Son of Israel Dodge Allphin and Christiana Dolbel Riding
Married Ella Elvina Asay, 15 Aug 1906, Lovell, Big Horn, Wyoming
Children: Joseph Asay Allphin, Velda Allphin, Alva Dodd Allphin, Anna Laura Allphin, Nella Allphin, R. Lister Allphin, McKay Asay Allphin, Lawrence Allphin, Mary June Allphin, Ella Mae Allphin, Reuben Gene Allphin
The Life History of Reuben Lister Allphin, by his daughter, Anna Laura Allphin Chatterton
It was a cold and wintry Monday morning, 5 December 1887, when Reuben Lister Allphin was born in Panguitch, Garfield County, Utah, to Israel Dodge Allphin and Christiana Dolbell Riding. He had black curly hair, which was kept in long ringlets until he was six or seven years old. Reuben tells it like this. "There I went not knowing if I was a boy or a girl until one day they made the mistake of leaving me home alone with my brother George. He went to work on me and when I came out from under all those curls my true identity was known, but George wasn't allowed to mingle with the family for some time after that. My sisters were really mad."
Reuben loved growing up in Panguitch. In the summer he herded cows on the green foothills. In the winter he went to school. Sometimes the snow was so deep that the older men had to break trails for the children to follow.
Reuben spent the summer when he was 12 years old training a little horse which he was to race at the St. George Fair. That was to be the thrill of his life. His whole being tingled with excitement. This is the way Reuben tells the story. "The day of the races came and we started for the fair and the thrill I was looking forward to. I remember how lovely that morning was. The sun was shining so bright. The birds were singing, and the air was full of music. We were even singing. As we neared the top of Parowan Mt. We looked for a small tree to cut down to use as a drag to hold our light wagon back while we descended the north side of the mountain. I was sitting on a trunk with my back to the seat where the two men were sitting. We stopped the rig and were making ready to get out when the gun these men had standing between them discharged. The ball entered my body under my left arm passing through my body very close to my heart. That ended my horse racing career." The nearest doctor was 20 miles away and could only be summoned by horseback. It was hours before he arrived. Reuben was bleeding profusely as he lay pale and seemingly lifeless, but the Lord was watching over him. The bleeding cleansed the wound and with the faith and prayers of his loving parents he was soon up and enjoying his youthful life again.
In 1902 the home in Panguitch was sold, and Reuben, with his mother, half sister Adelaid and her husband John C. Houston, moved to the Big Horn Basin area of northern Wyoming. They traveled by covered wagon. Reuben, now 14, was responsible for caring for and driving the horses. It was a rugged trip of 750 miles, which took eight weeks to complete. They were grateful to safely join family and friends in Lovell, Wyoming. Reuben's father was visiting an older son by a previous marriage in Idaho at the time. Israel Dodge, then 88 years old, passed away on April 25, 1903, in Elba, Idaho.
The first winter after their arrival in Lovell was spent in a tent, and it was very cold. It was at that time that Reuben says he was "suddenly thrown into a man's world." His formal schooling finished with the eight grade when he left Panguitch, and he learned to do a man's work to help provide for his family. That winter he and his half-brother, Delbert, hauled logs and lumber from a sawmill in the nearby mountains. As they had no overshoes they would wrap their feet in burlap bags and often walked beside the wagon in an effort to keep warm. He became an expert at handling horses and in his latter years enjoyed keeping fine horses to ride. He helped build roads, canals, and the railroad. He also cut and hauled ice.
The first home he helped build for his mother was soon sold and he took the responsibility of finding another lot and house to move on it. His brother, Owen, helped pay for the house, and he and Delbert remodeled and plastered it to make it livable.
On August 15, 1906, Reuben married Ella Elvina Asay. She was the daughter of Joseph Asay and Mary Amanda Roberts. Ella was born in Georgetown, Kane, Utah on September 27, 1887. She had pioneered to Lovell with her family the same year as Reuben. They had enjoyed dancing and socializing with other youth in the community and their friendship blossomed into love.
In October of 1906 Reuben's life was threatened again when he was stricken with typhoid fever. After several weeks the doctor despaired of his life, but not his wife or mother. They summoned their Stake President, Byron Sessions, and several Priesthood bearers to administer to him. President Sessions, through the priesthood, which he held, rebuked the fever and promised Reuben that he would recover. When the brethren lifted their hands from off his head the fever, which racked his body for two months, left him and he spoke for the first time in several weeks. It took the rest of the winter for him to regain his strength.
Reuben and Ell were blessed with a baby boy on February 9, 1908. They named him Joseph A. after his maternal grandfather, Joseph Asay. They loved this little one and were broken hearted when he was taken from them with pneumonia four months later on June 7, 1908. However, on August 30, 1909 they were blessed with a baby girl whom they named Velda. When she was 18 months old Reuben received a call to serve a mission in the Eastern States. When Reuben left for this mission Ella and Velda traveled to Salt Lake City with him, where they had someone stand as proxy for little Joseph, and together they were sealed as an eternal family on June 30, 1910 in the Salt Lake Temple.
For two years Reuben served faithfully in West Virginia and Pennsylvania where he had many faith promoting experiences. Much of the time he traveled without purse or script. On one assignment he and his companion were sent to check on some members of the church in Buck Valley, Pennsylvania. They walked all day and found no one willing to listen or give them food or a bed. When night came they considered sleeping in an old barn, but after praying they were impressed to start up the mountain. Rain began to fall and it was so dark that they could hardly find their way. After what seemed to them like hours of wading through the mud and rain they reached the top of the mountain. The lights from the homes in the valley below seemed to welcome them, but as they descended one by one the lights went out. Finally, they spotted a faint light in the distance. They hurried toward it and were welcomed into the home of one of the families they had been sent to find. The woman had felt impressed to leave the light burning in the window; something she had never before done. The prayers of the two humble servants of the Lord had been answered.
Many other faith-promoting experiences occurred. He tracted, preached, baptized, blessed, sang, and even showed the Buck Valley sheep sheerer how to shear a big buck without tying him down and did it so quickly that the on-lookers were astonished. He loved his mission President, Ben E. Rich, his companions, and the people he served, and they in turn loved him.
Reuben returned home a changed man. He gained knowledge and a burning testimony that became the dominating force throughout the remainder of his life. He was ever grateful to his wife who took in washing to support her and their daughter in his absence and helped support him.
To provide for his family Reuben learned many trades. He tried farming, working in a butcher shop, sheep shearing, plastering and even dug graves with his brother Delbert. He bought an apple orchard in Imbler, Oregon and lived there a few years. Unable to support his family there they returned to Lovell. As his sons matured he taught them the plastering trade and they formed a contracting company called Allphin and Sons. Together they built many homes, commercial buildings and schools in Wyoming and Montana.
Reuben and Ella were faithful Latter-day Saints. Not only was he a loving husband and father, and she a devoted wife and mother, but also they served well in the church. He was a missionary, a bishop while living in Oregon, Stake YMMIA President, High Councilman, and Stake Genealogical Chairman. He was an excellent speaker and preached many funeral sermons. He loved his ancestors and did much research and temple work for them. When he retired he and Ella spent the winter months in St. George, Utah and Mesa, Arizona doing temple work. He led many excursions to the Idaho Falls Temple.
Reuben loved music, drama and dance. He both directed and participated in them whenever possible. He kept a journal and wrote his life story from which much of this material was taken. He loved the great outdoors and enjoyed taking his family on camping trips. He looked forward each year to fishing and hunting trips with his sons.
Reuben passed away in Lovell on December 21, 1959, after suffering for several months with cancer. Ella had told him that he couldn't die first and leave her alone. She remained behind for three years before he came and quietly took her home. They left behind a host of friends and family who loved them dearly. Of their 11 children four preceded them in death.