David Ephraim Lindsay

David Ephraim Lindsay

By His Daughter, Mrs. Louis (Fannie) Wolz
Edited and Expanded By: David J. Wardell (1990)

David Ephraim Lindsay was born November 20, 1845 at Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois, the eldest child of Ephraim Myres Lindsay and Jane Parish. The experiences of his childhood are related in his father’s history.

At the age of 21 years in March 1866, David Ephraim was rebaptized, ordained to the office of an elder and called on a mission to drive an oxen team to Winter Quarters to help the saints across the plains. He made several trips. During this time he also hauled stones from Little Cottonwood canyon for the Salt Lake Temple. Each trip took three days. One stone was a load for a trip.

It was after he moved to Bennington, Bear Lake, Idaho that he met the girl who was to be his bride. He married Charlotte Ann Dunn 7 Sept. 1874 in the Salt Lake Endowment House. Ha was twenty-nine years old and Charlotte Ann only eighteen. He took his beautiful bride to Brigham City to make their home. Three children were born there: Julia Ann, David Dunn, and Joel Dunn.

He was handy in wood work and made their furniture. They moved from Brigham City to Deweyville where tragedy first entered their home. The oldest child Julia Ann, 6 years old, and their third child, Joel Dunn, 9 months old, died during a diphtheria epidemic and were buried nineteen days apart leaving only the second child David Dunn. His uncle Edwin Renhon Lindsay lived in Deweyville at this time.

They moved then to Bear Lake, Idaho, where Charlotte Ann’s parents lived. They made their home here for twenty years and 8 children were born here.

David Ephraim was rebaptized June 1881 and on August 6, 1881 was ordained a High Priest and made second counselor to Bishop Silas Wright of the Bennington Ward by stake President William Budge.

They did not prosper during the 1890’s. The squirrels stripped the fields and left them bare. There was no sale for potatoes and not much water for their fields. With their family of nine children they decided to go to the Big Horn Basin in Wyoming to settle down in a barren spot and with courage and the skill of their hands to build a home and a new way of life for themselves. The way was not easy.

David Ephraim’s son, Charles, describes the reasons for the exodus from Bear Lake Valley at the turn of the century in his thesis entitled "The Big Horn Basin" written for his Ph.D. degree at the University of Nebraska in 1930.

He says the reasons were both economic and religious. Economically, the recession of the 1890s hit the Bear Lake area hard. Another reason,

"The Bear Lake Valley was visited in the late nineties by a scourge of squirrels that baffled every effort at eradication. For a period of several years it was next to an impossibility to harvest a crop. Many were ready to give up in despair. The opening of a new country by the guiding band of the church afforded opportunity for these to build anew."

The desire to expand Zion and to colonize also motivated many to settle in new areas.

David Ephraim worked on the Sidon Canal in the Big Horn Basin from the beginning to the finish, it was 33 miles long. They had to work with poor equipment, tong and slip scrapers that today look like teaspoons. There was an 800 foot tunnel that had to be cut through sandstone. The first fall some of the men worked on the railroad while others worked on the canal. For pay they took part money and part canal stock, thus means were made available to complete the tunnel. It took dynamite to blast through the stone.

He and his family moved from a camp at the head of the canal, where they had lived in a tent during the summer, to the new town site called Byron.

Late in the fall he and his two sons David and John went to the Pryor Mountain to cut logs to build a large one room cabin. Again his skill in woodwork came in handy. He chose quite small logs for the walls squaring the inside smooth and straight with a broad axe. The roof and floor was native lumber, fresh and new. It was not so bad on the roof but the floor was very rough. He brought small pieces of sandstone from the river bluff .just below their home and the children spent most of their time sanding the slivers off the floor which became nice and smooth to sweep and scrub. Part of the room had a rag carpet on it which they had brought from Bear Lake.

The family moved into this home the day before Thanksgiving. Again he made cupboards, tables, benches, and bedsteads. During the first winter, water had to be hauled from the river and drift wood was hauled from the river bottom for firewood but it didn’t make much heat,

David Ephraim was the first school trustee in the Byron School district and helped build the first rock school house. He had great faith and was called to administer to the sick. His ability to live righteously gave him great power in the Priesthood he held. (Even in the last few years, I have heard members of the church bear testimonies of how they had been healed through his blessing. The testimonies were borne fifty years after he passed away.)

He taught his children industry, fortitude, patience, honesty, faith in God, and to work. He was a wonderful father, a perfect example for his family to follow. Even though he provided a humble home, he presided with love. Each day family prayers were had; a chapter of the scriptures was read; and a hymn sung. He was well read and knew and understood the scriptures and taught them to his children.

The home was very happy. He never was known to speak an unkind word to his wife or children or anyone else. His discipline was perfect. We were never allowed to speak disrespectfully about anyone especially those who held the Priesthood.

When the Big Horn stake was organized, David Ephraim was made a High Councilman, a leader in this new country. He was a good man, handsome, with a strong personality; a peacemaker, and a man who made everyone feel like they were in heaven to be near him. He was truly a pioneer and builder. Truthfulness and integrity were crowning features in his character; His treasure was in the gospel.

On December 28, 1907 he was accidentally killed in a snow slide in Kerwin above Meeteetsee. He was brought home New Year’s Eve leaving his wife Charlotte Ann, four sons and six daughters, and six grandchildren to mourn his tragic death. He was buried in Byron Cemetery 5 Jan. 1908 on a cold winter day.

He and his brother Harvey had gone out to recover some tools that had been lost while they were prospecting for one of the mining companies.

He loved to fish, hunt and read. He was also known as a trapper and guide. Always when he had a minute to spare he read newspapers and scriptures. He was an authority on the Doctrine and Covenants.

All but two of his sons and daughters lived to marry and have children. All their lives, they have been honorable citizens and faithful members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. One son served in World War I and sixteen of his grandchildren served in World War II.

His Family





David Ephraim Lindsay



Charlotte Ann Dunn

Charlotte Ann Dunn



David Ephraim Lindsay





Julia Ann Lindsay




David Dunn Lindsay



Sarah Bradshaw

Priscilla Jane Lindsay



Charles Henry Hauck

Rachel Permelia Lindsay



John Albert Robison, Jr.

John Daniel Lindsay



Florence Johnson

Fannie Lindsay



Louis Wolz

Charlotte Lindsay



William Pride;
Eldon Walker (2)

Catherine Lindsay



Percy Oviatt

Charles Lindsay



Dorothy Neeley

LaVon Lindsay



Eldon Walker

Story of his Death

This is the story of great-grandpa Lindsay’s death as told to me by Mr. E.R. Gwynn, who was largely responsible for recovering the body,

"This is my most prominent memory in connection with Dave Lindsay and I knew him for years. Whenever we met I would ask,

"Well, are you still a democrat?’ He would always reply saying,

‘Well, I was this morning."’

The week before his death, Dave Lindsay and his brother Harvey, were working at the Tootsbury mines in the Kerwin area. I was near there so I went to see them. I met Tootsbury and upon asking for them was told they were working assessments. I met them on my way down the river. Dave said to me,

‘Well, do you still carry your old six shooter?"

"Yes, and I see you still carry your old pick and shovel."

I gave him a warning and told him he should get down out of the mountains because of the hard winter that would be coming. He told me that he planned to come down in about two weeks and not go back up again. That is about the way it happened, although not as he planned it. I invited him to stop at my ranch above Sunshine on Woodriver. That was the last time I saw him alive.

The morning I received word of his death, I dreamed that Ed Harvey rode up and I said,

"Come in for breakfast." He said,

"I can’t, I came to tell you Dave Lindsay was killed in a snow slide and we want you to come help hunt for him."

It happened that way just two hours later. I told him to gather men and I would go up by myself taking ropes, chains and a buckboard.

We went up to the Tootsbury cabin and there we decided to make a box to take him from there. Mr. Tootsbury came up while we were still there. He said,

"Old Faithful is gone. Hes under the snow; do you think we can find him?"

We took the ropes and fastened each one of the men together at intervals because we had to travel about 3 1/2 miles almost straight up the mountain side.

It was getting dark when we got there. We found a little dug-out where Dave and Harvey had been staying. We stayed there that night. Early the next morning we began hunting for Dave. There were fifteen men from Meeteetsee and we dug in the snowbanks until about dark. Then Grasshopper Bill (his nickname because of his incessant fishing) said,

"There’s something here.”

He had found a tiny hole in the snowbank. There was an air hole all around him. The snow was only about 3 inches deep over him. He had a large red bandana on his head. His arm was slightly under and his feet were crooked under him. I was supervising the men and we started out that night for the return trip. We had an old dishpan and we set the body in it. We tied the rope on the handle and half-hitched it around his feet for support. Then we pieced his arms in his lap and fixed the rope over his shoulders and arms making a support with it and his bandana. Then we fastened the rope onto the pan and fastened the men with it as on the way up only this time there were half of the men in front of the pan and half behind it.

I led the way in finding the old tracks back to the Tootsbury cabin, reaching there about 1:30 am, where we made a box stretching him out straight in it.

That morning we started down, tying everything together in case of accident. We reached my cabin about 3 pm. The next morning I went to Meeteesee alone, taking the box on the buckboard. Tootsbury wanted to order the best suit of clothes and coffin that money could buy, but I suggested that he send the money to Mrs. Lindsay. I told him a little of our beliefs about death and burial. We suggested that Mr. Tootsbury come down but he declined. Harvey came on the train with the body.

Mr. Tootsbury said about Dave’s work,

"I never checked his work, because it never needed checking. I knew that it was well done."

Mr. Gwynn finished the story saying,

"I don’t know of a man I’d rather see on the other side then Dave Lindsay.’"