Orin W. Jarvis
Son of George Fredrick and Eleanor Cannon Woodbury Jarvis
Grandson of George and Ann Prior Jarvis
Memories of the Orin Woodbury Jarvis Family
My father, Orin Woodbury Jarvis was the third child and the next to-the oldest son in a sturdy pioneer family which, at the request of Brigham Young, helped to colonize southern Utah in the early days of Utah history. He was called on a mission to the southern states in 1897, where he suffered many trials and persecutions; being mobbed, stoned, shot at and poisoned with strychnine. On his way home at the close of his mission, he stopped in Salt Lake to call on a cousin, Alice Cannon, who worked in the Deseret Bookstore. She introduced him to her best friend, Alice Anna Young, who also worked in the bookstore keeping books.
After continuing home to his family, he later returned to northern Utah and attended Brigham Young Academy. He was able to pursue his friendship with Alice Young, and married her on August 5, 1903 in the Salt Lake Temple.
My parents were both very staunch in living their religion and tried to instill their ideals into their children.
George and I were born in Provo, where Dad attended school and also taught the first missionary training class there. I am not sure when the next two or three moves were made, but sometime between 1906-1908 we moved to Uinta County in northeastern Utah. My brother Karl was born at Jensen, Uinta County on September 23, 1908. Sometime later my father homesteaded a piece of land on or near the Indian reservation in that area. Grandma Young homesteaded nearby too. (Alice had not seen her father since she was eight years old.) I do not have many memories of this place, however I do have a mental picture of the inside of the house. It was an unfinished cabin which my father was building and I remember the raw two by fours on the walls and the bare rafters overhead,
George was nearly old enough to start school, so my folks decided they had better get nearer a school. They sold the homestead and moved to southern Nevada, where my father worked on a farm for some people named Angel. I remember the large old two story frame house, and we lived in a small apartment in the back part. The only other things I remember about that place are an enormous old fig tree at the side of the house and a large field of asparagus in front,
By the time I was six we were living on another farm called Capalapa, and I think Dad was an overseer. It must have been a large place because there were several tenant cottages, one of which we lived in.
I think we moved around quite a bit at this time because my father was continually trying to better himself in his work. By the time I was seven we had moved to the southern branch of the Nevada State Experiment Farm at Logandale and Dad was the superintendent. In June of 1912 the Moapa Stake was organized and my father was called to the High Council.
My younger brother Karl and I used to squabble frequently, so one day my father said he would help us! He gave us each a little willow switch in our right hands and made us hold each other by the left hands and dance around in a circle hitting each other's legs with the switches. I was older so I had to have bare legs and Karl could have his overall legs down. If we didn't hit hard enough he would tell us to hit harder!
I remember another incident which happened here. In the summer Mother used to do the laundry in the back yard. She had a place fixed up to boil the clothes in a large round tub and kept a can of lye close by in the crotch of an umbrella tree. One day Karl was trying to climb into the tree and knocked the can of lye down and spilled it all over him. Mother ran him into the house and quickly sponged him all over with vinegar to counteract the lye. Another catastrophe averted!'
We had a hand-powered washing machine which turned with a fly wheel and we children were supposed to take turns running it. When the fly wheel got to running fast it was easy, we just had to keep it going. My father made a great many improvements on the place while we were there. I remember them putting in a concrete cistern back of the house and it was equipped with a special filter to purify the ditch water that ran into it. He built a large barn out back which was especially designed to house the cows on one side and the horses on the other side. Hay and straw were stored in the center. There was also a heavy wagon scale for weighing loads.
We had five horses, one of which was a smart little saddle horse named Fanny belonging to my father. There was a big heavy work team named Fox and Barney and a driving team Dan and Dolly, bay colored.
Everywhere we went we traveled in the old white topped buggy--no fringe! To this day I have the grey suede driving gloves which my mother wore when she drove the team. It took about an hour to drive the five miles to Overton for the weekly shopping. There was only one car in the whole valley! We children went along for the ride and the outing.
We had all the advantages of living on a farm. Mother made and sold about a hundred pounds of butter a week. We had all the cream and butter we could use plus fresh vegetables and fruit. We had two long hedges of pomegranates, one sweet and one sour. We ate the sweet ones and Mother made jelly of the sour ones. They must have fed some to the pigs, there were so many. When they would butcher a pig, Mother would make, among other things, large amounts of sausage and pack it in lard buckets and cover it with about a half inch of melted lard. We and the pigs had all the milk we could drink.
After my father took over the experimental farm, he did a lot to improve the livestock. He acquired a small herd of purebred Holstein cows, some Poland China pigs and a small flock of registered sheep. Karl and I were sometimes required to watch the sheep so they wouldn't get under the fence by going into the ditch. One day we got to playing and the sheep got out on to the public road. I remember running after them and bawling my eyes out because I couldn't catch them! Then a young man came along on a horse and ran them back in for us! We were scolded later for not tending to business.
When Gordon was almost due, Dad took mother over to Las Vegas to a nursing home where he was born February 3, 1913. When he was about six months old we all went on a picnic on the folk's anniversary, August 5th. They decided to "kill two birds with one stone" and fumigate the house for weevils by burning sulfur in pans around the house. We picnicked on the bank of the Muddy River and all went wading except Mother and the baby. George had a boy friend with him and this boy prevented Karl from being drowned. The boys wore old overalls and I wore an old dress and underclothes. We were just standing around in the edge of the water and Dad was facing the bank and standing in water to his waist, when the other boy started yelling and pointing behind Dad. He turned around just in time to see Karl floating past with only a little bit of his back showing above the water! Dad reached out and grabbed him by his overall straps and lifted him sputtering from the water. Karl said he couldn't breathe under the water.
The Muddy River would every once in a while flood its banks and all the low places. One year it flooded across some of the farm where we lived. I remember that it ran between the house and the barn, which were both on higher ground. My father was desperately trying to drive the sheep from a small knoll, where they were huddled, to the barnyard before the water got too deep. Like all sheep they could not be driven when in panic. He then went and got a sheepskin and draped it over his head and shoulders and stooping way over, he dragged the bellwether along with him, and the rest of the sheep followed along to the safety of the barnyard.
By the time Dad had been here two years he began to realize that he wasn't as interested as he had thought in actually farming himself and raising crops. What he wanted to do was to teach others how to do it. He realized that he needed more education for that kind of work so he decided to go back to school. He borrowed money and attended the Agricultural College in Logan, now Utah State University. With his wife and four children he moved again in September 1914 and was in Logan for three years.
We lived in a little house at 445 N. 4th East, which was within walking distance of the college. This was the first house we ever lived in which had electricity, just a light bulb at the end of a green cord hanging from the ceiling; but it was a change from kerosene lamps.
We still had to bathe in a round tub in front of the kitchen range. We had water for the kitchen sink but no indoor toilets. In those days all the houses had barns in the back yard instead of garages, and a cow instead of a car!
In the summer Dad traveled around selling for the Utah Knitting Works. About the second year here Dad bought their first car--a 1914 Ford. Boy, did we feel important to be riding around in an automobile!
We arrived in Logan in September 1914. In October one night it started snowing and we did not see the ground again until the first of May. There were high drifts and we played and had lots of fun. I remember my father making us a giant snow man out on the south side of the yard. It was so large that I do not know, how he ever managed to get the second ball on top of the bottom one. It stayed there all winter! And it was at least three weeks after the other snow was gone before the snow man melted!
We lived in Logan 5th Ward and I remember that our Sunday School superintendent was Dr. Franklin S. Harris.
While Dad was attending the A.C. all the married students were called Benedicts, and had their own clubs and picnics, etc. Because my father was such a large, husky man the football coach practically begged him to join the football team, but Dad was afraid he might be injured and leave his family to suffer. However, he took part in other sports such as shot put and hammer throw. I remember one time when Mother made a great long red and blue calico dress (about 8-9 feet long) with a sun bonnet to match. Dad hoisted a very small man to his shoulders and they put on the dress and sunbonnet, then paraded around the track. They were quite a sensation!
One winter when Christmas was approaching, Mother sent Karl and me around the block to some people who had Christmas trees for sale. For 35 cents we bought the prettiest tree I have ever seen! It was only average height but beautifully shaped and so thick that we couldn't see through it. It was a treat to have a real evergreen tree. In Nevada there were none, and Dad made our trees by tying large branches of mistletoe together. (The sticky little berries always made a big mess.)
We children went to school at the Whittier School several blocks down the street. Our neighbor next door, Mr. E. J. Clark, was the school principal.
One Sunday we children attended Stake Conference with our parents in the Logan Tabernacle and had the opportunity of shaking hands with President Joseph F. Smith. I just have a hazy recollection of an old man with a long white beard bending down to shake hands with me. George Jarvis notes: "I took Lucile and we got in line. I remember his nice warm hands and kind eyes as he leaned over and shook hands with each of us."
On October 27, 1915 my sister Dorothy was born in the house where we lived. That morning the folks sent us older children off to some celebration which was going on in the town. By the time we returned home in the late afternoon we had a new little sister!
In the winter of 1916 we children all had the measles. I brought "it" home as usual, and Karl got it the worst. This time though, we nearly lost Dorothy. She was fourteen months old and had pneumonia after the measles. It was probably administration by the Priesthood which pulled her through.
When Dad's graduation was approaching, he obtained a job in California working for a sugar company at Tracy, where he was to supervise the sugarbeet fields. He left about a month before graduation and Mother and we children came out on the train about a month later when school was out. We lived in Tracy for about a year, then moved to the little village of Knightson, so Dad could be closer to his work. The fall that we lived there, George entered high school, and like all boys his age, left off his knickers and long stockings, for long trousers. He was now a man!
On the evening of November 11, 1918 we all wondered why the train, crossing the valley, had its whistle stuck. We found out the next day that the Armistice had been signed ending World War I and the crew was celebrating!
About the last week in November 1918 we moved to Sacramento, where Dad had been appointed County Farm advisor, a position he held for over a year. This was the year of the big influenza epidemic. I guess none of us had it. I remember that everyone had to wear gauze flu-masks when in public. After living in Sacramento for two or three years my parents decided that they were able to buy a home of their own, so they did and we moved to 3921 lst Ave, the large, old two-story house next door.
After one and a half to two years as Farm Advisor Dad took a position as Land Appraiser for a local bank at an increase in salary of about $100 a month. We children thought we were rich!
While Dad was still Farm Advisor he heard about an essay contest being held by the California Milk Producers Association for school children, telling about the value of milk as a food, and its vitamin content, etc. Vitamins were still quite new then. Dad talked George, Karl and me into entering it. The boys each won $1 and I won $5. George was in high school but the rest of us attended Leland Stanford Grammar and Junior High.
In Tracy there was no LDS Branch of the church. The few members residing there met together in each others' homes for occasional meetings, but not on a regular basis. My father took some of us and attended the Methodist church, he even taught a class there. In Sacramento there was an organized branch of the church which they attended. They met in Muddox Hall in Oak Park. There was just this one IDS branch in Sacramento until 1927 when three branches were made--Homestead, Sutter, and Sacramento.
As Karl grew into his teens, he was very interested in growing things-and there was a great deal of discussion and conversation with our parents on this subject. (My father had a lot of technical knowledge along these lines.) We had an extra lot east of the house and there was always a large garden. One year Karl and Dad planted a lot of fig tree cuttings, and when they were rooted and well started they budded them to other varieties. Later, when some were again growing good they sold the survivors to a nursery.
One day when Karl was in his early teens, he called Mother to come out and watch. He was going to demonstrate the law of gravity! Soon after, she came back in doubled over with laughter. When she could talk she said that Karl had tied a rope between two trees and had a tire fastened on it. He climbed into one tree, then got into the tire with his legs through it and. holding on with his hands. He let go of the tree and slid to-the bottom of the sag in the rope, when the rope broke and let him down to sudden and sharp contact with the ground! Karl was a little put out with Mother for laughing, but when something struck her funny, she had to laugh no matter what!
There was another time when Karl unintentionally demonstrated the law of gravity, but no one was around to see. I think he was about seventeen, when one day he climbed out his bedroom window onto the back porch roof for something. This roof, being on the north side, was quite mossy and slippery. Karl slipped and fell and slid head-first down the roof and out into space, but landed on the double clothes line, which was attached to the edge of the porch landing. The wire held, and flipped him back onto the landing, where he lit standing on his feet!!! His guardian angel was with him that day or he could have been killed, or badly injured as it was at least 15 or more feet from the ground!!
There-was another incident involving Karl in his middle teens. He decided one day to make himself a pair of stilts that would get him up in the world. They were not just the common garden variety of stilts, but the kind you strap to your legs, leaving your hands free. Instead of keeping them to an average height, he made them at least six feet long, most of it below his feet. He could back up to the front porch railing and sit down, and it was a full six feet above ground. When Dad saw his stilts and how they bowed when he walked, he gave an ultimatum. They had to be shortened or discarded. Karl-raised such a fuss that Dad just got his saw, sat Karl down, and cut off about three feet from each one!
When Karl was about fourteen, Mother had major surgery for the removal of two tumors, which proved to be malignant. While she was still in the hospital, Dorothy (about eight) developed a bad sore throat and was quite miserable. I took her to our family doctor and learned that she had DIPHTHERIA. Because it was too soon for Mother to come home from the hospital, the doctor decided to hospitalize Dorothy to make things safer for Mother. All of us had to have throat cultures taken, and those which were positive had to go to the hospital until they had negative cultures three days in a row. George and I were negative, but Karl and Gordon were positive, so they had to spend time in the hospital.