|Birth: ||Nov. 3, 1860|
Box Elder County
|Death: ||Sep. 26, 1944|
Last Name: Cordon
First Name: George Albert
Age: 83 years
Cemetery: Rigby, Idaho
Birth Date: 3 NOV 1860
Birth Place: Willard,UT
Date Died: 26 SEP 1944
Death Place: Idaho Falls,ID
Father: Alfred Cordon
Mother: Emily Maria Pridmore
Spouse: Sally Agnes Call-mrd 15 Dec 1881 Salt Lake
Sources: Post Register 26 p 7, 27 p 3, Eckersell Mort. Eastern Idaho Death Records
Remarks: First LDS Bishop of Rigby, Former Rigby Mayor, Chronic Myocarditis
George Albert Cordon was born 3 November 1860 in Willard, Box Elder, Utah. He was the 2nd of the 4 children born to Alfred Rolland Cordon (1817-1871) and Emily Maria [Pridmore] Cordon (1828-1894). Siblings: Harriet Eliza [Cordon] Chandler (1858-1936), Arthur Edmund Cordon (1864-1914) and Horace Herbert Cordon (1868-1951). He married Sally Agnes Call on 15 December 1881 in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah. They were the parents of 8 children: Alfred Call Cordon (1883-1965), Omer Samuel Cordon (1885-1969), Agnes Maria [Cordon] Hoggan (1889-1971), Mabel Emily [Cordon] Later (1891-1991), Sarah Nancy [Cordon] Sorensen (1893-1967), George Albert Cordon Jr. (1896-1963), Herbert Elihu Cordon (1898-1899), Clarence Heber Cordon (1901-1979).
Autobiography of George Albert Cordon
I was born in Willard City, Box Elder County, Utah, November 3, 1860. My father was Alfred Cordon, born in Liverpool, England, who embraced the gospel in 1839 and after several years of missionary work in England, emigrated to America. My mother was Emily Pridmore, born in Coventry, England, and she emigrated to America shortly after joining the church. When she joined the LDS church her mother told her to either renounce what she had done or never darken her door again, but she was thoroughly convinced that the step she had taken was right, she decided to stay with her convictions and she left her home never to return. Shortly after, the way was opened up by which she emigrated to America, but previous to this time she had met my father in England, who was then traveling as an Elder. Father and mother were married in 1855 or 1856.
My mother had four children, a sister two years older than myself, one brother four years younger and one seven years younger. Father died on the 13th of March, 1871, leaving mother with no means of support. Being the oldest boy, it was necessary for me to work to help support the family, which I did and hired out to George S. Mason during the summer of 1871, at $6.00 per month. In 1872 I worked for William Ward for $9.00 per month and in 1874 for my brother , Edwin for $15.00 per month.
Pioneer life at its best was arduous in its demands. My boyhood days had little play and little schooling in them. As a lover of outdoor sports, I was especially fond of baseball, and in my young manhood days I organized and played in several baseball teams. Today, I still enjoy a good baseball game immensely. As to school days, the common or grade school was not then known. Our educations was secured through tuition schools, and most people were unable to pay very much. Usually school was held after the farm work was done, the winter’s wood was in and all work completed. It amounted to about three or four months of school and then we were back to work.
I well remember my first teacher, Charles Wright. He was a soldier from Johnston’s army who remained with the Saints after the army had disbanded. We had but one room and all ages were grouped together, therein. The method by which we mastered the multiplication tables was most unique. Mr. Wright taught them by singing them. The rhythm as we sang them was impressed upon our minds indelibly. It was not until later though, that I was taught how to apply them.
I had reached my 15th birthday when I was called by the Church Authorities to go out with the sheep herd. The Brigham City Co-op was a self supporting organization in all lines of industry. They owned the saw mills, grist mills, woolen industry, sheep and cattle and so on. So my companion and I spent that winter out on Hogup mountain along the west shore of Salt Lake. The snow fall was light and the sheep grazed on winter grass and white sage. We trailed them home in splendid condition in April. The summer was spent in working for Bishop George Ward and later at a shingle mill at the mouth of Willard Canyon. Now seventeen years of age and large for my age, I was able to do a man’s work on farm or mill.
But the solitude of the great out-of-doors seemed to call me. I conceived the idea of being a cowboy. So with two other boys, I struck out. We would stop and work a day or two and then go on our way. At Promontory Point we worked 14 hours a day for three days in the salt works and then left without receiving our pay. We met up with a freighter bound for Wood River. He assisted us in reaching the Raft River crossing.
Here I had the pleasure of meeting my mother. She was returning home from Cassia Creek, where she had been called to nurse a sick lady. The meeting was most unexpected but a happy one for us both. She lovingly sent me on my way with her cheerful “Be good, son, and take care of y’re self”.
We located a large ranch and offered to drive cattle over the trail to Cheyenne. It was the 17th of April when we started out with several thousand head of steers. We went up Cassia Creek, over on Grape Creek, through that picturesque valley of the City of Rocks, down Goose Creek and Warm Creek and on to American Falls.
Here the cattle were divided and we started on the trail with 1750 head of three, four and five year olds. We crossed the Portneuf River and on to Ross’s Fork and into Soda Springs. Up the Bear River to Montpelier we trailed. The spring days were glorious and the feed plentiful, though at times the creeks were badly swollen and trouble-some to cross.
We followed an old pioneer trail out from Montpelier, across Smith’s Fork, Thomas’s Fork, Ham’s Fork and onto the Green River. We made camp that night on an old camp-site. About us lay the burnt pieces of wagon spokes, scraps of rusty iron and bits of bleached bones. Near by were a number of small mounds, now covered with grass, with crude markings of stone or timber upon them. We kept the campfire burning brightly that night to dispel the gloom which seemed to hover over that spot. In all it was a grim reminder of the tragedies that so often did occur upon the trails of the early pioneer or freighter.
Mid-June and the Green River was running rampant. We trailed up River forty miles before finding a place to ford safely. We then drove across the country, crossing the Little and Big Sandy, and over the summit of the Rockies at the South Pass. Down the Sweetwater River, near the roaring Devil’s Gate, and on to the North Platte we trailed. Here we held the cattle for 24 hours without water to make them extremely thirsty. Then we rushed them into that boiling, raging river, and they swam safely to the opposite side. But how were we to get the wagon and provisions across? It called for volunteers to swim across with ropes, that a raft might be towed back; I craved excitement and volunteered.
My horse was an old trail horse, luckily for me. We went above a distance and then plunged in. The horse went in all over, leaving me with just my head above the water. It was extremely cold and I began to chill. The horse rode the current like a duck and I held tight. We emerged on the opposite bank unharmed.
We spent the afternoon attempting to get the wagon to float. We finally had to unload the supplies, snake the wagon across and then bring the supplies over. The river was so swift and treacherous that all could easily have been lost and we with it.
A mile or two from the river we entered the Shirley Basin. We took by surprise, thousands of elk grazing there in peaceful quietude. As far as we could see they literally covered that basin. My horse and I ran a young calf down and I proudly carried it back to camp. Before turning in for the night I loosed the little fellow where his mother would find him.
We stopped at Fort Laramie and sold 450 head of beef cattle. With the balance we crossed the Black Hills, going over the summit at Fort Sherman which is the highest point of railroad elevation in the U.S. Here in this valley twenty miles out from Cheyenne, we herded the cattle for six weeks.
I shall never forget my first stampede. We were located in an area where electrical storms and sever thunder occurred. The cattle were bedded down for the night and the Boss and I were on night guard. We circled the herd at a jog, riding in opposite directions and singing, which sometimes keeps cattle from fretting too much over other things.
The herd was fairly steady until about midnight, then it went without any warning. There was a general, swiftly building drift of movement all over the bedding ground. A rising terrible rumble seemed to shake the earth. I suddenly realized they were heading right for me. My heart stood still. Quick action on the part of the Boss turned the leaders toward the middle. Then by careful maneuvering we had them milling until they slowed down and stopped of their own accord.
About a week later our most serious stampede occurred. We had had considerable rain and thunder for several days. I was on night herd. Even before sundown the cattle seemed uneasy and going on the moan. The thick blanket that closed down with the night was pretty weird. With the first crack of lightening that rent the sky into jagged pieces, the cattle bolted outright. My companion and I were helpless against that increasing rumble of earth and he snap of clashing horns. We rode desperately; trying every way to turn the leaders. The night was blind and each flash of lightening merely showed us the helplessness of our task. Reining to the left to escape that earthshaking thunder behind, my horse went down in a badger hole, flinging me headlong upon the ground. A sick terror swept over me. There I lay with the bawling cattle behind and at the sides, cupping me in. Then suddenly, a flash of blue lightening revealed my horse standing withing two feet of me. Springing upon him I rode blindly until those invisible thundering shapes were swallowed up in the enveloping darkness.
My companion and I found each other, but we lost the herd. We did not know which direction the camp lay so we found shelter from the driving rain and wind beneath a hill. At day break we found the trail back to camp and the search for the cattle was started. They were scattered in bunches from a few to fifty miles away. In due time they were sent to market. We boys then started homeward with the horses. We reached the Raft River crossing in September and I arrived home, in Willard, in October.
The next few years were spent in various occupations near my home. In 1881 I worked on the O.S.L. railway crew running from Granger then west from Twin Creek; also worked down in the Bear Lake valley. About this time of life my thoughts had turned to love. Sally Agnes Call, blue eyed and pleasing daughter of Omer and Sarah Ferrin Call, had captured my heart. We were married on Dec. 15, 1881 in the Endowment House at Salt Lake City.
A school teacher was needed at Willard and I modestly filled that position that winter. In the spring I rented a farm for two years with poor success. In the spring of 1883 I went to Cassia Creek with O.S. Call, C.J. Call, brothers-in-law and Josiah Call, Cousin-in-law. Not being successful in locating a homestead here we went to the Snake River Valley that fall. We selected homesteads on what is now the town-site of Labelle, Idaho. On the first of July that year (1883) our first son was born and named Alfred.
We returned to the Snake River in the spring of 1884 with the intention of locating on our selected places, but we found the “Mad River” swollen and most formidable due to high water. There was no ferry or bridge to gain the opposite side. Someone had to swim and Josiah made such a suicidal attempt he came near losing his life. This caused our plans to be altered materially, Cyrl J. and I decided to scout around a bit. We found a location near where Rigby is now located, much to our liking and the river need not be crossed to reach it. It took considerable persuasion on our part to attract the boys to this new selection. However, they decided to look it over, which resulted in our locating here at Rigby. The next day we filed our homestead claims on the four places at Eagle Rock (Idaho Falls). O.S. (Omie) and I left for Beaver canyon to work during the summer. C.J. and Josiah returned to Willard.
In September of 1884, O.S. and I returned and worked until November hauling timber out to prepare our homes; we also surveyed for the canal known as the Rigby canal. We found D.S. Robbins and family had moved in from Cache Valley and were greatly in need of a house. Omie and I assisted him in getting the house logs cut and hauled out. We then put them up and covered and plastered it all with mud. The night they moved in a snow storm came that was extremely wet and disagreeable. Soon after we returned to our Utah homes.
Early in the spring of 1885 we returned and broke up a few acres of ground and sowed it to wheat. We then went up the river to Granite Creek where we secured house logs for our homes and also a set for Josiah. I built a two-roomed home, completing but the one room at a time. Early in July we left for Willard to work on the thresher. On August 7, 1885 our second sone, Omer Sl. Was born. On the 20th of Oct. we bid good bye to the old home folks and friends and set out for our new home in Idaho. We drove our cows and what stock we had, with the loaded wagon trailing . It required ten days to make the journey. We arrived here on the last day of October. Omer was just 2 ½ months old and Alfred but a toddling tot. That night snow fell to depth of three inches.
And so we came to play a very important part in the pioneering of this great valley of the Snake River. During the winter of 1885 we started the construction of a log meeting house; the next spring it was moved to the town-site and there completed. We held our Sunday Schools, meetings, dances and all gatherings here until 1898 when the Rock Church was erected. We were then but a branch of the Church with Brother D.S. Robbins as our Presiding Elder. Yet we had all organizations fully officered, most of us filling several positions as we were few in number. During this time the headquarters for the church was at Rexburg, and all stake meetings and conferences were held there. We early settlers can spin many a yarn of the times we forded the Snake River near Lorenzo. In the winter we crossed on the ice. The fall and spring months were the most hazardous, with mush ice or high water running. Later on we had a ferry which was some degree safer. Incidents most humorous, and those not so full of humor, are related even today at our reunions and family gatherings.
On May 22, 1886, the Rigby Ward was created. It was named in honor of William F. Rigby, a man whom the Saints here held in high esteem. I was set apart as their Bishop and ordained a High Priest. For over thirty years I fulfilled this calling, until December 7, 1917. This was the year my health began to break. My son, Omer, was called to take my place, a tribute that filled my heart with much joy and gratitude. The Rigby Ward was later divided into the First and Second Wards. Omer continued as the Bishop of the First Ward.
The story of how the town-site of Rigby came to be, is most interesting . In the fall of 1886, a man by the name of John Stander had filed on the quarter section now occupied as the original town-site of Rigby. He came to me and wanted to sell his relinquishment, and offered the same for $20.00. Up to that time we had made no provision for a town-site, but now decided the proper thing to do was to buy him out, which we did. I remember going around to the other settlers soliciting money in order to pay this man $20.00 for his relinquishment. Money was extremely scarce and my errand was not an easy one. However, when I called on George E. Hill Sr., who had just moved here from Salt Lake, he gave me a $5.00 gold piece. It looked to me as large as a wagon wheel. I was successful in raising the $20.00 and got Mr. Stander’s relinquishment.
The intention at that time was to let the Probate Judge file on this land on behalf of the settlers. This we proceeded to have done but we were informed by him that if we showed our good intentions it would not be necessary for us to live on the town site. Accordingly, a number of us went to work and fenced our lots and planted trees. These were the first trees planted in Rigby. One cold Sunday we went to Sunday School and found a man named John Robinson living in the meeting house. He had jumped our claim. In order to get rid of him we had to pay him $250.00. Josiah Call filed a pre-empton on the place and proved it up in six months’ time. He then sold the lots out for a town. When we bought Mr. Stander out for $20.00 we turned around and sold the timber on the lot for $24.00, thus we made a profit of $4.00 on that deal.
Education has always been my paramount interest. We few pioneers here decided our children should not be deprived of a school. A one room log school was provided for and I was engaged as the teacher. I taught 20 scholars during the winter of 1886 and 1887. Our textbooks were brought from the old homes in Utah and no two in the room were alike. The benches consisted of slabs rested upon wooden legs. Writing desks were boards fastened to log walls. When they were used for writing they were raised and when not in use were dropped. And yet we obtained a fair degree of success and I am proud of those scholars for the men and women they later became.
As we sit in the sunset of life today, we look back upon those years. They were the happiest years of our lives. Years filled with the dreaming and planning for our sons and daughters; years spent in clearing the virgin land of the grizzled sage; walking behind the plow as it turned the rich brown furrows; sowing and reaping and fencing– living close to the soil and finding our happiness there. Our boys and girls grew into manhood and womanhood. They graduated and went to higher degrees of learning. They take their places in the field of public service today with high repute and esteem. The girls are homemakers in their own right, rearing their families and employing their gifted talents to serve others. Those years brought their sorrows, yes. In February of 1889 we buried our five months old baby, Herbert E. The fabric of live is oft times shadowed. But the laughter of our children, the joy and gratitude we felt, wove a lovely pattern into our lives and tinged each fold with gold.
We extended beyond our farm. We built a two-room log house on the town-site which boasted a shingle roof. In 1902 we built a ten room brick house, the one in which we live and enjoy today. The town and community likewise expanded in growth and development. Fremont County was formed. I served five years as a Commissioner, four of which I was Chairman of the Board. The county was divided and Jefferson County created. Here too, I served as Chairman of the Board of Commissioners for three years. A Village Board was organized and I became its clerk. Later we became known as a city and I served both as its mayor and Clerk. Anderson Brother’s Bank played a very important part in our pioneering. I became appointed as vice-president and a director. The First National Bank of Rigby came to take its place. I served as director here. The experiences I had as a school trustee would fill a book in itself. Since those early years as a school teacher I had been an integral part of our school system. I’ve presided as Chairman of the Board many years. I’ve watched it expand and carve its name under our direction. I thrill today whenever a boy or girl from Rigby climbs to success or fame.
Thinking of those yester-years, I find my most tender memories were those of the time I served as a Bishop. They remain a source of inspiration to me still. Tears of gratitude fill my eyes as I reflect upon the loyalty and love my people gave me. I never had occasion to ask for anything in a financial way but they stood faithfully by me. The stone building was built at a cost of $6,000.00 the addition which was later made cost $8,000.00. In 1916 the Stake Tabernacle was erected and my ward donated $12,000.00. Aside from that I learned to study people and to understand human nature. I came to love those people dearly. Four of our children were called to fill missions during those fleeting years. The eldest son, Alfred was among the first missionaries called from this Stake. He labored in the Eastern States. Omer S. filed an honorable mission in the Northern states. The eldest daughter, Agnes was called to the Western states. Geo. A. Jr. labored in the Eastern states. At this time (1939) a granddaughter, Iole Hoggan, is returning home from a mission to the Western states. It makes me feel that all has not been in vain. The years my father devoted to the gospel, the sacrifices and hardship my mother endured for the Gospel, the modest endeavor I have tried to give; all these are being cherished and preserved as ideals. Those years glow with warmth and peace and love as comes only from the “spirit within”.
I had never known a sick day in my life until the year 1917. My health began to fail rapidly. In fact, I was a nervous wreck. Local doctors seemed unable to diagnose my case. I went to Salt Lake City and learned I had a toxic goiter which demanded immediate attention. A week later I submitted to an operation. This was not successful as too much of the gland had been left. I developed a serious heart trouble. In the spring of 1919, I returned to the Salt Lake hospital and submitted to treatment. They injected boiling water into the gland. Toward the close of July I returned home. Months of careful nursing gradually brought me back to health, although it required some seven or eight years time. In 1936 I entered the hospital again for an operation more serious than the previous one. At the age of seventy-five years I under went an appendectomy. Today I am enjoying a good degree of health and strength. Through it all my testimony has been strengthened many fold; my faith in God’s love and mercy has grown with the years.
May 22, 1936, was the Golden Jubilee year for the Rigby First Ward. It was commemorated by a celebration and pageant. The pageant was a beautiful thing and I was deeply touched by its theme. Although I lay in the hospital so seriously ill, they honored my name and my life in its portrayal. In fact, my son Omer and I shared honors in this glorious event.
“And best of all this noble Church of ours
Established by Our Lord and Savior, dear
For God’s children builded He His Church.
And in this Rigby Ward of ours
For fifty years had guided been,
And progress great has here been made.
What thanks we owe to leaders great
Two Bishops fifty years have reigned,
A father and his son.” (Taken from the words of the pageant)
There is more to tell you, Dear Children, of my life. As this year (1939) nears its close we will have been married fifty-eight years. They reveal beautiful memories to us who have grown gray, they yield inspiration to those who are on the sunny side of fifty to grow old gracefully– and to youth they impart their romance and love, Blessed are we to have had the privilege of living and enjoying those years, and to have our children grouped about us as they are today. They are as follows:
Year Name Occupation Residence
1883 Alfred C. Attorney-at-law Pocatello, Idaho
1885 Omer S. Farmer and Insurance Rigby, Idaho
1889 Agnes M. Married James D. Hoggan Burley, Idaho
1891 Mabel E. Married Lawrence Later Ririe, Idaho
1893 Sarah N. Married C.W. Ashpole Medford, Oregon
1896 George A. Jr Builder Burbank, California
1901 Clarence H. Salesman Preston, Idaho
Thirty-six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, living, completes my family group. Death has claimed several of our loved ones.
“Just fifty-eight years in wedlock’s chains
We’ve traveled hand in hand
Nor deemed its fetters hard to wear
Cemented by love’s band.
Love, truest love, has ever shed
Its halo o’er our path
Making trials, shared by each
Less bitter –cut in half.
Its powers have enhanced our joys
Made pleasures far more sweet,
Made sorrow and affliction seem
Much easier to meet.
Today–we live again those days of yore
Here in Life’s golden glow–
And from the shadows of those years
Come memories of that long ago.”
What more could we ask of life? Seated by the cozy warmth of our heath, the radio to amuse and instruct us, the mantle filed with pictures of our most precious treasures, our children’s children; books to read and enjoy, and above all our health and strength. Olden friends and neighbors make pleasant our days. Blooming flowers gladden winters long hours. Summer days are leisurely filled with travel in our car. Just enough of work to give a zest to living. Able to partake of the rich out-pouring of God’s spirit through worship. All this is ours to fill our lives with purest wealth which the heart can keep. All this, we humbly and thankfully enjoy together– as sweethearts old.
This auto-biography was related by George Albert Cordon to Mrs. Norma H. Morris in 1939 and was published in the Rigby Star in 1942 at the occasion of the celebration of their 60th wedding anniversary. All of their living children were there and most of their grandchildren. Grandpa died 26 Sept. 1944 in the LDS hospital in Idaho Falls. Grandma lived to be over 96 years of age; she died 26 Feb. 1955.
Theone C. Cordon, 1956
Alfred Rolland Cordon (1817 - 1871)
Emily Maria Pridmore Cordon (1828 - 1894)
Sally Agnes Call Cordon (1858 - 1955)*
Alfred Call Cordon (1883 - 1965)*
Omer Samuel Cordon (1885 - 1969)*
Agnes Maria Cordon Hoggan (1889 - 1971)*
Mabel Emily Cordon Later (1891 - 1991)*
Sarah Nancy Cordon Sorensen (1893 - 1967)*
George Albert Cordon (1896 - 1963)*
Herbert Elihu Cordon (1898 - 1899)*
Clarence Heber Cordon (1901 - 1979)*
Edwin Parker Cordon (1841 - 1929)**
Rachel Ann Cordon Ward (1844 - 1911)**
Emma Cordon Lowe (1846 - 1935)**
Adelaide Cordon Meears (1849 - 1914)**
Mary Francis Cordon (1854 - 1862)**
Charles Edward Cordon (1856 - 1877)**
Harriet Eliza Cordon Chandler (1858 - 1936)*
Eliza A Cordan Toombs (1858 - 1926)**
Sarah Jane Cordon Shupe (1860 - 1925)**
George Albert Cordon (1860 - 1944)
Arthur Edmund Cordon (1864 - 1914)*
Horace Herbert Cordon (1868 - 1951)*
Phebe Ann Cordon (1869 - 1879)**
Sabina Geneva Cordon (1871 - 1879)**
Rigby Pioneer Cemetery
Maintained by: Simmons Family
Originally Created by: Collins Crapo
Record added: May 03, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 14162679