Adam Yancey, son of Hiram or Hiram John Yancey Jr. and Harriet Wood,
was born on the 6th of April, 1859, at Bountiful, Davis County, Utah. He was the youngest of their four children, one girl and
three boys, born in the following order:
Elizabeth, John H., and Adam. Elizabeth
and Parley P. died in infancy.
Adam's father was a carpenter by trade, also a wagon maker, and
traveled around a great deal. Very
little is known about his life. He
became partly blind at an early age and never fully recovered.
He was not contented to stay in Utah, though his wife was, as she did
not want to leave the church and her people.
In the later part of the year of 1857, (some say at the time of Johnson's
Army), he left home and went back east, but did not stay long, and soon
returned to his family in Bountiful. Later
on he wanted to leave again, and his wife did everything she could to persuade
him to stay, but without success. One
day, which would probably have been the latter part of the year, 1858, he and
his wife took the team and wagon and went to Salt Lake City to do some
trading. When ready to return
home, Hiram took the groceries and their baby John (who was about two years
old) got into the wagon and told Harriet that he was going back east and
wanted her to go along with him, but she would not and supposed that he would
come back. However, he did not
return and that was the last she saw of him or her baby John, though she heard
of them later.
Hiram kept the child with him and drove on until he caught up with an
immigrant train that was passing at that time through Salt Lake City to
Oregon. Harriet's father, Daniel
Wood, sent men after him, but as he kept his gun by his side along with the
child they could not get the child away.
A few months after Hiram left, their son Adam, was born.
On the Sept 17, 1859, Harriet married Captain James Brown of Ogden,
Utah, who on the Sept 30, 1863, was shot and killed accidentally.
Captain Brown purchased a Mexican land grant which included the site of
Ogden, Utah, and became one of the first settlers of Ogden.
The historians speak quite highly of him.
He left a large family by another wife.
On January 9, 1871, Harriet married David Lewis, a widower of
Bountiful, and lived with him until her death December 22, 1873.
Through correspondence with Mrs. Josephine Wood Naylor of Bountiful,
Utah, we found that instead of Harriet being buried in the "Wood family
cemetery" (as had been thought), she was buried in the "Lewis family
plot", in the Bountiful City Cemetery.
When at school the boys would tease Adam, telling him he did not have
his right name and one day he got into a fight about it.
Upon his return home from school he asked his mother about it and she
told him about his real father. After his mothers death, Adam went to live
with Rebecca Moss, his mothers sister. He
herded sheep a great deal as a young man and also learned something about
When Adam was 20 years old he met Alice Tolman at a dance in Bountiful
on either the 4th or the 24th of July. He
took her home from the dance and saw quite a bit of her from then on.
On October 2, 1879, they were married in the old Endowment House in
Salt Lake City, Utah. Adam had a
team and wagon in which they rode to Salt Lake City to be married.
Alice Tolman was the eleventh child in the family of 14 children of
Judson Tolman and Sarah Lucretia Holbrook, and was born August 29, 1863, in
Bountiful, Utah, Davis County. In
1848 her parents came across the plains to Utah, their oldest child being
buried on the way. Her mother
died at the age of 37 years when her 14th child was born.
Alice remembers of helping her fathers third wife, Aunt Jane Stoker, in
caring for the children when they were young, (her father had married a second
wife, Sophia Merrill and they had four children and then separated.
He had eleven children by Aunt Jane.)
Alice lived most of the time with her sister, Sarah Mabey, and family. In
her own words she says, "My sister with whom I lived, was the same as a
mother to me, and her children seemed like my own family.
I scarcely remember my mother as she died when I was little more than
five years old. I did not
remember my sister Nancy and her children so well, but learned to love them
just as I did Sarah and family. I
remember as a girl, the good times my sister Kate (or Catherine), and I had
together. She was just two years older than me.
I remember of being re-baptized and it sure thrilled me.
I also remember of going to school and getting a whipping.
I did not cry at the time but had a good cry when I got home.
I had to go to school bare foot most of the time.
My father had a molasses mill where he made molasses.
I would take his dinner to him when he was cutting grain with a scythe.
I also remember my step-grandmother, Hannah Flint Holbrook, and of
going to see my grandfather Joseph Holbrook, and of his death.
We used to have "cutting bees", when we would gather 15 or 20
bushel of peaches in a pile. Then
we would ask the boys and girls to come and help cut them to dry. The next morning we would have to spread them, right side up,
on the roof or on scaffolds made of lumber.
After we were through cutting we usually had lunch.
That is how we got our peaches dried."
The following events concerning their married life, are related by
Alice Tolman Yancey. We left it
too late to get anything from father. (B.
As mentioned, Adam herded sheep a great deal as a young man, and also
learned a little about carpentry. While
herding sheep he started to use tobacco, until one time he attended conference
in Salt Lake City, and one of the speakers said, "Boys, do not use
tobacco as it is very harmful." He
went home and never used it again.
As has been stated, we were married in the old Endowment House in Salt
Lake City, on October 2, 1879. Adam
had a team and wagon in which we rode there to be married.
For a short time, we lived in Bountiful, Utah, in a two room house made
of rock, which stood by the Daniel Wood home.
Daniel Wood was Adam's grandfather.
Joseph and Inez Wood, were our neighbors on one side.
Here our first child, a son, was born, August 9, 1880, and we named him
Adam Adonirum. I was just 17 years old on August 29.
Adam and Daniel Wood went together and bought the Dunham place in West
Bountiful and we moved there. In
a year or so, my brother, Add Tolman (Add was a nickname for Adonirum),
decided to move to Idaho, and we decided to go with him.
So we sold our share in the place to Daniel Wood and moved to Idaho at
the same time, 1881. We first
lived in Bancroft, Idaho, in a
slope Adam built himself. We had
two good teams. The mares would
have had colts soon, but they were stolen.
Adam hunted for weeks but could not find any trace of them.
There was a saw mill in Bancroft at this time where Adam worked part of
the time. In the fall we moved to
Chesterfield, a small settlement ten miles north of Bancroft, where my
brother, Add Tolman, had settled. The
place had been named after Chester Call who had been called by President
Brigham Young, to persuade a dozen or so young couples to go with him to Idaho
as some had said it was a good stock country and farming district.
Chester Call was to do this on the Q. T. so it was not known until
It was here in Chesterfield that our second child, another son, was
born, September 12, 1882, and we named him Orval.
I just had my neighbor, Mary Call, and my brother Joe's wife, Della
Tolman, to help me, but all was not as it should be so Adam had to take the
team and wagon and go ten miles for a lady doctor, then I got along alright.
Orval was the first Mormon child born in Chesterfield and my brother
Lamoni's son, Chester, was the second.
During our first year in Chesterfield, we lived in a slope made out of
slabs. The second year Adam built
a one room log house, 16 by 20 feet, and plastered it inside and out.
Then later on, Adam built a two story frame house with five rooms and a
large pantry. On the front was a
large porch with a railing around so we could go onto the porch from upstairs,
and look over the country. It was one of the best homes in Chesterfield at that time.
We had two good wells which Adam dug by hand.
We had to draw all the water by hand in buckets for the stock as well
as for ourselves. We were later
able to buy pumps which were much better.
We had a large barn, a cistern, cellar, and other buildings.
We had homesteaded about 300 acres of land and had quite a number of
When we were first married, we had
only one cow but would sell the butter and eat bread and skim milk gravy.
We always had plenty to eat such as it was but not much variety. There was a lot of wild game in the country at that time and
it helped give variety in our food.
It was surely cold in Chesterfield and I remember Adam taking the
cattle to the hills where the snow had melted because we had no feed for them
in the spring. In doing this Adam
became snow blind a time or two, or that was what we thought it was.
I remember one storm when the snow rolled up in large rolls, just like
cotton and it was a pretty sight. Our
buildings were made of lumber and when it was so cold, it would pop and snap
and when sleeping, the quilts would freeze from our breath.
Later on, when we had plenty of milk and butter, I would set a pan of
clabber milk on a box or chair and give the children some spoons and how they
would enjoy it. At one time while in Chesterfield, we were milking 40 cows
and would make about 70 pounds of butter a week and I would set the milk in
pans. Adam always helped and most
of the time we did not get to bed until midnight.
Adam would work all day and then
come home and would have to go get the cows and by the time the milking was
done, it was late and cold and the wind would blow and drift---the drifts were
sometimes as high as the house, but we always had plenty of good wood to keep
warm by. We had home made carpets
when we could afford to make them. Adam
always did his own building and also got out most of the timber himself.
We went to Bountiful a time or two
in our light spring wagon. We called it the "Red Wagon" as it was painted red.
One time we had a covered wagon that Edward Wood was sleeping in and
Adonirum got some matches and went out and set it afire.
It was close to the barn, but I happened to look out that way and we
got the fire out all right. There
was a little one room log school house about a mile from us and we used to
furnish board and room for the school teachers.
Our first child, Adam Adonirum, was killed when he was twelve years old
on September 2, 1892, by falling from a horse.
He went after the cows and on the way back, in company with a Bergeson
boy who had a horse, caught one of the neighbors horses.
They were just a little way from home when he fell or was thrown off
the horse. He got up and walked
home and I washed him off and he said, "Ma, I don't think I can milk
tonight". (He was almost as
tall as his father.) I said
that he didn't have to milk and put him to bed. He went to sleep and just woke up once and said, "Oh, my
We did not go to bed but sent for
the Elders and had him administered to. The
next morning, I left him to get breakfast and when I went back into the room,
about eight o"clock, he was dead. We
also lost a little girl, Mary, when six weeks old.
She was born when we all had the whooping cough and had I known, I
would have been more careful. She
contracted this disease and would go into one convulsion after another and
died while I was holding her in my lap when I was all alone.
They were both buried at Chesterfield, Idaho.
My brother, Lamoni Tolman, and Adam
were called on a mission during the summer of 1895, and were assigned to
Texas, although that was not the mission to which they had first been called.
They thought they were going to Tennessee.
They left home July 22, 1895, which left me with quite a
responsibility. Orval was just
turning 13 and James would be 11 on the 24th of July.
After arriving in Texas, the climate and water were so bad that they
were sick most of the time. So
after a few months, they had to return home, arriving home on November 8,
Adam was sick for some time after
returning home. At one time he
drank some strong coffee to make him vomit and he vomited up a lizard, which,
no doubt he had got through the bad water in Texas.
This made him feel better, but his health was never as good as it had
been before he went on his mission.
There was no ward organization in
Chesterfield when we moved there but I remember Adam baptizing a number of
children. He also helped build
the meeting house and school house which was built by donation work.
The township or community was to the north of us about two and one-half
miles and we always attended Sunday School and meetings riding in the
"Red Wagon". Some of
the other first families in Chesterfield were the Sagers, the Calls, Nels
Hogan and family, the Lovelands and my brothers, Lamoni and Add Tolman.
Add was bishop of Chesterfield for more than 25 years.
I worked in the Y.L.M.I.A. and was counselor to Sarah Call in the
I forgot to mention that during the
winters, we went to church in sleighs and at times the snow would be so deep
that we would ride right over the fences and not have to stop for anything.
Our neighbors were the Hogan family, the Fred Bergeson family and a
family by the name of Belfour.
Adonirum was born in Bountiful, but
all the others except William and Sarah, were born in Chesterfield.
They were Orval, James Henry, Emron, Bertha Lucretia, Cyrus, Alice,
Daniel, Sylvia, Mary, Nathan Orley, William, Sarah Luella, and Elizabeth
(stillborn). Sylvia was raised on
the bottle, but Bertha was able to give her about all the care she needed. Mary was also bottle fed, which would be more cause for her
getting the whooping cough.
In the fall of 1901, our entire crop
from 300 acres, was a total failure from frost and drought.
One of the men from the ward had been over to Blackfoot, Idaho, about
70 miles west and north of Chesterfield, bought hay and later moved there. So Adam went to Blackfoot to buy hay because we were milking
40 head of cows at that time and had to have hay.
When we first went to Chesterfield, we had enough water for our ground,
but it got so scarce that by the time it got down to us, our turn was up and
we could hardly raise a garden and there seemed to be more frosts too.
While in Blackfoot, Adam bought 300
acres of land about three and one-half miles west of Blackfoot.
Quite a lot of it was in hay, the rest in sagebrush land.
We paid seven thousand dollars for it and gave a mortgage on our place
in Chesterfield to make the first payment of one thousand dollars and that was
all we ever got out of the place as the parties took out bankruptcy and we had
to sell most of our stock to pay for the place.
So in the first week of October,
1901, we moved to Blackfoot, Idaho. I
drove one team over with Orley on the seat by me, he had been a year old in
July. Maybe you think it wasn't
hard to leave Chesterfield after living there about 25 years.
We went to Blackfoot when there were only a few people there in that
section of the country and lived there the rest of our lives.
The ranch we bought in Blackfoot
belonged to George Bumgartner. We
had plenty of water and having boys to help, we put up lots of hay and got
along alright by being careful. The
first summer in Blackfoot, we raised most every kind of fruit and vegetable.
Watermelons and garden stuff and it sure seemed good.
There were raspberries, gooseberries and fruit trees already on the
There was a three room house on the
place and the Andrew Christian Jensen family lived in it.
With nine children we needed more room so Adam built on two more rooms. It certainly was a great change for us to come to Blackfoot.
The first winter the men folks plowed all winter long which was quite
different from the long cold winters in Chesterfield.
While we lived in Chesterfield , I would knit stockings for all the
children, but when we moved to Blackfoot, they would not wear woolen
We had two pair of bob sleighs, but
for the first two or three years in Blackfoot, we hardly had snow at all, so
we sold our sleighs and the very next winter we had plenty of snow for sleighs
and we wished we had them back. From
then on the winters were not so mild as they had been those first years here.
While in Chesterfield, we had a
large 40 gallon barrel churn and I remember one time the lid came off and the
cream went all over the floor. After
a year or two at Blackfoot, we had sold most of the cows so we used this churn
to haul water in. The boys were
older now and we put up lots of hay and with them helping, Adam cleared the
sagebrush from about 100 acres of land and then we put seven acres into
orchard---100 cherry trees, a few pear trees and plums and the rest in apples,
also a large raspberry patch.
Adam took great pride in growing
these trees but there was not much market for the fruit and thousands of
bushels went to waste at times. He
went with many a load to Pocatello and peddled them to get rid of them.
One summer our cherry trees were just loaded with cherries and it
rained and rained until they all burst and bushels of them went to waste.
To take care of the apples, we finally got a cider mill and made lots
of cider and vinegar.
When we first moved to Blackfoot, we
went to the Riverside and Moreland church, using the team and white top buggy
for transportation. I remember how I used to take the sisters in our buggy and
drive and drive the horse with my baby in my arms.
We also had a one horse buggy.
On April 27, 1902, a Branch
organization of the Church was effected and Adam was chosen as Presiding Elder
and the Branch was named Groveland, as the school district was then known as
On February 1, 1903, Adam was chosen
as Bishop and a Ward was organized and shortly afterwards, work started on a
meeting house on which Adam and the boys did a lot of carpenter work and spent
a lot of time on it. They also
built a tithing cellar.
About this time, Stake President
Elias S. Kimbal, asked Adam to cut up part of his farm into lots for a town
site, which we did and we had quite a lot of deeds to sign.
Selling these lots helped us to pay for the place.
Then in 1904, we had a new twelve room brick house built and very often
we had 20 or 30 people staying with us.
In 1906, James was called on a
mission to the Northern States, where he spent two years.
In April 1911, Cyrus was called to the Central States Mission and was
also gone about two years. In
November, 1919, Orley left for a mission to the Central states, but on account
of his health, returned after thirteen months.
(When Orley was born, I wrote to my father and told him to name him and
he wrote back and said for me to name him Nathan Orley, which we did as we
liked the name too.)
Before Cyrus came home from his mission he heard of some Yanceys in
Independence, Missouri. When he
investigated, he found the man to be fathers brother John, who had been taken
east by his father before Adam was born, and he had never seen him. After we were married, we had a few letters from him and he
said if he had the money, he would come out and see us. We sent him one hundred dollars about the time we went to
Chesterfield. He got the money,
but did not come. Later, he sent
back part of the money.
After Cyrus came home, we went out to see him.
He had a family of six children by his first wife who had died as well
as four or five of his children. He
had married again and was living there in Independence where he had two lots,
one was his home and both were mortgaged, so Adam paid off the mortgage of
about 300 dollars and he gave us the title to one of the lots.
After Adams death, mother found it hard to get the taxes paid on it, so
she deeded it over to the church.
A note in Mother's papers tells of their visit.
"Arrived at Uncle John's Friday evening and visited with them on
Saturday. Sunday afternoon we
went to a prayer meeting of the Josephite Church, where we met a Miss Smith of
Riverside, Idaho, and a Miss Lufkin from Blackfoot, Idaho.
Monday morning:--President Bennion took us and Uncle John's folks for
an auto ride. We went and saw
father Yancey's wife and also went and saw where he was buried. Adam gave Uncle John some money to have a marker put on his
fathers grave and that is as far as Adam ever knew his father.
President Bennion also showed us where the Saints crossed the Missouri
River, then we went from there to the printing press owned by our people and
then on to see the son of the Prophet Joseph Smith.
He was blind but was pleased to meet us.
He was a large man and favors our President, Joseph F. Smith.
We spoke about his father and he said, "He had made some stir in
the world and he had done some good."
He was 81 years old and appeared to be a very smart man for his
Tuesday we went to a funeral of the Josephites and in the evening went
to the park. It was a grand sight
and we heard some fine music. Wednesday
we went to Kansas to start home.
Later on we sent money for Uncle John and his wife to come see us and
we had a nice visit again with them. His
wife left him some time later after they went home and when Orley was on a
mission he found him living alone and in very poor health. He came out again after Adam's death in 1920, and I took care
of him until he died in May 1922. He
had what was called miners consumption. He
had one son living but we knew nothing about him. He was buried in the Groveland Cemetery in the same lot as
Adam was buried. Who knows but
what a kind Providence and a mothers prayers had at last brought them to a
last resting place.
When the Relief Society was organized, I was sustained as President,
which position I held until June, 1919. I
enjoyed this work very much although at times I had to neglect my work at
home. I also served on the Relief
Society Stake Board as second counselor and later as first counselor to the
Stake President Juliette Blackburn, this period was from November 1914, to
August 1923. My work in the
church was a wonderful schooling to me. I
was president of the War Mothers from about 1917, to 1920, and while I held
this position, we war mothers went on a trip to Salmon, Idaho, to visit the
Mothers there and at Mackey. We
had a very nice time.
After our younger children were in school we took two children to
adopt, Ruth, (a daughter of Ida Jensen) just 6 weeks old, and a boy about the
same age as Sarah, (Six years) from the children's home.
But there was so much friction between him and the younger children,
that we got some other people we knew to adopt him.
When Ruth was about three years old, we went down to Logan Utah, to
have our second endowments and to have Ruth sealed to us.
Alice had bought Ruth a nice brown coat and hood to wear on the trip.
On the way down, somewhere between Blackfoot and Pocatello, some woman
made quite a fuss over Ruth and had her take her coat off.
When we wanted it to put on her later, it was gone and we had to go buy
her another one. We felt bad
about it as Alice had paid six Dollars for it.
In 1912, Adam and I, taking Orley with us, went to San Francisco to the
Worlds Fair. We surely enjoyed
the sights and also went on to San Diego, California.
In July, 1915, Adam accompanied our Stake President, James Duckworth,
on a special "Genealogical Train" to San Francisco where they
attended an International Congress on Genealogy which was held there in
connection and as part of the Panama Pacific International Exhibition being
At the time of World War I, in 1917, Cyrus enlisted in the Marines.
Later, Daniel went and was assigned to the Engineers.
They were both gone about a year.
Cyrus was very badly wounded in the Battle of the Marne, in the Belleau
Woods in France. The doctors did
not think he would live as h is stomach, or most of it had been shot away.
There was another soldier, (said to be German) who died about the same
time that the doctors were caring for Cyrus.
They tried a new thing. They
took his stomach and put it in Cyrus's body.
Cyrus spent 9 months in the hospital there before coming home.
I guess it was a marvelous feat at that time and later, when Cyrus
reached New York, on his way home, a number of prominent medical doctors were
to meet him. Then the Government
gave him an education after this happened and got him a job at the Tag and
Label Company in San Francisco. He
worked there for 25 years.
Daniel returned home after the Armistice was signed on November 11,
1918, but was never very well afterwards and had to spend a great deal of time
at the Veteran's Hospital at Boise and Salt Lake City.
Adam served as Bishop of the Groveland Ward for 12 years, when his
eyesight began to fail and his health in general was very poor.
By being careful, he was able to make his way around and do quite a lot
of things. He built a picket
fence around the home and was always trying to improve things.
He was released as Bishop in 1914, and John S. Bowker was sustained as
Bishop. Adam's health continued
to fail gradually, and on September 15, 1920, he passed away and was buried in
the Groveland Cemetery.
The winter after Adam died, I took care of a man, a cripple, for room
and board. He was a help to me in
taking care of Ruth while I did the milking and chores. That winter was extra hard anyway as money had to be sent to
Orley on his mission.
Comments by Bertha Y. Jensen. "Father
was a sort of quiet man and a man of few words, but when he did speak, he
usually said something. He always
stopped work so as to have his meals on time and always kept things neat and
in good repair."
"In the 22 years Mother lived alone after fathers death, she had a
hard lonely life. She rented out
most of the house, but was always too kind hearted to get much pay out of it.
She had the worry of the younger children and Ruth was little more than
four years old. Also, father had
always taken the responsibility in a financial way, which made it harder for
her, and with it all, she was suffering from diabetes, which grew worse as the
years went by. One wonders how
she ever held up under the stress because she was always doctoring herself so
much. She was bound to live in
the two rooms of the old home, although there were renters in the house who
could help if help was needed.
Daniel took care of the place and farm as best he could until his
health made it so he had to stay in the hospital most of the time.
Mother depended a lot on him and it was a terrible blow to her when he
passed away, November 11, 1939. Our
sister Sylvia, also came often from Pocatello to see mother and it was about
all she could take when Sylvia died in January, 1940, from childbirth.
During these years, mother, with the help of Sylvia and the boys, sent
William on a mission to England. Mother
visited around with the children, going to Los Angeles several times to see
Alice, Ruth, and Sylvia in Pocatello. I
took her out to visit Sarah's family in Tabiona, Utah, in the summer of 1942,
and she enjoyed the trip very much. Later
on, she wanted to go see Alice and Ruth, but I felt I couldn't get away. Now I
know how she must have felt, that she would not see them alive again, and I
wish that I had taken her when she wanted to go.
She must have passed away without warning during the night as she was
found sitting in a chair taking care of her swollen feet.
It may not have been without warning either, as the folks in the next
room said they distinctly heard her conversing with someone and thought she
had company. She died about
midnight and it was about this time when she was heard talking with someone,
October 11, 1942. Uncle Cy, her
brother had died just about ten days before."
"To live in hearts we leave behind, is not to die."
Bertha Y. Jensen.
An older resident of Groveland, Thomas G. Bond, writes a poem to Alice
Yancey, and gives a tribute to Adam Yancey.
The Ministering Angel
Yancey lives in the Groveland Ward,
A little old lady with a placid
Guess jest the fact of her living thar all these years
Sorter of grayed her hair and
furrowed her cheek.
jest don't happen, grand dad said,
They're made in a furnace of toil
Sittin' by beds where children lie gaspin'
And the fever a
runnin' and scorchin'.
rocked bodies a moanin' in the night time,
And lives jest a hangin' by a
With cool hands soft and caressin' thar
A puttin' cold things to yer head.
ministering angel is always there
When the cupboard is empty and the
heart's in despair.
With a cherrin' word and a loaf of bread
Tho oftimes it drains her scanty
only perchance by a flower draped beir,
And the air all hushed and whisperin'
And a mist comes over our blinded eyes
We hear a rustlin' as it were, the wings of an angel lyin' thar.
you ever meet Pa Yancey,
back thar in the sage brush days,
Came in with a parcel of neighbors
and settled in the Groveland Ward.
was a man with a placid mind,
built his house, as I recall,
did things just sort of queer,
was what they called him,
was a curious Bishop, didn't seem to rare and tare,
or go into transports all shivery like,
and try to convert us all.
lived right down among us with his plows
took his religion serious like,
the prayin' and long black coats