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´╗┐Title: Orville Southerland Cox, Pioneer of 1847
Author: Sidwell, Adelia B. Cox
Language: English
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Biographical Sketch of Orville Southerland Cox, Pioneer of 1847


The Pioneer Spirit

  The Pioneer Spirit that mastered things
  And Broke the virgin sod,
  That conquered savages and kings,
  And only bowed to God.
  The Strength of mind and strength of soul--
  The will to do or die,
  That sets its heart upon a goal,
  And made it far or high--

  --Clarence Hawkes


Orville Southerland Cox

Biographical sketch of Orville Southerland Cox, Pioneer of 1847, partly
from a sketch written by Adelia B. Cox Sidwell for the "Daughters of
the Pioneers", Manti, Utah, 1913.

Orville S. Cox, was born in Plymouth, N.Y. November 25, 1814. He was
one of a family of 12 children, ten of whom reached maturity. His
father died when he was about fifteen years old. And he was then "bound
out"; apprenticed to learn the trade of a blacksmith under a deacon
Jones, who was considered an excellent man as he was a pillar of the
church. The agreement was that he was to work obediently until twenty
one and that Jones as to give him board and clothes, three months
of school each winter, and teach him the trade of blacksmithing.
No schooling was given or allowed, and one pair of jeans pants was
all the clothing he received during the first three years of his
apprenticeship, and his food was rather limited too. The women folks
ran a dairy, but the boy was never allowed a drink of milk, of which
he was very fond because the Mrs. said "it made too big a hole in the
cheese." He was indeed a poor little bondsman, receiving plenty of
abusive treatment. As to teaching him the trade, he was kept blowing
the bellows and using the tongs and heavy sledge. But the deacon
sometimes went to distant places and then the boy secretly used the
tools and practiced doing the things his keen eyes had watched his
master do. During some of these hours of freedom, he made himself a
pair of skates from pieces of broken nails he gathered carefully and
saved.

Also, he straightened a discarded gun barrel and made a hammer,
trigger, sights, etc, to it, so that he had an effective weapon.
These things he had to keep hidden from the eyes of his master and
associates, but secretly he had great joy in his possessions and once
in a while found a little time to use them.

Occasionally the monotony at the bellows and with the tongs and
sledge--was broken in other ways;--for example--at one time oxen were
brought to the shop to be shod that had extremely hard hoofs, called
"glassy hoofs". Whenever Deacon undertook to drive a nail in, it bent.
Cox straightened nails over and over, as nails were precious articles
in those days and must not be discarded because they were bent. After a
while, the boy said "let me". And he shod the oxen without a bending a
single nail; And thereafter Cox shod the oxen, one and all that came to
the shop.

One other pleasant duty was his: that of burning charcoal, as coal was
then undiscovered. He learned much of the trade of the woodman while
attending to the pits in the depth of the might New York Forests, as
well as having an opportunity to use his skates and gun a little.

He acquired the cognoman of "Deek" among his associates, and when he
had worked for something over three years, he came to the conclusion
that was all he ever would acquire, along with harsh treatment; so
during one of the Deacon's visits to a distant parish, he gathered
together his few belongings and a lunch, between two days, shouldered
his home made gun and "hit the trail for the tall timber", that being
the route on which he was least apt to be discovered. He made his way
toward the Susquehannah river. First he reached the Tioga River, which
was a branch of the Susquehannah. He began reconnoitering for a means
of crossing or floating down the river and soon discovered a log canoe,
"dug-out" as it was called, frozen in the mud. He decided to confiscate
it as "contraband of war" and pried it up, launched it, and was soon
floating and paddling in it down toward the junction of the Tioga and
the Susquehannah.

Shortly he felt his tired feet being submerged in cold water. Stooping
to investigate, he found that the log was leaky and rapidly filling
with water. He also found an old woolen firkin, a small barrel, that he
at once began making use of, bailing the water, alternately paddeling,
steering and bailing. He continued down the stream, keeping near the
shore as possible, in case the old dug-out should get the best of him.
The second day he heard "Hello, there, will you take a passenger?" from
a man on shore. "Yes, if you'll help bail, steer, and row." "Barkis is
willin", came the reply, so there were two in the log canoe.

Then they made better time. Nearing the confluence of the rivers, they
saw a boat preparing to leave the dock for a trip up the Susquehannah,
a primitive stern wheel packet of those early days (1831). He and his
passenger applied themselves to their paddling, bailing and steering,
signalling the boat to wait; just as she started he drew near enough to
leap from the dug-out to her deck.

A free boy! For now he was sure pursuit would not overtake him. His
passenger called "What shall I do with this canoe?" "Keep her or let
her float" shouted Cox. (If the owner of that dug-out will send in his
bill for damages, O.S. Cox's children will cheerfully settle.) As for
food on this trip with the canoe, game was plentiful and he was a good
shot. While on this boat, he must have worked his passage, for he had
no money.

On board that boat with a Cargo of Southern Produce, he, for the first
time in his life, saw an orange. He remained on this little river
packet some distance up the river, then lended and found lucrative
employment at lumbering and logging, and sometimes at the blacksmith's
forge. Soon he had the good luck to find his two brothers, Walter and
Augustus, rafting logs down the river. He was an expert at this himself.

Now he learned that his mother, and her younger children, Amos,
Harriet, Mary and Jonathan had gone to Ohio under the care of his
older brother, William U., via the great world famous Erie Canal; (at
that time the largest canal in the world.) So by slow degrees and
hard work he began to work his way toward Ohio. Usually he worked for
lumber companies. His two brothers did likewise. They literally walked
wall the way through the forests, the whole length of the state of
New York. Finally they were united as a family in Nelson, Portage Co.
Ohio, the former home of his future wife, Elvira, although she was
at that time an emigrant in Missouri. The eight Cox boys continued
their westward course; some of them reached California during the gold
stampede. Charles B. Cox was elected Senator from Santa Rosa Company
for a number of terms. William U. had put his property in a concern
called the Phalanx and was defrauded by the officers of every cent and
left in debt $3000.00, an enormous sum for those days. Orville's mother
Lucinda, and her family went to Missouri. Walter had receive the gospel
in Ohio previously. Orville heard terrible stories of the outlawry of
those "awful Mormons"; but he became personally acquainted with some
(Among them a Sylvester Hulet). He decided they were sinned against.
He lived in Jackson County for a time, and ever after Jackson County
Missouri was the goal of his ambition; He believed to his dying day
that he should one day return to that favored spot.

Orville met and loved Elvira in Far West, but was not baptized. He said
he didn't propose to turn Mormon to procure a wife. When the Saints
were driven from Missouri, he located near Lima, Illinois, with a group
of Mormons and helped build the Morley settlement.

Nearing his 24th birthday, he was a thorough frontiersman, forester,
lumberman, a splendid blacksmith, a natural born engineer; in short a
genius and an all around good fellow. He was six feet in his socks and
heavy proportionately.

While here he won the heart of the orphan girl, Elvira P. Mills, who
was living with her uncle, Sylvester Hulet. But she hesitated about
marrying a gentile. October 3, 1839, however, she yielded, and they
were married in Father Elisha Whiting's home, at the Morley Settlement
by Elder Lyman Wight.

The two newly weds, on October 6, 1839, drove into Nauvoo twenty miles
away, and Orville S. Cox was baptized by the Prophet Joseph Smith. He
went a gentile and returned a full-fledged Mormon, so short a time
it takes a woman to make a convert. H was a faithful L.D.S., full of
love and zeal. He was a member of the famous brass band of the Nauvoo
Legion. When the Prophet and his brother were killed, none mourned more
sincerely than he. He assisted those more helpless or destitute in the
migration from Nauvoo. His stacks of grain were burned at the Morley
settlement by the robbers, and they fled to the City of Nauvoo, he with
his wife and two children--the oldest child had died when an infant
as a result of its mother having chills and fever, and from exposure
resulting from mobbers' violence.

He attended the meeting where Sidney Rigdon asked the Saints to
appoint him as guardian, and where Brigham Young claimed that the
Twelve Apostles were the ordained leaders; and many times thereafter
he testified that he saw Brigham Young changed to appear like
Joseph and heard his voice take on the Prophet's tone. And after
that manifestation he never doubted for a moment that the rightful
leadership of the Church was vested in the twelve, with Brigham Young
at their head. He remained in Nauvoo till almost the last departed. He
assisted Browning in transforming the old rusty steamer shafts into
cannons that were so effectually used by Daniel H. Wells at the Battle
of Nauvoo.

Leaving Nauvoo with the last of the Mormon exiles, he crossed Iowa
and settled at Pisgah, where he served as counselor to Lorenzo Snow,
President at Mt. Pisgah. In his devoted attachment to Lorenzo Snow,
he was an enthusiast; also to Father Morley and he would follow their
leadership anywhere. Orville and Elvira had their two children, Almer
and Adelia.

An incident that illustrated the pioneer life of 1845-6 is told in the
story of the "Last Match." In the winter of 1845-6 Orville S. Cox and
two Whiting boys, cousins of Elvira, went from Pisgah with ox teams and
wagons down into Missouri with a load of chairs to sell. Whitings had a
shop in which they manufactured chairs. Being successful in disposing
of their chairs, and securing loads of bacon and corn, they were almost
home when an Iowa blizzard, or hurricane, or cyclone, or all in one,
struck them. Clouds and Egyptian darkness settled suddenly around them.
They had not modern "tornado cellars" to flee into and no manner of
shelter of any kind. The cold was intense; the wind came from every
direction; they were all skilled backwoodsmen and knew they were very
close to their homes; but they also knew that they were hopelessly lost
in that swirling wind and those black clouds of snow. They and their
oxen were freezing, and their only hope of life was in making a fire
and camping where they were. Everything was wet and under the snow,
and an arctic wind in the fierceness of unclaimed violence was raging
around them. At first, they unyoked the oxen that they might find some
sort of shelter for themselves. Then with frost-bitten fingers they
sought in the darkness and storm for dry fuel. The best they found was
damp and poor enough--and now for a match. Only three in the crowd, and
no such matches as we have in these days either. Inside a large wooden
bucket in which they fed grain, they carefully laid their kindling.
Then turning another bucket over it to keep out of the falling snow,
and hugging close over to keep the wind off, they lifted the top
bucket a little and one of the Whiting boys struck a precious match.
It flickered, blazed a moment against the kindling and was puffed out
by a draft of wind. Another match was taken, and it died almost before
it flared. Only one match remained to save three men from certain
death. Their fingers were so numb they could not feel, and every minute
increased their numbness. "Let Orville Try; he is steadier than we",
they said. So Orville, keenly sensing his responsibility, took the tiny
splinter of wood and struck the spark; it caught, it blazed and the
fire lived and grew.

Now they were in the woods and the fuel was plentiful and soon a
roaring blaze was swirling upward. The cattle came near, and although
their noses and feet were frozen, their feet grew new hoofs and
their noses healed of frosted cracks. When the storm broke and light
appeared, they found themselves only a few rocks from their home fences.

For a good reason, Orville was not in the Battalion draft. The Whiting
boys, Sylvester Hulet, and Amos Cox were. But Orville was very busy
manufacturing wagons. It was told of him that he found a linch pin and
said, "I'll just make a wagon to fit that pin". He prepared as good
and serviceable an outfit as his limited means would allow for the
long dreary journey to the mountains. Two home made wagons, without
brakes--brakes were not needed on the eastern end of the journey--two
yoke of oxen, three yoke of cows, a box of chickens on the back of a
wagon, a wife and two children, with bedding and food, was the outfit
that started across the plains the last of June 1847, singing the song
"In the spring we'll take our journey. All to cross the grassy plains."
He travelled in the hundred of Charles C. Rich, known as the Artillery
Company. Cox was captain of one of the tens. Oh! the seemingly endless
level prairie! The monotony was terribly wearing. When Independence
Rock was sighted, and again when Chimney Rock was sighted, it was
wonderful relief. Great land marks they were, in that unsettled
country. Now they were sure they were approaching the Rocky Mountains,
especially the children longed for that goal.

One evening at camping time, 4:00 P.M., a herd of buffalo were sighted
about two miles away. The people were very hungry for a piece of fresh
beef, so Father and one companion shouldered their guns, snatched
their percussion caps and powder horns, and started to "try a hunter's
luck." About sunset they rot their steak, a generous load of the best
cuts from the Buffalo, and started for camp. On and on they went. What
they thought was a two mile stretch lengthened and lengthened, and
their loads of meat grew heavier and heavier. They began to think they
were lost; but the camp fires and stars told them they were going in
the right direction. Finally they decided to fire their guns. This
they did, and it filled the camp with alarm, least the hunters were in
danger. Two or three men rushed away in the darkness to give aid, and
they fired their guns to locate the hunters. Several shots brought them
together. "Help us with this grub pile", they said. Help was given.
They reached the camp at 11:00 o'clock. It must have been six miles or
perhaps ten to the herd of buffalo. They were now in the clear air of
the up-lands and could see much farther than they had been able to see
in the Mississippi valley.

The next morning all in the camp had a feast of fresh meat.

After leaving the Platte River, while travelling along the sweet Water
River, the company met General Kearney and his company of Battalion
scouts with their illustrious prisoner, the great path-finder Freemont.

(When California was freed from Mexican rule, Freemont and his little
band, who had helped to free it, were greatly rejoiced; and in their
enthusiasm his followers proclaimed Freemont governor. General Kearney
arrived and expected to be governor by right of his generalship. He was
very angry and had Freemont arrested and sent to Washington.)

With Freemont's guards were Sylvester Hulet, Elvira's Uncle, and Amos
Cox. They had traveled many weary months in an unknown, lonely country;
and C.C. Riche's company were also travel weary. To thus meet relatives
so unexpectedly was a joy unspeakable to both parties.

Now the battalion men heard from their families left in Iowa, for the
first time in more than a year. And tears of joy and sorrow were freely
mingled. A daughter of Amos had died. Sylvester's wife had gone to
New York where the Whitmer's and her father and brothers lived; so he
decided to return to the Rocky Mountains with the pioneers, and Kearney
gave him his discharge. Amos Cox continued with the prisoner to Fort
Leavenworth, where he received his honorable discharge, and then went
to his weary waiting family in Iowa.

The pioneering company continued on westward. At Green River, near
Bridger's Station, they met pioneers who had reached Great Salt Lake
Valley and made a start toward a new home; and were now returning to
the camps in Iowa, with more definite knowledge and instructions to
impart to those who were to come to the mountains next year. They told
Rich's company many things regarding the way that lay before them, and
it was a great relief to know that they were nearing their destination.

From now on the mountains were on every side; frowning cliffs looked
ready to fall on and crush the poor foot-sore travelers; for people
raised on the plains are apt to have a shuddering of such sights. C.C.
Riche's artillery company rolled into the valley of the great Salt
Lake. They were only two or three days behind Jedediah M. Grant's
company of one hundred wagons.

Being expert in handling lumber, Cox was immediately sent into the
canyon for logs. Houses must now be built. Among other timbers, he
brought down a magnificent specimen of a pine for a "Liberty Pole",
which he assisted in raising on Pioneer Square. It was the first pole
to carry the stars and stripes in the city. One had been raised on
Ensign Peak before. They wintered in Salt Lake Valley. There another
son, Orville M., was born November 29, 1847.

Very early in the spring of 1848 father moved from the Adobe Fort with
his wife and three children, and began farming in Sessionsville, Now
Bountiful; He was the first bishop of the ward. There they had the
famous experience with the crickets. He devised the broad paddles, as
well as the oft mentioned methods, to try to exterminate them; and then
came the Gulls. He raised a crop in '48 and '49 there; also he dug the
first well in Bountiful, and struck water so suddenly as to be drowned
by it before he could be hauled up. In the fall of '49 he was called to
go with "Father" Morley's company to colonize the valley of Sanpitch.

He arrived at the future site of Manti November 19, 1849. The journey
from Salt Lake City to the Sanpete Valley occupied one month, breaking
new roads, fixing fords, and building dug-ways. The forty families
worked industriously, sometimes only movin' forward two or three miles.
One six mile stretch in Salt Creek Canyon occupied them a whole week.
The only settlement between Salt Lake and Manti was Provo, consisting
of a little fort of green cottonwood logs.

After getting through Salt Creek Canyon in two weeks, they worked to
their upmost strength for it began snowing on them there; and it was
far from being a desirable winter's home. That winter was one of the
hardest with the heaviest snow fall for many succeeding years. Arriving
at their destination, camp was made by the Morley's company on the
south side of Temple Hill which was a sheltered spot. Now they must do
their upmost in canyons, raising log cabins, sowing lumber on the saw
pit, which was the most primitive of saw mills.

Orville was an expert at hewing and squaring the logs with his ax, and
making everything as comfortable as possible in their home. All winter
long they had to help the cattle find feed by shovelling snow in the
meadows, as the snow lay four feet deep. It was May before the snow was
gone so that the men could begin to clear the ground and begin their
farming. Then there came irrigating ditches to dig and the usual labor
of clearing, plowing, and planting.

Between their individual duties, they found time to build log school,
and a bowery, and then a meeting house. They felt that it was quite
commodious. Here in the long evenings of the winter of 1850-51 Cox
taught a singing and dancing school. Sarah Potty was the first school
of Ma'am. In the winter of 1850-51, school was taught by Jesse W. Fox.
In 1850 he was elected Alderman.

O.S. Cox married Mary Allen about 1854; he served many years as the
first counselor to Bishop Lowry; and he was captain of the Militia. He
was very energetic in the performance of his duties, especially through
the protracted period of the Walker war. He married Eliza Losee about
1857-59. He served under Major Higgins, and old Battalion veteran.

To be sure, nobody appreciated more he did a liberty pole, and all
that it typified, so he was commissioned to find one at the earliest
convenient moment for Manti; this he did in 1850. Ten years he labored
faithfully for the upbuilding of Manti, and then like Boon and
Crockett, "he wanted more elbow room" and moved to Fairview, Sanpete
County. He also moved part of his family to Gunnison (Hog Wallow, it
was called then) and raised two crops there. In February 1864, he moved
part of his family to Glenwood, built a cabin there and raised a crop.
He sold out and moved elsewhere to engineer ditches. He engineered over
forty ditches in Utah and Nevada, as near as his children can remember
in 1910, as well as doing all other kinds of pioneer work.

In 1865 he was advised by Lorenzo Snow to move to the Muddy, a branch
of the Rio Virgin, a stream running through Moappa Valley, to assist in
surveying and making irrigation ditches there. The soil was very rich,
but there was so much quick sand that it made it almost impossible to
build a dam that hold or to irrigate without washing away the soil.
So he went south into southeastern Nevada. He thought that was the
route the saints would travel going back to Jackson County, so he was
that much nearer the final home. He labored here for six years, and
engineered a number of dams that would hold against the floods and
treachery of quicksand. They had only poor home made plows and a few
other tools to work with, and no cement or modern building material. He
also built cabins and cleared and tilled the land there. In clearing
the land, the "Mesquite" brush root was the hardest digging they
encountered. St. Thomas, St. Joseph and Overton, the 3 towns in the
valley were partly of his building. The first trip, he took with him
his third wife, Eliza, and her one child, a little two year old girl;
and Walter, a 14 year old son of the first wife, Elvira. The following
year, after crops were in and the spring work done, he returned to
Fairview after another section of his family--Mary, the second wife,
and her five children. From that time on O.S. Cox's life is a volume of
tragedy and hardship. The life in the burning desert is always more or
less unpleasant, and pioneering is excessively hard. And he was past
fifty years old.

During his absence, Eliza's little girl Lucinda, took her little pail
to the creek to get some water; the quicksand caused her to slip and
she was drowned. They took her out not very far from down the stream,
but could not resuscitate her. The poor mother, among strangers and
homesick, was unconsolable in her sorrow. Walter, seeing his little
pet companion stricken in all her robust beauty and health, was wild
with grief, and could not be comforted. After a time the neighbors
concluded that Walter would die if some change did not come to get
him to sleep and eat. They told Eliza of their fears for him, and so
the disconsolate mother tried to hide her own grief and comfort him.
It is said it was the saddest thing the woman there ever saw, to see
the brave mother and the boy trying to comfort each other in their
loneliness. Fifty years later, it was a nightmare to Walt.

Almer, Laun and Walt all went to the Muddy in 1867, the year Mary was
moved. In 1868 Philmon, fifth son of Elvira, a very promising lad of
thirteen, died of appendicitis, at that time called inflammation of the
bowels. Then Mary lost a little daughter, Lucy for whom she grieved
many years.

Financially the prospects were more promising than ever before. They
had planted a large orchard, and a vineyard that was just coming into
bearing. Then a new line was run between the states of Utah and Nevada,
which gave this section to Nevada, and Nevada demanded back taxes;
and they amounted to more than their farms and houses were worth. So
Brigham Young said, "Come home to Utah." They came.

Elvira, with Orville a grown son, Walter 17, Tryphena, Amasa and
Euphrasia, returned to the old home in Fairview, leaving all of their
beautiful peach orchards and vineyards, fields of cotton, cane, wheat
and the comfortable houses in the most fertile of lands, which they had
subdued and made to "Blossom as the Rose" by seven long years of toil
and privation. They rendered absolute obedience to their great leader;
and so they hitched up their teams, took their most choice belongings,
and wended their way back to Utah, leaving their settlement and farms
to pay Nevada the back taxes it had demanded.

One company which had thoroughly learned the trick of building a dam
in quick sand of the desert, stopped at an abandoned settlement in
Long Valley, Kane County. O.S. Cox and sons began the engineering of
irrigation canals and dams, and so on, as they had cleaned and repaired
the deserted cabins, so that they offered partial shelter from the
February storms. The people named this town Mt. Carmel.

When the former settlers learned that they had builded dams that would
stand, they came back and said, "Get Out, this is ours," So the weary
pioneers moved again, this time only a few miles farther up the valley
into a pleasant narrow cove, and went to work to build more dams, more
ditches and more cabins. In one place the water had to be carried
across a gulley, and it gave more trouble than all the rest of the
canal. After a while Cox, without comment or consultation, went into
the timber and found a very large log and felled it, made of it a huge
trough, placed it across the gully and it reached far enough to secure
a solid bed above the quicksand. Thirty years later, this "Cox Trough"
was still doing successful service as a flume.

In 1875, when Brigham strongly taught the principle of Cooperation,
this company of saints were organized by unanimous consent into the
united order of Enoch, and named their town Orderville. Their little
property, mostly cattle, horses and wagons, were owned jointly. Twelve
years father labored joyously and unselfishly in the "Order". The town
grew and thrived; the arts, schools and trades were remarkably well
represented by the young. Prosperity and a measure of plenty was there,
in spite of the fact that there were more inform people in that ward
than any ward in the church.

Then dissatisfaction and disunion came, and the "Order" broke up.
There was not a great deal of property to divide, although some people
came out with more property with others, according to the amount they
consecrated in. Mary and Eliza, father's second and third wives, each
received a team and wagon. Mary and her family located in Huntington,
Emery County, Eliza and her family in Tropic, Garfield County. Father
well along in years, and broken in health, could do little more than
advise his sons. Eliza was dying of cancer. In 1886 Orville S. Cox came
to Fairview to the best-provided for branch of his family. One year he
remained an invalid, and on July 4, 1888 he laid his exhausted body
down to rest. The passing was quiet and peaceful. His two wives Elvira
and Mary and many of his descendants were with him at the last.

The following are some of the thriving towns O.S. Cox assisted in
founding: Lima, Ill.; Pisgah, Iowa; Salt Lake City, Bountiful, Manti,
Gunnuson, Fairview, Glenwood of Utah; St. Thomas, St. Joseph, Overton
of Nevada Mt. Carmel, Orderville and Tropic of Utah.

If man ever earned his salvation, surely O.S. Cox did. Always found
in the van where the hardest work was to be done, and if he advanced
the cause one iota, no matter at what loss, or cost to himself, he
considered he had been eminently successful. Never was there a murmur
from him.

To illustrate the ingenuity of O.S. Cox's ditch making, here is the
story of the Pig Plow as told by an old settler of Fairview, Pappas
Brady.

"When the ditch was first laid out that was afterwards called "City
Ditch", every man and boy was called on to come and work on it every
day til it would carry water. This was in the spring, and it had to
be finished before the fields were ready to be plowed and planted.
The men turned out well with teams and plows, picks and crow bars and
shovels. There was a rocky point at the head of the ditch to be ut
through, and it was hard pan, about like cement. Couldn't be touched by
plow, no siree; now more than nothing. We was just prying the gravel
loose with picks and crowbars, and looked like it would take us weeks
to do six rods. Yes, six weeks. Cox looked at us working and sweating,
and never offered to lift a finger. No sir, never done a tap; just
looked and then without saying a word, he turned around and walked off.
Yes, sir, walked off! Well of all the mad bunch of men you ever saw
I guess he was about the maddest. Of course, we didn't swear; we was
Mormons and the Bishop was there, but we watched him go and one of the
men says, "Well, I didn't think Cox was that kind of a feller." His
going discouraged the rest of us, just took the heart out of us. But
of course we plugged away pretendin' to work the rest of the day, and
dragged back the next morning."

"We weren't near all there when here came Cox. I don't just remember
whether it was four yoke of oxen or six or eight, for I was just a boy,
but it was a long string and they was every one of a good pulling ox.
And they was hitched on to a plow a plumb new kind, yes sir, a new kind
of plow. It was a great big pitch pine log, about fourteen feet long,
and may have been eighteen, with a limb stickin' down like as if my arm
and hand was the log and my thumb the limb; he had bored a hole through
the log, and put a crow bar down in front of the knob; and cross ways
along the log back of the limb he bored holes and put stout oak sticks
through spikes. They were the plow handles; and he had eight man got
ahold of them handles find hold the plow level and he loaded a bunch of
men along on that log, and then he spoke to his oxen."

"Great Scott, ye oter seen the gravel fly, and ye oter heard us fellers
laugh and holler! Well, sir, he plowed up and down that ditch line four
or five times and that ditch was made, practically made. All that the
rest of us had to do was to shovel out the loose stuff; he done more in
half a day than all the rest of us could a done in six weeks."

"Why didn't he tell his plans the first thing, so we wouldn't be so
discouraged, and hate him so? Why, cause he knew it wouldn't do a might
of good to talk. He wasn't the Bishop; and even if he had been, plans
like that would sure be hooted at by half the fellers. No, siree! His
way was the best when a bunch of men and a thing a workin' they see
believe; yes, sir, seein' is believin."

  The Pioneer Mother

  Upon a jolting wagon sent she rode
  Across the trackless prairie to the west,
  Or trudged behind the oxen with a goad,
  A sleeping child clasped tightly to her breast,
  Frail flesh rebelling, but spirit never--
  What tales the dark could tell of woman's tears!!--
  Her bravery incentive to endeavor;
  Her laughter spurring strong men past their fears.

  O to her valor and her comeliness
  A commonwealth today owes its white domes
  Of State, its fields, its highways, and its homes--
  Its cities wrested from the wilderness.
  Its bones in memory above the hand
  That gentled, woman-wise, a savage land.

  --Ethol Romig Fuller



Transcriber's Note

The original pamphlet contains many images that were omitted in this
electronic version. Scans of the original work can be found at
https://archive.org/details/biographicalsket00sidw. The poem "The
Pioneer Mother," originally presented in a sidebar, has been moved
to the end of the work for improved readability on typical e-reader
devices.





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