History of Ira Depo Lyman by Chester Lyman
My father Ira D. Lyman was born in San Bernardino, California on April 30, 1855.
My mother Elizabeth Ann (Rowley) Lyman was born in Fillmore, Millard County, Utah April 4, 1858. Father Lyman was the son of Amasa Mason Lyman and the second child of Priscilla (Turley) Lyman.
Father and Mother were married in the old State house at Fillmore, Utah which was built for the State Capitol of Utah. They were married by Edward Partridge on January 1st, 1878. Edward Partridge was Probate Judge of Millard County, Utah Territory.
Six children were born to Ira and Elizabeth Lyman. Ira Dunbar was born in Fillmore April 23, 1881. Ira died in Fillmore with diphtheria on March 27, 1882. George Alonzo was born in Fillmore July 6, 1884 and was killed on the Baxter Pass of the Uintah Railroad January 3rd, 1923. George was buried at Grand Junction, Colorado. A special train was assigned by the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad for the purpose of carrying George’s remains from Mack Colorado to Grand Junction. The service was conducted by the Elks Lodge of which George was paid up life member. Mabel (Lyman) O’Fallen was born in Fillmore, Utah, August 3, 1886. She now lives in Gunnison, Colorado. Claud Ernest Lyman was born in Price, Utah on November 19, 1890, and died at Portland, Oregon, March 29, 1958. I, Chester Lyman, was born in Price, Carbon County, Utah, October 13, 1893, now residing in Duchesne, Utah. Edna Clair (Lyman) Smith, was born in Price, Carbon County, Utah, September 20, 1897; and now lives at 227th South 7th, Corvallis, Oregon.
My father and family moved from Fillmore, to Price, Utah, shortly after the death of my Grandmother Rowley in the year 1888. Price was young and wild and their chief places of amusements were saloons.
Father worked at everything he could, including farming for a man by the name of Tobe Whitmore. It was while watering grain for Tobe that father had a stroke or a nervous ailment that lasted through his entire life. Father opened up a coal mine North of Price, and the people would drive teams and wagons into the mine and load coal from the face of the mine. Due to father’s negligence in not filing on his claim, it was filed on by a saloon keeper of Price, Utah, by the name of John Milburn and father lost all rights to his coal mine.
In 1897 we moved to Soldier Canyon on the stage line between Price and Vernal, there were stations about every twenty miles. One at Soldier Canyon; Ed Lee in Nine Mile, Smith Wells, Myton, Half-way Hollar and then into Vernal.
Father took care of the stage horses and would have them harnessed, and they would change teams. Many freight outfits stayed at Soldier Canyon, for all the freight for the Indian Reservation and Ashley Valley was hauled by wagon team. As many as twenty or more outfits would be camped in one night going and coming. There were no automobiles in those days, so it had to all be done by freight teams.
My brother Claud and I opened up a coal mine of our own just a short distance from our house, while working or rather playing at the mine, we looked just across the Canyon and there was a large Lynx cat watching us. Claud told me to go home and get father while he kept his eye on the cat. I ran home and got father with the old 45-90 and father killed the cat.
We had many experiences while we lived at Soldier Canyon. It was on the trail of the bad men that traveled between the hole in the rock in Emery County to Brown’s Park in Uintah County.
Mother Lyman (as my Mother was called) ran the boarding house and one night at the evening meal two rough looking men sat at the table, it was family style, and we were all at the table. The telephone rang and father got up to answer it, one of the men told father “if that is the Sheriff you haven’t seen any one.” We lived a long way from anyone and it wasn’t healthy to know too much.
The Spanish American War happened while we were at Soldier Canyon and we saw lots of troops moving between Ft. Duchesne and the railroad at Price. Father made good money feeding the horses and the officers. Along came Maroni Rowley from Parachute, Colorado (now known as Grand Valley Colorado). He was a brother of my Mothers. He sold father a ranch on Parachute Creek, and we moved by team and wagon to Colorado. The trip took us thirteen days to go by Myton, Vernal, Jensen, crossed by Green river on a ferry boat. We went by the way of the old “K” ranch. We camped one night at the “K” ranch, then we traveled on to Rangeley on the White river; there was no settlement there then. We traveled up the White river to Meeker, then to Rifle and to Parachute.
Father had some fine horses, and built a good log house with a shingle roof. He broke up a lot of ground and planted a crop. Then Father and George watered things up and when it came to the second watering the Water Commissioner came along and locked the head gate; there was only a high water right to the land that Uncle Roan (as he was known to us kids) had sold to my father.
I went my first year of school at a little school house down the creek two miles from the house. The snow would get deep and brother George would break the road, Mable would go next, Claud then me. Edna was too young to go yet. We went to school with eight grades and one teacher.
Fishing was good and we ate deer meat the year round. In the mountains north of where we lived was the old battle ground where the cattle men and the sheep men fought a range battle.
In the year 1900 we moved back to Vernal, Utah. We lived in the old Bowen Saloon just across and east of George Adams grocery and dry goods store. We moved to a small house by the side of the home built by President Smart. Then father bought a home by the side of Jim Griffin. Mr. Griffin ran a saw mill in the mountains north of Vernal. Mr. Griffin was killed by a son of Jake Workman, it was a tragedy for us kids for we all liked Mr. Griffin very much.
I had a very pleasant childhood in Vernal, going to road shows in the old Workman Opera house, hunting fossils at the dinosaur monument, with Shirley Daniels.
Father hauled freight with his teams and was away a great deal. Mother was a midwife and nursed the sick so she was away from home a lot, so we kids learned to take care of ourselves.
Then came along the Uintah Railroad which started at Mack, Colorado, and headed for the Uintah Basin. We moved to Mack, Colorado, and Mother ran a boarding house and father and George worked on the grade with their teams. When the first rails were laid, Claud and I drove the first spike in the ties that held the rails. We were just kids but the section gang gave us a hammer and let us drive the spike. We followed the railroad and at Atchee they built the railroad shops. George quit the teams and got a job as night watchman on the railroad. He worked himself up to a Fireman and then to an Engineer. He was Engineer for some twenty years.
George was in a bad wreck just a few miles out of Mack, Colorado, and suffered injuries that caused him trouble some twenty years later during his last days. He had been made traveling Engineer for the railroad and was sent to Windella, a water filling station on the road to do some work on an engine that was having trouble. On his way back coming down the hill east of Baxter Pass the Engineer called for had brakes to be put on. The engine was pushing a snow plow in front of it and George was putting on the hand brake next to the tender of the engine. The engine left the track and sacks of gilsonite, which the cars were loaded with, pinned George into the tender and he was killed.
The railroad was built to Dragon. We were still running the boarding house and father worked his teams. At Dragon, Mother fed as many as one hundred fifty men three times a day; of course she had an old negro (old Dave) as he was known, two Japanese, and one pastry cook, also one dishwasher and one waitress by the name of Ruby Evans, and her daughter Mabel. It was all done in a building made of rough lumber and covered with paper. The weather on the evacuation creek gets plenty hot in the summer and with the working conditions as they were, made it plenty rough.
We heated the wash water for all clothing on a fire outside in a tub, and we washed outside; of course the big cook stove in the boarding house was always hot so the dish water was heated on top of the stove. No water pressure so no hot water tanks, just big kettles on top of the stove. And to think of washing dishes for one hundred fifty men three times a day; no wonder I hate washing dishes. I washed dishes when I had to stand on a box to reach the top of the sink.
We would move from Dragon, Watson, Rainbow into Vernal each fall of the year and back in the spring, for father tried to give us children all the education he could. One fall on our way from Dragon to Vernal we crossed the ferry at Alhambra on the Green River. Claud and I asked father if we could go on into Vernal afoot and he, not thinking we would we would said, “Go Ahead”, and we started to walk and it was fifteen miles. On the way the coyotes started to howl and we ran until we gave out. When we passed the Cemetery southeast of Vernal an animal came down the road and it would come toward us then back up, going backwards and frontwards. Being dark we couldn’t tell what it was but we were plenty scared. We got a big sunflower stock each and chased it off the road. Father was sure vexed with us as Mable had to herd the cattle and milk the cows on to Vernal. I think we got our pants spanked. It was about this time that Claud and I were sent to Johnson’s or Renold’s flour mill on Ashlay Creek to get a grist of flour. On our way home we must see how fast the horses could trot so we let them out. They were a beautiful pair of Hamiltonian trotters. They trotted so far then broke into a run. When we got home the team was in a lather, and do you think we didn’t get our pants tanned.
Our school days in Vernal was a fond remembrance. Father Lyman and Brother George Lyman took up a homestead each; 160 acres in each homestead, which was about five miles down the Duchesne River south of Randlett, and we moved to the Reservation in 1905.
The Indians at first were not very friendly and Old Buckskin Jim tried to run us off the farm. One day while we were living in a tent, before we had the house finished; old Buckskin Jim came and told us that this was his ground and we must leave. Father went with him over to a survey party that was surveying a railroad into the Basin (which was never built) to try and show that he owned the land. Claud and I was left alone and when dark came we took the 25-20 rifle and sit by the front of the tent. Father came riding home and we didn’t know whether it was father or an Indian so Claud cocked the rifle and father heard it and said “hold it, it’s I” we were very much relieved.
Father made friends with the Indians and we had no more trouble. Among our Indian friends were Buckskin Jim; Wassiup, Tonuts, Cesspoch, Charley Shaoanaux, Jonny Victor, Orin Curry and others.
Father built a home on the river bottom and in the spring of 1906 the water was so high that it was twelve inches deep around our house. This is the year that George and I were sick with typhoid fever and I also had appendicitis and a little blood poison. I nearly died but pulled through. The home was moved to higher ground on the northeast forty.
. . . . My father took ill and I left the Duchesne Stage Line and took over the management of the store in Randlett. While in Randlett we had a lot of close friends, such as the Owens family. Hugh Owens being near my age and Bessie Owens, who in later years became the wife of a Mayor and Merchand of Duchesne, George Kohl.
I enjoyed working in the store. The trade was mostly Indians and we butchered our own livestock such as beef, pork and mutton. We didn’t have the meat inspected as we have today. We sold the meat in large pieces for twenty-five cents or thirty cents a pound, but everything went o.k. until father died with cancer in May of 1917.
World War 1 had broken out in April and father died in May. I was drafted in July, but I had to get an extension for a few months so I could settle the affairs of the business before leaving for the Army.