Autobiography of Ira “M” Judd
written by Sarah Judd Jackson
Ira Judd, son of Hyrum Judd and Lisania Judd was born Farmington, Davis County, Utah, the thirteenth of June 1854. He came from a large pioneer family, 13 sisters and brothers, namely: Clara Adelia, Hyrum Jerome, Jane Lucinda, Arza S., Don Carlos, Ira, Ammon Frank, Lucius Hubbard, Lisania, Diana, Anna, Daniel, Lyman Perry, Lafayette. When he was a small boy, his father was called by the Church authorities to help to settle the Dixie country. Life at Santa Clara, The Muddy, and Eagle Valley, Nevada, were some of the stories that I well remember him tell. Santa Clara, Utah, near St. George was the first place they settled in. A number of families were together and they built homes, planted orchards and vineyards, and were making a good living for their families and an abundance of rainfall caused a large flood to come down the Virgin River and wiped out everything in its path, and they said they were fortunate that no lives were lost. They left and moved into Nevada. They didn’t stay there very long. The state put such high tax on the land that the Church advised the Saints to move out. The Judds went back to Panguitch, bought lots, and proceeded to build homes for good, as they thought, but it was not for long.
I am getting ahead of my story, but I want to tell you some of the stories that happened to father while they were still living in Santa Clara, we liked to hear him tell them. They raised good crops of corn, which they must have used for most of their bread and cereal. They also raised sugar cane and made molasses. Wheat flour was a luxury and sugar was too expensive for poor people to buy. When he was 12 years old and started going to dances, produce was more plentiful than money and boys would take a squash, or other produce they had, to pay for their dance ticket. He said he asked his girl friend if she would go to the dance with him, and she said the soles on her shoes were worn out and he told her he would repair them for her and she accepted and off he went to the dance. He went with a girl under one arm and a squash under the other.
Even now in their old home town they were not entirely without worries, not knowing what time they might be waylaid by the Indians, who were still very hostile. Grandfather Hyrum, like Jacob Hamblin, who was a brother to him (Jacob married Hyrum’s sister Rachel), was always a friend to the Indians and, in return, gained their friendship. But he said they had to be taught to keep their place and he learned one thing — “never let an Indian think you are afraid of him. Many a time I had to take a whip and give them a sound thrashing and they knew they needed it.” He fed and befriended them as they came to his home and taught them to be honest. I remember hearing my dad tell one story about Jacob trading with the Indians. Jacob had bargained with the Indians to trade a pony for so many blankets and sent his boy to make the trade. The Indians gave him more blankets than was bargained for and Jacob sent to boy back with them. The Indians told Jacob they knew he would return them. They were testing his honesty. Hyrum often visited with them in their camp and was invited to enjoy a bowl of their favorite soup with them. Rabbit, squirrel, and sometimes even snake meat was used for the stew with vegetables or anything they could get to put in it and always adding plenty of pinion (pinenuts) to make it real tasty.
Father told a story of how he and his pal found a sack of pinenuts cached in the woods. They know who had put them there but what a temptation, aa whole sack of pinenuts and no one was around. Father knew they wouldn’t be allowed to keep them if he took them home, and he knew what happened when his brother Dan found a cache of service berries and took only a pocket full out and took home. But they decided they would take some out and hide it in another place. They covered it up just like they found it and were sure no one could tell that it had been disturbed, but the old Indian was smarter than they were, and started right away to locate the culprits. He walked quietly around town and watched the boys at play and he soon discovered that two of the boys were taking pinenuts out of their pockets and giving to the other boys. Silently he left and reported to the fathers of the boys. Imagine their surprise when they were told what had been done and told they must take the nuts they had left back to the owner, tell him they were sorry, and pay for the ones they had eaten.
Father had no sisters older than himself and as the older boys were needed to help their father it fell to his lot to help mother with the housework. He resented this, it was girls work, washing dishes, caring for the baby, a boy shouldn’t have to do it and be called a sissy. And he told of the worst whipping he ever got from his mother. It was wash day and he had been helping all day. Mother was tired, all the clothes had to be scrubbed on the old washboard and 16 people to wash for, then the kitchen floor had to be scrubbed with the suds left from the washing to save on soap and water. The floor was bare pine boards and the only way to wash it was to get down on your hands and knees and use a scrubbing brush made for that purpose. Father was on his knees, he looked up at her and she was crying. That was the turning point. He loved his mother and to know that he was making her feel bad made something hurt inside him. He flew at his job and it was soon done. He said, “if tears had taken a willow and tanned my hide, it wouldn’t have hurt as much as it did to see those tears. She was a wonderful Mother.”
I failed to mention that Uncle Zadock Judd, Hyrum’s brother, was with him when they left Nevada to come north and settle in Kanab, Kane, Utah. They each built half a block of land, built a home. Hyrum felt like Panguitch seemed more like home and wanted to go back there, but Zadock said Kanab was cold enough for him, so he bought grandfather’s property, where the Knapp Judd home stands, moved on to Panguitch and settled down once more. They farmed, raised stock and caught fish from Panguitch and sold in the winter. I remember hearing father tell how he would chop through two feet or ice making a hole to fish from. They would catch barrels of them and sell them in town. The boys helped to build and work at the sawmills.
At the age of nineteen, Father and Nancy Anne Norton, fifteen, were married. She was the daughter of John Wesley Norton and Rebecca Hammer. This was a double wedding ceremony, the older couple was father’s sister Lisania and Joe Craig. They were married by grandfather Hyrum who was a Justice of the Peace. They were later sealed in the old Endowment House in Salt Lake City.
I, Sarah Judd Jackson, daughter of Ira Judd and Hannah Louise Lewis (2nd wife), years later, had quite a spiritual experience while I was trying to find my father’s endowment date. I had had very little experience in genealogy work and hearing the elder members tell of my father and mother being married in the St. George Temple, I wrote there for my father’s endowment date and was surprised to hear that it was not there. My mother was and the date that she and father were married. I worried, wondered, and finally prayed about it. I received a visit from my father’s cousin and her husband Charles Cottam from St. George. She said, now Charles, now tell her what you came here for before you forget it. This was his story: “It was at the dedication of the St. George Temple and General Conference of the Church. I was just a boy. I heard the announcement that made that Hyrum Judd and his were called to help settle southern Utah and northern Arizona. He named the sons – Jerome, a very odd name, Ira, so short, Arza, not a common name, and Frank. I could remember that one better he said! The thought came like a flash, I had heard folks tell of this call when my half-sister was one year old and before father and mother were married. They were sealed in the Old Endowment House, the 8th of Nov 1875.
It is an old and true saying that a rolling stone gathers no moss, but the early pioneers had their calling. The call came once more to Hyrum and his four married sons to move south and help t0o to settle Arizona. They all had some cattle and horses and the oldest son had some sheep. A few other families joined them and it was quite a caravan that headed south. They divided the partty so that they would not be compelled to wait so long to be ferried across the Colorado River in a ferry boat. Two babies were born between Panguitch and their destination. They stopped at Sunset, Arizona and most of the families joined the United Order there. Father’s brother Daniel, in his diary, gives a splendid account of the happenings at Sunset, Pima, and Mormon Lake, and I will not repeat it here. He also tells of some of the Judds going back to Panguitch and were preparing to make another trip, and grandfather went back to help them on their way. This was his third trip. Several of the Judd families were in this group, my father and family and as grandfather was dissatisfied with the way the Order was being run and drew out of it just what he had put in as near as they could figure it, not a dime for the work they had done, not even the increase of the cows. All the Judds were together now, Uncle Dan said this was the first time, and he was a tickled kid. They were going to a new land and more pioneering.
McClintock’s History of Arizona says, “When the Mormons left Eagle Valley they had to leave everything they had,” so the Judds must have been pretty well stripped by the time they got to Panguitch and were just getting shaped around so they could live decent lives when the call came from the Church, six years later, to help settle Arizona. Uncle Frank says – “This time we went on to the Gila River and built homes. They were stockaded cottonwood sticks standing up with a dirt floor and a roof. We helped to dig the first Mormon canal. It was sure a wild country, horse thieves and renegades everywhere. Father had his only pair of horses stolen and left him without a team. There were ten thousand Apache Indians on the reservation 20 miles from where we lived, and every little while a little band would break out and plunder until they were run back by the soldiers. There was one man killed in the little town where we lived while was burning lime, six miles from town and five others from nearby settlements. A small boy was killed with rocks. He was driving a bunch of horses belonging to his widowed mother. He was traveling with some freighters, taking the horses to a ranch, and a little ahead of the teams. They killed him with the rocks so the men wouldn’t hear the shots, and they drove the horses away. The mother lost her mind grieving over her boy. So you see these were not pleasure trips. We made four trips to Arizona, so I think we filled that mission.”
I don’t know how long they stayed there, but they cleared a lot of land and raised good crops and were doing real well. A second daughter was born to father and Nancy, but the baby died at birth and Nancy almost lost her own life. Father took her back to Panguitch where her folks were.This was the last trip my father made to Arizona. About this time, the Church was advising their male members to marry a second wife, and father heeded their counsel and married Hannah Louise Lewis, daughter of Dd. Aaron Lewis and Sarah Anne Weeks. They were married in the St. George Temple 11 Nov 1886. The State of Utah did not approve of this law and soon had officers working to put it down. Every man with a plural wife was given a jail sentence if he was caught. Father and Nancy were living in a small town on the Pahreah Creek, Utah. To evade the officers, he sent his second wife to Kanab to live with his father’s brother Zadock Judd’s family. Hannah took the name of Liza and her mother’s maiden name, Weeks, and this is the name she was known by the remainder of here life. Two years later, father moved both wives to Fredonia, Arizona, a new town there and one half miles south of the Utah-Arizona state line. It was settled by residents from Kanab, and men with plural wives were not molested in the state of Arizona, so many moved to help build the town. Some time later, when Apostle Erastus Snow was was attending Conference in Kanab, he was asked to give the town a new name and he suggested the name “Fredonia”, the word meaning Free Women.
There was considerable farm land and a stream of water in the Kanab Creek which could be put on the land for farming. Father acquired two large lots on the west side of town reaching to the creek. He built two homes on them and brought Fruit trees from his farm in Pahreah and soon had an orchard on both places. He also bought land in the field area where he raised feed for his animals, milk cows, and horses to farm with. He was a carpenter and helped to build many of the homes. He was able to make a good living for his families. He loved music and was a master at the accordion and was welcomed by dancers. His wife Nancy called for the dancers of the Quadrille, the dance the Church advised. Uncle Dan said – “no waltzing, no swinging around the waist, ladies on one side of the hall and gents on the other, if you broke the rules, you quit dancing.” They had no dance hall but they were too poor to put carpets on their floors, and they didn’t have much furniture, it didn’t take long to set it outside to make the largest room (usually the bedroom-living room) available for a good old hoe down. I think those were the happiest days our parents ever spent. They talked of their good neighbors, how they would help each other with no thought of pay. There was no closed season on deer on the Buckskin Mountains and several men would get together and go up with their teams and a wagon and get 15 or 20 deer and divide with the families who needed meat for the winter. They had small houses and no luxuries, but they owned what they had and were happy, contented people. The ward was organized and a school was started and the town was growing as children came and other families moved in.
Then one day, father made a wrong decision, one which caused him a great deal of trouble, sorrow and hard work. A friend who owned a lovely farm in Idaho came to visit and painted such a beautiful picture of Idaho that father swallowed it hook line and sinker, and could see no reason why he couldn’t have one of those farms. Mother begged him to take Nancy and family first and let her stay in her home until he was sure he wanted to move to Idaho. But he thought it was too far to make two trips by team and wagon, so he sold the homes, stock and all they couldn’t take in two wagons and were soon ready to start. Two teams and wagons and none people starting a long, long journey, which ended in tragedy. After two years of hardships and sickness, we returned to Fredonia without home, money, or a job. Two babies were born on the trip. The years that followed were rough. Work was not plentiful and wages were low, we didn’t own any water to raise food and three more children were added to our family as time passed. Nancy’s daughter Rebecca and husband, who went to Idaho with us, was now divorced after adding two more to the family to support. Seven years later she remarried and her husband owned a home in Tropic, Garfield County, Utah. Her Mother couldn’t live away from her so she insisted that her father move both families to Tropic. After five years of struggling to survive on a small farm and having two more girls added to the mother’s family and two children to Rebecca, she divorced her husband and the following year found us back in Fredonia again. Rebecca married her first husband again and had their own home thereafter. In the year 1909 father bought the first home that was built in Fredonia and lived in it until he passed away in 1926 at the age of 71 years. He was bedfast just one day.
Father was not active in the Church burt he taught his family the principles of Righteous living and raised a good family. His father and mother were faithful pioneer and father did his part in helping them to colonize this country and make peace with the Indians.