Friday, November 6, 2015

{History of Mapleton} Freeman Crandall Bird (1892-1976)

This was found in The History of Mapleton, by Ralph K. Harmer and Wendell B. Johnson, on page 120.

Freeman Crandall Bird

Freeman Bird was born December 20, 1892 to Charles Monroe and Abby Ann Whiting Bird. Freeman grew up on the farm on Union Bench doing all the farm chores and other work common at that time. He especially enjoyed hering [sic] cows in Maple Canyon and along the foothills. He disliked the tedium of thinning beets and tramping hay but he did it anyway because his father, who had lost a leg from amputation, needed the help.

At a young age, Freeman showed a talent for singing and learned many hymns and Welch songs from his mother and father. When he was six he performed in public for the first time at the 4th of July celebration. Since that time he has sung in numerous public gatherings with quartettes, duets and male choruses.

In 1898, Freeman attended school in the little red schoolhouse. He also went to the large Central School the year it was completed. His teacher was Anna Whitney. In 1910 he attended B. Y. Academy at Provo. During the summer Freeman continued the farm work and herded the cattle on a large tract of land on Ether and East mountain. He also spent some time helping his brother-in-law in Idaho. During the winter he delivered coal throughout Mapleton to bolster the family coal business. While his older and younger brothers, Elmer and Merrill, went on missions he took sole responsibility for the entire farm.

In 1914 Freeman met Eva Marchbanks and courted her regularly. They were married January 13, 1915 in the Salt Lake Temple. The [sic] lived in the old Bird home for a time until they moved to a house a half-mile west of the church. They had six children: Robert, Norman, Virginia and Genevieve, Barbara and Mary Ann.

Freeman worked on the Strawberry canal project and later left Mapleton because of a railroad spur line which was built beside his home. He and his family went to West Mountain where they operated a sizable farm. They remained there until 1931 when they moved back to Mapleton into a new home that Charles M. Bird had built on the same property Freeman had left previously. By then the railroad had been removed.

On January 8, 1933, Freeman was called to serve in the Mapleton ward bishopric. Frank Jensen was bishop and Dallas Holley was the other counselor. During his tenure in office, the old chapel was razed and a new church was built at the same location. He served for 11 years and was released in 1944. During the second World War, Freeman and Eva lost a son, Norman. He was killed in the Philippines. The loss was a terrible shock to both the family and the town.

Freeman was also active civically. He was elected to the city council for three terms and was also active in the scouting program for more than 25 years. In 1955 he was called to serve as a High Councilman for Kolob Stake. He also filled numerous other church and civic positions. Freeman was probably best remembered for his quick sense of humor and his cheerful disposition. He was a skilled story teller and an adroit historian. He compiled many short histories on both family members and incidents from his life in Mapleton.

Both he and his wife loved gardening and shared a common interest in painting. He maintained an interest in singing, genealogy, politics, national events and church and temple work. He was an adept conversationalist with his own opinions on just about any topic. He was always prepared with a witticism or a humorous anecdote for any social occasion.

Freeman remained socially attuned to people throughout his life. He was well-liked and respected by the entire community. Early in June, 1976, he suffered a heart attack. He passed away suddenly on June 10, 1976. His wife of 61 years survives him as of this writing.

{History of Mapleton} Elmer William Bird (1890-1971)

This was found in The History of Mapleton, by Ralph K. Harmer and Wendell B. Johnson, on page 119-120.

Elmer William Bird

Elmer Bird, son of Charles Monroe Bird and Abby Ann Whiting, was born February 20, 1890 at Mapleton. His family lived in a small frame structure on south Main Street. Elmer acquired his education in the little red schoolhouse beginning in 1896. Helen Bent was his teacher. The irrigation ditch running by the school was the drinking fountain and Elmer recalled laying on his stomach and taking advantage of the cool water at recess.

In 1893, the Bird family moved into a new six-room home located at 750 South Main. About that time the Indians became more friendly, and many incidents occurred when an Indian named Wansett and his wife Emma came to the Bird home to beg food or visit. Elmer also helped his father on the farm, thinned and hoed beets, harvested crops, hauled wood from the canyon and later, when his father lost a leg as a result of amputation, Elmer and his brothers took over the farm and helped run the family coal business.

In 1906, Elmer attended B. Y. Academy at Provo. He also attended preparatory school and graduated from the eighth grade in 1907. In September, 1909 Elmer received a call to the Somoan [sic] Islands, but a doctor who gave him a physical examination suggested that he stay in the states. Consequently, he requested a mission in the eastern states. After two years, Elmer commented, “I never converted a soul but I had a good time preaching to the people.” He returned home on October 11, 1911.

Elmer married Lenore Banks of Spanish Fork on June 18, 1913. They lived with his parents until he purchased the Alonzo Fullmer home for $23.00. In August, 1914, a baby girl, Lillian, was born. Five years later Elmer bought his father’s farm and went into the cattle business. On June 3, 1925, a second child, Orpha Dee was born. Tragedy struck the young family two years later when Lenore got pneumonia and died May 2, 1927. Elmer was left with the responsibility of the farm and two young children. A year passed and he married Millie Smith MacDonald, a young widow with two children whose husband had been killed in the Castle Gate mine disaster.

The depression hit the family hard. Farm prices plummeted to unheard of lows and the bottom dropped out of the cattle market. Elmer was lucky to get $15.00 per head for beef, 10¢ a bushel for grain and 35¢ for a hundred pounds of potatoes. But with perseverance Elmer managed to struggle through and pay off all the bills.

Elmer served as deputy county assessor under Lawrence Atwood. He also worked for Del Monte Canning Co. at Spanish Fork. Later he worked for the Home Owners Association as an appraiser where he spent many hours on the road servicing accounts. In the meantime, three children were born to Millie and Elmer: Ann Mae, Maurine and Elmer Jr.

In 1937, Elmer gave up his other jobs and devoted himself to his own farm. He also served in numerous church and civic positions. For a time he was the manager of the Amusement Hall where he promoted dances and other social occasions for the youth of Mapleton. He also served on the water board. In 1949 he was elected mayor and served for one term. During his administration all the major roads in town were paved.

By 1953 Elmer decided to quit farming. He was tired of it and within the year sold all of his holdings in Mapleton and moved to Provo. During his last years he came back to Mapleton often. Farm life was too deeply inbred into him to stay completely away from it. He maintained a jovial sense of humer and a volatile Welch temper that often erupted over political issues. He also loved to sing, tell jokes, hunting stories and converse about the good and bad times past. His thousands of friends far outnumbered any enemies. After suffering a sudden heart attack, he passed away at Provo on August 15, 1972.

{History of Mapleton} Charles Monroe Bird (1856-1926) and Abby Ann Whiting Bird (1858-1944)

This was found in The History of Mapleton, by Ralph K. Harmer and Wendell B. Johnson, on page 118-119.

Charles Monroe Bird

Charles Monroe Bird was born June 15, 1856, in Springville, Utah. His parents, Richard Bird and Emeline Crandall, were among the first pioneers sent by Brigham Young to settle the Hobble Creek area. Charles grew up in a typical Mormon manner. He was required to do his share of the work on the family farm located in the west fields below Springville. He loved to play along the banks of Hobble Creek and in later years he spent many hours hunting and fishing along the stream where it entered Utah Lake. Charles acquired the equivalent of an eighth grade education. He excelled in penmanship, mathematics, and reading. His favorite pastime was getting into mischief and thinking up practical jokes and stunts with his friends. Most of the time it was harmless fun, but occasionally got him into trouble or ill-favor with his father or neighbors. When that happened, it was discipline time. Charles assumed more responsibilities when his father was called on a colonizing mission to the “Big Muddy” in Washington County, Utah. Richard took his second wife, Laura, and her family on the assignment, leaving Emeline in Springville. Charles became the head of the household in his father’s absence.

After Indian troubles subsided in 1876, a number of Springville men tried a farming experiment on the Union Field, or what is now central Mapleton. Richard Bird was among the group who fenced the original site. Years later, under the homestead act, he exempted a section of land where he settled and began farming. Charles, in his late teens, began freighting farm produce to mining towns in Nevada. The freight route ran through 300 miles of rugged, treacherous desert country. There were hair-raising tales of desperados, robbers and hostile Indians along the route so the teamsters traveled in groups for protection. Charles had a wealth of tales about his freighting days which he loved to relate. After nearly seven years he quite the business and soon afterward was called on a mission to St. George to work on the temple. He returned to Springville in 1875, after serving one year on the building project.

On July 15, 1878, Charles married Abby Ann Whiting in the Endowment House. They spent their honeymoon clearing sagebrush on their land in Mapleton where they intended to build a home. They moved to the bench permanently in 1880 and settled on 80 acres of land located on section 14 (850 south Main). For ten years they lived in a frame home with a slab roof and a lean-to on the back. This structure was replaced in 1892 by a larger brick home. By 1895 the family included the following children: Bessie, Hannah, Jennie, Emmogene, Elmer William, Freeman Crandall and Merrill Whiting. The first-born son, Charles Monroe Jr., died of diphtheria at 10 years of age.

The first ten years were extremely hard. The land had  to be cleared of sage brush, water was scarce, crops dried up or were destroyed by grasshoppers, and irrigation system had to be dug, winters were severe and food supplies were nearly depleted. What the spring frosts didn’t kill the summer drought did. The diet consisted of potatoes (boiled, fried, baked, roasted), “lumpy dick”—a floury gravy, corn bread, meat now and then, dried fruit when it was available, and more potatoes.

While hauling wood from the canyon, Charles re-injured his knee. It had been kicked by a mule during his freighting days. The knee abcessed, became infected with blood poisoning, and his leg had to be amputated above the knee. He suffered tremendously, both physically and emotionally, from the ordeal, but he never let his handicap defeat him. During his convalescence the children and neighbors worked the farm and harvested the crops. After he sufficiently recovered, Charles was fitted with a wooden leg which enabled him to perform his regular farm work.

Charles served in many civic and church positions. He was both ward clerk and town clerk for many years. He was a member of the school board and numerous committees for civic improvement. He advocated culinary water for Mapleton, the cement ditch project in Maple Canyon, and worked hard to secure the Strawberry water for irrigation. He was always in favor of new advancements which would help the community.

Charles built a new home in 1919 and sold the old farm to his son Elmer. He lived a full life and always applied his religious principles in his dealings with his fellow men. He died June, 1926.

Abby Ann Whiting Bird

Born in Manti, June 13, 1858, Abby was the first child of Edwin Whiting and his fourth wife, Hannah Haines Brown. Edwin had completed a large adobe home west of the temple for his four wives and growing family. The home was spacious and well designed. Each wife had her own private sitting room complete with large fireplace. Just as they were beginning to enjoy their comforts, Edwin was asked to give it up and move to Springville.  Following orders, he moved the family north in 1861. They occupied a lean-to built against the old fort wall until a new home could be constructed.

Abby was educated in a one-room school on the family property and taught by Mary Cox Whiting, Edwin’s third wife. She grew up as most other children, doing her share of household chores, washing wool, cording and spinning, sewing, cooking and cleaning. During the summer, she and her mother lived in a log cabin in Hobble Creek canyon, on a tract of land homesteaded for cattle raising. They returned to Springville during the autumn and winter. Being the only daughter, Abby and her mother were very close. Hannah came from Quaker origins and Abby was influenced greatly by her mother’s ideals.

When Abby was 12, she learned telegraphy and became one of the first operators in Springville. In the meantime, she was continually being bothered by an obnoxious prankster named Charlie Bird who teased and cajoled her unmercifully. Naturally, it turned into a romance, and after Charles gave up freighting, they were married eight years later. They made their home on Union Bench were [sic] the drama and drudgery of pioneer life provided them with a wealth of experiences, from the optimistic promise of crops growing on soil once overgrown with sagebrush only to see them destroyed by pesty insects; raising a son only to stand by helplessly, heartbroken after diphtheria had caused his death; to witnessing a young man’s dreams of a large, successful farm ruined by the grim reality of leg amputation and the resulting handicap. Life was not all failure, disappointment and adversity, however. There was enough happiness interspersed among the woes to make life in Mapleton worth living. It was all made possible by an undefeatable sense of humor, good neighbors, Welch songs, community outings, Whiting reunions, and an occasional argument about water or when the millennium was coming. The main stabilizing influence, other than the church, was the close family unity. On special evenings the Bird family would sing, pull taffy, tell stories, play games or listen to Abby play a Jews harp.

Abby was active in church and civic affairs. She was a secretary to the Women’s Retrenchment Society and served as first president of the YWMIA in the Mapleton Ward. She was a devoted mother and taught her children lofty principles, among which were honesty, respect, obedience and reverence for Diety [sic]. She also appreciated music and the arts. She lived a full, rewarding 86 years. She passed away May 24, 1944.