WILFORD WOODRUFF LEWIS
ALTHEA MARIE NORTON
(Excerpts from "Unto the Fourth Generation" by Clara Lewis Hall, Wilford's Daughter)
Wilford Woodruff Lewis, seventh and youngest son of James Stapleton Lewis (who was the son of Joel and Rachel Stapleton Lewis-) and Anna Jones, daughter of John Jones and Sarah Sumpter.
Wilford Woodruf Lewis was born May 22, 1843 at Mt. Pisga, Iowa. His parents had been driven from Nauvoo, Illinois --driven from a good home and good farming property outside of the city. This was only one of the several fine homes and farms they had sacrificed at the hands of lawless mobs. In the history of James S. Lewis, I find these words" "In Jackson County Missouri, I had a good farm worth $3,000 all paid for, cleared of brush and under cultivation, with my taxes paid for a year. I was told to abandon it and leave the country. Needless to say the mobs were not buying land. It was 'move or be killed'." All this was because they belonged to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. James and Anna left their homes in the City Beautiful (Nauvoo) and with their four sons, Joel, John, Isaac and Alva, crossed the Missouri River and moved on to Iowa as far as Mt. Pisga, a little settlement that had been built by the leading company of saints along the pioneer trail. Here another son was born who only lived long enough to be named William Fallis, and then was buried there along the trail. Two other baby sons, Francis Marion and James Amon, had been laid at rest in Missouri and Illinois.
This Lewis family stayed in the little settlement of Mt. Pisga several yeas while many wagon trains of pioneers rushed on toward the Rocky Mountains. And there in the early spring of 1848 the seventh son was born whom they named Wilford Woodruff, named for one of the faithful twelve apostles who had gone on ahead over the great plains to find a place for the church to grow in peace.
In April, 1853, (Note: more probably 1852) Wilford was waiting for his fifth birthday which would be in a few more weeks, when his parents began making ready to start across the plains to the far away valley called Deserette. The big "prairie schooner" stood near the house and was being skillfully loaded. Much thought and good judgment must be used in loading the big covered wagon. There must be food, enough to last the family, not only on the long trek across the plains, but enough must be held back to sustain them until a crop could be raised in the valley. Seed must be carried and must not be used for any other purpose, regardless of whether or not the food supply held out. Enough needed and necessary clothing and bedding must be taken. There would be no way for a long time to add to that supply. A few treasured books, a meager medical supply, a few cooking utensils suitable to cook over a camp fire, a very few dishes, water barrel, guns and plenty of ammunition. All this must be taken and yet it must not be too heavy for the oxen to pull over the soft prairie roads. And so there was very little chance of finding room for any of the cherished household furnishings that had been carried from Nauvoo. Near the back end of the wagon there the cover had been lifted,, little Wilford had placed his own little chair, begging his father and brothers who were loading to put his chair in the wagon. Each time he was told to wait until they were sure there was room for it. That chair was his dearest possession and day after day he waited in fear and anxiety lest it be left behind. His father had made it from sturdy oak branches held together with rawhide thongs. At last his mother came to his aid. She said, "Take out the little cupboard and put Wilford's chair in--there won't be room for both."
It was late August when the James S. Lewis family reached the valley. Too late to plant a crop for that year, but in time to build a log house for a home for his family. James was a farmer and had no other trade. He was a very able writer, and turning again to his history I read" "It seems my lot has ever been cast along the frontier where industry has plainly marked my path. I can truthfully say I have never eaten the bread or worn the clothing others have labored for." Again quoting: "The darkest days this church has ever known, I was there, ready to say - whither thou goest, I will go, thy home shall be my home, thy people will be my people, thy God shall be my God."
It was hard times for these pioneers. Even the children suffered. And it was even so with Wilford in his tender years. He was often hungry and cold. The first crop had been all too spare and even with careful rationing the food supply wouldn't last. By March there was only daily rations of boiled wheat.
Bread they had not eaten in weeks, and before the month was gone, one member of the family would need to fast each day to make the wheat last until spring would bring some growing thing that could be eaten. In no case could the precious sack of seed be dipped into. That must be planted or next year starvation would be a certainty. Happy and thankful they were when the chill bleak days of March were past and April's sunshine and showers greened the valley and foothills with the tender spike leaves of the sego lilly - while in every sheltered spot, lush tender pigweed grew in rapid abundance. Eagerly they gathered these tender weeds and cooked them for greens, seasoned with the unrefined salt from the lowlands of the lake. Gratefully they dug the potato-like bulb at the root of the sego lillies which literally covered the floor of the valley and foothills.
It is very fitting that this lovely flower be chosen Utah's state flower, not only for it's beauty, with the three creamy white waxlike leaves forming a graceful bell, the throat of velvety purple, centering a golden spike, hanging right at the top of a straight rigid stem, with long slender spike leaves - but also for the tender edible bulbs at the roots which saved many early pioneers from starvation.
In April the precious seed wheat had been sown and by May, and Wilford's birthday, the fields were green with promised crop and harvest. But he was often hungry. Weed greens and sego roots will sustain life but it is not a very filling diet for a growing boy. The weeks passed by, the sego lillies faded and died, though the roots were still good to eat, and the white thistle was tall and after being peeled was sweet and crisp and made a welcome change in the menu. The wheat was tall and green and had begun the "head", when down from the hills came great hourdes of black crickets, stripping every blade of grass and every green thing. As they came, so many of them hid the sun as they moved, the pioneers - men, women and children - took brooms, rugs, sacks, branches, anything and everything they could beat the crickets off with. But it was hopeless. There were too many of them. In despair and weakness, James sank to the ground saying, "It's no used, Anna. Nothing can save our bread now." He covered his face with his hands in utter defeat. But Anna, though weak and thin from lack of good - though she was ill from being driven from her home time after time and leaving her sweet baby sons along the pioneer trail - though she had given up every one of her Father's family because she had embraced the unpopular religion - though she had left along the way every cherished household comfort, even to the last little cupboard so that Wilford's chair might come - she had never lost her courage nor her faith in her Heavenly Father's care. Now she lifted her eyes toward the sky, a sky dark with ugly devouring crickets, and said, "Oh, Father, save our bread."
Then a whirring of wings and she saw the western sky darkening with great flocks of birds coming in from the lake - thousands and thousands of them. Then it was she dropped to her knees beside her husband, saying, "James, all is lost. What the crickets don't eat the birds will." Wilford stood there, dirty, weary and hungry, watching in horror to see the ugly birds and bugs eat the wheat he was hoping to see turn into bread. Suddenly he cried, "Mother! The birds are not eating the wheat, they're eating the crickets." It was true - God had again heard the pioneer's cry and had worked a miracle in their behalf. No wonder the seagull is Utah's state bird and is protected, not only in Utah but all over the west.
That fall the wheat was not ground into fine white flour but chopped and cracked into a course meal which his mother made into bread and baked under the hot coals of the fireplace in a dutch oven. It was the best bread Wilford ever ate. All this hunger and privation had a lasting impression on the mind and very soul of this sensitive nine- year- old boy and he couldn't lose the fear of hunger and being without bread. Even when bread and other foodstuffs were plentiful and when he was a grown man with a family of his own, his constant prayer was: "Oh, Father, please never let my children go hungry for bread." One night in answer to his prayer of faith, he was given a visitation. A messenger bade him go with him and took Wilford to the banks of a beautiful river and said, "Look. What do you see?" Wilford answered, " I see a great river but it is not water flowing but bread." The messenger said, "Gaze upon it and fear no more. For whoever looks upon the River of Bread, neither he nor his posterity shall ever want for bread." He added, "However, do not waste it". From that day to the end of his life, Wilford never feared hunger and that promise is to his children and his children's children, as is also the charge to "waste not bread."
James' and Anna's sons were fast growing into men. Joel was a tall, good-looking young man with dark hair and clear, piercing dark eyes. Very quiet and retiring, honest, brave and true, serving as a member of the Utah Militia.
John, too, was tall, dark and good looking - not very interested in young women- but quiet, hard working pioneer, ready to work or fight at his leader's bidding for the defense and building of Utah.
Isaac was a young man still in his teens. He liked the young women and was willing to mix some romance into the work and hardship of pioneering. He was tall and slim and had reddish brown hair and gray eyes and was full of good natured fun and witty speeches.
Alva was only a lad but tall for his years, eyes dark and piercing and curly, dark brown hair. Even in youth his bearing was firm and determined.
Wilford, the youngest, was ten and felt very important and needed for he was one of the "herd boys" of the city's milk cows. The pioneers were trying hard to make friends with the Indians, following Brigham Young's orders "not to fight but feed them:, but they had found by experience it was not good to let their cows wander far beyond the outskirts of the city. Indians were often hiding among the foothills ready to steal the pioneer's livestock. So each morning all the cows that were being used for milking were
turned out of the city limits and put into one herd and enough boys on horses were sent to watch that the herd stayed near by in easy calling distance of town. There weren't many riding ponies in Salt Lake City at that time. There were many oxen, a few mules, some work horses, but few riding ponies. Wilford had one, a small black pony with one white foot and leg and a strip of white in his face. Isaac wanted to name him Stocking and Alva said they should call him Bolly, but Wilford would have neither name and called him Snap.
Herding was as much fun as it was work. And when the days were long and warm it was hard to overcome the temptation to take a swim in City creek, trusting the herd to stay near by. One extra warm day in late July, the boys stayed in the water longer than usual. At last someone noticed there were no sounds art all coming from the herd. Scrambling up the bank they quickly pulled on their jeans and peered through the willows. The herd was gone- every cow of it. Wildly they raced to the tethered horses and each boy scrambled to the back of his pony and began searching madly for traces to find which way the herd had gone, feeling sure the Indians had "drove off" the herd while they (the boys) played. In a moment
Wilford calmed down, "Hey, there they are, headed for the canyon, but there ain't no Indians." Away went the herd boys, their ponies on a gallup, with Wilford far in the lead. Snap could run faster than the other ponies. Wilford knew that because the boys had "tried out" their horses running ability during those long herding days. Now he was around the leaders and had them turned back toward town. Then Old Liney, their own milk cow, broke away and ran back up the hillside. Instinctively Snap turned, too. Up the hillside he climbed until Liney, knowing she was conquered, turned to follow the herd. Snap, quick and surefooted, turned also and surefooted though he was, his foot struck a piece of shale and down he went, carrying Wilford with him, the hundreds of pieces of shale sliding with them and Wilford's left arm under Snap all the way - right down to the bottom of the hill. And so Anna's brave little herd boy was brought back to her battered and bleeding, with his left arm broken at the elbow and the skin and flesh torn and raw. There were no doctors to go to. Pioneers were expected to doctor their own sick and wounded. And their faith and prayers, coupled with their works and reasoning power, saved many lives and limbs. Anna cleansed the wound with strong salt water, pushing the torn flesh and skin as nearly as possible into place, then dipped clean, white cloths into smoking hot mutton tallow. She applied them as warm as could be borne. After a few days the arm swelled to almost bursting and became nearly black. Some told anna it would have to be taken off but she said, "I will try for a few more days to save it." She made poultices of "slippery Elm," (an herb that grew in the hills near by) and put them on as hot as Wilford could stand and drew that infection out so that the wound began to heal. Finally after many long weeks it did heal entirely, but the elbow joint was stiff. He never could get his hand to his face but the arm and hand grew normally and had no appearance of being crippled. Wilford always said it was his mother's faith and works that kept him for going through life with only one arm, and always added, a little sadly, "but snap, my plucky little pony, didn't fare to well. He had to be shot."
Wilford was a handsome boy with dark, curly hair, black as coal, and gray eyes. He always stood straight and tall with head held high. His movements were slow and graceful
During the winter months he was attending school. In these early days of Salt Lake City, students of all ages went to the same school. From little tots five and six years to grown young men and even married women who had not had a chance to go to school before. Many things were taught in this pioneer school. Or course there was reading, writing, arithmetic and spelling, but there were other things such as good behavior, politeness, singing, dancing, religion. And for the girls, sewing, crocheting, tatting and housekeeping. It was here at this school that Wilford learned to knit…
From Althea's History
Deweyville, Utah July 10, 1877 Today a son was born to Wilford W. Lewis and Althea N. Lewis. His name is Joel J., the J in honor of Wilford's father and mother, James and Jones.
So starts an entry in the Lewis family history. In the summer of 1876, Alanson Norton had decided to move his family into the Bear Lake Country and was concerned over the welfare of his daughter, Althea, and her small family of four fatherless children and sought counsel with James Lewis, the grandfather of the children on their father's side. Isaac has been dead a year and both grandfathers had helped the young heartbroken Althea in providing for the rearing her young family. Now circumstances, polygamy persecution, over which he had no control, were suggesting a move for Alanson into a distant community. The same circumstances had ended for James, but sorrow and death had persuaded him to seek a home elsewhere and he had decided to take Mary and Hyrum and Rachel and go to Marsh Basin, Idaho. Isaac's tragic death in the snowslide in March soon following Joel's in the winter had been more than the frail heart of Anna could bear and on the 7th of December 1875 she had closed her tired gray eyes and slipped away to join her sons, Joel Jones, Isaac Morley, William Fallis and James Ammon and Francis Maren, two noble young men sleeping in the cemetery in Brigham City and three babies laid to rest along the Pioneer Trail…,
With both fathers gone who would help Althea and her four small children: Alonson 9, Wilford 6, Mattie 3 and Linda one year old. It was then that Wilford, the tall handsome man of 26 years joined the counsel and speaking to James said, "Father, if I have your approval and yours sir, turning to Alanson, and if I may have Althea's consent, I will make Althea my wife and take the responsibility of providing for and helping to rear my brother's children". Brave, noble son of a brave and noble mother. Anna would have approved of that speech, for she knew Wilford had always loved Althea, though he had stepped aside when he saw Isaac also loved her so.
Both James and Alanson understood the value of this brave offer and each bowed their heads in respect to the courageous young man. James thanked God for this manly son and Alanson thanked him for so good a husband for his daughter, Althea and so splendid a father for his grandchildren. In early autumn, September 10, 1876, Wilford Woodruff Lewis and Althea Marie Norton Lewis were married at Brigham City, Utah and early the next spring they went to live at Deweyville and there July 10, 1876 their son was born and they named him Joel J. Two years later on December 2, 1879 a little girl was born to them. Wilford named her Anna for the mother he loved so well and Althea added Elva. Both Joel and Elva had the dark brown eyes of the Lewis and coal black hair like Wilfords. In August 1880 Wilford moved his family to Marsh Basin (Marsh Basin is an early name for today's Albion, Idaho) and there in August 28, 1881 another son was born, this one had brown curly hair and gray eyes like Anna's, the hair never lost its curl and the eyes remained grey even into manhood. They named him Albert Lyman. The path of the pioneer is never smooth and Wilford's and Althea had their share of hard times. They had even been pioneers and were always making the desert bloom. As they helped in building up new locations and reared their family. Wilford took team and wagon to the railroad at Corinne and Kelton and hauled freight, salt, iron and other pioneer necessities to Albion and other settlements. Hauling poles and posts back to Kelton on the return trip. Althea worked hard too as all pioneer women had to do, she was a fine seamstress and did her own sewing and for theirs outside of her own home. It was all done by hand and brought in much of the living for her family, for when she was not paid in money she took cloth for their clothing or food stuff for them to eat.
By 1886 Lonson and Wilford were young men of 16 and 18 years, and struck out for themselves. Lonson went to McCammon, Idaho and Wilford went to Wells, Nevada. Althea was often lonely for her folks for her father, Alanson, and Julia and her brothers and sisters, especially for Dora. Until she moved to Albion, Althea Dora had never been separated for more than a few days at a time. Dora had married Joseph Southworth of Brigham City and they had always lived in the same town as Althea. Sometimes in the same house, and sometimes living in different rooms, but using the same stove. Their children had grown up nearer like brothers and sisters than cousins. When Wilford and Althea moved to Albion, Joe and Dora moved to Montpelier, Idaho, which seemed an awful long way apart and Althea felt that separation keenly. May 29, 1886, Althea gave birth to a baby girl and named her Clara Elmina. Clara had the dark brown eyes and coal black hair that rightly belong to the descendants of James S. Lewis. Althea often wondered why none of her children had blue eyes like hers, but they never did. In a few weeks Althea received a letter from her sister, Dora saying that on June 29th 1886 she had borne a son and named him George. Althea and Dora called their children, Clara and George, their twin cousins.
In June 1890, Wilford and Althea traveled by team and covered wagon from Albion to McCammon to attend Lonson's wedding. James Alanson Lewis and Rachel Marley were sealed in the Logan Temple, June 19th, 1890. This was the first of Althea's children to marry and she was very happy that Lonson had found such a true, sweet girl as Rachel, and the name Rachel Lewis had a very familiar sound. The visit to McCammon was very pleasant for Wilford and Althea for her they made many friends and relatives… Alanson and Julia were living here with their unmarried children; Anna May, Charles, Grace and Lemeul. Most of these people had built shacks on unsurveyed government land, which was about to be thrown open for homesteading. Wilford had looked over the valley which was covered with thick high sagebrush and noted the fertile soil, then surveyed (with his eye) the slope and lay of Portneuf River at the east and said, "If part of that river could be turned onto this land it would raise the finest crops in the state." Then he wondered if Althea would be willing to move again and if she would be as happy here as in Albion. For Wilford, the happiness of Althea and the family meant more than all else in life.
Early in the spring of 1893 Wilford and Joel left the rest of the family in Albion and went to McCammon. They took with them an extra team and a plow and other tools and equipment necessary to start a new farm, and at McCammon they staked out a hundred and sixty acres of unsurveyed government land office at Blackfoot and filed on the land using his homestead right of paying $1.25 per acre, according to the homestead law, he must live on the land for five years, during this time, her must build a house, fence the land and cultivate a certain part of it. At the end of five years if he could prove by three witnesses that he had complied with all the requirements the government would grant him a deed. At Albion May 14th, 1892, a baby girl had been born to Wilford and Althea, giving to Althea nine children, four sons and five daughters. And to Wilford, the same…for in sixteen years, Althea had borne him five children, two sons and three daughters, but he had never made the least difference among his family of nine and because of this, the family knew no difference. They all called him father and loved him as such, though they all knew of Isaac and the story of his tragic death and loved his memory dearly. Wilford and Althea had lived in Albion twelve years and had been very happy there. Everyone in the Basin were their friends and they loved them dearly for here in Marsh Basin they had all been working for the same thing to build up a new community and make a new settlement in the Rocky Mountains and in Idaho. In these twelve years they had seen Marsh Basin turn into Albion, county seat of Cassia Co. They had seen a small branch of the Church, consisting of a half dozen families turn into Albion Ward. With all the organizations. They had seen two acres of the homestead of James S. Lewis set apart as a cemetery and had helped to bury some of their friends and dear ones therein. They had dug wells, built bridges, made roads, plowed fields, built fences and planted shade t and orchards. This is the life of pioneers, and Wilford and Althea had ever been pioneers, both of them had been born in Iowa, on the trek across the plains. Now in May 1893 they were planning to move again into a new country and begin over again to help build a new community and settle another place in the Rocky Mountains in Idaho. It was hard to leave their friends and relatives in Albion; three of their children had been born there. It was hard to leave their father James, now in his old age, and Mary who had been so kind and helpful. But pushing the sorrow of parting into the background and their faith and courage in the front, they loaded their household goods into two big, covered wagons and taking a last look at the empty log house, they shook hands with the friends, who had gathered to say goodbye and trusting the care of their aging parents to John and Hyrum, they climbed up to the high spring seats and took up the lines. The teams started and they were off to the frontier.
In the lead wagon Wilford and Althea road in the spring seat and Wilford did the driving. Delia, who was just a year old, sometime sat on Althea's lap and sometimes in the seat between them. Clara who was seven had a chair in the bottom of the wagon box in front of the spring seat near Althea's feet and just high enough that she could see the horses, Nick and Chief.
In the following wagon Joel, Linda and Elva sat in the spring seat, and Joel drove the team, Chub and Star. Albert followed the wagon riding Ranger and driving several loose horses and one cow, called Beauty. It was three days; travel with their outfit from Albion to McCammon. It had been fine weather when they left Albion, the sky was clear and blue and the air was full of sunshine, it was May. The second night they camped at American Falls, next morning the sky was cloudy and a cold wind was blowing from the North. The next night they camped at Black Rock on the banks of the Portneuf River.
As they ate their supper huddled around the campfire with the wagon as a wind break, Wilford said, "It will snow before morning." And it did snow this 12th of May 1893. These pioneers awoke to find they were headed for McCammon and after a hurried breakfast, they moved on their way. By noon the sun had melted most of the snow and at 3 o'clock that afternoon when they drove into Lonson's yard it was spring again. Lonson had lived in McCammon for three years: he and Rachel had a little son, named William Isaac. He was one year old a cute little fellow, with brown hair and dark brown eyes. He was Althea's first grandson and just six weeks older than her own baby daughter. They looked so cunning playing together, Delia was such a beautiful baby with her big brown eyes and golden ringlets. Wilford had been quite disappointed when this last little girl didn't have blue eyes like Althea's, but they were the real Lewis brown and her hair was the rich golden brown just like Sarah's, Althea's pretty young mother who had died so long ago at Provo. Wilford had named this beautiful baby Rachel for his sister and also for his grandmother, Rachel Stapleton Lewis. Althea had added Delia for her dear friend, Delia Brim of Albion.
Pioneering in McCammon was about the same as in Albion except there were no mountain streams to be turned onto the land, but canals had to be made, miles and miles of them and headgate built across the Portneuf River to turn the water out onto the dry thirsty land. The land had to be cleared of the high sagebrush with which it was thickly covered. In Albion the land near the foothills was rocky with cobble rock, and the lower land near the Marsh Creek was marshy. In McCammon there is also a Marsh Creek flowing through a wide strip of meadow land covered with wild hay. Many hundreds of acres of excellent cattle ranches lay on the banks of this slow flowing stream, the entire length of it runs the Marsh Creek. The higher land laying between the meadows of Marsh Creek and Portneuf River is also rocky in places, but this rock is lava, ledges of it break the patches (containing from 5 to 60 acres) is so fertile and mellow it raises, as Wilford said it would, the best crops in the state.
In 1891 Mattie had come to McCammon to visit Lonson and Rachel, there was no school in McCammon at that time and the families who had children of school age proposed that Mattie hold a school for the fifteen students old enough to attend. They offered her board and room and $18.00 per month. That was very generous offer and one Mattie could not afford to turn down. There were two brothers who had come from Garden Crook just across the valley to stake out a claim for a homestead. They were Charley and George Romriell. George had taken a claim near the railroad track and only a half mile from the Springs (so called) was a group of springs of clear cold water beside the other railroad track and about a half mile south of the McCammon rail depot, near these springs, Alanson Norton had built his house and had stake d out the surrounding hundred and sixty acres for his homestead, several men had built shack houses on his land so as to be near the water. It was these people and a few others who wanted Mattie to hold a school. George had built a one-roomed log house on his claim and offered it as a schoolhouse. Here Mattie Lewis taught the first school of McCammon, a term of four months, from September until Christmas. Here she met and fell in love with young George Romriell, and on June 29th, 1892. She married him in the Logan Temple and came back to McCammon to live in the little one-room log house she had used as a schoolhouse. Charley Romriell married Anna May Norton the same day and they started married life on the homestead.
Charley had staked out at McCammon. April 17th, 1893 Mattie's son and Althea's second grandson was born. Wilford settled his family for the summer of 1893 in a tent but before cold weather came that fall he had built a good log house with four rooms, larger and better than the one they had left in Albion. By the spring of 1894 Wilford brought an armful of "cuttings from the Lombardi Poplars from Joe Capel's trees at Garden Creek", some of them he struck in the bank of the canal along the line fence. Today the canal is large enough to carry a hundred shares of water, worth a hundred dollars per share. August 1894, Linda married Cicero Kidd and went back to Albion to live. July 24th, 1895, Linda's son was born.
They named him Jerome. October 24th, 1895, Joel married Luzette Hensen and December 2, 1898 Elva was married to Edward Gittins. In the spring of 1897 Wilford Isaac came to McCammon. He had been to Nevada for seven years working as a cowboy. How happy was Althea to have her son Wilford Isaac back home again after being away so long. He had left home a lad of 17, barely approaching manhood. Now he returned home a tall handsome young man of 24. In December of 1897 Wilford was married to Sarah Romriell in the Logan Temple. December 2nd 1898 on her birthday Anna Elva Lewis was married to Edward Gittins in the Logan Temple. October 24, 1902 Albert Lyman Lewis was married to Lydia Mellor in the Manti Temple. March 23, 1903, Clara Elmina Lewis was married to Warren Hall in the Logan Temple. And November 27th, 1908 on Althea's birthday Rachel Delia was married to David Hall in the Logan Temple.
In all these passing years Wilford and Althea were busy and happy rearing their family, helping with the rearing of their grandchildren and helping to build McCammon. When Wilford and Althea arrived in McCammon May 12, 1893 there was no ward or branch of the Church, no school, or irrigation system, no trees (neither shade or fruit trees) no permanent houses (only shacks and dug outs), no fences, and no roads. Wilford requested of the proper authority that a Sunday School be organized in McCammon. Alanson Lewis was appointed the first superintendent; there were only two classes. Wilford was teacher of the older class. Althea was teacher of the younger Sunday School class. It was held in Lonson's home and to make room for those who attended all the furniture except the stove was moved to the door yard each Sunday morning. In 1894, McCammon was made into a branch of the Garden Creek Ward, and in 1896, the McCammon Ward was organized. Alanson Norton was ordained Bishop at the age of 82 years. The oldest man ever ordained Bishop in the history of the Church. Wilford was appointed ward clerk. Althea was President of Relief Society, from the first Church organization of McCammon. Wilford and Althea were leaders and saw their family leaders on all the affairs of the ward, and community. In 1893 Wilford and Edwin Gittins called a mass meeting of the people of McCammon and organized the first school district and appointed trustees, these were accepted by the County and authorities to levy a school tax to build a schoolhouse and hire the first school teacher paid by the school district. Wilford took a leading part in organizing the company to control the irrigation system. It was he who drew up the by-laws which made the McCammon Ditch Company a corporation. The filing and registering of these by-laws gave to McCammon the 2nd and best water rights in the Portneuf River and one of the best in the state of Idaho. In 1897, McCammon Ward built a meeting house. Alva Lewis was chief carpenter and Wilford, Lonson, Wilford Isaac and Joel was called on to work each day until it was finished. In 1899, Joel was called on a mission to the Western States Mission. Wilford cheerfully took over the responsibility of providing for Joel's family for two years and sent him away to preach the gospel. At this time Joel and Luzette had one son named Joel Alford, two years old. A few months after Joel went on his mission, Luzette bore a girl and named her Lile Luzette. She lived only two months and Joel never saw his small daughter. In May 1901 Wilford and Althea were called to Albion to the bedside of James, now 87 years old…May 21, 1901, James Stapleton Lewis passed away without pain. He closed his eyes and full of peace and goodwill he drifted away to meet Anna and their hosts of others he had served and saved. Every request he had made was faithfully and lovingly carried out. And to Wilford and Althea the responsibility of carrying on the temple work was a sacred trust and they kept faithfully at it as long as they lived. June 8th, 1901 Joel J. Lewis, age 34 years, passed away at McCammon, leaving a young wife and five small children, four sons and a daughter. Wilford and Althea had passed through much sorrow, but the death of this young son was the hardest blow they had ever received.
Althea courageously put her broken heart aside and turned to Luzette and helped to rear the children Joel had left. Wilford helped too but never ceased to mourn for his beloved son, Joel. Two years later July 1911, Joel's son, Ewart 9, died of diphtheria. He had not been baptized or confirmed a member of the Church. Wilford took Joel's son Paul, aged 11, to the Logan Temple and he was baptized for Ewart. Luzette died while her children were still young. When Paul was still in his forties, he was killed in an automobile accident. When Olive Delila was 18 she was accidentally smothered to death with gas. When Alfred was still a young man of thirty he died of a heart attack, leaving only Arnold of Joel's family of six children. Arnold married but never had children.
February 12, 1913, Rachel Adelia Lewis Hall died at McCammon age 24 years, leaving two small sons, Glen, 2 years, and Virgil Joel 6 months. In 6 days Virgil Lowell passed away and joined his sweet mother. Wilford had withstood the hard life of the pioneer, he had survived a famine, had lived through hunger and cold, had recovered from a broken and shattered body caused by a horse dragging him down a rocky mountain, had seen his beloved brother snatched from their midst by a snowslide and been bereaved of his idolized mother and brave, faithful father, had suffered through untold sicknesses and sorrows, in sweat and book and tears and had survived them all but so strong was his love and so deep his feelings for his children that when death took his first-born son, Joel and his baby daughter, Delia, he could not endure. April 20th 1914, at the age of 66 years he slipped out of this world of sorrow into the one of spirits where he could continue to serve, unhampered by ill health of a physical body.
McCammon did not fail to recognize the real worth of Wilford Woodruff Lewis whom they affectionately called W.W. He had been their leader, their teacher, their doctor and their lawyer. Though Wilfords's school days had been short, he was well educated. He had graduated from the "School of Experience" with honor, and the "College of Hard Knocks." He was polished refined, and aristocratic, always standing erect with head held high and never did he lose that proud graceful carriage. His advice to his children was: "Stand tall and never allow yourself to slump into a slouchy walk. Do not fear man for his rank, education, or authority. If you have business with the President of the United States, speak up and state your business, but never get out of your place!" Wilford had a lot of ready wit and humor and was never caught without an answer, but he was never a "show-off". He met the public anywhere in dignity and perfect ease and poise, regardless of their rank, wealth or social standing. At the funeral of Wilford, his brother, Hyrum S. Lewis spoke and part of his sermon was this tribute: "Wilford Woodruff Lewis accepted the role of pioneer builder at the tender age of 6 and for 60 years he had faithfully played the part. At the age of 66 years he has died in the harness and now will this good work stop? No! He has left a family of children and grandchildren to carry on. I know this posterity of Wilford and Althea and they will carry on, they are not quitters." This tribute is even unto the fourth generation!
Brave, sweet tender-hearted Althea, a widow for the second time. Both of the Lewis boys whom had gone on to finish their work on the other side and left her to carry on without their tender care. Isaac, the father of four of her children, who had promised to love her and care for her and who had kept that promise. Isaac, who had given his young life for the building of the west, crushed under tons of ice and snow in Deep Canyon in the Deweyville mountains.
Wilford the brave and noble young man who had offered the strength of his manhood for the support and rearing of his brother's children, and true love and devotion of his heart to care and comfort his pretty young sister-in-law the girl he had always loved. Wilford the splendid young husband whom she loved dearly, the father of five of her children, Wilford the loyal husband who had served his family so faithfully and cared for them so kindly. Wilford the devoted companion of the best years of her life. Isaac and Wilford, the Lewis boys with whom she expected to live throughout eternity in love and unity, just as she had lived throughout time.
In 1913, Althea was sixty-two years old; she was healthy and active in mind and body and believed she had several good useful years ahead of her. Since the first year she came to McCammon she had served as a midwife and had served in time of sickness and need in nearly every home in McCammon and surrounding communities: Lava, Downey, Garden Creek and Arimo. Attending at births of more than one thousand babies. Now that doctors could be had, she had turned the tiring work of midwifing over to the doctors and nurses. She still liked to sew, and knit, and still like to teach the gospel and was kept busy as leader in the different organizations. Althea was always social minded and loved to take part in all parties, meetings, and gatherings of all happenings of McCammon. October 1923, James Alanson Lewis died at Burley, Idaho; June 22, 1924 Anna Elva Lewis Gittins died at McCammon. March 31, 1927, Delinda Amelia Kidd died at Santa Ana, California. December 20, 1928 Edward Gittins was killed by a train at Wheatland, Wyoming. October 4th, 1920, Lydia Elvira Mellor Lewis died at McCammon and was buried there leaving a family of eight living children. In 1928, Cicero Kidd died in Santa Ana, California and March 16, 1933, Warren Hall died in McCammon.
Thus, Althea had lived to bury five of her children and five of her in-law children. All of her children had married. She had lived to see all of her grandchildren of which there were 66. She had lived to see several of her great-grandchildren. It was March 21, 1934, just 60 years after the tragic death of Isaac that Althea not 86 years old closed her beautiful blue eyes and said, "Just hold my hand and let me breath myself away."
Clara and Mattie, Wilford Isaac, and Albert were there at her bedside. She called for her children at five o'clock a.m., saying she felt as if she were drifting away. At seven she simple closed her eyes and breathed herself away peacefully as a baby falls asleep. She was lovely as a bride in her robes of righteousness as they laid her gently down to rest beside her beloved Wilford and near her children who had gone on. She had nobly finished her mission here and her departure was beautiful and "Carry On" was the charge she left, Unto the Fourth Generation.
POSTSCRIPT On October 6th, 1944, Albert Lyman Lewis passed away in Riverton, Utah at the home of his eldest daughter, Cora Lewis Brown(e)'s home from cancer. He was survived by the following children and grandchildren: Cora Blanche Lewis b. 6 August 1904 m. Harold Darrell Brown 27 April 1966 3 daughters, 4 sons d. 26 April 1966 Riverton, Utah Erma Elvira Lewis b. 19 March 1906 m. (1) Diamond Carlos 6 November 1923 (div.) 3 daughters, 1 son (2) Herman Clarence Schoonover 16 April 1939 1 daughter Norene Althea Lewis b. 5 October 1907 m. Earl ValJean Larsen 15 June 1928 3 daughters, 3 sons Ernest Albert Lewis b. 23 January 1909 m. Mary Faye Martindale 9 June 1941 1 son d. 10 July 1987 Idaho Falls, Idaho Allie Ruth Lewis b. 16 August 1911 d. 2 June 1913 Adelia Luera Lewis b. 29 March 1913 m. Francis Memory Lamph 10 January 1939 2 daughters, 1 son Alberta Eliza Lewis b. 29 October 1914 m. George Otto Middlestadt 21 April 1930 4 daughters, 7 sons d. 13 April 1991 Salt Lake City, Utah Eva Lenora Lewis b. 4 July 1916 m. James Earl Barton (Bill) 8 September 1934 2 daughters, 2 sons 28 March 1990 Yakima, Washington Ella Alice Lewis b. 15 November 1918 m. (1) Ira Jacobson Chugg 24 July 1935 (div.) (2) Alden Franklin Lamph 14 February 1948 1 daughter, 1 son d. 25 April 1981 Hayward, California