Saturday, July 23, 2011

Family History

When it comes to family history, I think I'm pretty darn lucky. My dad's cousins and aunts have collected so many records and stories! I'd like to share one of them with you.
My dad's father is named Delos. His father's name is Arden, whose father was Edgar. This is the story of Edgar's father, Alma Helaman Hale. I apologize that this is kind of long. If you don't want to read it all, I won't be offended (yes, that's how long it is!).

Autobiography of Alma Helaman Hale Sr.

I was born in Bradford, Essex Co. Massachusetts, April 24, 1836. I was only six weeks old when my parents, Jonathan Harriman Hale and Olive Boynton, who had formerly united themselves with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commenced their journey westward to make their home with the Saints who had gathered at Kirtland, Ohio. Being so young at that time it was very difficult for my parents to devise a plan by which I could travel comfortable and without injury. They conceived the idea, however, of fastening a large basket to the tops of the wagon bows. The motion of the wagon made it an excellent cradle. In this basket I traveled to Kirtland. It took us a period of nearly a month's travel to reach our destination. My parents procured a home at Kirtland in which we lived for a period of two or three years. We then moved to the state of Missouri, with the rest of the Saints, making our home with them by a remorseless and unforgiving enemy whose captain was Lucifer himself and who used his every effort to overthrow the Kingdom of God, but whose arm was powerless to affect the body of Christ which still lives.

When the Saints were driven from Missouri to Nauvoo, my parents were of their number. Immediately upon arriving at Nauvoo my father went to work in the stone quarry, cutting out stone for the Temple. He continued to work in the quarry and on the Temple building until it was completed. He was created Bishop of the ninth Ward of Nauvoo City, and also held the honored position of “Colonel of the Nauvoo Legion.”

In the year 1846 my parents, with the rest of the Saints of God, were driven from the city of Nauvoo. We arrived at Council Bluffs in the fall of that year.

We were still at Council Bluffs when the Mormon Battalion was called out to take part in the war with Mexico. Soon after the calling out of the Battalion my parents moved three miles down the Missouri River and prepared to build a home. Father had procured one load of logs and had laid one round of them in the construction of the house when a terrible calamity came upon the family in the form of sickness. My father was taken ill with the dreaded ‘Dumb Ague’. At the same time mother was taken sick in confinement. Also my sister Susan was stricken with the ‘Black Canker’. In the short period of three weeks we buried our father, mother, and two sisters, leaving three of us boys and one-sister orphans in this world. There was Aroet, the eldest, Rachel, next, then myself, and next my younger brother, Solomon.

As soon as we could after the sad event just narrated, we children moved across the river to Winter Quarters and lived there all winter until the spring of 1847 when we moved up the river six miles with others to a place knows as “Kimball’s Farm,” which we utilized for that season and raised a good crop of potatoes, buckwheat and corn.
In the spring of 1848 we commenced our journey to Utah, an epoch of my life which shall never be forgotten, and one which tested the sinews and manhood of every one of us. Young as I was, barefooted, I drove an ox-team from the Missouri River to Salt Lake City. (As a matter of fact I never owned a pair of shoes in my life until I became seventeen years of age. It was “moccasins” or nothing.)

We arrived in Salt Lake in the month of September 1848. At this time I was twelve years of age. The next day after our arrival my brothers and I commenced the making of adobe with which we constructed a house, one of the first abode houses constructed in Salt Lake City. The adobes were 4 x 12 x 18 inches in size. Our house was also one of the first to be built outside of the old fort which was built in 1847 for the protection of the first arrivals in the valley. We lived in Salt Lake City six or seven years and then removed to Grantsville, a little settlement about thirty eight miles west of Salt Lake City. When we arrived at Grantsville we found only seven families living there.
Soon after our arrival in Salt Lake, my eldest brother Aroet married a sister Olive Whittle. To them a son Lue was born. It was soon after the birth of this child that we moved to Grantsville. Brother Aroet was called on a mission to southern Utah at a place called “Losvagus” [Las Vegas] also a place called “Muddy” (Moapa). He spent two years at each place. Before leaving Aroet placed his family and farm in my hands to care for until his return from his mission, which task I performed to the best of my ability.

The next year after our arrival in Grantsville I had arrived at an age, which I thought suitable to search out a companion for life. My efforts were rewarded in winning Miss Sarah Elizabeth Walker for my wife. We were married April 14, 1856. We had three children by our marriage, namely: Alma Helaman Hale, Jr., Elizabeth Hale, and Enos Eliphalet Hale. My wife died when last named child was two weeks old, he died when between three and four months old. On December 24, 1861, I married Miss Sarah Annie Clark, who bore me ten children. Namely: Ernest Frederick Hale, Albert Henry Hale, Sarah Almanie Hale, Rachel Clarrissa Hale, Katie Eliza Hale, Gracie Emma Hale, Jonathan Harriman Hale, Solomon William Hale, Aroett Louisa Hale, and Rebecca Viola Hale.

On the day of August 19, 1865, Miss Ellen Victoria Clark and I were married. Through this marriage eight children were born to us; Edgar Daniel Hale, Aroet Clinton Hale, Arthur Willard Hale, Franklin George Hale, Rosie Ellen Hale, Arvin Wilford Hale, Eugene Clark Hale, and Zina Emeline Hale.

In the summer and fall of 1857 the United States Government sent a large army under the command of General Johnston to crush and exterminate that “immoral and law-breaking people” who resided in the heart of the Rockies. But God chose to regard the people otherwise and protected them safely against the invading army. With others of my brethren I was sent to Echo Canyon to hold the army at bay and keep them from coming through the mountain passes into the valley as long as we possibly could. This we succeeded in doing until nearly all the Saints were safe and arrangements had been made with the army for the protection of the people and their property. Then we were recalled and the Army entered the Valley and camped a short distance from the city which was almost deserted.

In the spring of 1858 the people of Grantsville moved south for safety, detailing ten of us brethren to remain behind and care for the crops and protect the homes. My wife Elizabeth went south with the Saints, driving her two yoke of steers and attending to them by way of feeding them, hitching them, and unhitching them from the wagon, also at the same time attending to her small babe, which she was compelled to carry with her. By the month of July things had quieted, matters had been settled, and the people returned to their homes again in safety.

Things remained quiet and we enjoyed the peace and tranquility of our home until April 1862, when I was called and sent as a teamster in Joseph Horn’s Co. to go to the Missouri River. There we met a number of the Latter-day Saints (who had set out for Zion) and returned with them to Salt Lake Valley. We arrived in Salt Lake City September 13, of the same year. While journeying to the Missouri I was chosen and acted as captain of the night guard and as wagon master. Returning to Salt Lake City I was placed in charge of the commissary, or supply department for the immigrants.

At the time I was called to go with this company, my wife Sarah was very sick, apparently she was sick unto death. I approached our noble Bishop, William G. Young, concerning the advisability of my going, with the conditions surrounding me at home as they were. This Bishop in reply said, “Brother Alma, if you will go and perform your duty faithfully your wife shall get well.”

At this time I had two yoke of oxen. I was compelled to sell one in order to procure the means wherewith to equip my outfit for the journey I was about to undertake. Taking the other yoke of oxen, I departed upon my mission, leaving the home devoid of a team, my wife sick in bed with the two children of my wife Elizabeth, who had died the year previous, upon her hands to care for. I never heard from my family from the time I left in April until my return the thirteenth of September. The pen is too weak to portray to you the joy I felt (after those five or six months of hard worry and suffering of mind, wondering if my wife had died or was getting better as had been promised me upon the eve of my departure) when I drove into the yards at home and found my wife well and hearty and everything in a good and prosperous condition. I felt to thank my Father in Heaven for the blessings that had been showered down upon my family through my performing my duty although surrounded with adverse circumstances and conditions. In the fall of 1871 I was again called on a mission to the Eastern States for the purpose of visiting my relatives and the getting together of a genealogical record of our family in order that the family work might be done in the Temples for our dead. I was also sent for the purpose of performing some missionary work.

In the year 1856, the year of the great reformation throughout the Church, President Brigham Young in company with several of the brethren, came to Grantsville and were baptized by George Q. Canon and also some of the leading brethren of Grantsville, myself included. At that gathering I was chosen to attend to the Baptismal Ordinance in that settlement. I fulfilled that calling until 1887 except as other duties and callings kept me from attending to it. During the period of time, however, that I was engaged in this calling, I baptized and re-baptized nearly 1500 people.

These parties of men who traveled with President Young were companies of men who were chosen to travel with him from settlement to settlement for the purpose of protecting him from attack of the savage Indians, and from whatever source danger might arise. I belonged to one of these companies. They were called the Nauvoo Legion or Salt Lake Militia, and whenever we were called out on duty it was always a pleasure to go and perform our duty for the Prophet of God.

During my life at Grantsville it might be interesting to some of my posterity to read and become acquainted with a few incidents connected therewith.

S. W. Wooley, Win. C. Rydalch, and myself laid the foundation and completed the structure of the first Sunday School ever organized in Grantsville, Utah. We three brethren also served as the Church House Building Committee until the structure was completed.

Politically I served a term of twelve years as Constable, also eight years of that time I held the position of City Marshall. I also held a commission from the year 1865, given me by Gov. Durkee, as Captain’s Adjutant of the Salt Lake Militia of Utah. While holding this commission I made several trips to a valley called “Skull Valley” to keep the Indians from stealing the people’s cattle tethered and herded there. One night, while on one of these errands, seven of us stood guard over the cattle with gun in one hand and bridle-reins in the other, expecting every minute that the Indians would make a raid on the cattle. In fact from the signs we had seen the day previous we were almost certain they would make the raid. We had made up our minds to protect the stock to the last. While standing in this position the hours of expectancy slowly flitting by, my mind reverted to my family in their comfortable home and I wondered if I should ever see them again or whether my life would be stricken out in the expected skirmish. I lifted up my heart in constant prayer for my loved ones and for protection to myself that I might be delivered again to the bosom of my family. When daylight came I thanked God for our safety, for I realized His had in our deliverance and in the non-appearance of our enemy.

During the spring of the famous move south I was called to take charge of ten men and station ourselves at the north end of the Grantsville Mountains and guard against Indian attacks and surprises and keep the Indians back from the settlements. We were compelled to keep guard night and day for a period of a month or more. We performed this duty with firm reliance on God’s aid in our hearts. Aside from a few incidents, some amusing and some approaching the serious side of life, we met with no other difficulties.

After the organization of the Grantsville Sunday School I held a teachers position in the organization for eight years. I was then chosen and set apart as one of the Stake Superintendency, which position I held for six years until I moved to Smithfield. Soon after moving to that place I was appointed a teacher in the Sunday School.

My brother Aroet and I had talked and counseled together a number of times concerning the work for our dead which needed to be done. First we talked of going to the St. George Temple to do the work but found it would be too far and as a result so expensive that we were compelled to abandon the idea. So we decided that we would remove to a place near the Logan Temple and do our work there when the structure was completed.

Accordingly, in the spring of 1887, I moved my wife Ellen and her family to “Gentile Valley, Idaho” and in April 1888 my wife Sarah and her family moved to Smithfield, Cache Co. Utah, thus placing us in close communion with the Logan Temple.

As to my priesthood, I was first a member of the twenty-fourth Quorum of Seventies. In time I was transferred to the thirty-second Quorum of which I was chosen as one of the presidents. When I removed to Smithfield I was chosen as one of the presidents of the Seventeenth Quorum of Seventies. On the fourth of August 1901 I was ordained a High Priest and chosen a member of the High Council of the Benson Stake of Zion. I hope and put my trust in the Lord that I will be able to keep and honor the Priesthood and positions of trust given me in the Church and Kingdom of God as long as I live.

Regarding my work for the dead I will say for the benefit of the readers of this biography that from the time I came to Smithfield until the present I have spent five weeks each year for a period of thirteen years working for the dead, making in all sixty-five weeks work; performing baptisms for 700, obtaining the endowments for nearly 200, and performing the Sealing and Adopting ordinances for over 300 souls of our kindred.

I am now sixty-five years of age, on the declining side of life. As I approach my goal and crown which is waiting for me, I do it with these words on my lips to call my sons and daughters and their posterity, “Keep the faith for it is worth the fight of life and every sacrifice that can be made for it. It will unite us in eternity and cause a mighty rejoicing at the glad reunions. Let not one of my children be missing from it, is my constant prayer.” More will be added as my life progresses, until I am called to lay it down and meet my Father.

Note: “This is all Grandfather wrote. He had planned to finish this account as he says above, however it seems that his death came so suddenly and unexpectedly that the story remains uncompleted." Nathan Hale Gardner

By Way of Completion
“I, Jonathan H. Hale have been asked by members of the family to finish the history of my father from the time he finished the record of this book. It was not long until he sold his farm at Smithfield and bought a home in Logan at 684 East 4th North. This was in the winter of 1902 and 1903.

“From then until his death March 30, 1908, he spent his time in the Temple, all the time it was open, and during that six years he, with our mother, accomplished a great deal of work on the Hale and Boynton records. He continued there until his death.”

“He was at the Temple Friday and at Sunday School afternoon Meeting and “Mutual” in the evening on Sunday. He retired in the best of health. At about five o’clock Monday morning he awoke with a pain under his heart and at about five thirty five a.m. he passed away; being seventy-one years eleven months and six days of age.”

Heber Q. Hale has written: “When you think of Alma Helaman Hale, as the author is able to do from his intimate acquaintance with him, you visualize a man of gentle manners, dignified yet modest and friendly. He was possessed of sterling integrity, adamant against evil in all its multifarious manifestations, yet of generous heart and kindly mind. His courageous spirit braved the perils of pioneer life unflinchingly. His peaceful disposition never sought or incited troubles; but if it came to him, he was able to take care of himself. He had an inspiring faith, and an impelling religious devotion, which motivated his life’s activities and directed his course in the channels taken by his Church and its people.”


  1. That is so great to have a thorough account in his own words. What a life he led! I read it all!

  2. Anybody doing genealogy on him, if they type in his name, your blog is the #8 entry on google to find it right now. Congrats!