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CHILD, Thomas Battersby Jr. (1888)

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Abbreviated History of Thomas Battersby Child Jr.

compiled by Mary Ann Swalberg

Thomas Battersby Child, Jr. 1888-1963

Thomas B Child Jr (holding son Robert) his brother Art, sisters Nell and Lucile and father Thomas Battersby Child, Sr 1917
The following history is made from “bits and pieces” taken from two hard-back handwritten journals typed by Hortense Child Smith in 1992. The history was 79-pages long and the personal journal written in 1961 by Thomas B. Child, who lived from May 6, 1888 to November 3, 1963 in Salt Lake City, Utah. He prefaces the journal with one of his favorite quotes from William Wordsworth:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or pensive mood,
That flash upon the inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

I was born May 6, 1888 at 145 South 7th East in Salt Lake City, Utah in the home of my great grandmother, Ann Rutter Harrocks – she having died two months previous to my birth and my parents having moved into her home. Grandma Harrocks built the home and moved in with her three daughters on Christmas Day, 1855. [His parents were Thomas Battersby Child and Elizabeth Livingston, who was the daughter of Charles Livingston and his first wife, Jane Harrocks.]

I lived in the old Harrocks home until our new home was completed on the east end of her lot. My father and mother thought a street would be cut north and south through the block, which never worked out much to their chagrin and embarrassment. The only entrance to the property was a driveway between the old Harrocks home and Grandpa Livingston’s. Our yard, as were all the yards at that time, was orchards and gardens. Very little of the fruit had a chance to ripen with us boys around. My mother dried the fruit and kept it for the winter in flour sacks.

Uncle Enoch Smith and Aunt Ellie lived directly south of us on the east end of the old Livingston lot. They built their home soon after my folks did. My father and Uncle Enoch went up Millcreek Canyon in the winter bringing down a load of Christmas trees which they sold to Wm. Woods Market. We always called my uncle, “John Smith”. It was only later in a very successful business career that he used his real name, Enoch.

They were serious times for us “Mormons” when I came into the world in 1888 and shortly thereafter, not only economically but religiously. Those early members of the church who practiced polygamy struggled to keep away from the law. I am grateful for the religious training and background I received from my parents. They were a wonderful example of faith and righteous living.

My mother was an educated woman and acted every bit the part. She had a teacher’s certificate from the University which she never used…… Aunt Nellie {Ellen Harrocks Livingston} told me, “Yes, your mother, just as soon as she got where she could be a little use to us, went and got married.”

My father always scraped the snow away in our back yard and cleaned paths to the clothes lines. We always had the first dry yard to play marbles on in the spring or “Old Sow” in the winter. Clothes line props had to be guarded from us boys.

Grandma Livingston [Jane Harrocks Livingston] spent a good deal of her time at our place. We got quite a kick out of her as boys at the dinner table. She seemed to always have a good appetite and enjoyed her meals, especially hot mustard pickles. She always helped my mother with the washing and believe me, they knew how to scrub on a wash board! As I think back, my father was always very considerate of my mother. She always had someone to help her when she was raising the family.

One of the great sports when I was a boy, and I prided myself on it, was “running the hoop”. We would get the hoop rolling and sort of push on the runner and at the same time let it loose to run itself. I could run the hoop as fast as I could tear, turn corners, stop, jump through the hoop while it was rolling and do all kinds of tricks.

In the old days, the canyon road [in City Creek Canyon] was narrow with just enough room for a horse-drawn vehicle to get along the road. The trees, the brush, the flowers and ferns were right on the margin of the road. Going in and out following mostly in sight of the natural creek bed always leaves a wonderful, happy, awe-inspiring, religious feeling. It’s a true saying that to appreciate the beauties of nature is a sign of goodness. The smell of the willows and sage after a storm in the morning sun is soul-lifting and makes you feel like you are part of the “eternity of things”.

It was a favorite outing for my wife and I [ he married Bertha Derrick Rumel on April 12, 1911 in Salt Lake City], just after we were first married, to go with our friends and take a long nice lunch, board the electric car at the corner of Mt. Olivet Cemetery for Pinecrest. We would choose a beautiful, quiet, shady spot, covered with fresh grass and ferns and we could even feel the dew and freshness that comes from the fast falling, gushing rill as we ate our lunch.

Pinecrest was located at the stone quarries in Emigration Canyon where the red or pink sandstone was taken out, it being about the same color and quality as that quarried in Red Butte and Spring Hollow. A very beautiful interesting and clear little stream flowed through a primitive and natural area of pine trees, willows, aspens, brush and grasses.

I visited these stone quarries for the first time about 1906 with my grandfather, Charles Livingston, who died in 1908. It was at the time LeGrand Young was contemplating building his electric railroad to the quarries. My grandfather, although he was over seventy, thought he could run the quarries and had been talking to LeGrand Young about it. All the Livingston's were quarrymen and followed that line of work when they first came to Utah from Scotland.

I had just bought a new Frazier’s Cart so Grandfather and I decided to go and investigate. We followed along the old road known as Brigham’s Fork. I was young and climbed all over the quarry and mountainside, but Grandpa Livingston admitted he was too old and his heart could not take it. He told me it was the hardest ride he ever took in his life and he died soon after.

My mouth starts to water again after fifty years when I think of the pickled onions and beets and cucumbers we ate as we attended many nice affairs at Pinecrest as they had all the regular hotel and resort accommodations.

I remember going fishing with my brother, Harold and his young son, Harold. We took off from the upper Provo for Haystack Lakes and enjoyed the hike very much. I watched the others fish. Each year our son, Bob, planned a trip somewhere with his boyfriends, and it was Dad’s job to furnish the transportation and his mother, the food. A trip was usually planned by my wife to visit the young gang and see how they were getting along. The way the boys tucked away the luxuries of cake, fruit, candy, etc. can never be forgotten.

It was always a wonderful and pleasant outing to take the family to Mirror Lake, meet with our friends, have a fine lunch, watch some of the party try to fish, enjoy the scenery going and coming and enjoy the conversation and companionship of those you love. A restful day in the high Uintahs where we enjoyed the majesty and perfume of the pines, the sight of the flowers and ferns, the dew from the lakes, etc. was an experience to be savored and remembered.

I probably flatter myself that anyone will ever take the time to read these memoirs. I submit them for what they are worth. On a rock in the garden [Gilgal Garden} is the inscription “Who reads me in ashes is my son in wishes.”

These trips with the reading of books, my church work (he was a Bishop for 17 years)and earning a living, contracting and my trade, is the way I have spent my life. I feel satisfied I have not wasted my time and probably flatter myself when I say I could have done worse.

Tomorrow is the Golden Anniversary of our wedding, and I will start to copy these scribbled notes. These notes have been hastily written in about one month. I know there are misspelled words, capital letters not used correctly, incorrect English and grammar, etc. but when I write I like to keep going or I don’t get anywhere. It’s the story I’m trying to tell and not my educational training. At least I don’t claim that it is an example to be followed.

"Time goes, you say? Ah, No! Time Stays We Go."

Note: This writing represents a small fraction of the typescript completed in April, 1992. To try to condense 79 pages into two pages is very difficult. There is so much wonderful history about the Salt Lake Valley and canyons that surround it that he described in his journals. Maybe some time later we can include more.

Thomas B. Child, Jr. is the person who created Gilgal Garden. He put his heart and soul and testimony into the garden and it is a joy to browse through and enjoy with your family. We hope you will all take advantage of this opportunity after the reunion on June 21, 2014. You won’t be sorry you took the time … the LFA Board.

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This page has been accessed 1,056 times. This page was last modified on 11 April 2014, at 04:51.


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