Our Family Legacy
When a small boy a white swelling came on his leg and he was healed by faith under the hands of Ashal Smith a relative of the Prophet Joseph Smith.
He was baptized into the church when he was nine years of age.
My father came to Utah in the Perrigreen Sessions Company. He was only about twelve years old at that time, but drove two yoke of oxen across the plains. He labored with his father until he was 21 years old. He married Frances Reeves 20 March 1857. My Mother was the daughter of William Reeves and Frances Long. She was born 14 June 1840 in Faulsgreen Shropshire Co. England. Mother was the youngest of four children and only three years old when her parents came to America. She was a very delicate child and no one thought she would live to reach America. On the passage over my Grandmother would shower her with salt water every morning and by the time the landed in America she was strong as any child. Mother was still very small when her Father died. She with her Mother and the rest of the family crossed the plains to Utah.
As small as she was, Mother always remembered their journey across the plains and used to tell about it. Their wagons were driven by cows, and these cows also furnished milk for them. Butter would be churned by the movement of the wagon as it joggled along. Nights milk had to be churned mornings and this was Mother's job. She says she cried and churned every morning. Her mother and sister had small pox coming across the plains. Her mother, Frances Long Reeves later married my father's Father, William Wesley Willis. My parents first became acquainted then. When they became step brother and sister. My Mother was 18 when she and Father got married and he was 21.
Early in 1858 when my parents had been married nearly a year they moved to Tokerville. My brother John Henry Jr. was the first white child born in Tokerville. In the spring of 1860 my parents with several others moved to Kanarrah and to help settle it. Kanarrah and Tokerville were named after some Piute Indians Chiefs who were friendly with the whites.
Father built a nice brick house in Kanarrah the first one built there. My parents lived there about 19 years and all their children were born in Kanarrah except the two oldest children who were born in Tokerville and the youngest who was born in Snowflake. They had 12 children and 11 boys and one girl. Their names were John Henry Jr., William Wesley, Amasa Marion, Lamuel Josia, George Merril, Lewis Albert, Della Ann, Ira Reeves, Heber Tillman, Rhodam Ableo, Angus Long, and Parley.
In 1865 Father married Margaret Elizabeth his second cousin. She was the daughter of William Thomas Willis and Elizabeth Patterson Wilson. She was born 18 Nov 1847. They had five children, three sons and two daughters. Frances Elizabeth, John Patterson, Clinton Chester, William Harrison, and Anna Eliza.
Father's two wives lived near each other nearly all their lives and never had any trouble at all. We called Father's second wife Aunt Lizzie and thought as much of her children as our own brothers and sister.
Father and Mother pioneered most all their lives. They were called to help settle Arizona in 1878. Father went to Arizona looking for a location. He crossed Lee's Ferry, came to Little Colorado River to Winslow in to Tonto Basin. Through the Salt River Valley then back to Snowflake where he bought a place in Snowflake. We often had Indian scares for the Apache tribe frequently got on the war path, then Father would move to the little town of Snowflake for safety till the Indians would quiet down. We lived there for about six years when Father found it necessary to move the cattle to a new location because of cattle thieving and drought in that country around Snowflake. We then moved to Tuba City. The four oldest boys had married and had homes of their own in Snowflake so they did not move to Tuba City with us. Father stayed there two years and then decided to move to Cannonville Utah. He bought a home there for Aunt Lizzie in 1887 and moved her and her family and the cattle to Utah. In the meantime Mother took her family back to Snowflake until Father could move us to Utah, he intended buying Mother a home there too but before he could accomplish it he was stricken with a cancer on the jaw. Mother went with him to Beaver city where he was treated by the best Doctors. They could but all in vain the cancer ate the side of his face away and when it finally got into the jugular vein it caused his death. He died 28 Feb 1888 in Beaver City Utah.
He held many offices one of which was Bishop Counselor in Kanarrah to Brother Roudy. He always provided well for his family. He was a farmer and stock raiser. He owned a shingle mill and shoe shop adjoining his ranch, south of Snowflake. His political standing was Republican. Father took great pride in his family of boys. He was the father of 14 boys and 3 girls, was very proud of them and raised them to be honest, virtuous, self-supporting citizens and good Latter Day Saints.
Father had sold the old home in Snowflake to my brother, Amasa Marion and William Wesley when he started to move to Utah. At his death we were without a home and a big doctor bill to pay. There was plenty of cattle to buy a home, pay the bills, and support the family but means were not so plentiful because many of the cattle had died from the drought. My oldest brother, John Henry Jr. took charge and was put in as administrator of affairs and sold enough cattle to pay off all the debts and buy Mother a home and small farm in Snowflake, ten acres of ground. Mother was a hard working woman all her life, she was the mother of 12 children and raised them all to manhood and womanhood. In the early days spun and wove their own cloth to make their own clothing and spun and made the yarn and knit the yarn for their stockings.
Father would bring in salaratus which you could find in the crude state. Mother would dissolve this and use it for soda in baking bread. She used to burn grease wood for ashes which used to make soap. In early times there was no market for butter and they would have a great deal more than they could use. Mother would store the surplus in big crocks then she would mix the grease wood ashes with it and make soap. After Father died, Mother very poor health and was under the doctor's care for several months she suffered from stomach trouble which the doctor treated and cured. When she was well again and living in Snowflake she worked as hard as ever doing what she could to help make a living. Mother worked in the Ward Relief Society, also worked as a teacher. She was at one time a counselor in the Stake Primary and took much pride in her public work. At 80 years of age Mother was still able to do her work but her hearing and eyesight and memory began to fail her, she died 31 Aug. 1924 at the home of her daughter Dolla Willis Hunt in Snowflake. She still owned her home and farm but not being able to do for herself visited around with her children the last two to four years but always longed to be independent and do for herself. She was 84 at her death.
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