WILSON GLEN SHUMWAY

(1850-1925) m. Jennet Averett, daughter of Elijah Averett

(By Robert F. Owens)

From the book of The Charles Shumway Family 1806-1979

Wilson Glen Shumway was born December 6, 1850 in Manti, Sanpete County, Utah to Charles Shumway and Louisa Minnerly Shumway. While he was quite young, the family moved to Payson, Utah and then to Cottonwood when he was seven. He recalled watching the long columns of Johnston’s army marching in double file past his home on its way to Fort Douglas.

The family moved to Cache Valley the next year where the settlers were having problems with the Indians. Wilson was present when U.S. troops returned from winning a battle with Bear Hunter. Wilson also had the experience of losing a herd of his father’s horses to the Indians when he left the herd for an hour to go to the house for breakfast. For the next 15 years Wilson worked on the family farm in Wellsville and Mendon, in the mines in Cottonwood and Neff’s Canyon, and at a logging camp east of Ogden. He was 25 and still unmarried when his father was called by Brigham Young to move to Kanab. Wilson went along to drive the cattle.

Shortly after the arrival of the Shumway Family in Kanab, Wilson and his brothers Mormon and Spencer attended a dance at the new mill in Kanab Canyon. There, Wilson met Mariah Averett. He was dancing a quadrille with her when a fight broke out between his brother Mormon and a drunk bullwhacker named Elijah Potter. It soon developed into a brawl involving the whole crowd, which cost Wilson a $7.00 fine for his part. About a year Bishop Levi Stewart married later Wilson and Mariah at Aunt Lib’s (Elizabeth Jardine Shumway) house, on May 28, 1876. Mariah was 17 when she married. Her father was Elijah Averett, a stonemason who built the fort at Pipe Springs, Arizona and the cotton mill at Washington, Utah. Her mother was Kristina Nielson, who had joined the L.D.S. Church in Stokkebjerg, Hjembaek, Denmark. She had come to Utah as a teenager with her family. Mariah had worked hard as a child, tending her brothers and sisters so her mother could work in a factory. She had very little schooling, but what books and education she had were paid for out of her own earnings from working in other households. She became an excellent cook and was remembered later in life as a quiet person who loved crocheting, houseplants and ice cream. Her hair never went gray.

Wilson and Mariah were never well to do and Mariah suffered from pain and ill health the latter part of her life. Nevertheless, they were congenial and close and had many happy experiences and friends.

The relationship between Wilson and his father, Charles, alternated between cooperation and disharmony; on one occasion, a lawsuit. Although Wilson often perceived his father as harsh and unreasonable, he still followed him in his moves. It has also been noted that Wilson recreated the conditions of his own upbringing with some of his sons, treating them much as he had accused Charles of treating him.

Wilson and Mariah had their first son, Wilson, in Johnson, Utah. A dispute with Charles arose over a horse, and Charles told Wilson to "clear out" from under his roof. This happened when Wilson and Mariah lived and worked at the Seaman Sawmill and later at a shingle mill owned by Charles at Upper Kanab. Wallace was born there in 1879. In December of that year, Wilson at his father’s request helped him move to Arizona. There, both Wilson and Charles settled their families at Concho, on land bought from Mexicans. Charles then moved on to Spring Valley (Later Shumway) where there was enough water to build a mill. Three years later Wilson followed. He and his wife, Mariah reared their family and spent the balance of their lives in Shumway, Arizona.

The foregoing material was summarized from Wilson G. Shumway’s autobiography which has been reprinted in Kenneth Godfrey’s book, "Charles Shumway, A Pioneer’s Life," at page 124, and is rich in stores and incident. The following material from Pearl Denham Shumway, Wilson’s daughter-in-law, furnishes additional human insights into his character, personality, and relationship with Mariah.

Wilson had a small chin and wore a beard most of his life. Once he shaved it off, and Mariah took one look ant him and said, "For Heaven’s sake, grow it back," which he did. Wilson was a good storyteller. Zane Grey often passed through Shumway on his way to his cabin under the Magollon (Tonto) Rim. He would stop over to chat with Wilson on his porch, listening to his stories about Indians and the Old West.

Wilson was a Democrat and strongly opposed capital punishment. Late in his life, the village of Shumway was favored with a visit from Governor Hunt, Arizona’s first governor after it achieved statehood in 1912. Wilson eagerly looked forward to the visit and the opportunity to argue his views on capital punishment to the highest officeholder in the state. Mariah felt just as strongly that Wilson should keep his views to himself and finally got Wilson to agree to do so. The governor arrived and was introduce to all the residents of Shumway. Mariah withdrew to the house, and after a minute glanced out the window at the group in the yard. Wilson was talking and making forceful gestures. The governor and others were listening. Mariah knew at once that Wilson was delivering his lecture on capital punishment.

Wilson smoked much of his life. Once the stake president induced him to quit and called him to the high council. This made his family very happy. After a year he relapsed and asked to be released. When one of his boys was seen smoking with a Jones boy, Wilson pleaded with him to stop saying, "Look what it’s done to me; you’ll be sorry all your life." The boys laughed at him. Wilson began to cry, and the family watching him from the house saw him pull a red bandanna from his pocket to wipe his eyes.

Mariah died suddenly on July 22, 1924. Wilson survived her nine months, but was lonely and lost the desire to live. On the evening before he died, he called his son Wallace over to dedicate him to the Lord. "If you have anything to ask me, you better do it now," he said. He got weaker and weaker and passed away peacefully in the early morning of April 19, 1925, three hours after the blessing. His words were, "Here she is after me already."

Wilson and Mariah were buried side by side in the little cemetery near Shumway, Arizona.