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The Family File

Hyrum Don Carlos Clark

Some Of The Things I Remember Of My Father, Hyrum D. Clark

by Carlos R. Clark

Being the next to the youngest of Father's eighteen children, it was only about the last twenty years of his life that I knew him. This is comparatively a short time. I was the last of his children to be born in the big home on the Ranch. It burned down when I was less than a year old. The barn burned down a few short years later. I do not remember either of them.

I heard that at one time Father was considered to be financially well to do. This was before my time. He had reached the zenith of his acquiring thousands of acres of land and other property. His financial prestige was on the decline. During the early years of my life on the Ranch father was in a financial bind. He was struggling to make payments on some accumulated debts and trying to prevent fore-closure on his property.

We milked cows morning and at night along with a long day's work in the hayfield. We lived mainly on the money we received from selling the milk. This afforded us only a meager living. We lived in comparative poverty. I never had a tricycle, a wagon, or many other things that boys of my age in other families had. By not having many things that I so desired has had a lasting effect on me.

One summer, to get us to work hard and long hours, my brother, Porter promised us a "watermelon bust" if we got through haying by a certain date. We got through haying at about noon on the day before the "deadline." The melons and lunch were brought down to us and we ate in the shade of the big River Barn.

After eating we had a shooting contest with an old "22" gun. To our amazement father was the best marksman of the whole haying crew. Father had good control with a good steady hand. He could have been a good hunter. Father never took the time to take us hunting or fishing. We lived right by some of the best fishing and hunting in the country. Work always came first.

One time when father was in his late seventies Porter came to Farmington and took father back up to Wyoming hunting elk. He came back with a set of antlers. He really enjoyed it and admitted that he should have done more of it.

Father liked a bargain. He liked to get the very most he could in a trade or when he bought something. After the one he was dealing with agreed to come part way to what father had offered, he would sometimes close the deal by saying, "let's split the difference."

I can remember one time when father was buying a suit of clothes in the Ed Lauis Dry Good store in Afton. It was operated by a Jew. Knowing the nature of a Jew father realized that the price was marked plenty high. After doing his best in "jewing" the Jew down as far as he could, father took it by having him, "throw in a belt and a tie" free of charge. One thing father liked was good quality. It's a good thing for me that he did. Most of my "Sunday suits" were hand be downs. When Weston out grew a suit of clothes it was, in turn, handed down to Jasper and then to me.

Father was strict in his disciplining. He believed that to spare the rod would spoil the child. I respected him as a good and great man, and yet I feared him.

Father was a religious man, he had a good knowledge of the Gospel and he tried to live it. To him Sunday was a day of rest. It was a day to go to the Sunday meetings, to read good books, to write and to study.

Father planned most of his work in advance. In the early hours of the morning he would lay awake making plans in his mind, his daily plans as well as things in the future. With his large ranch and holdings it certainly took a lot of planning and organizing of his work.

He believed that a man should be earnestly engaged in some kind of productive work. Sometimes he may have carried it a little to the extreme, especially one day when we came in out of the hayfield tired and hungry. Dinner was not quite ready, he sent me out to cut wood while I was, "resting." I found that there was already a pile of cut wood out there. I really pulled a good one, I went out to the garden and helped myself to a treat in the pea patch and then carried an arm full of wood in.

It was not until after we moved to Farmington, in 1928, that I really came to know my father. His four sons, older than I, left home to finish their schooling. One was on a mission and another soon left on a mission. After that they got married and were off on their own. I stayed at home helping father for another five years until I finished school. I worked side by side with him in the fields pitching hay, milking cows, taking care of them and all the other work there was to do on the farm. I was amazed at how much work he could do for a man in his seventies.

As father grew older he mellowed. He become gentle, kind, loving and understanding. I came to know him as the man that he really was. Father has had a big influence in my life. I have tried to pattern my life somewhat like his. We both have at least one thing in common. It may have rubbed off him onto me, or it may be some of the Star Valley blood in me, we have both enjoyed raising cattle. For over forty five years I have been raising cattle as my "hobby." To this day I have a beautiful herd of Hereford beef cattle.

Sometimes when I look over my herd of cattle I am reminded of father, a man that raised cattle numbering into many thousands, a man with a grand noble character, a man I worked side by side with, a man I learned to truly love.

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