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The Family File

Autobiography Of Edward B. Clark

As a matter of history I ant my children and their families to know that their progenitor Ezra T. Clark, put a dam in the Creek and took water out to water his 10 acres of wheat on the land just west of the O.S.L. Depot and that he raised 50 bushels to the acre. Is it any wonder then, which I fought so hard to preserve the heritage left by my father to his family? He was among the first settlers on the North Cottonwood Creek and established a right to the waters of the Creek, and especially to the later water that springs up in the bottom of the creek below the city. He always was zealous and proud of his inheritance in this Valley and in these mountain fastnesses, and it was his desire to leave something to his family that they might be proud of.

Father confided many things to me, and at one time when he was to be incarcerated in the penitentiary for his religious belief and practices. He gave me a written power of attorney with authority to buy, sell, or transact any business pertaining to his estate.

I remember one time long, long ago Charles Pearson, a lawyer practicing in the Court House, advised Father to make filings on his water and have it recorded on the records of the Court House. I remember Father telling him he didn't think it was necessary as he had always used the water on the farm, and was then using it, and he didn't think any one could deprive him of the use of it. I remember of Father calling attention to water that was at that time running out on the meadows, as a good deal of his land was in hay.

I want to make clear to my family and to my dear relatives, for they are all dear to me, and I know the love my Father had for them, that as a young man I was active and alert and more probably because I was the acting representative of my father. I was frequently appointed and at other times elected by popular vote to be a representative in many of the activities of the town. As such I was one, with others, to draw up articles of association of the water users of Farmington. (I think that was in the early nineties).

I was chosen one of the first directors of the Water Company. Things went along quite smoothly for a while, but it was hard to make collections to pay a Water Master and incidental expenses, so we concluded to incorporate under the laws of the State. We paid Charlie Pearson fifty dollars to make out the incorporate papers. I was one of the incorporators and served as director and secretary and later president for quite a number of years. In order to make it legal and active it was necessary for the water owners to transfer by writing their rights to the water, to the corporation for the corporate body to control and manage for the benefit of all the incorporators.

The transfer of water stock signed by Father is as follows:

Farmington City, Davis Co. Utah
February 8, 1897

For, and in consideration of the issuance to me of 40 fully paid up shares of the capital stock of the North Cottonwood Irrigation and Water Company.

I hereby sell, assign, and transfer to said Company all my right, title and interest in and to said shares of water of the North Cotton Creek as here to fore used and owed by me.

You will note that instead of transferring all of the water of the Creek, he just signs all the water to those forty shares of water. Of those shares, twenty were lot shares and twenty field shares. They were used on different parcels of land under different ditches. When in Court as a witness in the waster suit, in answer to a question by defendant attorney, I testified that E.T. Clark did not sign all his water, but only a certain amount pertaining to the number of shares specified, I was called a liar. I knew, however, I was telling the truth for I remember so well of my father's answer, and the making out a special assignment paper by me for him to sign, and so far as I know it was the only one different from the others.

When the case came up in court, we tried hard to find the assignment paper that father had signed. I knew there was one somewhere for I had had possession of all the papers for quite awhile. After the case was over, this paper containing the assignment was found in a private lock-box in the bank. It was largely on the consent of this paper signed by my father that the suit hinged, as the water company held out that my father had turned all his water into the company. I had no way of proving my assertions, while others testified he had turned over all of his water and they presented as evidence assignment papers which they testified all water users had signed. This form is as follows: "For an in consideration of the issuance to me o ___ fully paid up of the capital stock of the North Cottonwood Irrigation and Water Co., I hereby sell, assign, and transfer to said company all my right, title and interest in and to the water of the North Cottonwood Creek as heretofore used and owned by me." Note the difference in the two notes. Ezra T. Clark would not sign this assignment, but did sign all the water pertaining to the 40 shares as specified.

In trying to settle the dispute over the water out of court, I talked with the president of the company and in the conversation he said, "We know that you have always used that later water, but we want to use it now"---feeling of course that the water had been turned over to the company, and they had a right to use it as they pleased. Our attorney, Henry D. Moyle, advised us to make another attempt to settle the matter out of court, and we offered to leave the matter in the hands of Franklin D. Richards, who had been legal advisor for the water company for many years, and abide by his decision. The president of the company refused to accept the proposal.

The immediate cause of the suit was: The Water Company had taken the water and were using it in other places, where in fact it was doing but very little good and they threatened to take the water from us the following year. One of them told Bro. John Wallace that inasmuch as he was a renter, they would let him have some water to mature his crops, but that he would have to secure some water elsewhere if he rented another year. We had used the water on this land and other land of the Clark farm as long as I could remember. So we had to enjoin them from interfering with the water. The judge of the District Court ruled in our favor, giving us control of all the water rising in the creek from the highway to our farms. The Water Company appealed to the Supreme Court, which made some restrictions, but in the main was in our favor. Such untruths as were testified to, I hope never to her again from men who had a reputation of being honest men. It is really surprising what some men will do to gain their point, but we have got along pretty well since. Sometimes a change of officers is a good thing. I have had other suits, sometimes in the interests of the water company when I was a director, but never till we had exhausted every other means of settlement did we resort to the courts.

Edward B. Clark Autobiography

<Autobiography Main>< Introduction>< Early Childhood> < Boyhood> < Young Manhood> < Genealogy> < Summary of Church Activities> < Priesthood Activities> < Missionary Work> < Civic Service> < Positions in Civic Affairs> < Farming> < Water> < Traveling Experiences> < Children Born to Edward B. Clark> < Incidents in the Life of Wealthy Richards Clark> < Testimony By Mrs. Wealthy Richards Clark> < Incidents in the Life and Labors of Alice Randall Clark>< A Message to The Ezra T. Clark Association> < Faith Promotion Incidents of Edward B. Clark> < Another Faith Promoting Incident> < Another Case of Remarkable Healing> < Activities of My Family---My Great Achievement> < My Testimony> < Appendix>