Tuesday, July 29, 2008

John Henry Fisk Stout (1863-1933)

John Henry Fisk Stout was born in Harrisburg, Washington County, Utah on May 18, 1863, a son of Allen Joseph Stout and Amanda Melvina Fisk,

The ancestry of John Henry takes us back to colonial times in New Jersey. The first Stout to arrive in America was Richard Stout of Nottingham, England who came in 1642. There are some very interesting incidents which show the courage and fortitude of this Stout family.

Richard was born in Nottingham, England in about the year 1602. When he reached the age when he began to think of love and marriage he disappointed his insistent father, who wanted Richard to marry within his class and station, and fell in love with a young maid who was beneath him in station. There ensued a serious argument and Richard, in a moment of anger, left his father's home and joined the English Navy. He served seven years and received his discharge at the time his ship was docked at New Amsterdam.

In this pioneer town Richard met Penelope Van Prince, a widow about twenty three years old. This noble woman had passed through many struggles and even death several times during her efforts to reach America. The ship which was bringing Penelope and her husband to America was wrecked off Sandy Hook, New Jersey. Her husband had been quite ill during the voyage and was seriously injured in the attempt to reach land. The ships passengers feared an attack by the Indians, so they decided to travel immediately to New Amsterdam. Penelope's husband was in no condition to travel, so the two young people were left behind. Shortly after they were left alone, a large party of Indians found and attacked them. Though Penelope and her husband were left for dead, she survived. She suffered with a fractured skull, her left shoulder which was hacked so severely that she was never able to use that arm as she did the other, and a cut across the abdomen which left bare part of her bowels; these she held in place with her hand. She suffered in this painful condition for seven days at which she was approached by two Indians. She felt relief for she thought they would kill her and put her out of her misery. However, the older of the two stayed the hand of the younger man who intended to kill Penelope, and took her to his wigwam where he cared for her until she was well. He then took her to New Amsterdam where he gave her to the white settlers expecting ten times her value in return.

Richard and Penelope met and were married in 1644. To them were born ten children. Penelope lived to see 502 of her descendants before she died at the age of 110. In 1648, Penelope and Richard moved from New Amsterdam and settled in Middletown in New Jersey. From this time henceforth, Middletown became the capital for the Stout family in America.

Another bit of interesting history concerns John Henry's father, Allen Joseph. While acting as a body guard to the Prophet Joseph Smith, Allen Joseph one day was walking along a country road with the Prophet. As they approached a fork in the road they noticed a man coming along the other road. The Prophet stopped and told Allen Joseph to wait while he talked with the stranger.

Allen Joseph regretted afterwards that he had allowed the Prophet to meet the stranger unattended, but Joseph Smith calmed his fears by stating: "I was in no danger from harm; that was John, the Revelator to whom I spoke."

As a boy, John Henry had very poor health. As a consequence, when he finally started attending school, he went with children much younger than himself. His brother's wife, Retta Stout, was his teacher. She was an excellent teacher and assisted John in his studies that he might progress rapidly. By spring, he finished with honors in the highest class in school.

John was eighteen years of age on May 18, 1881. That year proved to be full of interesting experiences for him. It was when he was about this age which he long remembered and told often to his children and grand children. He was on the mountain at Crystal Springs in the spring of the year. He had noticed tracks of a large bear and some cubs.

One day he picked up some fresh tracks and followed then to a small flat. As he looked across the clearing he could see the willows waving back and forth by some unknown disturbance. Then the old bear came into view about 50 feet away from John. She had hid her babies in the willows and was definitely coming for him.

John was carrying a hand loading, single shot rifle and knew he would have time for only one shot at the bear. So he waited until the bear was very close to him (about 10 feet) before he shot and killed the bear, which fell right at his feet.
While John had waited for the ferocious looking bear to approach him, he had stood in the same spot, not moving except to nervously work his feet up and down in the soft earth until they were planted deep into the soil. His foot imprints had gone so deep that they were visible one year later. The flat is now known as "Planters Flat" from that incident.

Later John and his brother, Alfred, had another harrowing experience with a large grizzly bear. They trailed it for quite a distance and knew they were close behind it. Whenever the bear came to a spring of water, it would cool off in the water. John and Alfred would follow close behind. At the edge of the patch of willows which surrounded the spring, the two would separate, one going around one direction and the other going the opposite direction. On the other side of the spring John and Alfred would again join forces and pick up the bear tracks.

When they finally caught up with the bear they approached another clump of willows where they thought the bear was. As before, the two men separated, going around the patch in opposite directions. They had not gone far when Alfred saw the bear, and called to John, "Here he is and he is coming at me!" John hurried to answer his brother's call. As he reached Alfred's side they both shot at the bear instantaneously. The bear rolled and came up on its feet beside Alfred, who was knocked off his feet under a clump of willows. The bear then went in after Alfred and tried to take hold of him in the stomach. Alfred put his boot in the bear's mouth to prevent it from reaching his body. The bear made another try and got Alfred's knee and dragged him out of the willows and shook him like a dog would a rag doll. While this was taking place, John was trying to shoot the bear, but feared he might hit his brother, so he kept hesitating, waiting for the proper moment. When it came and John could shoot the bear in the side, John shot five times. The bear, angered by the newly inflicted wounds, tried to drop Alfred and reach John, but it's teeth seemed to be caught in Alfred's knee. Finally it reared up on it's hind feet, dropped Alfred and turned toward John, who took the opportunity and shot the bear through the hand. The enormous bear weighed 900 pounds and was quite a prize for the two. However, it was a prize of which Alfred was forever reminded for he was crippled in one leg all during his life.

When John was twenty three years of age he married Anne Selina Hall, a young, pretty girl from his home town, Rockville. They were married on March 5, 1886 in the St. George Temple. Anne Selina was the daughter of John Charles and Kezia DeGrey Hall. Their marriage, throughout the many years to follow, was a successful and happy one despite the many trials and hardships. They were always happy in each others company and their family. To them were born ten children, namely: Walter Henry, born January 15, 1887 in Rockville; married Mary Workman September 11, 1911. Ivie Anna, born July 13, 1890; married William Wilson, December 16, 1913; died November 24, 1940. Elsie, born July 13, 1892 at Mt. Trumbull, Arizona; married Erwin Wood, May 20, 1914. Elna, born September 22, 1894; married Rodney Elmer Gibson, October 3, 1917 in Salt Lake Temple. Lila Carclon, born June 12, 1898; died March 20, 1921. Vercla, born March 3, 1900 in Orderville; married Samuel 0. Wright April 14, 1921. Leland, born September 26, 1903; married Lydia Knight Young June 19, 1929. Emerald Erwin, born July 15, 1905; married Roma Wallace April 18, 1930. Chester LeVon, born January 5, 1908; married Pearl Brown May 25, 1932.

He built his whole life around his noble wife. He taught his children to honor and respect their mother and to save her as much work and worry as possible, for he said, "You can look the world over and you would never find another like her. I can do all I am able to do for you, but you would be deprived of one of the very best mothers who ever lived."

All his life John was a sawmill man. He had his own sawmill at Long Valley in Kane County. Each summer he took his family on the mountain where they enjoyed the pleasures there. He reared a large family by selling lumber at 110.00 per thousand. Besides the regular work at the sawmill, John always found time for his favorite sport. He loved to fish and during the summer there were not many week ends that he did not go fishing on Swan's Creek. He liked animals. He rode a large horse and always had a dog.

John was an athletic type of man. He was always very active. He was over six feet tall and well built. In the prime of his life he weighed about 222 pounds and he was not fat, so in appearance he was a handsome man, with his black hair and hazel blue eyes. On one occasion, (to illustrate his activeness) John and Alenzo Dalton ran a race. Alenzo, who was very swift on foot, was to lie down at the beginning of the race and run 100 yards. John was to carry on his back Frank Petty, who was a large man of about 200 pounds, and run 50 yards. The race was entertainment for a large group, and when John won the race with his handicap, there was a rousing big cheer among the onlookers.

John was never one to preach his religion. He attended to his church duties faithfully until his health would not permit. He worked in the temple for many years until because of his health, he was compelled to discontinue. He filled a mission to the central states after he and Anne Selina had had children. She remained at home, took care of the children and home and worked hard to send means to keep John in the mission field.

After John received his patriarchal blessing from Heber Meeks, Sr., he seemed so full of his testimony that he could not stop from marveling at the mercy's and forgiveness of God. He held the office of High Priest. He was active as a teacher in Sunday School and especially enjoyed his work with the second intermediate group because he liked children.

At one time when John took a load of molasses to Salt Lake, he was unable to sell any of it. His brother, David, and David's son, Wayne took the molasses and sold it for John. David then used the money he received in the sale in doing temple work. He always gave John the credit for the work done.

John was a good neighbor and friend to those who lived near him. His hearty laugh was spontaneous. He seemed to enjoy life so much as he was always happy and jovial even in spite of tragedy. When he was blown down in a heavy windstorm, he made a joke of it. He looked on the bright side of everything.

Even after his death on September 15, 1933, people, whenever his name was mentioned, seemed to remember John for his hearty laugh and his enjoyment of good clean fun. He was active in every activity in the community, such as Peach Day, which meant fun and entertainment. He had strong convictions for truth and right; he was an honest man in every action. These outstanding characteristics make John Henry Fisk Stout a man to be remembered.

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