EXCERPTS FROM LIFE SKETCH OF HENRY DITTMORE (1836-1893)
PIONEER OF 1855, HUSBAND OF RACHEL SMUIN
Written by his daughter, Eliza D. Call:
Henry Dittmore was born June 8, 1836, at Waldorf a/Werra Saxmeininger, Germany. The son of George Nicolas Dittmar and Christina Maria Heiner. His mother died when he was two years old. We do not know who cared for the children until they could care for themselves. There were the two of them, he and his sister Ann Eva.
At the age of seventeen his father died and he and his sister were left orphans and in course of time his sister left for America. At age nineteen he bid farewell to his native land, relatives and friends and wended his way to be with his sister, and to escape four years of compulsory military service.
Had Henry remained in his native land he would have had to serve four years in the army. At that time all men over twenty one had to serve in the army for four years in military training and all boys from fourteen to eighteen had to learn some kind of trade. He had learned the trade of a tailor.
They located in a German colony in Pennsylvania where they remained till the spring of 1860, then came by ox team, a long tedious journey. Struggling on, over rough roads, fording rivers, across plains and mountains, enduring heat and storm and all the privations and hardships of the journey, they arrived in Great Salt Lake City on September 1, 1860.
Henry found himself alone, you might say, in a strange land among strangers, most of them speaking a different language. He found employment at Daniel H. Wells, receiving his board and lodgings and ten dollars per month. He often was escort of Brother Wells’ girls to dances while living here. He made his home with Brother Wells about three and one half years. By that time he had met an English girl, Rachel Smuin whom he married on March 11, 1864. She was the daughter of Thomas Smuin and Sarah Hook. They were married in the Endowment House.
He continued in the employment of Brother Wells for about two years. He then went to Morgan, where his uncle Martin Heiner and family had located. This place did not seem to appeal to him, thus in the spring of 1869 he moved his family to Pleasant Grove, and bought a piece of land about two and one half miles south of Pleasant Grove center at the foot of a big sand hill. A nice stream of water ran by on the south side of the property.
Here he built his home, at first a log one-room house with one door, one small window, a dirt roof and floor, with a fire place where his wife cooked. In a few years he dug a cellar, rocked it up instead of cement, put in some bins on one side to put his grain in and moved the log room on it and put a shingle roof on.
During this time he met many hardships, trouble and sorrow, yet many were the weary traveler who were fed and they and their teams sheltered for the night. At his place no one was ever turned from his door, hungry.
He cut his grain with the cradle, and his lucerne with the scythe and hauled hay on shares to feed his cattle and horses in the winter. His eldest son, Arthur was accidentally run over with a loaded wagon and died three days later from the injuries. He often stood guard at night to protect his wife and family as well as the neighbors from the Indians.
For five years he cared for Thomas Smuin, his father-in-law. The last two years he had to be cared for just like a baby., The old gentleman had to be dressed and undressed, bathed, with never a complaint from Henry. He felt that it wasn’t any more than his duty to care for him, the same as if it were his own father.
He worked on the railroad and though was not a public sort of man hauled rock for the temple out of Cottonwood Canyon by ox team.