The Bevan Family in Canada
(The following is an unexplained interview of Fern Gillette with her aunt Dora Bevan Wright of Blanding, Utah. There is no date, but it was probably recorded in the early 1970s, likely in Blanding. I don't know how I got possession of the tape, but about 20 years ago I typed this transcript and sent a copy to my mom, then lost my copy. Her copy was recently found among her papers, and was just retyped. The Bevans came from Tooele, while the Christensens came from Brigham City, Utah. We don't know a lot about our family's sojourn in Alberta, Canada, but after you get done reading this you'll know a little bit more. I'm Steve Richardson; today is 10 October 2008.) Paul Gillette has a copy that has corrections and annotations made by his mother Fern in 1996. The corrections can be seen in red.
--Steve, 15 April 2013.
Defects in the tape, where it apparently sped up briefly, are represented by ">>>". [The tape begins with a few seconds of what sounds to be Christmas music, possibly the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing "Joy to the World" . . . .Fern Anderson Gillette and I'm a daughter of Alice Bevan Anderson and I'm here now with my aunt, Aunt Dora Wright from Blanding, and she is the last one of the family and in good health, and I would like her to tell some of the stories that I've heard her tell me verbally, but I'd like it on tape of what she remembers of our family in Canada. Now, Aunt Dora, you told me about one little story when I was just a small child, two years old and will you tell that one about the fire. Yes, you were just a little tiny child in that time frame, and there had never been a . . . we had never in our life seen a moving picture. And there was going to be a moving picture that night, and the name of it was "Foxy Grandpa." And everybody was so thrilled, and your mother and father and grandpa, my father and mother, and myself, and you were just a tiny little girl. And Bevan and Thelma, were bigger, they were there too, but you were little tiny. So we all entered the theater, everybody, and we were so tickled, and we all wanted to sit together for this big event, but there wasn't room for us all to sit together, so your mother and father and you sat down a couple of rows ahead of us. And the show was about foxy grandpa and I remember definitely that of course it was silent but it was moving. And I remember the foxy grandpa was in the hammock, swinging in a hammock, and the kids came out and dumped it over, and he fell out. Everybody was laughing like it was a great wonderful thing, and all of a sudden somebody yelled "Fire!" And that place went into a panic.
It turned out it wasn't a mysterious fire, but that our film had caught on fire up in the projection room. But it caused a panic. And living across the street from your parents was an old couple, Mr. and Mrs. Cole. A real odd couple. They came out with us. Your mother and father lived across the canal from us, and the Coles lived across the street from them. And as we were rushing around in all this excitement, Fern, you had decided you wanted to go back to sit with grandma. So you left your mother and floated back toward us and got lost in all of this that went on. We didn't know where you were, they didn't know where you were, and there you were a little lost child at that age. And the Coles, this old man Cole came and grabbed ahold of me and shoved me through the window. First he shoved his wife through the window, then he shoved me through. See, at that time . . . how old would Thelma be at that time? Oh, she'd be about 8. And I'm 5 years older, so I was about 13 years old. So they shoved me through this window. And I had a brand new pair of oxford kid gloves that I was so proud of, and the window tore it, and I've still got the scar where it cut, you can feel it right there. And in bleeding, I got to where it had rubbed around and I had blood all over me. So when my mother saw me she thought I was half dead, of course, and Alice was crying, she was just in hysterics. A woman came rushing up, come past me, she says "Whose child is this, whose child is this?" I said "It's mine," and I grabbed Fern out of her arms and ran to Alice and everybody was so glad.
Aunt Dora, I'd like you to tell the story of Grandpa meeting up with the Indians, it's a very famous story, and she'll tell it to you. This happened when we were living on the ranch in Canada, and we were about, oh I'd say probably 5 miles from the Kootenay River, and we always had to ford it when we went to our nearest town, which was Mountain View, where we went to do our grocery shopping. Probably about 5 miles to the river, and about 10 miles on to this town, where we always did our shopping. And I hated to go there because at that time I was just petrified at the sight of a cemetery, I was just scared half to death, and you had to go right past the cemetery to go into town. But my father had headed there to get some groceries at this time, when we got over the river we found a group of strange Indians. It was the Cree, mostly, it was a strange group, they were not the same, you could tell. And they were camped there. And so he stopped, and he was very friendly with everyone, he was used to being around Indians a lot anyway, he asked them where they were from. I don't exactly remember the details of where they were from, but one young man could talk very good English, and he said they had traveled quite some distance. We found their chief had died, and that he was very much loved by all of them, and it was their custom in those days to leave the body for a few days before burial. And then the chief, when they was about to get to the point of preparing him for burial, he came back to life again. And he said to them, I want you to go to the Kotenay country, and there you will find some people who have the book giving the history of our people. And you'll find that book there. And then a little while after he died, and was buried. So this group was there on their way to find the people that had this book. And my father said, "I know right what book you want and where to go." And he took this young man and went on into Mountain View and found the Bishop and the members of the ward in there--it may have been a branch at that time--and they found the Book of Mormon and explained to him that it was the story of their people. This story has been told over the pulpit in church, I know, because I've heard it. And at one time--this has been since I moved to Blanding, I was out on the mountain with Albert Lyla who's very well known in the church as an author, the first ever in Blanding, and he'd go out there and start to sing, he and his wife, and here the Indians'd come from every direction, because they all loved him so much, and he told that story there, and I was at the meeting, and when they got through I was asked to speak a few words, and I told them my father had been the one that talked to the Indians about it. Note: In a history of Joseph A. Bevan (my [Fern's'] grandfather) he tells this Indian story and this should be added: The chief of the Indians before he died--he told his people not to bury him until he was cold all over. Just above his heart it was warm for days. Finally, when they thought he was cold all over he woke up. He told of the Indians hearing about the chief and started out as told in the story. [Another account of this event may be found on the internet here.] Aunt Dora, why don't you tell that story about Aunt Sadie and Mother being healed by the Priesthood. At that time we were living on the ranch, and Thelma and Bevan were little kids. When Sadie went down to help your mother at that time, Bevan was really small--I think maybe she went down to help when he was born. And while they were there, they were drinking well water there in Raymond, and it got contaminated, evidently, and Sadie got sick. And so Will said I had better take her home. So he brought her home, and your mother stayed in Raymond, and she was also sick, we found out later, the same way Sadie was. Sadie got this terrible, terrible fever, and was so sick and as I said, we were fifteen miles from the closest branch, and we didn't go to church, seldom went to church, 'cause we had to ford the river to go, and we didn't go very much. I don't remember going, in the four years we were there, hardly at all. But my father always had church at home and we always had family prayer, and he would read the scriptures to us, and on Sunday we'd observe the Sabbath Day. But when Sadie was so terribly sick, she got worse and worse, and she imagined all kinds of things, terrible things, and she'd scream. She even imagined that her eyes were laying on the chair by the bed and she screamed about that. And this one night she was so bad that my father [sounds like 'stayed out there in his Arizona'], you had to go 35 miles, but that's nothing now. You took a team and a wagon, it took all day. You had to go that far to find a doctor. So he stood by the side of her bed all night and never took his hand off all night, if he did, she'd scream. And we were all so afraid that she wouldn't even live through the night. And we all prayed in family prayer, and gave a blessing to her, and the next morning, just as it was coming light, here came a man driving on a horse wagon, and said, "Brother Bevan, what do you need?" He was the Bishop from that branch, and he said, "I know you needed me today, and I told my congregation I had to be excused because I've got to go out to the Bevan Ranch." He says, "What is it you need?" And he told him how bad she was and everything. He called us all over and knelt around the bed and had family prayer and administered to her, and right away Sadie started to improve immediately. Well, in the meantime Alice had got real bad and Will said she might be as bad as Sadie, so he brought her and Bevan and Thelma up there, and I remember that they were still so they couldn't stand an [sounds like 'argument'] or anything like that, so I had to take Bevan and Thelma and keep them away from the house, so they wouldn't make any noise, my job was to tend those kids away from the house all the time. And then after they got a little better, they lost every bit of their hair, and it turned out to be what they called brain fever, typhoid fever. And I remember how I used to have to take those kids and go play with them all day and keep them out of the way. And then Sadie was in one room, she was in the living room, and Alice was in the bedroom. And I remember how they wanted to be near each other, they couldn't walk, they had to learn to walk all over again, my father picked Alice up and carried her in where Sadie was, and they'd sit there and look at each other and laugh and hug and start to get well, and that's what happened to the healing of this. Well, you know while Alice was getting better, Sadie was sicker than she was. Fern: It makes you wonder if it might have been this sickness that caused mother to have a rheumatic heart, and Sadie died when she was just 47, so that sickness with no penecillin or anyting, mother said it was the cause of her having a rheumatic heart.
Aunt Dora, why don't you tell us the story of Grandpa Bevan and how he handled his children. This is quite an old story.
It was when Alice came up to the ranch and brought the kids and came to visit, and up there was this strawman Kootinay Brown, he'd married a white woman, which is why he was called a strawman. And he owned a lot of the country around there, and he'd have dances and parties at his farm, and the cowboys and everybody around would come, there was hardly any women or girls around to dance with, very few, especially white girls. So he wanted to go down and check on them and invite the Bevan girls to come up to the dance, that it'd be great to have Alice and Sadie, and Sadie was a young girl, so Alice said, "Sure, we'll go." After they left, grandfather firmly informed us, "You're not going to that dance." And she said, "Yes I am going. I'm a married woman and I'm old enough to do as I please, and I'm perfectly capable to take care of Sadie." He said in his quiet way, "You're not going." And then Kootenay Brown said he'd seen the buggy down the hill, about the time it was due to come. He just simply got the two girls in the room and locked the door, put the key away, and when they came he said his daughters were not available, and said "No, my daughters are not going." And they went back up, and Alice was fit to be tied, and she was so mad, and said she'd never speak to her dad again, and she just calmed down. The word came down the next morning about a stabbing. They'd had liquor up there and a brawl and everything, but the Bevan daughters were safe. He says "Will left you in my charge, and while you're under my roof and in my charge I'll take care of you. If you want to do something in your own home, with your own husband's permission, fine. But I'm taking care of you while you're here." Well, while my sister Thelma is here today I would like her to tell a little story she remembers about Canada. [Different voice, not Aunt Dora]: Every morning I'd wake up and hear the separators going. It was in a little building over a little bridge, and on the machine there was a little part for the separator. And I'd know exactly where that part was, but I'd watch him hunt it. And I'd sit back in a chair and watch, and look, and look, and look. Finally after they'd looked long enough I'd tell where it was.
[Aunt Dora resumes]:
When they came up there was wild strawberries everywhere. They were so sweet, so juicy. You can't believe the strawberries we'd take to go with whipped cream on it because we had lots of cows, and we had lots of whipped cream and mother made lots of butter. And Alice and Sadie was there. And the kids would come up and Thelma would say, 'Oh, wook at the deh-wee, wook at the deh-wee!', because Thelma couldn't talk too plain at that time . . . . And we went out and picked til we filled our buckets, and then Sadie and Alice filled their aprons--each one of them had an apron on. And they filled it full of strawberries, and Alice was thrilled about it. She said she couldn't wait to squeeze the juice out of that apron and drink it . . . . This was told while we were missionaries down on the Indian reservation, we really had some experiences down there: President [George P.] Lee was president of one part of the mission there, so at that time he was Stake President down at Page. Now he's president of our mission, he's a wonderful man. And at this conference they told us about a very poor Indian family, and the little boy died, so they thought, and they made a plain coffin, put him in it, put him down in the ground, and was about to cover him over when he began hitting on the lid of the casket, and they were all startled and scared of course, and they opened the box and the little kid spoke and said, 'I want to speak to Poppa.' [Can't understand the rest of the story]. Have you heard them tell, you have, I'm sure, about how his brothers tried to pour liquor down him? He was such a special person . . . . There's one story I'd like you to tell, Aunt Dora, it's a very fantastic thing that happened down around Blanding, and she doesn't remember it exactly, but we'll get her part of the story. It was in the field as I remember it, and it was down in that country there was an awful lot of Indian burials, and they'd go out and look for the artifacts, and pottery and stuff around those burial grounds. The Indians used to bury everything. Dishes and weapons and jewelery and everything else with them. And he was out plowing at this time, and as he led the plow along, all of a sudden, right in front of his plow, the way I heard the story, a beautiful Indian girl came straight up out of the ground. He'd almost plowed this spot, then he had a feeling, he stopped, and he couldn't believe his eyes, she raised right up out of the ground, a beautiful Indian girl. And he came back and told the story, and told the Church about it, and they said he'd seen an actual resurrection, that's what he was told. That's the way I'd got it. Male voice (Bevan): The Anderson family left Raymond and got over to the Kootenay Ranch, and Grandpa and Aunt Sadie, and Aunt Dora, and Grandma [sounds like emily-it], and it was time to harvest some of the wild strawberries, and Uncle Lyde thought he'd come and go as he pleased, thought he'd run home and come back to go fishing. The rest of the family was picking strawberries. And I was driving the team, and the wagon, it had five horses, and everybody was thinking they had strawberries, and picking strawberries. And I thought I'd move along and get a little fun out of it, and I started the horses walking, and they were trotting, pretty soon they were running down the hill pretty fast. Uncle Lyde heard a yell for help and came running, he was a pretty fast runner. He came up alongside of the wagon and said, 'George, throw me the rope.' I threw the rope over to Uncle Lyde, and he stopped the horses, and that is how >>> wreck of the wagon. Female voice (Fern): Well, I was in Raymond in 1967, and Uncle Joe comes down and showed us the last house you lived in before you came to Utah. And it had a whole bunch of Chinese that were living in it then. Tell us a little bit about that house. It's a real nice looing house. Aunt Dora: That was the house we lived in when we moved back from the ranch, we bought that place, and moved back there. And at that time, before we left the ranch, in fact, it started. My mother was going through the change of life, and she had terrible headaches, and she'd faint, she'd faint dead away. After we got down to the house we didn't dare leave her, and either dad or one of us would stay home to be with her. And I remember coming home from school when there was oh so much snow and mother sitting there on the back porch and dad there with her putting snow on her head and trying to get her to come out of a faint, and then her >>> when you have to come to Tooele, then my mom and dad will sell that house'. Other voice: They moved away from that little house by the canal, but thinking about that particular thing that Bevan told us about, about the accident, when Uncle Lyde stopped the horses, Well, that's on the same order, but when they lived across from the canal, I remember that as plain as anything. I was over there and of course I was curious, I got to be curious about everything. And Will had the teams of horses fastened to the wagon. And he said, 'I don't know how to help Alice, just don't bother them.' He let me sit on the seat with him. He said 'Just sit right there and don't bother the horses, and I'll be out in a minute.' But that wasn't any good. I thought, 'That's great. I'll just pick these reins up, and what he did was just shake this reign and shake that reign and the horses would go. I said 'Giddeup' and shook the reins, and the horses started to go and went round in circles. 'Round that wagon went as that horse went in a circle, and tipped the wagon over. Will came running out and they straigtened it, and I don't know how badly hurt I was, but [sounds like 'dust scaped'] my eye. And it's still in my eye, 'cause I just had to see what'd happen if I said 'Giddeup'. [Another female voice]: We're gonna have a next story about Thelma Anderson [Dora]: Not Grandma Anderson, you mean Grandma Bevan. There was only a couple of times in my life that I ever knew my father to really get mad. When I was a child, one of them was, but I remember him getting mad at me twice. Four times in his life I think he got mad, and when he got mad you'd want to stay out of his way. And if he did get mad, that was it. Up in Canada we had this person up the road made his living with making posts for making fences. And on the back of his wagon he had a big hammer, and he'd go around and they'd have their holes dug, and they'd have these posts laying around on the ground with a sharpened point. And he'd come along, they'd have them sitting up just a little bit, and he'd come along and he'd take this hammer and hit it, and he'd go to the next hole and it was a big old hammer, and it was dangerous. So he said to me, 'I'll be coming out in a minute, and you stay away from that hammer.' Well, I had to go over and see what it felt like, so I went over, and when he came out he caught me, and gave me a right good spanking. That was the only spanking. That was the only time he ever touched me. And there was this other time, so amusing to me, that after I was a schoolteacher, I taught school for several years, and I was home on vacation, we had a Model T Ford, Momma was scared to death of the car anyway, and we'd gone for a ride down to Erda, and we were on our way home, and below the railroad crossing down below Tooele here, that has the bridge over it, then it was just a crossing, and my mother said, 'Oh Joe, there's a train coming. And it was way down by Warner Station. You could just see the smoke of it. And it was coming along, and she said, 'Joe, there's a train, there's a train!' And he just went along and didn't pay any attention to it, and the crossing was still a long ways off, and when he got quite a bit closer to the crossing Mother reached over and turned off the key. And he was so mad, of course he never got mad at her. And I opened my mouth and said, 'Oh, Dad," and he says 'You shut up!', and I did, believe me, I did! Mother just sat there and smiled, and it was all right. He never got mad at her. If we ever asked our dad if we could do anything, he'd say, 'Ask your mother.' They really got along well and thought the world of each other. Grandpa would say, 'Let's go to the show tonight. Hey, there's a good show on tonight, let's go.' And my mother would call her mother and dad, 'Ok, she says, I guess we'll go.' And she'd say, 'Joe, well, we're going.' And he'd come home and say, 'Oh, are we?' So we'd go to the show, and when we'd come home (mother was always so quick to jump at conclusions), Dad would start reaching [for the key] first in this pocket, then in that pocket, then that one, then when she'd get all upset, he'd pull it out of the first pocket and would say, 'Oh, here it is!'
Note: These are very special stories and should be told to family members.
(86 years old--1996)
To listen to the recording from which this is based, click here. To learn more about Dora and Frank Wright, click here. To return to the Christensen Family index page, click here.
Dora Leona Bevan Wright
6 Jun 1899 - 11 Mar 1993
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