James Harvey Lindsay

James Harvey Lindsay

Compiled From Histories Written By:

Mrs. Louis (Fannie) Wolz
Mrs. Joseph (Florence) Wardell
Mrs. John (Rachel) Robison
Mrs. Raphael (Lois) Anderson

Edited and Expanded By: David J. Wardell (1990)

In the month of April, when the world was filled with bloom, birds singing, and. bees humming, the home of Ephraim Myers Lindsay and Jane Parish was blessed with a beautiful blue-eyed boy. The date was April 7th 1862. He was a pretty baby and was admired by his brothers, sisters, friends and relatives.

The following history is written in first person, as narrated by James Harvey Lindsay.

My boyhood days and school days were few, for home duties called me. When very young I was hired out here and. there, herding sheep and helping on the farm. My father cradled grain for the people and my uncle, Edwin Ruben Lindsay, ran the Blacksmith shop for the Wells Fargo Stage Line, here he aided the people in many ways in the early times.

Once while working out by the Great Salt, Charley, Dave, and I made a raft and went for a ride, a storm came and. we were lost for two days and a night on the lake. Finally the storm eased, the sun shone, and the lake calmed, and. the tide took us to shore. Maybe you don’t think it put life into us to set foot on land!

The Lindsay boys were great swimmers; it never was told which of the brothers, David or Joel, were the best.  It was in the fall or spring of’ the year when ice was still on the water, Joel and David were arguing which was the best swimmer; Father and I were with them. It was near the mouth of Bear River—off went their clothes and into the water, quick as a wink. As Father and I watched, they both kept even, neither one could get ahead of the other.

After a while Father called,

"That’s enough."

They looked at each other and got out. That’s all that was said.

They had lovely dances and parties in Brigham City. You could not buy knickknacks such as candy and stuff as they do now days. The good old candy pulls, blackberry pies, Virginia reels, and good old fashioned girls, like the girl my mother was. We would bring carrots, spuds, squash, or grain to pay the fiddler or Cordin player.

I worked around the courthouse for a few years and enjoyed it very much. I liked being around the people and learned many different things from them.

There were quite a few families left Brigham City at different times for the Bear River District. Among the families were Uncle Edwin R. Lindsey and William B. Lindsay. Later on father, Dave, Joel and their families left. I was working at that time and did not leave with the others.

When I arrived in the Bear Lake District I went to work on the Railroad, The Oregon Short Line.

It was a very hard winter, snow was deep and the train had a lot of plows going to keep the road open. Many people in out of way places suffered for the want of relief and food. The road had to be broken between Montpelier and Star Valley. Father went to help some men meet the Star Valley men on the other side of the mountain.

After working for some time one night, we were camped far up the canyon, I tied my horses to a sapling, I thought, with a halter strap. In a hurray the next morning I cut the strap instead of uniting it. In the spring I went the same canyon looking for the strap. I saw it at the top of a large 60-foot tree. We had been working on a 60-foot bank of snow.

I spent some time in acquiring a farm and home. I also met the girl of my dreams at Garden City, Utah. I often took her and her mother for a buggy ride. I spent wonder hours in her home. I was working at the time to get a fortune, but talking it over with her we decided to make our fortune together.

I worked at prospecting at Newnen and Swan Creek, we found some copper and lead.

On the 9th of November 1892 we were married in the Logan Temple. My bride’s mother and father, William H. Lee, came with us in a covered wagon. Irene LaRona Godfrey became my bride. We were happy in our new home in Bennington, Idaho, our parents all around us, we could see them when we desired.

We took part in church activities whenever called upon. We taught a class in Sunday School for years. You would often see us with a child in each of our arms going to Sunday School. Three children were born to us in Bennington: Lois, Parley and Florence.

I spent many happy days in Bennington with my family. I had a lovely home and farm—also meadowland for cows. I took great pride in my home and surroundings. My sister Rachel nursed here and also ran a novelty shop or store. It pleased her nieces to come to her store and it aided the people.

My grandfather, William Buckminster Lindsay Sr., was living with his son, George Richard Lindsay and Aunt Sarah. He was one of the old pioneers. He came from Canada in the early days to Nauvoo, and left Nauvoo in 1847 for Utah. He could tell wonderful stories of pioneer life, also of his father Ephraim and grandfather Thomas who fought in the Revolutionary War. I saw a suit of clothes worn by my grandfather’s uncle David, also a sword.

To give my grandfather credit in words, I cannot. He was a good man of strong character, honorable, upright, honest, a man of his word. He did his part in building up the New Zion, Utah and. Idaho. He was a loving father. He died in Bennington surrounded by friends and posterity, loved by all, on December 25, 1873.

The Lindsay boys were great hunters and fishermen. They came by it honestly. It was born into them, for their parents and grandparents before them had to keep the wolf from the door. Food being scarce now and again, David and I with our fishing tackle and guns took our wagons and went up the canyon to the Bear River. We often spent many days fishing, hunting and curing meat. Our families and friends welcomed us at our arrival home. Many families feasted upon our harvest, the sport I loved, not for the sport of it, but for the value of it to feed the hungry and poor, and for the home use and the joy to provide. We often went after big game, this meat we cured for winter use and. we always saw that our loved one never went without, if we could help it.

In 1900 we heard many tales about the wonderful possibilities of making a fortune in the Big Horn Basin, or at least a good living. After talking It over with the folks and among ourselves, we formed a company: brother David and family, cousin Warren Lindsay and family, also his father and family, the Tippets, the Cozzins, Davis and my family—some I have forgotten. We left Bennington, Idaho May 14, 1900. My wife drove a white-top buggy where many things were stored. I drove a team and covered wagon. I gave a horse and outfit to a nephew to drive my cows.

The morning we left, we bid our loved ones goodbye, not dreaming this was the final parting in this life, but we were all of pioneer blood and knew we were going to a new adventure.

The novelty of travel and camping out were fun for the young folks for a while, but soon wore off day after day in the buggy, Often times we would hear a baby cry and a young man started up a song which others joined in and made the prairies ring. Often my wife with the children would drive ahead with the buggy and I :would not see them until night when we all met at the camping grounds around a big fire if the wood, supply was enough. We had a great supper and talked over problems of the next day’s journey.

Other times the children rode with me and some of Dave’s children rode with my wife. We often passed little towns which are now cities such as Thermopolis and Lander. We traveled through rivers, creeks, over mountains and dells, canyons and prairies to the land of the Big Horn, day after day with the covered wagon.

We arrived in the Big Horn Basin June 14, 1900, brush was cut, we pitched our tents in the evening and I took the little coop where the chickens were kept and placed it inside of the tent because there were rumors of wolves and wild beasts and other families had lost chickens.

A council was held and the people went to work on the Syden Canal so water could be placed on the bench here in Byron and brought to Cowley after working on the canal, the Railroad project came up. Supplies were low, so to the railroad we went to get a little dough, and help make the railroad we enjoy today.

After working on the railroad for a while, we went back to Byron and worked on the canal to get logs for a house and barn. We went to Priar Mountain and got sawed logs for the house and barn. I worked on the house as much as I could and my brother Dave helped me, as he was better at that kind, of work. I helped put up the stove the day before Christmas, and we moved into our new house on Christmas Day. It was a pleasure to move in as many of the people were still in tents.

My older brother Dave and I went to work on the Yellowstone National Park Road to get money to improve our homes. The road was very difficult to build, as we did not have the necessary machinery. The Shoshone canyon is five miles long, and its sheer rock formation required a road to be literally carved from the side of the mountain, giving a national, editorial, true picturesque view of development of water storage for irrigation of Powell.

The road was hard and difficult to build. It ran along the Shoshone River. I was working where the Cody Dam is now. Tunnels had to be built for the roads to run through. Men had to be let down on ropes to chisel away some of the overhanging rocks. Much blasting had to be done with powder. I did a great deal of this work.

One day while I was loading a deeper hole, Mr. C. G. Anderson was loading the others a few yards away on a small dome. It was a very deep one I was loading. I fired the fuse and some of the sparks fell among some powder causing it to go off before I had time to run to safety. I was lifted into the air by the powder and fell in the Shoshone River, a distance of 50 to 60 feet with rocks weighing hundreds of pounds falling all around me. The workers who witnessed this expected me to be crushed to death. Falling in the water eased the fall a great deal.

The men carried me to camp and they found a bad cut above my eye. Mr. Charles Lyman of Cowley offered to sew up my wounds, so they got a sack needle, the only one in camp. Jessie Ketchem gave me some silk thread and Mr. Lyman want to work. The men were very kind to me, as my whole body was bruised and sore. Many small rocks were dug out of my body and I always drug my right leg from the fall. It was over a year before I was able to work again.

Later when doctors came to the country, they examined my scares and said they could not have done a better job with their equipment.

Brother Crosby at Cowley ran a commissary where we did our trading, I remember how good he was to the people in general.

When the canal was done I took the white top buggy and my family and traveled along the canal to the tunnel. We went through the tunnel to view man’s work. The canal is over 25 miles long. I took the family to the head of the canal when the water was turned in.

I acquired a piece of land near town (20 acres) which we put under cultivation. Soon the desert land was blooming with trees, grain, alfalfa and vegetables.

In 1902 or 1903, father Ephraim M. Lindsay having passed away, mother Jane P. Lindsay came to the Big Horn. I went to the mountain and got logs for her cabin. Her cabin was to be located on the lot North of ours. The children took great pleasure in helping build the little cabin arid planting the trees and garden for her. Mother looked very happy in her new home. It pleased her to have the children for company.

In the year 1907, after a heavy snow in December (we were mining and prospecting for C. L. Tewksbury) David and I lost some of our tools and. the next day we went back after them. David took the lower trail and I took the upper one. We started up the steep mountain side.

While climbing the trail I saw a pile of snow sliding toward me. I stopped on the trail and yelled to David to jump back, but he was too late, the snow closed in on him. It was December 28th. I did my best to locate him, but when night came I was forced to go back and report the accident. It took us two days to locate the body.

My brother was brought to Byron where he was laid away. This stopped the work at Kirwin. At home I built another room on the home. Then I went to a coal mine at Gebo where I worked for a while. Things were just not the same without David.

The children were growing larger now and needed a father. I went to farming with a will. It was necessary to go to Cody, Wyoming to find a market for my fruit and vegetables. On one of my trips to Cody to see my produce I met Buffalo Bill. I was acquainted with him before this meeting. I guess Bill and I had a Western appearance, as they took our pictures together for some Western show. My wagon was heavily loaded and improved this type of a picture. I never witnessed the show and don’t know if anyone ever did.

I sold, fruit and all kinds of vegetables in Cody for a number of’ years. It required a day to drive to Cody with a heavy load, a day to sell the produce and another day for the return trip.

In 1909 my sister Rachel came to the Big Horn. We were very glad to have her. It brought joy to my mother as she filled the home with sunshine; children all adored her. She was a trained nurse and many a baby she brought into the world. She also aided the people in sickness and other trouble. Everybody loved her.

In 1910 I put in a bid for the mail contract. I got the route changed from Garland to Cowley, Wyoming. I met the Burlington Train once a day at the depot. After carrying the mail for some time, I let my son, Parley, carry it, I took the other team arid went to Magarth, Canada with Dan Holliday to see if I could get some land, but failed.

For a time I stayed up there working in the fields and visiting with many friends and relatives. I sold my team and outfit to my wife’s Father’s brother, Jerry Godfrey. I returned home on the train. Many happy times I spent with the children, my wife, mother, and Raye.

In 1918 my son, Parley, enlisted in the Marines for the First World War. He was in the Second Division and want up to the front lines in the thick part of the battle. We didn’t hear from him for nine months When we received news from our first son, I was very proud of him and it was such good news to know he was alive and well. He wrote:

"Somewhere in Germany

Dear Parents and all: Just a few lines to let you know I am well and, passing the time all right. Best wishes for the New Year.

Of course you’ll want to know what we’ve been doing all this time, so here goes:

One may imagine that the Americans will be asked which of its divisions served the highest role in beating the Germans. Far be it from me to understand the task of nominating our best Division, but it may be set forth that one which France will long remember with the deepest love and respect will be the Second Division. My personal note indicates the Second. Division has done the most fighting of any of the four divisions."

My son Joel was working on the canal in the summer to help repair a break in the canal. He was drowned August 14, 1918 while swimming. He was a good boy and so good to help his father and mother. We missed him and his help.

On 30 May 1918 our daughter, Lois, presented me with my first granddaughter. She was a small baby, but we loved her so much and. took good care of her.

It was my Mother’s greatest wish to live to see her two grandsons come home from the First World War. It was granted to her. November 23, 1919 mother passed away in the night. In the early morning Raye came and told us, Mother was 94 years old and had a very sweet smile on her face as though she was very happy.

In June 17, 1920 my daughter Florence presented me with my first grandson and the next year with another granddaughter.

Day by day with the mail and months and years roll by. Each day brings its work and each child must be fed and schooled. Some of the children went through school, some married and others went to college. We were blessed with eleven children and we loved them all and took pride in their achievements.

On May 9, 1933 my sister Raye died and it left a large vacancy in our home. We all loved her so much and she was such a help.

On February 21, 1934 our daughter Ada passed away and was buried on one of my granddaughter’s birthdays. This was one of the greatest sorrows I was asked to bear.

It was hard to lose one son, but when my son Clarence Lee passed away October 5, leaving three children fatherless, it was a hard trial to stand. But we are given strength to bear the burdens which are ours.

From that time on I was not too well as the years were catching up with me. I finally had a stroke and was then a cripple. Still I got about and did all I could. My daughter Florence came home and took over the job of caring for me. It was nice to have her around again. My oldest boy Parlay was also with me. All my children came to see me just before the end.

Father passed away January 4th, 1947. He was 84 years old.

Many friends came from all parts of the neighboring towns to see James Harvey Lindsay as he lay in state. He looked lovely and at peace among the many beautiful flowers that family and friends had offered in token of esteem and love for a noble life, well lived.

The sermon was given by Bishop Prank Brown of Lovell. Bishop Brown said he could have given way to someone who had known him longer and better, but his wife and sister had known him and loved him all their lives and their testimony of his friendship to children was wonderful to hear. He said a physical giant with a spirit like a lamp had been taken from us.

Father was known far and wide as the mailman bringing messages of joy and sorrow to all of us. One could not help but find fine qualifications from this good man. He must have taken his lessons from the life of the Savior:

"Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy."

He was merciful, kind, and forgiving like the Savior.

He is survived by the following daughters and sons:

  • Parlay Lindsay of Byron
  • Mrs. Florence Wardell of Billings, Montana
  • Mrs. Edith Fearn of Kodiak, Alaska
  • Mrs. Rachel Herget of Portland, Oregon
  • Mrs. Hazel West of San Diego, California
  • And by 21 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.