Charles William Smith History
I, Charles William Smith, left with my parents when I was one year old from Beaver, Utah and settled in St Thomas, Nevada, on what was called "The Muddy". Father built a good home; took up land, farmed it and raised good crops. He paid all of his taxes and all was fine when the state officials came and demanded back taxes for their property, as the lines between the two states had been changed and they found themselves in another state. Father had already paid his taxes and had no money to pay again, so he was ordered to leave and the crops were ready to harvest and doing so well. But, we had to leave, so we took our horses and cows and family and started hunting a new home. We moved back into Utah and settled in Glendale or Long Valley. My parents had a family of four living children. We lived in Glendale about four years then moved to Sucker Springs, Wyoming. (Named for the Suckerfish) I caught such a large fish he almost pulled me into the spring. I was the hero until I found out those fish were not good to eat. At Sucker Springs my father went into the cattle business. While living there I was thrown from a horse and broke my hip. A mare ran away with me and was the cause of my broken hip. Father was a fairly good doctor and set the hip. I also had the measles and was left blind for about two years, and my older sister used to lead me around by my hand and I did not attend school. There was no chance for school in this isolated part, so I later took to riding and herding the cattle and had a little opportunity for an education. We lived here about four years and then moved to Haykers Fork. (I think it was in Wyoming, right on the Utah line) We were still in the cattle business. In winter we had much snow and we had lots of fun sled riding down the mountainsides. And the only companions I had was my two sisters and we had many good times together. We lived here about two years then moved over to the southern slope of the Uinta Mountain range into Vernal or better known as Ashfork. My father went to farming here as well as cattle raising. Sam and Bert were born here. A Burton family lived here while the Hand Cart Company was crossing the plains and two of those girls ran away and married. Mr. Burton, then learned to hate the Mormons and they lived right near us, but my mother never associated with the women in this family.
I made a remark to a man who was new in town and was hunting a bad girl, a terrible fight resulted and I got the best of it. These men were mad and while I as getting a load of wood with my father, this man came up to shoot me; but before he could do it my father shot him first. I was nineteen years old at the time. My father was tried and acquitted. John Rice was the man father killed. He was engaged to one of the Burton girls at the time, but after the trial it was found out he had a wife and three children in Denver, Colorado. My father always said that the killing never bothered him anymore than killing a coyote. We stayed here four years; three years before the shooting took place.
The last winter we stayed here was so bad, about 18 inches of snow on the level, we lost all our cattle but about fifteen head which we sold together with our home and moved to New Mexico. Father had been in Beaver for the winter and it was up to me to move the family, gather the cattle and head for my father in Strawberry Valley, Utah. We migrated there by wagon and landed in William's Valley or Pleasanton, New Mexico. Hyrum was born here; and we had an exciting experience with Geronimo, the great Indian Chief. I personally heard him kill a man and heard the Indian men yelling. The man was named Stromblad; they took everything he had. I got up and ran and told the soldiers but the Indians got away. They found the man and the horses and wagon were all cut up in pieces. I was on my way going to Silver City, New Mexico to pick up a load of freight but my wagon was empty and they didnít want me, but this man was loaded and they attacked him right after I had passed.
That was the year the Edmond's Mills went into effect, and that was the year so many people went to Mexico, 1882, in the fall of the year. I was coming with a four-horse load of merchandise for the mining camp I had driven all night to avoid the Indians and I came to what was known as Little Dry Creek, and just as I started down the grade my horses began to shy, and there lay a dead horse. I stopped and rolled it out of the road, and in the creek, there was another dead horse freshly shot with blood running out of it's side; Government saddles were on both horses. From there I put my horses to a heavy run with a big load over Creek rock bottom out into the open country where I could see where I was. I could look ahead of me and meet the soldiers, so I drove down and found out the Indians had killed one man and wounded another. The man killed was a Government doctor, and from what I heard, I am satisfied that those scouts that the government was sending and using had turned traitors to the government and caused the massacre, which lead the soldiers into a trap. The soldiers told me that the scouts were with the Indians firing on the soldiers and had probably supplied the Indians with a lot of ammunition. Father was a farmer while we lived here. The Indians passed right in front of our door one night and we never saw or heard them but the dog had made a fuss and we paid no attention to him.
We moved from this little town in 1886 and settled in Pima, on the Gila River. We lived here for about three months then traded ranches with Wiley Holliday in Eden for a few head of cattle and ten acres of land. We stayed here a couple of years and came down with malaria so bad but we managed to take care of one another. I, being the eldest one of the family was the main support; I went to the Chiricahua Mountains and worked at Dan Dawson's saw mill, sawing timber as a common laborer all summer. In the spring of 1888 I rigged up a team and went hauling lumber from the Chiricahua Mill to Bisbee, for the Copper Queen Mining Company. I also hauled coke from Wilcox to Globe, then I hauled lumber until the government closed the mill. The town where I stayed was known as the Wilgus Post Office and it was here that I met my wife and bought a home in St. David in the year 1893. All my children were born here. I freighted from Bisbee to Nacaraico, Mexico, the first year after moving to St. David and that year I took my family and moved to Gila Bend for three months, and lost all my wages as the contractor went broke. I came back to St. David and made it my home for the next forty years. I struck the third artesian well put down in St. David; the first well was sunk by John McCray; the second by Parley Sabin; and the third by myself. Here is where I had the misfortune of losing my left eye. I was going out into the hills for a load of wood and a little rock flew out from under the horseís foot and hit me in the eyeball. I went to all the doctors in the country, carrying the rock in my eye from the 23rd of July until the 17th of September, before I found a doctor who could remove the eye. Dr. McCokal in Benson, Peter Lofgreen, John Crosby, and my father assisted in the operation of removing my eye. It has never given me any trouble since.
About 1902, after my eye had been removed I went to Bisbee and worked in the mines for six or seven years. I moved my family here and here is where my family trouble started. My wife started to find other company while I was away on night shift. We lived together for about five years and a big strike came up in 1907. I went to Benson and worked in an ice plant; my wife stayed in Bisbee awhile then came to Benson and lived with me there. She sold the home in Bisbee, then we moved back in our home in St. David. In 1908 my wife and I separated; I stayed alone with four children to care for and raise. My wife went to Prescott and sued for a divorce and remarried. I stayed in St. David with children for four or five years. My wife took the baby girl and left the four older ones with me. Lilly the baby later went to Prescott to visit her mother and was married. The oldest boy wasn't mine, but hers by a former marriage. He went to his mother and became a foreman on a big cattle ranch, but the stepfather took him into his shop and made a mechanic of him and blacksmith. I left St. David and settled in Mesa with my children and there I made a failure in cantaloupes and cotton. I lost my home and moved to Buckeye, Arizona and set up my stepson in business in a blacksmith shop but he made a failure of it; and while there became interested in a girl by the name of Mildred Halvay, and married her and moved into Glendale, Arizona. I worked there on a State Farm for several months then got a job in Humbolt and had the children with me at this time. Here I worked two years; general hauling with team and teamwork. Winters were very cold and I couldnít make enough to feed my children and the team too, so I sold my team and worked for wages around a smelter and when spring opened up I bought another team and went to hauling again. While here my youngest daughter came to me and lived with me and I put her in school all summer and when winter came she got married at the age of fifteen.
When the fall began to come the work closed down so I took my youngest boy and went on a trip through the mountains trapping and for a general rest. I then returned to Mesa, Arizona and sold my team again and bought a shoe shop right on main street.
When war was declared my boys were drafted into the service of their country, and I sold my shoe shop and moved to Bisbee to bid my boys farewell before they went overseas, as they had been working in the mines in Bisbee. I stayed there by myself almost fourteen years in the shoe business. I moved into Tombstone Canyon and signed a contract to take over a shoe shop in Fort Huachuca. I moved to the Fort in 1927 and was there almost two years, and while there my mother died. I also had an automobile accident; I turned my car over and dislocated my neck, besides bruises, and hurt my left leg, which gave me much trouble.
In 1929 they moved all the soldiers out of the Post, leaving me without a job, so I moved to Coolidge, Arizona and still followed the same old business. Here I was taken down with an acute attack of appendicitis; I went to the doctor but he refused to operate on account of my age and I was released with a diet slip and instructions from the doctor to avoid another attack. On account of my condition, I sold my shop again and went to my son's in Seattle, Washington. I drove this trip all by myself suffering two attacks on my way, the patrol officers were real nice to me and helped me to my destination. The boys were at work when I arrived, but shortly were laid off, which left us without employment.
I later went to Hood River, Oregon to pick pears. It was about 123 miles away. While picking pears my ladder tipped and I fell onto a double furrow and hurt my back. I was carried to my car and spent the entire night in it; the next morning my boys helped me and I drove my car back to Woodard where my boys were staying. I was very sick on arrival and Carl's wife phoned all over for a doctor, and it was a long time before one could be located. Dr. Durby, who gave me an examination told me my appendix was ruptured and my only chance to live was to be operated on. I was rushed to the hospital and the operation was soon over with. The doctor asked me if I had anything to say: I said a prayer that the Lord's will be done, not mine. The doctor and nurse were very good to me and through their good care I was able to leave the hospital within twenty-one days. I then went to Oakland, California and stayed two months with my daughter, Wilda, and again bought a shoe shop and located in a little town called Senol (?). Here I was in business for about eight years, then moved to a little town called Shon, or Westwind and was in the shoe business there about two years. While there I buried my Ex-wife, beside her husband, Fox, in Fresno, California.
It was at this place that I took with a bad stomach condition and went to live again with my daughter, Wilda, and her husband, Al, who were living in Burley, California. From Burley they moved to Richmond, California and built a new home. While in Burley my son Carl, met with an accident while working under a house. A timber fell on his head and resulted in an abscess of the brain; he soon died and was buried in Mt. Shasta, California. Lillie and her husband had moved into Loma Linda, California where she died of a black widow spider bite.
From Richmond, California my daughter, Wilda, and her husband moved to Liberal, Kansas. I moved with them and from there we moved to Beaver, Oklahoma, and here we are at the time of this writing, September 20, 1949.
This was added by Laura McBride Smith, and told to her long ago at her home in Glenbar, Arizona. Although Charlie lived in Oklahoma his heart was in Arizona and he came back every chance he had and always visited with them.
When he lived in Mesa, Arizona he was alone and he had a few acres of land and had a truck garden. He always raised melons but seldom got to eat one of them, why? Because too many bad boys in that town and they would swipe them all. One summer Uncle Charley didnít plant melons but a few vines came up volunteer down below his house, nobody seemed to notice them so he watered them good and watched several nice melons really growing. He pulled vines over them and some weeks so no one would know a melon was there. One melon he knew would weigh forty pounds or more, he thumped it every morning; the cup and the curl were beginning to die and he said, "Just one more day and I pick that melon, yes sir." So to be sure of his prize that night he got suspicious and about 10 o'clock he took a heavy quilt and a pillow and his shot gun and slipped down to his precious melons; he would fool somebody. He spread down his quilt, lay down on his pillow and prepared to spend a sleepless night. (How he would laugh while telling this yarn; it was fun just to listen to him. Ha! Ha! And go on with the story)..
When Uncle Charlie got settled down for the night, he did enjoy the wonderful entertainment that followed. He said the night hawks were flying nearly all night long, a hoot owl sat in a tree close by and called to his mate down on the river bottoms and he heard her call back, a bird from down the fence sang so prettily and with the night creatures crawling through the weeds and over his feet he was sure he could keep awake all night. So Charlie lay and listened; he watched the stars and the moon, a few clouds floated by and it seemed that nature had gone all out to entertain him. Charlie said it wasn't hard to keep awake, but for some cause he opened his eyes and low and behold the rays of sunlight were creeping over the mountain and he rubbed eyes; surely he did not go to sleep, he was doing so well. (And he had to stop and laugh again) He said when he really came to himself, he was puzzled, there lay half of his big melon by his side; cut crosswise, and so pretty and red. Yum, it looked so good, but he was MAD, yes mad, after all his fun was spoiled, he was going to have fooling those boys, and to think they had fooled him so! Where was his gun? He got up and looked around and discovered it over by the fence. He asked himself how he could have been so stupid. He planned to fire that gun if those boys came, not to hurt anyone but to show those rascals who was BOSS, he said he wanted to cry he was so riled up. He picked up his pillow, quilt, gun, and half a melon. It was hard to carry, and it was a beauty, and walked to the house-----defeated.
Charles said after he cooled down a bit, he could see the funny side of it all, and he would do well if he could eat that half of his precious melon. He knew the boys would enjoy it and they were considerate of him; they didnít steal his gun, and they were just having a little fun at his expense. Christ said, Love your enemies, and now that it was over, he decided there is a lot of Honor, even among Thieves.
Charley had been to visit the Hyrum Smith home many times in his declining years and he was jolly and could tell stories by the dozens. He had a good memory and was a good storyteller. If one felt blue and needed cheering they had but to spend a few hours with Uncle Charlie and it would change the blues to all the colors of the rainbow.
Many years ago, Hyrum and Laura visited Charlie when he owned a shoe shop in Bisbee; we had a good visit and all went out to lunch together. He showed us a table full of shoes and boots all patched and polished, ready for delivery. They looked almost like new, so clean and pretty, then he showed us another table full of shoes awaiting The Masters Hand, and Charlie surely had it. He was good at anything he did; a good worker and thorough in all his labors. He was a good man and let me tell all of you related Smiths; when you read his history listen closely for even his brothers and sisters can testify that Charlie, being the oldest boy in the family shouldered more than his share working and feeding and caring for the support of the Smith family through many years. I hope his brothers and sisters appreciated what he did for them as they grew up. He had many sorrows bringing up his children, without a mother's care. Think of the souls (soles) he has saved through the years, for men, women, and children. All kidding aside, this brother, will have mansion and crown in heaven.
Laura McBride Smith
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