Autobiography of O. C. Day
Biographical Sketch of Elvira Pamela Mills Cox
Biographical Sketch of Orville Sutherland Cox
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Beginning the life story of
Orville Cox Day
written in his own hand
(transcribed by Aloa Phillipps, June, 2003)
I was born in Fairview, Sanpete County, Utah, June first, 1885, a son of Eli Azariah Day and Elvira Euphrasia Cox Day. They were married in the Logan Temple, July 2, 1884. Mother was father's second wife. His first wife was Eliza Jane Staker Day. Mother and Father had both taught school there in Fairview for a number of years.
The first summer, mother worked for Aunt Eliza as her hired girl. I was born in Grandma's house. Then mother taught school again till Dec. 1886; Earl was born Mar. 26, 1887.
Grandpa Orville S. Cox died in grandma's house July 4, 1888, when I was a month past three years old. I remember seeing him with his long white beard.
The Edmunds-Tucker act was passed in 1883 against the Mormons and polygamy, and deputy United States marshals were very busy in Utah putting Mormon men in jail who had a baby by a second wife.
So before Elva was born in April, 1889 father and mother left Fairview and went by wagon 50 miles "over the mountain" "on the underground" in Castle Valley, in Lawrence, Emery County, where grandpa Abraham Day and Uncle Ira Day lived. I and "Ham" were the same age and played together.
A cellar hole was by our house. I, 4, and Earl, 2, were playing in the cellar when a small water snake came crawling out of the hole in the corner. I quickly climbed out of the hole, but Earl could not, and cried loudly. I ran to mother and said, "The devil in the cellar hole with Earl is going to get him."
They caught father and put him in the "pen" along with seven apostles and many leading Mormons.
Aunt Sarah died March 19 when Rulon was 7 days old, and about May, Marlin age 16 came "over the Mountain" with a team to get mother to live with Uncle Al that summer and nurse both babies. I and Sarah were the same age. I was at grandma's a lot. Wayne lived with grandma. He was six years older than me and I often went with him. Grandma always had a piece of squash pie or a cookie for us grand children. Then she put us to work and told us stories. She carded and spun wool and wove it into cloth, or knit stockings. I could tramp the wool in a tub of water to clean it; or pick it; or wind the yarn into a ball. She made home made dye to color it. Also soap, lye, and candles.
Once at age 5, she asked me to go into her little cold dark north, room for something. I opened the door and looked in and drew back saying, "Oo, I'm scart." "Well if I was I wouldn't tell anybody - a great big boy like you." Never again did I say, I was afraid.
In Sep. 1891 (0?) , father became principal of the Emery Stake Academy and moved both families to Castle Dale. There Elva took scarlet fever. Age 5, I was tending her while mother milked the cow. She was laughing aloud while mother washed her hands. Suddenly, she began to choke. She died 11 Nov. 1890. Then mother taught in Cleveland and father in Castle Dale.
The federal marshals came there, and suddenly father and mother packed things in a wagon and left hurriedly. The team would not pull the wagon out of a hollow and we got a rancher's horse to help. We got stuck in Price river and father carried goods along the wagon tongue to shore. We camped overnight by Green river and for the first time I saw a train. The river was over 100 yards wide and very deep, over the wagon hubs even on the ford. How frightened and worried mother became while we were crossing. In Moab, we stayed three weeks with Olivers, whom we had never before seen. I fell in love with Ethel. We fled south. In Monticello canyon I heard my first Echo and became quite excited about it. Near Mancos, (Colo ?) father worked on the railroad grade and there I had my first remembered birthday - six years old.
Few westerns knew arithmetic, so father got a job measuring lumber at Wheeler's saw mill. There Erael was born, Sep. 24, 1892. We moved into Mancos town for the winter.
Father returned to Fairview. When mother got a letter, she read it; then held it before the fire and scorched it so writing about the baby became visible. Then she wrote her own letter and signed it; then wrote invisibly with a spoonful of skim milk. Father was put in the pen. Mother had no money. For three weeks we lived on boiled wheat flavored with salt - no milk, no bread.
How good our first bread did taste. While we were eating, mother told us how people were starving in the terrible famine in Russia. She showed us the crumbs on the floor and told us in Russia every crumb would be picked up and eaten. Since then I've hated to see food wasted.
1892 Father was in the pen a second time for polygamy. Mother got a letter with a $20 gold piece in, all sewed up in velvet cloth. She got a railroad map that I studied and learned to read the names of every city and state on it. The trip home took three days. We reached Fairview on Easter Sunday.
The lowest class in school was the chart class; the highest the fifth reader; no grades. The first day Miss Lewis put me in the second class, the first reader. Girls near me asked me such easy two-letter words as in, at, to. Next day I was sent up stairs to Miss Beck's second reader class, Miss Laura Beck, Ferre Beck's aunt. A month later I was promoted to the third reader, called in September the fourth grade. At age seven, my seat mate was Orville M. Cox, my cousin, age 14.
That summer and winter we lived with grandma. She saved every tiny piece of bread, toasted it in the oven, and put it in a flour sack. She had a dozen fifty pound flour sacks full of bread hanging in the attic. Cousin Almer lived with grandma. His folks were in old Mexico. He was club footed. Uncle Am's house was on grandma's lot. I learned to card wool bats for a quilt, or to be re-carded into rolls for spinning into yarn. I learned to ride uncle Am's horses on the lope. But once I fell off on my head and was senseless for two hours. Almer carried me home. How worried mother was. I woke up crying with a head ache. It ached off and on for twelve years.
1893 That winter my shoes were holey and I had a bad cold for months. My voice was hoarse for years. In the spring we moved home into grandpa's old pioneer log house of two rooms. It had a floor; three long logs running lengthwise to hold up the roof; boards on the logs; and four inches of dirt atop the boards to keep out the rain. Also a log grainery and a log calf pen.
On June first, mother was in Manti, with Geneva and me. We were baptized on my birthday in the Manti temple, and climbed up the circular stairs to the top of the tower. We visited Manti relatives several days, especially Aunt Ada. I played with Gid a lot. I fell in love with a little cousin, Genevieve Christofferson. I still remember Ethel and Genevieve.
In September, mother moved to Milburn to teach school. Mr. Todd was my teacher.
A buck sheep in the pasture used to bunt us kids down. If we stood up, he knocked us down again. So we would have to crawl across the pasture and under the fence.
1894 In March, the teacher was explaining to the eighth grade how to find the greatest common divisor and the least common multiple. I stopped reading geography and was trying to figure out where he got the 2 or 3 he was dividing by when I dropped a ball. Very quietly I picked it up, when upon my back came Mr. Todd's willow several times. Next day father took me out of school to herd cows and, help with farm work. After that, all fall and spring, I was out of school working, till mother and father separated in 1899.
There in Fairview in fall and spring there would be two teachers and forty children, but in winter 400 children and six teachers. That fall, mother began teaching in Birch Creek, but had typhoid and had to quit. Mr. Luke was my teacher.
Father bought a 160 acre dry farm of Jake Rasmussen, who moved to Canada. Only ten acres were plowed up. But he hired Uncle George Day to plow 40 acres more. The rest was rocks and hills and never plowed. There we killed rattle snakes. The first one the smaller boys killed, they hammered and hammered it till it was in two. Then they carried one half down into a deep gulch, put on old bucket over it, and piled many rocks atop it. They carried the other half a half mile on top of big Slick Hill and piled many rocks on it. They were making sure the two halves would not crawl together at sun down and come alive according to the superstition.
As soon as snow was partly melted in spring, we boys herded cows "out west" by the dry farm. Some boys herded neighbors cows with us for a cent a head a day and earned 2 or 3 or as much as .05 a day. How we did wish we had a few neighbors' cows to herd.
1895 Guy C. Wilson was school principal. One day he came down to Mr. Luke's room and gave a test. He wrote .05 on the blackboard and asked who could read it. My hand went up and Sophia Christensen's - no one else. She was three years older than I. So he told us to come on up stairs into the eighth grade. Brother Wilson encouraged young men and women to come back to school and get education, age 16 to 24. One young man age 30 with a fine mustache, was in the same class with me, age 10. That fall, brother Wilson took 40 young people with him to Provo to the B. Y. A. - the most from any town in Utah except Provo itself. And that fall we moved to Provo so mother could learn obstetrics under Dr. Allen. Cousins Ida and Fred boarded with us. Tom Fielting often visited us. He was on the champion, football team of Utah. Next summer, they (Tom and Ida?) were married. Provo had good schools, well graded. In the Parker school, I was in the sixth grade.
1896 Mother was often away up to three days bringing a new baby, while we children tended ourselves.
Fairview people began selling milk to the Mt. Pleasant creamery. On $6 a month they were now wealthy. Before this, money had been almost unknown.
In Provo, I and Earl watched them snagging suckers in the canal. One young man caught 20 a minute for hours. We brought a gunny sack full home. Mother cleaned them and salted them down in a wooden candy bucket. Fish were very good.
I liked to play after school. So mother said whenever I got the chores done before sundown she would give me a nickel but whenever lamps were lighted before chores were done, I must giver her a nickel. I kept accounts on a board on the north side of the house. Finally she owed me $14. She said I could use the money to go to the B. Y. A. In Sept. I was harrowing ten acres, walking behind the harrow. After about six hours, I began to wonder whether I was tired or lazy. I finally concluded that since I was not sweating, I must be lazy, so I did not stop to rest. That fall, I must always drive the cows out north to the open fields before I went to school. How Mr. Wilson did lecture me before the entire school over being tardy, and how I hated it.
1897 Mother subscribed for the Salt Lake Herald, weekly. There was a continued story in it about boys who went to Alaska and found rivers paved with gold. About Feb 1, she asked me one day to come home from school at noon. I played marbles and got home about 1 p.m. Mother was put out and told me to go straight back to school. How I hated to be lectured for being late. So I decided to go to Alaska and get a million dollars in gold for mother and father. I walked north. The nearer I got to Hill Top, the deeper the snow became. Finally the road was unbroken and the snow a foot and a half deep. I cried and gave up; and walked east to Milburn where father was teaching school. He was riding home and after listening to my story, let me get on the horse with him.
In May 1900, I graduated from the 8th grade, passing the examination with the highest % in Utah County. In March or April of 1900 mother and father separated. Mother was the postmistress in Fairview for four years earning $30 a month.
In September 1901, I started to the B.Y A. in Provo for two years. In 1903 at age 18, I taught school in Axtell. In March 1904 went into Colorado and worked on the railroad. In September 1904 to B. Y. A. In September 1905 taught in Mill Fork. Started a Sunday School. September 1906, to the BYA graduating from the four year normal courses in May, 1907.
In Sep. 1903 mother moved to Provo. In Sep. 1907, teaching in Highland; started a Sunday School that grew into Highland Ward in August, 1915. In 1909 married Otes. In 1910 to Kansas on a mission. Home, teaching (school), in 1913 to 1917. Provo Reservoir water master in 1913 till 1922 and 1925 till now. Taught in Lehi Sep. 1918 till 1919. To Byron, Wyo. teaching 1921 to 1925. To summer school in Laramie 1923 and 24 (summers.) Home to Highland 1925. Here yet.
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Biographical Sketch of Elvira
Pamela Mills Cox
by Euphrasia Cox Day [daughter]
May 1, 1934
(transcribed by Aloa Phillipps,
Born March 2, 1820 in Nelson, Portage Co., Ohio. Her father Robert Mills, her mother Rhoda Hulet came to Ohio from Mass. She had one brother, Frederick Mills. Her father died 1827. She was 7 years and her brother 1 year old.
After her father's death her mother's brother Sylvester helped his sister to care for the farm and also helped another widowed sister, being almost like a father to the children.
When Joseph Smith received the plates and was translating the Book of Mormon, Sylvester heard about it and went to see him. He became convinced that Joseph was a true Prophet and told his sisters of his conviction and they also believed.
We have not the date of the baptism of any of the Hulets, but they were probably all baptized before 1833, because in that year they emigrated to Missouri and settled with the LDS in Jackson Co. Church history tells of the Hulet Settlement.
When, the mob drove the Saints from Jackson Co., they as the others suffered for food, clothing, and shelter.
A number of stories that I have not time to write here give vivid pictures of what they endured. "The Corn Shock", "Philo Dibble Wounded", "Crossing the Missouri River", "Potatoes", "Grandmother Teaches School", "Elvira's Present".
One winter after driven from Jackson Co. the Saints were in a scattered condition, then they gathered and built little towns mostly in Clay and Ray Counties.
Sylvester, his sisters Rhoda and Hattie, their 3 children and a little son of his brother, who's wife had died, were gathered under one roof in Far West, Sylvester taking the responsibility as head of the household. Here Rhoda died; but "Uncle Vester", as Elvira always affectionately called him continued to care for the orphans, until they were mature and Elvira married.
She became the wife of Orville Sutherland Cox on the 3rd of Oct. 1838 [other records give this date as Oct. 3, 1839]. At this time the LDS were in Ill. in and near Nauvoo. Orville made his house in Lima, Adams Co., Ill.
In the first year of the settlement in Adams Co., ague was prevalent and both the husband and wife and their baby boy suffered terribly with the chills and fevers. The child died.
The biography of Elvira is the same as that of her husband, except that instead of surveying ditches, making roads, bridges, etc., she took the sheep's wool, washed, carded, spun, and wove it into cloth and made clothes and knitted stockings, and bore a family of 11 children. Also in the fifties she was called to the mission of a nurse and midwife; and for this work was set apart by the priesthood, even as a missionary who preaches the gospel is set apart.
She had a remarkable gift to diagnose sickness and to know what best to do for the sufferers. She used simple herbs and massage treatments, such as science today recommends, and she had very pronounced success. She raised many of her medical herbs herself in her own garden plot, and always there were bunches of catnip, motherwert, summer savory, hore hound, peppermint, etc., hanging in our house to dry ready for use.
She died Feb. 18, 1903 and was buried in Fairview.
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Biographical Sketch of Orville
by Euphrasia Cox Day [daughter]
(transcribed by Paul Day,
Nov. 8, 2006)
Orville Sutherland Cox
Biographical sketch by Euphrasia Cox Day
May 1, 1934
Born Nov. 25, 1814 in Plymouth (western) New York. The fifth child of Jonathan Upham Cox and Lucinda Blood Cox, who had twelve children.
At the age of 14 he was "bound out" to learn the trade of blacksmithing but the smith failed to keep his part of the contract as teacher, so Orville left one dark night before he was 16, and alone made his way though a wilderness, avoiding hostile Indians and other dangers. Several days of traveling brought him to the Ohio River. There he took passage on a freight-boat and worked his way down stream to a lumber camp where he secured a job.
From one place to another and one job to another he spent 7 years traveling in a westward direction, and reached the western boundary of the U.S. in Missouri. He heard about the "awful Mormons", and one day near Far West he asked a man who was chopping down a tree to tell him what he thought of the Mormons.
"I am going in to Far West, come with me and see them for yourself."
The woodman was Sylvester Hulet, and he took Cox to his home---a home he was providing for his two widowed sisters and their 3 children and a brother's son.
In a short time Cox saw and understood the true situation between the Mormons and Missourians and decided his place should be with the Mormons.
He admired Hulet's oldest niece and asked her to be his wife. She said she would if he would be baptized into the Church. Laughing he said, "I'll join no religion to get a wife." But he continued to make Hulet's home his headquarters, and when the Mormons moved to Illinois he went with them. Hulets made their home in Lima, Adams Co., a few miles from Nauvoo.
In 1838 he again asked Elvira to be his wife, she consented and they were married the 3rd of October. Three days later he went to Nauvoo and was baptized by the prophet Joseph Smith.
When the Nauvoo Legion was organized he became a member of the band, and was quite intimate with the Prophet.
After Joseph was killed he attended the meetings called by Sidney Rigdon and the apostles and was in the meeting and witnessed the change in the appearance of Brigham Young when the "mantle of Joseph fell on him" and he never afterward doubted that Brigham was God's chosen leader.
When the Saints were leaving Nauvoo, he was appointed one of the "rear guard" to keep the mob from working evil before all the people had a chance to cross the river into Iowa. The mob started violence, the guard had few arms, so Browning (father of the gun manufacturer of Ogden) and Cox made two cannons, using an old steam boat shaft for the barrels. Then they held the mob in check. Crossing the plains he was in Charles C. Rich's company and arrived in Salt Lake Oct. 3, 1847.
He was among the first settlers of 15 different towns in the mountain region. He surveyed 45 irrigation canals that carried the first irrigation streams for their localities. Irrigation was a natural gift to him. To many it was a difficult problem. In some instances he surveyed ditches and took the water higher than professionals with scientific instruments could do.
He had a cheerful optimistic disposition. There never appeared a situation in pioneering so difficult that he could not solve it. Nor was there a job of work too hard for him to willingly undertake it.
See the stories of "The Last Match", "The Big Plow", "Buffalo Meat", "The Log Culvert", "Move that Rock", "Turkey Hunting", "Shoeing Oxen with Glassy Hoop", "Straightening a Gun Barrel".
O.S. Cox died in Fairview Utah, July 4, 1888.
[Stella's history has Orville
leaving the smith at age 18. Stella sometimes spells his name as
"Southerland", but our PAF (genealogy) files, and Euphrasia, spell it "Sutherland".
Euphrasia spelled Nauvoo as Navoo, which I have changed to Nauvoo.
– Paul R. Day, Nov. 8, 2006 ]