The Big Ditch

Orville Sutherland CoxOrville Sutherland Cox copy

Here is the story of the Pig Plow as told by an old settler of Fairview, Pappas Brady. “When the ditch was first laid out that was afterwards called “City Ditch”, every man and boy was called on to come and work on it every day till it would carry water. This was in the spring, and it had to be finished before the fields were ready to be plowed and planted. The men turned out with teams and plows, picks and crow bars and shovels. There was a rocky point at the head of the ditch to be cut through, and it was hard pan, about like cement. Couldn’t be touched by plow, no siree; no more than nothing. We was just prying the gravel loose with picks and crowbars and looked like it would take us weeks to do six rods. Yes, six weeks. Brother ____ looked at us working and sweating, and never offered to lift a finger. No sir, never done a tap; just looked and then without saying a word, he turned around and walked off. Yes, sir, walked off! Well of all the mad bunch of men you ever saw I guess we was about the maddest. Of course, we didn’t swear; we was Mormons and the Bishop was there, but we watched him go and one of the men says, “Well, I didn’t think Brother _____ was that kind of a feller”. His going discouraged the rest of us, just took the heart out of us. But of course we plugged away pretendin’ to work the rest of the day, and dragged back the next morning.” “We weren’t near all there when here came Brother _____. I don’t just remember whether it was four yoke of oxen or six or eight, for I was just a boy, but it was a long string and they was everyone a good pulling ox. And they was hitched on to a plow, a plumb new kind, yes sir, a new kind of plow. It was a great big pitch pine log, about fourteen feet long, and may have been eighteen, with a limb stickin’ down like as if my arm and hand was the log and my thumb the limb; he had bored a hole through the log, and put a crow bar down in front of the knob, and cross ways long the log back of the limb he bored holes and put stout oak sticks through for spikes. They were the plow handles; and the eight men got ahold of them handles and held the plow level and he loaded a bunch of men along on that log, and then he spoke to his oxen,” Great Scott, ye oter seen the gravel fly, and ye oter heard us fellers laugh and holler! Well, sir, he plowed up and down that ditch line four or five times and that ditch was made, practically made. All that the rest of us had to do was to shovel out the loose stuff; he done more in half a day than all the rest of us could a done in six weeks.

Mary Ann Argyle Standifird

Mary Ann Argyle Standifird

Mary Ann Argyle Standifird was my third great grandma. She was born in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England on February 16, 1846. Her parents joined the L.D.S. church when she was 5 years old. They really wanted to move to Salt Lake to be with other members of the church. They paid  £3,500 (pounds) to the Perpetual Immigration Fund for the trip. They left Liverpool, England on March 22, 1856 and got to Boston on April 28, 1856. They joined the first handcart company and started west on June 9, 1856 and got to Salt Lake City on September 26, 1856. Mary Ann was 10 years old and walked the whole way.

Mary grew up in Bountiful, Utah on a farm. When she was almost 18 years old, she married John Henry Standifird. They had 11 children. John also married Mary Ann’s younger sister Frances. They were called by Brigham Young to settle the Little Colorade River area in Northeastern Arizona.

It was always hard to feed two large families while they were settling this area. One time when John was away working, they ran out of food. They said a prayer together asking for food. Then the children went out to play. The children saw a fish in the creek and called to their mom. Mary Ann came to find the creek full of fish. The whole family went into the creek to get the fish. They scooped the fish up with buckets and their hands and threw them on the bank. They had a feast and had enough fish for weeks.

During this same time, some wild cows were drinking by the creek. Mary Ann had an idea. They caught three of the cows and were able to milk two of them, so they had milk for their families.

Mary Ann had great faith to walk across the country and settle new areas. She knew she could pray when she needed help and her prayers would be answered.

Ada May Watts Neeley

Ada May Watts Neeley

My great, great grandmother Ada May Watts Neeley.

Her sixth child, Kenneth, was my great grandfather. I chose to write about Ada May because I liked reading about her experiences and how she overcame her trials. She was hard working, faithful, happy, and courageous.

She married a guy named Amos William Neeley. They had a beautiful baby. They named her Esther Neeley and loved her very much, but she was sick all her little life, and it was so hard for her parents to see her suffer that way!

When she was six months old she died. Ada May said she had two different emotions about when her baby girl Esther died. She was relieved that her baby girl did not have to suffer anymore and heartbroken that she would never see her again in this life. this is what she said in her journal. “O what an arrow seemingly is being pressed through the heart. When loved ones are suffering untold miseries and your power to relieve them is gone.”

About a year later they had a little boy and it made them feel much better. He was healthy and well. His name was Amos Golden Neeley. He was very loved by everybody. But soon their happiness came to an end. One day he was spending the day at his grandmother’s house, being cared for by her. A tragedy happened. He wandered into a large canal behind the house and drown. They had a search for him for seven long sickening hours. Finally at two o’clock in the morning they found his little body. Ada set such a good example of patience, even when things are wrong, she said, “The Lord’s ways are not ours. He has a wise purpose in all things.”

Because of her strong faith and belief that she would see her children again, she was able to heal. She started to feel better and happier. She had two more kids. Their names were Geraldine and Leroy. They were dong well and then Amos was called by his church to serve a mission. He would have to leave and go to the Southern United States. Again she had her faith tried and had a big challenge put before her. She would have to live on her own for about two years, and be separated from her husband. Although it was difficult for her and she missed him a lot, she again faced her trials with courage. She said this about her husband leaving, “It’s a long separation for us, but I realize it is an honor and will prove a great blessing for him. It will be a crown of righteousness for him in eternity. the Lord’s promises never fail and he has promised a reward to the faithful.”

There were still more troubles to face. After having three more children, Paul, Kenneth (my great grandfather), and Viola, Amos lost his business after his partner took advantage of him. It was harder to take care of his family. He became very ill and without a cure to be found, he died at a young age, about forty eight.

What I have learned from the experience of Ada May Watts Neeley is, even when you’re going through hard times, have strong faith and do the best you can. Because I have experienced this, I have stronger faith, even when things go wrong. I am grateful Ada May kept a journal so that I could learn all of the wonderful stories about her.

Written by: Meagan

Posted on May 29th, 2011

Philo Taylor Farnsworth

Philo Taylor Farnsworth

ynvarnrw Philo T. Farnsworth was born on August 19, 1906 in Beaver, Utah.  He was named after his grandfather who  helped settle the town of Beaver. He was born to Lewis and Serena Bastian, a Mormon couple living in a log cabin and trying unsuccessfully to farm.  The family moved to Idaho when Philo was nearly 12. Philo was excited to find his new home was wired for electricity. He built an electronic motor and produced the first electronic washing machine his family had ever owned.  My great grandpa, Philo T. Edwards said that he wanted him to play ball with him, but he would just like to stay in the house and work with electronics. His parents wanted him to be a concert violinist and he had to take violin lessons, but his interests were all about electricity and experiments. Farnsworth excelled in chemistry and physics at Rigby High School and produced sketches and prototypes of electron tubes. One of the drawings he did on a blackboard for his teacher was recalled and reproduced for a court case between Philo T. and RCA. He attended BYU where he researched about television pictures, but his father’s death forced him to leave BYU and take care of his Mother and 2 younger brothers and 2 sisters.

Philo Taylor didn’t serve a mission be cause there was no money for his support at that time. He did go to church however and was devout in his younger years.

In 1924 the family moved to Provo in a small duplex house with their friends the Gardner’s, moving into the other side of the duplex.  Philo developed a close friendship with Cliff Garden and also Elma “Pem” Gardner who he later married Cliff shared my ancestors interest in electronics and they started a radio repair business, but it fail
ebj2enkmjd.  He finally got some money from a California company who was interested in his experiments and supported
his ideas. They moved to California, and they lived there many years. In 1927 he was the first inventor to transmit a television image. The first image transmitted was a dollar sign. He filed for his first television patent in 1927. He seemed to know though that TV wouldn’t be all good and he said later on in life – “There’s nothing on it worthwhile, and we’re not going to watch in in this household, and I don’t want it in your intellectual diet.”


Later on in his life though, when they and millions of other people throughout the world were watching Neil Armstrong walk on the moon, he said…”Pem,” (his wife) “I changed my mind a little, this is wonderful and I think it was all worth it.”

Philo went on to invent over 160 different devices. He was credited with 150 U.S. patents. He died on March 11, 1971, at the age of 65 in Salt Lake City, Utah.  His wife died in California many years later. At the time of her death, she and their two children were still fighting over money for their patents.

I am glad that I have an ancestor that was famous and worked hard all his life.