, they were very hard, so I soaked them in vinegar. We were seven weeks on the ocean and we landed at New Orleans, November 22, 1850. I took care of my brothers while my father got some bread for us. We took the steamer "Amaranth" up the river to St. Louis and landed there on the 4th of December.
On Christmas day my father married a young women Sarah Ellington, who had been on the ship. They were married by Uncle Christopher Layton. Father worked for Christopher Layton for $1.00 a day. We lived on $3.00 a week and my uncle kept $3.00 to pay on our debt. The first year my father paid the debt he owed to Christopher Layton.
We lived at the same ranch with my uncle for one year and then went to work on the road. In 1851my step-mother had a baby boy which lived five or six days. A Mormon doctor came from St. Louis, he said we needed someone to take care of us as we were nearly starved. He brought a Latter-day Saint woman, Charlotte Swift, who was good at nursing and good to us boys. She took care of us boys. My step-mother died in 1852 and then father hired Charlotte Swift to stay with us until the spring of 1853, when they went to St. Louis and were married. She told us to be good and she would bring us some presents. She brought us candy and toys; she was one of the greatest blessing that ever came to us.
We went south below S. Louis, there my father bought some cows and ran a milk wagon and ran a ranch for a lawyer named McPherson. He gave father $12.00 a month for living there and taking care of the place and holding possession of it as there was a law suit over it. We lived there one year in 1854.
In the winter of 1854 Rastus Snow came and called all the saints together in conference and all Latter-Day Saints were notified to be there. Brother Snow says " I have some names from Christopher Layton who is in Salt Lake City, and I want to meet them at the close of the meeting. William Matthews, Samuel Martin, Timothy Martin, and others."
Rastus Snow preached to us to gather to Zion, he says "I will have a steamer ready by the first of May." Father thought he could not go, but Brother Snow said that the work of the Lord was to gather to Zion. So my father started the first of May. We went up the Mississippi until we came to the mouth of the Missouri river and went up to Atchison in the state of Kansas, but it was then Indian Territory, and we were fitted out at what they called Mormon grove. Then we started across the plains, 1855. When we were at the Old Fort Laramie we stopped and I was hired to William S. Godbe to drive his team, he had 7 wagons. A Dutch boy was a teamster for one wagon. He left Godbe here and I was hired to drive his team, three yoke of oxen. I was 12 years old I yoked my oxen 3 times a day and drove them to Salt Lake City. My parents left me and were in Salt Lake two weeks before me. My load was very heavy. I hauled heavy tin and medicine. I also had the cook in my wagon, we ran out of flour and Billie Godbe went to Salt Lake on a mule and sent us two sacks of flour. We arrived in Salt Lake October 26,1855. Billie Godbe started a little drug store in Salt Lake City.
My Parents went into the 5th ward of Salt Lake and bought one-half of a city lot. Christopher Layton gave my father and old house at English Fort up near the Jordan River and he moved it down to the city lot. We lived in Salt Lake for six weeks and then Christopher Layton sent for my father to come to Grantsville. My father sold the house and lot in Salt Lake to Billie Godbe for a yolk of oxen and a cow. Christopher Layton gave us one-half of a city lot and the other half to Samuel Martin and we lived there together. My mother offered a prayer to the Lord for a home of our own. We sold the oxen to Layton and were supposed to get three hundred pounds of flour and a cow. We got the cow, but Layton was called to Carson and he had to have the flour to take with him, so we did not get it. My father went to Bountiful to Brother Austin to get some flour, he let him have fifty pounds and charged him $1.00. Father wanted $5.00 worth of flour but he could get no more. For three weeks we did not taste bread, but we had mush every morning We would sift the bran three times and eat all of it. We ate pigweeds, stinging nettles and greasewood. This was in 1856.
All of us boys helped father on the farm. I had a good stepmother. May 1st, a call came from Grantsville for eight wagons, seven teamsters and a night herder to go to Florence, Nebraska to meet some emigrant companies. I was the youngest of the company to go to Salt Lake, I was twenty years old and had my picture taken in Salt Lake. That day we left Salt Lake and went up to Emigration Canyon and the next day went to Echo Canyon and met the rest of the company. John Martin and I drove eight yolk of oxen on one wagon to Florence, Nebraska. We were ten weeks going 105 miles. We arrived in Florence about the middle of July. We had to wait in Florence, six miles above Omaha, until August 13th because the emigrants had not arrived. Our provisions consisted of bacon, dried meat, molasses and crackers. One of the men made bread every day, our flour was pretty good.
I went down to Omaha with three yoke of oxen and hauled flour, ready to start back. The boat came up the river, then we would bring the emigrants to camp. One day we brought twenty loads form the steamboat. We started home on the 13th of August. I drove three yoke of oxen. In my wagon was John Penman, a Scotchman, his wife and three little girls. There was also a widow, who was rather cross and we all had to humor her, therefore, I have had no use for widows. Some of the teamsters tried to swap passengers. If it rained we would pitch a tent; if not we slept in the open air.
We arrived in Salt Lake October 14,1863. Several boys from Grantsville met us with some hay for the oxen. My brother Tim brought my pony for me to ride to Grantsville. We were five and a half months on the trip and I was given $220 in labor tithing for my work.
On October 12,1864, When I was twenty-one years old I married Elizabeth Keetch. My step-mother had know her in England. I gave William Young, who married us a sack of black oats for performing the ceremony. My wife's people were all going to Bear Lake and she wanted me to go with them. I told her what the old Indian said, "Bear Lake is no good, there is lots of snow there and sometimes it is as high as an Indians head." I said Grantsville was good enough for me."
I rented a farm and bought a yoke of oxen for $200.00 and paid $65.oo for a wagon, I also had two cows. Sammie (Samuel William) was born here Aug 25,1865. John Martin brought a mowing machine to Grantsville; we mowed all the time when it was light which was at least ten acres each day. We received $3.00 an acre for mowing and I had just completed this job when I was called by Bishop Clark to take four mules and a wagon to help a belated emigrant train. The Indians had taken one-half of their cattle and they could not move, we were sent to their relief. We were only supposed to be gone two weeks but we were gone eight, as we had to go until we met the last train. I wore a buckskin shirt and pants and when I got home I was the most ragged chap you ever saw. Bishop Hunter gave me an order to get some cow hide boots size ten. While I was on that trip I got more "greybacks" then "greenbacks." We went five hundred and fifty miles East of Salt Lake before we found the last train. I brought fourteen people in my wagon, mostly children, many of their parents had died with cholera. At night the women slept in a tent. The teamsters slept under the wagons. I did not take my shirt off for eight weeks but washed it every few days by keeping it on when I went in swimming.
When I got to Salt Lake I went to the tithing clerk and asked him for some apples for the children, I poured the apples out on the ground and let the children get them.
We all wore long hair, anyone who had short hair we said had been in the "pen". A man was considered a disgrace to his country if he had short hair.
In the summer I worked in the canyon logging and took care of the cattle in the winter. In 1870 I was called by Brigham Young to go to Bear Lake, so then I was ready to go. We started for Bear Lake about the 22nd of May. I had a pair of mules and a wagon and was put n charge of about thirty-five head of cattle. We camped at noon and at night ; we had to haul the young calves. We drove down into Round Valley at 10 o'clock in the morning of June 1,1870. We were twelve days coming 200miles. We had five yoke of oxen and several teams, some were mules. Once it took nine yoke of cattle to pull the wagons out of the mud, an ox is worth two mules when in the mud.
We drove into St. Charles the same day and stayed with my wife's people for two days. Charles Keetch and I fished, he had a three pronged spear and would spear the fish. We got more than we could carry, had plenty of trout so threw some suckers away.
On the 16th of June, John Martin and I rode horseback to Liberty went to Saul Hale's home and picked out a city lot. it was where Jim Hymas' house stands on the corner. My wife and children stayed in Grantsville and helped father fight grasshoppers. In July Charlie Keetch went to Grantsville and brought my wife and family back. We camped in an old house of Saul Hales for four months until we could fix our home. I did not get it finished until in the winter, then I built a milk house back of it. My wife would have fifty pounds of milk in it when it was full. I built the house from logs I got in Emigration Canyon. It was there I cut my foot and John Martin doctored it with tobacco juice. I was lame all summer. That fall it was about December 16th before we got our threshing done. The snow was about three feet deep.
I bought two mules in Grantsville but did not have enough money to pay for them, I owed between $8 and $20 more on them. Then next fall I went back to pay for them and the two men I got them from had gone to California and I could not find them. These two men are the only persons in the world that I owe a dollar.
The first winter in Bear Lake was very mild. We did not have a house big enough for a dance in Liberty, so we hired the public house which was the meeting house in Ovid. We went down about dark for the dances and had candles on the wall for light. We danced quadrilles as the Church had forbidden all round dances.
Some of the winters were hard with lots of snow, others were mild. One hard winter about fifteen teams went to Cache Valley to get some flour and other supplies. They were snowed in between the two mountains in Emigration Canyon and were there for three days and nights. Their oxen had nothing to eat; they had to put bran on the tramped down snow to feed them. We chopped two big trees from the road and helped the company down. They stayed in Liberty in two homes that night.
In 1879 we moved down to East Liberty. I bought some land from Thomas Peterson, gave him seen cows and some money. I moved the old house below the road, Ella was born there.
On November 11, 1883, I was called to be Bishop of Montpelier and was advised to enter into plural marriage. On Feb 28, 1884 I married Annie E. Kennington and moved her to Montpelier. We lived in Montpelier two years and then I was released because the U.S. Marshals were after me because I had two wives. President Budge told me to go back to Liberty and build homes for my wives so they would have a place to live if I were put in jail.
I bought some lumber from Hoge and Nibley and hauled it from Mill Canyon. I paid $9.00 a thousand for the lumber which had to be planed. Bill Hayward was the contractor for my present home and Charles Innes helped him. Jim McMurray built a house for Annie, which took him all summer. In the fall the women moved into their new homes. The Marshals were after me for about seven years before I was arrested. One day while I was grinding a hay knife the Marshal came around the shed and said, "Good morning, Mr. Matthews, I have been looking for you for quite a while," I said, "And I have been watching you." He took a paper out of his pocket and shook so he could not read it. I said, "Let me read it," He said, "you will have to come with me". I told him I would have to get my horse in the field. he was afraid I would run away as a man had done the day before but I told him I would not. The Marshal held my horse while I saddled it, then took me to Montpelier and turned me over to Mr. Hobson, he said, "Who is your lawyer, Matthews?" I said, "I never had one in my life, I was never arrested before," he said, "Heck you are a lucky man, I have been in the pen twice."
I hired Joe Rich as my Lawyer, and was bound over to appear at the next term of court. George Hillier and Christian Hoggenson posted bonds for me. Mr. Hobson said he thought he could fix thing up so I would not have to go to jail but they had to have a little money. he wanted about $200. I had sold my cattle so I had the money at home. I paid the Marshal $150. and gave Joe Rich $25 for his services.
The Manifesto was issued by the Church and peace was proclaimed. The President of the United States pardoned all honorable citizens who had broken the laws and who promised to observe them in the future. After the Manifesto I lived in Liberty and worked in the Logan Temple until my health would not allow it.
I was one of the Organizers of the Bear Lake Bank and a commissioner of Bear Lake County. In July 1915 I was made a member of the High Council of the Bear Lake Stake and in 1919 a Patriarch of the Stake.
Education: My mother taught me my letters, I could say them backwards as well as forward. After we got to St. Louis a man ask my father how old I was, when he found out I was over eight years old he made me go to school. I went for about a month, then we moved out on a farm. In 1855 when I was in Grantsville I went to school for three months during the winter for three years. After I was married I went to night school, the teacher lived just across from our place and use to borrow out our table for a desk. I attended this school two nights a week for two winters. I learned mathematics at night school. After I got to Bear Lake I went to John and William Hymas' home and we would study arithmetic. I was able to add, subtract, multiply and divide and could carry on my own business.
This ended the story of grandfather's life as he told it to me. I had taken dictation from him for several days then he just got tired and said, "You all know the rest." The sad part about it is that those who knew the information did not write it down, therefore, each of his descendants are left with our own memories of his later life.
Samuel Matthews died at his home in Liberty, Idaho, May 6,1927 at the age of 84. His daughter Edna lived with him and gave him wonderful loving care. Grandfather very seldom missed quarterly conference of the Bear Lake Stake. He would come to our home in Paris and spent the week-end.
I remember grandfather as a somewhat stern, et kindly man with a sense of humor. He was an honest devout Latter-day Saint and had no patience with people who did not live their religion.
Samuel Matthews and Elizabeth Keetch were married October 12,1864, Elizabeth died at Liberty April 11, 1893, at the age of 51, after a series of Paralytic strokes.
Their children were:
· Samuel William born August 25,1865 at Grantsville Utah , married Caroline Elizabeth Orr, he died in Liberty, October 16, 1943 at the age of 78.
· Elizabeth Ann, born at Grantsville, February 5, 1867, married Henry Nelson Pugmire, She died at St. Charles, August 15,1901 at the age of 34, about one month after the birth of Harold her son.
· Emily Maria, born at Grantsville, July 9,1869, married William Lyman Rich, died at Logan, Utah July 19,1957 at the age of 88
· Charlotte Ann, born July 2,1872 at Liberty died September 20, 1874 of Dropsy at the age of 2.
· Eliza Ann born March 7, 1874 at Liberty, married David Richard Toomer, died at Magarth, Alberta, Canada, August 4,1942 at the age of 68
· Martha Ellen born December 12,1877 at Liberty, died February 27, 1879 of pneumonia at the age of 2
· Ella born June 21,1880 at Liberty, married James Alfred Hymas.
Samuel Matthews and Annie E. Kennington were married February 28, 1884, Annie died at Liberty August 14,1897 when Esther was born, at the age of 31.
Their Children were:
· George Timothy born October 29, 1886, died March 6,1887 of whooping cough at the age of 1.
· Alonzo Henry born April 20,1888, married Charlotte Pearl Hume
· Annie Ada born July 5,1890 married John T. Briscoe, died at Bloomington, January 23,1937 at the age of 47
· Edna A born December 13,1892 married George Shepherd
· Harvey Kennington born February 4,1895 married Florence King
· Esther Sarah born August 14,1897, married Ernest Ray Crook, died at Fairfield Wyoming, November 10,1966 at the age of 69.
Elizabeth Keetch Matthews
Elizabeth Keetch Matthews was born April 7,1842 at Kempston, England. She was the third child and the first daughter of William and Ann Greenwood Keetch. Elizabeth was fourteen years old when they arrived in America. Her mother died soon after they arrived and she had the responsibility of caring for the family. In 1861 she was nineteen years of age she came across the plains with her two brothers, Charles G. and Alfred G., and settled in Grantsville, Utah. It was here she met and married Samuel Matthews, October 12,1864.
In 1870 when they had three children they were called to go to Bear Lake Valley. They lived in Liberty for nine years and then moved down to East Liberty, were Aunt Ella was born. Their home was a two room log house with a kitchen built on the back. There was a milk house where the milk was set in pans, churned into butter and was sold to Passeys, who lived on a ranch road between Bear River and the Bear Lake Canal. The butter was delivered every week-end and Elizabeth would go to Montpelier and buy supplies for the family. She always shopped at Burgoyne's Store. She seemed to have Plenty of Money to run her house, however, she was economical and would not tolerate waste.
Elizabeth was of average height, her hair and eyes were dark brown she was always slender, which made her appear taller. She insisted on good house-keeping and her daughters were given lessons in housekeeping. She always had a cupboard of beautiful dishes. She had a pleasant disposition and was very happy until polygamy became popular and then he was heartbroken. When her husband was made bishop of Montpelier, she fainted in Conference as she knew this meant a second wife for him.
When Aunt Ella was just a baby, Elizabeth had her first paralytic stroke. She was in a frail condition from then on; her hand was withered and twisted and she was quite lame, however, she continued to manage her household and family. She was able to go on short trips to visit her brother in Pleasant Grove, and to Preston, Idaho to see her sister, Martha Hollingsworth.
Two other sister, non-Mormons, Emma and Maria were married to railroad men and lived in Omaha. They had plenty of money and made several trips West to visit, however, the thoroughly disliked Samuel because he was a polygamist.
James Innes built a new home for Elizabeth, the one Harvey now owns. She was very happy with it as it was one of the best homes in the valley. In February 1893, Annie's (Samuels other wife) home burned, she and her three children, Alonzo, Ada, and Edna moved into the front room of Elizabeth's home. It was a blessing in disguise as she and Annie became friends. Her last trip from home was to see Jesse Richard Matthews her grandson, who was born just six days before she died.
Samuel had gone to the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple when Elizabeth became very ill. Her friend did everything possible for her but she died April 11, 1893, at the age of fifty-one, before Samuel could return from Salt Lake City.