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Life of Joseph Adam Fife

By Martha Fife Dalley

Joseph Adam Fife was born in the little town of Riverdale, Utah, June 15, 1868. He was the second of thirteen children born to Joseph Fife and Martha Ann Bingham. The oldest child, Ellen, having a hard time pronouncing his name, called him, her little "Budder". Thus he was nicknamed "Bud", and was called that the remainder of his life.

His father was a farmer, freighter, and ran a construction crew for a time that built the grades for the railroad around the King Hill area. "Bud" took up farming and helped his father on the farm. He was an excellent horseman. His father also had sheep and my father spent quite a few years of his life herding sheep. I remember him telling me that he was quite a grown man before he ever tasted white sugar or white bread.

He met Clara Jensen, they fell in love, and were married in the Logan Temple, October, 1896. They lived in Riverdale, Utah where they operated a small farm.

On July 14, 1897 their first child was born, a boy. They named him Wilbert Dolan. Three years later another baby boy was born, Glen James, October 3, 1900. Then on July 26, 1904 their first daughter was born. They named her Gladys.

When she was just a small baby my father was called to serve on a mission to the British Isles. He left my mother with their three small, children to stay mostly with relatives who cared for her and the children. She spent a lot of the time with her sister and brother-in-law, Matilda and Jim Horsley. Matilda known as Aunt Tillie to all of us. They were very good to her as they had no children of their own. He served on his mission for two years and was given an honorable release. He returned home in 1907 where he took up his duties again as a farmer and father.

Five more children were born to them: Jean 6 March 1908: Douglas Joseph 21 March 1910: Mary 10 October 1912: Martha A. 26 September 1914; and Wendell N. 10 August 1917. They were all born in Riverdale except Wendell, and before he was born the family moved to Trenton, Utah where they bought a farm and built a new brick home.

My father and mother joined in all the activities and entertainment in the little community and had many good friends. Always on the Fourth of July in Trenton they had a big celebration. My dad would dress up in his tall silk hat and Prince Albert coat and lead the parade riding a prancing horse. Uncle Chris Hansen would portray Uncle Sam.

When Wendell was about three years old my mother's health failed her. She was taken to the hospital in Logan and was operated on November 21st. She never returned to her home. She died of blood poisoning January 10, 1921, leaving her husband and eight children.

Gladys quit school in Logan and came home to help her father with the children. She was a real mother to all of us. One of my aunts made remark, "That she was born with a mother's head on her shoulders". My father was a hard worker and good provider. We always had plenty to share with the tramps and beggars that came along the road. No one ever left empty handed.

Every summer my dad always took us on a trip to Rexburg or Blackfoot to visit our aunts and uncles. I remember the first car we had. It was an Oldsmobile. When it rained and in the winter we had to put down the side curtains on it. Before then we traveled by horse and buggy.

In about the year 1925, we sold our farm in Trenton and bought a bigger farm in Dayton where Wilbert and Glen were farming. We sure hated to leave our friends in Trenton. We lived in Preston. Aunt Cindy lived close by us and was really good to all of us.

One by one all the children got married and left home, until there was just Wendell left with Dad alone on the farm in Dayton. Dad had a lot of trouble with his leg and couldn't be on his feet much of the time. He had what we called then "milk leg".

Wendell decided to go to work on construction with Douglas, so Dad left the farm and went to live with Gladys and family in Preston.

He spent some of the summer months with Wilbert and Glen in the Twin Falls area, and some with me in Roberts, and with Jean in Franklin. We looked forward to his visits, especially our oldest girl, as he would say, "I can't do much else, so I'll wash the dishes".

In July of 1951 he was 83 years old. He had a severe blood clot in his leg. He was taken to the hospital in Preston. They tried to dissolve the clot through medication, but it didn't help, so they amputated his leg just below the knee. They didn't think he would ever live through the operation. His leg never healed so they had to operate again amputating again almost to the hip. He was in the hospital for five months. He spent the last three years of his life in a wheel chair at the home of Gladys and Wallace. If anyone ever deserved a royal crown on high it should be Gladys and her good husband, Wallace, for the devotion and care they gave our father.

He died on April 2, 1955, just closed his eyes that night and never woke up. Thay had a wonderful funeral for him. I have thought of my father as a great and good man. He never did a mean act or said anything unkind about anyone. I am so thankful for so honorable a parentage.


Joseph Adam Fife

Blessed 4 February 1869 by Richard Dye

Baptized 26 July 1878 by John C. Thompson

Confirmed 26 July 1878 by William Stimpson

Ordained Elder 15 October 1896 by Sanford Bingham

Ordained Seventy 18 April 1905 by Seymour D. Young

Ordained High Priest 9 August 1908 by George F. Richards


He served a mission to Great Britain from 19 April 1905 to June 6 1907.


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