Wilbert Dolan Fife
The Life Story of Wilbert Dolan Fife
Transcribed from a recording made at daughter Sharon's home in 1970
Well Grandpa was born on July the 14th 1897. Now that's a long while ago. It's l970 now and I was born three years before that now how old does that make Grandpa? Grandpa will be 73 next birthday. When I was a little boy we didn't have automobiles and every place we went it wasn't too far we had to walk. We had white top buggies and we'd go that way everywhere we went we had to go with a buggy and a horse. We used to have when I was a little boy primary and then they had religion class. They did away with that religion class they don't have it anymore but we used to have religion class when I was a little boy and they told us all about our church you know and everything that's what it was and then primary. We didn't have mutual either in them days. They didn't start it and I went through and was ordained a Deacon and a Teacher and a Priest and had to walk clear over to the church house and back when we went and we always had to go at night. It was better than a mile, about a mile and a half to the church house.
When I was six years old or a little over six years old my father was called on a mission to England and I had a brother and a little sister. There was three of us children and grandpa went on a mission to England and left us and was gone two years. And I turned eight years old while my father was gone and I was baptized down in the Weber River. There was another girl that was the same age as I was that was baptized that day too and boy she come up out of the water and she was just a squealin' and they asked her what was the matter and she said she swallowed a polliwog and she said you ever see a polliwog? That's what a frog is before it develops into frog is a polliwog. And she said she'd swallowed a polliwog I'll never forget that as long as I live. And they sat us on a log and confirmed us a member of the church. Now that's been a long while ago about ... that's been about 65 years.
Well we had a schoolhouse. We had two teachers one for the big grade in the big room and the little room. That's the way we called them, the big room and the little room. And there was the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th was in the little room and the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th was in the big room and 2 teachers. I went to that school until I graduated till 8th grade and they built a new modem school. Course that wasn't nothing like they have now days but then it was so much better than what we'd been used to, to get a new schoolhouse and they put on more teachers and didn't have so many go to a class. I graduated from 8th grade in that new schoolhouse. Course in those days you know the grade school the 8th grade was pretty good if you graduated from the 8th grade why you was educated. And I went to school one year to High School. 1 had to go over to Ogden to the old Weber Academy that was a good church school you know that they had over there and it finally developed into the Weber State College that's what it is now.
Oh we used to look forward to Christmas, oh that was a big day. And my grandmother, my father's mother, used to have the whole family come over to her place on Christmas for dinner. I don't know how she ever did it in the house that they had you know and there was 12 of them you know, 12 É no 13. Thirteen children and that whole bunch would come there and how she ever fed them I don't know but oh they used to have a grand occasion on Christmas day. Yep, that was something.
And the 4th of July and the celebrations they always used to have a big celebration on the 24th that was a big day but the 4th of July we used to go up in the canyons with the white topped buggy you know places like that. But on the 24th they always had a community celebration right there in the little community where we lived and they'd have horse races and I remember one time in particular they had horse races and they'd go down by the river bridge and we were in Jerrell's orchard. Oh, they had a big orchard old man Jerrell and we had the celebration in there and of course they set up a stand you know and they had pink lemonade and stuff like that and it was you know...and ice cream and that was about the only time we got ice cream unless we made it you know homemade ice cream. And course it was home made then, they didn't have no factory for home made ice cream or anything in those days it was all home made ice cream.
Well they had these horse races and they'd go down by the river bridge and then come right up the main street in town course it was graveled road and I remember my uncle drove up with a white topped buggy and was right in the gateway going into this orchard and here come the horses just and tight as they could run. Well Uncle John was sitting there Just holding the lines you know and his boy Joe was just a little fellow he was about oh, just about like Holli (6). And here come them horses up the road just as tight as they could run. Well when they got right even with that park that orchard, I'll be darned if one of them didn't turn and go right in there, well he jumped. You see when he seen the buggy and the horses, right in the gateway, he jumped between the buggy and the horses and hit those lines and jerked Uncle John right out of the buggy and there went that team with that little kid sitting in there all alone. And man they run, now I'm telling you and they went between, there was a row of telephone poles out along the road you know and then the fence and they went between that fence and telephone poles when they got down there a little ways. And went that way and the buggy that king pin that held the front wheels on to the buggy come loose some way I don't know how it ever did but it did. I suppose there was a reason for it and that team went on and the buggy just dropped and it never hurt the little fella at all, And the team went on and ran over and across the bridge, the river bridge and across the railroad tracks and one of them tried to go on one side of a telephone pole and one on the other and they just rammed. Those old white top buggies had a steel thing on the end of that tongue you know and they just rammed that right into that post and held them both right there. And never hurt that kid a bit, my gosh In tell you we was scamed
Dad just went on the one mission and when he came home off his mission you see he was made a High Councilman in the old Weber Stake. Well now all the travelling they did they had to do with a buggy and a horse don't you see. They had to go all over, all of Weber Stake takes in all of Weber County then. Course there's I don't know oh, half a dozen or so stakes now in that particular area but there was only the one stake then. That was Weber Stake and he used to have go all over with a buggy and a horse. Well then they, it went on for about 3 years that way and then the old bishop up at South Weber, now that was just south of Riverdale... now South Weber is just as you come out of the Weber Canyon coming into Ogden there was a little town called Uintah then South Weber then there was Riverdale. Well the Bishop up there died and they couldn't. I don't know what was the matter they didn't pick another one but you know they put Dad in Bishop up there. Well he was just acting Bishop to take care and he had to go up there every Sunday with the buggy, had to drive clear up there with a buggy and a horse and take charge of that ward and run it until they got a new Bishop.
I guess I was about 24. I'd been to the service and come home from the service I turned 21 when I was in the army. Then I come home and we bought that place up in Preston the next year and we was up there one year and Mother died that winter. I was 20... about 27 wasn't I? And I chased with a young fellow over in Preston by the name of Nathan Hale he worked for Utah Power and Light as a Patrolman. And I met him, why it was Christmas Eve in 1923 wasn't it yeah in 1923 and he said come on and go to the dance I got ya a partner and I went over there and I met Grandma. And we went together until the nextÉ a year from then and we was married. We was married in the Logan Temple and the same man married us that married my father and mother and married Grandma's father and mother. Yes sir that's old Sheperd's grandfather that's the manager of the bank there in Jerome. Old man Sheperd he was a nice o d man. Oh we, went, had to remodel the house out on the ranch and we lived in a house in town for about a month wasn't it or a little better? Yeah, we was married in January and we lived in this house until the last of March then we moved out on the farm. And we lived there on that farm, that was in 1924, and we lived there until 1938 wasn't it And we moved to Filer Idaho on land there the 12th day of December 1938. That will be 32 years this coming December that we moved to Filer. When we first moved to Filer we had to go to Buhl to Church. And we went down there and one day Sister Darrington says to me, oh we'd been going down there quite a awhile hadn't we, how long? About a year I guess and they organized the branch and got it started and Sister Darrington come and told me and I went the next Sunday to Filer and we met up over the bank there in the community hall and I went the next Sunday and they put me in the Branch Presidency and I was in it until I moved to Jerome. Was made Branch President after... when I was first in the Branch Presidency I was the Sunday School Superintendent then they put me in Branch President. Yes I did that, I was the only one, I had to bless the Sacrament and pass it and everything. Lead the singing and the whole thing That's a missionary Garn isn't it? That's what Grandpa had to do. And you know... can I tell you about my Grandmother?
Our heritage now it's aÉ My grandmother was on my mother's side of the house was a little bit of a woman, she wasn't very tall. Sandberg, Josephine wasn't it? Yeah Sandberg and she walked all the way across the plains. You know in a parade outfit and the girls walked. And when she got to Salt Lake she wasn't with her folks see she was all alone she had joined the church and come here herself when she was just a girl you know. And she got to Salt Lake and she was living with some people and she got took sick and it was the measles the old red measles I guess and you know she was awful sick I guess. And people you know come in and they was whispering and she thought they was whispering so that she wouldn't hear you see but she had gone deaf it had affected her hearing and she had lost her hearing because of that disease and was deaf ever after that. And then she met Grandpa, my Grandfather, in Salt Lake and they were married and moved to Logan. His name was Nells Jensen and they were married and moved to Logan. Now Grandpa was a potter by trade and he used to make these crock jars you know out of clay well that's what he did. Grandma, my mother had some of them, I don't know, I think Gladys has got some of them yet. We had one of them once didn't we? Yeah we that's what he did and they lived in Logan and Mother was two years old and they moved out to Cornish Utah. Now that's down in Cache Valley that's right straight across the valley from Lewiston Utah. As you're going down through there to go to Logan. And they lived in a log house I can remember that when I was a kid we used to go up there a lot and that's where ...and see Dad, my father, was in the sheep business. Grandpa, my grandfather had sheep and Dad and Uncle John and Uncle Sam. They used to run them above Soda Springs and traveling back and forth Uncle Ben Bingham lived right below where Grandpa Jensen and Grandma did see. And Uncle Ben married my mother's sister Aunt Mary. And of course when Dad would be traveling back and forth he'd always go to Uncle Ben's you know and that's where he met my mother They were married in the Logan Temple and they moved down to Riverdale, there just below where Dad's grandfather lived and bought a place there. It was the old Mitchell place and the house was still there until here just a few years ago. Of course it had been remodeled. But they built a freeway now right where our house used to be. Them roads is taking.. there used to be about 700 acres in the little town of Riverdale there and all of the community made a living off that 700 acres. Well now I don't believe they farm a hundred acres in there now it's all been taken up by highways and roads and building projects and one thing or another.
My father was a farmer and when he first married he was a sheepman and a farmer both. Grandfather Fife homesteaded a hundred-sixty acres there in Riverdale and he planted the first alfalfa that was planted in Weber County. And My father took forty acres of it and Uncle Sam his brother took forty and Uncle
John another brother took another forty and Grandfather had forty see and that was the hundred and sixty. And by golly Grandfather was a kind of a construction man too. He and his construction crew was building the grade down at King Hill. And Dad come out on the railroad when the end of the line was Shoshone from Ogden. He had his bedroll and that you know and then he got into the freight outfit and walked to King Hill from Shoshone and then helped take the oufit back to Ogden. In them white topped buggies and wagons you know. And my grandfather had a... I had an Aunt and he had a sister that was an old maid, Aunt Sarah and she used to cook for that freight outfit.
That's too long a story I took up all the time....