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.

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