Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Arnold Dixon (1884-1960) Autobiography

I, Arnold Dixon, was born at Provo, Utah County, Utah, on May 30, 1884 in an adobe house located at the corner of 2nd North and 3rd West Streets. His parents were Sara DeGrey and Henry Aldous Dixon.

Soon after I reached the age of eight I was baptized in June 1892 by Bishop R. S. GIbby. Then I was confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints in June 1892 by our Bishop, R.S. Gibby. I was ordained a Priest on December 8,1904 by Alfred W. Harding; a Seventy in the 123 Quorum on November 5, 1910 by J. Golden Kimball, and a High Priest on December 11, 1927 by J. William Knight. When I was sixteen years old I received a patriarchal blessing under the hand of Charles D. Evans on November 17, 1900. Even though I was quite young at the time, the blessing was a great help and guide to me.

I received my early education in the Provo district schools. I attended the B.Y.U. Preparatory School for one year, then for part of two years I studied bookkeeping, etc. at the B.Y.U. Commercial Department. The balance of my education and training was gained through the practical experience which included a great many hard knocks, that I received in the varied jobs I held.

As a small boy, I worked on the farm, which gave me a foundation knowledge of management. I worked at a "hand made brick yard" until the Provo Pressed Brick Co. was organized, at which time I helped to install machinery and worked at a number of different machines. Later I was the timekeeper and did some bookkeeping at the yard office. I worked about one year in the Provo office of the Provo Pressed Brick Co. and S. H. Belmont & Thomas Boardman as office manager and bookkeeper. I also worked for the Central Coal Company doing office work and unloading cars of coal.

I worked about four years in Salt Lake City in the State Treasurer's Office as secretary. The office at that time was in the Utah National Bank and I did some work for the bank at the same time. In that way I received a considerable amount of banking experience.

When I returned to Provo, I did many odd jobs and during the summer vacation time of the employees I worked at the Commercial & Savings Bank. I also was bookkeeper for the State Bank of Provo.

In 1906 when the Farmer's & Merchant's Bank was organized I became the bookkeeper and worked up to the position of cashier during the twenty five years I worked there. I was cashier of the bank at the time it was re organized.

While working at the Farmer's & Merchant's Bank I spent one two week's vacation and went to Hurricane where I helped organize the State Bank of Hurricane. I had every intention of moving to Hurricane as the cashier of the bank. I spent many nights writing letters and securing all the information I could regarding the amounts of deposits in both the St. George and Cedar City banks and the number of residents in the towns near Hurricane. I also drew up the Articles of Incorporation. I was promised a charter from the State Bank Commissioner in case the bank was organized.

When I arrived in Hurricane my cousin, Alfred Hall, and others were ready to subscribe the stock. Alfred and I called on Charles Petty, owner of the main general merchandise store, and were turned down cold. He informed us that a friend of his. J. W. Imlay, a big sheep man, was already going to open a bank. It was to be a branch of a new bank soon to be opened in Cedar City. I knew that could not be so because Mr. Imlay had no charter and branch banks were not allowed in Utah at that time.

The next man we contacted was David Hirschi, who was a director of the St. George Bank. He felt we were foolish to try and organize a bank in Hurricane, because we would not be able to get enough deposits and would not be able to sell the needed stock. So instead of helping us he only tried to discourage our efforts, but I knew that people in Provo would take what stock could not be sold in Hurricane.

Within the next few days we had enough stock subscribed to go ahead with the organization of the bank. On the day I was to return to Provo, I again called Mr. Hirschi and urged him to become the bank president because of his banking experience. I bade him good by and was on my way when he called me back and informed me that he would back the new bank.

I gave he and Alfred Hall the necessary papers and instructions for the organization and left. I arrived in Provo the following day and talked with the Farmers and Merchants Bank officials. They offered me an increase in salary besides a new position if I would remain with them. Mr. Hirschi wrote me that he was to be president and I was to be cashier. So many people wanted stock that they wanted to limit the stock issue to five shares per person or else $500.00, that I declined the offer to be cashier. I felt that I would have to work for a small salary, and I would expect to get dividends to make it worthwhile to move to Hurricane.

I offered to give David Hirschi's son, Claude, a short training in our bank at Provo, so he would be able to take over the position of cashier. I spent considerable time in training Claude. I also ordered all the books and stationery and a new safe, which was too small for the Bingham Bank after its purchase.

I was happy to be able to help Hurricane get their bank, which has been a great benefit to the community and is one of the best small banks in southern Utah.

After working in the banks, I took a job with John Manson in a coal mine prospect at Scofield in Carbon County. I also worked for the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad Company Section. While working on the tracks, a large steel bar fell on my foot, breaking one of my toes.

My next job was with the U.S. Government in the City and County Building as office manager for the R.F.C. for Utah County. I worked at this job for about one year but had to resign because of ill health. After I had regained my health, I secured a position with the B. D. Palfreyman Construction Company as office manager where I set up a new bookkeeping system for the company. I also worked for the Dixon Real Estate Company for about three years as bookkeeper.

I was employed by the Columbia Steel Company as an auditor during the construction of the Geneva Steel Plant. I was unemployed for the next few months, so I took a much-needed rest. I occupied my time in caring for my garden and home.

I next was employed by the Dixon Taylor Russel Company setting up furniture. I had no desire for office work, so I enjoyed the work in the furniture department. The pleasant change lasted only about three months when the manger asked me to assist in the office for a short while. However, after a month in the office I was given the job of auditing all the branch stores books each month. I had seven stores to take care of and I was out of town quite a bit and was quite busy. I have been with this company over three years and expect to remain as long as my health will permit.

Despite the fact that my life appears to be full of banking and bookkeeping 1, nevertheless, had time for my family, home and church. In 1911, on November 15, 1 married a lovely young girl by the name of Letitia May Banks in the Salt Lake Temple. The ceremony was performed by Adolphus Madson and we were a very happy young couple that day. We made our home in Provo and to us were born ten children, seven sons and three daughters, namely: Howard Banks, born December 11, 1912, who married Fulvia Call; Evelyn, born May 30,1917, who married Donald H. Smith; Grant DeGrey, born April 11, 1919, and married Florence Rose Marks; Elson Arnold, born on March 31, 1921 and married Sarah Jean Dastrup; Bruce Royden, born February 13, 1923; Floyd Preston, born on November 6, 1924 (on a mission in Mexico); Gloria May, born on December 1, 1926, married Thomas W. Richardson; Robert Norman, born May 15,1930 (will marry Genniel Larsen on April 5, 1951); Douglas Wayne who was born May 15, 1932, and Doria Ann, born on March 19,1934.

I have tried to fulfill each calling which has come to me in my church. I was ward clerk for five years in Provo Third Ward; treasurer of the Third Ward Missionary Committee for a number of years. I was ward teacher in the Provo Fifth Ward for five years, ward teacher in the 30th Ward in Salt Lake City for two years and held the same calling in the Provo Third Ward for ten years. I always received much joy in doing this type of work, because I liked to meet and converse with people.

I am grateful to my Father in Heaven for the privilege of coming to this earth, of marrying one of the best young women of this world and for the ten fine children she has borne into me. I have a number of wonderful grandchildren of which I am mighty proud. My wife and I surely appreciate our family and desire to live long enough to see them all married and have families of their own. This is a history of my life to this date, February 25, 1951.

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