Melbourne Clair Stewart

(1890-1974) Grandson of Levi Stewart and Artemacy Wilkerson

Son of Alonzo Lafayette Stewart and Martha Elzade Averett

 

I was born in Kanab, Kane, Utah on the 2nd of April 1890. I was the first child born to my mother after my father returned from a mission in Australia and New Zealand for the L.D.S church. My grandfather on the Stewart side is Levi Stewart and Grandmother Artemacy Wilkerson (Stewart). On the Averett side it is Elijah Averett and Grandmother Johanna Christina Nielson (Averett). Mother gave birth to 10 children. They all lived to adult age, except one and it died at birth. My fatherís family lived in Kanab, Utah until I was about 11 years old. Father came to Kanab when he was 10 years old and he was married to my mother in Kanab. All their children except one was born there. I can remember most of my play mates, and the games we played, and the fights we had with the Indian boys. Many times we played with the Indian boys in the game of marbles and other sports.

 I can remember that one season, father and family lived on a ranch. The place was called after Kanab. It was 20 or 30 miles north of Kanab. On the West Side of town was a large creek. If my memory is correct it was about 300 feet wide and from 20 to 50 feet deep. Our water for the house was hauled on sleds in barrels from this creek. Every spring when the snow melted in the mountains we would have floods come down this creek just north of town in the canyon.town. The town people had built a dam in order to back up the water to get it out of the creek to water the town lots, and the fields below town. The nearest town to Kanab is a small settlement called Fredonia, Arizona. It is about 8 miles South of Kanab. I had uncles and aunts living in Fredonia. Sometimes we would go there and visit them. Many times our family would go traveling to Fredonia on our way to the Buckskin Mountains. We got a lot of pine timber on these mountains and it was cool there in the summer.

As a boy I saw the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River many times. Much of our meat was deer that came from the Buckskin Mountains.

In the year 1900 my father had been on a mining tour of Southern Nevada and chanced to meet William Schofield who was then living in the Pahranagate Valley. He had a large ranch in partnership with a Charles Love. He told father about this valley. As a result father went up and looked it over. He was impressed with it. When he returned to Kanab he interested two of his brothers and several other relatives in moving to this valley.

My Uncle Thomas Stewart and Michael Botts soon left Kanab to visit this Pahranagate Valley. While there they purchased a large ranch from a Mr. Peirson. Soon after they returned home they and several other families got their belongings together and soon departed for this valley.

As I remember there were in this tourage: part of Thomas Stewartís family, Michael Botts, Albert Rigg, David Stewart, Bud Crosby, and our family. There may have been other families with us. I do know that several other families from Kanab and Frediona came to this valley later.

We were several weeks making this trip. The distance was several hundred miles. I was 11 years old at the time. My cousin Ray Stewart just a few months older that I. He and I drove the cattle day after day and some of them were long ones. When this journey was over Ray and I had about all the horse riding and cow driving we wanted for a long time to come.

A short time after we arrived in the valley my Uncle Thomas Stewart and Mr. Botts subdived a part of their ranch and named it the town of Alamo. My family formed along with Uncle David Stewart on the (what was known as the lower ranch) first year. The next year we farmed a ranch near the town of Alamo.

Our first school was held in a rock dug out in the side of the Pierson Hill. It was a one room dirt floor. I believe the teacherís name was Miss. Palmer (not sure).

About this time was the big gold and silver strike in Tonapah, Nevada. My father took my brother Van with him. They had several span of horses and two or three wagons and a load of Italians. They left for Tonapah where they freighted between Loda Ville and Tonapah.

Later on my brother Van and I took another 6 horses and two wagon outfit with a load of men to the new gold strike called Goldfiled. We were in that part of the state for about a year. Father, another man, and I visited almost all the old mining camps and sampled them. It was slow work. We traveled by a town of mules, and wagon. We were in Goldfield, Nevada for some time. We lived in a framed up tent. My brother Van was freighting from Goldfield to other camps. Soon thereafter Van and I came home to Alamo. My sister Artemacy had married a man from Delemar. His name was Al Peterson. They moved to Colorado. My brother Alonzo married a Margarete Wedge from Panaca, Nevada. They went up to Salt Lake City to live.

Soon after Van and I arrived back in Alamo our family moved to Salt Lake City to live. However I had met my future wife Georgenia Lamb. I had no thought of ever seeing her again when we left for Salt Lake.

During the time in Alamo I had enough schooling to finish the 8th grade. I worked at jobs delivering for stores for a short time. Then I went out to Cedar Edge, Colorado and lived with my sister and her husband Al Peterson on a small farm. Al was a salesman and I did the farming. I spent the summer there with them. I believe I was 15 or 16 years old. Peterson had me deliver a team and wagon loaded with provisions to a man on the Uintia Reservation over near Price, Utah. A man by the name of Oliver Hand and family traveled with me. He had two wagons, several head of horses, and cattle. Mr. Hand hired a young man about my age to go along and drive the stock. It was late in the fall and winter set in to make the trip long and rough. When we left Grand Junction, Colorado and had to go over Soldier Summit we were told that there would be a lot of snow and rough going. We were all day and most of the night going about 10 miles. Soon after I delivered the team and wagon up near the head of Duchane River at a place in the canyon my brother in law had drawn a homestead and had put a Mr. Thompson there to develop a farm. I took a team and buggy to Price, Utah for a man and on the way I picked up a man and his family that was stranded there in the storm. I took them on in to Price. We boarded the train for Salt Lake. They went on to Canada. I was glad to be home again. Both my brothers Alonzo and Van were working on the street cars there in S.L.C. I found work. Brother Van left his job and went to Tonapah. Father was still there. A short time later I went to Tonapah and worked in the mines and other Lakes. My brother Omer and cousin David Stewart and I spent most of one winter about 40 miles west of Tonapah working on mining claims. My father and his partners owned it. Omer and David returned to Alamo. My father spent some time mining in the town of Manhattan, Nevada. We all moved back to Tonopah. A short time after that I came down with walking typhoid fever. The doctor told my father I should get out of there and go home to Salt Lake, so that I did. Soon after I arrived in Salt Lake I started to work on the street cars. After about 2 weeks I was put to bed for about a month with typhoid fever. When my health recovered, I got back to work. As a conductor I worked on all the street car routes and held the job about 14 months. I made many friends. During this time I had a lot of fun. I left the street car job and started selling books. My brother in law, Peterson was also in this book business. Peterson and my sister moved to Portland, Oregon and set for me to join them up there selling books. It developed that this wholesale of books, and district rights was not too honest so we stopped selling.

I took the boat for San Francisco. We sailed up the Wilamepteto the Columbia, then in to the Ocean. We were several days getting to San Francisco. I took the train from there to Tonapah. Omer and David had both married girls from Alamo and were living in Tonapah. Omer married Ethel Granger, and David married Jessie Lamb. Jessieís sister Georgenia was living with her. Georgenia always went by the name Dollie, so from here out we will call her Dollie. She and I got to be good friends. She was in Tonapah a few months then returned to Alamo. I worked driving water wagon delivering water to the homes. At that time most all the homes had wooden barrels, and they were filled from big tanks hauled on wagons. I had other jobs.

During the year after Dollie returned home we wrote to one another. Then one day I took the train for Pioche, Nevada where my brother Alonzo was then living. After several days there my mother who was also visiting my brother went with me over to Alamo. I bought the marriage license in Pioche and took them with me. I wasnít to be sure we would use it. I knew how I felt, but was not too sure about Dollie. In about 10 days on December 26, 1910 we were married in the Town Hall in Alamo, Nevada.