Thursday, December 5, 2013

William George Simmons and Clara Alice Olpin

William George Simmons
1861 - 1949

William George Simmons
Born:    June 10, 1861 in Morgan, Morgan, Utah
Died:    February 7, 1949 in Lovell, Big Horn, Wyoming
Buried: February 9, 1949 in Cowley, Big Horn, Wyoming

Clara Alice Olpin Simmons
1865 - 1907

Clara Alice Olpin
Born:    September 30, 1865 in Round Valley, Morgan, Utah
Died:    October 30, 1907 in Cowley, Big Horn, Wyoming
Buried: November 2, 1907 in Cowley, Big Horn, Wyoming

William and Clara Simmons were a part of the first group of pioneers to settle in Cowley. After a challenging trip by wagon from Morgan, Utah they arrived May 24, 1900 along with their seven young children: William Henry, Clara Minnie (Robb), Walter Charles, Ida May (Rasmussen), Edith (Peterson), Joseph Marvin, and Mary Agnas (Peterson). Two children, Eva Millie (Small) and Vernal were born in Cowley after the family had moved to Cowley.

William George Simmons helped build the Sidon Canal as well as the railroad between Frannie and Pryor Gap. He and his sons built the first sawed log house with a shingled roof in Cowley during the winter of 1900. It is still standing and was most recently occupied by Everett and Betty McConahay. William was also one of the first men to plant an orchard in Cowley. He also established and operated the first butcher shop in Cowley along with William Godfrey. He was a member of the first Big Horn Stake High Council.


MyFamily.Com Cowley Wyoming

The Life of Mary Ann Ford Simmons

Mary Ann Ford Simmons
1827 -  1920
The Life of Mary Ann Ford Simmons
(As told by her) small changes to punctuation
Mary Ann Ford Simmons, the daughter of William and Mary Ann Knight Ford was born in Cucksfield Parish, Sussex, England on November 25, 1827.  My parents belonged to the protestant church and made it a practice to go to church every Sunday.  I did not go to Sunday School, as we lived four miles from church.  I went to school and passed away my young days as most young people did.
I was quite religious for a child and often thought there was something wrong about the religions of the day.  When I was about fifteen, my mother passed away; and when I was about sixteen the church men came around to hunt up the young people to be confirmed and belong to the church.  I told them I did not wish to for I felt that there was something missing.  After that I went to live with my brother in Brighton.  It was a very large town.  I went to all the chapels to hear what they preached; none of it sounded right.  I felt it was not what I was looking for.  I was honest, but I could not tell what I wanted to hear.  Time passed.  I left my brother's; hired some rooms, and started a school for small children, and took in needle work.  After a time I was married to George Simmons - on the 24th of December 1849.  Being a carpenter, he and his brother, William, used to take large jobs and hire men to work form them.  They happened to get a Mormon to work for them and they talked for and against Mormonism.  After a time my husband asked me to go and hear what they had to say.  He was not at all religious.  I went to hear them as soon as I could.  When I heard them preach, I knew that it was what I had been looking for.  I had a baby boy on the 12th of September, 1851, and the following year, on the 6th of September I was baptized, and on the 12th I was confirmed. My baby was blessed at the same time. He was one year old - by Henry Hollis.  On the 18th of July 1853 I had a baby girl.
Henry Hollis the Missionary who baptized
George and Mary Ann F. Simmons
In 1854, April the 17th, we left Brighton for Liverpool: said good-bye to old England and set sail on the old ship Chimborazo, under the direction of Edward Stevenson.  We went on the old tub as stowage passengers, and we did not have a very grand time - probably about the same as others in those days on sailing vessels.  Sometimes there was too much wind, and at other times not any at all.  I was very miserable from the first day to the last.  When we landed at Philadelphia we enjoyed a good supper and breakfast.
Sailing Ship Chimborazo
I think the next we went by train over the Alleghany Mountains.  It was very bad and dangerous traveling, as the train was pulled up by ropes some way.  We were traveling in cattle cars.  I do not remember where we went next, but in time went on boat up the Mississippi River and the Missouri River.  The joined together as you might put two flat pieces beside each other.  One was as clear as could be and the other was thick as mud.  We landed in the night at St. Louis.  In the morning I took my little boy from the berth and he said: "Mama, we will go on shore, go into a house and have some dinner."  He was three and a half years old.  I did not think it could be true as we did not know any one there, but a brother we knew in England came on the boat (I do not remember his name) and took us back with him and we had a fine breakfast, dinner, and supper.  So the child told the truth and we enjoyed it very much.  The next day we went to the camping grounds called Mormon Grove.  We were two weeks getting ready to start on the plains.  There was another company camping there, and it was said they were from Texas.  When the Saints were persecuted they went away.  When things were quiet, they started to go to Utah, but the Lord stopped them - on their way they were taken down with cholera, and died in a few hours.  They left the grove before we did.  When we started we passed by their graves, five and six in one grave.  The entire family of some passed away; all their things were put out of the wagons and left behind.  They were lovely things too, but no one was allowed to pick them up.  We traveled alone over hills and dales; sometimes the traveling was good, sometimes bad; but at all times, we thanked our Heavenly Father that we were on our way to Zion.  Each day brought us nearer to our journey's end.
When we were about two days journey from Fort Laramie, a sister was making her bed in the wagon, a gun was there and it went off and shot her arm, breaking the bone half way between the shoulder and elbow.  She ran out in camp with her arm swinging by a piece of flesh.  They took her to Fort Laramie, but she died on the way.  After we passed a day's journey beyond we were camped - I do not know what for- but we were surrounded with Indians, heaps of them.  They were dressed up with paint and feathers; going to some great meeting.  They wanted to trade ponies for white girls.  A foolish young man was playing with his gun and it went off, and the red men went too.  They were gone before you had time to look.  When they found all was well, they came back again.  I do not know what would have become of us if one of the had been shot.  But it was a sister, and she was shot in the leg.  They took her back to Fort Laramie, but she died.  Her husband came on by another company.
As we were traveling west, we met the grasshoppers going east.  For days we passed them, and they were so thick you could not seen the sun.  They had eaten everything in Utah.  I had a baby boy on the 16th of August, which lived about half an hour.  After he was buried we started on our journey again.  About a week or so later we had a stampede.  It was dreadful to hear the oxen bellowing, the women and children screaming, and the wagons rattling as they were drug away.  Our wagon did not.  The men turned it on the side and stood around the oxen, and they did not start.  I think if they had it would have killed me.  No one in camp thought I would get to Salt Lake, but I did and am alive yet.
When we got to Salt Lake, our troubles were not ended.  There was nothing to eat and no one had anything to spare, for the hoppers had eaten up everything.  How we lived through the winder I could not tell.  The Lord only knows.  He blessed us or we could not have gotten through.  We were without any fuel.  The children and I had to sit on the bed with the bed clothes around us to keep us warm.  We lived two months on frozen potatoes, taken from the top of a potato pit (they were badly frozen to), and the coarsest siftings of corn meal.  Our neighbor used to make milk hot, thicken it with flour, and invite us to go to her house and have a good supper.  She was Sophronia Martin.  Her husband was on a mission.  My little girl was sick all the winter and Sister Martin used to bring in a cup of milk every evening from the cow.  In time she got all right.
When I got better that I could get around, I went all over town to try and get some needle work to do to get something to eat.  I got a man's shirt to make.  When spring came we went out to get segos.  In time the garden stuff began to grow and we got beet greens.  Things were getting better and work was to be had.  I suppose we got along about as well as the others did.  In the spring of 1857 we went to the Endowment House.
The Johnson Army was kept back an could not get to Salt Lake until the summer of 1858.  They moved from the North to Salt Lake and then on to the south.  On the 5th of June, I had a baby girl; she was one week old when they took me away to Provo during the "move."  I was in the house of Sister Young, and remained there three weeks.  My baby was a month old when we returned home.  That was a great thing for all the people to move away to Provo and leave the city empty, with the exception of a few guards to take care of things.
Johnston's Army marching though the nearly
deserted Salt Lake City. The Saints were
prepared to burn the city if necessary.
In 1861 we moved to Morgan.  There we had a log house with a dirt roof and floor.  When it was raining and got through, it would still be raining in the house.  For seven years we had the grass hoppers; one year they laid their eggs, the next they hatched out and in so doing they made us poor.  One year we lost our crop by drought.  We had to go 40 miles to Salt Lake to get matches or anything we needed.  We had no money so we sent eggs and butter.  We made soft soap or anything we had to trade.  I had sheared the sheep, taken the wool and washed and picked it, carded it, and made into rolls; then spun it and made it into cloth and stocking yarn.  We made our own soap.  We had to make lye out of ashes, starch from potatoes, and molasses from beets.  We had no sugar, so we made carrot preserve with molasses - and it was very nice.  We had not fruit at first, but after a time we had apples, plums, gooseberries, currants, strawberries, and other kinds of fruit.
We had the first brick house in South Morgan.  It had seven rooms.  In March 1877, I was called to be the first counselor in the Relief Society of South Morgan Ward.  In 1884 the Ward was reorganized.  I had a brother married in Australia; they sent me money to go there to visit them so I resigned being counselor in the Stake in 1898.  I had already made up my mind that if I came back all right.  I was going to move to Salt Lake City to live - to work in the Temple.  My husband passed away in September 1897.  In May 1898 I went to Australia, and returned home in May 1899.  In November I moved to Salt Lake.  Before this I had been to the Logan Temple several times to work there.  I joined the Genealogical Society to hunt up names.  I did not find but a few so I had to send to an agent in England, a Brother Minns, for names of my relatives.
When my sister in law passed away, my brother sent for me again to go to Australia, and I went.  They knew the first time that I was a Mormon, but a neighbor of my brother did not want me to come, so they were not backward in telling me what bad people the Mormons were.  That was in the year 1908.  My brother was rich in the things of this world.  However, he disowned me and wanted me to go back home, which I did in 1909.

While I was yet there, however, I bought books and tracks from the Elders and went among the people to leave tracks with them, doing missionary work - the first one in Wellington, Australia.  I took much pleasure in doing it.  I converted one lady not long before coming away; I do not think she has been baptized, because her family was against it, but she still writes to me.
I returned to Salt Lake City and started again to work in the Temple.  In 1914 my brother passed away. He did not give me a cent, although he had no other relatives but myself; he gave it all to those who were nothing to him.
Mary Ann Ford Simmons
 4 Generation
I want to say and feel to say at all times that the Lord's will be done.  I am now living in Farmington, Davis County in my 89th year.  I have 12 children - seven are living, and five are dead.  I have Seventy-three grandchildren - nine of which have passed away; and Eight-six great-grandchildren - seven of whom are dead; and one great-great grandchild.
--Farmington, Utah March 1916

Death Certificate for Mary Ann Ford Simmons
July 13, 1920 Buried in South Morgan Cemetery
Morgan, Utah

Family History Documents

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Life Sketch of George Simmons

George Simmons 1822-1897
(Written by his grand daughter-in-law)
George Simmons, son of William and Hannah Phillips, was born in Hickstead Sussex England, April 15, 1822.  He spent his boyhood days in the village of his birth.

He was married to Mary Ann Ford, December 24, 1849, at Brighton, England.  George Simmons attained considerable proficiency as a carpenter and he and his brother accepted large jobs on a contract basis.  They hired men to work for them.  A Mormon employee, brought Mormon Missionaries to George and his wife.  They joined the Latter-day Saints, September 6, 1852.  They had two small children, a son and a daughter, when one day George and his wife decided they would go to Utah.  On April 17 1855, they set sail from Liverpool on the ship Chrimborazo, under the direction of Captain Edward Stevenson.  

Henry Hollist, Missionary who baptized
George and Mary Ann Simmons

Ship Chrimborazo

They landed in Philadelphia after a long voyage of six weeks.  They traveled westward from Philadelphia over the Allaghany Mountains by train in cattle cars.  The traveling was very dangerous over the mountains and in some places the cars were pulled up with ropes.  They arrive in St. Louis after traveling up the Mississippi River by boat.  They stayed in St Louis one day, then went to the camping grounds called "Mormon Grove."  There they stayed two weeks preparing for the journey across the country to Utah.  They left the grove with an ox team, with Richard Ballantine as their captain.  George drove the ox team all the way across the plains.  His wife gave birth to a baby boy on the journey, but it only lived a few hours.

After many thrilling experiences with buffalo, Indians and the elements, they arrived in Salt Lake City, Utah, September 25, 1855, numbering 45 wagons and ox teams and 402 souls.  George Simmons was one of the number that went to meet Johnson's Army.  Also went as far as Provo in the move south.

Johnston's Army marching through
 Salt Lake City June 26,1858
On the 10th of July, 1858 they went to the Endowment House and had their endowments.  George and Mary Ann were sealed for time and all eternity.  George spent most of his time while in Salt Lake City working on Church buildings: in turn for his services, he received food for his family from the Tithing office.
In 1861 he moved his family to Morgan City, Utah and settled on some farming land and then fought grasshoppers again.  George Simmons made most of the caskets for burials in that community for many years.  He helped build the railroad, the highway bridge over the Weber River, and did most of the carpenter work on homes in Morgan City.  He also owned the first brick house in Morgan County (a seven-room house).  In addition, he raised fine crops on his farm and cut all his grain with a cradle and bound it by hand.  He had three sons to help him.
George was the father of twelve children, and all who lived were married and went to the temple.  George and his wife came to Utah for the gospel's sake.  He never pushed himself forward but was always in the front ranks in the march across the plains, always ready to mend the wagons.  He was very handy at those kind of things.  His counsel was a great help to the leaders.  He was a good provider and a loving father  He died a true Latter-day Saint at the age of 75 years, on September 21, 1897 at Morgan.
Children of George Simmons were: George W. Simmons, Mary Ann Simmons, Walter Simmons (died on the Plains), Agnes Augusta Simmons, Margaret Mary Simmons, Ida Simmons, William George Simmons, Julia Jane Simmons, John James Simmons, Elizabeth Ida Simmons, Minnie Laura Simmons, and Ada Eliza Simmons.

George Simmons Memorial
Morgan Cemetery Morgan Utah

Johnston Army Blog

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wasden - Robb Family Reunion 2013

Standing:  Rick, Jim, Phil, Mom and Dad
Sitting: Mary Lou, Georgia, Marlene and Dean

What:    Wasden/Robb Family Reunion
Where:   Utah County, Utah

When:   June 21st and 22nd 2013 (Friday and Saturday)


Host Families: There are homes in Utah County where hopefully, some of those who have traveled can stay. If you live in Utah, please give thought to how many you can accommodate beyond your immediate family. Remember the days where we bunked people on floors, in attics and yards. Don’t be picky; we don’t want anyone to feel like they need to shell out money for a motel.


All Breakfasts:   Prepared and shared with the host family

All Lunches:   On your own  (Possible exception on Timp Hiking Day)

Dinner:   Friday Pot Luck at Rick and Jan’s – 6:00 PM

Dinner:   Saturday BBQ – 4:00 PM (Burgers and Dogs - pot luck salads/deserts) at Kelly’s Grove – Cousins Party


Hobble Creek Pavilion
Available activities in the Kelly’s Grove area: Frisbee, Golf, driving range, 18 hole disc golf, camp fire, sharp shooting contest, Hiking, fishing, overnight outdoor camping, etc. There is a nice large pavilion which will accommodate a family meeting. The pavilion is lit so the meeting can take place after daylight doings

Hobble Creek Golf Course

Hobble Creek Park


Hike to Famous Timp Cave

Inside Timp Cave
Hike to the famous Timpanogoes Cave.  It's a steep climb, meant for the physically fit... so let's all get fit!  :)  A morning climb is best before the summer heat.  That would bring climbers back close to lunch time.  And where better to have lunch than a park right across the highway. 

Water will be higher in June but should be able to
cool some watermelon without losing them...

Timp picnic area

Trail leading from picnic area to Timp Visitors Center

Others may wish to drive the Alpine Loop Scenic By-Way and meet back at the picnic area in time for lunch.


View from Alpine overlook.  Taken on trip with
Marlene on Alpine Loop a couple years ago.
Rick and Jan are the great pumbas for the WR Reunion 2013.  You can watch this site for updates and also the following site for further information and updates.

SAVE THE DATE:  June 21st and 22nd 2013!!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

William Heber Robb

William Heber Robb

William Heber Robb

Place of Birth: Paragoonah Iron Co, Utah
Date of Birth: June 5 1877
Entered into Rest: June 18, 1958
Age: 81 years 0 Months 13 Days
Place of Death: Billings Montana
Final Resting Place: Cowley Cemetery
Cowley, Big Horn Co, Wyoming
Interred: June 21 1958
Services: Cowley L.D.S. Chapel
June 21, 1958   1 P.M.
Officiating: Bishop Carlyle B. Eyre

The Funeral Service

Funeral Services for Wm Heber Robb were held Saturday June 21st at 1 P.M. in the Cowley Ward Chapel under the direction of Bishop Carlyle B. Eyre.

Prelude music was played by Mrs. Claude A. Lewis Jr. The invocation was offered by R.R. Lewis.

The choir sang “Through Deepening Trials”, directed by Mrs. C. Golden Welch and accompanied by Mrs. Claude A. Lewis Jr.

The speakers were H. D. Wilson and Robert L. Peterson.

H.D. Wilson spoke of the Destiny of men, the Predestination of man. The Pre-existant State, the Birth, the Death and the Resurrection.

Robert L. Peterson spoke of the deceased as being a man of honor, spoke of his honesty and integrity, industry and thrift.

The obituary was given by Mrs Maud Holyoak. A duet “Beyond the Sunset” was sung by Art and Ford Welch accompanied by Mrs C. Golden Welch.

The closing song by the choir, “Abide With Me.” The dedication was pronounced by Melburn Dalton.

Mrs Claude A Lewis Jr played postlude music.

Many of the congregation were heard to remark that it was a very lovely service.


The Obituary for William Heber Robb

(Written and given by Maud Holyoake)

I have prayed most earnestly that my Father in Heaven will bless the words I speak on this sweet solemn occasion that they may be a fitting tribute to a Beloved Husband, father, grandfather and kindly friend. I know that above all else, Bro. Robb would have me speak honestly, sincerely and briefly, just as his life typified, honest, modest and unpretentious living.

On the evening of June 18th, the quiet shadows of night shut from our earthly view Bro. Wm Heber Robb. But even as we whisper a last farewell, we know that he goes on to face another sunrise, above the distance hills of Home.

The memories Bro. Robbs family cherish this day, stand as a monument to the character of this quiet man, so unassuming.

I have loved listening to the story of his life as told me by Sister Wardell. I love sharing that story with you this afternoon. My heart was touched by the industrious and faithfulness of the little boy who scrambled up the steep banks of the San Juan River in Southern Utah, carrying pails of water to water the vegetable garden his mother had so carefully and laboriously planted along its banks.

San Juan River at Bluff Utah
I sensed the pioneer virtues of courage, industry and vision that inspired a young man to leave his comfortable home and circumstances and join his labor and his destiny with other valiant pioneers in settling the Big Horn Basin.

Wm Heber Robb was born in Paragoonah, Utah June 5th 1877. The second son of Adam Franklin Robb and Sarah Holyoak Robb. He was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints.

When Bro. Robb was a young boy his father answered the call of Pres. Brigham Young to settle the picturesque Indian territory of the San Juan Valley.

Hole-in-the Rock Pass

His father, mother and elder brother were with the second company of Saints to pass through that treacherous Mtn pass known as “The Hole in the Rock” to settle in Bluff Utah. After a few years the family returned to Parowan, where they built a comfortable home, surrounding it with every beauty.

William Heber Robb

By this time Bro. Robb was a young man and one day he told his parents of his intention to come to the Big Horn in Wyo. Aunt Sarah told her family, “if Heber goes to Wyo. Then I shall go too” and his sister Alice said “if Heber goes I want to go too.”

So it was that the family came to Cowley and lived in a little one room home across the wash. But that first bleak winter, the children often saw their mother weep at the desolation all about her.

Sarah Permelia Holyoak Robb Wardell
Wm Heber's mother

But in the spring, the beloved home in Utah with its flowers and gardens and peach and raspberry orchards ceased to be a memory that saddened and instead became the dream and pattern that fashioned their new home in the new land.

Clara Minnie Simmons Robb

Minnie holding baby Walter, Clifton, Elton and Kenneth
 approx June 1918

On Sept 12th 1912, Wm Heber married Clara Minnie Simmons and on March 31st 1945 their lovely, sweet mother died, leaving to miss so greatly her loving care and devotion her husband and six sons.

Mary McDonald McNeish

On June 24th, 1946, Bro Robb married Mary McDonald McNeish. Sister Robb a convert to the Church has endeared herself to the family and has tenderly and lovingly cared for Bro Robb through the many illnesses he has suffered the past months.

Marriage License and Certificate of Heber Robb and Mary McNeish

It was Bro Robbs pleasure to provide well for the comfort of his loved ones. Great was his joy that he could on the land he loved work hand in hand with God in providing for himself and family and their daily bread. His farm complimented the love he had for the land for truly “most beautiful” Earth loved by a man who fabricates his love with industry, shielding the cherished acres in his span vigil of wilderness and native tree.

Aerial Photo taken 1963 of Robb Farm, Northwest of Cowley, Wyoming

He weaves bare timber to a rugged seam and wheel tracks ruin the boundary of his dreams.

Robb Bros. Brand
Through the years Bro Robb has had the satisfaction of having his boys work beside him on the farm. When their father was not well their labor has been willing and cheerfully given. Three of the boys are still at home, the other three return with frequent constancy with their families to visit their father and Sister Robb, and to eat some of her delicious home cooked meals and just for the fun and pleasure of being home.

The nicest thing that could be said of a man could be said of Bro Robb, he was kind and thoughtful of his mother, solicitous of her care. When he was a young man working away from home, his homecoming was always a special occasion to his family. He never failed to bring home some nice little treat, something that perhaps the father and mother had not been able to afford. He loved his grand children, his little grandson in Lovell, his name sake inquired each day of his parents “Is grandpa better today?”

I hope that you as I have looked beyond the seeming sternness of his face to see the twinkle of merriment in his eyes that reflects his delightful sense of humor and his love of life.

Men are of two kinds, and he was the kind I’d like to be. Some preached their virtues and a few express their lives by what they do. That sort was he - no flowery phrase nor gibly spoken words of praise, won friends for him. He wasn’t cheap or shallow, but his course ran deep. And it was pure - you know the kind, not many in this life you find whose deeds out run their words so far that more than what they seem - they are. There are two kinds of lives as well, the kind you live- the kind you tell. Back through his years from age to youth, he never acted one untruth and in the open light he fought and didn’t care what others thought, nor what they said about his fight. If he believed he was right. The only deeds he ever hid were acts of kindness which he did. What speech he had was plain and blunt. His was an unattractive front, yet children loved him. Babe and boy, played with the strength he could employ, without one fear, and they are -het to sense injustice and deceit.

Warranty Deed with Release of Homestead
"my beloved sons jointly"

Men are two kinds and he was the kind I’d like to be. No door at which he ever knocked against his manly form was locked. If ever man on earth was free and independent it was he. No broken pledge lost him respect. He met all men with head erect. And when he passed I think there went a soul to yonder firmament, so white so splendid so fine it came almost to God’s design.

Bro. Robb leaves the following family to mourn his passing, wife Mary, six sons. Clifton, Kenneth, Clair of Cowley, Walter of Lovell, Elton of Pleasant Grove Utah and Heber S. of Springville Utah, one sister Alice Wardell of Cowley, one brother Albertus Robb of Duchesne Utah, nine grandchildren, many friends and relatives.

The Six Robb Brothers
Front Row: Elton, Kenneth and Heber Robb
Back Row: Clair, Clifton and Walter Robb

In closing I would like to bear my testimony to the family of the truthfulness of the gospel. That God lives, that the greatest happiness in life comes from keeping the commandments of our Father in Heaven.

In the great plan of life and salvation over which like morning stars shouted for joy. Death was a necessary experience along the path to life Eternal.

William Heber Robb Monument
Cowley Cemetery Cowley, Big Horn Wyoming

Cowley Cemetery Cowley, Big Horn, Wyoming
Source: “Dedicated Memories” Funeral Memorial provided by Haskell Funeral Home, Lovell Wyoming.