EDWIN RUTHVEN LAMB
(1831-1924) Son of Abel Lamb and Almira Merrill
FAITH MAKES US STRONG
By his Granddaughter Idona Jackson Smith
In the early 1800's a religious revival spread across the land. People felt an earnest desire to learn more of and to feel closer to the Divine Being. They needed spiritual guidance.
On a beautiful September day in 1820, in the town of Manchester, New York, a young lad by the name of Joseph Smith, having been inspired by the verse in the Bible, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him," knelt in a wooded grove and asked God which church of all the churches in the land was God's true one.
He was told in a vision by a heavenly messenger that none of the churches were but His church, and that if Joseph proved faithful, obedient, and trustworthy he would in a few years hence, through the power of God, establish the true church of Christ upon this land. In 1830 the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized. Among the little band of people that first embraced the new gospel plan was a humble man named Abel Lamb and his wife, Almira Merrill Lamb. He was a cooper by trade and lived in Avon, Livingston, New York. Abel Lamb was a descendant of the Lambís in Scotland and England. They were prominent people in these two countries. It is proven by their family crest. The Scottish crest was a Holy Lamb with a staff, flag, and a symbol cross. The emblem was followed to a certain extent by the Lambís in England, but the prevailing crest was a lamb rampant with varying emblems. The first of the Lamb family to emigrate to America was Thomas Lamb from England. He landed with his family in 1630, two hundred years before the organization of the church.
Edwin Ruthven Lamb was born December 23, 1831, on the prophet Joseph Smith's birthday, which was one year after the church was organized. Edwin was the fourth son of Abel and Almira Merrill Lamb, who were the parents of fourteen children. Their children were Lisbon, Horance, Omer, Edwin Ruthven, Sarah, Joseph, Almira, Able Jr., Enos, Leni, John, William, and Yurah.
From the beginning of the organization of the church the members were persecuted and despised. Nowhere could they find peace and the privilege of worshipping God as they pleased.
Abelís family journeyed with the little band, first to Kirtland, Ohio, in 1837. A year later they moved to Diahmon, Davies, Missouri. From there they moved to Far West. In the latter part of the same year they were driven by the mobs to Quincy, Illinois. It was here that Edwin Ruthven was baptized into the church by Joseph Smith.
Although a professional cooper by trade, Abel had difficulty in finding enough work at his trade to feed and clothe his large family. The winters were severe. Often the family suffered not only from hunger but from cold.
On October 27, 1840, the church organized the Mount Hope Stake at Steam Mills, Columbus, Illinois. Abel Lamb was made president of this stake. Sherman Gilbert and John Smith were his counselors.
Two years latter Abel and his family were called to Nauvoo. Edwin Ruthven was now eleven years of age. He was a quiet boy and rather small for his age. He had a mop of black wavy hair and large slanting dark blue eyes. Even at this tender age he proved himself a poet and a dreamer. He often brought his mother little verses of poetry that he had written in school and was delighted when she praised them.
The Lamb family lived in Nauvoo for six years. During this time Abel worked at his trade as a cooper. His young sons worked with him. They learned the trade that was going to be such a benefit to them in later years.
While they were living in Nauvoo Edwin Ruthven, through his family's close association with the prophet Joseph, his wife, Emma, and Joseph's brother, Hyrum had a wonderful experience. He had the privilege of seeing the mummies that were purchased by the church. These were displayed in the upstairs rooms in the Mansion House. In the boxes containing the mummies there were rolls of papyrus, which when translated were known as the Pearl of Great Price. Throughout his entire life Edwin was delighted to testify to the authenticity of this document.
After two terrifying and uncertain years in Nauvoo, the Lamb family along with the other members of the church were plunged to the depths of despair. Word came to them of the assassination of their beloved leader and prophet, Joseph Smith. They were left stunned, afraid, and without guidance. Had it not been for their great faith in God and their church, they would have given up all desire of progression. As they found later, the loss of Joseph Smith was only the closing of one chapter and the beginning of another in one of the most interesting and beautiful books ever written, the History of the Mormon Trek to Utah and the History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The church was now in a state of gloomy suspense. Not knowing to whom the leadership would be given and the fear that the church might disband caused much anxiety. Suddenly a meeting was called and young Edwin and his family was privileged to witness the mantle of the prophet Joseph falling upon Brigham Young while he was addressing the people. This was the sign from God that Brigham Young should be the next president of the church and the man to lead them to their promised land in Zion.
Although the members of the church were sorely tried, they still found time for song and dance. Edwin could not carry a tune in a bucket. Hiis mother often said, "but he did love to dance." Being graceful and light on his feet he attended all the dancing parties. To pay for private dancing lessons he swept and cleaned the dance hall. He was eighteen now and had grown to 5 feet, 6 inches. He was still a handsome, and gallant boy.
In 1846 the members of the church were driven from Nauvoo and all parts of Missouri. The Lamb family was among those who fled their homes. They left most of their food and possessions behind. Edwin's mother somehow managed to bring with her a churn of parched corn, which was all they had to eat for days.
In the year 1846, they reached Council Bluffs, discouraged and weary. In 1848, they were called to Kanesville to prepare for the journey West to Zion. It took two long years to get oxen, wagons, supplies, and the precious cooper tools to take with them. The Lamb family was assigned to the company under the leadership of Thomas Johnson.
The years of hunger, cold and disease had taken their toll among the children of Abel and Almira. Of their thirteen children, only seven survived to begin the journey westward. Almira always said that part of her heart remained with the six little graves they left behind in the eastern states.
The Johnson Company arrived at Independence Rock in the early evening. Here, in the wagon box Almira gave birth to her last child. She had a little girl whom they called Yarah.
After enduring the terrible hardships of the long dreary journey across the plains, they reached the Salt Lake Valley on September 10, 1850. The Lamb's first home in Salt Lake City was on Emigration Street and belonged to John Lot. They lived here until their own home was finished. This new one-room log house provided shelter for the whole family. It had two windows covered with greased paper for window panes. The furniture was a meager three chairs they had brought from the east, and a large pine table made by a carpenter in Salt Lake City. An open fireplace served as a cookstove and provided heat for the cabin. The children's beds were made on the floor at night and rolled up into a corner of the room during the day.
Edwin and his father set up a cooper shop on Main Street. It was located where the Zion Savings Bank now stands. The first year they made beef barrels. These were made from native lumber and were bound together by tough willow branches called "hoop poles".
Edwin often told his grandchildren that in those days it was either a feast or a famine. A feast meant white bread and beef or mutton. Famine meant nothing but wild roots. Sometimes the roots were eaten raw, but more often they were cooked with a small piece of leather which gave the flavor. They made a fairly good meal for hungry children.
Almira was a good seamstress. She made her children each one a suit or dress of good material that she had brought from the east. Each night while the children slept, she washed and pressed their clothes in order to keep her children clean.
There, the sturdy people were a happy band, despite the fact they were so destitute. They loved dancing, presenting plays, and even enjoyed winter sports. The dances always had a manager, sometimes called a caller or a floor-walker. Edwin was manager at the ward dances. His brother furnished the music, which was led by Edwin's brother, Joseph, a fiddler (violinist). They danced mostly quadrilles, various reels, one or two round dances, and one and only one waltz. Sometimes a prize was given to the best dancing couple.
Brigham Young and the twelve apostles joined in the dancing. President Young always commented on how obedient Edwin was because he never cheated on the one waltz command and always closed the dances promptly on time.
Edwin taught fancy dancing at the Social Hall for three years. There was not much money exchanged hands in those days. Edwin took his pay in product, clothing, or tools. On one occasion he received a vest in payment for the dancing lessons of Daniel Wells' son. The front of the vest was made of light blue satin with embroidered flowers and was lined with striped silk. Edwin's wife, Elizabeth made her first child a hood from this vest. It is now on display by the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers at the State Capitol Building.
Until they reached Salt Lake City, Edwin and his brothers and sisters had had very little schooling. They attended school for a short time in Quincy, Illinois. Brigham Young believed in education and learning, so one of the first projects was that of erecting a school house. Edwin's teachers were Brother Spencer and W. W. Philps. They were taught the three "R's", a little geography, and language. Their teachers were very strict in discipline and often the students were whipped by the schoolmasters.
The first stores in Salt Lake City were owned by Gilbert, Garash, Livingston, and Kingkade. The stock sold in these stores was hauled across the plains by ox teams and mules.
Abel, with the help of his sons opened up the road into a canyon near Salt Lake City, which is now known as Lamb's Canyon. From this canyon they cut and hauled out the first timber used in making barrels, tubs, washboards, churns, and buckets.
Edwin's young sister, Almira, had become friends with a pretty girl named Elizabeth Hardy. The two girls loved to dance. Because it was improper to go to dances without an escort, Almira would coax Edwin to let them go along with him. At last he consented, "If the two silly young snots could keep up!" It wasn't long until Edwin fell in love with Elizabeth and they started "keeping company".
Elizabeth Hardy was born in Bradford, Massachusetts in 1839. She was a daughter of Samuel B. and Caroline Hardy. In 1850 Elizabeth, her father, mother, two brothers and three sisters joined the company led by Apostle Wilford Woodruff. They made the long journey across the plains and arrived in Salt Lake City on September of 1850. Elizabeth was a talented young girl. She brought joy and happiness to the people of the company. When in the evenings, by the light of the campfire, she danced and sang to the accompaniment of her tambourine. While waiting for the boats to take the wagons across the Missouri River, she was paid for doing her little act, so brought home to her parents the first white flour they had had for a long time.
Samuel and Caroline Hardy were a very religious and devouted couple. Their family was happy and united. He was a cobbler by trade, and so added this contribution to the new world in the West. The Hardy family lived in a tent until they were able to build a house.
Elizabeth had many suitors. She was once engaged to be married to H. B. Godfery. Edwin and Elizabeth, when not attending the socials,spent the early evenings "Honey-spooning", as Edwin called it, on the foundations of the temple.
In April, 1855, Edwin was called on a mission to the Elk mountains. He was there only two weeks when he was called home because of the depredations of the Indians there. Every young man was needed to protect the people.
By this time Edwin had asked Samuel and Caroline for their daughter's hand in marriage. The following summer was a very happy one as they planned their future lives together. Perhaps at first they might have a few disappointments, but nothing serious could happen to any couple so in love. Little did they realize what lay before them.
In August of the same year, Edwin was called on another mission to the White Mountain Country. This time he was to instruct the Indians. He was very reluctant to leave Eliza (as he now called Elizabeth). He was afraid she would fall in love and marry someone else while he was away. Heber C. Kimball had asked her to be one of his wives. Heber was wealthy and "mighty high in the church".
"Heber, you had better stay away from Eliza," laughingly warned Brigham Young. "Those Lambs sure can bunt." It might have seemed amusing to some people, but to Edwin this was a serious condition. They finally decided to marry before he left. On September 3, 1855, they were married in the Endowment House by Elizaís former suitor, Heber C. Kimball. A reception was given in their honor by her parents at their home. That same evening they were invited to attend the birthday ball given by Brigham Young in honor of his daughter Alice.
The young couple took the top layer of their wedding cake down to the printers to pay for having a write up of their wedding in the Deseret News. A few days later, Edwin left for the White Mountain Mission. Eliza lived with her parents while he was gone. It was a happy day when Edwin returned and they moved into their own home to await the arrival of their first child.
Little Frank was born January 12, 1857. The winter of 1857 proved to be one of the worst since the Saints reached the valley. Food was so scarce that there was barely enough to keep the people alive. To climax their great sufferings, the word was brought to the weary little band that Johnsonís Army was coming to drive them from their homes again, just as they were driven from Nauvoo. President Young ordered the evacuation of the city. Rather than to have it fall into the hands of the enemy, it would be destroyed.
Edwin, Eliza, Edwinís brother, Brigham, and Brighamís wife, Mary (Elizaís sister) went as far south as Springville. A camp was set up on the public square for those without homes. Edwinís family slept in a lumber shanty and cooked their food over a fire, which was made on the ground. Recalling the bloody persecution they had experienced in the east, it is no wonder that their hearts were filled with terror and despair.
Edwin worked at his trade to keep his family fed. It was a glorious day when word came, "All is well. Return to your homes." They found the town desolate. The paths to their doors were overgrown with weeds. Straw and kindling wood were piled on the doorstep ready at a minuteís notice for the house to be set a flame.
On February 20, 1859, a daughter was born to Edwin and Elizabeth. She was named Caroline Almira for her two grandmothers. Although Edwin worked whenever and at whatever job he could find, it seems there was never enough food to satisfy his childrenís hunger.
When little Caroline was a year old, the family moved to Sniderís Mill, which was thirty miles east of Salt Lake City. At last Edwin had a job for the entire summer. If things went well, there would be enough food stored by fall to last them through the coming winter. Edwin was thin and undernourished. The work was hard and the hours were long. Before he had worked a month he was taken ill, so the family moved back to Salt Lake City. They had been home for only a week when little Frank suddenly died. He was just four years old. The house was silent and empty now. Eliza vowed she would sing no more.
It was a welcomed event when Brigham Young called Edwin to move to Utahís Dixieland. The settlers needed wooden barrels for their molasses. Only one year had passed since the death of little Frank, perhaps the change would ease the emptiness in their hearts.
So, with a wagon train made up of Ed and Eliza, Edís brother, Brigham, and his wife, Mary; Elizaís father, Samuel B. Hardy, and his wife and children; they began the long hazardous journey south. After one month and three hundred miles through desolate country, of road making, climbing rough hills, crossing swift streams, pulling up the very steep Snow's Wiggle (still carries that name), they finally arrived at Virgin City on December 15.
Although Eliza was heavy with child, she sang and joked with the others. She tried to make the long trip endurable. Edwin made his camp close by the Virgin River near a small spring. He and his family slept in their wagon box and cooked over a fire on the ground. They found the settlers at Virgin a happy and cheerful group. Most every family had a few chickens, a cow, a pig, a team of oxen or horses. They also were the proud possessors of a log cabin.
It had been raining several days when on January 8, 1864, Eliza gave birth to their second daughter, Loraine Isabelle. She was born in the wagon box that Eliza and Edwin used as a bedroom. Everyone said how blessed the settlers were to have such a gentle, wonderful rain. The soil would now be moist and ready for early spring planting, but the gentle rain turned into a deluge. For forty days it rained continuously. They saw the sun but twice during that time. The river overflowed its banks, carrying with it cabins, pigs, chickens, and even their precious farm implements. As the waters crept closer to Eliza's wagon, Edwin was afraid for her safety. He, with the help of eight other men (one of whom was John D.. Lee), carried the wagon one quarter of a mile up the hillside to safety. John D.. Lee relates this incident in his diary. He tells how after helping to carry the Lamb wagon box up the hill, he returned home to find everything he owned washed away.
After the great devastating flood, the Indians began attacking the settlers and stealing their cattle. A community corral was built to pasture all their cattle. There was a man on guard both day and night.
Edwin's family lived in a tent until he and Brigham finished building their double log cabin. By early spring the provisions the Lambs had brought from Salt Lake City were gone. They had no money to buy more, but they did have a few treasures they could trade. Little Frank's last suit of clothes were traded for a quart of molasses. Bread and watered molasses was all they had to eat. This thinned molasses was called "Bay's Thin."
One evening after the children had cried themselves to sleep because of hunger Eliza sat in her rocking chair praying for a miracle to happen, that somehow Edwin could get food for their children. Suddenly the door flew open and in came Edwin with a sack over his shoulder. As quickly as her shaking hands could untie the string, he emptied its contents on the floor at Eliza's feet: potatoes, flour, and a piece of mutton.
"Oh, Ed," cried Eliza, "where did you get it? With what did you buy it?"
"Liza," he whispered, holding her close as they gazed at the feast before them, "this is your tambourine."
Edwin and Brigham realized that somehow and someway they must get more needed food. Not only were their families suffering, but the other people in town were also. They decided to put on a negro minstrel show and take it to Cedar City. Lige Maxfield said he would help them. For days they burned cottonwood logs. They placed the ashes they placed in barrels while adding water. This was allowed to stand for a few weeks, turning the water to lye. At night they rehearsed their show. A week later they were on their way to Cedar City, 45 miles north.
They traded the lye to the settlers there for potatoes, flour, grain seed, and mutton. The lye was mixed with grease to make soap, which was used as a water softener.
Of course the climax of the trip was the minstrel show. Ed, Brigham, and Lige blacked their faces, and to the accompaniment of the fiddle and banjo, they sang and danced to the tunes "Nelly Bly," "Hard Times Come Again No More", "Old Kentucky Home," and "Poor Old Ned." Edwin's light fantastic dances would be the highlight of the show.
The minstrel was so well received in Cedar City that they gave additional performances in Beaver and Parowan. They finally went home with the wagon laden with precious food and clothing.
While living in Virgin, Edwin joined a company led by James Andrus. This company was organized to fight the Indians. He served for three hundred and ninety days. Then he was honorably released. In the spring of 1864, Edwin moved his family to Dalton, five miles east of Virgin. Brigham and his wife and family had gone back the year previous, but Edwin decided to stay a year or two longer to harvest another crop or two.
On June 15, 1864, a fourth child was born to Edwin and Eliza. Much to their joy the child was a boy. They named him Walter Ruthven. God had taken one son and now had given another. However, their joy was short-lived. Little Walter was only two years old when he was stricken with pneumonia. He died March 6, 1866.
A week later Edwin received a letter from his father telling of the death of Ed's mother and asking him to come back to Salt Lake City. Abel was getting too old to run the cooper business alone. It was a sad parting when Eliza and her parents said goodbye to each other. Samuel and Caroline were older now and failing in health. Eliza did not know whether she would see them again. It was almost more than both she and Ed could bear to leave the little lonely grave on the hillside.
Edwin hitched his four wild horses to his wagon, loaded their few possessions, and with his wife's sister, Loraine, and husband, P.G. Davis, they started back to Salt Lake. When they arrived in Salt Lake, Eliza's brother, Press had prepared for them to live with his family. Press had also secured a logging job for a steam mill owned by Evans and C. Deckers in Sneigers Park, which was the present site of Park City. He persuaded Edwin to trade his wild horses for two yoke of oxen and to work with him in the mountains.
On April 1, Press and Edwin went started for the mountains. The snow was still deep and the road was so rough and steep that the two yoke of oxen could not pull the wagon. They camped two nights in a stable. They thought that perhaps the snow would melt, but it did not. In despair, they hitched the four oxen on one wagon, loading whatever they thought necessary to last until they could come back for the other, and continued their journey.
They logged here all summer. Edwin moved Eliza down to Farmington to stay with Brigham and his wife while he went back to bring out his oxen. Before he got back, Eliza gave birth to another daughter, Mary Alice, on October 4, 1866.
That winter was one on the happiest that Edwin and Eliza had experienced in a long time. Edwin worked as a cooper. In the evenings they enjoyed dancing, plays, and church socials.
It took them until the fall of 1867 to get enough supplies, food, seed, and equipment for their return trip to Dixie. The Lambís, Daviseís, and Brigham's family reached Virgin City in October. They found the little town greatly changed. Their homes had been moved from Dalton to Virgin. The Indians had become so malicious that a fort had been built for the settlers to live in for protection. Eliza was disappointed to find her parents had moved to St. George.
Had it not been for the epidemic of whooping cough and the intermittent outbreaks of the Indians, the winter would have been a happy one. There was plenty to eat and the weather mild and beautiful. Eliza often said, "we've got to take the bad with the good. Things could be much worse. I've still got Edwin." Little did she know then what the next two years would bring.
In March, 1896, a scourge of scarlet fever broke out in the little town. The scarlet fever took Mary in its toll. It was times like this that made Edwin and Eliza wonder how much tragedy they were destined to take, but it was God's will and they must endure to the end.
The summer was long and dreary. During the day Edwin worked hard on the little farm. Night time he did odd jobs or repair work for his neighbors. He liked puttering around. He tried to invent something that would make hard work easier to do.
That fall, on October 2, 1896 another daughter was born to them. They called her Helena.
Augusta. Eliza had grown stout through the years. Being a tall woman she really made Ed's slender 5' 6" body look small. She still liked pretty clothes and always wore several rings, a necklace, a broach at her throat, and a pair of dangling earrings.
More and more settlers were moving to Dixie, so the demand for building materials was growing. It was expensive to haul lumber and shingles from Salt Lake. Knowing that Ed and Brigham had had experience in operating a sawmill, Erastus Snow, one of the Twelve Apostles, asked them to operate a sawmill owned by Thomas Forsythe in Pine Valley Mountains.
After selling their home in Virgin, they moved to the mountains. Brigham operated the sawmill and Edwin operated the shingle mill. That winter they lived in Toquerville. Edwin's father, Abel lived with them until he married a woman by the name of Mary Peterson. In the spring of 1870, as soon as the snow melted in Pine Valley, the two families Edwin and Brigham moved back. Although Edwin had no boys to help him, his two eldest girls worked by his side and accomplished as much as two men helpers could have done. Loraine and Caroline caught the shingles as they came through the saw. One day Caroline caught her fingers in the sawbead and two of them were cut off at the first joint. Many of the homes and business houses were made by Ed and Brigham. The shingles and lumber that went into the Washington Cotton Mill were also made by Ed and Brigham.
The following winter Ed decided to go back to his trade as a cooper. He bought a lot and a one room house. He also set up his own shop. By this time the peaches, apricots, plums, and grapes were being harvested in Dixie. Edwin peddled fruit to Pioche, Nevada during the summer time. While he was away on one of these trips his daughter, Luna Vilate, (my mother) was born.
Somehow and for some reason Edwin was never very successful when working for himself. Those three years were very difficult ones. He was unable to pay the final payment on his home and so he lost it. Edwin was overjoyed when Brigham informed him that they were going back to Pine Valley Mountains to run the lumber mills.
This summer they rented thirty cows. Eliza and her daughters did the milking. They also made butter and cheese. With the money they received from these products they bought glass and nails to use in building their new home and a few needed clothes. Two years went by. It took years of hard work and sacrifice, but they finally finished their new three room home. They were proud and happy in their little house, which was surrounded by shade trees and a clear brooklet running by the front door. Another little girl, Alice Florence, was born to them on April 4, 1875.
Only a few miles west of Toquerville was a little settlement of poor, humble pioneers where a new mining town had sprung up almost overnight. Silver had been discovered and immediately people from every walk of life poured into the town they called Silver Reef. Edwin had become acquainted with a man named Richards. Richards had a little money. He had just enough to set up an ice cream salon. He and Edwin went into business in Silver Reef. Along with the ice cream, they sold all kinds of fruit. They had a flourishing business. Edwin, Eliza, and their beautiful daughters were very happy that summer. Everyone worked, doing their share of the work.
In the fall of 1879, their oldest daughter, Caroline, married Lorenzo J. Slack.
Having done so well in the ice cream business, Edwin and Eliza decided to open a boarding house. The following spring they were in Babylon, a small settlement just outside Silver Reef. They had seventeen permanent boarders, each paying one dollar a day. How blessed and how independent they felt. Just imagine, clearing $17.00 a day! That was real money in those days. There was enough money to live on, besides a nice sum of "lay away" for a rainy day. Oh, the plans they made and the dreams they dreamed!
Then came a message from their bishop in Toquerville calling them home. A town full of Gentiles was no place for a Mormon family to be raised in. Having faith in their bishop and believing him to be acting in their own good, they sold their business and moved back to Toquerville. Disappointed, restless, and discouraged, Edwin explained in his quiet refined way, "We were so sorry our bishop felt that way. Never had we before had so much of this world's goods and it seemed that at last we had our chance to make needed money. But, we must obey our church leaders; they know best." They found their home in Toquerville in need of repair. While it was being relined and wall papered the family lived in Lee Dike's house. Eliza was ill most of the summer, but Loraine was old enough and well trained to manage the house and the younger children. After they moved into their repaired home, another child was born to them. They named him Arthur Milton. He arrived September 30, 1878.
On Edwin's fiftieth birthday, Loraine married Richard T. Higbee. Edwin's once jet black hair was streaked with silver and his erect body was beginning to stoop. Now the family consisted of four children: Luna, Helena, Alica, and Arthur. The family always attended church together and always had family prayers.
For two and one-half years, their life was tranquil and pleasant. In connection with their church work, they produced plays, vaudeville acts, and ward dances. Edwin was a teacher in the ward and Justice of the Peace for two years. George W. Emery was Governor of the State at this time. Tragedy struck again. Little Arthur, their baby and only son, was taken ill. After two weeks of suffering, he died. His grief-stricken parents were almost unconsolable.
Even though they thought they could not endure any more such dreadful experiences, there were many more to come. One year after burying little Arthur, an epidemic of diptheria swept through the community. Little Alice was among the first to contact the disease. Eliza, also bedfast, held the little girl in her arms, praying to God that He might spare the life of her child. It was heartbreaking to hear Eliza's wavering voice sing lullabies in obedience to Alice's pleading, "Mama, sing me to sleep." So Eliza cried and sang while her little daughter died in her arms.
On their return from the graveyard, the family moved in with their daughter, Loraine. Their own home had to be fumigated with burning sulfur to kill the deadly disease germs. Here, a week later, Eliza gave birth to her last baby, a girl, Edna, on October 22, 1883. During this period of grief, Edwin's health began to fail. Hard work, a starvation diet, and the trials he had endured over the years began to show their effect.
The following winter he invented a churn. The churn in those days had a dash that went up and down. Edwin's invention was a churn with paddles that rotated. Not being financially able to procure a patent, he sold the invention to Charles Decker of Salt Lake City, his old friend and former employer. With the money he received he bought a new Bain Wagon.
Previous to this time, John Steel and Edwin located a silver mine in Ash Creek. Edwin and a friend of his by the name of Logan, enthused by the boom at Silver Reef, built a rasher. It was run by horsepower. They hauled ore from the Lamb and Steele mine to the rasher. The bars of silver they made were about the size of a pound of butter. As usual, fate was against them and this adventure failed.
Edwin was not defeated. He still had his Bain Wagon and a good team of horses. The people in Cedar City, Parowan, and Beaver were now prosperous and could afford to pay money for their fruit. So Edwin peddled fruit in the summer, and Eliza usually went along. She worked as a cooper during the winter months. He still taught dancing and directed plays, and still danced himself.
Luna and Helena were growing up now and were very, very beautiful girls. Luna was proclaimed the prettiest girl in Southern Utah. Her father taught her to dance and walk the tightrope. She was graceful as well as beautiful. So now Edwin had two more acts to add to his vaudeville.
When Edna grew up she had the leading part in most of the plays. At one Fourth of July celebration she was chosen to be the Goddess of Liberty. Her father composed this poem for her to read:
While on this rostrum now I stand,
I'll say something of that band
Who were exiled from Nauvoo
And the country they traveled through.
Driven to the water's edge,
The young, the tender, and frosted age,
They launched their boats on the water blue,
And to the oars, their muscles flew.
Through Iowa's swamps and prairies wide,
Onward, onward they did glide.
They came unto the Missouri Banks,
And there they had to break their ranks.
Five hundred men were called to go
To fight the battles in Mexico.
But on, still on, they though it best;
They saw the twilight, in the West,
One thousand miles of desert sand
Before they reached the promised land.
On the 24th there's no mistake,
They reached the valley of the great Salt Lake,
And there their banner was unfurled,
And still it waves to all the world.
On June 18, 1895, Edwin and Eliza adopted a little boy. They named him Ruthven Hardy Lamb. Now there would be a son to carry on the Lamb family name. In 1894 Edwin bought a new lot. With the help of his children and grandchildren, he made enough adobe bricks to build him a new home.
In the meantime, his daughters and son were marrying and leaving home. Helena married John T. Beatty; Luna married Frank B. Jackson; Edna married Frank Bringhurst; and Ruthven married Evelyn Sylvester. Now the devoted couple were along. Not many years after they moved into their new home, Eliza, while on a peddling trip to Cedar, fell from the wagon and dislocated her hip. Edwin made a few trips alone after this accident.
When Luna's daughter, Isabelle, was twelve years old, her grandfather taught her dancing. They danced as a team and also did solo work. When he was ninety years old, he was honored by a ward party where he did a clog dance. Some of their dances were The Sailor's Hornpipe, Highland Fling, and A Spanish Dance. There was never a play, dance, or other amusement program but what Isabelle and Grandpa Lamb danced. They were still dancing together when Edwin was in his seventies. His hair was snow white and abundant, but he was still graceful and light on his feet. He would say, "Now, Isabelle, I'm not as young as I used to be, so if I tire I will bow and leave the stage, but you must finish the dance alone." More often than not he would tire, bow so gallantly, and leave the stage amidst an enthusiastic applause.
After Eliza broke her hip, their daughter Loraine gave them a little grocery store. They had it in their front bedroom. A little bell tinkled when a customer opened the door, and grandma walking with aid of her cane, came in smiling to wait on him. This was a comfort to them because now that they were not so active they still had contact with and could meet their friends.
In 1823, Edwin and Eliza had the honor of shaking hands with President Harding and his wife, when they visited Zion Canyon. There is a picture of Edwin and Eliza sitting on the rostrum with the President and his party hangs at the State Capitol Building. Edwin felt very proud of this incident in his life. When President Snow called at his home to bless him just a few days before he died, Edwin said, "It is a greater privilege to shake the hand of one of God's servants than to shake that of the President of the United States."
Edwin's and Eliza's life together was a beautiful epic. Although they experienced failures, disappointments, and tragedy after tragedy, they laced them together. They had their happiness too, and love and devotion for each other. Edwin was a devout man. He and his brother, Brigham, walked many times from Virgin to Toquerville to attend the school of the prophets. They belonged to this school of prophets. He and his wife did much work for the dead at the St. George Temple. He was a High Priest in the church. This was conferred upon him by President Edward H. Snow. Both his father and father-in-law were patriarchs.
Somehow his life reminds me of Longfellow's "Village Blacksmith," especially the verse that says"
Toiling, rejoicing, sorrowing,
Onward through life he goes.
Each morning sees some talks begin,
Each evening sees its close.
Something attempted, something done.
Has earned his night's repose!
He died at the ripe old age of ninety -two on March 15, 1924. His beloved wife and children were at his bedside. A respected, beloved, true Latter-day Saint, he went on to receive the great reward he so justly deserved.