AIKEN, Charles Henry (1867)
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|Charles Henry Livingston|
|Full name||Charles Henry Livingston|
|Born||February 16 1867|
|Place of birth||Spring City, Sanpete, Utah|
|Died||April 10 1938|
|Place of death|| Orem, Utah County, Utah
This story is compiled from stories told by him and recollections of the children.
Charles Henry Aiken was born 16 February 1867 to Samuel Ruggles and Isabella Livingston Aiken at Spring City, Sanpete, Utah. He was the fourth son in a family of seven. He had five brothers and one sister, namely: Samuel Livingston Aiken, John Archibald Aiken; James William Aiken, Sara Jane Aiken, Joseph Hyrum Aiken, and Lorenzo Wilson Aiken.
Charles was born with true pioneer heritage from both paternal and maternal Grandparents. His great-great-grandparents, James and wife Mercy Gibbs Aiken, were some of the first settlers of Hardwick, Massachusetts in 1715. His father, Samuel Ruggles Aiken, was born in Hardwick, Massachusetts on 28 October 1803, two years before the birth of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Samuel Ruggles was a teacher and educator and was noted for his penmanship. He received a letter of recognition from the President of the United States, Andrew Jackson, for the American System of penmanship. This was a system of legibility along with beauty and could he mastered in a short time. In 1841 he was baptized in New Salem, Massachusetts into the Latter-day Saints Church. He joined the Saints in Nauvoo in 1843. He saw the Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. the day they took him to jail at the time he was martyred. He came to Utah with the Amasa Lyman Company in the Summer of 1848. He was called on a mission by President Brigham Young.
Charles often spoke of how pretty his mother was with brown sparkling eyes and long curly hair worn in two braids. She would "rob the butter plate" to put it on her hair to keep it from curling. She had what they say was a "peaches and cream" complexion. She had a proud nature and taught her children to be kind to one another. All the boys loved their only sister, Sarah Jane, and vied for her attention.
They moved to Spring City, Sanpete County, Utah from Salt Lake City, Utah in 1860. Here all their family were born except the first son, Samuel, who was born in Millcreek, Salt Lake County, Utah. They lived in Spring City the remainder of their lives. Their first home was made from adobe and was later torn down and replaced with a home made from lumber. Charles helped get this lumber for their new home which stood for over seventy years in good repair. Most of the boys worked at the stone quarry at Red Butte located East of the present Fort Douglas. Their sister, Sarah Jane, along with Hannah Alder cooked for them. Jane and the boys used the money earned at the Quarry to buy furniture for their new home.
The Spring City Membership Records show that Charles H. Aiken was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 3 July 1882 by Marenick Mortensen and confirmed by Lauritz Larsen.
Charles spent a good share of his early life in the mountains herding sheep and cattle. Much of this time in solitude he spent reading and studying the Bible. All his life, he was able to quote scripture and tell where it was found. While in Canada a minister of another faith tried to corner him about the Bible but Dad instead very easily cornered him.
Charles was a good reader and fluent with words. He could hold his listeners spell bound with his story telling. He related to his family many hair-raising experiences from his time spent in the mountains. With a straight face, but twinkling eye, he told of a prank he pulled on his friend while logging in Jose's Valley. He had gone to town for supplies and upon his return decided to try and frighten his partner. He hid behind some logs making a noise like a bear. His partner ran to the cabin for his gun with Dad following behind the trees continuing to frighten him with his noises. Upon reaching the cabin Dad came face to face with a real bear, using super human effort he was able to reach the rafters of the cabin. After his partner disposed of the bear he was unable to explain his ability to reach the rafters. What was intended for a prank almost ended in tragedy.
He also related many stories of the family's encounters with the Indians such as were experienced by other pioneer families of that time.
Dad was a real proud man, meticulous in his appearance regardless of his apparel. He is remembered for his well groomed appearance and was tagged the best dressed young man in town. He was known as a real sport; always full of fun and liked to do devilish things, according to Aunt Myra, his sister-in-law. He was a great one to make wagers. He told about wagering he could hit a fence post with his gun while riding at full speed on his horse. The man accepted the wager so Dad got on his horse and upon reaching the post tapped it with his gun. Another time he bet a fellow he could hold on to the horses tail as fast as the horse could run. Having to prove his statement he climbed on the horse and held it's talk and raced the horse at full speed.
Dad was always honest and square with his fellow man. It was often said his word was as good as his bond. He told of once when receiving his pay for a season's work and riding toward home discovered money in his pay envelope in excess of his wages agreed upon. He immediately returned to his employer to report his over pay. He was rewarded for his honesty with a team of horses, and the harnesses and wagon.
As a young man Dad drove a Street Car in Salt Lake City. He worked in the Coal mines in Scofield and Clear Creek. While working in Clear Creek he met and married Mary Goodmansen, 25 April 1902. Here their first child, Charles Goodman, was born 20 June 1903. Twelve children were born to this happy union and one son, Leroy A. Whitmore, to Mary Goodmansen Whitmore by a previous marriage.
Dad often told the story of the time when he worked In the Scofield mine. This occurred after the Scofield mine explosion when they had bodies stacked in railroad cars and on the ground. One night while standing watch he felt someone tap him on the shoulder and heard a voice. Looking around he saw no one and so went back to his reading. He again felt a tap on his shoulder and heard a voice. The voice told him to go down in a certain car and straighten out the body of a man that was laying in the car crooked. He decided to heed the voice and found this to be the case. He therefore straightened out the body and apparently the spirit of the man was at rest, as he felt and heard no more.
In September 1903 during the Mormon Church expansion program Mother and Dad immigrated with Mother's parents and sisters and their families. Dad sold the land and cattle he had acquired to make this move. Upon his arrival in Canada he helped layout the town site of Taber, Alberta, Canada along with Bishop VanOrman and Will Russell. He traded his rights for the town site for a harness and wagon. Bishop VanOrman and Will Russell later sold it for $40,000.00. Father and Mother homesteaded about ten miles east of Taber. When the weather turned cold they moved to town, thereby giving the children the opportunity to go to school. When It was necessary to spend the winter on the farm, Father drove the children to school in a bob sleigh picking up all the neighbor children enroute. Kathleen and Hazel were born out at the homestead.
In 1904 Dad found a vein of coal and opened a coal mine. He worked this mine by dragging the coal out in a powder box. Wanting to further develop this mine he went to his father-in-law for money to file a claim and was refused. He then went to a Mr. Probert and offered to mortgage his prize horses “Dick and Bird”, a team he had taken to Canada with him. After finding out what Dad wanted the money for Mr. Probert went to Lethbridge and Jumped the claim. This he later sold for a huge amount of money.
Dad remembered having his leg broken while working in the coal mine. A punching machine used for cutting coal fell on his leg. He made his own crutch from a pole with a padded block on top. This was the only time he was attended by a doctor until his death.
Dad always felt great pride in his horses and took special care of them even to getting up in the takle of the night when the need arose. One time while in town at the grist mill, Wilford turned the wheel to start the machinery and frightened the horses which caused them to run away. “Bird” hurt his foot and was crippled for life. Because of Dad’s great love for this horse he was kept and left to run and used as a family pet. When Dad was disposing of the property by auction to return to the States, “Dick” teamed with "Button” groomed, clipped and decked in elaborate harness pranced around the arena and were more readily sold and at a higher price than his higher priced team of horses. "Dick and Button“ were sold to a Chinese truck gardener. Later the family learned that "Dick” ran away, back to the old homestead. He entered the house and fell through the decayed floor into the cellar to his death. This news brought heavy hearts to all the family.
Many hardships were endured living on the homestead. Incidents of drought, cyclones, hailstorms, freezing temperatures, and prairie fires are recalled by the family. In the year 1908 they had a prairie fire ignited by the sun and threatened the homestead. They plowed a fire break and fought back the flames by drawing water from the well and soaking gunny sacks to beat out the flames. Mother was pregnant with Eva and she has a birthmark on her arm from this experience.
One hail storm remembered was that the hailstones were as large as chicken eggs. Mother had one that would just go in a fruit Jar. These hailstones beat leaves from the trees and beat against the house leaving dents in the wood, and killed chickens in the yard.
During rain storms the family remembered a continual flash of lighting. The lightening would run along the fence like a ball of fire. Roy, returning with water which was necessary to haul form the neighbors because they were never able to find drinking water on the homestead, narrowly escaped being struck by lightning when it hit the gate post as he was coming through. Sudden flash storms of this nature were a common occurrence. One year they had a tremendous crop of wheat. They threshed for days and had wheat piled in huge stacks. They had a sudden snow storm and the wheat was filled with Ice and snow.
One well they had dug was lined with plank. Loren as a small boy fell between the plank curb and the bank. Dad was able to knock off the plank and climb down and save his life.
The children born while In Canada were: Wilford Henry, Vern Samuel, Eva Jane, James Loren, Hazel Marie, Kathleen, Edwin M., and Edith.
Vern died when he was about two and one half years of age. He was riding on an open bottom hay rack holding on to Roy's suspenders. The wagon hit a buffalo trail jarring him loose. He fell and was run over by the wagon wheel. Dad rushed him to the doctor in Taber ten miles away in a Surrey. He lived for about two days then died from his injuries. James Loren died In May 1943 of injuries suffered in a car accident. At the lime of this wilting (July 1978) all the others are still living.
In 1909 Wilford and Goodman recall seeing Halley's Comet. People were amazed and frightened thinking the world was coming to an end.
In 1917 there was a flu epidemic. Everyone was down with the flu but Dad and Wilford. They took care of the family along with helping the neighbors with their chores. On one trip to the farm they found a cache of fourteen cases of whiskey in their hay stack hidden by bootleggers. It was given to the doctors and proved to be a miracle in saving the lives of many patients down with the flu. It was common for several to die in one day. Schools and public buildings were used as hospitals.
It took a lot of courage to stay In Canada as long as they did with the crop failures and hardships they endured. The family left their homestead, which is now under water, and returned to Mapleton, Utah and were met at the station by mother's brother-in-law Tom Carrick. The family stayed with mother's sisters and families. Dad, Goodman, and Wilford went on to Castle Dale. The boys remember walking from Castle Dale to Uncle Sam and John's ranch which was about six miles. They obtained the Olson place and prepared the house for the family. We lived there for about three years. Fern was born there without the aid of a doctor. Dad had gone to town for the doctor but didn't get back until after the baby was born. Mother had taken care of the baby and herself. They felt it quite an injustice when the doctor presented them with a bill. The children had to walk three miles to town to school wading the streams and enduring the weather.
They moved into Castle Dale in about 1923. While the family lived in Castle Dale, Dad worked in the coal mines in Mohrland as a watchman. Here Chester Dale was born. Eva tells of all the family being down with the mumps at this time except her. She had the responsibility of tending mother and the new baby along with all the family with the mumps. When Chester was a small baby he was very sick with pneumonia. The doctor said he had done everything he could for him and that he wouldn't live until morning. His finger nails and toe nails had turned black. They called In the Elders of the Church to administer to him and immediately his fever broke and the doctor said it was a miracle that he lived.
While in Castle Dale, Uncle Joe, Aunt Myra, Uncle Wren, and Aunt Mary Jane with their families came in covered wagons from Spring City and camped on our lawn. It had been about twenty years since they had seen one another. Upon seeing Dad, his brother Joe exclaimed, “I would had known Charlie’s hide in a tanning factory.” They all went to Uncle Sam and Uncle John's ranch for a family reunion. They killed a lamb for the feast and made sourdough biscuits. At this time Aunt Myra read Grandpa Aiken’s Diary of his mission into Canada. It was the first time it was heard by the family.
In Castle Dale, Pop Aachard, father of Art Aachard (star of Western Silent Movies) convinced Dad he could find the Lost Josephine mine. They tried to locate the mine but were not successful. It was an experience for much reminiscence and many memories.
After using all their savings and suffering many hardships the family decided to move to Mapleton, Utah during the building of the Ironton Steel Plant. Roy and Goodman were two of the first three men hired. Dad worked as a carpenters helper during the construction of the plant and Later as a night watchman. He also worked at Mt. Carmel during t he construction of the tunnel and at Bingham Canyon Copper mine as an engine watchman. This was time spent away from his home and his family.
In 1924 we moved to Springville. Leon was born here on 20 May 1925, mother's thirteenth child. Mrs. Martin was midwife during this confinement. While we lived in Springville, Goodman married Della Gabbitas, Wilford married Juliet Stephens, and Eva married Blaine Rasmussen.
Mother spent a good share of this time working out as a practical nurse to supplement the income. She worked along with the children in the packing sheds, cannery and in the fields harvesting fruit. Mother had managed the strawberry pickers for a Mr. Peck in Orem and suggested the family group together and buy some of his property. This farm was located at 400 West and 800 South in Orem, Utah. Goodman and Wilford were to work out, with Blaine Rasmussen and Dad and his family working the farm. Uncle Sam gave Dad $1,000.00 of the estate of his brother John which made it possible for them to make the transaction in the Spring of 1929. The farm was purchased during the peak of prosperity and after one year of bounteous harvest then came the depression. The following year crops were sprayed, picked, packed and shipped but no market. What heartbreak after a summers work and left indebted to the Packing Company for the spray and packing supplies. Not daunted by this failure each year crops were planted, cared for and harvested with very little return.
With all the hard work and disappointments the family could still find humor and enjoyment in their work. As a group they would go to the fields at sun up and work unceasingly until dark. Mother would call the family in to meals from the far corners of the fields with a bugle. One day while picking strawberries we were all trying to get down our rows together in order to go to breakfast. It was a very tired and astonished group that found it was quitting time when they got ready to go In. There was just dinner to fix that day!
What fun in the evenings to all get around the black currant bushes from the littlest to the biggest and all join in song and story telling while doing our work. Many happy memories are recalled by the family planting and harvesting crops. What a family it was, too. At times from sixteen to twenty people tumid set to the table three times a day.
There was never much money but always plenty of food for the table. Dad and the boys would go to Sanpete and Uinta Counties peddling the surplus fruit. Most of the time the fruit was exchanged for surplus produce found in these areas. Pigs, turkeys, grain, cheese and honey were brought back from these trips.
It is pleasant to recall the family sitting around the coal heater during the long winter evenings eating popcorn by the panfuls and apples by the dozen. Each one could take their turn telling jokes and stories or join together in song. The radio, a new invention, also played a very important part in our entertainment at that time.
It was a common sight to see Dad sitting at the table reading the Bible. Our wish is that we could recall or had made records of more of the stories Dad told of his life during this time.
During the early 1930's while living on the farm. Loren married Halite Tomlinson, Hazel married Robert Chapman, Kathleen married Rulon West, Edwin married Ida Davis, and Edith married Max Pedersen.
Many summer days were spent in the local canyons on family picnics and holiday outings.
Dad was happiest when he was with his family and if things were going bad for any one of the Children there was always room under his roof and a place at his table regardless of his financial circumstances. The family always seemed to understand he would be there to share their problems. Dad was never very demonstrative with his affection but actions spoke louder than words. It was common to see him with one of the grandchildren on his knee bouncing up and down to the tune of “Little Joe the Wrangler.”
With his kind quiet nature and his love of animals Dad became the master of a very devoted dog. Pal, a German Police dog, given to the family by Roy and Laura, became his fast friend. Whenever Dad went to the field for a water turn or to bring the animals in to the barn, Pal was at his heels. Many were the times that Pal came to his defense if anyone was to raise their voice or make an unkind action toward Dad. Pal sensed the sadness of the occasion and was a sick dog at the time of Dad's death.
Even though he was over sixty at the time he acquired the farm, Dad never shirked his share of the labor and kept up with the younger men in the work to be done. His work started early in the morning by building the fires in the stoves and starting the breakfast before getting the family out of bed.
On 2 November 1937, Fern married Alfred Marlin Carter. Chester Dale married Martha Nadine Lloyd 13 February 1943. Leon married Bessie Louise Gray on 8 August 1945.
One memorable time in Mother and Dad's life was a trip to California in May of 1937 with Max and Edith. They stayed with Hazel and Bob while in California. They visited the beach and other places of Interest. The blight and disturbing part of the trip was the knowledge of the possible loss of their farm, and not knowing where they would be living upon their return. None of the children recall why Mother and Dad lost their farm. But they discovered later it should not have happened because they had acquired the farm through a land grant.
The family felt it must have been Dad's lot in life to continually have set backs and losses. Eva recalled him saying when she visited him at his death bed, “What do I have to live for?" Edith recalls him saying as she visited him at this time, "Edith. this is the end! I had this dream, Vern threw his hat through the door. He's waiting for me." All the family felt this last heartbreak and unhappiness contributed to his death. He was very despondent the last winter before he died.
Charles Henry Aiken died of a heart attack at a little home on twelfth north in Orem on 10 April 1938. He was buried 13 April 1938 in the Provo City Cemetery.
- ↑ Taken from the diary of Samuel Ruggles Aiken - location unknown
- ↑ Spring City Membership Records 1860-1849 page 154 Microfilm call number 27,327