Monday, September 7, 2015

{History of Mapleton} Oscar M. Whiting (1891-1982)

This is from The History of Mapleton, by Ralph K. Harmer and Wendell B. Johnson, on page 181-182.

Oscar Whiting was born November 22, 1891 in a white two story house that still stands on 300 West in Mapleton. He was the fifth son and eleventh child of Albert Milton and Harriet Susannah Perry Whiting. At an early age Oscar worked in the beets and the grain with his brothers. His older brothes took most of the responsibility of the farm since their father had a weak heart. Oscar shared in the responsibility of the farm work more and more as he grew older. He helped by driving the family cattle to the bench area near Hobble Creek Canyon to graze. When Oscar was eleven years old, his father died of a heart attack. Oscar’s family was very close. They were L. D. S. and active in the church. Each week they would gather around the pot belly stove in the kitchen to sing and play games.

At a young age Oscar showed a better than average ability in sports. He was a whiz at marbles, good at basketball, ice skating, and he was best at baseball. Oscar had a strong left arm which made him a natural pitcher. In 1910-1911 Oscar attended B. Y. Academy where he was back-up pitcher for the baseball team. During the time at the academy, Oscar and his brother, John, lived in a small basement room in Provo. He and John would travel home to Mapleton by hopping a train at the Provo Railroad Depot, and jumping off near the Evergreen Cemetery. They then walked the two miles home.

After a year at the Academy, Oscar went to Midway where he played baseball for the town team. He worked at the Hot Pots hot spring resort to save money for a mission. He served a mission in the Southern States from 1911 to 1914. He served in Virginia for most of that time. He spent the winters in the larger cities such as Richmond and Petersburg. During the summers he and his companion would go into the rural areas to teach those on the farms. The people they met provided most of their meals.

While in Richmond, Virginia, Oscar met the Sullivan family. He later married Mary Sullivan, who had moved to Utah four years before they were married. Oscar and Mary were married in 1918. They moved to a piece of property that Oscar had purchased. The property was on about a quarter of a mile west from his childhood home. They had seven children: Thora, Ray, Juan, Gary, Joyce, Virginia, and Marilyn. Oscar followed the farming life, acquiring a large farm that he and his boys ran. He served on the water board, and in 1920-1921 he served as President of the Town Board. In 1929 Oscar and his family moved to a larger home on 600 North and 300 West. He and his wife and Virginia still reside in this home. The Whitings managed to make it through the depression despite many trials.

From 1943 to 1951 Oscar served as bishop of the Mapleton ward. In 1951 he was released and called as patriarch of Kolob Stake. When a stake was created in Mapleton in 1975, Oscar was called again to serve as patriarch. In 1968 Oscar and Mary celebrated their Golden wedding anniversary. For many years they have been stalwarts of Mapleton.

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