Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Jacob Heathcote Langston (1863-1930)

Apparently written by Myrtle Kezia Langston, Jacob's fifth child, though this is unconfirmed.

Jacob H. Langstonw as the young man chosen by Alice Maude Hall to be her mate -- "to love, honor, and cherish him throughout all time and eternity."

He was born in Rockville, Washington County, Utah, on January 20, 1863, and was the first white child born in Rockville after the settlers made their homes there. His parents were John Langston and Clearinda Phillips, who, with the William Crawford and Marills Terry Hanson families, were the first settlers in the Dixie area, now the present site of Rockville.

Father was baptized in the Virgin River at the age of eight and was confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. His childhood was spent among pioneers of the Dixie country, so his experiences were of pioneer type -- rugged but always happy. The first experience of which he remembered, however, was not so pleasant. When his mother took away his little green dress, which he thought was the best ever made, and put him in pants, proved to be a very sad day in his life.

His schooling was very limited, having spent but a few weeks all total in the class room, but he learned to read very well and became an exceptional speller. Through his great interest in the news papers, history, and church books, and other reading materials which was available, he gained a fair knowledge. His personal endeavor to learn helped him in all his life activities, which were varied and interesting.

During his sixth year, father remembered of a very thrilling yet frightening experience. At the time there was a big flood in the Virgin River, and it was a very interesting sight to all in the near vicinity. Men, women, and children from the community were lined along the river bank, high above the water line, watching the roaring flood. One of father's young playmates, thinking it would be a great joke, pushed him off the bank into the swirling,muddy river.

He was quickly swept out of sight with the debris in the flood, as the horrified onlookers stood helplessly on the river bank. Fortunately, father's older brotehr, Frank, was some distance below where he was pushed into the stream, pulling driftwood out of the river, which was to be used for fuel. Several people shouted to Frank and told him to get Jake out as he was swept along with the current. So Uncle Frank waded out into the swift water and tried to catch every floating object, with the hope of finding father. While Uncle Frank was scanning every inch of the surface of the water as it passed by him, an object lodged against his legs. He reached down and caught what proved to be father's hair and pulled him out of the water. He looked more like a mud hen than a little boy and seemed dead. After an hour of trying to revive father by rolling him on the ground, he regained consciousness. That night he broke out with the measles and was a very sick boy because of his weakened condition due to the near drowning. The proper medical care could not be secured; consequently there seemed no hope for father. In his own little heart, however he felt that if his mother would only anoint him with consecrated oil and pray for him, he would get well. He was too weak to even speak and tell her, but his mother felt impressed of the same thing, so she followed the dictates of her heart. After doing so, father rested and began his recovery.

When nine years old, father remembered of having malaria fever for nine months. During the long siege he became very weakened. One night he seemed to be possessed with a power over which he had no control and he told his parents that the devil was after him. He held his hand over the lamp and burned himself badly, and did other similarly foolish things. Finally his father, sensing a seriousness to the situation, asked Uncle Alfred Stout to assist him in administering to father. After the administration, father laid calm and relieved of the affliction and went to sleep.

Father enjoyed many and varied sports during his youth, such as, pugilistic encounters with the young Indians who lived in the vicinity, group contests of mud fights, apple (green) fights, wrestling, ball games called "rounders", horse racing, and swimming in the Virgin River.

At the age of seventeen, father was ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood by Charles N. Smith on Feburary 19, 1881. This ordination to the office of Priest seemed to make a real change in his life, for he felt the necessity of being exemplar and of living a more religious life. HE always had a great deal of faith in prayer and his Heavenly Father, but was never asked to pray, nor did he remember of ever having prayed aloud until after this particular time in his life. The children were not asked to do much public service during his youth, and did not receive the advantages and benefits that the young people of today receive. From the following incident one can see the handicaps those pioneers labored under once they did begin to participate in their church and community. It was father's first experience in acting as a Ward Teacher. The first home he and his companion went to visit, father led the way but was so frightened that he entered the house without knocking. He quickly apologized, but he felt very keenly his situation.

Three years later, father was ordained an Elder on March 11, 1884 by Brother Charles N. Smith. Soon after this occasion he went to the temple in St. George and received his endowments. Six months later, on October 1, 1884, he was married in the St. George Temple to Alice Maude Hall, a very high-minded, noble young girl. President David H. Cannon performed the marriage of the young and eager couple. To them during their sojourn on this earth were born nine children, two sons and seven daughters, namely: Maude (Bishop), J. Alma Langston, Ella (Mecham), Sarah L. (White), Myrtle K. (Wright), Charles John Langston, Carrie (Theobald), Tressa (Terry), and Enola (Shalts).

From the many experiences which he had in rearing his family, we desire to record a few faith promoting and interesting episodes for those of his children who read this short personal history.

In 1892, father and Uncle John Stout rented a saw mill in Mt. Trumbull mountain in northern Arizona from David Stout, and moved their families there for the summer. At the close of the season he loaded his wagon with some lumber and house-hold belongings and moved back to Rockville. On the way they came to a very sandy area, and all the family who were able climbed off the wagon and walked in order to lighten the load. Alma, who was just five years old, climbed up on the seat in the front of the wagon. The seat consisted of a barrel with a tub turned upside down over it. Then the wagon suddenly lurched as it passed over a large rock when they were going down a rocky incline. Alma slipped off the seat and fell behind the horses hoofs and the wagon wheel passed directly over his head. When father picked him up his little head was rolled out to half its normal thickness, with one eye bulging, almost broken loose from the head and resting on the upper cheek.

Father called to mother, who was behind with Julia Stout, and the two women hurried to the scene. Mother promptly took his little head in her hands and gradually and firmly shaped it in a round shape again, placed the eye back in position. She quickly bandaged Alma's head, and, getting the consecrated oil, asked father to administer to him. After the administration, the group hurried as fast as a slow team of horses could take them to Rockville, about twelve miles away.

There were no doctors available to the pioneers in those days, therefore the injured had to rely on the knowledge of a self-trained nurse and the loving care of a mother. Mother faithfully nursed Alma for a few days, although father said they never expected him to live, and his injury seemed to heal all right. He suffered no apparent ill effects except that the pupil of the injured eye never would dilate properly.

On another occasion while father was moving alfalfa at his farm at Crank, which is located on the road between Rockville and Springdale, Alma was running here and there pulling green onions that had gone to seed. The alfalfa had grown thick in an old garden spot. Father did not know whether Alma had run in front of the mower knife or not. Before he could get the horses stopped, Alma had been cut in the instep of his foot by the knife. On examination, father found that an artery had been cut and quickly gave first aid with handkerchief and shirt, and then took him home as fast as he could.

Two nights later Alma awakened father by saying, "My foot is all wet." When the lamp was lighted father found that the artery had opened up again, and Alma's face was absolutely colorless from the loss of blood. He had barely sufficient strength to awaken the folks. He was made well by the Lord, who answered the prayers of faith. The family always found solace and comfort through prayer in time of need. The Lord blessed father and his family in that He healed those who were ill or injured.

The family lived in Rockville until March 1895 when they felt the necessity of moving to a more favorable location that better schooling could be had for the children, so at that time father moved his family to Hinckley. He purchased forty acres of land from Bishop Willim H. Pratt and started life anew in a new home.

Mother's health was never good after she started raising a family, which was a real hardship to both father and mother. They reared a large family, but never once did they complain. They were ever willing to struggle along, side by side, always faithful and true to each other. Mother finally passed away after six months of serious illness from paralysis and heart trouble, which had kept father almost constantly by her side. She died on July 18, 1922.

Father's son, Alma, had lost his wife and companion, Jennie (Camp), just exactly two months prior to mother's death, so father and son decided to cast their lot together. Father's youngest child, Enola, who was yet unmarried, took care of Alma's five children, youngest of whom was Keith, eight months old. Thus they lived until Alma married the second time -- to Edith Reeves. Even after the children had moved away father never ceased to act as "mother" to them. The children loved their grandfather dearly. One of his neighbors remarked, "I never saw a grandpa so loved." Father loved all children about him -- as was evidenced by the children at his death. They did not think of him as being dead, but just asleep, and would crowd into the room to see him by the dozens.

Father married again two years after mother's death to Mrs. Sarah A. Talbot, who was a kind, loving companion to him during his reclining years.

Father always felt that one could not live fully without giving service to family, friends, those in need, the church, and the state; and he always tried to do all he could. He served as Superintendent of the Sunday School in Rockville, and as president of the Young Men's M.I.A. while living in Hinckley. He served as the first bishop of Lynndyl for two years, then the family moved back to Hinckley. He served as a high counselor for many years in the Deseret Stake when he was released from this position to become president of the high priests quorum in the stake.

He was always interested in political affairs. He was an ardent believer in the Republican principles and was elected by his party to the State Legislature where he served during 1911.

He was very interested in dramatics and as a young man often took part in home dramatics. He was such a fun loving sort, so he was usually given the comic parts. He told of being given a serious part at one time. During the presentation of the play, at the very moment he was doing his utmost with the serious, dramatic part, he received a burst of loud laughter instead of the supposed tears and concern. The occasion decided, once and for all, that he was definitely out of his element in such a part.

He was desirous to give his family the best education possible with the limited means in his possession, so some of the family were sent to the B.Y.U. at Provo, Utah for a number of years and later to the Millard Academy at Hinckley. Ella went to Murdock Academy at Beaver for one year, too. Five of the children graduated from high school and three finished three years in high school. Two sons filled foreign missions -- Alma to Germany and Hungary, and Charles to Tonga in the south seas. The youngest son, Charles, died while on his mission, of influenza. His death brought great sorrow to father and mother, but they were always grateful in the thought that their son had died while working for the salvation of mankind, the greatest of all missions. He died on November 26, 1916, and his body arrived home on December 15, 1916. He was the first missionary sent from the Lynndyl Ward.

For the two years prior to this writing, June 12, 1930, father has been having some heart attacks which has made for him to perform the necessary labors as he would like. At this time, father has the following living relatives and descendents: wife, seven daughters, one son, one adopted son, thirty-four grand children and one great grand son, who was born on father's sixty-sixth birthday.

Father died just four days after this personal story was read to the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, who were met at his home in his honor. He died of a heart attck on June 16, 1930. His passing was exactly as he had wished it to be, with no suffering, merely a step from the activities and associations of this mortal life to the other life and its associations there, especially that of mother, whose companionship was so perfect and dear to him.

I am sure we all felt in such a beautiful passing that it was the "End of a Perfect Day." Sweet are our memories of him.

(Ordained a Seventy on June 17, 1891 by Augustus Dodge; a High Priest on September 10, 1892 by Apostle Francis M. Lyman.)

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