Tuesday, May 5, 2009

William Herbert Rossiter (1867-1949)

William Herbert Rossiter was born September 14, 1867, one of nine children born to William Alfred Rossiter and Eliza Crabtree. The small adobe house where William was born still stands at Third East between First and Second South, Salt Lake City, Utah, but at this date (May, 1954) is surrounded by business houses and is about to be razed. The family later moved to Eighth East between Fifth and Sixth South, where William spent his childhood and youth, until he married.

William had eight brothers and sisters: Phoebe R. Baddley, Elizabeth (Libble) R. Campbell, George Rossiter, Edith R. Lovesy, Fred Rossiter, Lucille R. Evans, Ernest C. Rossiter, Dean Rossiter, and a half brother, Russel Young Rossiter. His parents were of the sturdy, religious stock, who, because of their convictions and beliefs, had conquered the hardships and privations which accompanied the settlement of Utah. They were faithful in their church duties and had reared their children in like manner.

William's father worked very closely with Brigham Young, and it was quite natural for him to meet and fall in love with Shamira Young, one of the younger daughters of Brigham Young, and later marry her. The home where he lived with his second wife and family still stands north of the Beehive House (through the Eagle Gate), and is being used as a Missionary Home at the present time.

The elder William after the death of Brigham Young, had the job of tracing all heirs of Brigham Young and securing their signatures on releases to church property which was in Brigham Young's name.

As a boy, William had the task of carrying milk from his home, where the family kept a number of dairy cows, to the Lion House for the families who lived there. On his trips to deliver the milk William always managed to spend much time playing with the children who lived there. It was more fun to play than to be tied down to a chore, large or small. But children in those days had regular chores to perform before playtime, which many young folk do not have now. Thus they learned a definite sense of responsibility very early in life.

Nevertheless, William was typical of small boys in any period of history. He was high spirited and full of mischief, ready for his share of pranks at any given time. His grandfather, William Crabtree, drove Brigham Young's carriage. One day, while the carriage was stopped in front of the Crabtree home on Eighth East, young Bill splashed mud on the horses. President Young jumped out of his carriage and began to chase the boy, but William eluded him by running into the barn. William, however, later received a sound scolding from Brigham Young for his actions.

William was a tease and played countless pranks on his brothers and sisters. Libble tells of the time when he turned a pan of dough upside down on her head because she flipped flour on his suit when he was ready to go courting. It took some time to get the dough out of her hair for it was long and very thick.

School was another phase of his life which William would have liked omitted. He attended the old Tenth Ward School and also the Twelfth Ward School, and received the highest education obtainable in those days.

As a young man his favorite girl friend was a petite young girl by the name of Mariah Baddley. They lived in the Tenth Ward and had been acquainted for years, so when William asked her hand in marriage, Mariah consented. They were married on New Year's Day in 1896 at her home on Tenth East. It was a simple affair but a very happy one for the young couple. William built a home on Eighth East, next to his parent’s home, where he took his young bride. There they lived for five years and three of their five children were born there: Edith Mabel, Bryant Baddley and Eliza Leone (Lyda). He then built a home on Tenth East (352) where he and his family lived. Two more sons were born to Mariah and William: William Alfred and Frank Baddley.

The fine example of his parents and the religious training received as a child and young man set the pattern for William's behavior in his own home with his family. Though he did not work as much in the church as some of his brothers and sisters, he was truly a religious and Christian member of the church. He lived all but a year or so of his life in the Tenth Ward, one of the oldest wards in the church. He did many wonderful things to help others but because he was a very shy man he tried to never let his good deeds be known. He was a good husband and father, and was loved and respected by his family. Besides rearing a fine family of his own, he and his wife cared for five grandchildren left motherless by the death of their daughter, Edith, until many years later when the children's father married again and took them home with him.

William was a successful business man. For many years he, with a partner, operated one of the leading plumbing establishments in Salt Lake City. Later he and his brother, Ernest, went into the real estate business. He owned and sold to the church the property on which the Primary Children's Hospital now stands.

As a younger man, William, with a group of men, homesteaded a great tract of land in southern Utah, but gave up the project when, as he always said, the wind blew it several miles away. In everything he attempted, with the exception of the venture in southern Utah, William seemed to have good luck. He loved to work in the soil, and always had an orchard or garden in which to work.

After retiring from business, his home and yard were William’s hobbies. He found peace and contentment in caring for his home. He was proud of his home and family and never cared to go far from them, so he never traveled very much. The one trip he always enjoyed reflecting on was one he took with his wife and Alfred and Priscilla Baddley. They went to southern Utah to Hurricane where they visited and became acquainted with all the Hall family. It was such a delightful trip for William and he talked of it often.

William was a quiet reserved man but was ever ready to do a good turn for a friend or relative. He was dependable and loyal to both his neighbors and his family. He was never heard to make an unkind remark to anyone. His code though out his life was to deal fairly with his fellowmen, judge not, and to always give others the benefit of the doubt. Because of his way of life, William had many faithful friends. In later years he enjoyed the companionship of old timers who helped pioneer the way for a better Utah. He served on the Old Folk's Committee for the Tenth and Webster Wards for many years.

William died on April 4, 1949 at his home, after a long and useful life. A man who fathers fine sons and daughters, provides a home for his family and sets a good example by his words and actions for his children to follow can be satisfied that he has fulfilled his measure in this life. William was such a man. He was a fine husband and a good father. He contributed much to the building and progress of Utah, and was honored during the 1947 Centennial as a "Pre Railroad Pioneer".

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

William Herbert is my great-grandfather, through his son Bryant Baddley. Thanks for posting this information. It's great to learn about some of his stories and of the rest of the family.

Gregory Rossiter

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