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William Morse Price

by Kathryne Price Deschamps

To my brothers and sisters:

This is a story of our father’s life. I have compiled it from information and incidents I have heard him relate. I do not claim to be an accomplished writer, I have done the best I could. No doubt their are many mistakes and grammatical errors. Not knowing where to paragraph it properly, I have not done so. It is subject to constructive criticism, corrections, additions and changes. If anyone corrects, changes or adds to it, will you please send me a copy of what you did, so I will have the same story as you. You may have more accurate knowledge of the length of time we lived at different places and which children were born while we were living there, if so you may want to add their birthdates.

William Morse Price was born on 25 Sept 1884 in the town of Samaria Idaho, which nestles in the southwest side of the small green beautiful Malad Valley in Oneida County. He was the oldest child born to John Evan Price and Emma Morse Price. He later had four younger brothers and five younger sisters. His father came from Wales at the age of ten years. He was born in the house which his father built before his marriage to Emma Morse and which remained the Price family home until after the death of Emma M. Price. The house was a two room brick structure and was located near the center of town. His early childhood was spent in the normal way of life of the early settlers in the valley. At an early age he had to help his father on the farm, which consisted of one hundred and sixty acres in Pleasant View, about three miles from their home, and six acres in Samaria east of the meeting house known as the “little field”. The little field had a stream running through it, and was the common baptismal place for the town. Tom Thorpe baptized William in this stream when he became eight years old. When William was still too small to go [to] the field and work with his father, his task at home was to pull weeds and cut hay with the scythe for the horses and cows, which was hard work for a small boy. His uncle Daniel E. Price lived on the same town block as William and his parents. The town blocks were usually divided into four equal lots. One day William went with his father to his uncle’s place. His uncle was bald and William asked him why he didn’t have any hair and his uncle told him the flies had eaten it all off. One time when he was about six years old, he was with his father mending fences on the farm in Pleasant View. An Indian with a pack and carrying a rifle came up to them. He greeted them very warmly and called his father by name. This Indian was Chief Pocatello and was a good friend to the family, he also recognized the truthfulness of the gospel and joined the L.D.S. church. The family of John E. Price visited with their relatives who lived in different areas of the valley. At times, the entire family would all go in the wagon to Ruth Price Thomas and Fred Thomas’s ranch in Elkhorn and stay overnight. These visits were greatly enjoyed by the young children, they had a chance to get away from their chores and play with their cousins. The Thomas family would pay them return visits. Beds were made on the floor, children were tucked in at the foot of an already full bed, as they all had large families. The life of an early settler was not easy, the entire family worked very hard. William’s father was a good provider and a good manager. Although money was not very plentiful they always had plenty of food, and more of the necessary things than some of the people in Samaria had. They always had large gardens and orchards, and his mother and sisters worked all summer canning and drying fruit and storing vegetables. His father raised beef and pork for their meat supply and sometimes he was able to sell or trade a pig or beef for something which the family needed. One time when Dick Hill was speaking in a meeting in Samaria he said “I hear testimony that John E. Price is an honest man”. The children were taught by example by honest humble parents who wanted to raise a family they could be proud of. All families had in their possessions or had access to, what was known as a water sleigh which carried a fifty gallon barrel in which water was hawled (sic) from the Samaria spring to their homes for drinking, as well as for all household uses. The water was dipped by bucket from the spring into the barrel. Sometimes there were so many outfits at the spring for water they had to wait their turn. Each year after the grain was threshed, all of the bed ticks were washed and taken to the field and filled with clean straw, then hawled back home on a hayrack, enough straw was also brought home to put under the homemade carpets for padding. When William, who now was called Will, was not yet twelve years old, he was doing a man’s work. They had to hawl the grain to Collinston or Corinne Utah to sell it. Will would take his father’s team and wagon with a load of grain, he would travel in the company of some of the men who were hawling their own grain. The trip required at least two days, provided the weather and all things were favorable, if they went to Corinne it took three days. If conditions were not favorable it took much longer time. He had many interesting experiences hawling grain. One time when they were taking the grain, George Williams was in lead of the group and they had to go down a steep hill. John Daniels was afraid to drive his team down the hill so Will had to tie up his team and drive John Daniels’s team down the hill, then come back and get his own team and load of wheat down the hill. It seemed that everyone of the group wanted to get there first and be the first one unloaded so they were all trying to get ahead of the next man. One time Lewis Williams wanted to get unloaded first so he cut across someone’s lot in town where they were to unload, he was arrested and fined, so the rest of the group had a good laugh at his expense. Another time Will took a load of wheat to Collinston and they refused to buy it because it was smutty. So will had to take the wheat farther on to Honeyville. When he arrived there they had closed up for the night. However he did get his wheat unloaded then he had to unhitch his team and take them down to the river and bed down for the night. He had to get up very early in the morning and get back to Collinston to go home with the rest of the group. The first school he attended was a district school held in the David Edwards home. Frank McAtee taught him there. Later William B. Evans taught him at the same place. Then school was held in the old log meeting house, there he was taught by Johnny Davis, Tom Williams, Samuel D. Davis, Agnes Bowen, and Mary A. Hill. He also attended school held in the upstairs section of Ben Waldron’s store, which was divided by curtains into two rooms. Isaac Evans taught him there. When he attended school in the brick school house, Richard N. Hill and William W. Williams were the teachers. Because the school terms were short and he had to miss so much school to work, he was not able to finish the eighth grade until he was in his late teens. The first phonograph he ever saw was brought to the store by a salesman. He would charge fifteen cents to listen to it with earphones. If two persons used the earphones together, he charged them two for a quarter. Even though there was always work to be done they had their fun too, and seemed to have some of it playing pranks on their neighbors and friends. One time when Will and some other boys were putting a tick-tack on Joe Thomas’s window their prank backfired. As Will was running with the string to unwind the tick-tack while one of the other boys held it on the window pane, he ran into a bee hive and tipped over the top box of bees. The bees came swarming out and Will left the scene as fast as he could with no further thought of tick-tack that evening. He had wanted a pair of hair clippers for a long time, so finally he had enough money to send to Bond Street, New York for the clippers. When he received them, all of the friends wanted him to give them haircuts, which he was eager to do, much to their sorrow, he cut off all of their hair. However he later became quite skillful and gave many good haircuts to his friends and relatives, at no charge, for a good many years. When he was still a small boy, Bowens lived near them. One day William went to their home, George Albert Bowen was milking the cow. William got too close to the cow to please George Albert so he squirted milk all over him. When Will was about twenty years old he was sent to Collinston Utah to bring back a tombstone for the grave of William Morse. When he got there he discovered the stone weighed forty two hundred pounds. He had taken no help with him and would have had to return without the stone if some good hearted railroad workers had not helped him load it with their equipment. About this time he logged the logs out of the canyon and had them sawed at Indian sawmill and built a slope on his father’s house which consisted of a large kitchen and a small bedroom, later a shanty and screened porch were added. Will’s father and his sons worked Daniel E. Prices’ and William E. Morse’s farms and helped make a living for their families while they were on missions for the church, in Wales. Will nor his father fulfilled missions for the church, but they contributed much to making it possible for some of their close relatives to go. Samaria had become a prosperous and still growing community at this time. There were two mercantile stores where you could buy most anything you wanted, a millinery shop, a butcher shop, a saloon, a blacksmith shop, a jail and a large up to date brick hotel. The upstairs section of one of the stores was used for recreational purposes. People came from all over the valley and out west to attend the dances and programs and theater plays that were held there. Will’s father contracted to hawl the sand which was used in building the hotel. Will and his brother John hawled one hundred loads of sand with one team and one wagon, they averaged about a load a day. He worked at whatever work he could find when he was not working with his father. One of these jobs was herding sheep. When Will was twenty four years old he married Ann Hamblin (7 Jan 1908), they received their endowments in the Logan Temple (21 June 1916). Their first home was a log house in Samaria near his father’s home, owned by David Bowen. The inside walls and ceiling of the house were covered with factory (unbleached muslin). When it rained the ceiling leaked and they would have to put pans and buckets to catch the rain. Their first child, a daughter, Vera, was born while they were living there. On March 13, 1908 Will’s father passed away so Will worked his father’s farm to make a living for his mother and younger brothers and sisters as well as his own little family. Later on he bought one hundred and sixty acres of land and ten shares of water in Pleasant View from John Daniels. His main crops were wheat and barley. Here he built a log house for his little family. He logged the logs out of Big Canyon and built the house by himself. It was built across the hollow from Will White’s house. Will White had a shanty which he was no longer using, he told Will he could have it if he wanted to move it over to his place. Will was happy to have it, it was well built and lined with bricks and made another comfortable room to add to his little home. The shanty was very heavy and it was a difficult task to raise it and place it on logs, get it down the hill, across the creek and up the other side of the hollow. They used eight horses to pull it. Will and Annie (as she was affectionately called) planted an orchard and berry bushes and had a garden every year. Another daughter Ida, a son William H., and two more daughters Kathryne and Emma were born while they lived there. Will bought a new wagon, plow, harrow, harness and a black top buggy from the C. W. & M in Malad which was managed then by Ralph Harding. That was quite a large debt for him to assume. While he lived here he also worked on the county roads. Davy Joseph Davis was the county road supervisor and gave Will work keeping up the roads. After they had lived there about ten years, his crops froze one spring. He sold his farm - eighty acres he sold to Bennie Waldron and eighty acres he sold to August Lundquist. Then they went to live in the “old schoolhouse” in Pleasant View, which was a two room structure frame building. He worked at whatever work he could find to support his family. He continued to work on the roads when it was needed, he was also janitor for the new brick school house which was next door to him, and for the church building across the road from the school house. He also drove the school wagon. He would go to upper Pleasant View, pick up the children for school and take them home after school. In winter the bus was a wagon bed on runners, with a canvas cover on bows and seats along the sides, in spring and fall it was the same wagon bed on wagon wheels. At this time he had the first milk cow he ever owned. He bought it from Tom Hughes and they named it Bob because the dogs had chewed its tail off. After they had lived there for some time Will took Charles Thomas’s ranch in Pleasant View to farm on shares. The ranch had three hundred and sixty acres on which he raised hay and grain. The house was large and located at the foot of a long hill. The road to Holbrook and “out west” went past the house and many people stopped there on their way to Malad and back home again. At the top of the hill lived Will’s nearest neighbor. Everyone called him Bull Smith because he came into Malad Valley from Brigham City driving a team of bulls. He liked Will very much and when he passed away it was discovered he had left his entire possessions, ranch, house, farm machinery, animals etc. to be divided equally between Will, George Thompson, and Will Camp. The three men decided they did not want to take his property, that it rightly belonged to his widow and they turned it back to her. While living here he served in the Sunday School Superintendency. While he was not busy with the farm work he sometimes worked on the county roads and hawled many loads of gravel from the gravel pit west of the house. Sometimes he would get up before daylight to go to the pit and load up. They hawled the gravel in dump boards. One day Charles Thomas brought two black curly puppies. He told Will he could have his choice of them. The puppy Will chose, he named Jeff. This puppy became one of the finest cattle dogs in the valley. The other puppy was not so smart so Will made a good choice. He had many offers to sell Jeff for large amounts of money or profitable trades but he refused them, besides Jeff being a valuable dog Will was very fond of him. During the time they lived on the Charles Thomas ranch they had much sickness and accumulated hundreds of dollars in doctor and hospital bills. But he paid every cent of it as soon as he could. At one time he gave Dr. Mauers fifty sacks of best grade potatoes on his bill and the Dr. sold them for cash. They were fortunate enough to have good crops on the ranch. Will and Annie both worked very hard and their young son followed in his father’s footsteps and worked hard too. The girls helped with the housework and did small chores. While they lived here Will bought the first car he ever owned. It was a four door “Mitchell”, open touring car, it had side curtains with plastic windows to fasten on when the weather was bad. It had two jump seats that could be put up for use, and which all the children wanted to sit on - at the same time. He bought the car from John Palmer and paid one thousand dollars for it. After they had lived on the ranch for a number of years, Charles Thomas married Viola Peterson and took the ranch to run for himself. Will moved his family to Samaria. They moved into the Lewis Williams house, which the family always referred to as the “white house” because it was quite a large house and painted white. By this time another son, Earl, had come into the family. Will had to find work and a way of supporting his family. He had a good team of horses, the one named “Chub” he bought from Steve White, and the other, named “Bawly” he bought from George White, he paid about ninety dollars apiece for them. Bawley was a very good canyon horse, he could snake the logs down to the loading place where the wagon was without anyone directing him, he knew how to drag the logs without getting them caught and snagged on the trail. Will made part of the living for his family by logging logs out of the canyon and selling them. He also went to Park City and Bingham Utah to work in the silver and copper mines. He was also the water master for Samaria and Pleasant View Irrigation companies at different times for many years. His horse Bawley got his leg broken and had to be destroyed. Will rode Chub on the water ditch. He had no team to work in the canyon. He had not been using his car since he moved to Samaria. It was a large expensive car and seemed to always be in need of repair. He could not afford to keep it so he traded it to Ed Richards for a young team of black Belgian draft horses. This team was almost perfectly matched and one of Will’s most prized possessions. He gave them the best of care, they had oats to eat regularly, their coats were curried and shone like silk and they carried themselves proudly. Nearly everyone in the valley interested in good horses knew of “Pat” & “Mike” which he called them. Will used to hawl grain from Pocatello Valley into Malad depot during harvest time. One day just as he reached the depot with a load of grain some men came up to his outfit, unhitched his team quickly and were taking them away. He yelled at them and asked them what did they think they were doing - they answered, “don’t worry we will bring them right back.” They took them over to the scales and weighed them, then brought them back and hitched them up again. It seemed the men had bets on how much they would weigh. They weighed about thirty five hundred pounds. Will would go to the canyon and get logs and derrick poles and sell them all over the valley and sometimes in Utah. One time he sold some poles to a woman and her son in Utah, which he delivered with Pat and Mike. When the woman saw the horses she wanted to buy them, Will would not sell them and went home. Later she and her son came to Will’s place in her car, she was determined to buy the horses and said she wasn’t going home without them. When she finally realized he would not sell them she went home. One time he took a load of five derrick poled to Fielding Utah for which he received eight dollars apiece. The derrick poles were fifty to sixty feet long and had to be perfectly straight. They usually sold from two dollars and fifty cents to ten dollars apiece. Will was an expert canyon man and always had good poles and logs to sell, was an honest man to deal with, and for these reasons men would come from quite a distance to do business with him. Another little daughter, Betty, had joined the family now. Will started to farm the Lewis Williams farm on shares while he lived there and farmed it for several years. He raised hay, grain and potatoes. During this time he bought a new car, a Model A Ford. He served as superintendent of the Y.M.M.I.A. at this time. Elva Williams was president of the Y.W.M.I.A. He took part in several of the three act plays the M.I.A. produced. One of the plays they took to Holbrook to put on for the M.I.A. there. They got snowed in and had to stay there over night. Will stayed at Collin Sweeten’s house. Evan Martin bought the Lewis Williams farm and his son Lauren came to live in the white house. Will and his family moved into the Lewis Hughes house and lived there for a short time, then moved to the Will Jenkins house, both in Samaria. They were living there when their youngest daughter, Annie, was born. Will worked on the Public Works Administration for some time, poisoning weeds around on the farms in the valley, in Stone and Holbrook. In 1941 Will and Annie went to Ogden Utah to work in the defense plants. Their son Earl was in the Air Force and later a prisoner of war in Germany. Will worked at the Army Supply depot on 2nd St. The first three days he swept floors, then he was made squad leader over three or four men. He went to instruction classes there and learned enough Italian language to handle a squad of seven Italian prisoners of war who had been assigned to work there. They didn’t want to work and he had to get pretty tough with them. In 1945 Will and Annie bought the Hamblin home in Malad Idaho and moved back there to live. Then Will worked at “Chets Place” in Malad which was first owned by Jack Malouf, then Chet Edwards. After he left there he worked for Walt Jones on his ranch between Malad and Pleasant View. He became water master again for the Samaria Irrigation Co. and worked at that job until he retired. On Oct 3, 1963 Annie passed away at the age of seventy four. Will was very strict with his family. While they were growing up, his children were not allowed to do many of the things their friends were doing. They were not allowed to go many places their friends were going. He wanted his family to set high goals and live by high standards and have good characters. He has raised a family he can be proud of. They are good citizens and have made a place for themselves in the stream of time. They have raised families they are proud of. Will is a hard worker and has worked hard all his life. He always gave a good honest days work to anyone that he worked for and taught his children to do the same. They were taught the value of work, and knew the satisfaction of doing a job well, regardless of what it was. Will loves to hunt and fish and is an expert at both. His friends always like to hunt and fish with him because he always has good luck. He looks forward to fishing and hunting with his sons and sons-in-law when the fishing and hunting season opens.