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John Royal Young

(1872-1959)
John Royal Young

History of John Royal Young

Information for this history was contributed by Royal Clifton Young and Veola Young Grover, children of John Royal Young. A great deal of the history is also condensed from a personal autobiography written by John Royal Young himself.

John Royal Young was born at Glendale, Kane County, Utah on February27, 1872, the fifth of six sons born to John Royal Young and AlbinaTerry. Roy was named after his father. His brothers were FranklinAlbion, born on January 6, 1861; Syle Smith, born on August 6,1863; Ferra Little, born on February 26, 1866; Will Reynolds,born on November 28, 1868; and Joe Willard, born on May 14, 1875.

Roy was born of Mormon parents, in an area that was still undergoingthe phases of pioneer life, and he was brought up as a farmer'sson, enduring the usual hardships and deprivations of those earlydays. He was taught good Latter Day Saint principles which helpedto mold his life in an exemplary way and he was able, later, topass on those good principles to his own children.

Roy did not remain in Glendale for very many years. In 1876,his parents moved into Orderville, Utah, and the family livedin the United Order until February 26, 1883. After Brigham Youngdied, and John Taylor became President of the Church, Roy's fathermade a trip to Salt Lake City to talk to him about the futureof the United Order. President Taylor's attitude discouraged himso that he went home and moved two of his families out into RabbitValley. One wife refused to leave, but later rejoined her husband.Sometime between the age of fourteen and seventeen, Roy left hometo make his own way in life, mostly with the sheepherds. He receivedsome help from his brothers and he went home occasionally fora visit, but he never returned there to live. He had missed agreat deal of schooling and, later on, he felt the need to becomebetter educated; so, he left the area where he was living andmoved to the little town of Huntington in Emery county where hestayed with his brother Syle and his wife Mamie, and attendedschool. He completed his schooling after he became a grown man,which was a rather admirable thing to do. Roy became very proficientin many things, being able to measure land efficiently, figurethe tonnages of the hay crop, and master other figures so necessaryto the farmer. he was also a great reader and he was especiallyfond of good religious books.

During part of 1895 and 1896, Roy herded sheep and then, in thefall of 1896, he leased a herd for himself, a chance which didnot work out well for him during those depression years in thesheep business. It was while he was really down and out that hemet Elisabeth Louisa Wilcock, a native of Parowan, then livingin Huntington. Roy and Lizzie fell very much in love and Roy wasimpressed with the fact that she did not demand a nice home andall of life's conveniences before marriage. They were marriedin Huntington on September 15, 1896, and for the first year oftheir lives together jobs were almost non-existent and wages wereterribly low. The young couple barely existed and had to relyon help from Lizzie's parent to get by. In September of 1897,Roy obtained a job with his brother and went two hundred milesaway onto the west desert to herd sheep for the winter at $30per month. His little daughter Guila was born on January 9, 1898,while he was away and he was so happy when he returned in thespring to find his wife and baby well, living with Elisabeth'sparents.

During the summer of 1898, Roy and Elisabeth worked at a sawmillin the mountains and were together for the entire summer. Thatwinter, Roy worked on the East Desert, near the Colorado River.The family's struggle for existence lasted for seven years andduring that time, three more children were born at Huntington.Royal Clifton was born on April 9, 1900; Maude on March 25, 1902;and Dee Christopher on March 15, 1904. Roy had been able to purchasea small piece of land, but it went swampy and all possibilityof farming came to an end. During the previous winter, Roy hadbeen talking to a man on the freight road about some wonderfulfarming country in Idaho. He decided to talk over the possibilitywith his wife and when he found her willing to make the change,they made immediate plans to move north. Lizzie's parents decidedthat they would also like to go along with their three childrenwho were still living at home and Roy also aroused the interestin two young men, Frank Guyman and Bert McKee, who decided tomake the trip with them and look for jobs in Idaho. The baby wasonly two weeks old, but Roy rigged up a covered wagon with a springmattress for his wife and baby and they started out on the longtrip in June of 1904. It took four days to make the journey toProvo and from there, Roy chartered space on an emigrant car forhis livestock and supplies. he and the two men accompanied thestock on the freight train and the rest of the group followedtwo days later on the passenger train. Everyone arrived on thesame evening at St. Anthony, Idaho, during a rain storm. Theyset up a big tent with a stove in it and began to weather outthe storm, which lasted for three days.

The men found jobs plowing sagebrush land around St. Anthonyand Roy began to build up a little bank account. During theirspare time, Roy and Elizabeth's father, Christopher Wilcock, lookedaround for the unclaimed land east of Ashton and were finallyable to select some property and file a claim on a section thatis now located in some of the best dry farm land in that partof Idaho. But when a September freeze killed all the wheat inthat area, Roy and Christopher decided that they didn't want tolive in that section and began to go out that fall, looking forland to the south. They found children skating on the ponds atRexburg that November, but when they arrived at Shelley two dayslater they found no ice on the streams or ponds and decided thatit would be a good place to settle. Christopher Wilcock and hisfamily continued on home to Huntington and Elizabeth's brotherChris and his wife left Huntington at the same time to join Royand Elizabeth in Idaho. After they arrived, Roy and Chris beganto build a small house at Tilden to winter in before the coldweather set in. Chris's wife, Ida, became ill with uremic poisoningand died suddenly and the plans all had to be changed. They tookIda to Blackfoot to an undertaker, where she was prepared forshipment back to Huntington. Everyone except Roy returned withthe body to Huntington and Roy was left to spend the winter alonein Idaho.

In April of 1905, Roy returned to Huntington, disposed of allthe families' possessions there, and moved his wife and childrenback to Idaho for good. They rented a house at Goshen and Roywas able to gather up enough sheep to herd for the summer. OnJuly 5, 1905, he was struck by lightening and nearly lost hislife. Another sheepherder who was with him at the time was killed.The farmers around Goshen had a lot of surplus pasture and nomarket for their hay. They seemed willing to sell land for promise,which is about all Roy had to offer, so Roy picked up some grazingland and then began to build a herd of sheep to graze on it. Bythe 15th of November, he was all set with both sheep and land.

That winter Roy accepted a position as teacher in the Y.M.M.I.A.organization of the Mormon Church. It afforded him the chanceto learn and study the principles of the Gospel and he workedhard at it. One of the things he appreciated most of all thatwinter was being able to be at home with his wife and family.On June 13, 1906, twins were born to Roy and Elizabeth at Goshen.Mildred died on the same day and Wilford C., the little boy, wasnot a healthy baby, being very weak and frail. Winter came onand there were problems with the sheep that year. It was too cold,the green feed would not grow, and the sheep would not eat thehay they were fed. There were problems with the wolves and coyotesand additional problems that arose at lambing time. The ewes wereweak and the little lambs would perish in the cold almost as soonas they were born. A big storm seemed to be on its way and Roywas terribly discouraged, knowing that if he lost his sheep herdhe would be ruined. He remembered his Patriarchal blessing inwhich he had been promised that he would have enough faith tocontrol the elements, so he returned to his flock and prayed thatthe storm would be turned away. He saw the storm divide, one partpassing to the south and the other to the north, as the sun cameup over the hill to the east, shining down on the little valleywhere they sheep herd was located. No more lambs were lost andthe herd was saved. Shortly after that time, after the strenuouswork with the flock was over, Clifton arrived at the her withthe news that little Wilford was very ill. Roy mounted his ponyand rushed to the house where the baby was administered to andRoy prayed that Wilford's life would be spared until the lambingwas over and he could give more attention to his family. Afterthat, Wilford rallied and Roy returned to his work. Ten days later,while Roy was with the herd, he had a strong impulse to returnto his home. He headed for the house as fast as he could and arrivedjust in time to take his baby in arms just before it passed awayon May 5, 1907.

Three more children were born to Roy and Elizabeth at Goshen.Lloyd W. was born on February 24, 1908; Ferra B. on December 8,1909; and Veola on September 17, 1913. Conditions began to improvefor the family and Roy realized that he would probably never haveto work for anyone else again. he was able to shear his sheepand sell the wool for enough to pay for his hay, pasture, andall the bills. The feed on the range improved, the her thrived,and Roy was able to pay off all his debts and have $1100 in theclear. That enabled him to establish good credit and he maintainedthat standing all through his life.

As the years passed and the family grew up, Roy felt the needfor better living conditions and school facilities for his childrenthan were available in Goshen. So, in 1913 or 1914, he sold thesheep business and decided to move the family to Shelley. A newhigh school had just been completed there and Roy purchased apiece of land, eighty acres, and went to work building a homefor the family. Roy had become very active in the church and hadadvanced in the Priesthood to the position of Seventy by 1907and High Priest by 1912. he had also done a great deal of localmissionary work. After moving to Shelley, he was set apart asa member of the High Council in the new Shelley Stake. He hadnot had experience in public speaking previous to that appointment,and Roy felt that he never did make a good speaker, but he didspeak at meetings whenever he was called upon.

For the first eight years at Shelley, the family all worked hardat improving and leveling the gravelly rough land they had purchased.The children all worked with Roy and he appreciated their effortsimmensely. They made a good farm out of their land and they allbecame good farmers and homemakers.

On January 2, 1924, Roy had to enter the L.D.S. Hospital in IdahoFalls for surgery. It was not successful and Roy was in poor healthfrom then on. The family grew up, married, and left home -- includingthe tenth child, Wendell K., who was born after the family movedto Shelley on March 23, 1919. In spite of his poor health, Royand Elizabeth remained on the farm until 1945.

John Royal Young was a good man. He taught his sons to be goodfarmers and all of his children to be good citizens. he was afine example to his family and his children all loved and respectedhim. Physically, Roy was of average height and weight, being aboutfive feet ten inches tall. he had blue eyes and dark brown hair.he was always a physically active man, a quick thinker, and fastin coming to a decision. He was an outdoor man, loved his farmand livestock, but also enjoyed his home and family, finding timeto read and study in his spare time.

Roy was very good at driving horses and he had a good four-horseteam and a big wagon with which he hauled lots of sugar beetsfor the neighbors when his own crops had been harvested. He wasa neighborly gentleman and had many friends. His favorite teamwas a pair of gray horses which he kept until they died of oldage in an underground shelter, in winter.

Roy's favorite hobby was tanning deer hides and making leathergoods. He made many quirts, bridles, gun cases, and hackamores.

When Roy and Elizabeth were no longer able to handle the farmwork, they decided to retire. They sold the farm to their son,Wendell, and moved to Idaho Falls on January 22, 1945. Both Royand Elizabeth were in poor health and, after six years in IdahoFalls, Elizabeth developed an aneurysm and passed away on March3, 1951. She was returning to Shelley for burial.

After Elizabeth's death, Roy worked in the Idaho Falls Templeuntil his health would no longer permit it. After that he spenta great deal of time with his children. He suffered a stroke andpassed away at Rexburg, Madison County, Idaho, on October 6, 1959.He was buried in Shelley, next to his beloved Lizzie.