HYRUM OSCAR CRANDALL
Compiled from The Life Story of Hyrum Oscar Crandall Book
Hyrum Oscar Crandall was born April 26, 1844 at LaHarpe, Hancock County, Illinois, the son of Myron Nathan Crandall and Tryphena Bisbee. He was their second child. His parents were a close and faithful family. His father heard the gospel from missionaries in Villanova, New York and was fifteen years old when he joined the church. The Crandall family moved to Kirtland, Ohio, then followed the church migration from Ohio to Missouri, then to Quincy, Illinois and later to LaHarpe, Illinois not far from Nauvoo. Tryphena's family had joined the church in 1837 and were residents of Nauvoo at the time.
Persecution was so strong against the church that the members were driven from Illinois. In 1847 Myron and his family and many of his siblings left Illinois for Kanesville, Iowa. Myron built the first dugout in Kanesville. As a young boy Hyrum lived there with his family in Kanesville on a six acre farm for three years. While living here they acquired a span of horses, two yoke of oxen, two cows and a two year supply of provisions. Consequently, when they left to join the saints in Utah they did not suffer as much deprivation as some other pioneers. While they lived in Kanesville, Hyrum sister Julia Ann suffered an accidental hip injury which left her crippled the rest of her life. This injury kept the family from traveling as soon as they had hoped.
In 1850 that Crandalls left Kanesville with the Aaron Johnson Company. Hyrum was six years old when they left for Utah. The company arrived in the Salt Lake Valley 02 September 1850, in much better condition than most of the trains that had struggled across the plains. They camped at Emigration Square for a few days to let their animals rest, wash their clothes and mingle with the Saints. One morning Brigham Young came into the square and with a wave of his cane, cut out the first eight wagons and told them to prepare to leave at once for their new home about 50 miles south of Salt Lake. The Crandall's were among the eight wagons cut out. Some of the men had scouted the country on horseback and came back with glowing tales of the beauty of the Utah Valley with belly-high grass and a spring of cool mountain water with the lake shimmering nearby.
Captained again by Aaron Johnson, the lead wagon was driven by Martin Pardon Crandall and they traveled three days, arriving at Hobble Creek about 3:00 p.m. on 18 September 1850. The Crandall's were among these and on 18 September 1850 they arrived at what they first called Hobble Creek, because they could hobble the horses and turn them out to graze along the creek. Later they named their camp Springville in honor of the mountain spring which gave them water and afforded power for the gristmill. The next morning the men hung up their grindstone, sharpened their scythes and began to make hay from the wild grasses which grew in abundance. They also sharpened axes and sent groups of men into the canyons for logs to build a fort.
Aaron Johnson's history records, "The following day the men went to the hills for logs from which to build their homes. In the meantime, the women and children picked wild ground cherries, choke cherries and service berries… The first days were full of promise and hope."
The men began to build a fort the second day after they arrived because there were bands of Indians in the area. The village grew rapidly as the wagons arrived. Chief Walker and his parties were troublesome, more from their habit of walking into homes unannounced and uninvited, and their thievery, than threatening life. One day word came that the Indians were on the warpath and all the women and children were gathered into the meeting house to stay while the men joined in repelling the Indians. The day was hot and their supply of water is gone. No one dared go to the creek until Grandmother Guymon took the bucket and ran quickly to the stream, filled the bucket and ran back. It was extremely warm but they had been told to keep the doors and windows closed.
At this juncture 1851, Utah was a young land. American history was still in the making here. An early day log fort arose in "Hobble Creek" almost immediately to afford the first settlers protection from the Indians and from the approaching winter. The area had a bounty of mountains, badlands, canyons, valleys and desert. In short, the area was a geologic showcase. This was the wide open west the Mormons did so much to shape. The experiences of the settlers in Springville were peculiar to the pioneer way of life. Their experiences were accounts of travel in covered wagons, accounts of Indian battles and otherwise the eking out of an existence that at times was barely of subsistence level.
Hyrum received his schooling in Springville schools and grew up in a community that placed great importance on socials, dances and parties. Bishop Johnson, when he built his permanent home, built a large room in which the young people could socialize and dance. They had only to provide the fuel and the candles. When the meeting house was built, socials were held there.
Hyrum married Margaret Elizabeth (Betsy) Guymon who was also a lifelong resident of Springville. They had known each other even across the plains coming to Utah when Betsy was seventeen they married on 06 March 1864. They were later sealed and received their endowments in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City on 14 January 1869.
The Black Hawk War broke out in 1866, lasting two years. Hyrum, 22 was assigned guard duty. Whenever trouble came, the old bell on the church was rung three times, then after a few seconds lapse, three more times. In case of extreme emergency, a drum roll was added to the end of the alarm.
Early in May a courier came dashing into town reporting that some people had been shot near the forks of the canyon. Immediately that bell rang out, "come, come, come – quick, quick, quick," followed by a long drum roll. In half an hour a posse had formed and twenty men left for the crime scene, among them was Hyrum. When the posse arrived, however, no dead were found but the men divided up into pairs and searched all afternoon for signs of Indians. At sundown they met at the Curtis ranch where ten more men joined their ranks. The group held a council of war and decided that the Indians had holed up for the day and would try to escape through a familiar canyon after dark. Ten of young men volunteered to try to head them off. When they arrived at their destination, one of their numbers was missing and they waited fearfully for the confrontation. They descended the trail to return to the ranch for breakfast where they found the missing boy who had become lost during the night. They were relieved that he was alive, as they had feared and dead.
All that summer the men worked in parties of 30 to 40 men when they went for wood, staying close together and keeping armed. A company of minute men was formed and for six months they camped in the tithing yard. Each day a squad was detailed to herd the cattle to feed on the bench and bring them home safely in the evening. During that summer they encountered the Indians several times but the Battle of Diamond Fork in which Hyrum Oscar was involved is worthy of mention.
A band of Indians came down Maple Canyon in June of 1866 and drove off 50 head of cattle and horses. This was the start of the Battle Diamond Fork. The bell rang, the drums rolled and a posse was formed. Only about ten were in the initial group as the other men were working in the fields and it took awhile for them to gather. Another posse from Spanish Fork was scheduled to meet them, hoping to surround the Indians on two sides. The Spanish Fork group met the Indians and engaged them in battle before the Springville group arrived. The skirmish lasted about an hour and a half and two young men were killed. The Indians finally fled, so they picked up their two dead comrades, strapped them to horses and sadly went home. They were met by Bishop Johnson who told them to get a few hours of sleep because one boy hadn't returned. Shortly the bell rang and they were on their way again.
The Diamond Fork Battle was one of the most successful of the Black Hawk War as the Indians lost all of their camp equipment and much of their ammunition and guns. Most of the cattle were found and returned and after 48 hours of continual fighting with little food and water, the Springville men, including Hyrum Oscar, dragged themselves home.
Hyrum and Betsy had been married five years when it was decided that Hyrum would take a second wife, so he chose Betsy's sister, Harriet who was eighteen. They were married 25 October 1869 at the Endowment House in Salt Lake. Betsy worked diligently spinning wool and weaving cloth to make Hyrum a suit to wear for this marriage. Betsy had just had a baby, Franklin Edgar, born 01 September 1869 and could not make the journey, so her mother went with them. Betsy worked all day to prepare a fine supper the night that Hyrum and Harriet got home. When everyone was eating, Betsy slipped out and a friend found her sitting on the chopping block sobbing. Polygamy was probably the hardest principle the pioneers had to live.
In 1879 the two families moved to Huntington, Emery County, Utah in what is known as Castle Valley. The party included Betsy and six children, Harriet and four children. Harriet's fifth child, Adelaide Lucinda was born, en route to Huntington.
The history of Huntington, Utah reveals that Hyrum Oscar arrived with a large group of settlers in late summer 1879. Castle Valley had been settled as early as 1850 but it was not until 25 years later that settlers moved there in any great number. A colony of Mormons had arrived in 1877, building dugouts along the north side of the creek. As they built homes, other settlers moved in and occupied the dugouts. Hyrum arrived with Noah Thomas Guymon, his father-in-law and they helped survey the town of Huntington. As was the custom, lots were numbered and the numbers placed in a hat, then each man drew for lots. Those with plural wives drew a lot for each wife. Noah Thomas and Albert Guymon both drew lots at this time. Hyrum and William Howard were business partners in a saw mill and built identical homes. The old Crandall home burned down later, but the Howard house still stands.
Hyrum was a counselor to the Elias Cox, first Bishop of Huntington, when the ward was organized 07 October 1879 by Canute Peterson, Stake President and shortly afterward the auxiliary organizations were formed, a cemetery designated and an "Old Folks committee" was appointed. Hyrum also filed on 160 acres of homestead land which he improved a great deal. Hyrum and William O. Howard's steam sawmill used the timber that was one of them valuable cash crops in Huntington. Their mill was a shingle and lath mill located in Crandall Canyon found in Huntington Canyon. Another sawmill was located in Rilda Canyon but it later moved to the Forks, also in Huntington Canyon. For the first year there was no drinking water, so the pioneers hauled water from the creek.
While they lived in Huntington, three children were born to Betsy and three sons were born to Harriet. Noah Thomas Guymon, grandfather to all these children, owned the first store, the first grain binder, the first "surrey with the fringe on top." This surrey was used as a hearse in the community for many years.
The year after their arrival in Castle Dale Valley, a big 24th of July celebration was held under a large bowery erected for the occasion. The same bowery was also used as a church until a log cabin, forty by sixty feet, was erected. This log cabin church had a dirt floor, but a wooden floor was added shortly, but the building had a thatch roof and mud filled the chinks between the logs. Doors and windows from Sanpete County were added and when it was finished, of big New Year's Dance was held in it. A new wing was added later, forming a T. A stage at one end of the addition made it possible to hold plays and programs and eventually a coat of plaster and whitewash improved it aesthetically and a new floor over the original improved it functionally. It served the community until it was destroyed by fire in 1918.
The first Thanksgiving celebration was held in this building in 1881. A program of songs, recitations and stump speeches started the day, then a midnight supper and dancing until morning completed the festivities. Dancing was one of the favorite pastimes of the Saints. More men than women were usually in attendance, so the men were given numbers and weren't suppose to dance until their number was called. If they didn't wait, that was called "ringing in," a practice that cause more than one fist fight outside.
Just what prompted Hyrum to pull up stakes and move his two families to Vernal, Utah it is not known for sure. In 1887 Hyrum sold his hundred 160 acres and moved his family to Vernal, Utah where he purchased 80 acres of land and worked as a contractor, building homes. Here Betsy had another daughter and Harriet had her last child. In Vernal, Hyrum purchased a large lot, building one house on one end of the lot and one on the other. Each had two rooms on the ground floor and two rooms upstairs. There was no stairway, but a ladder provided access. The children ran back and forth between the two houses and everyone was congenial with one another.
The family prospered in Vernal but persecution of polygamous families intensified. And it was at about this time that the laws of the land began to focus against those Latter-day Saints who had entered into polygamous marriage relationships. Because of the attacks against the church over this issue the Mormon Church issued its Manifesto suspending the practice of polygamy in the church. This occurred on 06 October 1890. The church had conformed to the laws of the land but the families that had been constituted through plural marriage found themselves in an adverse situation. Hyrum Oscar was already having to evade local and Federal agents bent upon putting him in jail.
Because he was not openly able to be with his two families the way his heart and conscience dictated, Hyrum Oscar Crandall held council with his two families over the untenable situation and both families agreed they should load both families into the wagons and move to Mexico where they can live unmolested.
President Wilford Woodruff, an Apostle and himself a polygamist, became very ill while he was fleeing the Federal officers, so he came to the Crandall Home for refuge. Betsy killed a chicken and made chicken broth to sustain Elder Woodruff and he stayed at their home for several days. He stayed upstairs in the boys' bedroom and when he was better, the children were allowed to go up and visit him. He taught them a little song, "I'll be a Little Mormon."
Because of Federal persecution and after much discussion, Hyrum decided to take his two wives and seventeen children and move to Mexico, hoping to escape constant surveillance of the "Federals." They packed all their necessary furniture to head for the Mormon Colonies in Mexico. Preparations were completed, and on a cold day, 23 January 1891, they said their goodbyes when Franklin, decided to marry before they left. Julia Euzell and Hettie didn't join the family going to Mexico. They also married about this time.
At the last moment Hyrum saw that he needed an extra rope and the only place to buy one was at the hardware store but he was afraid he would run into officers, so he elected to shave off his beautiful beard and mustache. A Deputy Whitaker, who was a "spotter," passed right by Hyrum on the street and didn't recognize him. After Hyrum bought his rope, jumped on his horse and rode away, Whitaker ask the storekeeper if that wasn't Crandall!
Three wagons left Vernal 23 January 1891, one pulled by a four-horse team. In addition to this they had 48 head of loose horses and they trailed a cow. (Some family dispute arises over the existence of a cow). Just how much planning went into this move no one seems to know for sure. In any event Hyrum Oscar Crandall took enough time to sell and dispose of its property. It is recorded that the wagons were well outfitted. The older boys drove the extra stock and the wagons. When evening came they cooked and ate around a campfire. They were entertained by singing and playing the harmonica and recollections of that time were spoken of the beautiful spring flowers, the streams and lovely valleys. The days pass quickly and soon it became warm and sunny and the roads became dusty and dry. The stock kicked up clouds of dust that whirled around everyone.
Finding water was always a problem. In the arid regions when a water hole was located they more often than not found the Indians guarding the water. Hyrum Oscar had to barter a horse to the Indians on one occasion for permission to fill their water kegs and water their stock. On their trip down, many times it passed over large beds of saleratus or alkali, akin to baking soda. They filled all there empty cans with it and used it to leaven their bread. It made the bread very yellow but at least it would rise and they found it very tasty.
The days on the trail passed quickly and soon it became warmer and the road became dusty and dry. One day just before they got to Monticello, a spotter came into camp. All the polygamists' families had been taught to answer all questions from strangers about their family with "I don't know." The spotter asked all the children where their father was and what his name, but all he got was a chorus of "I don't know." He drove out of camp cursing and calling them dumb little brats but the children felt pretty smart. He was not deceived, however because shortly Marshall Whitaker showed up. His jurisdiction was in Utah but he bragged that he was going to arrest Hyrum the next day. Hyrum's friends took the Marshall's group to the saloon and treated them to as much drink as they wanted, while Hyrum and Brother Wrigley herded their horses into New Mexico out of immediate danger.
In some places quicksand made it necessary for the men to drive the horses back and forth until they could find a safe place to cross. Many places were so steep that they had to tie the wheels together with chains in order to let the wagons down slowly enough.
They were glad to cross over into New Mexico Territory to get away from the jurisdiction of the Marshalls and spotters. However, in New Mexico they traveled on Zuni Territory and those Indians were on the warpath. The boys took turns sitting watch night and day.
After five months of travel the families arrived in Deming, Luna County, New Mexico on 05 June 1891, after traveling by wagon for five months. The nearest railroad point to the Mormon Colonies. Margaret was sent to deliver when they arrived here. Hyrum rented a small house for her and the younger children and helped put up tents for the older ones. After getting everyone settled in, Hyrum left with Harriet, her children and all the older boys to look over the colonies in Mexico and see if it was where they wanted to settle. They hadn't been gone long when Margaret went into labor and they came back to help Margaret. She gave birth to their twelfth child.
A few days later the party set out again, leaving Margaret with the small children and a new infant. When Hyrum and the rest of family arrived at the Mexican border, they were told that they would have to pay $5.00 a head to the Mexican Government for all their livestock. The austere conditions of the area had already turned their heads, so the return to Deming convinced that Mexico should not be their destination. Inasmuch as they were not impressed with the country, they returned to Deming. They took a contract to dig a canal to bring water to that thirsty land and they worked all summer only to find that a Mr. Taylor, the bookkeeper had absconded with all the money, leaving Hyrum and his families completely without funds. It was a hard time for all of the family and they decided that Margaret was to return by train to Utah with all of her younger family to a place Hyrum had purchased this was 1892 purchased sight unseen several years before in this small community of Indianola, 50 miles south of Springville. Mr. Black, from whom he had purchased it for span of mules, had represented it as a sound house and everyone was looking forward to living there.
Harriet and her family proceeded on to the Gila Valley in the territory of Arizona. Harriet reportedly had already made friends with some people from Gila Valley who spoke favorable terms about the area. It was decided that Hyrum should accompany Harriet and get them settled and then return to Utah himself and live with his first family. And this is the order of events that finally developed.
Hyrum, Harriet and her family preceded by wagon to Safford, Arizona with what remained of the stock taken to New Mexico. They arrived in Safford (the Layton area) in December 1892. Harriet and her children settled in a temporary house which is now part of the Lawrence Fuller ranch. Their immediate concern of course was a livelihood. Hyrum remained with Harriet less than a year reportedly. A Tax Collector's s Office receipt reflects that on 12 April 12, 1893, one H. O. Crandall paid $24.70 to Graham County, Arizona Territory at Solomonville, Arizona the county seat. It is said that when Hyrum returned to Utah to join his first wife he took one wagon and one span of horses with them. The laws of the land, so to speak, had separated her and her children from Hyrum Oscar Crandall never seeing her husband again. They were left in a two room shack with tents for the older boys. Two wagons and teams gave 17 year old Marcellus the oldest and Mel, teenage sons, means to earn a living hauling and freighting and Harriet served as a midwife.
Hyrum met Margaret and her family in Indianola in 1893. They were thrilled to see their husband and father after nearly a year without him. In 1894, Margaret and Harriet's brother, Ed Guymon wrote about a wonderful place in Wyoming so Hyrum left his family again to file on a homestead there. This was 1894 in the big horn basin of Wyoming in the fall. In 1895 soon he wrote for Margaret and the children, to come and be with him in Wyoming. The family was destitute when they receive the letter but they packed their belongings into two wagons and started out. It was a sad meeting when they met Hyrum headed for Utah. They spent that winter in Otto, Wyoming.
The next summer Hyrum and the boys worked on the Joe Brown's Ranch between Otto and Mormon Bend. Hyrum and the boys contracted to build Cody canal nearby, 1895 – 1896 laid out the city of Burlington Wyoming. So while the rest the family set up housekeeping in Otto, they worked on the canal until the spring of 1897. It was also at that time that Hyrum and Richard Prater laid out the city of Burlington, Wyoming and the family moved there. In the spring of 1897, Hyrum got a contract to build the road through Yellowstone Park. The family lived in tents, cooked over campfires and carried their water up a steep hill to their camp.
The fall of 1897 the families moved out of the park and homesteaded some land in the Teton Valley just south of Driggs, Idaho. Hyrum Oscar and his boys built a two room log house with a dirt roof. A spring of pure water provided plenty of water. The valley was beautiful, nestled just under the Teton peaks. Choke cherries and other berries grew in profusion in the summer. Heavy winter snows cover the trees and meadows but the valley was ready to bloom come spring. Hyrum with the help of his boys farmed the land. He bought cows and chickens to stock the place. Margaret sold butter and eggs to the store. For the first time the family was really settled.
Once again Hyrum contacted from the Utah Construction Company and moved the family to Evanston, Wyoming in 1899 through 1900. That year Hyrum cleared $3,000.00 making roadway for the railroad. The following year he wanted to try "just one more time," and contrary to Betsy's wishes, they stayed in Evanston to build more roadway. The formation of the dirt changed, however and the hills which had to be blasted before the bed could be laid, and weathered and "air slaked," and when the inspecting engineer came, he would not pay them, saying that the bed was dirt instead of rock. They lost all their money.
The family returned to Teton Basin to start over. During those years Hyrum was first counselor in the bishopric under Don Carlos Driggs. The Teton stake was organized later. Bertha recalled it vivdly:
" Joseph F. Smith was the visiting authority. At that time he was an Apostle and I remember sitting by father listing to the conference. The way they had it arranged, we all sat on planks laid over cut-off logs. I remember it being an exciting conference. Thomas E. Rex of the Rexburg stake was there and I remember him reading off the names: Don Driggs, president of the Stake; George Young as first counselor and a fellow by the name of Wingren as Second Counselor. Then they began to read off the names of the high councilmen. As I sat by father, I could see the perspiration running down his neck and it wasn't too warm, at least I didn't think so and I wondered what the matter was. But he knew he was going to be made Bishop and so he was. He was Bishop for three years, until the day he died. He was a wonderful man. A thoroughly honest and good man. A man whose word was as good as gold anytime."
Hyrum had always had bad headaches during his life. He loved to have his hair brushed when his head ached. That spring he got a very severe headache so Margaret got the hairbrush and began brushing his hair. While she was thus engaged, he grew still and died in Margaret's arms. The doctor said it was a heart attack. The date was 30 April 1904. He was just 60 years old. Hyrum was buried in Driggs Cemetery which he and his counselor had laid out just a week before. He was the first grave in it.
Harriet, who never again saw her husband after he left the Gila Valley in 1893, lived in Safford near her children and died there 18 May 1942.
Julia Ann Crandall Boyer
Myron Edgar Crandall
Lucian Delancy Crandall
Daniel Marcellus Crandall
David Delos Crandall
Clara Elizabeth Crandall
Franklin Edgar Crandall
Julia Euzell Crandall Truman
Wallace Martin Crandall
Harvey Leslie Crandall
Hettie Margaret Crandall Rolfe
Myron Marcellus Crandall
Louis Eugene Crandall
1878 – unknown
Helen Irene Crandall Ricks
Adelaide Lucinda Crandall Robinson
Melburn Roslin Crandall
Zina Luella Crandall Hill
Ralph Delos Crandall
Bertha Grace Crandall Garner
George Ernest Crandall
Julia Bisbee Crandall Johnson
Stanley LeRoy Crandall
Elroy Ira Crandall
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