Biographical Sketch of
Taken from his own notes and compiled by his
son M. R. Hovey; September 1934

A Photograph of James Alma Hovey

Key Milestones in James A. Hovey's Life

Early Childhood

The Move South

An Accident

The Move to Cache Valley

Building a Home in Cache Valley Settlement of Millville

Receives a Serious Leg Injury

My Father, Joseph Grafton Hovey, Dies

Experiences as a Youth

Winter of 1877 in Black Smith Fork Canyon

I Become Engaged to Esther M. Pitkin

Esther M. and I Get Married

Our First Child

Our First Death in the Family

A Narrow Escape

Another Death in the Family

A Homestead Venture

Another Homestead Venture

Another Accident

Move to Salt Lake City

Estherís Health Begins to Fail

Positions Held in Civic and Church Organizations

The End of the Trail

The End Comes

Family Record of James Alma and Esther Hovey


I, James A. Hovey, was born in the old Nineteenth Ward in Salt Lake City, June 13, 1855. My Parents were Joseph Grafton Hovey and Lusannah Goodridge Hovey. My father had previously married Martha Webster, Sarah Bailey and Sarah Louisa Goodridge. My mother was the fourth wife. My Aunt Martha and Aunt Sarah Goodridge had died when father married mother.

At the time of my birth and for a number of years after, our family was in very poor circumstances. Quoting from my mother's journal she says, "The summer of 1855 was a hard one. We had a little bread and much less butter and meat. Our principal food consisted of boiled dandelions, and red pig weeds. Everybody was placed on rations. All were required to account for food and provisions placed in their possession. The grain that fall had to be pulled by hand as it was too short to harvest with a cradle or scythe. A number of times I went to the little farm and helped to pull the grain and harvest it. There were no machines or reapers in the country at that time."

As a child of about three years I can remember seeing Grandfather and Grandmother Goodridge. They lived about three blocks from us. I recollect Grandfather sitting in a chair and Grandmother giving him a piece of tobacco from the mantle. Grandfather was very sickly and was in bed most of the time. He died in 1859. Grandmother lived for a number of years and was past eighty years of age when she died.


In the spring of 1858 we moved south with other saints in compliance with instructions from President Brigham Young. It was reported that the U. S. Army was coming to Utah to destroy the Mormons. The move south was to give better protection to the people if the army should come. In her journal about the move south, my mother says, "My husband and I with our three children loaded what provisions we could in our wagon and started south. A small coop filled with chickens was attached on the rear of the wagon and two cows were driven behind. As the wagon was filled to the top of the bows, there was only enough room in the front seat for me with a child on each side and one on my lap. I drove the oxen and my husband followed behind and drove the cows. We went as far south as Spanish Fork and camped with another family. My husband then had to return to Salt Lake City and bring his other family consisting of four. The people who made the move south lived in tents, dugouts, and other shacks and makeshifts for three months to see what the outcome would be. We lived in a dugout during that time. Finally the word came to move back to Salt Lake City. The move back was done in about the same manner as the move out." During the winter of 1858, my half brother Joseph stood guard with a number of other young and middle age men in Echo Canyon to hold Johnson's army from going through. When peace negotiations were effected he returned home.


As a small child I met with an accident that could have been serious but thanks to my Heavenly Father my time had not come. My father took me with him to his field in a wagon with the ox team. He got out to open the gate and drove the oxen through a small ditch. I was standing up in front trying to hit one of the oxen with a stick. When the wagon went through the ditch, the jar sent me over the front endgate and I fell in the ditch and was run over by the wagon. When father went to shut the gate he saw my hands and feet sticking up through the muddy water. He pulled me out and was much excited. As the ground was soft I was bruised only a little and no bones were broken.


In the spring of 1860, my father was called by President Brigham Young to help settle Cache Valley. Cache Valley was being settled rather rapidly at this time. Father and mother decided that our family should move to Cache valley and make it our future home. In her journal about the journey to Cache Valley mother says, "April 12, 1860, my husband and I started with family from Salt Lake City for Cache Valley. We had two teams; one of oxen and one of horses, with two loaded wagons. The roads were in such bad conditions that we were able to reach only the Hot Springs north of Salt Lake City the first night. The baby, Mary L. was sick and I sat up all night in the wagon in the dark and cold weather with the baby wrapped close to me to keep it warm. Very little sleep we had. We were several days reaching the little valley east of Brigham City later named Mantua. When attempting to get through the mountains, it began to snow and we were held up for a week. We could not go further without help. My husband left me and went to Cache Valley to get help from George White Pitkin who had gone to Cache Valley the year before. My husband brought back a yoke of oxen and with this additional help we were able to pull through the canyon and finally arrived at the Church Farm (Elkhorn Ranch) in Cache Valley a short distance south of the present Logan Sugar Factory."

The Elkhorn Ranch had been a ranch for the L.D.S. Church cattle and other cattle owners since 1855. The Garr boys, the Baker and Weaver boys were herders and caretakers for the ranch. The Garr boys and Baker boys were not at the ranch when we arrived. George White Pitkin and family consisting of Sarah Ann, his wife; Ammon, George Orrin, Harriet and Jay L., Gilbert Weaver and family consisting of his wife Sarah, Gilbert Jr., Evelyn were at the Elkhorn Ranch and had been there since 1859.

We were permitted to live in one of the cabins. I formed a strong friendship with Gilbert Weaver Jr., about my own age. This friendship continued and remained steadfast all through our lives.

Building a Home in Cache Valley
Settlement of Millville
Early Experiences

A little later Brother Gilbert Weaver moved his family from the Elkhorn Ranch to where Millville is located. His brother Franklin Weaver had already moved his family to this place. He with the Garr boys, William Abel, John and Benjamin were building cabins. My father and my half brother Joseph had also gone and located a small farm at this place a began to fence it and get out timber for a small log house.

As a lad I remember playing around quite a bit with Jay L. Pitkin. He was several years older than I. We became quite frightened on one occasion when some Indians set fire to a haystack and burned it and the surrounding fence.

In May the Pitkin family and our family moved over to the cabins at the place later named Millville. The Pitkin house was ready as they had come to Cache Valley the year before and worked on their house before. We lived in a log shanty all that summer and Joseph and I slept in a wagon box. I remember many nights Joseph had to take his turn standing guard. All who were able were expected to do this as the Indians were not too friendly.

In 1859 Esais Edwards had built a little saw mill where the old rock frame of a grist mill now stands in the west part of Millville. The first saw was an upright saw and was pushed and pulled up and down through a log which was placed upon a frame. The frame moved back and forth as the saw went from one end of the log to the other. At first the saw was operated by one man standing in a pit under the log and one man on top. Edwards installed a water wheel to operate the saw. It seemed to me the saw never stopped it went night and day sawing timber. I can hear the strokes of that old saw now. There were few of these saws in the valley at that time so a number came from the surrounding settlements to the Edwards mill to get their logs sawed and lumber.

In the early summer of 1860, the Millville Ward was officially organized by Apostle E. T. Benson and President P. M. Maughan of the Cache Valley Stake. My father Joseph Grafton Hovey was set apart as bishop and the little ward named Millville.

We held our first meetings in Father Pitkin's house. When more of the houses were completed, the meetings were held at different places. The winter of 1860-61 Chas. Wright taught school in a small hut owned by Franklin Weaver. Father Geo. White Pitkin taught the school for one season. There were about 12 pupils the first season.

The Indians gave considerable trouble. They stole a band of horses and run them up the Black Smith Fork Canyon. They took one of father's horses and this left us with just a yoke of oxen. This hindered us in our farm work.

Our threshing was done by Brother Bankhead and others from Wellsville. His machine only separated the straw from the chaff and wheat. Afterwards two came along with a windmill and winnowed out the wheat from the chaff. This made a winter job and we had to feed the men as long as the job lasted.

Large crickets were some of our pests and they destroyed quite a bit of the grain. Two years they were so numerous they jumped across the water ditches and destroyed the crops. The seagulls came and devoured many of the crickets and partly saved our crops. I used to watch the seagulls fill up on crickets and then disgorge themselves. Father said the seagulls were the army of the Lord. They looked like angels to us.

We soon had a small log meeting house about a rod or so west of the present meeting house in Millville. We used this for school purposes as well. My first school book was a Wilson second reader. I had learned to read by my mother teaching me to read from the newspapers.

After I was six years old I herded our cows and a few sheep and some cows for Martin Wood. It was not far from home, just around the foothills east of home and near the Garr Spring. South of where we herded and along the foothills were a number of Indian wigwams or wickiups. There were quite a number of Indians around but I did not seem to be much afraid of them. One morning Ike Biglow and I were herding our cows and while we were sitting on top of a rail fence looking at the Indian wickiups, several young buck Indians came along the canyon road and stopped in front of us. They demanded that we give them our dinners. We refused but two of them put large spiked arrows in their bows and drew down on us and said, "Heap shoot and kill." Ike said their arrows might slip so we gave them our dinners at once. We hastened to the field where Ike's father was plowing and told him. He brought dinner to us. As a herder I used to have trouble in losing our cows but I had a large brindle dog named Lion and he was a great help and companion to me.

Receives a serious leg injury

In the spring of 1863 while herding, I bruised the front bone of my leg and it caused a fellon to form. I was a very sick lad that summer and a number thought I would die or lose my leg. Quoting from my Mother's journal about this sore affliction of mine she said, "In May of that year my son James became ill with a fever sore on the shin bone of his left leg. His leg swelled very badly from the knee to the ankle. It was very painful and he had a high fever. It was five weeks before it abscessed and in several places splinters of diseased bone came through the flesh with pus. I sat up with him many nights as he was in so much pain. There were no doctor and my husband and I did all we could to nurse him and save his leg and life. We prayed earnestly to our Heavenly Father to spare his life. He finally began to recover so he could walk with crutches. He was ill in bed for four months."

That winter my father went to Salt Lake City to work on the Temple as a stone cutter. He took me with him to live with Aunt Sarah, his other wife. My sister Elizabeth was also there. My mother was heart broken to see me go as I was just like a little skeleton. She had been my constant nurse. I know as I live that it was through the strong and constant faith and prayers of my parents and God's mercies that I was healed. It was thought I could get better attention from doctors in Salt Lake City, hence, I lived there for sometime. I walked on crutches all that winter and part of the following summer. I went to meetings and Sunday School with my sister Elizabeth.

One Sunday during a fall conference I went to meeting with Father. It was held in the old Tabernacle where the Assembly Hall now stands. It was there I first heard and saw President Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball. This was in 1864. I attended several meetings at that time. I remember seeing and hearing many of the leading authorities. There was a large bowery on the east side of the Tabernacle. I always accompanied Father.

The next year they celebrated the 24th of July. Many banners were displayed in the different sections of the bowery. Captain Wm. Hooper was the main speaker. Orson Pratt and several others spoke. After each address a salute was fired.

I saw the pillars of the new Tabernacle and soon after they commenced to erect the roof. I saw the Tabernacle completed and attended some of the first meetings held there. I also saw the foundation of the Temple just level with the ground. Father was a stone cutter on the Salt Lake Temple. I took his dinners to him for several weeks. I saw the Temple building from then occasionally until it was completed. I was present for its dedication. I little thought that I would spend a portion of my later life in that holy building doing work for the dead. However, my patriarchal blessing stated that I should work in the temple and my father said I would do a great work there when giving me a blessing as a small child.

While in Salt Lake City, I attended the public schools during the winters and one summer. Part of the summers I used to spend with my mother in Cache Valley. I recall going to several shows in the Salt Lake Theater. This was considered one of the best theaters in the west and even in the country. I became interested in school and we had good teacher for those days.

My Father, Joseph Grafton Hovey, dies

My father became sickly and in the spring of 1868 he took to his bed. One afternoon he called me to his bedside and asked me to go for Brother Heber C. Kimball. We were living in Salt Lake City at this time. Father desired that Brother Kimball administer to him. When Brother Kimball arrived he said, "Brother Joseph you appear to be in a very critical condition." Father said, "Before I go I desire you to bless me." Brother Kimball blessed father and sealed him up unto Eternal Life and other blessings and that he was to come forth into Eternal Life on the morning of the First Resurrection. All this made me feel very sad that I was about to lose my dear father. My sister Nellie came with my Uncle Leonard and Aunt Sophia Hardy. Nellie was living with them. Nellie had been somewhat estranged from father for some time because of some misunderstanding. They had not seen each other for some time. When father beheld Nellie he held out his arms to her although he was weak and passing fast. She kneeled at his bedside and they mingled their tears together. She was the last one to bid him farewell. My Aunt Sarah and my sister Elizabeth and I had previously been called to his bedside to say farewell to him. In his farewell talk to me he said, "James always pray daily throughout your life to God for his protections and you will never go far astray." Furthermore, he told me to be a good boy and take care of his record.

Father died that night soon after bidding us all goodbye. My dear mother and Joseph did not arrive in time from Cache Valley to see Father before he died. The funeral was held in the Nineteenth Ward meetinghouse. Brother Heber C. Kimball was the speaker. He had promised before that he would speak at Father's funeral and see that he was buried in the Kimball lot.

As to the death of my father, my mother has the following to say in her journal. "May 5th, I received a letter from Salt Lake City stating that my husband was very sick. May 7 his son, Joseph, and I started from Millville for Salt Lake City with an ox team and wagon. We arrived in Salt Lake City May 9th. My son James came out to meet us as we neared the house. I asked him how his father was. He said he was dead and buried last Thursday, May 7th. The shock was so sudden that I was nearly prostrated for sometime. I had no premonition that he would be taken from me so soon."

About the middle of May, 1869, I returned to Millville with my sister Nellie and Mother. That became my future home for most of my life during which I had many varied experiences. We now faced more serious responsibilities. There were seven small children with mother and more to come in a short time. We had no father now and it was up to us and our dear mother to make a go of it. Three or four months later Grafton was born and this made three boys and five girls in the family, mother had to provide for. My sister Nellie soon went to live with a sister Lucy Woolf in Hyde Park. That left me to mother's mainstay. I was only 13 years of age.

Mother was a nurse and as there were no doctors in Cache Valley practicing medicine at that time, mother was called on many times to help with the sick and with births. She did all the work in Millville as a midwife for years. Pay for this was always the last consideration. Much of it mother never did receive. She was called to other nearby settlements.

I did some cow herding for ourselves and the neighbors. I also rode the plow horse to plow potatoes and corn and then went to school in the winter time. I found the city schools much ahead of the schools at Millville because of better teachers. We had no graded schools. Children from 12 to 20 years were sometimes in the same class.

My leg became entirely well that summer and the sores never abscessed any more. I was in the water almost daily learning to swim.

Experiences as a Youth

As time went on I became old and large enough to work in the canyons and get out wood. Also to work in the fields and on the threshing machines. I earned the wheat for our bread in this manner. I stopped going to school after I was seventeen years of age. I did not attend more than three months in any one year. I worked in saw mills and helped to get out lumber. I spent one summer with Brother Abel Garr and drove one of his teams to haul lumber.

As a young lad I took part in dramas, theatricals and other social activities in the community. I played ball considerably. I attended Sunday meetings quite regularly. I finally grew to that age when boys begin to see something about their girl friends that is quite illuminating and they desire to become more chummy with them, in fact become the only one they should look up to. I had several such attractions.

I spent several weeks in the canyon one summer and helped to pile up saw timber by the roadside to be hauled in the winter time with sleighs. This timber was to go into a new meeting house. Some of the timber was to be used for the Logan Temple. John Riggs was our boss. There were about 20 of us working in the canyon at this place. I also came to Logan with my ox team and provisions and did some plowing and scraping for the foundation and basement of the Logan Temple. I was present at the meeting of the laying of the corner stone of the Temple. President John Taylor of the Church presided at the ceremony.

I helped my brother-in-law Samuel Clark to move to Gentile Valley and spent my 21st birthday at Soda Springs, June 13, 1876.

Winter of 1877 in Black Smith Fork Canyon

I spent the winter of 1877 in Black Smith Fork Canyon with other men getting out ties for Coe and Carter. Coe and Carter had a contract with the Union Pacific Railroad Company to furnish ties. They had a camp or their headquarters just below where the old Hardware Ranch now is in Black Smith Fork Canyon.

In February of that winter a big thaw came and a snow slide nearly buried our camp. We had a shack built in the side of the mountain in a gulch about 7 miles east of the Curtis, later the Hardware ranch. We did not go out that particular morning the slide came as it was snowing considerably. We were playing cards and we dealt one more hand around and said when we had finished we would go. Just as we got the cards dealt the snow slide came. It seemed the whole mountain was moving down upon us with an awful roar and then a great rush of wind and snow. The wind from the snow slide blew all our card off the table and up the old chimney up the side hill. We heard a man scream that a man and horse were buried. We scrambled out and hear the man yell. We dug him out with our shovels.

A little lower down the gulch the slide had struck another shack and it caved in and one of the men was killed. This shack had heavy saplings laid across it for a roof and when these fell on this particular man he was crushed to death. There was considerable excitement. It was a wonder more were not killed as a group were also playing cards in this shack. The body was taken to the headquarters and was buried nearby. The grave may be seen to this day near the present Hardware (Peterson) Ranch in the canyon by the roadside. The man was from Kansas. Some of his friends who were also from Kansas left immediately as they had enough of the mountains and snow slides. They were plainsmen and not used to mountains. They said they would rather have cyclones than snow slides.

We boys from Millville struck out for the headquarters or Curtis Rand about seven miles down the canyon. After dinner we started from home afoot about twenty five miles away. It was 4 p.m. For the night, we stopped at an old mill about 15 miles down the canyon. Down the canyon we crossed nine snow slides. We arrived home at 9 a.m. for breakfast. We never went back for any of our outfit as it was soon pillaged.

I Become Engaged to Esther M. Pitkin

During the summer of 1877 I became engaged to my future wife, Esther M. Pitkin. She was sixteen years of age. I had known her all her life. We lived just across the street from them. Her parents were George O. Pitkin and Maria Laverna Wood Pitkin. Her father succeeded my father as Bishop of the Millville ward. George O. was Bishop of the Millville ward for 33 years and acting President of the Cache Valley Stake for four years.

That summer I went to work on the railroad with a pick and shovel gang. It was the extension of the Utah Northern in the Battle Creek Gulch near Bear River. We were a camp of about 25 men with Thos. Jessop as our boss. While working here John Shaffer, a pal of mine, was killed by a large lump of frozen dirt and rock falling on him. He died soon after. They brought him to our camp when I was cooking the supper. There was another fatality in the Thos. Rick's camp just below us. A man committed suicide by drowning. It was reported that he fell in love with one of the girl cooks and she gave him the go-by. He went out and crawled in a hole in the ice and drowned himself. "The poor fish." We worked at this place until spring and then came home. I bought the place that became our future home in Millville.

In the spring of 1878 I went on the railroad again as cook in the Thos. Jessop camp. In June we got to a town that was established and called Banida, on the boundary line between Idaho and Montana. That season I cooked for a dozen railroad engineers. I had leisure time while cooking for them. I would get up at 5 A.M. and prepare their breakfast and put up their dinner for them. I then had the remainder of the day to read, fish and hike around. I wrote regularly to my coming spouse, Esther. I received more pay as a cook and was able to pay for the place and had some left over. I arrived home in December.

Our old railroad boss gave Robt. Birch and me a railroad pass from Logan to Ogden and return good for thirty days. I returned home, saw Esther, my folks and then went to Salt Lake City to see my Aunt Sarah, other aunts and my sister Elizabeth and Sarah. I had not seen them for ten years. I returned home that winter and took an active part in all the social events of the settlement.

Esther M. and I get Married

In the spring of 1879 Esther and I decided that we would go to Salt Lake City and get married. Brother Thos. Jessop was going to Salt Lake City at the same time to marry Annie P. Anderson, as a second wife. As I was going again with him on the railroad later, he helped me out so I had enough railroad fare for our tickets to and return from Salt Lake City. We with Brother Thos. Jessop and his intended, Sister Annie P. Anderson went to Salt Lake City together and were married together. It was during April conference. Esther's father, George O. also went along and got the appointment, for April 11, 1879. There were quite a number from outside points to get married. It was in the Endowment House. It accommodated about 50 people at one time. It took all day to go through it with the marriage ceremony.

We stayed with my aunts in Sugar House Ward that night. The next night my aunts provided a fine supper with many good things to eat. A nice company of friends were present. After supper we danced in their dining room and had a good program. Brother and Sister Thos. Jessop were there also to stay all night.

We went to our home in Millville the next day. There was no one to meet us at the railroad station in Logan. I got a chance for Esther to ride in a light wagon to Millville and I got a ride with another outfit. We had no glad hands to welcome us or a fine supper as they have now days. The second day home I left to work on the railroad to be gone for six months. That was the beginning and ending of our honeymoon.

An Interesting Parallel by the Compiler

The Pitkin and Hovey families give an interesting parallel. The American progenitors of both families left England about 300 years ago in the forepart of the sixteenth century for America. The Hovey progenitor settled at Ipswich, upper Mass., and the Pitkin progenitor settled at Hartford, Conn. One of the Pitkin branches moved westward into Ohio about 1825, heard the gospel message of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and accepted. They went into Missouri later and helped to build up Zion. Later they were driven out and settled in Illinois in Pike County. One of the Hovey branches moved westward in 1837 and settled in Pike County, Illinois. In 1839 the Pitkin branch which came from Missouri settled across the street in Pike County from the Hovey branch. They became acquainted and the Pitkin family preached the gospel to the Hovey family and they were converted and accepted the gospel message. Both families then moved and helped to build up Nauvoo. Later they were expelled with thousands of others and went to Winter Quarters on the Missouri. In 1848 both families started for Utah in the Heber C. Kimball company. They arrived in Utah in the fall of 1848. For a few years they became separated. The Pitkin family went to Ogden, then to California and Oregon and returned to Ogden. Then to Payson during the Utah War and then back to Ogden again. In 1859 the Pitkin family came to Cache Valley and stopped at the Elkhorn Ranch or Church Farm and the next year helped to locate and settle Millville. The Hovey family remained in Salt Lake City until 1858 then went south during the Utah War and returned to Salt Lake City. In 1860 the Hovey family headed for Cache Valley. They got as far as Mantua and then had to get help from the Pitkin family at the Church Farm to get into Cache Valley. The Hovey and other families helped to locate and settle Millville. Joseph Grafton Hovey of the Hovey branch became the first Bishop of Millville and George O. Pitkin of the Pitkin branch became the second Bishop of Millville.

The first union of these two branches took place in the marriage of James A. Hovey to Esther M. Pitkin -- April 11, 1879. Now in 1934 a descendant of this union is compiling family sketches for both sides of these branches. Surely there were some contacts between these two family lines in a previous world.

During the summer of 1879 while working on the railroad, I earned enough to buy a span of mules and a shack of a wagon. When I returned home in the fall we went on our lot to our little hut and this became the Family Home for a number of years. This is located across the street from the Johnson store in Millville, now occupied by Duane Humpherys. It was here we commenced the life of joy and sorrows which comes into the lives of most people.

Gib Weaver and his wife Mary Ann who were our pals, had been married for a couple of years and had a baby boy. We chummed together. Gib and I did a lot of canyon work together as long as they lived in Millville. We were always very close friends.

Our First Child

In September 1880, our first child, a daughter, was born. We named her Maria Lusannah. Father Pitkin was on a mission in the southern states at the time and we were at Mother Pitkin's. Esther had quite a difficult time at childbirth and was slow in recovering her strength. We were happy, however, with our first little daughter.

During our early married life times were dull and a man could get work only during harvest time and very little team work. I got wood from the canyons and sold it at different times. I rented some land and raised grain. Our family increased faster than our income. Many times we had a hard time to keep the wolf from the door so to speak. It made it very hard on my dear wife having so many little ones and with such scant supply.

A few years later I decided to go to Idaho to look for land and a place for a new start. My brother Joseph went with me. We with several others went to Idaho Falls. For three or four days we went into different directions from Idaho Falls looking for land. One afternoon while five of us was in a wagon a heavy thunder storm cam up. We had our provisions with us and camped over night in an empty cabin. The next day we scouted around and stopped for night on the south fork of Snake River. The next day was Sunday and I went where they were holding a meeting and met a number of acquaintances. The following day we returned to the main camp. I decided I would look the Salmon River country over. When we reached camp I found that one of my horses had been killed by lightning. That put me out of any further investigating. My brother Joseph having brought a horse along we still had a team and came home with it. I was worse off than before as I was one horse less. I finally got a couple of little ponies from the Church and traded my horse for a mare. It was not long until I had more horses than I could care for.

West of Millville and all through where the College Ward section now is, was Church land that had been given to the Brigham Young College as an endowment. This land was for sale. I decided to buy some of this land. I purchased 71 acres. This was west of the present bridge over the Black Smith Fork River on the main highway and in the north part of what is now the Nibley Ward. The interest rates were heavy and it was quite a struggle to make a living on this land.

Our First Death in the Family

The first death and real sorrow to come to our little family was our little baby Rex. He was born Oct. 22, 1888 and died with pneumonia November 17, 1888. He was a beautiful baby and we grieved much when he died. He was our sixth child.

A few years later I had a very sick spell with typhoid fever. It was a wonder that more people in the town did not die of this disease. We all drank canal water which flowed through the town and much filth was washed into it. I was in bed for 8 weeks.

A Narrow Escape

On one occasion I was on a high load of dry logs coming down Paradise Canyon with Soren Sorenson of Hyrum. He was just ahead of me. We came to a steep dugway with a turn to the right. As soon as Sorenson got around the bend about 25 or 30 years, I started down. I had a small team with a large load but good brakes so I thought I was safe. As I started down the dugway I started to pull on the brake rope with all my might when something went wrong and the rope broke. I slipped off the load just back of the front wheel and a big boulder was in front of me. My foot got tangled in the rope and I got off just as I was about to be dragged in the wheels. This would have mangled me terribly but I was saved through the preserving mercies of the Lord. The hind wheel bumped me hard going by. Down the team and the load went and passed Sorenson on the run. I could hear the wagon smash and bang as the team went down the road. I ran down a cutoff and headed them as they came out on a small flat and prevented them from going into a big mudhole. We had to rig up a Mormon brake and I managed to get home alright. Brother Sorenson and I have often talked of this experience.

Another Death in the Family

In the fall of 1894 politics was quite active and rallies were being held in advance of the fall election. One night the Millville band with their kerosene torch lights was playing about one block or so up the street from our place. Arch and George were sent to milk the cows but their mother instructed them to be sure and come in the house after their cows were milked and not go to the band. The temptation to see and hear the band with their torch lights at night was too much temptation and when the boys finished milking they set the milk on the porch and went to hear the band. It was dark. Arch went on the sidewalk but George happened to go up the middle of the street. Two men on a horse with a fast gallop came down the road from the band. The glare of the lights prevents George from seeing the horse and no doubt the riders did not see George. They struck George and ran over him. When the band cam marching down the street they came across George lying in the road unconscious. Arch rushed home, said George had been run over and they wanted a quilt to carry him in. My wife was shocked and grief stricken. I was not home at the time but soon arrived. They carried George in and we sent for Doctor Snow. He came and did what he could and said we would have to wait and see what developed. George was conscious the next day. It was his birthday and he talked to his mother about it. We thought he would be alright in a few days. In the afternoon he began to sink. We gathered around his bedside and he passed away. It was a shock to all of us and we grieved much over the death. We always carried many fond memories of him. He was eleven years of age. He was gentle in disposition, kind and helpful to his mother, especially in helping to care for the smaller children. He sang and rocked the babies to sleep many times.

A Homestead Venture

My father-in-law, George O. Pitkin, induced me and my brother-in-law, Estus Hammond, to take up a homestead in Idaho, near Weston. I made a special trip to Blackfoot to file on the land but was three days too late. I then formed a partnership with Estus Hammond and we purchased 320 acres of dry farm land south of Weston. Grandfather Pitkin also purchased some land joining us. I worked the land under this arrangement for two years and decided that it was not worth the effort and drew out of it. I did not have a cent to show for it.

[Note by the Compiler. The first crop received on the dry farm land was sold to one Orson Smith, who speculated and lost all and could not pay a cent for the grain. The only partnerships that work is marriage and many of these are failures. The loss of the crop through Smith was discouraging and the partnership was not desirable.]

About this time my son Arch left for Canada and we did not see him for about ten years. He was young and it was a great deal of worry to his mother at first as she was not used to having any of her children away from her.

Another Homestead Venture

Pocatello Valley and other lands to the west were being thrown open for homesteading. My nephew, Joseph Neaves and I decided that we would file on some land and homestead in the little Pocatello Valley just west of the Big Pocatello Valley. It was surrounded by rolling hills and in the springtime when the grass was green, it was beautiful. It was about sixty miles from Millville. We built a little shack and tried to raise grain for a couple of years. Due to low prices and drought we became discouraged and gave the land up. We transferred our holding and homestead to a man named Mr. Bond, for a cash consideration. Later he went bankrupt and we did not get a cent. Some more hard work and experience.

I now arranged to sell half of my college land in Millville and paid for the other half. It was a great relief to be out of debt once more. The sugar beet industry came along and with more intensive and better farming we were able to get more off half the farm than we did on the whole farm before we sold. A little later we worked the Garr land on shares and this helped considerably.

Another Accident

Along about the fall of 1900 perhaps a little later, I stood on a little chair under an apple tree to knock some apples down for some children. The chair went to one side and my feet went out from under me and I fell on the edge of the chair on my back. Three ribs were broken and it nearly broke my back. I lay in bed for a month. The doctor thought I might be paralyzed as I could not use my legs at first. I recovered and after a month or so I helped the boys stack the grain.

In the fall of 1901 Grandmother Pitkin died. She was a wonderful woman, wife and mother. We all felt her loss very keenly. Especially my wife. She grieved over the death of her mother for many days and nights. She and her mother had always been such great companions. No mother-in-law could treat a son-in-law better than she did me.

In 1903, Ray and Merlin started to attend the Brigham Young College. They rode back and forth and had quite a struggle to get through school. In 1905, Maria married and moved to Oregon. In the spring of 1907, Arch married. In June of that year Merlin married and left three days later for a mission to Germany. In the fall of the same year Ray married. We began to lose our children rather fast, three in one year.

In the winter of 1910, Grandfather Pitkin passed away. He like Grandmother Pitkin, was always fine to me as a son-in-law. I thought a great deal of him. He had many good traits.

July 1910, my dear mother died. She had certainly lived a full life and was well prepared to meet her Heavenly Father and loved ones.

About 1913, Leslie marries. A year or so later Sidney married so that left only Izene with us.

In 1915, I began to lose my vision. It was a terrible experience to gradually lose my eyesight. Objects about me kept getting dimmer and dimmer. By 1921, I was nearly blind and had to go to Salt Lake City and have an operation performed on one of my eyes. Izene had married and was living in Salt Lake City. I was there for six months. Doctor Donaheur was the specialist and he saved my eyesight. I shall always feel very grateful to him for his splendid work.

Move to Salt Lake City

In the spring of 1922 we decided to sell the old homestead at Millville and move to Salt Lake City to live with our daughter, Izene and her husband, C.S. Goddard. It was difficult, especially for me, to break away from the place where we had struggled so hard to build up and rear our family. Izene and her husband had a large roomy house, a good sized lot and about 400 chickens. It was understood that I was to take care of the chickens and lot and receive a small monthly allowance. The arrangement suited me and I also desired to do temple work with my sisters Martha and Mary as they had all the Hovey records.

Esther's Health begins to Fail

My dear wife, Esther, had always been a woman who worried and was a nervous temperament. With all the hard work she had had and with all the worry and care through the years of our married life began to show their effect. She began to fail in health quite fast. She had slight strokes and during these times and until the toxic poisons in her system were reduced, she was unable to express her thoughts although she was conscious. She could not say what she desired to say. This was very miserable for her and caused her to worry more. We procured the best medical aid we could get but she got worse. I took her to my son Arch's place in Montana to see if a change in the climate and the conditions would help her. I also took her to my daughter's in Oregon, Maria, but the disease gradually got worse. She was reconciled and desired to go to a place where she could get rest. We prayed that she could go and be relieved of her misery although it would leave a great gap in our household. She died August 15, 1928. We held an impressive funeral service at the parlor of the Undertaker and then brought her to Millville, for her last resting place. At Millville a large and impressive funeral was held. Brother C. F. Olsen, H.C. Henniger, Brother Hyrum Hulse and Brother Newell Kimball were the speakers. She was buried in our lot near her little boys we had buried years before.

Since the death of my dear wife I have been very active in Temple work. This has been a great blessing to me to keep my mind occupied and to know that I was helping others. I have done work for more than 5000 names.

Positions held in Civic and Church

During all these years I have held a number of Church and Civic positions. I was school trustee for 15 years, secretary and constable for two years, Justice of the Peace for 10 years, road supervisor for two years and water master for four years. My church positions were as follows; as a deacon I used to help build fires for the meeting house and help to keep the buildings clean. As I grew up I became second councilor in the Young Men's organization and later became secretary of the organization. I was teacher and secretary in the Sunday School and was second councilor in the Elder's Quorum. Later became secretary for the High Priests Quorum. Was an active ward teacher for years. I was called on a two weeks Home Mission in the Hyrum Stake.

I am now living with my daughter Izene and her two sons James and George at 2155 South 8th East, Salt Lake City. I continue my work in the temple and enjoy good health. If I live until next June 13, 1935 I will be 80 years of age. My people are rather short lived so I think I have done well to live this long. I feel grateful to my Heavenly Father for the many times he has protected me and my life has been spared. Also for all the many blessings I have received and do now receive.

[Note by the Compiler. The closing chapter of this sketch of our father, James Alma Hovey, will be written after he has come "To The End Of The Trail," to meet his dear wife and our dear mother, Esther, and his many loved ones and friends on the other side. He has made a record that his descendants can be proud of and profit by. He has held up the Hovey name. His temple work makes him a Savior on Mount Zion and many will call him blessed and thank him for helping to make it possible for them to receive the gospel in its fulness.


Our dear Father, James Alma Hovey, came to "The End of The Trail" in this life Thursday Oct. 22, 1936. There are a number of things during the past year in connection with his life which impress us. During the winter of 1936 he was in poor health and was placed on a diet for several months. Confidentially, the Doctor said Father's heart was in such condition that he may be taken any time.

As summer approached Father had a strong desire to come to Logan and stop with Leslie's and our family to avoid the hot days and nights in Salt Lake city. I brought him to our home July 19. He was pleased to be with all of us again. We had his usual room prepared and he was very contented. In a day or so he was prepared to go to the Logan Temple to do ordinance work. I had some extra names of our kin. He said he had come to finish the work for all the names of the dead in our line we could get at this time. He delighted to go to the Temple, walk around the grounds, see the beautiful flowers, trees, and shrubs. He soon began to look better and his appetite increased. He said he felt almost one hundred percent. He read and wrote considerably and asked to help around the house such as picking over green beans, wiping dishes, etc. He visited our relatives and old friends here and in Millville. He really enjoyed himself. Occasionally he remarked that perhaps this would be his last visit with us but he would like to live for the Pitkin Reunion in Aug. 1937.

He stopped at our place until the middle of August. Lauretta and I had planned a trip to Oregon to visit my sister Maria and family and then go to Portland. Father went to Leslie's home. He was pleased to visit with them. He was closer to the Temple. Many mornings and evenings he would walk around the Temple grounds and was thrilled with the beautiful flowers and song birds.

While in Portland, Lauretta and I visited the Lambert Gardens. These are some of the most beautiful formal, private gardens in the country. As we entered I noticed a plaque on a low pedestal with the following verses. I was impressed to write them down and did so. I thought they applied to Father and wished he could have been there to see these gardens with so many different beautiful flowers. Little did I think that in two months a copy of these verses would be read at his funeral by one of the speakers as applying to him.

Day Unto Day

After Lauretta and I returned home, Father came to our home for the final week before his return to Salt Lake City. There was still a little Temple work to be done for a few names of the Hovey line. He was determined to finish them. The Temple reopened and he finished them. Sunday Sept. 6 he bade us good-bye and left for Salt Lake City with his grand-daughter, Eltha and her husband, Allen Reading. Little did we think this would be the last time we would see Father alive in this life.

After he returned to Salt Lake City we kept up our regular weekly correspondence. He was cheerful as usual and continued to work in the Temple. He was much interested in the coming political campaigns of the state and nation. Father was exceptionally good at corresponding. He wrote regularly to all the members of his family and to other near relatives. His letters were always newsy with some humor. His mind was clear and active and he wrote well. This was a great blessing with the Temple work as they helped to occupy his mind and attention.

The End Comes

The latter part of October, our sister Maria who lives at Baker City, Oregon, her husband Guy, daughter Esther, and sister-in-law, Ida, were traveling in western Oregon. They were impressed to come to Salt Lake City by way of California to see Father and the folks. They arrived in Salt Lake City Oct. 20. Izene and Father were much surprised but very pleased to see them. Father remarked he wondered what was going to happen as the Clark people from Canada had just been to see him. It appeared the time was drawing near but no one knew it but the "FATHER OF ALL." Father was highly pleased of the visit and was in happy spirits. He went to the Temple the next day. That evening he retired early and said he felt he was getting a touch of the pleurisy. Izene did what she could to relieve the pain and make Father comfortable. He rested pretty well during the night. The next morning he did not look well but they were not alarmed. He asked for Aunt Martha and she came at once. She understood Father's condition and had nursed him as well as Mother many times. To her we shall always owe a great debt of gratitude. No one could be more devoted than she was to Mother and Father.

Father insisted that Izene go to work as Aunt Martha and Maria were there. He would soon "snap out of it," he said. Izene had the doctor come. He knew Father's condition and that the end was approaching fast. Maria went to the drug store to get a prescription. Aunt Martha raised Father up on his pillows and he began to sink. He passed away peacefully and gently, without pain. It was just the way he prayed and desired to go. He had told Maria that he would not put up much of a fight and he was reconciled to go as he dreaded to suffer as Mother had. Izene was impressed to return home at once. When she arrived at home Father had gone. Leslie was called at once that Father had died. He went immediately to Salt Lake City to help with the arrangements there and I made arrangements here for the funeral services at Millville and gave notice to the local papers. He was to be buried in the Millville cemetery.

The body arrived Saturday and was kept at Leslie and Estella's home. Saturday and Sunday many friends and relatives called. Also many beautiful flowers were sent. Father looked beautiful clothed in his robes of the Priesthood prepared to come forth in the morning of the First Resurrection. What a glorious meeting he must have had with our Mother, his parents, his children who preceded him years ago and his many other relatives and friends.

Sunday Oct. 25 near 12 o'clock noon, we gathered around the casket and had our last look upon Father. Brother Eugene Yeates of the Logan Stake High Council offered a prayer. All of the living children of Father with the exception of Sidney were present. He had sent word that he could not come but would write later.

Six of Father's grandsons, Max, son of Leslie and Estella; Garr, son of Ray and Hazel; Dennis, Reid, and Clair, sons of ours; and George Rodney, son of Izene, acted as the pall bearers. The grand-daughters took charge of the flowers.

On the next sheet are the newspaper clippings of the death and funeral services.

(Two articles, yellowed with age, were attached to the sheet of paper. These were undated and no indication was given what newspaper they were from. The text follows:)


Funeral services for James A. Hovey, 81, Millville pioneer who died in Salt Lake City Thursday will be held in the Millville ward chapel Sunday at 12:30 p.m. Friends may call from 3 p.m. Saturday and until 11 a.m. Sunday at the home of his son, L.W. Hovey, 325 Boulevard, Logan.

Death came as a result of a heart attack at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Izene Goddard at Salt Lake City, where Mr. Hovey had made his home during the past 15 years.

He is survived by the following children: Mrs. Guy H. Hill, Baker City, Oregon; James Arch Hovey, Dillon, Montana; A. R. Hovey, Cedar City, Utah; M. R. Hovey and L. W. Hovey, Logan; S. G. Hovey, Carlin, Nevada; and Mrs. Izene Goddard, Salt Lake City. His wife died several years ago. He leaves 23 grand children and six great grandchildren.

Mr. Hovey was born in Salt Lake City June 13, 1855. His parents were Joseph Grafton Hovey and Lusannah Goodridge Hovey. His father was a stone cutter on the Salt Lake temple. His father also cut stone for the Nauvoo temple. As a child three years old, Mr. Hovey moved with his parents south in 1858 to the Provo bottoms with hundreds of others when President Brigham Young ordered the move south as Johnson's Army was coming to Utah.

In 1860 the family moved to Cache Valley. They located at Millville and were among the first settlers of this place. When Mr. Hovey was 13 years old his father died leaving him as the main support for the family. He grew up under many trying conditions and experiences incident to pioneer life.

Mr. Hovey married Esther M. Pitkin, daughter of Bishop Geo. O. Pitkin. They made Millville their home. In 1879 he worked on the railroad with the Thos. Jessop camp. The road was being built into Montana. Mr. Hovey's principal occupation was farming in Millville. In 1898 he farmed at Weston and later at Pocatello Valley. He was always active in ward organizations and civil life of the community.

He was a member of the board of school trustees for years, a member of the town board and justice of the peace and was active in helping to get a culinary water system and electric lights for the community. He was called on many times to wait on the sick. In the days before undertakers were used exclusively, he prepared many corpses for burial.

For the past fifteen years he has been an ardent temple worker. He has done temple endowments for more than 5000 persons. Many of them were not his kin. His greatest joy was in helping others.


Impressive funeral services for James Alma Hovey, who died recently in Salt Lake City, were held Sunday in the Millville ward chapel. A large number of relatives, friends and acquaintances were present.

A. E. Cranney of the Logan Temple presidency spoke of the pure and gentle spirit of Mr. Hovey and how true and devoted he had been to temple work in the Salt Lake and Logan temples. Mr Cranney discussed the estate of man and used the life of Mr. Hovey as an example.

N. A. Larson of the Logan stake high council spoke of attitudes and what real and true religion means. In his opinion, Mr. Hovey had lived real and true religion. He had the proper attitude towards life and truly believed in giving service to others," said Mr. Larsen.

H. C. Henniger of River Heights said he had worked with Mr. Hovey in ward and other capacities for years. He knew Mr. Hovey had great faith and was blessed with the gift of healing. He was a faithful servant among the sick and the poor.

Coach J. R. Jensen of the physical education department of the Utah State Agricultural college told how Mr. Hovey had influenced him as a boy and young man. He mentioned the love Mr. Hovey had not only in his own family but the family of his parents. Mr. Hovey was a worthy pioneer of the settlement of Millville and the valley, he said.

George Snelgrove of the Granite Stake presidency and F. Wright of the High Priest Quorum of the Lincoln Ward of Salt Lake City where Mr. Hovey had resided were also present for the services. Mr. Snellgrove spoke of the activity of Mr. Hovey in the Lincoln ward and the love and respect the people there had for him.

A vocal duet was sung by Mrs. Austin Pond and Floyd Adams, with Mrs. Marriner Turner accompanist of Logan; a violin duet was presented by Miss Oralie Bailey and Ollie Jean Olsen with Dorothy Montrose accompanist.

W. K. Burnham of Logan offered the invocation and J. H. Wilson of Logan, the benediction. Bishop Eugene Johnson of Nibley dedicated the grave. Six grandsons were pall bearers and grand daughters took charge of the flowers. The display of flowers was beautiful.

Bishop Sylvester Anderson of Millville had charge of the services. The burial took place in the Millville cemetery.

Mr Hovey was past eighty one years of age and was one of the original pioneer settlers of Millville. For the past fifteen years he had resided in Salt Lake City with his daughter, Mrs. Izene Goddard.

Much credit and appreciation are due our sister Izene for providing a home for Father and Mother in the last years of their lives. Izene was always kind and loving to them, and their interests and welfare were always her first consideration

It has been a great pleasure to me to write Father's history, including Mothers, from his personal notes and to add the last chapter. It appears to me it is going to make us all "Step Some" to hold up the Hovey name and "Carry On" as well as they have done. Their torch is before us.

M. R. Hovey, Compiler.

Family Record of James Alma and Esther Hovey

A Photograph of the Family

Name Date &

Place of Birth

Date &

Place of Death

James A. Hovey June 13, 1855

Salt Lake City, UT

Oct. 22, 1936

Salt Lake City, UT

Esther M. Pitkin Aug. 28, 1861

Millville, UT

Aug. 15, 1928

Salt Lake City, UT

Married April 11, 1879

Salt Lake City, UT


Maria Lusannah Sept. 24, 1880

Millville, UT

James Arch July 25, 1882

Millville, UT

March 8, 1946

Dillon, MT

George Orrin Oct. 24, 1883

Millville, UT

Oct. 26, 1894

Millville, UT

Angus Ray April 5, 1885

Millville, UT

Feb. 22, 1944

Cedar City, UT

Merlin Ross Sept. 21, 1886

Millville, UT

Jan. 21, 1965

Logan, UT

Rex Pitkin Oct. 22, 1888

Millville, UT

Nov. 17, 1888

Millville, UT

Leslie Wilford Nov. 6, 1889

Millville, UT

Sidney Goodridge Mar. 29, 1891

Millville, UT

Sept. 2, 1942

Las Vegas, NV

Izene Oct. 10, 1892

Millville, UT

March, 1980