Moses DeVere Childs -- Excerpt from Perfection Through Sorrow by Bessie W. Stevens


Moses DeVere Childs
Excerpt from Perfection Through Sorrow by Bessie W. Stevens
        Another large picture hung in mother's bedroom it held a man with piercing eyes. My mother said that they were a deep blue and very kind: Moses DeVere Childs, her father.
        Grandfather was five years old when he crossed the plains with his family, with 6 other brothers and sisters. He grew up in Springville no doubt a great help to his father who was sickly. Great Grandfather and family settled in Springville as 1st East and 3rd South where the family lived ever after.
        As a child grandfather attended what school there was at that time and had one book, and old reader, and two pieces of slate. He used the smaller to write upon the larger. But being a determined man in his pursuits, he bought a dictionary, and taught himself to read and spell, and define words until he became very apt with his pen as well as talking.
        He helped his father at his saw mills. Grandfather's mill had an upright saw, the big water wheel and the piles of slabs and lath were the materials used by everyone for building purposes. DeVere, as he was called, helped make wine, cider and molasses.
        At the age of 16 years, in the year 1866, he was called to go with the cavalry company into Sanpete to guard the settlers against the Black Hawk Indians. He rendered faithful service.
        He married Olive Hannah Huntington 12 September 1870 in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City. They moved into a little log cabin in the sage brush in southern part of Springville, Utah. He cut the logs and built it himself.
        Grandfather was a farmer. He broke the land where they lived and also his field. That is he had to clear it of brush and sage.
        Just after his marriage he owned a pair of oxen which he called Buck and Bright. Each night he turned them out to feed. They would go out to Mapleton, just south of Sage Creek, to feed in the tall grass that grew near the Oak Springs. Each morning Grandfather would leave his home very early to get them. He would take his black whip and go barefooted. One morning as he was approaching the oxen a sage hen flew up just in head of him. He turned very quickly and saw an Indian with his bow and arrow drawn. Grandfather popped his whip about the same time as the hen flew. This startled the Indian and he ducked behind some rocks. This enabled grandfather to grab one of the ox by the tail and make for home as fast as his bare feet could go. The oxen seemed to scent the intruder as he skulked close to the hills and made his get away toward Spanish Fork Canyon. The Indian must have thought that Grandpa shot his gun.
        Many times while he was clearing and planting his land the Indians would come and talk to him. They would come to the log house especially the squaws.
        One day mother and her sister Lue were in the log cabin they heard the door latch raise but the door was locked and as they looked through the window two squaws with a papoose on her back stood laughing at mother and her sister. They ran from the cabin to find grandmother who was talking to two other squaws that seemed friendly.
        Other times they would come and ask for fruit. Grandmother was always able to let them have some and so they had no trouble. Brigham Young had told them that it was better to feed them than to fight them.
        Mother said that grandfather raised grain, corn, potatoes, and squash. Yes, squash as big as a bushel basket. And corn that covered his head when he rode his horse, though it was a large one. He would bring into the house his tubs and shovel many evenings during the winter and shell corn. He would do this by sitting astride his shovel on top a full tub of corn with the shovel blade over the empty tub and then he would take the corn cobs on the shovel edge and the corn would drop into the empty tub so that it did not fly all over. He grew lucern tall as grandfather's neck and blue with flowers to the ends of the tips. He also grew molasses cane and had barrels of molasses. He also raised bees and made his own honey.
        He had a slab stable in the extreme east corner of the lot with two little windows in the north. The open side of the shed was at the south. He used straw to cover the top and keep out the storms.
        The first team of horses he owned as a boy called Neil and a grey named Prince. He drove them a great many places. That is in Springville and Maplelton.
        The adobe house was at last to be built. Grandfather hauled dirt and straw to make them. Three men. Thomas Samuel, Mr Williams and John Miller helped him lay the adobe, do the carpenter work, and paint the house.
        It was so much roomer than the little log cabin. What a job it must of been when they moved into the new house. The home made rugs and furniture filled each room and made living a little bit easier. Grandfather was an example of neatness never leaving things strewn around. He always had everything in its place. He could go in the dark and get his nails, hammer, or saw.
        He like to whistle and sing. His home was one of merriment and love which helped all the family to be happy. One by one there was a little stranger added to the family until the family number eleven. Three of whom were taken in infancy.
        Grandmother was a very good cook. People would come long distances to visit and always ate a least one meal. One time mother tells about a family with 2 children a boy named Johnny and a little baby girl Clara. The food was delicious but Johnny didn't eat very much and so the mother shook his shoulders and said "Johnny eat all you can you don't know when you will get any more."
        In the year 1900 grandfather was sustained as first counselor to John Bryan in the Elder's Quorum. This position he held until Nov 22, 190. He then was set apart by Stake President Joseph B. Keeler as President of Springville 1st Ward, Elder's Quorum Nov. 22, 103. He held this position until the year he was honorably released. He had sugar diabetes and suffered a great deal from this, but he still managed to take grandma on her errands, of mercy among the sick and dying. Grandmother was the Relief Society President at this time. Did his being ill help them all to achieve more because of the humility of my grandfather.
        Grandfather died May 2, 1916 age 68. I can remember going to the funeral. We rode in a rented surrey with fringe on the top. We all looked very secure but unhappy as we went to the services. I can't remember anything about the service as I was only 7 except that mother felt very sorry at losing her father. They were always very close and also because her mother was left to care and rear her 2 grand children that had been left as orphans as a result of the death of their parents.
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