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History of George Burton Whitney and Lovina Syphus, his wife and Luke Syphus and Christiana Long, Lovina's parents, undated Genealogical data sheet, John Mathieson Bunker and Mary Etta Syphus




From the Syphus-Bunker Papers (MS-00169). The folder contains documents about the history of George Burton Whitney and his wife, Lovina Syphus, and Luke Syphus and Christiana Long, Lovina's parents, and a genealogical data sheet for John Mathieson Bunker and Mary Etta Syphus.

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man000894. Syphus-Bunker Papers, 1891-1994. MS-00169. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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The Whitneys in Herefordshire, England, are classed in genealogical ’’lore" as one of the oldest and most distinguished families in the west of England. The name of Whitney originally spelled Whitenie or Wyeteney—meaning White Water—dates back to and even beyond the tins of the Norman conquest, A.D. 1066. It derives its origin from the River Wye near the borders of Wales where yet stands the ruins of Witenie Castle. The name is also said to signify the Island of the Wise Men. Whitney Parish is still extant.
For the rest of the brief history of the family from A.D. 1066 until 1635, when John with his wife, Elinor, and their five sons embarked at the Port of London in the early spring of that year and in June landed on the shores of the then New World. John Whitney had received a good education, probably at the famous Westminister school and had become a member in good standing of one of the great trade guilds of that time.
In Watertown, Massachusetts, where he settled, he became foremost leader. He died in 1673, being about 84 years of age. From Massachusetts, his descendants spread out over other parts of the continent, Eli Whitney, the famous inventor; Josiah Dwight Whitney, geologist and professor at Harvard; William Dwight Whitney, philologist, scientist and scholar, and editor of the Century Dictionary; William C, Whitney, Secretary of the Navy under President Grover Cleveland, and many other-distinguished Americans are branches of this family tree. There are other Whitneys in America, but this history has only to do with certain direct descendants of John and Elinor Whitney of Watertown, Massachusetts.
Some of the Watertown Whitneys migrated to New York and Vermont. There, in the former place of Troy, on the ninth day of March, in the year 1864, the hero of this story was born. George B. Whitney lived with his father and mother in Troy, New York, until he was nine years old (except for a number of short intervals that he spent in the country with his mother’s father and mother, his grandmother and grandfather Barnard). He had to spend some time in the country because of his health; later the doctor told his father and mother that if he was to grow to manhood he would have to live
in the country entirely. Therefore, he left the home of his father and mother to make his home with his grand parents Barnard in the country. There he lived until they died.
The Barnards were strict Methodists, His grandfather believed in the Bible, especially Solomon’s proverb that says, "Spare the rod and spoil the child." Although they were strict and insisted on obedience, they were very kind and laving and gave him the same loving care they had given their own children. He soon became happy and contented in the home of his grandparents, George received the best education the country schools afforded at that time; and his religious training was far above the average.
It was probably more his religious training than his secular training that made him the scholar he was. He often said, both in his private conversation and public discourses that there was never a morning in the Barnard home when a Bible was not set at every place at the table as well as a plate. No matter how rushed the farm work or other things were, family prayers and the Bible readings were never neglected. During the winter when outside work couldn’t be done, except the care for the animals, not only one chapter of the Bible was read but many; and the Sabbath day was always religiously observed and church going was a part of the family life.
This training was a wonderful foundation for a man whose destiny it was to be a pillar of the church in the communities in which he would live after the Gospel (as restored by out Heavenly Father through the Prophet Joseph Smith) should come into his life. At the age of seventeen, his grandfather Barnard died and the old home was broken up. He then, perhaps, unconsciously began to wend his way to the western shores of his native land.
We hear of him next in San Diago, California, in 1868, It is thought that on his way there he taught school one winter in Kentucky and worked one year at Riverside, California. There he helped dig the first canal for the town, which at the time had only one house. When the canal was finished, he was given the privilege of choosing any ten acres of land under the canal if he would stay and be the
■watermaster and ride the canal the first summer after it was finished. He refused this offer because it seemed as'.though he had not yet reached his destined stopping place. From there he started for Nevada; on his way crossing the Mohave Desert, where he and the company he was with nearly perished for water.
He prospected in the Ivenpaugh Mining District around what is now known as Clark Mountain, Late in the summer of 1870, he camped • at Las Vegas springs or a ranch near where the city of Las Vegas now stands. From there he traveled north up the Las Vegas Valley by way of Corn Creek to the Paranagate Valley and on to the town of Hike (Hike was a thriving mining camp at this time). After working there for a few days, he then started for Pioche, Nevada. Arriving in Pioche on the first of October, 1870, he discovered that he cams the day after what is known in Pioche history as the "big fire." This fire destroyed a large part of the town. At that time, Pioche was one of the largest mining camps in Nevada.
In Pioche there were hundreds of men going to work every day. Deciding that there wasn’t any work for him, he came back to Bullionville, which is 12 miles south of Pioche and one mile across the valley from Panaca. Bullionville was where most of the ore . from Pioche was hauled and milled. There were ten or fifteen quartz mills in operation at that time, but again there seemed to be no job for him. From there he went on to Panaca,
Panaca was the only Mormon town in that section of the country. Like most non-menbers at that time, he probably entered with many misgivings as to his safety, for at that time the Latter-day Saints were looked upon with suspicion, hate, and fear by many people— hearing of the Mormons and reading about them having horns and their intolerance for other people and many other things that were written by the missionaries of Satan that were not true about the people that would one day bee cane his people. Here in Panaca he got a job chopping cord wood for Si Renolds, a Mormon man. (At the time all the mills or machinery in the mines were operated by steam engines and wood was used as fuel. Gasoline and gas engines were not known there then.)
Never having had the experience of chopping wood before, he soon realized he was no wood chopper. He bought a four-horse team that winter and hired his own choppers and went to hauling wood for the mills in Bullionville. He worked all winter iintil the end of June, By then he had his team paid for and a little money saved. Being somewhat of a wanderer by nature and owning his mm team, he decided he would make the trip to Texas. On this particular venture he had told his companions of his destination and resolved that this would be his last trip after woodi One thing he hadn’t realized was that he had not reckoned with providence and an all wise Father in Heaven.
It was the custom then of many of the freighters to hobble their horses out at night so they could graze, because hay was not very plentiful. As usual his horses were hobbled when camp was set for the night. The next morning the horses did not return to camp as they had always done before for their feed of grain. He went out and hunted but he never saw or heard a word about their as long as he lived. We will pause here and leave him hunting for his horses while we look back twenty-two or three years and follow a little event in old England, the land from which this man’s ancestors migrated in ths seventeenth century.
In England the Gospel of Jesus Christ,as it was revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith and established upon the earth by our Heavenly Father through him in this choice land of America, was being preached. This gospel messabe was being accepted by thousands in that land from whence came the founders of this land of liberty.
There in or near London was a girl in her teens and a young man. The young lady had accepted this Gospel message but the young man had not. The story here is how she told it in the sunset of her life with her own lips.
She said, "You know when I first heard the Elders,we went to their meetings together and their messages el 1. seemed so true, and it found a response in my heart and I tried to show him, but he would not listen but I knew it was true, I could not marry him because he could not accept the Gospel, I finally told him so and he felt sorry and so
did I, but I wanted my children taught this Gospel, Thus he and I parted, but there was another young man by the name of Luke Syphus, He was a good young man; he had joined the church; we married and I have never been sorry.
They were never sojiy and their faith was never shaken. They bore the hardships and suffering and privations with all the rest of our forefathers who settled this intermountain land. Many of them left homes of luxury and came for the love of truth.
Luke Syphus, son of Matthew and Mary Long Syphus, was born 23 January 1827 at Leafield, Oxfordshire, England, He married Christiana Long 25 December 1851.
Christiana Long, daughter of John Long and Martha Hignall, was born 10 January 1832 at Standlake, Oxfordshire, England,
There is little known of the life of Luke Syphus before he married Christiana except that he too had heard and studied the Gospel and had accepted it joyfully. Both he and Christiana were baptized into the Chruch of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints prior to their marriage.
Christiana’s mother died when she was eight years old. Later her father remarried, and, although the step-mother was kind and good to the children, Christiana wanted to be independent. She wanted to earn her own living. So, while she was yet very young, she went to London to find employment.
Though Christiana was not born of the gentry, she always conducted herself in a most well-bred, lady-like manner. This quality enabled her to find employment in a "gentleman’s family," caring for children. However, she did not like the lady for whom she worked, because she expected Christiana to do. so many other tilings besides taking care of the children. She decided to leave, and, because she had always been such a lady-like girl, they were forced to give her a good letter of recommendation.
Her next job was with a family by the name of King, Here she stayed, seemingly very happy, for five years, or until they left to sail for America. The Kings wanted Christiana to go to America with them, but for
some unknown reason, she stayed behind.
Who can tell where the kind hand of Providence takes charge of our lives for a purpose. It was not long after the Kings left that she heard the Gospel of the Latter Day Saints. When she heard this new religion, she began attending meetings and investigating. The more she studied and heard the more she was convinced that she had found the truth.
Where Luke and Christiana lived in England vs do not know, nor what occupation Luke followed, but we do know that later he was a good stone mason and was skilled at whip-sawing lumber. He was able to make good use of these skills later in his life.
About a year after their marriage Luke and Christiana set sail for Australia, 21 November 1852, in the sailing vessel Java. This vessel had about five hundred people aboard and carried water and provisions for three months.
Before sailing, Luke was given a blessing by the presiding church officials in England, that he would suffer a great loss on the voyage, and that he would be the nears of saving the ship. This prophecy was literally fulfilled.
It is on this voyage that we begin to get a picture of the character and personality of Luke Syphus, Many adverse conditions prevailed, among them reverse winds that sometimes drove the ship back for several days. So instead of a three month voyage, it lengthened into five months.
All the people on the vessel suffered terribly from lack of food and water; many died and were buried at sea before Australia was reached. The passengers were put on rations that amounted to two tablespoons of water per day and sea biscuits,, These sea buiscuits were not only so hard they had to be cut with an axe, but. they were also filled with big worms—they were eaten anyway because those on board were so hungry.
When the ship was three months out, Christiana gave birth to her first son, Luke, on the third of March 1853. He was born while
the ship was in Table Bay, Cape of Good Hope, Africa. Due to conditions on board ship, she could not give her baby proper nourishment and care, so he died on March 29, 1853, twenty-six days after birth, .and was buried at sea.
The reverse winds were not the only troubles that beset the Java. She sprang a leak and for some time the captain considered abandoning ship. In fact he had ordered the boats lowered, with all the women and children loaded in them. Here is where Luke showed his faith and inspiration. While the captain was below seeing about repairs and pumping operations and organizing a bucket brigade to bail water, Luke preempted the captain’s place and ordered all passengers to stay aboard and away from the boats. In a calm, authorstive voice he told them that the leak would be repaired and the water pumped out, and the ship would continue safely on its way. They were assured by his calm manner and none left the ship. However, when the captain came on deck he was very angry and threatened to put Luke in the brig for his actions. But Luke did not back down on the wisdom of his orders, and the captain, realizing that he had been spared additional troubles, forgot the in subordination and the incident was closed.
At that time lumber sawed by hand and under great difficulties was whip-sawed in the following manner:
First a deep cellar-like pit was dug. Usually six feet deep, sixteen feet long and four to five feet wide. The log to be sawed was marked with straight black lines the size of the boards, determining the number of lines per long. The loM was then placed across the length of the pit, with one man in it, under the log. The helper would stand on the log, the two of them drawing the great saw up and down the length of it. A most arduous way to get lumber.’ Surely Luke earned the good wages
he got for his efforts!
Since Luke and Christiana were Latter Day Saints, the home they established in Australia became headquarters for the L.D.S. Elders and Apostles who came there to proselyte the natives.
In Australia the cool time of the year comes in the summer . months. This was fortunate for Christiana, for on August 31, 1854, she gave birth to her second'child, a lovely daughter, later named Lovina. At the time of her birth Hike and Christiana were living in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
Luke worked hard, and with the help of his good wife was able to save enough money for passage to America, Always in their hearts, from the time they first joined the Chruch, had been the desire to go to Zion. When the time came to sail, Lovina was not quite two years old, but already she was a beautiful child, taking after her mother in looks. Christiana was a small, dainty woman, with fine features, beautiful black wavy hair, laughing brown eyes that were shadowed with provocatively long lashes, and a lovely mouth that curved easily into smiles. Her ankles were trim find neat, ending in the high arched instep of the true aristocrat. These attributes of beauty she passed on to her children to some degree, but her first bom daughter, Lovina, was a true prototype,,
There is no record of the names of the people with whom they associated and did business while in Australia except one; this was Joseph Hidges. He and Luke were associated in the lumber business, and became fast friends, a tie that lasted throughout their lives. This same Joseph Ridges was later called to build the Salt Lake Tabernacle Organ.
He tells about his conversion to Mormonism and his association with Luke and his personal history:
"In 1852 in company with a friend, I set sail for Australia, suffering from a bad attack of gold fever, and after five months we landed at Sydney. While on board ship I became acquainted with a gentleman whose name was Luke Syphus, and it subsequently transpired
After 5 months of buffeting by the elements, passengers almost starved, with many sick on board,the Java reached Australia. (24 April 1853) This was just at the time when so many rich gold mines were being discovered in that country. Consequently, there was a great demand for lumber and all kinds of building material. Luke was quick to see the possibilities in this activity and immediately prepared to saw lumber. Well sawed lumber brought a very good price, as it should.
that Mr, Syphus was a Mormon, but at that time I could not have told what a Mormon was as the fame or otherwise of the Latter Day Saints had not then become so widely known as it is today. Upon landing at Sydney, I joined forces with this gentleman, and we went some four hundred miles up the rivers and creeks into the dense bush.
"Well, to cut the matter short, it was not long before I found out what a Mormon was, and I became one of them joyfully--—--an action I have never regretted, if it did have the effect of causing my brothers and relatives at home in England to cease corresponding with me."
Brother Ridges had gone to Australia seeking gold, but through his association with Luke he found the more precious gold—the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
On the 23 of May, 1856, Luke and Christiana and little Lovina set sail on the ship Jenoveve (or Jenny Flora) for America. They sailed with a large company composed mostly of L.D.S. This too was a hazard- our passage as the ship caught fire three times while on the the three months voyage across the Pacific,
They landed at San Pedro Harbor, California, early in August, (15 August 1856) Most of the Saints moved inland to Sna Bernardino where an L.D.S. colony was already established. However, the Syphuses and a few close friends stayed behind at San Pedro because Christiana was expecting her third child momentarily. Luke quickly gathered driftwood and ship wreckage to make a shelter. This wqs the first cabin on the beach, and some two weeks later the first white child was bom there. This was Edward Henry Syphus, bom August 22, 1856, a son to Luke and Christiana.
When the mother and baby could travel, the little party also moved into San Bernardino. (30 September 1856) Here Luke sawed lumber and made rails from the trees of the nearby mountains. With these he built a three room house for his little family and fenced a fifteen acre farm. The soil here was very good, and with the help of a young Indian, Luke cleared and planted his small farm.
Ever a kindly man, and one to help the neady, Luke took the hungry Indian boy in, gave him food, and paid him to help with the • land. Over Christiana's protests, the Indian was allowed to sit at the table with the family for his meals. This was contrary to prevalent custom, but Luke felt that if he worked in the field he should be allowed to eat as his family ate. This Christian kindness later paid big dividends to the Syphuses and their friends.
The small farm yielded abundant crops in 18'57. It looked as though the family larder would be running over with winter supplies, plus what could be grown the year round.
Things began to look good for the Saints in San Bernardino, They had water, good soil, good climate, and were seemingly unmolested by persecutors. But their good fortune was short lived. Far away in Southern Utah the Mountain Meadow Massacre had been perpetrated. Its effects on the members of the Church were far-reaching, In California the Latter day Saints were threatened with death if they did not get out. The leaders in Salt Lake called them to ccme to Utah for saftey. They had to leave so quickly they had no time to sell anything, probably would not have found buyers anyway. They just walked away, leaving their homes and crops to anyone who chose to take them, (3 December 1857)
This certainly was a test of faith and proof of the sturdy character of these people. The wilderness road to Utah lay across three waterless deserts and through valleys infested with starving, hostile Indians, Every mile was fraught with danger, yet those sturdy people loaded their families and meager possessions into wagons and started across the trackless wastes.
They were sure of three oases between San Bernardino and Utah, but they were not sure they would ever reach them. And reaching them, they were not sure they would leave alive because of the Indians lying in wait.
These oases were Las Vagas, The Muddy, and Beaver Dam, Each had running water, shade, and a modicum of grass. Las Vegas was a clear
spring’that spouted up and ran out into the desert. The Muddy was a big creek, fed by warm springs that meandered down through a long narrow valley, all enclosed by tawny mesas. Beaver Dam was a mountain fed stream, brodered with trees and grass at intervals that had cut a wide gash in the earth for more than a hundred miles. Before, between, and after these three oases lay the desert, stark and jealous, reaching out hungry hands for the weak and unprepared.
The little party of fleeing Saints had safely negotiated the first . third of their journey. They stopped at las Vegas without incident, and were praying to do the same at the Muddy, But as they drove down the tortuous trail to the river ford, they came upon Indians...half naked, hungry Indians,
The wagons had made the crossing safely and were slowly following the trail across the upper valley—each driver kept a sharp look-out for Indians, for they knew the Piutes would do anything for food.
Suddenly Luke heard a noise to the rear of his outfit. Hastily looking over his shoulder into the dark depths of the wagon, he saw Lovina being lifted out of the back opening by two brown hands, With a shout he stopped the team and leaped to the ground, running as he lit. He struck the Indian a blow that made him drom the child and sent him spinning. Lovina had been too frightened of the ugly brown face to cry out, but in later years she said she was sure the Indian was only looking for food and had moved her, the better to look.
With this incident to spur them on, the little party moved toward Beaver Dam. Up they went, up the steep sandy slope of the mesa, over the ragged rim-rock, across the dreary miles of top, down over the rimrock, and on across the slopes of shifting sand. Plop, plod, plop went the feet of the horses, and in She minds of the people a question: Would there be Indians at the Beaver Dam.
There were—the whole tribe had assembled, ready to pounce on the wagon train. The Saints quickly prepared to defend themselves and in so doing, one member of the party was recognised. Luke Syphus—the young Indian that he had employed in San Bernardino and so kindly treated, knew his friend. He quickly spoke to the chief—pleaded with him to spare the lives of those in this wagon train. Reluctantly the chief consented,
provided the Slants would give them food. An agreement was made, leaving most of their provisions behind, the train was allowed to proceed in safety.
And so the third oasis was left behind, and what lay ahead— none knew. When Utah was reached the Syphuses reached Cedar City 31 January 1858, They stayed here about a year, but apparently were not satisfied, for they moved further south into Toquerville, (left, 15 November 1858—Arrived 16 November 1858) This was a small settlement of saints between Cedar City and St, George, The Syphuses did not stay long here either, but during their stay a fourth child, a daughter was born. On the 6th of March 1859, ,
Martha Ellen Syphus joined the family.
The next place the family moved was to the settlement of Santa Clara, a’.small place that was being built up on a bend of the Santa Clara Creek, (Arrived 11 December 1859) Here they acquired land, built a home, and surrounded themselves with the usual accoutrements of farm life: pigs, chickens, cattle, farm equipment, and so on. The family was doing very well—was busy and happy, and well onto forgetting their previous hardships. Here too in this quiet time Alfred Luke Syphus was born, December 2.2, 1861.
When he was one week old disaster struck again. During the winter of this year, there had been so much snow and rain that the . beneficient Santa Clara Creek became a torrent. Its angry water gobbled up the land it had previously made. The people testely abandoned their homes, climbing to a hillside for safety. Here Christiana sat with her week-old son, along with her neighbors and watched the greedy creek carry their homes away. The men saved what they could, but since they had been forced out in the evening, it was hard to work in the dark. When morning came, the only thing left of a flourishing settlement was the chimney of Luke and Christiana’s house. This made two homes and farms that they had lost in five years.
But they were not daunted. With stout hearts they moved around the point of the hill, a greater distance from the creek and started over again.
In the years between the time that Luke and Christiana had left England and during their many moves, they had converted Luke’s father and mother, Matthew and Mary Long Syphus and also his brother, Matthew Jr. and family. (Luke Syphus went on a mission to England, October 1872, to his folks.) Somehow, too, he had‘managed to bring Matthew Jr. and Marianna and family to America. This same Matthew and family were at Santa Clara at the time of the flood mentioned above. . After the disaster he went to California, leaving his wife, Marianna, and children in Luke’s care. This added responsibility and helped in his decision to give up farming just then and to follow the stone masonry trade,
He quickly made adobies and built a house for his family. One was surely needed for their was much sickness that summer after the flood.
Because of so much sickness in the two families, Luke moved Marianna and her children into his home. They they watched her two oldest daughters die, even as Christiana nursed her own ailing children. It was a terrible summer and one to try the faith of the most devout.
Probably because of the sorrow he had seen in this house, Luke sold it, moving the two families to a new one closer to the hills. In this new home, Marianne saw her baby die and Christiana gave birth to another son. Her sixth child, George Alvin Syphus, born 23rd of December, 1863.
In the proceeding two years, and in spite of so much personal trouble and sorrow, Luke had been very busy. He had been building homes for other people—homes that still stand, a monument to his integrity as a builder. One house in particular that he built was a home for Jacob Hamblin. Its site was up on a hillside overlooking the rest of the town, a rather pretentious, two story house with thick (rock)(adobe)? walls.
In the fall of 1863 Matthew returned from California and resumed responsibility for his family. About this time, or shortly after the birth of George Alvin, Apostle Erastus Snow called on Luke to make yet another move. This time they were to go with a group of settlers to Clover Valley, with Luke as Bishop.
These were the days of Indian uprisings and raids and Clover Valley was not exempt. In fact, the raids became so frequent that the settlers had to build a fort and a big round public stockade for the cattle and horses. At night guards had to be posted to ward off Indian forays.
On one of these raids two of the Indians were shot, but the settlers decided to follow them and end -once and for all, if possible, the trouble. Since the raid took place about midnight, the men at the fort took up the trail as soon as they could follow the tracks. When they stopped for breakfast, Luke’s horse got loose and went back to the fort.. This caused a great deal of excitement and sorrow, because he was loved by all the settlers. One woman swore personal vengeance on anyone who had harmed ’’their Luke.”
The men returned to their families without success, and the raids continued until nearly all the stock was driven off.
Clover Valley was a beautiful valley, one of the most picturesque- yet settled by the Saints. The present settlement is known as Barklayand is on the Union Pacific Railroad, But in 1864 it was an isolated, lonely place. The small group of Saints had to depend entirely on their own resources for protedtion from the Indians,
The Indians here were expecially troublesome. They were ruled tyranically by one Bushhead, He was feared as much by his own people as by the white settlers.
Luke was not only the ecclesiastical leader of the group, but he had to plan the strategy against the Indians as well. Many skirmishes and narrow escapes were recorded, not only by the Clover Valley group, but by more distant settlements.
One of these more distant settlements was in the Pahranagate Valley, some 60 or 70 miles away. The settlers were not Latter Day Saints, but Bushhead was no respecter of persons, and one of his group killed a man at Hike in the Pahranagate Valley, then cunningly blamed the Mormons for it! This of course aroused their fury against
the Saints in Clover Valley. They organized a posse and came post-haste to wipe out the "damn Mormons," X.
But here again we see the quiet strength and sagacity of Luke Syphus revealed. Calmly his group met the irate posse and asked for a hearing. He qusickly outlined the situation, explaining the cunning perfidy of Bushhead. Immediately the two valleys joined forces and subsequently succeeded in capturing the leaders of the Indians, among ~ them the rebel Bushhead. After their demise, there was no more Indian trouble.
It seems that in each place that Luke and Christiana helped to settle, they were destined to spend a short time. They gave their strength and talent to establish a settlement and then were called to a new frontier, and in each place a child was bom into their family* Here in Clover Valley 5 Levi Walter, their seventh child was born, April 22, 1866,
g Luke and Christiana were required to make one more move before they
f finally chose and were allowed to make a permanent home. In the fall of 1866 they moved 55 miles east to an isolated little valley that was
i later known as Pinto. Their stay here was very short, Jush through the
| winter of 1866-67. In the spring of 1867 they moved to a settlement
£ that had already been extablished, and was situated adjacent to rich and E active mines. Yes—in the spring of 1867 the moved to Panaca, Lincoln County, Nevada, and they were "home."
Not long after they came to Panaca, another rich mining town sprang up. This was Pioche. Here they found ready sale for all the vegetables and farm products they could grow,
They built a comfortable heme and being thrifty and industrious, they were able to give their children all the comforts available at the time and in some instances provided even luxuries.
In Panaca, Luke and Christiana found the sanctuary among the Latter Day Saints of Zion that they had set.out to find so many years before when they left England on the sailing vessel Java. They had given the strength of their youth, their talents and native abilities to help in getting the church established in outposts throughout Southern Utah and Nevada, Now at the ages of 40 and 35, those choice, rich years of
life, they found permanency and could put those abilities with which they were so richly endowed to purposeful and permanent uses.
They took active part in church, civic and political enterprises, Luke was Bishop for nine years in the Panaca Ward, leading that branch of the church into greater and more rewarding activities. He was county commissioner for Lincoln County, Nevada, for ten years. In this capacity he skillfully guided the policies and achievements of that body along lines of greater civid improvements.
Christiana was not idle either. She was busy helping her husband to organize and staff the various church auxiliaries. Many of these she had to guide herself, until enough people came into the ward to take over the leadership. Always they wanted the best the church had to offer their children in opportunities and training and they worked together to achieve this end.
It was here in Panaca, too, that Christiana told her grandchildren about her conversion to Mormonism and about her marriage to Luke, the good man who had joined the church. "I have never been sorry," she said. What a revealing statement, and what a sublime faith.’ After 16 years of wandering and building and moving and fighting floods and famine, she could say, "I’ve never been sorry." How well she had earned the peace and comfort of the final years in Panaca.
Luke and Christiana passed on to their regard after years of full rich living in the gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter Days.
Hike died at the age of 88, 19th of April, 1915. Christiana followed 3 years later at the age of 86, 17th August, 1918.
We will now return to the hero of this short story. When he had spent what little money he had saved and decided it was useless to look longer for his horses, he began to look about for another place to work. His friend Si Renolds told him that there was a Mormon Bishop sho wanted to hire a man to hoe weeds in his garden. Following this advice, he went to the Bishop and was hired. Little did he think then that this same Mormon Bishop would later be the grandfather of his children. It was on an errand to the Bishop’s home that he first met his future bride. She was sitting on a big
dry-goods box bunching carrots and some other vegetables for the Pioche market. She was a beautiful girl of seventeen with black hair, dark eyes and complexion. This was a contrast to his light hair, fair complexion, and sky-blue eyes; it was no wonder if their hearts missed a beat as their eyes met for the first time in mortality. (Be that as it may, this girl’s heart and soul was hers to guard and keep till she knew where it would go and she felt that the receiver would be one of her own faith and that the heart that hers would beat in union with would help in the hopes and ideals she had for herself and her children.)
His pay was small each day plus board and he was to start work the following morning. The custom of the Bishop*s family was to hold family prayer every morning before breakfast. The Bishop said, "Mr. Whitney, we always have family prayers. You can join with us or you may go out on the porch until we get through." He answered that it was always the custom in his home where he was raised. So George Burton Whitney knelt in prayer with the Syphus family, and that morning the two men began a discussion of religion.
After breakfast, Luke and Christiana went to Pioche with a load of garden produce, leaving their eldest daughter, Lovina in charge. She had to prepare the dinner for the younger children and the new hired man. You can imagine the thoughts that were going through this young girl’s mind as she prepared the food. She wanted to impress the handsome. young stranger. They wouldn’t think of eating without blessing the food; so when dinner was ready, this young lady, wanting everything to be just right, blessed the food herself rather than ask the younger children to do it.
George B. spent many evenings discussing and studying the principles of the gospel with Luke Syphus. The months following resulted in this wanderer accepting the restored gospel and making it a part of his life. He was baptized by Thomas J. Jones—1 September
He was now taking an active part in the community life, working for first one man and then another and also teaching school during the winter. His future wife, Lovina, attended school with Mm as the teacher in the winter of 1872 and 73. They became well acquainted with each other during this time.
They were married in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City, 9 October 1873. (Not married for time but for all eternity by one who was authorized by our Heavenly Father to give them to each other with a covenant and promise to live true and faithful to each other.) It was four-hundred miles from Panaca to Salt Lake City, a long way to go by team and wagon to get married when they could have been married right there at home for time. But this could not satisfy the kind of love they felt for each other. Theirs was the kind that would-endure ind not wear away but grow stronger and truer with the years. When one would pass.on to the next stage of existence, he or she could welcome the other as they passed on to Eternity, together, in each®* others love and c cmpanionship.
George B. and lovina returned to Panaca where they made their first home. Here their first three children were born: George Luke, 3 August 1874; Chrissie Eveline, 16 June 1876; and Lovina Ellen, 4 October 1878.
In the fall of 1879, they, with Harry Gentry, who had married Lovina’s sister Ellen, and several other Panaca families received a call from the Church Authorities to settle in San Juan County, Utah or Mesquite, Nevada. They chose Mesquite Nevada because it was hearer. They constructed a ditch and channeled the water from the Virgin River out onto the land the first spring. Early in the summer they planted a few melons and a little corn.
When George B. moved his family from Panaca to Mesquite the oldest son, Like, was six years of age, and he remembered most of the events of his father’s and mother’s lives. The following incidents are told by him:
"Father and mother located on twenty acres of land on the east boundary of Arizona. This was approximately three-fourths of a mile above the present town of Mesquite and just below the present location of the Grist Mill. Our land ran from the base of the hill on the north side of the river, south to where the bank of the river was then. On the bank of the canal that runs where it does now along the base of the hill, Father built a one room, rock hut with a dirt roof.
The first winter was spent in clearing land and hauling salt from the salt mines, five miles below St. Thomas and forty miles below Mesquite. The salt was hauled to St. George, Utah making the distance from the mine about 90 miles. The hauling rate was $17.00 per ton. It cost the men $1.00 per ton if they blasted it from the mountain themselves but $2.50 per ton if they purchased it already blasted out. This salt mine was owned by Mr. Daniel Bonelli. Because of their small teams, only three-fourths of a ton of salt could be hauled at once and it took ten days to make the round trip. Although they did not make much, the little they did get helped to provide them with a".little flour and a few clothes.
The following summer father thrashed a little wheat. We had it ground in Bunkerville in a small mill owned by Dudly Leavitt. Bunkerville had been settled a year or two previous to this time.
In the summer of 1881 Father and I came down with the chills and fever and we were sick most of the time. Poor mother! How she worked milking the cow, looking after the little crop and the hundred and one other things to be done on a new place in a new country with very little to get along with. That fall, October 18, 1881, the fourth child, Luella May, was bom to George B. and Lovina.
From the 18th of October on of that year was spent in hauling salt and getting more land cleared and planted. It began to look as though we would be able to establish ourselves there permanently. But it seemed that the time had not yet come for the establishing of a permanent settlement there because in June in the year of 1881 we were struck with one of those thunder storms that this arid west is sometimes subjected to in the summer. This storm filled the ditch up in places and washed it out in others and took the dam out which they had put in the Virgin River to divert the water into'their ditch. This was a real calamity for everyone. They did not seem to have the heart to begin all over again. I think Father and Mother were probably hit worse than anyone else.
I well remember that terrible storm; it came during the night. Mother had been washing that day and was in bed earlier than usual, so were all the other children except myself and a boy, Andy Pulipher by name, who was living with us at that time. I ranember mother saying to father, ’’Why don’t you put the light and go to fed; the flies are so bad I can’t go to sleep.”
Father said, ”I’m watching that storm," but he put the light out and he and I stood in the' south door and watched the black clouds come clear across the southwest horizon. The lightning was so vivid it lit up everything. Presently the thunder began to rumble and as the storm approached, it became a roar; then it just seemed to crack and the storm was there in a regular deluge, My, how it it did pour down; it seemed to come in bucketsful. The water began to come through the dirt roof and father began putting pans and buckets on the beds and all around to catch the water; then all of a sudden it came pouring through the back window. That was a signal for action. Father gathered Mother and the baby up and started for the hill just back of the house; the water was up to his waist. He took her and then came back and took the rest of us children up on the hill by mother. He returned for a few quilts to put over us; then he left to go and help Johnny Hansen and his wife, who were an old couple living in a dugout in the side of a wash a quarter of a mils below us. He got them out and stored them in a haystack on the bank of the wash,
I never will forget that night; uy two sisters, Chrissie and Ellen and my self lying there on the hillside with a quilt over us; Mother sitting there with the baby, little DueHa May in her arms and a quilt over them and Andy, the boy of about 12 there with us. The rain was pouring through those quilts; the lightning flashing; the thunder rolling and rocks rolling down the hillside; it seemed as though father never would come back. A half hour seemed a long time to a seven year old boy, I think Mother was worried too, but the boy, Andy, was calm and unafraid like he has always been in the fifty years I have known him since. I remember him saying, "We will be all right; nothing to be afraid of here. We may be wet but that is all." When Mother would say, "I wonder if Father will be able to get back," he would say, "Sure he is all right; he will soon be back."
When Father came back, he moved us up into a cave that was in the side of the hill where the Indians used to cash or hide their dried dogberries and pinenuts and other food they gathered and stored for the winter so it would keep dry. We children were soon asleep when we got to a dry place. Father made several trips to the house, getting out clothes and other needed things he could find. All our tools were buried in mud, books and many other things of value were destroyed.
Father was elected delegate to the convention, 17 August 1882, He was later elected a Nevada State Assemblyman.
That winter, 1882-3, Father went to Bunderville and taught school. We lived in a small room in George Lee’s home; he had three rooms and was kind enough to rent one. That winter in December and January there was an epidemic of measles and the youngest child, Louella May, died, 13 January 1883, She was one year, two months and twenty-six y days old when she died, On the fourteenth she was buried. There was
5 a double funeral; a Miss Earl was buried the same day. Mother was
“ unable to attend the funeral; my two sisters, Chrissie and Ellen wbre L very sick with the measles.
< In the summer of June 1883, the family went down to St, Thomas
2 in the Muddy Valley, as it was then known, to help mother’s brother “ Edward Syphus and brother-in-law Harry Gentry, harvest their grain « crop. They had moved to St. Thomas the year before the flood at Mesquite. They were the first Latter Day Saints to establish themselves at St. Thomas after the exodus of our people a few years previous.
The following winter, 1883-4, Father again taught school in Bunkerville. It was there my parents’ fifth child, Stowell Edward, was bom, 28 March, 1884. His birth nearly cost my mother’s life. She had been sick with chills and fever and the sorrow of the loss of her last child all coming together was too much for her frail body. It was only through the faith, prayers, and kind administration of those who attended her that her life was spared. I remember as a child in ny 10th year how the Elders' and the two good sisters, Aunt Mary Bunker, mother of Martin Bunker, and Aunt Viola Earl cared for her and helped her in every way. I also remember others of the Bunker family, because of their kindness to us—John 'M., who married mother’s sister Mary; Francis, May, Ezra, Robert, and Hector. It seems to me as I remember it that I was indebted to these good people for
Mother’s life. I know Father and Mother have always held these people as their closest friends. Another good lady I want to mention is Aunt Mariar Leavitt, one of the wives of Dudley Leavitt, Senior, who was one of the original settlers of Bunkerville. I pay tribute to these good sisters because of their faith in God and the wonderful unselfish help they gave their fellow men all the days of their life.
On the last day of April they carried Mother and put her in the wagon and we started to look for a new home. Circle Valley and Junction in Piute County, were being settled up then, and since mother’s three brothers, Alfred, George, and Levi, were locating in Circle Valley, Father was going there too.
We got as far as Washington, Utah and Mother stayed there with Virgal Kelly’s family, people they knew in Panaca, Nevada, In fact, Mrs. Kelly was one of mother’s girlhood friends. Father and Mother were married at the smae time this lady and her husband were. After leaving Mother with the Kellys, father and I went on to Circle Valley
On arriving in Circle Valley, Father planted ten acres of wheat and started back to Washington for Mother. The Sevier River was very high when we were coming up the river going after Mother. The water was in the road in places and when we got back to the Sevier, it was so high we could not get down the river, so we stopped at a ranch owned by a man named Wooley." .
Luke Whitney’s story ends here, but it seems that George B. and Mr, Wooley became friends and the Whitney family spent the summer of 1884 at his ranch south of Panguitch, where the green meadows border Panquitch Lake,
In the fall of that year, they moved back to Panaca. Here their next four children were born: Mary Maudeen, 18 February 1886; Mabel Clara, 18 December 1887; Levi Burton, 25 July 1890; and Ralph Emmanuel, 26 May 1892.
They needed a school teacher in St. Thomas, Nevada, so George B. Whitney and family once again decided to move. They arrived in St, Thomas in the late summer of 1893. They moved into the Bonnelli home and many times the Saints gathered there for church services.
School was held in a boarded up tent for two years; then for several years it was held in the front room of the Moses and Lizzie Bibson home.
There was only one ward of the L.D.S. Church in the Mqddy (Moapa) Valley at that time, and it was located at Overton eight miles up the valley. George B. Whitney was a Counselor to Bishop Jones of the Overton Ward while they lived in St. Thomas, He was also sent to the Nevada State Assembly to write or help write the original school laws for the State of Nevada. His Bood of Procedures is dated 1897. (This book is in possession of Idona Merrill, a grand daughter)
The trials and drudgery of pioneer life could not for long suppress Pun and romance in the Whitney family. In spite of long hours of hard work, there were intervals for singing and dances and family outings. During this St, Thomas sojourn, Luke, Chrissie and Ellen were budding into manhood and womanhood. From little quotations in John Bunker's letters from St. Thomas to Levina's sister Mary in Panaca, we catch a glimpse of the courting that was going on, usually in a white-top buggy. Here is a sample quotation: ”Utey has Ellen, Louisa, and Nellie out in Brig's buggy. He is Ellen's best fellow.”
But Chrissie was the first one married. On the 10 March 1895, she married John Austin Abbott. A little over two years later, 10 June 1897, Ellen married her best fellow, Ute Vorace Perkins. Both of these marriages were sealed in the Temple of our Lord, proving the effectiveness of the Gospel teachings in the Whitney heme.
A great deal of thought and counselling and prayer preceded the marriage of Luke. On the 17 February 1887, Lovina's brother Alfred Luke had married the lovely brown-eyed Julia Wardell in the St, George Temple. Seven years later, 16 May 1894, Alf passed away, leaving Julia with three small children and an unfinished adobe room and no means of support. The young blonde Luke Whitney had been working for his uncle Alf, and when he noticed people taking advantage of the young widow in their financial dealings with her, he determined to do something about it. There were long counselling sessions with his mother and father and the Bishop of the Ward. Luke,being of a religious nature, was well aware of the scriptures which state that if a man die his next of kin shall marry the widow and care for her children. So the resourceful young Luke, with Bible in hand went boldly to Uncle Alf's bachelor brother Levi, explaining the situation and pointing out the Lord's will in the matter. But Uncle Levi, being averse to marriage, refused to
marry Julia. There followed more discussions with his parents and the Bishop. Luke was now the next of kin who was not married, but it was a hard decision to make since Julia was sealed to his uncle Alf, Luke would sacrifice his right to a Wife and children in the life to come. But in spite of this, and the fadt that he was six years younger than she, he courted Julia and they were married 10 January 1897.
A few months later another important event occurred in the Whitney family. On 12 May 1897, a baby girl, Jane, was born to Lovina and George B. It was a short sojourn on earth for the girl. She passed away the same day and was buried in the St, Thomas cemetery.
In April 1899 George B. and his fifteen year old son, Stowell, went to Enterprize, Washington County, Utah. Here they leased a ranch about a mile above town. The first week they were there they planted a garden and cleared sagebrush from twenty or thirty acres of land. He was real pleased with the work they had done and that Sunday, 23 April 1899, he wrote a long fetter to Lovina, telling her of their accomplishments, describing the country, outlining his plans and giving instructions for the family’s journey to Enterprize. One sentence in the letter shows his faith and trust in Lovina and gives a glimpse of her character;
’’Now, Lovina, I am going to state the situation to you and you can act on your own judgement. Whatever you do in the matter will be alright with me. I have all faith and confidence in your judgement and business qualifications. So whatever you do I will stand by you.”
Since there were cows and pigs available in Enterprize, he advised her to sell their animals if she could, since the weather would be too warm to move them successfully.
At that time Chrissie's husband, John Abbot was on a mission for the Church, so he suggested Chrissie and her children come and live with them, but Luke and Bub (Ute, Ellen’s husband) were to make their own decisions.
The letter is long and interesting and will probably be -printed later in a Supplement to this history, for it shows a father's faith
and confidence in and his love and devotion for his wife and children.
As soon as the pigs had been sold and preparations for the journey made, Luke and Julia moved his mother, Levina, and her children to Enterprise. They took the cattle with them and Burt, who was only eight years old,had to ride a horse and drive them. It was a big job for a small boy, and it made the journey slower.
Luke and Ellen decided to remain in St, Thomas and Overton where they raised their children and helped build those communities. After he returned from his mission, John and Chrissie made their home in Idaho and Oregon.
The people of Enterprise tried to persuade George B. and his family to remain there, and offered him the job of teaching school. But he felt he was getting too old,to teach, as his patience was not so good as he got older.
In the fall of 1899, the Whitney family moved to St. George, Utah. George B. was hired as watermaster for the Washington fields. He rode horse back to do this work. He often took Ralph, his youngest son, along with him as he "rode the ditch," It was a wonderful experience for the boy and has been a fond memory throughout his life.
The Whitneys lived in rented homes in St. George for several years, then bought the old home at 300 West and 200 South. This old home is still standing (1965) occupied. It looks the same as it did when
the Whitneys lived there,
George B. worked at Shem for a shile. He also freighted to Modena and Acoma, taking ore to the railroad and bringing back supplies for the stores.
have a share of it, but this he refused to do. His uncle (who seemed like a brother) Burton and wife Helen came out West from the East And spent two months with George B. Whitney and family. He never joined the church, but asked George B. to do his temple work and have his first wife sealed to him after he was gone.
George B. took every opportunity to make a living for his family even though it took him away from home many times. He freighted from Las Vegas to Goldfield. Then in 1904 Levi Syphus, Lovina*s brother, asked them to help him. He had charge of the Indian Springs Ranch and needed help. So George B. and Stowell helped with the farming and the care of the horses. There were many freight teams going through there then, including the twenty mule team wagons carrying borax. Lovina cooked for the freighters and their daughter, Maud, waited on the table. Mabel, then sixteen was left at home to keep house for Burt and Ralph, who were fourteen and twelve.
The Whitneys moved back to their home in St. George in the fall of 1905, and on 18 February 1906, Maud Married Abram Burgess.
In later years George B. earned his living by hauling wood and selling it by the cord. This he did with a one horse wagon, as was the custom in Vermont where he was raised as a boy. He also raised vegetables and sold them to help with their needs.
Burt left home at a young age to work in the mines in Arizona and Nevada and on the freight roads. He married Wellie Volate Hughes in June 1910. They had a daughter, Mabel, born in December 1911. Her mother, Nellie, passed away when Mabel was about two years old, so George and Lovina took her into their home and raised her.
Lovina’s parents, Luke and Christiana Syphus, came to St. George and lived with them one winter.working in the Temple, Clara Syphus, Lovina’s sister, came from Panaca and spent a summer with them.
In the spring of 1901 George B. was called on a short mission to teach the gospel to his family in Troy, New York, This turned out to be a disappointment to him, as he said many times, "Their hearts were too much set on this life’s worldly goods," His people were comparatively wealthy, and if he would have given up his religion and come back he could
Previous to Burt’s marriage, Mabel married Chauncey McFarlane, 8 October 1809, so Ralph was the only child left at home. When he finished the eighth grade, he left and went to work with Burt and Stowell. The boys spent much of their time in St, Thomas and while they were there, Inks and Julia cared for them.
Stowell married Anna Isohel Frehner, 21 May 1914, and Ralph married Doris Elizabeth Nay, 23 December 1920,
In the fall of 1921, Ralph left his wife Doris with his father and mother at their home in St. George to await the birth of their first child. Doris really learned to love George and Lovina, He was such a kind, patient man and treated her as if she was his own daughter. At this time he spent much of his time working in the Temple.
Luke’s daughter Clarice and Ellen’s daughter Lorna stayed with them one winter while they attended school in St, George.
The home of George and Lovina Whitney was always open to anyone who needed help. He passed away 5 April 1927, and was buried in the St, George Cemetery,
At his funeral in the St. George Tabernacle there was a profusion of beautiful flowers. The speakers were his neighbors. They paid tribute to this great pioneer in the following words:
5 "He was one of God’s noblemen, a man of great faith; the gospel
“ was the mainspring of his life. His life was above reproach; he has f been an inspiration to all who knew him. While he did not have much
E of this world’s goods, he was wealthy; the fullness of the earth was
; his. He loved his life of toil, and while he appreciated the love s and help of his children, he liked to be independent. God bless
t? Sister Whitney, who has been his faithful companion."
”1 doubt if ever a man lived truer to himself than Brother Whitney; his was a strong character, as perfect a man as I have ever known."
"He was one of the most independent of men, but was always ready with his contributions and his tithing. Although he did not have much of this world’s goods, yet he left to his family a legacy worth more than money."
George Burton Whitney lived a full life. He raised a wonderful family and was an inspiration to all who knew him. We, his descendants, should be proud to honor the name of Whitney,
George Burton Whitney was 81 years of age at the time of his death. After his death his dear wife Lovina sold the old home. In
1928 she and Mabel, Burt’s daughter, went to Overton and lived with Ellen and Bub Perkins. Then she went back to St. George and lived for awhile in a room of the home of Lorna and Vernon Worthen, a grand-daughter. In 1931 she went back to Overton where she lived in a house that Ellen and Bub owned. Then later that same year George and Clara Logan, a grand-daughter moved into part of the house with her.
In 1932, when the government bought'the property in St. Thomas in preparation for building the Hoover Dam. Luke and Julia moved to Hurricane, Utah. When they became settled, Lovina lived in one of their rooms, insisting on caring for herself and doing her own cooking. Later she returned to St. George, where she passed away at the age of 80, 10 December 1934, and was buried beside her husband. She was capable and independent to the last. She was a wonderful woman, full of faith and courage. She was precise and dainty in her ways, taking great care to be neat and attractive. We love her and honor her name.
This brief history has given the high-lights of the lives of our great-grandparents, Luke and Christiana Long Syphus, and our grandparents George Burton and Lovina Syphus Whitney. It is a compilation from several histories and bits of history written by several of their descendants, among them Luke Whitney, Vera Perkins Moss Clara Perkins,Lbgan, ' GebrgialMeFarldne''MsGarvie, Effie Syphjis, and others.
Each year we hope to print a page history. There are letters written by Luke Syphus and other things that will closer to ours.
or two of supplement to this our ancestors, poems written by bring their lives a little
We invite any who have faith—promoting or amusing memories of Luke, Christiana, George B. or Lovina to write them and submit them to the family organization for future printing.
Following are the memories of two of the descendants of Luke and Christiana:
Compiler’s note: The following was written by Mabel Whitney Macfarlane, daughter of George B. Whitney and Bovina Syphus, and Granddaughter of Luke Syphus and Christiana Long. Aunt Mabel lived only a few months after this was written and I wrote a poem about her for her funeral. You who have a copy of the poem may want to insert it in this history following Aunt Mabel’s story:
I well remember both Grandmother and Grandfather Syphus. In 1937 Levi and Clara wanted to take Grandmother to Salt Lake to a special eye doctor. She was to have an operation to remove cataract growth from her eyes. I remember she was blind. Now to go and leave Grandfather was the big problem. I was about 18 or 19 years of age, and living in St. George, Utah. Levi wrote to mother to see if I could stay and keep house for Grandpa, Mother consented and sent me to Panaca, Nevada, at the appointed time. It must have been about the month of July. I remember Panaca and Pioche played baseball g while I was there, either the 4th or the 24th of July and Chance
> Macfarlane was working at a mine in Pioche at the time. Chance and
S I had gone to school in St. George together but were just friends.
| Both being away from home seemed to make the difference. Chance
j wanted to come and see me so I asked Grandfather about his coming.
! He agreed it would be alright, but told me how with all his children
z they had insisted on ten o’clock being the hour for young people-to
S part. I knew all about this ten o’clock habit of the Syphus family
from hearing my mother and Aunt Ellen Gentry tell about it. My
E instructions from Mother and Father were to abide by Grandfather’s wishes to the letter.
After Chance got through work for the day and ate dinner, bathed, and rode horseback from Pioche to Panaca it was nine o’clock. One hour was not very much time for all that time and energy and expense, for he had to hire the horse to ride down to see me.
When it was drawing near the time for me to go back to St. George we decided to make some excuse-for me to stay with Aunt Maggie Syphus one night and Chance would come that night to see me. Aunt Maggie was very co-operative and persuaded Grandfather to let me stay at her,place under some pretense or other and let one of her girls stay with Grandfather. She had not forgotten when she was young, and what the restrictions were in the Syphus family. I am not sure if the little trick was made known to Grandfather or not, but it was twelvethirty that night before Chance started back to Pioche, That was
the beginning of our courtship,
Luke Syphus, to me, was one grand person. He was kind and had a very rare sense of humor, something like his oldest son, Ed Syphus. He was very dry and unpretentious in his wit and everything else he did. I have never known him to be angxy at anything I did, but when he said ten o’clock wqs the hour for nice girls to be in, I knew I was going to be in at that t,ime.
He was of medium build with nice, sharp eyes of dark blue, he had a beard and mustache at that time that were gray like his hair. He arose very early each morning and never went to bed early. As I remember, when Grandmother was there, midnight was bedtime for them and the last thing was to have cheese and crackers or bread and butter and a cup of tea. They served that in the living room.
Grandmother was a very nice looking old lady, dark brown, sharp eyes until she went blind, small in stature. As I remember her, she always wore a black or dark dress, and a bonnet of black that was a protection to her Pyes. She was slim and very neat in her dress. I always thought she was quite stern with Grandfather, but it never seemed bad because his reaction was so calm aid sweet.
I remember helping him sprout potatoes in the; old dug-out potatoe cellar with the dirt roof. He was a very efficient gardner. I think all his life in Panaca he got a large, part of their lively-hood from selling vegetables and currants and gooseberries.
never forget their lovely front yard of pansies and pinks. The fragrance and beauty have always stayed in my memory.
There were two large trees north of the flowers that always had a hamock swinging from one to the other. The gooseberries were just north of the hammock. As a small child, I remember how handy it was to swing in the hammock and slip into the gooseberries if we could find a time when Grandmother was not looking. Sometimes we misjudged her watch, then we got a good tongue lashing. The gooseberries were very precious, for there was good sale for them. If we would Help pick currants, we could eat a few of them. In those days everything that could be sold was needed for the keep of the family
There were many years before they passed away that they needed care Grandmother being blind made it hard for Aunt Clara, who never married. Besides keeping up the home, Clara had to wait upon her mother, and of course she cared for her father in his last years. Uncle Levi tried to help her financially, but he was away from home a great deal. In those days all the water for house use had to be carried intbudkets from the irrigation ditch which was across the dirt sidewalk outside the fence, which had to be maintained to keep stock from their gardens. Everyone turned their cattle out on the public streets to graze, I remember one time when someone left the front gate open and homeones milk cow came into the.lot and drank from the barrel that had been filled with water for use in the house. She did damage to the flower garden with her tzig feet as well as what she ate of the beautiful pansies and pinks.
The most outstanding vegetables Grandfather raised were those clean turnips with their pretty purple tops and white bottoms and the green leaves, tied in bunches and stacked in piles ready to be loaded on the wagon and hauled by teams to Pioche, Caliente'and other surrounding towns. The folks worked hard for what they hadj but to me they always seemed happy. When breakfast was ready and on the long table in the dining room, the family kneeling at their chairs for morning prayers just seemed to give everyone a good start for the day,
I have never heard any unkindness nor a swear word in their home. They were devoted to each other. I think Clara felt it was her duty to stay home and take care of her parents. For so many years she played the organ for all the church functions, I think of Clara as having won a great reward in heaven for her devotion to her parents, but she deprived herself of the blessings and happiness of having a family of her own.
Written by Mabel Whitney Macfarlane,
71 Sept,1946
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aid must.
bnThursday, the 12th£P time to have .11 so if it wore pos.qi hie, hi: t T am a fra- / °
I am__fra
surely be there,I hope y sewing all done or rather will hav
■quite well,that—sounds- like
MARRIED (First Husband or Wife) List Additional Marriages with Dates on Reverse Side of Sheet
Day Mo. Yr.
!U toda£ for the last time I S' 'ime for your coming is sonear
y72J John had been courting Mary for quite some
-t u- i a - i— r— -n u— in ..No said Maty we must get marri e<
intuition for .e Nev, to come
ever did befoi i-and-sssac-I—bid my dears si as I am very i ired and it :
----------- ■ ------ ■■■■ ■' —
When applicable indicate which child is antes or of Family Representative by placing "X
B a ptized___________________________
Endowed 12 Sept ,,1895________
Sealed to Husband 12 Sept. 1895
5- Jan. -.1871
time,they were engaged to he married on
■ as pl aned , T may not "bl Just ever a month t.f' '
r .received t}ie'“word. she went toEddi.e Bi
E w
M ~
yoigthink about it.L think Ma and Clara will accompany u,;
..lily..had returned I thought your mother coul<
. I don't feel could not write.Conference will b
should be there when they fensday-e-r-T-hi rsday,-----------
was just in ajnd said Addie DW
. Della has- hat- th it. Keep of
.to. stay to conference? Te~ given up going iether we start.
yen wil
I am obliged to do -o-t-sur
hn—juat.. .before—their, e meet.Ido not feel Ji ■ff, T suppose because nd tell me when you c 16th.Unless I knew we
r mother has
of coming wh wee'
—the--rema ind
Our folks have stacked there grain in yI shall ooaelude-new hops-ing—to-hear sure than I
the material
s,Nev.Dearest in writing to
have ha on hums all day
and stayed all evening so
ther not start on the 7+.h
'd <pr. your birthday I would n
' ~°ia£-you knowplea-se—tell- re.I prefer that day to an;
■d' it 1 san't. Would you lib .
;a-thering on his—finger,g: ves much pain-
St,Thomas,Nevada. How wise a woman's Mother Mary,then livingg in Bunkervil
. Place^anta. Clara,Wash , Co, Utah ..Place_________________________________
Place—Iss. Vegas, Clark-Co. Nevada .
P!ace—St,-Thomas,Cemetar3r.y0v&r.ton-.,Clark Co.Nev
_ Mother!__MARX-MCGU-IRHE___________________________
-Place—St,George-,Wash,Co, Utah^-Temple-----------------
brother-in-li.i^tod—assemble-material—f< r a coffin.Eddie felt there was no need purpose.No,said Mother Bunker,we must 1
ed St.Thomas. sB^-Jkisepii-Eaxl—buili-ihe
ge,.Panaca ,Neiy&ig.2-5,1 895.Mr. JohnM M.IV uch like writing I
o Anvious t.o
atisfied at all aboijit it.Be sure the 15th and
come as soon as you haw heen thinking
n^V«—I—spent-most- of last
-Ia*a—not,- I want-to put i;
all appe-.rant:effihoro -will ooonbe frost
—one-e-lse,begin tod
1 .h^Se-time - with greater-plei
_ -will accur to blight our-hppes i dth-much love
you will not feel baj%"eif I do not write very
with you long,They wi. ,f^?#r their Marriage—Mary ’
i a u
L £
on my siIk,and feel quite releived of the time
Burial Tn St.Thomas Cometary,later m
Father LUKE -7YPHU-'
(if any)As th era was no nlri Iri ran from
a^tit-the 25th of Sept, ai
■e t- to leave there-Monday-; ^e-t--to-Panaca
place----Panaca, Lincoln-Co,-Nevada
■Place------St,-ThomasiClark- Co, Novadi
■ Mother!-----CHMSglANA- LONG---------------
Larriage-..T-will-use the—space-h-ilow -to.write, fmm...the- Bunker-History,
seriously ill,Mother Bunker instructed could find rnn
take these things with ns casket out of WER, St, Thoma: ,ake pleasure : s is Sunday 1. .fter meeting
95,but John thought they should waite re marri ed as ook seriously nker,and told
Town County
Baptized 2 Mar, 1879
EndlBe&ept 11895_____
>f his, for if Mary did pas on,they [ary Etta Syphus Bunicer died 30 Nov, tough.with a—
r, 1895.before Mether Bunker and party frOTiU» Mary t~.o .Tr luppose before wemv ’--it, Fl ooms so for r
Birth 12 Sept. 1870_________
Death Burial.
Married 12 sopt, ,1895
TA;rY,i (2) Eloise Tumbough
help it ,1 look forwe.:
.-■long to sssyou.I do i
John answers on the 29th Dearest Mary; ;
■letter-laa-t-njieywas-mere than--piess
-off the bill for things and I expect them at Kingman hero to-morrow—go-by sick has a f ring to have--the cro~
frop^ you soon.Don't fail to write again if you can -that you are not going -to-lea-Vf adi=jt^,your own loving Mary, 9| -i-sqiite -, I reoed-ved-your ve-ry-w&loome abo_i|tj staying to conference,Ihave sen-
>a-yBO- as-not-to- have—storage- to - pa;
iBfqe in lot of sickness here now Ch:
M hr to ihe
I will- leave
■issie Abbott is quite c old—this after noon-and she—was-af: "&±d—he- was ■ { i
,]5I cab think of no more to write •Lonite.I was jbleased to hear you hac.
planed ,and moved to_____ ill,John seni word to his him we must go to John,
* i^ot. I have my ' w " ■o-hav-e—it-4on&T—I-believe -I like 1
woa^d be soon enough. You said you could find outif we could be married —r wedding day;and want to start in