Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Melancholy Surprise

Through the years Ben the Wagon Boy aka Benjamin Woodbury Driggs has held a special place in my heart. What I knew about him was his happy childhood in Nauvoo, his sweet sacrifice of his wagon, and that he was Dad's quite famous Grandfather Driggs. Even the stories about Indians were safe enough that children could watch from nearby!

When we were at Martin's Cove on a YMYW trek we found his name among those who went to the rescue of those saints.

With all of this there has been a sunny mist over my thoughts of him and our Great-grandmother Rosalie Ellen Cox Driggs living in Pleasant Grove -- with an emphasis on "pleasant". I knew that he had spent some time in jail because of polygamy. Even then, Dad always put a happy slant on that era. But I was unaware of how difficult much of his life actually was.

In gathering and typing up family histories, I came upon the following life history he wrote of himself. Perhaps as you read it, you will feel as I have -- a deep gratitude for his faithfulness in the face of hardships and a greater determination to go forward into the future of our day with steadfast courage and cheerfulness.


The Life of Benjamin Woodbury Driggs

written by Himself

February 18, 1901

Born in Ohio, May 13, 1837. Moved to Nauvoo, Illinois in 1842. Lived there during the building of the Nauvoo Temple - and also through the mobbing and martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith.

My father and mother were baptized by M. H. Peck in the Mississippi River. We left Nauvoo in the summer of 1846. My grandfather Henry White died in Nauvoo. My grandfather [Urial] Driggs, died in Iowa - 1846, buried in a little opening in the timber. My father made his coffin. We continued our journey that summer and arrived at Council Bluffs in October same Fall. Settled in "Thomas Camp", afterwards called Driggsville and Big Pigeon. My father made a farm and worked it. His trade was wagon building. I helped both in the shop and on the farm. We broke up new prairie and timber, and raised cattle.

We left Iowa June 30th. Crossed the Mississippi River and started for Utah, July 4th. Crossed the plains with ox teams and arrived in Salt Lake City, October 2, 1852 after a trying journey.

We went to Uncle S. Driggs’ in Kaysville where my sister, Eliza was born two weeks after our arrival. We moved to Battle Creek, Utah County. Made us a home, a log house, at the corner of _______field - now Lindon. In 1855, Indians broke out bad. We all moved into the fort, July 24, 1855. We were harassed by the Indians, had to guard our animals and stand picket guard during the summer months. In the winter the snows kept them out.

I attended school in the winter. Worked on the farm, and in the canyons.

In 1855 I went to San Bernardino, California with J. H. Rawlins and my Uncle Starling G. Driggs. I lived with J. H. Rawlins - stayed one year and a half. I returned in the Fall of 1856, rode horse back came with the U. S. Mail. I found my parents and all well.

December 3rd went with others to assist delayed immigrants. We went as far as Ft. Bridger -- very hard trip, snow deep. Then I attended school.

February 16th, 1857 I married Olivia Pratt, Elder Orson Hyde officiating. I worked about town during the next summer. I made adobes and built me a home which is now standing, [February 1901], in fair condition.

In September of 1857, I volunteered to defend my country and people against the encroachment of Uncle Sam. Went out with a company of Cavalry, L. W. Willis, Captain. I stayed all that Fall and helped to build fortifications in Echo Canyon. Cashed iron burned from wagons on Green River and Big 'Sandy - did not return until December. Very trying trip. Suffered from cold and hunger with little clothing, during the next winter.

My first son, B. W. Driggs Jr., was born January 3lst, 1858. My family was very low. We did the best we could but that was very meager. My home was left uncovered during winter. I worked at odd jobs moving hay, canyon work, etc. In March 1860 my eldest daughter, Ella Olivia was born in our house partly finished. Times were hard. We scraped together a few articles for house keeping, paying as high as $3.50 per set for tea cups and saucers and plates. Father made us a table and bedstead. Mother divided beds and bedding with us. I worked early and late on the farm for others. I hauled hay to Camp Floyd and Mercur. I worked at a Sourgum molasses mill in the season for such work.

On October 12th, 1862, Luna Belle, my second daughter was born. That Fall I worked on a molasses mill with Bishop H. Walker. In that winter with C. B. Hawley, went to Reese river to deliver oats to the Overland Mail Co.... came back the last of December - very hard trip suffered from cold. Found many sick of typhoid fever. James Hawley died the next day after our arrival.

In the summer of 1864, in company with John Long and J. L. Foutz, I went to Sweetwater blacksmithing and trading with the emigrants, returned in August.

November 20th, Don C. was born. I worked at blacksmithing with John Long. Went out east in 1865 and 1866, with a blacksmith outfit - was on Sweetwater, Greenriver and Hansfork. Done some work at track laying for Mr. Granger where the Y station now stands.

In 1867 went to Sanpete on General W. B. Pace's Staff. Done service that summer and became acquainted with Miss Rosalie Ellen Cox of Manti, whom I married in Salt Lake Endowment House October 5th, Wilford Woodruff officiating. She taught school and tended the telegraph office the next two years. I worked at blacksmithing.

I was called to go to the Muddy but was recalled by President Young. I got ready, sold part of my property and made every preparation to take my wife Rosalie, then came the recall. I worked at my trade.

In 1868 I took a contract on the Union Pacific Railroad in Echo Canyon. Carried on store keeping then sold out to Pirson Cook as it was the counsel to do so. ~~ The End

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Those Were the Days!

When Uncle Owen came with Aunt Marrian and his family to celebrate his birthday in 1958, he was 38 years old.

It was a great occasion with three of his four siblings and their families--Maureen and Clarence, Kathryn and Percy, and Paul and Beth--in Logan.

Does anyone know who is behind Aunt Maureen and who is on Paul Barker's left?