Our Family Legacy
Clarence Smart Parkinson was born December 17, 1880, in Franklin, Oneida County, Idaho, a valey his father along with his first wife with five children and some other families founded in 1860. His Grandfather Thomas S. Smart was one of the early founders of Franklin also. Clarence was the son of Samuel Rose Parkinson and Maria Smart Parkinson. Clarence’s mother and Aunt Charlotte, his father’s second wife, and Maria’s sister, lived in a long rock house in Franklin. Their children grew up almost as one family as they lived here until between them they had 17 children. Clarence was the third son and seventh child so he was a part of this large family. Clarence was a man of medium height with dark brown wavy hair and brown eyes.
In his youth he worked on his father’s farm in Franklin and attended the elementary school in Franklin. When Clarence was a young man, about 1898 (at that time Glenn would be six and Clarence eighteen), Glenn recalls an incident involving Clarence. The practice in putting up hay was to stack most of it in the field to be available when needed. Stacking required two hay-rack wagons, on being loaded while the other was unloading. The crew consisted of stacker, fork-man who drove the hay –rack, two pitchers in the field and a boy to ride the derrick horse. The stacker’s skill was evidenced by the cemetry of the finished work. The process of stacking hay was to lower the fork by the derrick boy backing the horse. The fork-man pulled the fork to a position on top of the load of hay. The fork was thrust into the hay and locked in position and lifted when the fork-man hollered “yo-yo” to the derrick boy. The horse moved forward pulling the loaded fork to the top of the stack. The stacker guided the suspended fork-load of hay with his pitchfork to where he wanted it dumped; he then called “Trip”. The fork-man jerked the trip-rope and the tripped hay fork dumped its load. Holding the trip-rope taut, the fork-man guided the empty fork back to the hay-rack for another forkful as the derrick horse backed up to let the fork down. The returning for swung by the derrick rope some thirty feet up. With the trip-rope the fork was held steady over the stack. When the fork swung toward the hay-rack, it was guided to the wagon by the trip-rope. The fork-man controlled the fork by the trip-rope. If the derrick boy’s horse backed up fast, the fork came down fast. The fork tines weren’t sharp but the weight of the fork could pierce if dropped to fast and if the loader did not get out of its way. The last load of hay of the day was brought home and put in the loft of the barn. Before quitting time and with a small jag of hay, Clarence, who was helping with the hay, arrived home looking a sorry sight as a result of an injury from the hay-fork while unloading hay. With mother’s help he was washed and bandaged. He went through some stinging pain from the application of turpentine poured in the cute. Turpentine was the accepted disinfectant of the time. Glenn grew old enough to take on the responsibilities of chores; it was Clarence who guided him. His mother assigned the tasks and Clarence taught Glenn how easy they would be if done on time and in the right way. In his young days, Clarence sang with young folks on many occasions.
Susie, just a year and a quarter younger than Clarence recalls loving to hear him sign and harmonize with the group as they young folks drove in the bob sleigh to dances to the nearby communities of Cove, Richmond, or Whitney. Clarence often too Eva and Susie on these trips to dances and he was very attentive to his sisters. He always looked after them when they were out in groups with the young people. All his young days, he sang and played his guitar for many occasions. He had a wonderful disposition and was well liked. It was easy for him to sacrifice his own feelings for the benefit of others. Clarence attended school at the Oneida Stake Academy in Preston for one year and while there he lived with his oldest sister Luella. In his orderly way, Clarence always carried an account book in his pocket in which he kept a record of all money earned and spent. This to me was a very businesslike thing to do.
Clarence was a spiritually minded young man and always planned to go on a mission. At age twenty two, he was called to fill a mission in New Zealand. He arrived in Auckland, New Zealand, on September 27, 1902. In this far off land, he spent three happy years. While there he met and baptized a young woman named Macel. His oldest daughter was named for this woman he met in New Zealand. He took pride in his correspondence home and he was a very good penman. His resonant baritone voice served as a real asset in his missionary work on many occasions. After his release, his mother and Sister Luella and her daughter Laura met him in San Francisco together. From the Islands, Clarence brought home a trunk full of sea shells which his mother placed around in her home until her death.
A number of years later, about 1913, when Glenn was on a mission in Holland, he received a letter from Clarence giving him encouragement. He related the inspiration and testimony of the gospel he received from his own missionary experiences working with the wonderful people of New Zealand.
Clarence worked for Niels, his brother-in-law, in the Nielson Grocery Store in Pocatello, Idaho, where Niel was general manager. Clarence was liked by all at the store. He was a willing and good worker and a nice person to have around. While in Pocatello, he lived with Niel and Susie. They enjoyed him in their home as he was always cheerful and helpful and a brother to be proud of. It was easy for him to sacrifice his own feeling for the benefit of others.
Clarence married Charlotte Wright form Whitney, Idaho in the Logan LDS Temple, on October 8, 1908, three years after returning home from his mission and working in Blackfoot, Idaho. He and Charlotte lived in Blackfoot, Idaho where Clarence worked in the sugar factory until it closed down during the depression. At one time Glenn visited the sugar factory and Clarence arranged for a guide to show his through it. Clarence was foreman of the spinning machines that processed brown syrup into white granulated sugar and sacked it. His daughter Macel, remembers the brown sugar candy her father brought home in his lunch pail for her. She also remembers the little bungalow near the city park where they lived during this time and the little hill in back of it where she went to pick spring flowers especially after a rain. It was here that her sister, Ila, was born. It was called the Parkinson Addition. Clarence’s nephew, Stewart Parkinson and his family lived just a few block from them. The park was near the Fair Grounds where they held the fair every year.
While Glenn was in Blackfoot, he lived with George and Sadie Marshall on their farm about four miles north of town. He was on the High School basketball team and when they played out of town games, as tight as money was at the time, Clarence would pay his expenses. This was a period of hard times. The sugar factory operated from October through December so it was seasonal work. At one of the slack periods a represntive of a construction firm came to Blackfoot to recruit laborers for the construction of a damn at the head of Blackfoot River near Henry, Idaho. Clarence applied for the job. Glenn told him he would like to go along. Clarence arranged for it and Glenn was to get full pay although he was on about sixteen, Charlotte took a dim view of this adventure. The trip was by train to Bancroft and then to the damsite by way of Henry, an approximate eighty mile sleigh ride through drifting snow. Objections on Charlotte’s part were well taken; however, rent and groceries had to be paid for and they both hated debt. We left (Glenn and Clarrence) with Charlotte’s blessings and misgivings. Glenn ------- that every opportunity Clarence wrote home thoughts of reassurance and encouragement. He was a born optimist. The camp office building, cook house, bath house and bunk houses were located by a spring about a block from the dam. About a hundred men were employed. The work consisted of dynamiting, picking, breaking and shoveling rock into small dump cars, using a narrow gauge rail to haul the fill material to the dam. Work was nine hours a day. The signal to go to work in the morning was “All Out”, shouted by the boss. The clatter of picks, sledge hammers and shovels echoed up the adown the canyon during the working day. A water boy with a brass bucket and tin cup showed up about one an hour and gave us a cup of water, which we drank, hardly interrupting the work. This was a typical frontier labor camp.
We worked at this job for several months. At times some unpleasantness occurred between the men. Clarence was in the center of one fracas, a practical joker pulled chairs from under a person who was about to be seated. He gave this up shortly as being risky and one which might incur the wrath of the man. He was amused by hiding a stocking cap and similar things. He thus became the suspect for all such similar occurrences’. The men arranged their clothes on a chair beside their beds at night to be ready to jump into when the triangle sounded another day and the second ring fifteen minutes later meant breakfast was ready. One night after bedtime the joker mixed up the men’s clothing. He crammed socks into the toes of shoes of some of the men whom he was sure were asleep. The next morning a near pandemonium broke loose. When a man couldn’t get his foot into one of his shoes, it was because the missing sock was in the shoe. The men tried to see the humor and laugh it off. But who did the trick was an open secret. One morning when the “All Out” signal was given a few of the men could not locate their tools. One man missed a pick, another a shovel, a third a sledge hammer. The men so inconvenienced borrowed tools from their neighbor. Finally, giving up finding his tools, he sighed up for a replacement from the tool house. The foreman became aware of the predicament of the man, but he could not cope with the problem as he had no inkling of how it all happened. One evening in the bunkhouse, Clarence took it upon himself to accuse the preverbal humorist. The man denied having anything to do with the trouble. The following morning, the missing tools, however, were stacked where they were easily found. When everything had pretty much quieted down after this incident, the superintendent came to the bunkhouse and walked up to Clarence and proceeded to “bawl him out” for taking upon himself the disciplining of a camp laborer. Clarence kept his composure and repeated to the superintendent his complete story and complaints and called this man over to rehear his statements. The superintendent accepted the explanation and said he intended to get to the bottom of the affair. About a week later the “funny man” took a weeks’ vacation from which he did not return.
A couple of months after working on the job, a steam boiler was needed. Clarence go his brother –in-law Joseph Wright to try out for the new opening. Joe came, go the work and was the envy of all with his new job in an enclosed shed heated by the steam boiler. This happened about 1909. The work finish up in the latter part of may. Clarence and Joe Wright returned to Blackfoot and Glenn got a job herding sheep. Clarence advised Glenn that a Parkinson should have experience with sheep. Glenn’s next association with Clarence was on the Parkinson Brothers day farm in Rexburg, Idaho. They worked for Joe and Fred under his direction who was general foreman. Fred did the bookkeeping, besides his regular work, double ----- as he described it. Joe could be described as a expediter. He showed the recruited tenderfoot how to go about it to get their jobs done. As foreman of the operation, Ed saw to it that the energies put forth were concentrated on the production of saleable wheat. Wheat was sold for fifty cents a bushel. Dry seasons and early frosts resulted in ten to fifteen bushels of wheat per acre. It was as Joe said, “an uphill business.” Under these depressed condition, Clarence had his dry farm experience. The same was true for our brothers Tom and Hazen and also Glenn. Father and Aunt Charlotte were very much there too. Both took up a quarter section of land which became part of the Parkinson ranch.
Clarence never profaned nor did he drink liquor. He had a fine physique which he did not abuse. He adord his family. He respected his parents. And was a source of their pride. He seemed to have been born with a song in his heart and he kept it there throughout his lifetime. He never lamented not getting something for nothing. He wanted to earn fairly what he received. He had a hard and difficult life from a financial standpoint but he was a hard worker and very optimistic. Physically, socially and spiritually he was rich. After their first daughter, Macel was born, his wife, Charlotte had very poor health. She had several operations. Clarence always saw to good in people. He never talked negatively about people. He was religious and socially a very outgoing person and he enjoyed the respect of all who knew him. Susie recalls that when her haughtier LaRue was born, her mother weas in Pocatello. Clarence wrote her that Charlotte needed an operation. She had not been well for years and mother was worried. Luella and Lenna came to help Aunt Susie and be with Charlotte and be ready for her to come home to her husband and Macel. Aina Marshall recalls that she lived with her uncle Clarence and Aunt Charlotte a year when she was going to school in Blackfoot. Aina worked for her board. Aunt Charlotte took care of the children during the day and after school Aina took over. Uncle Clarence left to see what he could do elsesherea few years later when work was so scarce. Clarence had been painting for several years but work was very scarce. By this time they had another daughter, Venna. They had prayed for a baby for some time and in Venna their prayers were answered. When he left to find work Macel was 13, Ila 6 and Venna 2. The depression was a difficult period. He wanted Charlotte to sell their home and move to California but she wanted to stay near her folks especially since her health was poor.
Clarence came to Salt Lake City and stayed with his sister Susie and worked there for a while. Tom thought he could get stead work in California so he went to California and for a time stayed with Tom. He was active in his ward there and wrote Susie about a speaking engagement at church the following Sunday. Clarence was painting houses and sending what he could home to Charlotte and the children at the time of his accidental and shocking death at the age of 43. He had also been working for the Union Oil Co., when he fell from a ladder with a bucket of paint in his hand and lit on his feet. He was hurt internally and was taken to the hospital. He was getting along when something went wrong so a operation was necessary. He never regained consciousness. He died Nov. 9, 1923. Susie and Tom’s daughter brought his body home to Blackfoot for burial. Stewart Parkinson took care of his affairs after his death. Tom Parkinson settled with the company for $5,000.00 in behalf of his family. This amount was paid at $87.00 per month and lasted until Macel graduated from high school. She was 14 when he died.
As his daughter, Macel, I would like to add the memories I had of my father. We missed having a father through the years very much. I often wonder how my mother raised three girls alone and had them marry three wonderful men in the temple and all very active in the church and have fine families. I feel that this is a wonderful accomplishment and I’m sure made my father happy. My memories of my father are of his constantly working to keep our home and pay for medical care for my mother. He often played with us and took great pride in his family. He wanted college educations for us. Instead we each took our turn as we graduated from high school in working and keeping our family together. We always turned our pay check over to mother and she paid the tithing and made it go a long way. She did all our sewing and we were always well dressed. Perhaps this made us more unselfish that we would have been. I remember when my father’s trunk came home from Los Angeles; there was a watch for me for graduation from Junior High School. I had always wanted a watch. This was his last gift to me. I loved him very much and I still have the letters he sent to me from Los Angeles. We carried on a debate on which was the most value to society, old maids or bachelors. We were all looking forward to the time when he could send for us and had a stead joy. We his daughters are looking forward to the time when we shall meet and enjoy each other throughout eternity. I’m sure there was a purpose for his being taken from us. It made us stronger characters, I’m sure, because we had to carry on and work for each other and our wonderful mother. Our father and mother both came from wonderful families, and we have a great heritage to live up to and appreciate. We all know that this gospel is true and are trying hard to live it so that we will be united as a family.
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