WILLIAM SAMUEL LAMB
(1863-1924) son of Brigham Young Lamb and Mary Foster Hardy
By his oldest daughter, Jessie Lamb Stewart
William Samuel Lamb was born December 24, 1863, in Virgin City, Utah. My mother, Charlotte Gainer, was born in Plain City, Utah, January 15, 1868. The Lamb and Gainger families moved to Toquerville, Washington County, Utah, where my parents grew up together. At the age of thirteen my father went to work in Silver Reef, six miles from home. When he was eighteen he went to work in Silver Reef, six miles from home. When he was eighteen he went to Arizona, working for Lot Smith on the old Mormon Dairy near Flagstaff, breaking wild horses for use on the range and for teams of work horses. When he came home on a visit, he and Mother became engaged, and planned to be married one year later. Father returned to Arizona to earn his wedding stake. He was six feet, four inches tall, a broad-shouldered, very handsome man. The next December he came home to be married. Mother often told me how handsome he looked when he arrived, dressed as a typical Arizona cowboy, with fine cowboy boots, large black Stetson hat, etc. The night he came he gave her five $20.00 gold pieces to help her in getting ready for the wedding and the journey back to Arizona—a lot of money in those days.
They were married on Father’s birthday, December 24, 1887, in Toquerville, at the home of Grandfather Grainger. The next day they left with a new wagon, four horses, a feather bed, quilts, dishes, cooking utensils, mother’s truck filled with her wedding finery, bedspread and shams, which they used in those days to cover pillows, also material to make curtains. Mother knew that she was going to be far from stores and would need these things to make a home nice.
Traveling with them were Father’s sister, Aunt Della Lamb Duffin, her husband, Isaac, four children, Uncle Press Lamb, his wife, and three children, who had their own teams and wagons. It was a very cold winter and quite an undertaking to start on a journey like this, but they had no fear, it seems. It took them all winter to get there. When they reached the Colorado River at Lee’s Ferry, it was frozen over—the only time in history—so they drove their wagons across the ice. The last wagon to cross belonged to Uncle Press. As it neared the center, the ice began to crack and the rear wheels to go through! My father, with his strength, and in fear for their lives, lifted the back of the wagon as Uncle Press drove the team. They reached the other side in safety. There was a man driving a large herd of sheep across at the same time. The sheep became frightened and huddled together in the center of the river. The owner was frantic as the ice started cracking. Father ran and got one sheep and tied it to the river bank. It began to bleat and all of the herd ran across to the sheep on the other side. The man was very grateful and gave Father a nice lamb for meat.
On the way to the Mormon Dairy, Mother and some of the children contracted red measles. Aunt Della Duffin was a nurse, or the situation could have been serious. Mother was very ill. She has told me about awakening to find father and his sister wrapped in quilts, sitting in the wagon, watching over her. She got better and was thankful when the journey was over.
Their first house was a ranch house. It was all run down as the cowboys had been living there for some time. Mother went to work on it. Dad built a bed out of lumber with rope for springs. There were chairs, a table, and stove in it. Father left to go on the range with the cowboys the next day. When he came back, Mother had the house shining, her feather bed all made up with the spread and shams she had brought, and with new curtains at the windows. The house was beautified as no one but Mother could do with so few things with which to work. She always kept her stove shined, as they did in those days. Father was amazed with the place and said, "Charlotte, it’s beautiful." Father asked Brother Owens, an old Englishman, who was a great friend of his, what he thought of his wife. Brother Owens replied, "Billie, I’d walk clear to Nova Scotia to get a little fair ‘aired lady like her." Thus began their first year of married life.
After a few months Mother told Father she thought it would be nice if each one would tell the other his faults so they could change and never have any trouble. He said he thought that would be fine. "You go ahead and tell me," he said, "how you’d like me to change and all my faults." She enumerated at great length his weaknesses and faults as she saw them. When she finished, she said, "Now, you tell me mine." He put his arm around her and said, "You haven’t any, dear." She said she felt very humiliated.
They had to travel to Flagstaff, Arizona, for most of their food and clothing. Mother started cooking for the cowboys—she felt very sorry for them batching in another ranch house. They were delighted and soon were leaving all the cooking for her to do. This went on for two or three months. On night Father came home and the boys were all sitting around waiting for their dinner. Father flew at them and told them to get over in their own place and cook for themselves, that he didn’t bring his wife out there to wait on them. They all left, much to Mother’s relief, as she was not very well at this time.
The summer passed and winter came. They were expecting the arrival of their first child. Father took Mother and moved to Brigham City, Arizona, where they could get help when the baby came. I was born December 24, 1888, with a midwife in attendance. In the spring they went back to the Mormon Dairy, where Father was in charge of the ranch. They were very happy and their little home was open to everyone. There was a large fireplace in the dining room. Fuel was no problem as thickly timbered land surrounded the home.
When fall came the weather became very cold. Father and Jode Smith left in November for Flagstaff to get their winter supplies. While enroute, a terrific snow storm arose, burying everything. When Father did not come home and did not arrive at Flagstaff, Mother became frantic. Officers came through on horses as soon as they could. They found Father’s buckboard, but no sign of the men or horses, and reported to Mother and Uncle Press that they could not recover their bodies until the snow melted. Mother said all that kept her faith alive for the next two or three weeks was her baby. She would ask me if Daddy was gone for good or would he come back. I laughed each time, and that kept up her hopes. One night about twelve o’clock she heard a big whoop outside and it was Father. When he learned of their worried, he said, "For Heaven’s sake, don’t you think I can take care of myself?" They had taken the horse from the buckboard and gone to a cabin Father knew about, staying until they could get home. How thankful Mother was, for she had suffered so.
Father and Uncle Press were a great comfort to each other. Mother and Aunt Mary Lamb were also very fond of each other. They all lived happily on the ranch together. Aunt Della and Uncle Isaac Duffin, Press Duffin’s father and mother were there. Uncle Isaac could play the guitar very well and Father was never happier than when he could hear his music.
By this time Mother was homesick and they were expecting their second child. Father decided to take Mother and me back to Toquerville, so Mother could be with her folks and get good care when the baby was born. They moved back to Toquerville and Father bought a nice home, in which we lived for several years. Grandmother Lamb was in poor health and came to live with us that winter. She was dainty, refined, and lovely. She suffered many years with migraine headaches, but never complained. Through all her years of poor health, she was gracious and sweet to everyone. When Dollie was born in November they were very happy, but Father had wanted a son—as all men do.
About this time, Grandfather Grainger passed away, leaving Grandmother to rear Ben, George, and Ethel. It was hard on her, as they were very poor. Father helped her all he could, but work being scarce in these small places. He had to work elsewhere a lot, and freighted at the White Hills for some time.
Two years later, he and Grandfather Lamb built a sawmill at Long Valley, where they moved the family. The third child, a fine son, was born there, with Grandmother Grainger as midwife. This son was the apple of Father’s eye. His namesake, William Grainger Lamb, was always known as Billie. They closed the sawmill before the snow fell and went back to our home in Toquerville. Two years later, the second son was born—a big, ten-pound baby. At this time, Grandmother Grainer was not well and came to stay with us. She got worse, and in a few days, died of pneumonia at our house. This was a great shock and sorrow to all of us as we considered her one of the best women in the world. She was only fifty-two years old when she died. This left the three children alone. Uncle Ben came to live with us; Uncle George moved in with Mother’s sister, Aunt Martha, and Ethel went to Aunt Mary Duffin, the oldest sister.
We resided in Toquerville for almost six years this time, with father away working much of the time. Many times people came to Father for help in settling their problems. One day someone came running for him, saying there was a drunk Indian with a gun in front of the store. Father went up the main street where the Indian and several other people were. When he saw Father, he jumped on his horse and started to leave, shooting at Father as he rode away. The bullet went through his coat on the left side. Father persued him and caught the horse by the tail just as he started across the creek on the edge of town. He pulled himself up on the horse and took the gun from the Indian, hit him over the heat with it, and took him back to town. The next day the Indian’s mother came crying to my mother because Father had hit her son and cut his head. Mother showed her Father’s coat with a hole in the back and front, just under his left arm. The squaw said, "You sew up hole. I can’t mend my boy’s head."
One day Father said, "Let’s move back to Arizona." Mother agreed. So, with two wagons and eight horses, we left Toquerville. Uncle Ben and Uncle George both went with us. Mother was most happy to have her two brothers go, as they were very dear to her. They crossed the Colorado River again, but this time it was spring. When they reached Pipe Springs we camped there for several days in the center of the Navajo Reservation. There were many Indians all around us, but they seemed friendly.
We moved to Maricopa, a ranch two miles from Tuba City—a small Mormon town of about 300 people. There was a trading post for the Indians a mile away, run by the Government. The Indians sold blankets, pine nuts, and anything they had for food and clothing. We moved into the old fort, which had not been lived in for a long time. There was a large fireplace in one end of this huge room. The floor was made of big flat rocks, as mooth as cement, all placed together with some kind of clay which was as hard as cement. There was also one small bedroom. Here, Mother’s homemaking talents were put to good use again. We used one end of the large room for dining room and kitchen; the other end for living room, with a bed in it. Our home was also used as a place to entertain, as all loved to come to our place for parties.
Uncle Ben and Uncle George and Scottie Spillsberry, one of their friends, worked on the ranch. They were all fine singers and played the guitar, banjo, and mandolin, so we always had music in our house. Father had a fine voice and loved to sing. I remember him singing, "Red River Valley," and "A Picture of Our Baby on the Wall." He also loved to dance. He was a fine figure on the dance floor and took many prizes for dancing. He loved to waltz to the tune, "Over the Waves." The Church was opposed to its members waltzing in the church house at this time, so a crowd of dancers would meet at one of the homes to waltz. They loved to dance the Waltz Quadrille. Soon, however, the Church consented to include waltzing at the church-sponsored dances.
Mother sewed a lot for the Indians while we lived there. She made white muslin pants for the men, with flowered calico shirts, and for the squaws she made very full skirts of bright calico. Mother made many friends among the Indian women and said she loved one named Marie as much as any white neighbor she ever had. They used to visit for hours at a time.
It was while we were in Tuba City that the Spanish-American War started. I remember how excited we were about it.
One day a young Navajo brave caught a white girl on her way to school and molested her. The people were up in arms. They caught him and brought him to our place, as there was no jail in which to put him. Father took him and tied him in our yard for two days and nights. How frightened Mother was for fear the Indians would come after him. Father hooked up his team, put the Indian in the spring seat beside him, and started to Flagstaff, where they had his trial and put him in prison. You can imagine Mother watching Father leave alone, as he had to pass through the reservation with the prisoner. Father did not even have a gun. I never knew my father to carry a gun in his life, yet he was afraid of nothing.
While expecting her next baby, Mother became very ill. We were sometimes short on groceries, as Father had to go all the way to Flagstaff for almost everything. At this time we had no fruits or vegetables or anything dainty to tempt Mother’s appetite. She had laid in bed for days without eating. I knew how she loved currants and I had seem some bushes with big black currants as I went to the field with Father one day. Slipping away while Mother was asleep, I walked down where they grew, keeping behind the bushes for fear I would be seen by the Indians. I picked a teacup full of the lovely currants and ran home to cook them and make a slice of toast. I put them on a chair beside Mother’s bed, then awakened her. She was so surprised and hungry for something like fruit that she ate and felt much better.
Mother kept on feeling ill, the baby not seeming to grow as it should. She knew things were not right as she had not felt any movement for several weeks. At six months the baby came and was perfectly formed, but it was petrified. There are only a few cases like this in history. The baby had died and instead of decomposing, it had petrified, which saved Mother’s life.
About this time the people started worrying about the Indians who had become unfriendly. They were stealing from the white people. One day the Navajos rode single file past our place into Tuba City with guns across their saddles. This lasted for hours, because there were so many of them. One night Mother was sitting in the house reading and felt that someone was near. She looked up and saw an Indian watching her through one of the portholes. He had ridden up and was standing on his horse! The situation with the Indians became so bad I remember Father’s going each morning to see if the Indians’ sheep, cattle, and horsed were still grazing on the hillside, as they always moved their stock and families into the mountains before making an attack. Mother could not stand it any longer, so Father wrote to Jim Emmett at Lee’s Ferry, telling him of Mother’s condition. Jim answered that his wife was a midwife, and that they had a home ready for us, so we made preparations to move there, where Father would work for Jim, ferrying people across the Colorado River. It was a great relief to Mother to know the Colorado River would be between them and the Indians.
But when Father drove up to the house in which we were to live, Mother said, "Oh, no!" I was November and the expected the baby in December. The house consisted of two rooms with a roof—no doors, windows, or floor, a fireplace in one room. Mother was so upset and Father was frantic to think that he had come so far, to this. Mother started up the canyon; I went with her. She sat on a rock and cried and cried. She looked down and saw Father unloading the wagons. Uncle Ben and Uncle George were still with us; they had driven one wagon. They were helping Father unload. Mother said, "Well, Daddy is trying to make the best of things, so I’ll go back and help." It did not take Father and boys long to have floors down, windows in, and doors hung. So again, they made a home in the wilderness. With all our hardships, our home was a happy one, no matter where we were. Mother was never tired of teaching us the gospel and our prayers. We had a good school here and were able to attend Sunday School also.
Uncle Ben and Uncle George pitched a tent for their quarters. They were so kind to Mother, and while Father was at the ferry, they even did the washing for her and helped in every way they could. The three older children started to school. Father was at the ferry all day.
A month later, on December 18, Gladys was born. Mrs. Emmett was kind and very good to mother. We were all happy to have a baby girl in our home. Mother did not get along too well after the baby came, her left side becoming paralyzed, and she being very ill. It seemed nothing could help her. She told Father if he could get someone to administer to her she would get better, but Brother Wemmett was away with his freight team and there was no one else there who held the priesthood. One day they came to school for us children and said our mother was dying. Billie, Dolly, and I went home, but instead of going in the house, we went up the canyon and all knelt down and prayed to the Lord to spare our mother. We then went to the house and went in to see her. She did not know us. Father asked us to kneel with him and he laid his hands on her head and pleaded with the Lord to spare her. Father held the Aaronic Priesthood only, but I never heard a more beautiful prayer. Mother was better the next day.
About this time, Father ferried some people across the river. It was W.T. Stewart and some other from Kanab, Utah, going out to Pahranagat Valley. They were looking for a ranch to buy. W.T. Stewart—Uncle Tommy Stewart—as everyone was to know him years later, came to our house, blessed Gladys, and administered to Mother. He also brought some jam, butter, and several things we were unable to obtain, to temp Mother’s appetite. She started to get better and soon was well once more. It seemed the Lord gave us only what trials we could bear, for when Mother gained her strength, Gladys, the baby, became ill. She had black canker and we almost lost her. She cried most of the time. Father had a job on Buckskin Mountain, building a fence. He said he knew that if the baby were taken to the mountains her health would be better. So we left Lee’s Ferry and went to Kane Spring, where the fence was to be built. All the medicine that Mother had for the baby was borax, with which she washed the baby’s mouth. I remember the first night we camped. Father built a large fire and took the spring seat out of the wagon for Mother and the baby. The baby had cried all day, it seemed. Mother sat on the spring seat and got the baby to sleep; we all help our breath in fear of awakening her. A spark from the fire flew and hit her on the eyelid. Father said, "Oh, now what will we do?" But somehow she was not injured and in the ensuing days, she grew continually better. We had a lovely summer there. While Father worked, Mother took us walking through the mountains two or three time a week. We took our lunch, explored caves, dug up Indian relics, and hunted arrowheads.
When the fence was completed we started to Fay, Nevada, a mining camp. On our way we stopped at a little town called Pahreah, Utah. There was a small ranch for sale. We decided to but this ranch and stay there. We children were happy because Father got us a riding horse, which we rode two miles to school. We stayed there three or four years, and it was while here that Carlton was born.
Father loved prize fights. It was in the days of Corbett and Fitzsimmons. We would get the newspaper a month late and Father would have Mother read it round by round until he knew it by heart. Father loved to hear Mother read, and almost every night she read to us all. Father read to us sometimes when Mother was busy. When he came to a word he could not pronounce, he would say, "mule shoe," which amused us children.
Father found he could not make a living on a small ranch, so he moved us to Cedar City, Utah, where he got a main contract from Cedar City to St. George. We were happy to be in Cedar City, where there were good schools and Sunday School. We loved to go to the fine programs at the college, under the direction of Howard R. Driggs.
We stayed there for four years until the mail contract ran out and Father then moved his family to Fay, Nevada, a thriving mining town. We lived in Fay and all loved the little town very much. Mother took boarders and we kept several cows, which Brother Billie milked, selling milk to many of the neighbors. Billie was a very dependable, hard-working boy, and helped the family in every way he could. Father was one of the foremen at the mine. With all of us working together, we saved a little money. We stayed in Fay for several years. Press, our last brother, was born there.
When the mine closed down there were feelings of dissatisfaction among the miners and quite a bit of trouble resulted. Officials were called from the East to settle the matter, which was a relief to Father, as he had been worried about the situation. The heads of the mining company and Father brought all the gold malgam (gold which had been run through the mill) and put it under our kitchen floor. It was in large containers and Father guarded it until the officials came and paid up all the debts.
Uncle Ben had moved to Pahranagat Valley and bought a ranch. He wrote to us about this lovely, fertile valley where there was plenty of land and water. Mother and Father decided to move there. In the late summer of 1904 we carried out this plan and Father bought some land and built a home. Other than going to Delamar, Nevada, for a year or two, he stayed in Alamo (as the little town was called) for the rest of his life, raising cattle and building up the ranges all over Lincoln County. Father was always on hand to build or help someone pass by.
Father loved his country and the leaders of our great nation. Nothing hurt him more than to have someone criticize the President of the United States. He felt that he was a man of God, and should be revered as long as he was in the position of our President. He loved the flag and what it stood for. The first thing he did in Alamo was to put up a large flagpole by the church, where the flag could be raised. On the 4th of July he was always up and had the flag flying at sunrise. The flagpole is still there, a memorial to him.
Father was not a preaching man, but he loved the Church and admired the leaders of our ward and stake. He was ready to defend the Church at the first word anyone said against the Mormons. When he died, W.T. Stewart, a great friend of my father’s said of him, "He was the strongest man I ever knew, but I never knew him to inflict his strength on anything weaker."
Father was killed on the range, being thrown from a horse. It was a great loss to us all and we were very sad, especially for poor Mother, who depended upon him so much. She was so lonely and not very well, so we had her move closer to us. They built her a little house across the street from me, and next to Gladys and Art, her daughter and son-in-law. When Gladys moved away, Carlton bought her place, so Mother lived between two of her children. It was a great comfort to us to have her so close.
Clair and Dollie and family moved from Los Angeles and bought a ranch in Alamo after Father’s death. Billie had married and he and his wife, Mayme, and large family lived just two blocks away. Press and Jane lived close also, so Mother was happy with her family around her.
Mother (Charlotte Grainger) was a widow for twenty-five years. It was a great sorrow to her when she lost her second son, Archie. Later, she lost four grandchildren. Her heart was broken with all this, and then Billie was killed on a horse, leaving a large family, including a tiny ten-day-old baby boy. This incident nearly killed Mother, but she went on, helping us all and loving her children and grandchildren.
Uncle Ben, who was alone, came from Reno and moved in to live with Mother. This was a happy time for all of us, as we regretted to have her live all alone. They spent many happy hours together evenings with their radio and visiting. We all loved to drop over and have breakfast with them occasionally, as they were always so cheerful and could see the humorous side of things.
When World War II broke out, Mother had ten grandsons who were involved. She had all their pictures on her wall and each night as she went to bed, she looked at them and said, "God bless you all." Her prayers were answered, for they all came back, well and good boys. There was nothing that could make her happier than to fix a meal for some of them. They all loved her and liked to listen to her stories of the early days. She was very witty and such fine company. She was loyal and loved her in-laws. The boys’ wives were very close to her; also her three son-in-laws, who loved her very much.
Mother was a perfect tithe payer and worked for years in the Relief Society. She was always sewing or helping someone who needed her. She loved flowers, and when the lilacs, wild roses, and honeysuckle she raised were in bloom, she brought large bouquets to all of us.
As the years went by, Mother was not well. She could not do the things she loved to do, but stayed in her home, with all of us helping her with her housework. When she felt she could keep her home no longer, she went to live with her youngest son, Press, and his wife, Jane, whom Mother loved very much. They were good to her and it was quiet there. Their two daughters, Norma and Sally, did everything they could to make things pleasant for her. Mother grew weaker and more tired each day. She passed away October 17, 1949, at the age of 82. We buried her between Archie and Father. Heaven bless their memories.