Benjamin Lynn Mathews (1892)

I was born at Beaver, Utah, December 26, 1892, in a two-story black, rock house located four blocks west of main street and one block north of the highway which leads to Milford, Utah. I was a third child of Thomas Cartwright and Mary Ellen Eyre Mathews. Our first home was a pink rock house, one block east of the place I was born.

I can remember very vividly my first day in elementary school. May White was the teacher. In those days the kids were the same as the kids today on their first day at school. When I was six or seven years old, Dad received employment at Sulphurdale, a mining camp twenty-five miles north of Beaver, Utah. Dad’s assignment at the mine was teamster. He hauled the ore from the mine to be smeltered. He had a large white horse, named Old Dick. This horse was trained to the extent that no lines were necessary for his guidance. When you wanted him to go right you would say “Gee, Dick.” and left “Haw.” One day as Dad was going back to the min with three empty cars, Dick became frightened and ran down the track. When he came to the end of the open drift, the cars ran on Old Dick, giving him an awful squeeze and cutting his legs quite badly. He had to be taken off the job until his wounds healed.

Another event I can remember was at Thanksgiving time. I went to the boarding house to play with some friends. In the process of play we had a large bob sleigh which we pulled to the top fo the old dump of waste material from the smelter. The friends told me that if I would ride the sleigh down the incline, I could eat Thanksgiving dinner with them at the boarding house. I consented. They put me into the sleigh and started it down the incline. I did all right until the sleight hit a drop off. The sleigh gave a jump and of course I lost my hold and went sailing through the air. I was so skinned up and sick I couldn’t eat any dinner. So goes the life of a kid!

I attended elementary school in Beaver, graduating from the eighth grade in the spring of 1908. That same spring Father rented the ranch of Dr. Warren Shepherd, located one mile west of Beaver. This ranch consisted of meadows pasture. The livestock consisted of pure-bred Jersey’s. Our chief job was milking cows for twenty cents per pound. The surplus cream being sent to the local creamery. One experience I can remember was the time the Jersey bull caught and tossed me up in the air. I came down in a manger. I suppose by falling into the manger I was saved some bodily harm.

In the fall of 1908 I enrolled at the Murdock Academy as a freshman, graduating in 1912. While attending high school, I became very much interested in sports, to the extent that I neglected the more essential subject.

In the fall of 1911 Father and Mother sold their home and land in Beaver and moved to Minersville, where they purchased a home and thirty-five acres of alfalfa land. I lived with Dr. Warren Shepherd and did his chores, fired the furnace and took care of the children for my board and keep.

When school was out in the spring of 1912, I loaded my belongings on the back of a saddle on my horse, and carrying my old trombone I headed for Minersville. I worked with Dad on the farm during the summer.

During the early part of the winter, 1912, Uncle Warren Murdock broke his leg, so I went to Greenville, Utah to help him out. I fed his cattle, milked his cows and received my board plus one dollar per day. This job pleased me because I was able to go to Beaver quite often and visit a girl friend.

In the spring of 1913 I received employment, helping clear the site for the Minersville Reservoir. While working here I was offered a job by the Minersville School Board fo the 1913–1914 school year, providing I could get a teaching certificate. Around the middle of June, I enrolled at summer school at the University of Utah. When school ended I took the state examination and obtained a one-year certificate. I was assigned the fourth grade at a salary of $50.00 per month. I had many happy experiences the first year. I was given a contract for the 1914–1915 at a salary of $55.00 per month . When June came I entered a summer school at the University of Utah. I also took a correspondence course from U.A.C. at Logan.

During the two years in Minersville, I acted as counsellor in the YMMIA and the Sunday School. I inaugurated the first Boy Scout organization in Beaver County.

In the fall of 1915 I was given a contract to teach all eight grades at Moscow (Shaunty), a mining camp near Milford, Utah.

In the meantime I was corresponding with a girl friend at Coyote (now Antimony), Utah. Her name was Ester Black and she was teaching school at Hatch, Utah. During the Christmas holidays of 1914 I visited Esther at Coyote for a period of two weeks. During this visit we decided to go to the Manti temple and be married after school was out in the spring. Well do I remember how hard it was to ask her parents for their consent. They gave their consent. The next morning we left Coyote to resume our teaching jobs.

After my school ended on May 25, 1915, I made preparations for a trip to Coyote and Manti to get married. Dad let me take a team of horses. I borrowed a spring wagon from Aunt Cedie Shepherd. I took my sister, Lucy, and headed for Coyote. It took two days to get there. On June 1. 1915, Ester’s dad hired Thomas Ricketts, who had a Maxwell car, to take us to Marysvale to catch the train for Manti. We arrived at Manti around one p.m. In the afternoon we obtained a marriage license. We were staying at Esther’s brother George’s place.

At 8 a.m. on June 2,1915, the marriage company began climbing up the temple hill. We were married for time and eternity by President Lewis Anderson. Toward evening we went to town and had our picture taken. Oh, what a wonderful picture it was! Ha, ha! We spent four days working in the temple. We then returned to Coyote where we spent a day or so. The townspeople gave us a rice shower, demanding a free public dance, which we gave.

After the excitement was over, we loaded Esther’s possessions in the wagon and headed for Minersville. It took two days to make the trip. We spend the next three months living on Dad’s homestead below Minersville. We had a one-seat buggy which we hitched old Blaze to, to transport us back and forth to town.

Fall came and time for school to start. We tried to find a shanty to live it, but couldn’t. The only salvation we had was to build one. We bought us a 9 x 12 tent, enough lumber for the floor and sides. We stretched the tent over the top, then lined the walls with heavy paper. We had quite an experience when taking our building material to Shaunty. We arrived within a mile of our destination but were unable to make the last mile because our team gave out, so I walked to the camp and obtained a team from Jocky Myers to pull us into camp.

The school kids arrived on schedule. There were about forty registered in grades from one to eight. After arranging a daily program and getting the children in proper grades, things moved very smoothly. The parents were co-operative, the boys and girls did fine work, and we had a successful year. The students came from different camps up to two or three miles away.

We had no church organization, so we spent our Saturdays and Sundays wandering from camp to camp visiting the mines.

On February 19,1916, Dad and Mother came to spend a night with us. Around 10 p.m. Esther became quite ill. (We were expecting a child in another month.) Mother said I better telephone for a doctor, that Esther’s baby was on its way. I headed for the Moscow mine, a mile away, and ran most of the way, up hill. I telephoned Dr. Hamilton. He said he and his wife, who was a nurse, would come. The doctor had a rather hard time making the trip as he got stuck in a snow drift. The baby arrived around 5 a.m., Feb. 20, 1916. The doctor charged us forty dollars for his services. When the baby was one month old Ernest Eyre and I blessed him and gave him the name fo Gerald Lynn.

I signed a contract to teach the second year, 1916–1917 at a salary of $77.00 a month. I had to do the janitor work. We had a very happy year. The people would come to the school for dances and parties.

Esther’s mother was quit ill, in Coyote. Esther wanted to move to Coyote so she could help her dad take care of her mother. I obtained a contract to be principal of the Coyote school. There were three teachers employed in the school. We moved to Coyote in the fall of 1917. I taught school there for eight years. The salary was so low, and the work too hard to teach and farm, so I gave up the teaching profession. However, I acted as substitute for many years.

In the fall of 1917 I was appointed ward clerk. I held this position until the fall of 1920 when the Panguitch Stake was divided. Garfield Stake being formed. I was selected as stake clerk of the new Garfield Stake, and on 1 August 1920 I was ordained a High Priest and set apart as stake clerk by Patriarch Hyrum C. Smith. I served continuously for thirty-five years. At this time I was released and ordained as Bishop of the Antimony Ward. I served as Bishop four years, from August 1956 to September 1960.

While I was stake clerk I also served for a time as counsellor in the Bishopric with Ward Savage– during this time the Antimony Ward Chapel was constructed. I served 1950- 1952 as president of the YMMIA. I served as ward teacher and Sunday School teacher for forty years.

In civic affairs of the community I held many positions. I was a member of the county school board for twelve years, eight years of F.H.A. and other county committees. When the town was incorporated in 1934 I was a member of the town board, and acted as town clerk continuously until 1963, with the exception of four years. While I was on the town board piped water, electricity, telephone, and T.V. were installed in the town. In 1930 I was made secretary of the Bench Irrigation Company and served until 1963. I was secretary of the Coyote East Fork Irrigation Company twenty-eight years.

Our family consists of dad and mother, seven boys and four girls.

During the winter of 1963 Stanford and LaRae urged us to dispose of our Antimony holding and move to Roy to live with them. We decided to accept this fine gesture. We sold our home to Kenneth King, and the farm to Augustus Twitchell. We moved to Roy on June 15, 1965. We enjoy ourselves very much here, they are very kind to us.

Here at Roy I have acted as general secretary to the Aaronic Priesthood, also Adult Aaronic. At the present time (1968) I am acting as 2nd counselor to the Group Leader of the High Priest Quorum, also as a home teacher. I hope I can continue to be active in the church.

In October 1966 I accepted the position of Blazer teacher in Primary. So I fill my days with Teaching, High Priest activities, and Temple work. Life has been a happy episode.