Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Alfred Lorenzo Hall (1858-1934) Biography

The first 2 pages by Hilda Hall (Bringhurst) in 1916. The rest written by Melvin Hall, a grandson, in May of 1938. Material supplied by his father, Merrill Hall and his own research

Alfred Lorenzo Hall was born in Sugar House Ward, Salt Lake City, Utah, Nov. 15, 1858. He was the son of John Charles and Kezia Degray Hall, who were both of English nationality. At the time of his birth his parents were very destitute of food and clothing. Not having any bread in the house, his mother sat up in bed when her child was three days old and made a dress for a neighbor in exchange for some flour. In 1861 his parents were called on a mission to Dixie. Arriving in Dixie, they located in Rockville, where they lived for the rest of their lives.

Tracing the source of our present strength, we go back to the Dixie pioneer, who met the challenge of a new country in making roads, building homes, farming, freighting, and stock raising. Under such environment the children of Dixie went through about the same hardships as their parents, but they lived to see the fruits of their labors.

John C. Hall was not much of a farmer and especially when the method of irrigation was not so well known. There were steep side hills to make the irrigation ditches in, the breakwaters and dams to make in order to get the water into the ditch. Floods often came and washed the dams or the ditch out just in the season when the crops most needed the watering. For plowing the land a wooden beamed plow and an ox team was used. Horses were very scarce in the early days in Dixie. Wagons were not made of steel and hardwood then as they are now, consequently when out on a trip it was very necessary to soak up the wheels of the wagon at every stream.

After the crops were up in the fall and the molasses was made, the next event of the season was to go north on a peddling trip where the molasses, dried fruits, and other products were traded for flour, potatoes and other commodities not successfully grown here.

Much of their clothing was made by their own hands. In the early days of Rockville, cotton was raised on the farm, the seeds were picked out and the cotton spun, woven and dyed and later made into clothing. Dyes were made from certain kinds of roots.

Alfred never owned a pair of shoes until he was fourteen years of age, then they were of homemade it , but he said that their dances and other amusements were enjoyed as much. He and his chums had great sport with the Indian boys of their own age in playing different games and tricks. One was a mud fight game where the white boys would stand the Indians and flipping mud on limber sticks at each other. The white boys had the advantage in that they wore clothes. When the mud hit the bare hide of the Indian, there was a great splatter and then a roar of laughter. However, the older Indians were not all so friendly as the young ones. There often occurred Indian raids on towns, but by far more dangerous was it for the travelers if caught out by the Indians. Many of these adventures were related by Alfred.

One time in the early settlement of Dixie uncle Charles Smith was away from home, and had to camp out over night in Kanara. He put his mules in a corral, then, to make them more secure from the Indians, he put a pair of iron hobbles on each mule. During the night the Indians came to get the mules, but finding they couldn't walk, they proceeded to unfasten the hobbles. In this they were unsuccessful, so in order to take out their revenge, they shot several arrows into the mules. Uncle Charles pulled the arrows out and the mules lived.

At the age of seven, Alfred was so poor in health that he was sent to Kanab to live with some people who had more to eat than cornbread and molasses. He was never very large and healthy as a normal child is today, for at the age of 18 he weighed 96 lbs.

Education in schools at that date was very limited. Alfred went to school for about three months all together, so his schooling consisted more of the school of experience. His aim in life was to lead a practical and well balanced
life both in spiritual and temporal affairs. One maxim he believed in and lived up to was not to move foolishly from one place to another.

Alfred married Julia e. Hansen on Jan. 18, 1882, in the St. George temple. They traveled to St. George by wagon from Rockville. It took them two or three days to make the journey down and back.

Alfred and Julia started their married life together with three cows, two ponies and a small farm. Alfred did freighting and wool hauling to the silver reef mine near Leeds, Utah, in the years after he was married. For the first ten years of their married life the mine was a large source of revenue for southern Utah. Millions of dollars worth of ore were taken out. The early pioneers exploited the resources of Southern Utah to supply the silver reef with wood. The local men hauled wood from the foothills of Pinevalley mountains and the mountains and hills near Toquerville, which were once covered with trees, and left them bare hence left for the floods to wash the top soil away. Thousands of cords of wood were hauled from that vicinity and other sections in these parts.

Working for others was not in the nature of Alfred. He began to make his living with his hands and earn his bread from the sweat of his brow. Farming and cattle raising were his chief occupations.

A few years after Alfred and Julia were married, they bought a lot in Rockville, just one block east of the school building. I do not know when the following farms were acquired, but he owned a farm called Crank. This was south of Springdale. He farmed land in Zion canyon where the Wiley camp ground used to be. He had a farm at Rockville and one near Grafton, which was washed away. Alfred also had a small farm over at the horse valley wash. This place had a small stream that he used to run into a pond to irrigate his crops. He owned another farm half way between Grafton and Rockville. A waterwheel and a flume was used to get the water from the river on to the land.

As I said, Alfred furnished his own employment. Not only did he do that, but he furnished work for others. He owned some sheep with others in 1893. Merrill can remember hearding them at the age of 6 with his brother, Roy.

Cattle raising was always a source of income for Alfred. In 1896 there occurred a severe drought. Hundreds of cattle belonging to the Caanan Cattle Company perished for want of food and water. Little calves were given to anyone who would take them away and feed them. Some of Alfred's best cattle were obtained in this manner and it was partly a means of his going into the cattle business. He also rented some cattle from Dalley's, who lived in summit, about this time. He rented on shares. He had bad luck with them, so he did not make very much from them.

In 1902 Alfred bought the Crystal spring ranch on the Kolob Mountain, where he moved in the summer on account of his wife's poor health. Here he and his sons farmed and ran cattle. The family also did some dairying with as high as 25 or 30 cows some years. The family made enough cheese and butter in the summer to last them through most of the winter in Rockville, besides selling quite a lot to the other people on the mountain in the summer, and they sold some at Rockville in the winter.

They raised wheat and oats (more oats than wheat) which was harvested by a cradle and bound by hand. It was hauled in and thrashed, usually without stacking before hand. It could be thrashed greener if hauled directly from the shock. It was thrashed out by having the horses tromp it on the ground to get the grain. The chaff and grain was then run through a fanning mill that blew the chaff out of the grain. In this way Alfred and his sons were able to thrash out 100 Bu. a day.

Alfred ran hogs on the mountain ranch and he devised a way to leave them there in the winter. Alfred was a man who did not back down on anything. He was fearless in his nature. My uncles like to relate a story of a wild boar that they were all afraid of. Grandpa thought they were cowards because they were afraid of the boar. One day the old boar chased him, and I think he did not have so much to say about his boys being afraid after that. The old boar soon lost his life.

The family moved to the mountain every summer for 11 summers beginning with 1902 and ending with 1912. The ranch and cattle were sold in 1912.

Ten children were born to Alfred and Julia. They are Alfred L, Jr., Apr. 1, 1883. Died Feb. 18, 1886. Lester Leroy, Feb. 25, 1885. died Apr. 29, 1908 in Lexington, Ky. Charles Merrill, Lafayette, Alvin, John Harvey, Hilda., Clinton, Henry and Nora Crystal Hall. The last child was born on the Crystal ranch, hence the middle name.

Four of the children were called on missions Leroy died on his mission in Kentucky. Lafayette, Harvey and Hilda and later Alvin, all went on missions. Most of the children attended school in St. George. Vern graduated from the A. C. in 1926. All of the children were married in the temple.

Alfred Hall was one of the first to support the building of the hurricane canal, as he was a man of action rather than words. It would be necessary for a person to go to the ledger to really be able to appreciate the fact that he was one of the largest contributors to the project in actual labor that was performed during its construction. The canal was one of the largest irrigation projects ever undertaken in southern Utah. This piece of work was begun with the intentions of bringing under cultivation the rich soil of the Hurricane bench, which could not be washed away by the river as farms in Rockville and up the river had been. The canal was started in 1892 by a company of about seventy five men from the surrounding towns of Rockville, Grafton, Springdale, Virgin and Toquerville. Before it was completed, two-thirds of this number had dropped out. Indeed the remaining few were put to a severe test in facing discouragement of every kind, but they were later rewarded by seeing six miles of canal reaching from Hurricane damsite to the Hurricane bench completed.

Had it not been for the church, the canal may never have been completed at that time. Just when it seemed impossible to carry the work on because of finances, a delegation was sent to church headquarters to get aid. The church came to the rescue and purchased $5,000 worth of stock. This revived dead hopes and from then on the work never lagged James Jepson was one of this delegation.

Being quite a distance from most of the settlements, it was necessary for the men during the period of construction to camp there in the winter months while they were not occupied by their farm work. One of the main places where they camped was Chinatown. Thirteen years was a long time to be working on a project. Each winter was long to those who were working on the canal, but frequent pranks were played in camp to break the monotony. One time two men went to see John Miller. One of the men walked in and talked with John, while the other one put a rock over the top of his rock chimney. After both men were inside, John said he had to go out and get some meat. He then locked the door and left the two men in the house to breathe their own smoke,

The construction work was dangerous. The ditch, which is eight feet wide and four feet deep, is made entirely along a steep mountain side with the exception of a few tunnels and flumes.
Merrill said that his father was superintendent of the work most of the time while the canal was being constructed and settled. I found from the ledger that grandpa was on the canal board from 1895 to 1905, with the exception of 1899 to 1902 inclusive. The first credit of $3.00 was recorded in the ledger on Jan. 2, 1895, for canal board services. Payments were recorded in 1895, 96, 97, 98. Then there was a miss until April 1903. They were continued in 1904 and 1905.

Grandpa hired men to work on the canal for him as well as spending most of his time in the winters on the canal project. The depression of 1893 was a means of help to the project, as many hard rock miners came here who were willing to work for a very small wage. One of these men, named Mack, worked for grandpa for several winters.

After the canal was completed, the land which had been taken in the names of three men, one of which was Alfred, was divided into five acre blocks, four lots to a block and twenty acre fields. The other two men were James Jepson and Jim Ballard. From canal board ledger a to d, inclusive, 1893 1907.

The men who had either worked or paid their share to get the canal finished, drew from a hat the lot or section of field they were to have as recompense for their labors. Alfred drew with the other men and received twenty acres of land in the west fields. The land was very poor. He was discouraged and did not think he had received a very good deal, so the canal board traded him 5 acres in the south fields for 5 of his west twenty. He later bought ten more acres by this land from Frank Mcmullian. He drew three city lots and he bought 2 more. He also owned a field in the cove and 120 acres of pasture land.

The early pioneers to Dixie witnessed about as much progress in the use of machinery as any generation of people could in any part of the world in the same period of time.

Alfred was one of the foremost to make use of new machinery. He owned a self-binder or grain binder with Bishop Langston before he owned the Crystal ranch in 1902. While moving to the ranch or during the period of time while on the ranch, he acquired a whitetop buggy. This was not the first brought into the country, but it was among the first.

Later, Dave Hirschi was the man, I believe, who first discovered the possibilities of dry farming on the plains. Alfred had by this time sold his Crystal ranch and his cattle. He was now free to go into new fields. Alfred began dry farming he took up a homestead about 12 miles east of here. He raised as much grain as anyone who farmed at that time. He said he made more money from the dry farm then from any other place. He was better off financially and was in a position to do so. He bought a hay bailer soon after coming to hurricane.

In 1917 Alfred bought a Ford car. At that time there were not very many cars in the state of Utah, and there were only a few in Hurricane. He bought two Chevrolets, the last one in 1928.

1 have not attempted to name all of the machinery Alfred owned for that is un¬necessary and impossible. But I am only giving a few to illustrate the point that he was not the last to use or accept a change.

Alfred was the first man of this section to promote the Hurricane bank. Credit for the original idea must be given to Arnold Dixon of Provo. He is a cousin of Alfred. Alfred and Arnold succeeded in getting Dave Hirschi interested in the bank. I remember grandpa telling me that his cousin and he called to talk to Dave about the bank and he was not favorable to a bank upon that first visit. But Mr. Dixon told grandpa that Dave Hirschi was the man to head the bank. The success of the bank was due to Dave’s shrewd business ability and his keen fore¬

Alfred was the largest stockholder in the bank until just before his death. He was a director from the time it was organized in 1917 until 1933.

Alfred was a man of good strength and endurance. At one time, when he was a young man, he ran from the center of Rockville to the top of the mountain on the east before another man could get half way to the top of the mountain on the north. This was performed to settle a bet.

One time while Alfred was on a peddling trip away from home, some men were trying to lift an anvil by taking hold of the small end of it. Alfred lifted it by one end, by taking hold of the small end of it. He also added two hub sands on top and lifted it up even with his arms. None of those in the crowd could lift it with the added weight.

Alfred was a good provider. In his early days, he made shoes for all of his family with the hide he had tanned himself. After his health had broken, he used to tend chickens as a means of turning his wheat into cash. He often made over $100 a month.

Alfred usually knew how to make money, but he did make two or three investments that were complete losses. One was a gypsum plant in Cedar and the other was a chicken deal in which he lost $100. There may have been others I have not listed.

Alfred was hospitable to friends and strangers the door was never closed to those who came and asked for something to eat. Relatives always knew they would be welcome at the home. Not only was he this way after he accumulated a little property, but he was this way earlier in life. In 1896, Sam and Caroline Larson were living with the Hall family while their father was on a Mission. Later Mary Dalton, an orphaned girl, lived there for two or three years. These children lived with the family during the time when it was larger than the average family is today.

Della Wright lived with Alfred and Julia for 8 years, from age 10 to 18. Many others lived there at times, including myself for nearly a year from October 1930 to September 1931.

Alfred and Julia enjoyed a number of long trips and many short ones in their automobile. They went to Wyoming on two different occasions to visit Vern and his wife, and they went into Arizona and were at the dedication of the Mesa Temple.

It was one of Alfred's desires to see the ocean before he died, but as his wife did not enjoy traveling on long trips due to her poor health he never did get the opportunity.

In about 1927 Alfred's health began to break down. He had a sever attack of psyatic rheumatism, one type of ailment following another, bothered him until the climax was reached in October 1930, with a stroke.

At that time Dan Crawford was called in to administer to him. Mr. Crawford promised him that he would get well and perform a mighty work. Alfred said later that he promised the Lord he would spend the rest of his time working in the temple if were allowed to live and get well. These promises were fulfilled.

Alfred and Julia were going to the temple in about a week's time after his stroke. They continued their trips to the St. George temple in all kinds of weather for four years. They went down about twice each week and they took others with them most of the time, charging only a small fee.

Alfred lived a religious life. He always observed the Sabbath day when it was possible to do so. He paid an honest tithing and contributed his share in other ways when it was asked of him. He went through all the quorums of the priesthood. Alfred was ready to die when the end came. In fact he had looked forward to death and I can honestly say that he did not fear it.

He died on Jan. 4, 1934.

In summing up his life's work, I would say that the outstanding characteristic was to make a useful plan and then live up to that plan, offering no excuses and his only alibi was his task well completed.

The golden wedding was celebrated in November 1931. It was celebrated then so that Vern could be present and not when it should have been, January 1932. The desire was to have it when all the family could be present. All were at the celebration, but Nora who was ill at her home in paragonah at the time.

No comments:

Where Are You?

Visitor Map
Create your own visitor map!