SUMNER UDELL (UDALL) STEWART
Biography - edited by granddaughter, Marion Lenore Stewart Peterson
I was born in Kanab, Kane County, Utah, a son of William Thomas Stewart and Mary Ann Udall, on 18 December in the year 1882, according to family records. However, my Church records indicate 1883, on December 18, just three days after my sister Fannie was born. (Her mother, Tamar Little Stewart, Father's second wife, died at her birth) My Mother took Fannie as her own and raised us as twins. The first year we were fed on bottles, with quills as nipples, and I just made it.
While I was still a baby, Father was called on a mission to New Zealand, after which Mother decided to take her family to St. Johns, Arizona, where Uncle David and Aunt Luella Udall had settled along with Albert Riggs and family and also Alonzo (Lon) Stewart and families. We moved into an unfinished house, the carpenters had left a mantlepiece leaning against a fireplace which toppled over and struck me, injuring my hip. I had another accident after we returned to Kanab, which injured my hip further.
Mother went to work at the Co-Op Store and we children were cared for by hired girls. I had been seated on the top step of four steps leading to the kitchen, when the hired girls, not knowing I was there, slammed the door knocking me down the steps and breaking the same injured hip. There being no doctors or X-Rays, and the extent of my injuries not known, resulted in my leg being two inches shorter than the other. This happened on 3 July 1891. I was baptized on 5 August 1891 when I was nine years old by Asa W. Judd and confirmed by my uncle Lawrence C. Mariger.
My first school teacher was Joseph E. Robinson. My father returned from his second New Zealand mission when I was eleven years old and as a complete stranger to me as he had been gone so much of the time since my babyhood days.
I remember my first party because my birthday fell on 18 December, so close to Christmas. We always celebrated on Christmas Day, but on my birthday my girl friend, Ida Young, got Mother to give me a party. I was engaged to Ida until we moved to Alamo.
While we were in Kanab Father bought some sheep and in February I was taken out of school to herd sheep. My brother, William Thomas, remained in school but I had my Uncle Benjamin, Father's youngest brother, to help. I had many experiences herding sheep. One time I was left alone with the sheep until long after dark, only four miles from camp, and being only eleven years old. It was pretty terrifying. In May we moved camp to Buckskin Mountain where Will joined me in tending the herd. We camped on the top of the mountain. We remained there all summer. Some times Father would leave us to go to town for supplies or else he just stayed overnight. Then, before summer was over, he was gone for eight or nine days.
One time when he was gone for eight days, we got our herd mixed with Alf Young's. His herder said that he would tend the sheep until Father came back, so Will and I, having nothing to do, went to Uncle Ben Hamblin's camp. While we were there, Father returned to our camp and when he did not find either boys or dogs he became very worried. He knew that Uncle Ben's camp was only six or eight miles away and figured that we had gone there. He started out to find it, not knowing exactly where, but he did know the general direction. After traveling several miles in the darkness he neither heard nor saw anything. Being a man of great faith, and knowing that so many things could have happened to us in that country, he got off of his horse and knelt down and prayed for help. Almost immediately upon getting on his horse there came the sound of a sheep shaking itself, flinging the bell around its neck. Although he could not see a thing every few minutes as he rode along this bell would ring finally leading him to the camp. It was 12 o'clock when he found the camp.
Another time we wanted to go into Kanab for the Fourth of July. Father was going to herd sheep while we were gone. We counted the black sheep or markers before leaving and found several gone. So we had to find them before we left. After much searching Father again called on the Lord for help. He had not gone far when one puppy went on ahead, which was something she had never done before. He followed her and after thirty minutes or so he found the sheep.
That year we did not get to school until Thanksgiving and then only went for a week and had to go back to the herd. We did not get home again until Christmas. The year after that we went out the first of March so we only had two months of school, but we took schoolbooks with us. That summer Mother and the other children came out. We were sure glad to see them. We caught, broke and milked eight or ten cows and Mother made butter.
One day Will and I were in the tent at noon when a thundershower came up. We were two scared little boys. A flash of lightning came so close it knocked both of us on the bed. Upon investigating we found it had struck less than thirty feet away and killed eight sheep. We got to school that fall after Thanksgiving but I was one grade behind and it took me two years to catch up. I graduated with the kids that I started out with. Bishop Joel J. Johnson ordained me a Deacon at 14. I also had a girl friend whose father was meeting her at Salina. I courted Ida Young on that trip and had a nice time, in fact, we got snowed in for three days or it took us three days to get over the summit. We got home for Thanksgiving anyway.
At this time I went to work for Uncle Joe Hamblin at House Rock Valley. Uncle Joe brought word to me that my folks were going to Nevada and wanted me to go with them. I did not even get a chance to spark my girl very long but I did get engaged to her at this time, in fact, I think she would have married me and gone along if I had insisted, but I felt I was to young. We left Kanab on the 17th day of May for Nevada. I was driving four horses on a wagon with a hay rack on it with a moving machine and furniture. Dave drove a wagon which had household goods and supplies. Father drove a white tap, two seated cows and saddle horses, with uncle's pantolo. We traded the mowing machine for a horse at Pipe Springs and this made traveling much easier. Four days later we arrived in St. George where for the first time I saw the Temple. Father and Mother went through the Temple the next day.
My brother Dave and I and part of the family went on the way to Diamond Valley and Father caught up with us the following day at Mountain Meadow. It was June 1, 1901 when we landed at the Pierson Ranch, now known as Alamo.
Romance again came to me here for I met a half cousin, Alta McFarland, who I thought was very cute and nice. In fact, I became engaged to her that summer, but she moved to Nephi and through the objections of her mother and brother (they intercepted our letters) we broke up. That fall I went to Tonopah, Nevada where I had taken a load of passengers and stayed freighting to Sodaville and making several trips. I worked for Schofields hauling wood to Delamar, where Father had bought a feed yard. I ran it until spring when Will and Mishie came out from Kanab.
I then worked for Nesbitt Brothers to pay for the groceries the family had used for a year. Then I worked at a new mill there for a few months. I went to Kanab to spend Christmas. I had met Marion Eli Paris and we were to meet him at Leeds on the way back. It was here I met Mr. Paris's four daughters and his baby son. Mr. Paris was ill so we had to stay there a week waiting for him to get well enough to go on. I was very busy during this, though, before it was over I had become engaged to the eldest daughter, Sarah Jane, or Jennie as she was known. I knew for sure she was the one for me. We corresponded and spent the Fourth of July together. We set the wedding date for December 20, 1905.
On December 15 I left Alamo for Utah. The first day took me to Caliente where I hired a horse to go to Panaca to get a recommend to be married in the St. George Temple and be ordained an Elder by Francis C. Lee, who had been ordained a high priest by David L. Smith, who was ordained by Anthon H. Lund. It took me four days to get to Leeds from Panaca and we were married on December 20, 1905 by David H. Cannon. Then we had the strangest honeymoon. After staying in Leeds a month we started for Alamo. It rained and snowed all day and night. There was twelve inches of snow the next morning and one horse had a lame foot. A man helped us up Beaver Dam Wash where it snowed two more days. Then Mr. Hamblin took us on to Clover Valley and the next day we arrived in Caliente where we were met by my sister Margery. We got another horse and were able to make it home the following day.
We started to raise a family and about this time Alamo became a Ward and I was made Ward Clerk to Bishop Allen. I served in this capacity for 14 years and also postmaster for 12 years, as school trustee for about 10 years. While trustee we built the elementary school. We had a lot of trouble between ourselves but finally got it finished. I also drove blade and Caterpiller that made the first road to Moapa Valley. In February 1925 I worked for Joe Foremaster on the Old Ranch in Las Vegas. In August Jennie moved the family from Alamo to Las Vegas as we had decided this was the best place to make a living, as we had ten children by this time. Our eleventh child, Beverly Ann, was born in Las Vegas. When the baby was small Jennie took sick and I took her to the hospital, but she died the next morning. I was employed by the City of Las Vegas at this time.
I was both father and mother then for nine years, then on June 2 1938 I married Lucy Caroline Brower Anderson. She had seven children and I had three who were at home. I was made assistant superintendent to Joseph Diggle in the Sunday School. Afterward, I was made superintendent.
At this time my wife Lucy gave birth to a 7 lb. baby boy, Evan Douglas. I might say after four trials I was then made High Priest's Quorum leader for a few years, the we were called as stake missionaries. I served four years. Just before the close of my second stake mission we were called as ordinance workers to the St. George Temple. We bought two homes in St. George.
I have had a busy, happy life being retired from the City of Las Vegas at the age of 77 1/2 years and also while doing that job I worked with my son, Tom, in landscaping and with Wells Cargo for two years. This make me eligible for both Social Security and the City Retirement Fund.
I have raised 11 children from Jennie and one from Lucy, also 7 of hers. She had these seven when we were married and they call me Father and have been sealed to Lucy and me. I sure had two of God's choicest daughters and we sure have nineteen lovely and good children.
Note: Sumner Udall Stewart died on 27 July 1968 in St. George, Utah and was buried on 31 July 1968 at the Woodlawn Cemetery in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was 86 years old.