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A Brief History of Watkin Rees

A brief history of Watkin Rees, the son of Thomas and Mary Jones Rees, born 23 Jan 1830 at Merthyr Tydvil, Wales.


My father was iron heater in a rolling mill where they made the smaller kind (size) of iron bars earning about 4 pounds a month, about $20, which was considered fair wages for that day. The standing wages of most all kind of industrial workers including mechanicks about 3 pounds a month, and provisions was dear flour being 6 or 7 shillings a quarter of hundred so it required everyone in the family to be doing what they could to earn money for their support. So when I was about seven years old, I was put to work for sixpence a day as a pull up for the furnace men. I sat down on an iron bench by the furnace and pulled on a chain that raised the door of the furnace for the man to thrust in his tongs to take out the iron. The work was not laborious, but we had to put in 12 hours shifts in those days (it was before child labor was forbidden. Before this time when I was about six year old, I went to school for about a year to one William Morgan and learned to spell and read, words of three or four letters in the English language and went to school again when I was 10 years old where I learned to work the 4 simple rules in arithmetic, but no grammar. Every day of my life after that required that I should perform some kind of manual labor, to help my father which I did, until I was 22years and 11 months old which would be on the 25th of December 1852 when I married Jane Williams, daughter of John Williams and Elizabeth Davies Williams, born Apr. 23, 1836, at Oowlais near Merthyr Tydvil, Wales .We lived one year more in Merthyr mostly with father and mother and in the spring of 1854 set out for Utah, U. S. A.

A Review

In 1848 I entered or commenced a new chapter in my life being the son of a tavern keeper. I had learned to drink intoxicating liquors to excess and other things that was contrary to a religious life and had quite a companionship of young men of my age which were no better than myself among them a Benjamen Haddock. We were so satisfied, young as we were that the life we were leading led to destruction. About this time I happened to go one Saturday evening with an uncle to draw his pay, He was working as a nailmaker to his brother who kept a lot of men working for him and this brother older than him it proved to be a Latterday Saint but I did not know it or anything about the sect. I had never heard the name before, he spoke to his brother before we left and said come to the saints meeting tomorrow. Watkin will come with you, and out of respect to my uncle I could not say "no" for he was my mother's oldest brother John. David, the younger brother went to the saints meeting according to promise with the result that he joined them, but I did not go. I had no inclination for religion, but as I frequently went to my grandmother's I would there come in contact with my Uncle David who had just joined, and full of enthusiasm would give me passages of scriptures to read which harmorized [sic] so well with what they preached that I concluded if there was a gospel they had it. About this time a young man named Eliezer Edward, a mormon missionary, came and preached next door to us and I went and heard him preach and was satisfied and when I saw my chum Ben Haddock he also had heard the Latterday Saints preach and was ready to be baptized. So we both went together and were baptized by Eliezer Edwards. This was about the first week of Oct. 1848.Dan Jones then was presiding over Wales. Orson Pratt over Great Britain. The excitement was great in the mill I worked in when they heard that I had joined the saints. the new religion for it was new here. There was not a latterday Saint in our works but one and nobody knew he was one until I and Haddock joined, he being afraid of persecution, I suposed [sic], dared not mention it. The people like the Athenians of old wanted to know what new thing was this we had brought amongst them, and persecution raged for a while. We were assailed on every hand. Our former friends seemed to be our bitterest enemies, and insisting on argueing to try to reconvert us from the delusion as they called it that we had joined and in doing this they were so zealous. They brought me a small Bible and pointed out the words of the Savior showing that false prophets should arise before his second coming and surely must be the Latter day Saints as no other sect on earth believed in prophets but as we read the little Bible we found that a belief in prophets was a scriptural doctrine for they were to be in the church for the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry, and when they could no longer sustain their cause from the Bible they became very angry and abusive. Sometimes we were attacked by a local preacher or a class leader of some of the other denominations, When a crowd would gather around us the class leader in the middle plying me with questions I could not answer at that time, for I was a very new convert. All of this opposition served to confirm me in the faith, for the Bible says that he that liveth righteously in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. As a result of our conversion a spirit of inquiry took hold of the people and in some instances nearly a whole family joined the church and where there was no saints before a large branch of the church was established [Stredy Rhymney] with a Brother Thomas Jones as president. I was not long in the church before I was set to work. At first 1 was made treasurer for the branch receiving the donations for emigration missionary and donations for the poor fund. I also had the rent of the hall to pay; was ordained a Teacher under the hand of John Thomas of Glanmeele and labored faithfully in my ward visiting the saints almost daily when I was on the night shift, and in the evening when on the day shift. There was 8 wards in the Merthyr Branch of probably of from four to five hundred ? It is sixty years and over since that time and writing from memory I write as it serves me best. I was ordained an Elder under the hands of Richard Noris May 13, 1853 and acted as presiding teacher over the [Penew of Pantt] ward of the Merthyr Branch. About the 28th of Feb. 1854 we bade farewell to father, mother and friends and started with a large company of saints for Utah, U.S.A. We arrived in Liverpool without accident and in a few day were quartered onboard the sailing ship Golconda about (700 from all parts of Great Britain but we were mostly of one faith being Latter day Saints gathering to the body of the church. And although at most part had never seen each other before we were very soon on the friendliest terms. The doctor came the next day after we boarded and pronounced all on board in good health which proved afterward to be nearly correct for we had but one death on the whole voyage that of a child. After two or 3 days out the wind arose and the sea became rough. Many many [sic] of the passengers became seasick-My wife being one of them which made it very inconvenient for we had a little baby about eleven weeks old but we had a kind lady friend in the next berth to us, a sister Jane Morgan which done the part of a mother to it until my wife was better. The voyage on the whole was most beautiful and pleasant and was enjoyed very much by everybody. We held our regular Sunday meetings and the young people danced occasionally and we had one grand affair in the shape of an international wedding. A program got up by the young folks in honor of a couple of English people getting married on board ship, being on neutral ground on the high sea. The young people contrived flags that represented the colors of all nations while they them-selves dressed in the costume of these nations. Made a grand site that pleased everybody, finishing off with a grand concert, After being about six weeks on the water we came to in site of the Island of Lundberg where we anchored for a short time for some purpose, the natives bringing fruit and vegetables to trade. the voyage from Liverpool to New Orleans 5, 700 miles was made in 6 weeks and six days without accident. We were met at the bar about 100 miles from New Orleans by a large tug boat which towed us up the river to that city, where we were transfered [sic] into a large steamer the John Simons that carried us up the river some 11 or 12 hundred miles to Saint Louis. On the way up the river the cholera broke out amongst us and some of the people died and was buried on the river banks. When we reached St. Louis we were quartered in what had been a [illegible] and the cholera broke out amongst us here and some died here also. Here we had to wait for a boat and some of us sought and found employment. I, and two others, George Munro and William Jones. We three had left Wales together from the same same iron works. I had a job as a heater in the Bremen Rolling Mills. They as pudlers making good wages, but we did not stay long for a boat was soon had which took us up to Kansas City. Landing here was the natural bank of the river it being a new place there was here a custom house and about half a dozen resident houses and it seems to be a shipping point for Santa Fe, Mexico. We were landed in the woods about a half a mile above where we put up our tents and camped two or three weeks and were soon joined by other imigrants from Denmark. The river bottom here was quite flat and covered with tall timber covered with climbing grapevines so dense that we had to look straight up in order to see the sky. This place was very unhealthy. The colera broke out again and many people died here and after camping her about two or three weeks we were moved out to Magee's farm several miles away from the river, and then again soon after farther out to a place near Westport on the edge of the prairie which is about 8 miles from Independence, Missouri where we camped about three months waiting for cattle and wagons which arrived in the latter part of June. The various companies were now soon organized, ours with Daniel Carns of Salt Lake as captain, William Empy being emigration agent for that year. The weather was fine and we were in an open prairie country, The fitout oxen that was furnished us was for the most part wild unbroken cattle and the start we made was anything but elegant. The foremost teams went right along for they had broken cattle used to work but some of those that followed ran in every direction. As I mentioned it was an open grassy country, and swampy as well in places where we used to herd the cattle on. The oxen ran for their grazing ground taking the wagons with them and they never stopped until they were fast in the mud. There was an aged sister riding in one of those wagons and considerable anxiety was felt for her but she was not hurt. This stampede caused a delay of a day or two repairing wagons new wagons that had been broken on their first day out. This driving oxen was a new business to most of us emigrants. Many of us having never seen a pair of oxen yoken together before we came to America. (Some of us seem to think that everything that had horns was cows. One lady looking at: a bunch of oxen that had been brought together to be yoked up asked how they milked them cows. They looked different to the cow she had seen milked and we had to learn as well as the cattle but fortunately there were plenty of us 10 to a wagon and as a rule two teamsters could be furnished to a wagon, one on each side to keep the team in the road, and pulling the heavy loads soon quieted the cattle down so that they could be managed by one teamster. These great prairies look to us the people from little England like the open sea. There is not a mountain, or a tree in site in some places; there is plenty of grass and the cattle are doing well. Buffaloes are frequently seen in site and seemed to have become somewhat tamed. A small herd of about twenty buffalo passed right through our train going back from the water, and some of our hunters gave chase and managed to kill one cow.

We are now nearing Fort Laramie. We have had no accident or incident worthy of note since our stampede on the first day out. We are camped for the night. A courier comes into our camp from Fort Laramie warning us to be careful of the Indians for they were on the warpath and two thousand of them had had a fight with soldiers at the fort the day before where they had killed 13 soldiers.

We passed that way the following day. The Indians were all gone. The ground they camped on an extensive grassy fiat was smoothly tramped as if many people had camped there. The courier was going east for reinforcement while the people at the fort had shut themselves up in fear lest the Souix should return and kill them all. The trouble seem to have started over a lame cow belonging to a Danish brother in the company ahead of us. The cow had droped [sic] behind not being able to follow. One of Indians killed the cow. Probably for the meat, and the brother wanted pay for his and complained to the officer at the fort. The officer proceeded to arrest the Indian but they would not give him up. The officer ordered a platoon of soldiers with a cannon, and to intimidate the Indians, they fired a shot, over their heads. As soon as they done that the Indians was upon them and cleaned out the whole platoon, and broke camp and left. We are now in the neighborhood of the black hills. We come to a trading post kept by a French man and camped for noon. We had been preceeded [sic] by a large band of Indians to this place. They had their horse tied head to head in a complete and compact circle as tie them in the absence of hitching Posts. Indians know how to tie them in the absence if hitching posts. We did not stay here long. There were no water for our animals. In leaving this camp two of our wagons was tardy and dropped behind, and the camp was a half a mile on the road when one of the men from the wagons that was al eft came running after us saying that the Indians seeing that the train had gone was helping themselves to everything, so the train was stopped, and men ran back armed with guns and in time before there was much damage done other than a fright to this people. I ran back with the other men, but had no gun, willing to do what I could to help those people, but before returning to the train a strange thing happened. I was armed with two pistols that I had found in the brush. I was armed with two There had been probably a fight or a massacre by Indians where those pistols were dropped. Both pistols were of English make and considerably rusted. I gave one of them to William Carter of Provo for cleaning the other one. Brother Carter was a returning missionary and our blacksmith on the plains.

When we were nearing the Rocky Mountains it was found that provisions were running low with some of the people and some were almost entirely without but by inquiry it was found that there was plenty in camp to take us through to Salt Lake. So those that had more than they needed turned it over to the captain to be divided out to those that was short. There had to be a readjustment also of teams, for some of them were lame, and some had given out, but we managed to get to Salt Lake with all the wagons we started with.

Arriving in Salt Lake about the 6 of October 1854 when conference was in session. Here on the Public Square many of the emigrants were met by friends. Others had places to go to and it was not long before the whole camp was disposed of. It happened that I and the wife and baby was left til last and we felt somewhat lonesome without money, without friend and all gone but us. It looked blue. At length about two o'clock a farmer drove into the yard and came straight towards us and asked if we were emigrants, and receiving an affirmative answer, said that his bishop from Payson had sent him after emigrants. Woule we like to go with him. The load was lifted. The way was opened, and we felt thanks the Lord and said yes.

On the way to Payson and about sixteen miles south of Salt Lake City near the Point of the Mountain Porter Rockwell met us and enquired who we were and where we were going and finding that we were emigrants had us stay and work for him. He had a ranch house about 4 or 5 miles southwest of where Draper stands now, There was no Draper then, It was a lonely place the nearest house at that time was Cottonwood. There was 2 young on the ranch besides I and the wife. We learned from them that the Indians had been at war with the whites theyear before and that the Indian were never to be trusted. And it happened that very same day that 4 well armed Indians came to the door and demanded food. The 2 hired men were in. It was nearing dinner time. The Indians was very urgent in their demands and the 2 men were very much alarmed, as we could see by These actions They could speak the Indian language, and seem willing to give the Indians everything they wanted to pacify them:

            After that we could not sleep easy at night. My wife became frightened very much and I was no much better, for we could see being away from the traveled road that we were at the mercy of the Indians at a time when the Indians were liable to break out any moment.

In a few days after this an old acquaintance called at the ranch as if Providence had guided him. He was returning to his home in Fillmore from conference. He would have us go with him to Fillmore in Millard Co. If we would go he would keep us all winter, help us build a cabin and give us ten acres of land to farm. He was so effusive in his promises that we yielded and went with.

The reason for all this kindness on his part was I suppose, was that about 3 years before he and his family emigrated to Utah, and he was owing in the shop 20--twenty pounds or about one hundred dollars and the shop keeper would not let him unless some one went his bonds and I went bonds for him. They were very poor and the children had no shoes for the journey and I furnished shoes for the children. The old gentle-man sent the bond money and released me of the bond but he never forgot the kindness:

This man's name is Samuel Evans was a blacksmith and had a shop and he took me into the shop as a striker. h He was the only blacksmith in the county at the time. They had commenced to build a state house (Fillmore was the capitol of the state) and all the tool sharpening went to Evans's blacksmith shop and he was making money very fast. I worked 3 weeks in shop when a brother by the name of John Harris older than me approached me and said Watkkn why don't you come and ask for a job on the state house. Evans will not pay you anything. If you like I will ask for a job for you and he did and I went to work on the state house. The very next day, and I told our host that we should henceforth board ourselves that we might just as well commence at once for we [illegible] have to do it sometime. Misses Evans flew in a rage and said we thought to keep you this winter, you giving us what you earned. I told her that that would never do and she answered well says she you will have to pay three dollars a week each of you for the 3 weeks you have been here and I said very well, and paid eighteen dollars for our board. I had worked every day. in the-shop during these three weeks. My wife done all the' housework and paid for our board besides.

We worked on the state house while the job lasted, and then sometime late in the winter I engaged with S. P. Hoyt and worked for him until spring. My wife also worked for Mrs. Hoyt she being the school teacher. I engaged to farm for a Mr. Sutton in the 1855 spring, but grasshoppers came before we commenced doing anything and they were so numerous that we concluded that there was no use in trying to farm patches off all wheat. Six inches had already been eat off leaving the ground so bare as if nothing had been planted in it.

About this time President Brigham Young and company came on one of his annual visits to the south and made a call for those that was acquainted with and understood iron manufacturing to go to Cedar City to assist in that business. Being an iron worker since I was a child and if there was any-thing doing in that line it was the place for me;

I had built a small log babin in Fillmore. I sold that to Sutton for taking us down to Cedar. I had an old wagon also given me as part pay for the house. They were going to Parowan for lumber to be used in building the state house.

We reached Cedar City about the last of May 1855 and met Eliezer Edwards the very man that I was looking for as I was going to seek him and he gave us great welcome and bade us stay with him until we could do better. So we lived there with him and I worked for him in the canyon logging about a week and then started on the iron works. We lived in Eliezer's house until the following summer when I bought a 3 room adobe house from Jonny Morgan who was moving to Beaver. Our second child was born to us while we lived in Edward's house on the 24 of Nov. 1855. The weather being very wintry and cold and the house we lived in was very dilapidated. The chinks having being knocked out and the bed would be covered with white frost in the morning and the wonder of it was that my wife being confined in such a house did not catch cold.

I continued to work for the iron camp through the summers of 1855-56-57. There was nothing doing in the winter on account of frost and scarcity of water. These three years were eventful years for Utah. In 1855there was no wheat grown anywhere in Utah except Cedar City and Santa Clara all the crops from the Clara on the south to Cache valley on the north had been destroyed by grasshoppers. excepting Cedar &Clara. The famine was not so accutely felt in Cedar that year as in other places amongst farmers, but there were those that were not farmers living there depending very much on the company store that felt the pangs of hunger and lived for months on bran bread pig weed and other weeds to keep from starving. This famine continued through summer of 1856 when it was relieved by the bountiful harvest of that year. The first load of grain that came to the mill from Clara was sold for 25¢ a pound. I paid 25 for [illegible] bran.

In the fall of 1855 Bishop William Davies from Harmony had heard that I had some wheat and came to Cedar to see me and offered me a cow for 12 bushels of wheat. I just happened to have 13 bushels to face the famine with, but had some flour on hand that we brought with us from Fillmore but it was getting low, what was we to do? We had no cow but needed one. We were so hungry for milk and butter sometimes, that we would part with most anything we had in order to get some. This cow was to have a calf about Christmas time, and would thus through her milk help us to pass through the famine. So we bought her, but she did not calf until the following July, but we managed with the bushel of wheat and the flour we had left to pull through until harvest though we had to put ourselves on rations a part of the time, four inches square by 1/2 inch of bread thick for a meal for each of us two. The two babies got all we could give them. When spring and summer came we gathreed [sic] pigweeds (pg 11)and cooked them, which helped very much in the living.

The years 1856 and 1857 were trying times with us. We had wore out the stock clothing we had starting with in 1854 and had not been able to get anything to replace them with. There was an iron company's store in Cedar and the church sent an occasional load of goods but there were so many people iron workers and coalminers patternmakers molders and others waiting for it so that a very, very little of it ever reached me, during three summers work I received from the store cloth enough to make a pair of pants and six bushels of wheat. Then you would ask what became of your earnings on the iron works. We paid our tithing with it about $57 dollars a year. Labor tithing and traded it off for wheat to the farmers at the rate of $4 a bushel. Then we did not have so overmuch to trade after paying tithing for we were not furnished with constant work. The works only going about a couple of months in the spring and about that length of time in the fall, but we were supposed to be there when called upon. So in all this we got no clothing and we ran pretty bare, the shoes giving out first and being to bad to put on to go to Sunday meeting. We went barefooted the first time in our life. The other clothing followed fast and soon we had no clothes only what we stood up in, and my wife being very much concerned over it urged me to ask Brother Wiley a neighbor if he would give me a pair of his old cast away buckskin pants so that she might make me a pair out of them, I had never begged for anything in my life before and it was like pouring scalding water over my heart to ask alms or charity from anyone, but she kept at me until I done it. So one day (he lived next door but one) I went over and said Brother Wiley, can you give an old pair of buckskin briches that you have wore out. No he said I have got children to wear my old clothes when I am done with them. He was doing well at his trade a brick layer and plasterer could afford a new pair when he needed them. I was much chagrined because I had asked him, but consoled myself with the idea that I had done all I could in the begging line. This was about the early part of 1856. We managed to get hold of some powder lead and caps, ammunition that Indians was much in need of and would trade their buckskins for. But it was against the law to sell ·ammunition to the Indians except by permission of an Indian agent. And Isaace [sic] C. Haight being Indian agent as well as President in Cedar I went to him and asked him to trade or buy buckskins for me of the Indians, and he said no, but gave me no reason for it. But said no. But after a good deal parleying he consented that I should trade with the Indians myself, and on leaving him I felt much better. We soon after had a chance to buy buckskins. The wife and I tanned them and the wife being clever at cutting and making clothes soon had a suit of buck-skins made.

I engaged this spring of 1856 to farm for John & Evan Owens taking the crop to take care of after they had planted it until it was harvested for half, I raised 300 bushels of wheat and when I had paid the expence [sic] of harvesting and thrashing I had one hundred bushels left which I thought was good for a summer's work in those days of poverty. In the fall of 1856 I engaged a passage to Salt Lake City with David Savage. He carried the mail in those days from or between Salt Lake and San Bernardino. He carried passengers as well. I also engaged him to take about 300 lbs. of flour to trade with when I got there. We needed shoes very much. Neither I nor my wife had any shoes only what we had made ourselves. I had mocassins an on this trip that my wife had made also the buckskin suit. I had a black coat still left the last of the clothes that I had brought from the old country that I wore over the buckskins.

When we reached Salt Lake City we found the first hand carts had just arrived and with them the late Thomas Evans of Spanish Fork, an old acquaintance. He someway found that I was in town and hunted me up. When he found me he was almost wild with excitement (we used to be old chums, He was Comisaridt of the company and he asked me if I had any flour I said yes. Well, says he, I want it. Our people have nothing to eat. We have just come in and I 1et him have the flour and went home without the shoes I was going to buy.

There were many old friends came with the company amongst them 2 widows, a sister Mary Llewelin and a sister Butler. One had four children and the other two. They both plead to go with me to my home in Iron County near 300miles away. There seem to be so many emigrants that the people of Salt Lake and vicinity could not take care of them all) But when I explained to them that I was up there without any sort of conveyance Sister Llewelin insisted on pulling the handcart the other three hundred miles to my home. When I saw she was so determined I tried to persuade Brother Savage to let them take my place in his wagon home, but we would not. They being five in number could not take them however both women found friends that took them in and they done very well and lived in comfort for many years and saw their children married in Utah.

The iron making experiment at Cedar City Iron County in 1853-54-55-56-57was more a failure than a success not because iron could not be made there, nor because there was too much sulfur in the coal and iron ore. The failure was due to a lack of blast. The machinery was not powerful enough to furnish the blast necessary for proper smelting. This was proved in the fall and winter of 1854 when the superintendant went to the legislature in Salt Lake City and left the men to themselves who went to work and made a smaller furnace adapted to the power of the blast and succeeded in making several tons of very good pig iron. Iron experimenting was carried on again in Iron City on Little Pinto Creek under David B. Adams and Joseph Smith's supervision being backed up by a Mister Hanks and using the engine they had running the bucket factory in Parowan the time of the move. They made many tons of pig iron there which they sold in Pioch in competition with imported Cincinnati pig iron. The home product being very much discriminated against. The best for [Stany's Mill.][several illegible words] They were paying seven cents per pound for the Cincinatti iron while they would only give . cents for the Iron County iron while they admitted that the latter was the best and most durable iron.

I have wrote so much about our pioneer iron making in the west by the Latterday saints in the days of their poverty thinking no one else would take the trouble. David Adams as one sacrificing his farm and a life of toil to that end so zealous and determined was he in his purpose that he built a small blast furnace in Adamsville a town called after his name. With a promise of assistance by capitalists who was to furnish machinery and power to run the furnace with. But who went back on their promise when the furnace was finished. He was a great worker a good farmer, a good saint and a very generous hospitable man. And a pioneer in all that the word meant.

Returning to the works in Cedar the supertindent was so elated [illegible] the iron that the small furnace turned out in the winter of 1854 went to work and had a large modern furnace built and had the molders go to work and make hot blast pipe out of the pig iron. The little furnace had turned out, and the new furnace was fitted out as a furnace should be. When the hot blast fires were lighted, and the furnace going, it was found the blast was hot enough to melt lead easily and after the furnace was filled with fuel and fired and allowed to warm up gradually. It was charged and operations commenced under David Adams and his helper on the night turn Andrew Patterson firing the hot blast for them. Joseph Smith and Gower on the day turn. Watkin Rees, the author firing hot blast. After the first night's run. They tried to tap but there was no iron ran out though there was cinder and some iron but too cold and stiff to run. We ran all day with the same result. The iron and freezing in the Earth until it very near reached the tire irons. When nightshift came on David Adams ordered the hot blast man to fire up all he could with the result that the hot blast pipes were melted and the furnace put out of commission forever though we did not know it at the time.

The last work that was done on the iron works was the balling of scrap iron that had accumulated in the works and had been gathered from various blacksmith shops through the county. Old broken horse shoes and various odds and ends and bits of iron too small for a blacksmith to do anything with. There was a heap of about 700 lbs. and we were short of iron bars to work the furnace with, and there were no iron nearer than the Missouri River 12 or 1500 miles east of us and iron was worth 25¢ a pound. President Haight wanted the scraps worked up into iron bars, but how. There was a new pudlin furnace built by the late Bishop Elias Moris that had never been used.

George Hood, suggested the turning of it into a heating furnace by putting a flat bottom in it. George was a roller from Lowmoore England, and had seen such things done, but had not the experience himself. He knew that I was a iron heater and Mr. Haight and George came and asked me about it, and I told them that I could do the job, and went at it, and very soon we had a new bottom in the furnace. We fired up and was pleased to see that it worked all right.

When we got our furnace hot, we commenced putting our scraps in shape. We got six inch by inch board and cut them into pieces eighteen inches long. Taking these boards one at a time, we built these scraps one piece on the other, about three or four inches high, the whole length of the board, and we put three of them, side by side, in the furnace far enough apart to not stick together, using a strip of board about six feet long for a peal to put them in the furnace with.

In about half an hour's time they were heated into a nice soft heat and the scraps were well stuck together so that the pile could be turned over so that the bottom might be equally heated with the top. It was a surprise to us to see that the board that the scraps had been piled on was not entirely consumed, coals still remaining where the board had laid under the iron.

July 14, 1914 John Urie now living at Fort Hamilton near Cedar City, Iron County. our blacksmith had his anvil moved from the shop to the furnace and with James Williamson helping as a striker; worked them out into flat slabs about two feet long and about four inches wide and we kept at it until we had all the iron worked up.

After the first forging, and all was worked into flat slabs, we then put three of these slabs one on top of another making one pile out of three slabs and we put three such piles back in the furnace and heated them again and they were hammered out into iron bars. which was a considerable achievement without a steam hammer and it was the first scrap pudling west of the Missouri at that time. The hands employed at the works exclusive of miners, wood haulers and roustabouts were as follows: Founders, David B. Adams, Joseph Smith and Gower Cubellos.

Thomas Green & Watkin Rees, molders: Richard Harrison, John P. Jones and James Aslam, pattern maker: Grandfather Simkins, Machinists: Samuel, Bladen, Wardman Holmes Blacksmith: John Urie.

The working up of those scrap irons proved two things. First that Mr. Morris had built his Reverbaratory Furnace according to correct principles. Second, that Cedar coal in its raw state is suitable for either a pudling or a heating furnace. My first three summers in Utah was spent in Cedar City, Iron County in the first the summer of 1855 the grass-hoppers famine occurred. There were no crops of any kind raised anywhere in Utah except Cedar City and Santa Clara. The grasshoppers devoured everything green, nor was there any money in Iron County, scarecely anything in the shape of merchandise that you could buy for money, nor was there any chance to work for money.

Postage was 25¢ on a letter at the post office in Cedar at that time. My mother surmising that money was a scarce article with us, sent me small amounts in a letter from Wales to pay postage with. Elizabeth our second child was born here on the 24 of Nov. 1855. In 1856 the effect of the famine was felt by everybody, for those that had to divide with those that had none, and although some suffered keenly, there was none died owing to the famine. In 1857 the prospects were brighter for everybody, here was plenty of food, and the effects of the famine had passed, but as summer advanced, disturbing news reached us from the east. It was reported that an invading army was on their way to Utah sent by Buchanan, President of the United States to crush us for a rebellion that we did not know anything about, which caused great excitement amongst the people. As they had been mobbed, murdered, and driven from their homes in Nauvoo, and other places before by the same outfit the seriousness of the situation appealed to everybody and all were ready to fight.

            Brigham Young the governor of the territory of Utah at that time, not having been notified by the President of the United States that he had sent an army for any purpose whatever to Utah had a right by law to treat them as a mob and stop them and learn what they were coming for. Consequently he called out the militia of the territory and stopped them on the way and held them back in Echo Canyon all winter. Finally in the spring of 1858 a commission was sent from Washington to treat with the Mormons to let them in and it was agreed that they should come but they were not to stop until they reached Cedar valley 30 miles southwest of Salt Lake City. Salt Lake City had been vacated. There were no women or children there. They had been moved to the south. There were none left but a guard who in case of trouble was to set fire to every house and burn everything that was consumable and leave the enemy without any succor as far as possible for we did not know whether we would have to fight them. The army came. It was said that is was the flower of the U. S. Army at that time, about 7,000 strong. They passed through an empty city, the people had vanished at their approach. All was silent as the tomb. excepting the noise they made marching through. They must have been appalled - attracted the same time by what they saw -- an empty city, its people having fled before an invading foe, fine houses and gardens and orchards results of the industry of an industrious God fearing people, who had been

driven before twice by mobs into this wilderness from Nauvoo and other places.

In the prosperous year of 1857 while the Army was still on the plains on their way to Utah, they were passed by two companies of wealthy emigrants, ostencibly on their way to California, through Utah by the southern route. One company preceeding [sic] the other about three weeks. The first after passing through Cedar City camped a few days at the Mountain Meadows, they were delayed there owing to their cattle straying away, but continued on their journey when they found them. Close behind this company, my old friend Samuel Evans the blacksmith that I lived with and worked for in the fall of 1854. He was now going to California with his family. They had done well the few years they had been in Utah, and was fitted out with two or three wagons and plenty of team. Utah had been a temporal salvation to them. They were very poor in

Wales before they emigrated. As I stated before I had to go bonds man for them in a shop for twenty pounds. The step son called at our house, and wanted us to go with them to California,

it should not cost us anything, they had plenty of team and plenty of room. I told him that I had not come to Utah because I expected to get rich there, but because it was the gathering place of the people of God. And they went on and the other company of emigrants came, and passed through Cedar, and camped at the Mountain Meadows and stayed there all summer, and were

massacred by the Indians. A white man by the name of John D. Lee the Indian agent being implicated, who was afterwards tried found guilty and executed. In the fall of 1857 excitement

was at a high pitch in Cedar City in consequence of the massacre at the Mountain Meadows and the coming of the Army against· the Latterday saints avowedly to crush them. Another thing that caused uneasiness was the discontinuing of the iron works for there were many of us there that were not farmers, and we had learned that unless a man raised his own bread it was pretty hard to get hold of it, so most of those people that had no land and some of those that did not have enough land moved away to other places. I went to Beaver. I hired one of the San Bernardino saints a Mr. Stapley to take the family and our few goods that we had turning over the place we lived in and our fenced city lot for doing it. Previous to this I had made a trip to Beaver and made a dugout or cellar to move my family to sleeping at night in David Adam's potato while I done There was no room in his house. They had but one small room for a large family and all Beaver people were the same there being only about a dozen houses erected at that time.

I participated in the first drawing of land in Beaver. Took up a city lot and built upon it a log cabin the first year. Arriving in Beaver about the latter part of Feb. we soon had to go to work grubing sage brush off the land preparatory to putting in a crop. When I had about three acres of land cleared Orson Tyler came to me and asked me if I would come and grub some land for him, and he would plow and put my crop in for me in exchange and I told him I would be very glad to do so, and I went to work with him. When he got through with his crop it was getting late in May and owing to frost coming on the 7th of Sep. of that year my wheat was frozen in the dough and was very shrunken not fit for flour, so my summer's work had been unproductive as to anything that would go toward sustaining life. Too add to this I had borrowed thirty busheps off wheat off John K. Smith that I might have wheat to plant and to live on until harvest when I was to pay it back. When harvest time came I wento [sic] to Brother Smith and said, Joh[n] my wheat is frost bitten and shrunk how am I going to pay you and he said Brother Rees bring me weight and it will be all right. After farming in Beaver one season in the fall of that year Bishop P. T. Farnsworth suggested a plan of going down to the lower Beaver valley and start a new colony there and as my world's goods were not numerous I thought it a good idea to sell out and get another cow for with me there was no other way to gain a start in cattle. My labor

was my only capital. In the spring of 1859 about thirty families commenced a settlemen [sic] on the Beaver river about opposite the cave mine and between the cave mine and star district. We farmed there one summer only the river dried up in July and we had to leave after making three or four thousand dollars worth of improvements which we had to discard. Some of us going to Minersville which had been settled that year by about a dozen people from Parowan, of whom were Bishop Tarlton Lewis, Silas Smith, Jessy N Smith Bishop Rollins Jehu Blackburn, William Barton and Grundy & John Beardsaw. The second year in Minersville the field was enlarged to accomodate the newcomers. I took up land with the newcomers and fenced for twenty acres and managed to plant 10 acres of wheat and 2 acres of corn, and built a log house on the northwest corner of the meeting house block right in front of Bishop [McKnight’s] house. Our second son was born here on the 9 of December 1860. The following year besides my own I farmed ten acres of land for Apostle Amassa Lyman and raised a good crop and in the four years I had been in Beaver County I had accumulated means enough to move away from Minersville with my own team a cow and means enough to buy a small farm at Greenville to which place I moved in the spring of 1862. The reason of my moving from Minersville so soon was evisiplus in my face. I became prejudiced against the water thought it was unhealthy. Greenville was started by about half a dozen people of whom were Father Edwards, his son William Robert, Easton, George Horton, William Richards James Witaker and myself settling there 1862. We done very well

here the first two years, Our cattle had increased until I had two yoke of oxen and three cows. We had two sons born to here, Watkin William on the 22 of March 1863 and Jacob born on the 17 of October 1865, 1865 made a trip ·to Salt Lake City after emigrants and brought David Rees and his family to Greenville-1866. took a 400 mile trip to Austin Rees River, with grain butter and eggs. I sold the few eggs I had for one dollar and a half a dozen. Flour and grain

was $22 per hundred pounds and potatoes $18 when we got back home that year. We found that wheat had raised to $5 a bushel and very little to be had at that price.


While living here at Greenville I owned a very wise ox and had to keep him out of people's grain and stock yards. In the early days when hay was limited and feed was better outside than it is now we used to turn our stock out night and day. So Jack was turned out in the day when he was not used and I had to hunt him up at the close of each day so as to fasten him up and I happened to be late one day and darkness overtook me before I found him and it was a rough night with much rain and thunder and lightening. I could see the ground only when the lightening flashed and as I was walking along towards the bench west of the town with my face towards the ground and stumbling over brushes, during one of those flashes of lightening I discovered a links not more than 15 feet away crawling towards me as if ready to spring and I stopped suddenly and

the linx stopped. I walked backwards keeping my eye on it. Though I could but see its outlines I saw that it did not follow and when I thought I was at a safe distance I turned and made for home as fast as I could not knowing that it would not follow and attack me. I was anxious .to get to the houses before it did.

The very next night this same animal came into town before it was quite dark and tried to catch George Horton's cat. George went after it with a pitch fork and Sister Orton ran over to our house for help. And there happened to be some half a dozen men in our house at the time and we all ran over. I had a gun the only one in the crowd. The others got pitch forks. William Edwards hearing the row came over with his dog [but,] The dog would make a lunge at the lynks but the lynks every time sent him spinning back. The lynx being chased Orton had hid behind a pile of lumber standing end ways against the house. One of men got a poke at it with his fork which dislodged it and it tried to escape coming towards me from behind the lumber and as I was watching for it, as soon as it showed its head I fired right into its face, but the gun being loaded

with small bird shot it did not kill it but drove it back behind the lumber, and one of the men . managed to stick his fork into it and it was finally killed. Wolves, mountain lions and the lynx were numerous in those days killing about all the colts, and many cows and grown up stock.

This lynx was a large one of its kind. Orton skinned it and tanned the skin which was a beautiful skin and made a cloak for his oldest daughter out of it which she wore for a long time.

After living in Greenville 3 years in the fall of 1865 I was induced to take a small herd of sheep to take care of for half of the increase of wool and lambs, and as a preparation to take care of them I paid a man a cow to help me build a sheep pen and other improvements. Those sheep had been herded around on the bench west of the town all summer by William Morgan a very faithful old gentleman on the same range as they were herded on the summer before, and the brush and feed washed off close to the ground. How the bucks and the ewes had been herded together, and very soon after I took them (in November) they commenced lambing and by Christmas there was about fifty little lambs. Early in November a foot of snow had fallen. Not knowing anything about the care of sheep I supposed that they needed nothing but herding on the same ground that they had been herded on during the summer, but I was disillusioned in this. The stack of hay I had gathered to feed my team and cows on through the winter was soon gone

and had to buy more hay and with all that the lambs commenced dying. I fed the ewes all of my potatoes and put forth every effort to save them that I could. All to no purpose for the lambs all died and a great many of the sheep. The sheepowners would not take them back until the year end and I had to buy more hay to feed them all winter which made me several hundred dollars worst off in the spring than I was in the fall before.

My cows died on the range because I had no feed for them. My oxen also got so thin that for fear of losing them I traded them off for a pair of ponies that had been broke to work. I was so completely reduced in my circumstances. I had but little left besides the home and the little farm. So I concluded to sell out, and make a fresh start in a new place. John Harris from Cedar City, Iron County, an old friend that wanted to come to Beaver to live bought me out and paid

me 13 cows for my place in selling my farm and home I made another sacrifice to get a new start in cattle. It had answered the purpose before, and I had made several new places and could make another one.

In year 1866 after selling my farm I farmed on shares for Philo Carter and lived on his ranch and milked the few cows we had and occasionally Brother Isaac Riddle's cows who lived

close by and was milking about 40 cows. Brother Riddle had a sick wife in Beaver and was called away sometimes and at such times we had to milk his cows and feed his pigs and look after his place and he allowed us the milk for doing it. And with what crop we raised we done very well that year. After saving enough for our own use we sold in Salt Lake City that fall to Johns. Davis a grocer three hundred and thirteen dollars worth of butter and cheese. Cheese was 40¢ a lb. and butter 65¢ woolsale.         

While living in Greenville I procured my first plow, and I got it in this way. I had bought for powder and off the Indian an old rusty rifle barrel of small caliber which took to Pendleton a gunsmith in Parowan to have it restocked while it was there a Brother Decker took a fancy to it and sent me word that if I would sell it he would give me a plow for it, for me to come over and see it. And a plow was what I then needed. Most of all things, so one day in the fall of the year I took my little and started on foot for Parowan 35 miles distant. When nearing the Beaver ridge walking with the gun on my shoulder and my face to the ground in a sort of meditative mood coming around a bend I discovered an Indian coming towards me with his bow drawn on me, but when he saw that he was discovered he dropped his bow and came towards me saying Tigebund Tigebund (friend, friend). Now why he done that I could never understand, unless the Lord restrained him for the Indians were hostile at the time driving our cattle and horses away and killing stock 1n those very hills. I was not alarmed at the Indian drawing his bow on me. I did not take it serious but smiled on the Indian good naturedly an shook hands with him and we parted good friends. Some time after this the Indians made an attack on John P. Lee's ranch on South Creek one morning in daybreak in the fall of the year. The dogs made a noise about and Joseph Lillywhite a young man working for Mr. Lee hearing the barking of the dogs went out to see what was the matter. When he came to the corner of the house and looking back towards a hill that was not far from the house he discovered an Indian's head looking at him from behind a sage brush and the Indian finding he was discovered fired at him and shot him through the shoulder and dropped him. Mr. Lee hearing the shot rushed out and found the young man wounded and lying helpless on the ground. Mr. Lee being a strong man picked him up and carried him into the house and none too soon for the Indians made a rush on the house and tried to wrest the door open. When they done this Mr. Lee fired at them through the crack and it was thought that he had wounded some of them. The Indians fired at them through the window and not succeeding in these efforts they tried to burn the house down by setting the roof on fire from the outside which misses Lee succeeded in quenching with milk from the milking of the night before. They did not try this very long. They seem to have become alarmed over something

and left when the folks discovered the Indians had ceased their efforts for a time they put two children about 12 year old out through the window and sent them to town about 5 miles distant for help. the children being successful in evading the Indians. Soon gave the alarm and in a very

short time there was a company of men on the ground, but the Indians were gone. They were also troublesome in the Sevier country where in grass valley they in great numbers melt the citizens in battle and was there vanquished for good. After this the government gathered them on to reservations and took care of them and there was no further trouble with the Indians.

There was another incident happened while I lived in Greenville that gave me a great fright. I went to the west mountains to look for poles to make a coral with. Beaver

County had been but recently settled and this part of it was almost an untroden wild and about seven or eight miles west of Greenville. When I came to a patch of timber I stopped my team in an opening in the timber and cautioned my little boy who was about five years old who was with me to stay by the wagon while I looked around where to get my load. It was then about sundown. I was not gone very long but when I returned to the wagon the boy was gone. I shivered with apprehention and my heart beat at a terrible rate. I shouted with all my might and listened but there was no answer. I looked around for his tracks and found them in the untrodden soft ground and started --->on a run following the tracks, stopping now and then to shout and to look at the track and getting no response to my shouting I was becoming terrified lest it should become dark before I found him for the shade of night was then approaching. and I ran faster shouting every

little while when I came to where the descent in the ground was more pronounced. I came upon him all at once. I said to him Johny why did you not answer Papa he hung his little head and said nothing and we went home rejoicing without a load.

In 1867 there was a new settlement made called Adamsville after David Adams who with a Brother Baker and David Evans were first settlers. These had had to move out of their homes

on account of the Indians being at war with the settlers. Returning again 1867 when they were joined by myself and a number of brotheren [sic] that had been driven from their homes in Panguitch by the Indian trouble.

David Adams acted as Bishop for the next ten years, and in 1876 was succeeded by Joseph H. Joseph. I was now chosen second counselor to the Bishop and ordained a high priest under the hands of Daniel Tyler, president of the high priest quorum for Beaver stake, acted as

counselor to T. T. Gunn who succeeded Joseph H. Joseph up to the year 1899. Acted as school trustee from 1886 to 1890 and again from 1897 to 1899. was elected justice of the peace,

and received my commission from Governor Caleb w. West the  second day of Jan. 1895 and served two terms.

After our bad luck with sheep the winter of 1865 and had sold out for cows, I found out the following summer by milking that my wife was an expert with cows, and the dairy business,

and we done better and earned more money that year than we had any previous year since we had been in Utah.

So the first year after we moved to Adamsville, we engaged to milk eighteen cows for David Levi on shares, making 2380 pounds of very fine cheese and a considerable amount of butter. The following year we took David Levi's and C. D. White's

mother’s cows to care for on shares for three years for half the butter and cheese. We made and end one half of the stock's increase providing we were to make the old stock good

before dividing.



Rees, Watkin


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