1852 - 1933 (81 years)
||John Zera Alger [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11] |
||15 Jan 1852
||Salt Lake City, Salt Lake Co., Utah, USA
||16 Jan 1933
||Enterprise, Washington Co., Utah, USA
||18 Jan 1933
||Enterprise, Washington Co., Utah, USA
- John was buried at the Enterprise City Cemetery.
||15 Feb 2017 |
||John Alger, b. 5 Nov 1820, New Lyme, Ashtabula Co., Ohio, USA , d. 4 Feb 1897, Saint George, Washington Co., Utah, USA (Age 76 years) |
||Sarah Ann Pulsipher, b. 2 Nov 1824, Spafford, Onondaga Co., New York, USA , d. 1 Jan 1909, Saint George, Washington Co., Utah, USA (Age 84 years) |
||6 Jan 1842
||Nauvoo, Hancock Co., Illinois, USA
- John and Sarah were married by Joseph Smith, the Mormon leader.
||Group Sheet | Family Chart
||Anna Mary Barnhurst, b. 18 Nov 1858, Fillmore, Millard Co., Utah, USA , d. 10 Jan 1945, Ivins, Washington Co., Utah, USA (Age 86 years) |
||16 Apr 1876
||Saint George, Washington Co., Utah, USA
| ||1. Mary Ellen Alger, b. 9 Jun 1878, Saint George, Washington Co., Utah, USA , d. 29 May 1959, Saint George, Washington Co., Utah, USA (Age 80 years)|
| ||2. John Zera Alger, Jr., b. 30 Aug 1880, Saint George, Washington Co., Utah, USA , d. 10 Nov 1959, Saint George, Washington Co., Utah, USA (Age 79 years)|
| ||3. Sarah Ann Alger, b. 24 Apr 1885, Huntington, Emery Co., Utah, USA , d. 17 Jul 1961, Ivins, Washington Co., Utah, USA (Age 76 years)|
| ||4. Ada Alger, b. 2 Jan 1888, Huntington, Emery Co., Utah, USA , d. 6 Mar 1919, Enterprise, Washington Co., Utah, USA (Age 31 years)|
| ||5. James Grant Alger, b. 3 Oct 1891, Cleveland, Emery Co., Utah, USA , d. 20 Mar 1893 (Age 1 years)|
| ||6. Addie Olivia Alger, b. 30 Apr 1894, Cleveland, Emery Co., Utah, USA , d. 29 Mar 1986, Saint George, Washington Co., Utah, USA (Age 91 years)|
| ||7. Jane Elizabeth Alger, b. 8 Apr 1897, Saint George, Washington Co., Utah, USA , d. 8 Apr 1897, Saint George, Washington Co., Utah, USA (Age 0 years)|
| ||8. Netina Priscilla Alger, b. 31 Aug 1898, Diamond Valley, Washington Co., Utah, USA , d. 23 May 1934, Simi Valley, Ventura Co., California, USA (Age 35 years)|
| ||9. Eva Pearl Alger, b. 23 Aug 1901, Enterprise, Washington Co., Utah, USA , d. 10 Jan 1987, Washington, Washington Co., Utah, USA (Age 85 years)|
||31 Jul 2015 |
||Group Sheet | Family Chart
(The following is an autiobiography of John Zera Alger - e-mail from Paul Dale Alger - 25 May 2012)
***John Zera Alger - 1852-1933
I was born at Salt Lake City, Utah, January 15, 1852. Father's home was located on the northeast corner of the block, on the west side of Main Street on Third South. When father was called to St. George he sold this home for nine hundred dollars and took his pay in a team of horses, harness and wagon, a yoke of oxen and three cows.
Before we moved south, Father helped to guard Echo Canyon, to keep the soldiers back, until his trousers were all worn out; so he had to make a pair out of a piece of stripped carpet he had to help him with his bedding. Those stripped carpet trousers he wore back into Salt Lake City when he was through guarding. When they were expecting the soldiers to march into Salt Lake, I was only a small boy. I helped Father stand sticks on end and pile
kindling to set fire to our house. This, of course, was never done as the soldiers marched straight through. I sat on a post and watched them march through.
Mother had a brother by the name of William Pulsipher who lost his mind. He lived with us, because Father had a great control over him. One day Uncle William sat on a bench outside the saddle-tree shop that belonged to my father. Uncle Will sat for some time with his arm around me, looking at me. He talked a little but looked more. Then he shot up, went to the chopping block and raised the ax and was going to chop off his own head. In a frightened voice I called to Father, who came running and caught the ax before any harm was done. He asked Uncle Will what he was doing. Uncle Will replied, "Either Johnny or I has to have our heads cut off and I thought it had better be me." He had always seemed to think a great deal of me.
In my early youth many and many a time I gathered SEGO and other kids of roots for the family to eat. I was a peddler in my childhood days too. Father was a maker of splendid saddle-trees which were in great demand at that day. The soldiers was well as other men would pay my father's price for the saddle-tree and then give me a good price for myself for bringing them the saddle-tree. I also peddled hoops (a ridiculous thing the women wore in those days) which Mother made. I did not like to peddle hoops so well as the women paid me no bonus for myself as the men did for the saddle-tree.
In the early fifties, Father was called to Fort Supply to build a flour
mill. He, of course, took his family with him. I used to like to sit on the bank of the stream that afforded the power to run the large
coffee-mill-thing that ground the wheat. One day when my oldest sister, Sarah Ann, was tending the mill I sat on the bank watching an eddy whirl beneath me. All at once the bank gave away carrying me into the eddy. Sarah Ann heard me cry and ran for Father. I must have been the next thing to dead when Father pulled me out. But they were able with repeated effort to bring me to.
I have always had a great love in my heart for the Indians. When I was a very small boy, one chilly fall morning, I slipped out of the back door and ran bare footed through an inch or two of snow, a half of a mile to play with the papooses. The Chief, Ba-zeel, saw me coming and came out to meet me. Picking me up he carried me into the wigwam where his squaw was working on a pair of moccasins. Ba-zeel held me on his knee, warmed my feet and, as
Sonas the squaw finished the moccasins, he put them on my feet and proudly wore them home.
Some two or three years later I was old enough to herd cows with the other boys of the neighborhood. These boys carried a lunch, poor, but a lunch just the same, as they had to stay with the cows all day. A low dispositioned Indian discovered this fact and would come every day and take the little fellow's lunches away from them. I dug a hole in the river bank and hid my lunch. The Indian could not find it. This angered him for he had not got filled up on the other boy's lunches. He seized me by one arm and one leg
and swung me out over the river telling me he would throw me in if I did not tell him where my lunch was. I would not tell, but was saved by my old friend Chief Ba-zeel who happened to ride up at that moment with about twenty of his men. He kicked the Indian several times and made him clean out. Then taking his own boy off his pony and putting him on his horse behind him, he placed me on the pony's back and told me to lead him to my father as he wanted to see him. This I gladly did and the bunch of Indians camped for a few days behind Father's home. The Indian who had been stealing
the lunches never bothered the boys again. While at Fort Supply Father, as well as running the grist mill, cut out and built a sawmill. Later, when word reached them that the soldiers were coming, this mill was torn down. The wood part was set afire and the iron was thrown in the river.
Just before the move south Father lived at Payson for a little while. Here the following incident happened which made a great impression on me. James Bracken, with two other men, were out camping and chopping timber. All at once, Jim threw down his ax and started for town on the run calling to the other two, "Come on boys, the Indians are coming." The other two straightened up looked around asking, "Where Jim, where?" Jim replied, "I don't know. I can't see them but I know they are coming and I am going to town." The other two laughed at him and would not go. He went to town and gathered up a crowd of men and boys, and returned to where he had left the two men and found them both dead. They had been killed by the Indians.
With the team of horses, a yoke of oxen and the two wagons he had received for his home in Salt Lake, Father moved to St. George with Thomas S. Terry, his brother-in-law. They arrived there in December of 1862. I was then ten years old. At the age of twelve I drove an oxen team all the way back to Salt Lake. Father and Mother went at the same time but they had horses and
would go ahead of me. They stopped to visit until I would catch them, then they would go on again. Up the country where the road used to cross the Sieve River there was a little hill, from the summit of which was a full view of the river crossing some little time before it was reached.
In those days people traveled in companies as much as possible to insure protection against the Indians. When I reached the top of the little hill, in full view of the river crossing, I saw a four horse rig go over the side of the ridge into the river, horses, wagon, people and all. I did not spare my oxen but made them go as fast as they would go, pulling off my cowhide boots and extra clothing as I went. As soon as I reached the riverside I plunged in to assist in rescuing the outfit. I had learned to be an excellent swimmer and so was a big help although only a boy. The family was all rescued first, then all the rest of the day, I, with others dove into the river to recover the man's load of lead. The man's name was Sam Lewis. In the tip-over, Mr. Lewis' wagon was broken. offered to trade wagons with
him, knowing that although young, I could manage a broken wagon better with oxen than Mr. Lewis could horses. After we had traded wagons, Mr. Lewis told me he had a nice girl he would give me for being so kind as to trade with him. But I never got the girl.
I helped dig foundations, hauled some of the timber and rock to build at St. George. And in fact I helped on every public building St. George at the time. Once while the Tabernacle was being constructed a crowd of boys were put under the supervision of Mr. Coplin to go to Pine Valley for lumber. I got off a little earlier than the rest in the morning and so arrived at the sawmill at Pine Valley a little ahead of the others. Thus, when Mr. Coplin and the rest of the other boys arrived, I had my load partly on. Mr. Coplin came over to me, noted how I was putting on my load, saw I had my "mormon" brake all fixed, as it was all steep road back to St. George, then left me to go and help those whom he could see needed his help more. Again I got off earlier than the rest of the boys and so did not see or think of Mr. Coplin again on the trip. Then next morning during Sabbath meeting Mr. Coplin was asked to give a report on his trip. He told them how little Johnny Alger had made the trip successfully doing everything by himself even to finish his "mormon" brake and that when he and the rest of the boys got back they found Johnny's lumber neatly in its place.
At the age of fourteen I made a trip to Beaver with two mules and one horse. I worked on the fields until I had earned a load of flour with which I returned to St. George. On my fifteenth birthday the telegraph wires were brought to St. George. Mr. Ben Pattic had the contract of carrying the mail from St. George to Calls Landing, on the Colorado River, near where Boulder Dam now stands. Mr. Pattic's carrier stopped carrying the mail. He said he would not make another trip. The Indians were too much on the war path and
only about three white men could be found between the two places a whole week's ride. Mr. Pattic was hunting someone to take the mail. He met Erastes Snow, who was president of the St. George stake at that time, on the street. He asked him if he had any idea where he could get a man. I happened to be on the street at the same time and President Snow saw me. Pointing to me he said to Mr. Pattic, "There is a boy who will take it for you." Mr. Pattic asked me about it and I told him I did not like the looks of the job.
President Snow turned to me and said, "Johnny, you can carry that mail all right," and he laid his hand on my shoulder.
I took the job and was not molested but once in all the time I carried it. That once I will relate. I was going through what they called Black Canyon. As I came around one point I looked ahead sharply as was my custom, and saw an Indian dodge quickly behind a huge rock some distance ahead. I sopped my mule and pondered some few moments as to the safety of going ahead. I
decided that to go ahead was just as safe as turning back although I had no idea how many Indians were behind that rock. I drew both my revolvers, I always carried two, and held one level at that rock. Letting the mule take his natural gait I rode on down the canyon. As I rounded the rock, I could easily have counted my heart beats. It was well I had my pistol leveled for there sat the Indian with an arrow drawn back ready to let fly. On seeing my guns, however, he dropped his bow and arrow and cried, "Tick-a-boo,
Tick-a-boo-Tio-Wetcha, Tick-a-boo," meaning in his language, he as a friend or was very friendly. Of course I took no chances, as I made him ride ahead of me down to Calls Landing where I always camped overnight. I made a fire and put my blankets on one side and made the Indian lie down on the other side. I showed him I was putting my guns under my head and told him if he moved during the night I would kill him. We both lay down and I imagine both
fell asleep immediately. I know I did for I was tired and he must have been just as tired. At any rate, when I awoke the next morning he had not moved from the position he was in when I went to sleep. I made him ride ahead of me again, back to the Big Muddy where I left him in charge of Jennings, the Indian agent there.
At the time of the Indian war I herded cattle and horses under Captain John Pulsipher at Shoal Creek, Washington County, Utah. One night when I was helping guard the horses, the Indians set fire to a hay stack in another part of town to draw the guards from the corral. The older men told Willmer Burgess another young man, and myself to keep an eye on the horses and to call if anything happened and they would go see what was burning. Willmer
was on one side and I was on the other. The older men had scarcely got out of sight when I saw something moving in the brush not far from where I stood, in the shade of the fence. I noiselessly raised my gun but waited my fire to see if I was going to kill something or someone that should not be killed. I saw an Indian creep from the brush and reach for a post. I was about to shoot when Willmer let out a yell on the other side of the corral.
That halted my finger for a second but was long enough for my Indian to dodge back into the brush, and so I did not get him, a thing for which I am now thankful, but then I considered it terrible luck. The next morning we discovered their strategy. The Indians had previously somehow unknown to anyone, chopped the posts almost off for a space of some five or six feet close by where I was standing and the Indian I saw was to pull these posts over and the Indian that Willmer had seen on the other side of the corral was to scare the horses through the opening. Willmer's yell saved both the
horses and the Indian.
During the summer that I was sixteen years old, I worked for Uncle William Pulsipher, who then lived with his family at Hebron. He also owned a little farm down at Gunlock, Utah. He raised a crop
of corn on that land and we had gathered the corn in a hurry and piled the ears in the little crib that stood on the place. Uncle Will asked me if I thought I could go to Gunlock, with the team and wagon, and get a load of the corn. The Indians were bad there at that time but I thought I was a man so I told him I would go alone.
I took his team of fine horses, worth at least $300 and went. I arrived at Gunlock all right, loaded my wagon with ears of corn, ready to start back early the next morning. I tied my horses close to my wagon, then went to the cabin, made a fire and started to prepare my supper. By this time it was good and dark. I heard one speak in the Indian language then they turned and went back. The thought struck me they intended to back out of hearing, then
sneak up and see what I had worth taking. I immediately kicked out my fire, caught up my pistols and crawled between my horses. No one will ever know the suspense I endured that night. All night long I crowded between my horses expecting every second to have a band of Indians creep up on me. I would have actually been relieved if the Indians had come, but they didn't and, of course, when daylight came I was thankful. I hitched up my horses and returned to Hebron in safety. On my way back I met some men that told me they had given Uncle Will a jacking up for sending me off alone and that the Indians had shot one man up on the range from where I was and had gathered up a bunch of cattle and horses and started out of the country with them.
How I first met my wife:
I was helping my father build a house in Cedar City, in the month of
December in the year of 1875. We had finished the house and on friday before Christmas they gave a house-warming and, of course, I was invited. I sat on one of the back rows of hastily constructed seats by a girl friend. She was learning me to talk the deaf and dumb language on my fingers. We had been talking it for some time. Soon a pretty young girl and her mother entered the room together. I took a good look at the young girl as they came
straight toward me. My girl friend introduced me to them then they took seats directly in front of us. As soon as their backs were turned I told my girl friend on my fingers that was my wife she had just introduced me to. We snickered and whispered behind their backs which of course was rather rude and it hurt Miss Barnhurst and her mother's feelings. They thought we were making fun of them. They didn't stay long and when they arose to go I arose
also and thought I would ask to see them home. But my father having previously met them and not knowing my intentions rose also to accompany them home. When he saw my idea he sat down but I had perceived him at the idea and also sat down. This made the rest of the company laugh at us, but it also made Miss Barnhurst and her mother think the whole house was laughing at them.
The next night, Saturday, there was a dance from which I mustered up courage to ask to take Miss Barnhurst home, and was not refused. The next night, I also took her home from meeting. This time she asked me in the house but just as I went to sit down her father said, "Look here, young man, you need not sit down. It's time you were going home." "But I like your girl and I want to get acquainted with her," I replied. "That's all right, but you must come in the daylight," was the reply. At that I took my leave but the
next morning just as the sun was peeking over the mountain I knocked at their door.
After a few days of persistent courting I persuaded her parents to let her and her twin sister go to St. George with me and get acquainted with my people. They stayed in St. George two weeks then I took them back to Cedar City. I did not see her again until President Erastes Snow called me to go on a mission to Arizona, among the Indians, then I went up to Cedar City and got her and we were married on the 16th of April, 1876 by my father. The temple was not yet completed then. When it was we were married
in it by President Wilford Woodruff.
About the 4th of April, President Snow called me into his home and asked me how I would like to go on a mission. "If I felt that I was worthy to go I would be glad to go, but you know I couldn't preach a sermon if I was going to be hung," I replied. "Very well John," he repled, "we don't want you to preach, we are calling you among the
Indians." At this I said, "Oh, that's different, I'll go there." He answered, "But we want you to take a wife with you." "Oh, you do," said I. "It seems to me Brother Snow, that's dangerous place
for a man to say nothing of a woman. There wouldn't any woman go with me." "Now Johnny, I know how it is with you and Miss Barnhurst. She will make you a splendid wife and she will go with you," President Snow replied. Then he placed his hands on my head and gave me a wonderful blessing, telling me, among other things that not one hair on my head nor any of my company's should be touched if I would in all cases use my own judgement. Later events will show how this promise was kept.
On the 20th of April, 1876, my wife and I, John McComal, and James Pierce left St. George on our mission. When we got within about 20 miles of the Colorado River, we met ten or twelve wagons returning. These outfits had been called previously. They stated the man who ran the ferry across the Colorado would not put them across declaring it was too dangerous on account of high water. They insisted on us going back with them. Having my young wife with me made me hesitate. But on talking it over with her, she said we had been called by proper authority and if we did all that was in our power the way would be opened up for us to get across, so we went on. Our traveling companions said if we could make it they could, so they went on with us.
When we got to the river we did have quite a time to get the ferry man to row us across. It was very dangerous. He wouldn't even try to use the big boat, he knew it would be useless, so we had to make a good many trips to get all our things across. When it came to towing my wagon box across we had to go up stream quite a ways to start because of a very rough rapids just below the landing. We just got started good when we were struck by a whirlpool. When this let go of us it shot us straight for the bank we just
had left. We climbed out, went up stream and started again but were again caught in a whirlpool and this time were carried past the landing and were rapidly being carried down to the rapids. The bank we were passing was very steep. No landing whatever. But just ahead I saw a bunch of willows. I tore my outer clothing from me, took the rope with which I was towing my wagon
box in my teeth and sprang into the water. I swam for the bunch of willows, which was the means of saving us. Pulling the wagon box and boat out of the whirlpool up to the bank I had them where together we could manage them and finally got back up the landing.
There were two horses we could not swim the river. These we had to tow across behind the boat. The last trip we took these two horses and my wife. I did not think they would cause us any
trouble, but one of them tried to climb right into the boat nearly capsizing it.
It was late afternoon on the second day before we got everything across and it was eight miles to the next water so dark settled down about us good and thick before we were anywhere near our intended destination. I could look down on the left side of my wagon and see the ground, but on the right side it was so dark I could see nothing. I thought this a little queer as there was no moon nor any light to make it darker on one side of the wagon than on
the other. I drove along however trusting that it was all right and the horses would keep to the road. Finally the horses stopped dead still and I dared not urge them on until I got out and examined the road. I found we were ready to start down a very steep hill. It was so steep that I thought I would rather make a dry camp than to try to go down it that night.
When the other two men came up they wanted to know what was the matter I had stopped. "I'm going to make camp," I replied. "Here's a place I don't care to go down in the dark."
"Oh, Pshaw! We're not going to make a dry camp. It can't be such a great ways on to water," they exclaimed and turned out around me to pass by and go on.
When they came to the steep place their horses also stopped. They got out and examined the road which decided them to make a dry camp also.
In those days we just turned our horses loose to pick their own supper. So the next morning, I was up early to hunt the horses. Their tracks led back the way we had come. In going back the road after them I discovered why I couldn't see the ground on the right side of my wagon the night before. There wasn't any. For a long ways we had traveled right on the edge of the Grand Canyon. One step to the right would have plunged us hundreds of feet
on the rocks below. When I got back to camp with the horses I told Mary, my wife, it was a good thing we had gone over that part of the road in the dark for I was afraid I wouldn't have had the courage to have drove over it so close and so far when I could have looked down in that mighty chasm.
When we were ready once more to start our journey, Mary said she would rather walk down that steep place. I told her I supposed it would be safer. My seat was our churn. I had no more than got started down when my brake broke and turned loaded wagon loose onto the horses of which I was driving four with lines only on the leaders. I sprang over the wheelers, caught them by the bits and whipped leaders with my hat to keep them out of the way. Horses, wagon, man and churn all piled up at the bottom but nothing was harmed outside of bruises, cuts, scratches and a general tanglement, thanks to the Father of us all who will always guard us if we do our duty while working for Him.
We arrived in Moan Coppy just one month to the day on which we left St. George. Mary and I did not go into the fort but made us a little camp down by a small spring. I set the wagon box off for a bedroom and cleared a few of the willows away from in front of it leaving some around to form a kitchen, then I went to plowing and planting corn.
One day I saw a bunch of Indians coming over the hill on the other side from where I was working. I grabbed my gun and crawled through the willows to a place where I could see all that was going on in camp, where my most precious possession was, my wife. The Indians rode up, got off their horses, jabbered to Mary, examined everything in sight, then one big burly fellow started to crawl into her bedroom, the wagon box. She pulled him out and
tried to talk to him but of course he couldn't understand. He pulled away from her and started to crawl back in. Again she pulled him out and again he crawled back. This time when she pulled him out one of the other Indians pushed him out of camp and he slunk off. One of the Indians saw a small looking glass she had hanging up and what a time they had with it. One old fellow it frightened terribly and they got him to look into it only once. They wanted
to take it away with them but Mary wouldn't let them have it.
When Daniel N. Wells arrived with another company he advised us to move to the fort with the rest as the Indians were getting a little sassy. This we did.
About a quarter of a mile south of the Fort lived a little village of Orabai or Hopi Indians. They were much more civilized than the Navajos or any other tribe around that country. They had their race track and their children from the time they were two years old were taken out and forced to run so far according to their age.
One morning a deer was seen bounding over a hill not far from the fort. A young Indian of the Hopi tribe named Lye snatched up a butcher knife and started after it on foot. That same afternoon he returned with the deer on his shoulders. Mary and I both saw him and we both saw him return with the deer. I asked him how he caught it. He replied, "Him got tired. Me catch him."
The Orabai Chief's name was Tubie. When the Temple in St. George was finished he and his squaw were married in it. They felt very bad when we left Moan Coppy. His squaw cried.
Above the Fort, north lived 30 to 50 Navajos. The main big Chief over this tribe was called Peacon. In this tribe was a young Chief called Jack, a son-in-law of old Peacon's. Jack came often to the fort with some of his young bucks and I enjoyed getting out and running races and wrestling with them. Jack was a nobel handsome young Indian and he and I became great friends. About two years previous to our going to Moan Coppy, Old Peacon had a son killed by some white men. President Brigham Young had paid him
somewhere around $200 and he (Brigham Young) thought it was all settled with him. But the Old Chief still thought he had ought to have a white man to torture and kill.
One day Peacon rode up to the Fort with about 20 warriors and demanded that we give up one of our men to pay for his son that had been killed. Of course his demand was refused. Then he threatened the entire camp but finally rode away without doing anything. However, the next day they returned all in their war paint and this time they meant business. But with them was young Chief Jack with his little band of followers.
Peacon demanded once more that a man be given him to torture and kill, or he would kill the whole bunch of us and we knew he could easily do it. When a man was refused him again he drew his men back a little distance from the Fort and held a council with Jack, the young chief.
Ira Hatch could understand and interpret all Indian language. He and I crawled out back of the Fort near enough to where they were holding their council that we could hear what they were saying. Old Peacon was in for slaughtering us all right then and there but Jack, God bless him and his posterity, pleaded for us. Finally Peacon grew angry and said he would not talk any longer but was going to "kill." Ira Hatch went white. I was much darker in complexion than Ira but I imagine I went whiter. Then it was that young Chief Jack's real friendship showed. He rode squarely in front of old
Peacon and told him he would have to go over him and his small bunch of men before he could get to the Fort. The Old Chief lowered his head and slowly rode back to his wickiup followed by his warriors. He never bothered us again. It wasn't long after this when Jim Brown called for a volunteer to go to the river for flour. A trip of 75 miles with a span of mules. I really felt like one of the men who wasn't married should take that trip but none of them volunteered, so I went.
The latter part of September Mary and I returned to St. George to be married in the Temple fully intending to come back to Moan Coppy the next spring. But that fall they called my father on a
mission to the east and so they relieved me to look after his affairs while he was gone.
That same spring we went to Panguitch to work in the harvest. I cradled grain, hauled and stacked it and then John Ray and I fixed up an old threshing machine that had been discarded two or three years before and we ran it as long as there was any grain to thresh.
While we were in Panguitch, Young Chief Jack came through with about 200 other warriors and chiefs on their return trip from Salt Lake City, where they had been to fix up a peace treaty. I was out in the back yard chopping wood. I did not notice the Indians as some of them went up the street but Jack saw and recognized me. He came running up, caught me in his arms and actually threw me up in the air; caught me, hugged me, then threw me in the air, catching and hugging me again. All the while making a peculiar cry. He seemed so glad to see me he didn't know how to act and I was just as glad to see him. I had not forgotten, nor will I ever forget that he saved our lives at Moan Coppy.
When we went to Panguitch we landed there with a small team and a wagon. When we left, in three months time, we left with four horses, harnesses and wagons loaded with flour and grain, two head of cows and yearling heifers. I bought a house and lot and sold it when we left.
We went from Panguitch to St. George and stayed there until the next spring, when we moved out to the Buckskin Mountains with one good team of horses, harness and a wagon. Soon after we got there our best horse died. I took the other horses and went back to Pipe Springs where I traded for two yoke of cattle, yoke and chains. I came back to Buckskin Mountains and ran a dairy and logged at the sawmill. My brother and sister-in-law were there to help. We worked there about three months.
We moved back to St. George and then to Cedar City, from Cedar to Clover Valley. At Holt's ranch another good horse died. We hired another horse and went on to where Enterprise now stands. As I lifted my wife out of the wagon, I stepped back and fell over a sage brush, which frightened the horses and started them to running. My wife fell between the wheels of the wagon but I caught her and jerked her out so that the wagon only went over one foot. The horses ran off and left us, one of them being lower, turned them out of the road and cramped the wagon over a big bush. I caught them about a mile up the road. We went on to Clover Valley about thirty-five miles west. There I did considerable trading and trafficking around. I got another good pair of horses. We stayed there all winter, hauling lumber from the sawmill to Pioche.
In the spring we went to Hebron where I traded horses and got a right good team. We then went back to St. George and hauled wood. Johnny Moody wanted to trade cattle for my team. While coming in with a load of wood I found an outfit coming into town trading horses for cattle. I looked through the band and found some extra good mares. I picked out four and told the men I would pay them cattle in about a week. I then traded my horses to John Moody for cattle and went with him up to Diamond Valley to gather the cattle and receive my mares.
On the ninth of June, 1878, I got word from my wife that I was needed at home. When I got home I found my first child had just come into this world. We named her Mary Ellen.
I started to breaking my mares. I got them so I could handle them, by then the baby was two weeks old and we had to go show it to my wife's parents at Cedar City.
I left my wife and child in Cedar City and went back to a mining camp called Silver Reef, 18 miles north of St. George. I worked there about six months. Then I came over to a sawmill north of there and hauled lumber for the Silver Reef mine.
I went down to Sandy and built a feed station on the road, halfway between Silver Reef and Bleview on the main road to Milford. I moved my wife and child to Sandy and ran the feed stable. I took a contract to haul all the lumber to Silver Reef. I hired teams to do the hauling and made a fair profit. A fellow came from Toker
and wanted to start a saloon with me. I would not do it so I sold out to him making a good profit on my station.
I went back to Cedar and bought a city lot and built a house. I just got the house nearly finished when I sold out and went to Beaver Dam Wash in the county called Bull Valley, filled with wild cattle. These cattle were supposed to have been started from the Mountain Meadow Massacre.
I caught and killed 83 head of cattle, and sold the beef and hides. I had a permit from the county.
From there we went to St. George and bought a house and lot from John Moody. There my first son, John Zera, was born on August 30, 1880.
That fall and winter I hauled ore from the mines in Silver Reef to the
river. I made two trips a day when most of the men just made one trip.
Then I went to the mouth of the Beaver Dam Wash about twelve miles from Mesquite and fourteen from Bunkerville. I took up a section of land by squatter's claim, the land not being in government survey at that time. We stayed there and worked and got a good home started on the main road from Silver Reef, Utah, to the mines in Arizona.
We stayed there about two years, when the children and I took the chills and fever. I said if my wife came down with the fever, I would move out. My father had moved there by this time, also. A short time afterward, my wife took down with the fever. Inside of three days I was on the road again. I left everything we had.
I took my family into St. George and then went to Huntington, Emery County, in the eastern part of the state. There I took up a homestead. In Huntington, I fell in with the President of the Stake who had just bought a new threshing machine. It had come in new, all torn down. Orange Crealy, the owner, hired me to set up this thresher and run it all through the threshing season. I took grain for my work. Then I took my wife and family from St. George to my new homestead.
When I left St. George, I left with only $50 and one team of horses, harness and wagon. When I got within 60 miles of Huntington, I fell in with a man moving in there with a big load of lumber, shingles, and two yoke of cattle. I traded my horses with harness and wagon for the two yoke of cattle, chains and wagon loaded with lumber and shingles and a gun.
I put my wife and family and bed on top of the load. I took a bull-whip in my hand and went afoot to Castle Dale, where my grain was stored. There I sold my oxen and wagon to Orange Crealy also including the use of a team to move over onto my homestead. In a very few days I had a new house with a shingle roof, the only house in town with a shingle roof.
I bought me a small team of mares, then traded them to a horse man for two bigger horses. I plowed and put in a very good crop which I harvested in the fall. I bought a half interest in the threshing machine I had run the fall before. I ran it until the harvest was very near through, when I sold my interest making a very good profit on the deal. I went back and stayed through the winter on my homestead. Early the next spring I took my family back to St.
George for a visit, about three-hundred miles. On coming back I drove up to the house and left the wagon and harness standing by the house to unload. Early the next morning I took what money I had except forty dollars and went to town to pay all the little bills I owed. While in town, someone called my attention to a fire down our way. I looked up and saw that my house was on
fire. I jumped on my horse and ran for the fire. I had a twenty-five pound keg of powder under my bed in the housed. I was afraid my wife would get hurt with the powder, trying to get things out of the house. I was riding a big stallion, and every jump I picked him up with the spurs.
The first thing I met was our cat, with his tail about as big as a man's
arm, and I have never seen him since. About two hundred yards from the house, I met my two little children by the side of the road crying. I had seen the powder explode about a half mile before this. When I saw my children and not my wife, it gave me a scare. But when I got to the house I found my wife trying to pull a three and a quarter wagon from the house. With my help we saved the wagon and harness. Everything was burned, we had nothing left but the clothes we stood up in and wagon, harness and a small
trunk with a few clothes in it. I went to town and rented a small house. We used goods boxes for chairs and table. My cousin gave us an old stove. The neighbors gave my wife a few dishes so we started to keep house again. It was a new country and the people all very poor.
The next spring I traded my team and got a lot and house, here our third child Sarah Ann was born on the 24th of April in 1885. My homestead that spring started into an old swamp. I started to look for a good tract of land. I found a fine tract on the other side of the river. I fixed a survey outfit and surveyed a canal onto it. I started it about eleven miles away to see if the water would go over the summit. I took a spirit level and took long shots along the land until I found the water would go over the summit with about fifteen foot fall.
I then went into Huntington and told the Bishop of the town. He admitted that it was the best tract of land in the country, but said the water would not go over the summit. It took some time to persuade him I was right, but finally I got him to go and help me make a truer survey.
After he had done the sighting and I had carried the staff, he became satisfied that I was right. He went back into Huntington and called a meeting but with all the talking we could do we could get but nine men to believe that it could be done. They said it had been tried so many times and failed.
We worked for about eight or ten days when a company of thirty or thirty-five men came from San Pete looking for homes. I stopped them and showed them our project. They would not go in with us until I proved to them that the water would go over the hill by running it in a plowed furrow over the first hill on the survey. They went out and looked at the tract of land and became fully satisfied and the project was all right and they went to work. We organized a company, they put me in general manager. I had no
trouble getting all the help I needed to finish the canal.
The first and second seasons after the canal was finished happened to be very dry seasons. Our canal was so large that the people on the balance of the river got uneasy and put an injunction on our canal.
I, with two other men, directors of the company, went to Salt Lake City. We hired a lawyer and lifted the injunction. This, of course, started a lawsuit. The people of Huntington sent to Salt Lake City for the authorities of the Church to come down. A meeting was called, a referee was decided on between the two contestants to prevent the lawsuit. I, not being satisfied with the referee, because I thought we didn't have our share of the water, decided to go up into the hills to see if I could find a place for a reservoir. I took one man with me, went up and found a place where we could make an extra good reservoir very cheap. That would give us a first class water right, the best in the country.
We started right to work, the two of us, so as to be sure to preserve the reservoir right. While we were working, three men came by in a white top buggy. After sizing the situation up they offered us two thousand dollars if we would quit and give them the chance to take hold. I told them, "No" I was taking it for the Cleveland Canal Company and would not sell.
After we went back and told the Company what I had found, the president of the company was afraid we could not get the water through the main river, but would talk with the people on the other side and see. I told him I knew better, that we could take it through the river and have it measured out again.
He went and talked with the Huntington Company and others and they said, "No," we could not put it in and take it out as a whole. He came back to me and wanted me to let the people that owned the whole river make the reservoir. I said, "No, that reservoir sight belongs to me and Ray Cowley and unless the Cleveland Company will take it, I will build it myself and keep it." He said, "Well, if you think you are able to, I guess that is what you had better do."
I looked around the found ten men belonging to our company who believed as I did in regards to taking the water out in an individual ditch. They said they would stay with me in whatever I thought in regards to the reservoir.
We fixed up and went to work. We did work enough on the reservoir to hold it for one year. Then we tried the Company again, to see if they would not accept of it. They refused unless I would let the whole river have it. We said, "No," and went to work on it again for another year.
We continued on it the same for three or four years. Then there was a man elected president of the company by the name of ____. He knew something about the laws of water transfer. With his influence and assistance of others who began to learn something about it, they decided to take the reservoir.
We let them have it for just what it had cost us up to date, on the
condition that the company individually should own it. The company then went to work and completed the reservoir, which gave them the best water right in the country.
We moved out to Cleveland on the homestead of my brother. He
took up the homestead. I furnished all the expenses and was to have half, when he proved up.
I hauled water in barrels five miles to build me an adobe house and make the adobe bricks. It was the first adobe house in Cleveland and was used for Church and amusement hall for the town.
While living there I went to Huntington one day. I met a man there by the name of Kinber who had a bunch of nice horses. I bought them and was to pay for them in cattle later in the fall. I traded the horses, making a good profit on my deal. Mr. Kinber, waiting there to receive the stock that I was owing him, helped gather the cattle, consequently he knew just about the profit I had made. He wanted me to come out to Grove Creek where they lived and take a large bunch of horses. Saying that he would go in with me, he thought we could get the horses cheap and make good profits on our deals.
I fixed up and went to Grouse Creek early the next spring and bought something over two hundred head of horses on very good terms, by the time we reached Castle Valley, other horses had been brought in there so that horses had come down in price and we made a very little profit.
I took a beef contract. I borrowed sixteen thousand dollars from L.C. Slavens in Kansas City. I went out onto the Boulder Mountain and bought nine hundred head of the best kind of steers and beef cows. I got onto the reservation in fine shape, everything looked favorable. Then it commenced snowing and the hardest winter set in that had ever been known since the country was settled.
The snow fell in the early part of the winter from three to four feet deep all over the country. My cattle, strangers to the country, died off like sheep with the rots. I found as high as fifteen head dead under one tree. So I had to draw up twenty-five thousand dollars in order to fill my contract. This money I was paying six percent interest on. After I had paid all the money back, with four percent interest, I wrote a letter to L.C. Slavens telling him I had paid him all I could at present, that I was broke, but as soon as I could, I would pay him his interest.
He wrote me a long letter stating that he had kept tab on me the whole time and for me to forget the balance of the interest. This showed me that he was an honorable and just man.
My daughter Ada was born January 2nd, 1888, while we lived in Huntington.
I then settled down and went to farming in Cleveland. I was speculating in real estate. On October 3rd, 1891, our second boy was born. We named him James Grant. He died on March 20, 189_.
I bought a homestead three miles from Cleveland and bought ___ acres of land joining, which made me two hundred and ____ acres in one body. I built a house and moved onto this land. There
another girl, Addie Olivia, was born on April 30th, 1894.
In about two years my brother-in-law and I traded property. I got property in St. George and also stock in the Enterprise Canal Company. We left Cleveland about Christmas and moved into St. George. I found my father sick. He was with my
sister in St. George. I took him home, hired two doctors. He was then seventy-six years old and had a bad case of blood poison. They thought they had it about cured when it broke out with gangrene on the opposite leg from the one that was first hurt. It soon took him off.
Our seventh child, Jane Elizabeth was born and died on April 8, 1897.
I then traded for property in Diamond Valley, twelve miles north of St. George. There our next child, Netina Priscilla was born August 31, 1898.
I traded my property in DiamondValley for a ranch five miles southwest of Enterprise. From there I bought a house and lot and some land in Hebron and moved there. It was here on the 23rd of August, 1901, our ninth child, Eva Pearl, was born.
Then after living in Hebron a year or so I took a trip to Hatch Town where my wife's people lived. I took a notion to the country and got some property, then ordered a house built on it. Then I came back, sold part of my property in Enterprise and Hebron and moved my family to Hatch Town.
The country seemed too cold so I left there after two years. I took a four-horse outfit and went down on the railroad leaving my family in Hatch Town. On my way I stopped with my sister, Addie Price who lived in St. George. I had sold my ranch to her which I had at Enterprise. She let me have my ranch back again. After working on the railroad all winter, I sold my team to the railroad company.
The company was to ship one wagon with some traps in back to Modena on the deal. I was badly crippled with the rhuematics. When I landed in Enterprise I was going on crutches. My wife met me there. I rode on the flat car with my trappings coming home; got rolled by a hold up, but he didn't find my money belt that was strapped around my waist.
I have lived in twelve places in and around Enterprise since then, all of which I have owned. In 1918, I went down onto the desert about 14 miles northeast of Enterprise. I got three hundred and twenty acres of land in one body there, (filed desert entry). Being the first settler in that section of the desert, I found there was water within twelve or fourteen feet of the surface, apparently any amount of it that could be pumped out onto the land. I put in a two pump plant and proved this to be a fact. Now all the land in that part of the country has been taken up, and is being farmed and irrigated by pumping plants.
It is now April 24, 1930 and I am living here at Enterprise. On April 18, 1920, my wife and I celebrated our Golden Wedding Anniversary in Enterprise. Many of our children and grandchildren were in attendance besides hosts of friends.
Four different times, since October 1926, I have attended sacrament meeting and seen two great grandchildren blessed on each occasion. I have nineteen great grandchildren living, besides two who died as babies.***
Compiled and edited by Allen Alger, Alger Family Historian - e-mail: email@example.com
- [S124] Family of Adam, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, (https://familysearch.org/ : copyright 2008), accessed 3 Feb 2010), KWZT-YBM (Reliability: 3).
- [S137] Foremothers web site, (Http://Foremothers.homestead.com), accessed 3 Feb 2010), History of Olivia Alger Oakden Bryson - http://foremothers.homestead.com/files/Olivia_Alger_Bryson.htm (Reliability: 3).
- [S138] John P. Pratt genealogy, Pratt, John P.John P. Pratt, (http://www.johnpratt.com/), accessed 3 Feb 2010), John Alger - http://www.johnpratt.com/gen/7/2.john_alger.html (Reliability: 3).
- [S139] Utah State History, State of Utah, (http://history.utah.gov/apps/burials/execute/searchburials : 2010), accessed 3 Feb 2010), John Zera Alger, Sr. burial record - http://history.utah.gov/apps/burials/execute/viewburial?cemeteryid=WG0400&id=36 (Reliability: 3).
- [S22] Alger files - Alger, James Allen, James Allen Alger, Death certificate for John Zera Alger (Reliability: 3).
- [S42] Alger files - Hunt, Madge, Madge Hunt, Family group record for John Zera Alger and Anna Mary Barnhurst - undated (Reliability: 3).
- [S42] Alger files - Hunt, Madge, Madge Hunt, Family group record for John Zera Alger, Jr. and Mary Malinda Hall - undated (Reliability: 3).
- [S42] Alger files - Hunt, Madge, Madge Hunt, Family group record for Raymond Frederick Laub and Netina Pricilla Alger - 2 May 1993 (Reliability: 3).
- [S98] Alger e-files - Alger, Paul Dale, Paul Dale Alger, E-mail from Paul Dale Alger - 25 May 2012 (Reliability: 3).
- [S31] Alger files - Alger, Dennis Wayne, Dennis Wayne Alger, Family group record for Charles H. Paxman and Eva Pearl Alger - 24 Dec 1993 (Reliability: 3).
- [S1349] Find A Grave - http://www.findagrave.com/, Enterprise City Cemetery, Enterprise, Utah (Reliability: 3).