WALLACE EVERETT SHUMWAY
(1879 - 1972) Grandson of Elijah Averett
Son of Jennet Maria Averett and Wilson Glen Shumway
By Robert F. Owens
(In the book The Charles Shumway Family 1806-1979)
Wallace was born May 18, 1879 at a shingle mill on the East fork of the Virgin River, in a region north of Kanab, Utah, known as Upper Kanab. His parents were Wilson Glen Shumway and Mariah Averett. Wallace was their second son. The family moved to Concho, Arizona, then to Shumway. Shumway is where Wallace grew up. His father had to struggle to feed his large family, so Wallace was put out to work on sheep ranches and farms during the summers.
When Wallace was 13 years of age, his parents traded the labor that he did for 6 months, for a $25.00 grocery credit at A.C.M.I. in Snowflake. Pursuant to this arrangement, Wallace helped his employer, Mr. Cardon drive a herd of cattle to Colonia Juarez, Mexico. Wallace remained working there on a farm. At the end of the 6 months he was dismissed without a cent. He was in a foreign country, a thousand miles from home. Several freight wagons came to Tucson, Arizona. Stranded in Tucson he toyed with the idea of the understandable. In the end family ties won out, and he returned to his home in Shumway.
When his grandfather, Charles Shumway, died in May 1898, Wallace rode a horse bareback to Woodruff to ask Lorenzo Hatch to preach at the funeral.
Although Wallace had few advantages in his childhood, he was able to gain the equivalent of a tenth grade education. He married Pearl Denham and they became the parents of eight children. Pearl was the daughter of Dicia Woods and Franklin Parish Denham. Her father was a hardworking and a relatively prosperous farmer. He had been converted to the L.D.S. Church in Kentucky. He moved to Shumway when Pearl was 6. Pearl patched Wallace’s clothes and the young couple settled on the Old Shumway homestead to begin farming. Nine years later, in 1908 Wallace was called on a mission to the Southern States. At that time they had three children: Loral, Velma, and Virginia. The farming equipment was sold, the farm was rented, and Wallace and Pearl made the long trip to Salt Lake City to be married in the temple. Wallace left for his two-year mission. Pearl returned to Shumway to support her family and Wallace. She sold eggs, milk, and fruit to support her family and Wallace. These years were hard.
After Wallace returned from his mission, he was made bishop of the Shumway Ward. Then, he and Pearl farmed in Shumway for a dozen years. While in Shumway a tragedy occurred when their little son, Guy, was found drowned in Silver Creek. He apparently fell from a footbridge. Later, Wallace was elected Navajo County Assessor, which required the family to move to Holbrook, the county seat. He was re-elected to this office 3 times. His family lived in Holbrook for 8 years. During the years in Shumway and Holbrook, Chester, Deryl, Guy, Bruce and Viola were born to their family. The family then moved to Phoenix, Arizona in 1929. In Phoenix Wallace became a deputy assessor for commercial properties in Maricopa County. He worked there for 26 years until retired.
As a young man Wallace loved athletics. At age 16 he won the 4th of July foot race at Taylor, Arizona. He also sheared a sheep in two minutes and eight seconds to win a contest. After the discovery of Rainbow Bridge, he and a friend on impulse hiked the 18 miles into it. They were the first white men to see it. His ambition and competitiveness as a young man may have inclined him to politics. This interest continues among some of his descendants. His grandson, Norman Shumway, an attorney in Stockton, California was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1978. Wallace held many church positions, including President of the Maricopa Stake High Priests Quorum.
He passed away in Phoenix on August 21, 1962.