A BRIEF SKETCH OF THE LIFE OF MY FATHER HYRUM DON CARLOS CLARK
by Heber D. Clark, Nov. 29, 1948
Father was born in a log-cabin on the side of Big Creek, Farmington, Utah on February 13, 1856. He was the 6th child of his Mother, Mary Stevenson. His Father, Ezra Thompson Clark, had two families with 21 children. There were 5 girls and 14 boys who grew to maturity and all the girls and 11 of the boys had families. Two grown sons died while on missions, unmarried. At this time (Nov. 29, 1948) there are 1155 known living descendants. Of these, 170 are Father's.
Father was named in honor of Hyrum and Don Carlos Smith, two of the brothers of the Prophet Joseph who knew and loved Ezra T. Clark.
"HyD" (pronounce this "High-Dee") as he was affectionately called, herded sheep and cows and fed the molasses mill with sugar-cane, did general farm work, attended school in winter and played ball, horseshoes, marbles, wrestled, boxed and rode wild horses. He attended the University of Deseret a few months and learned surveying and enjoyed elocution, later taking parts in home dramatics. He also worked with Government Surveyors some but his Father had lots of work and kept his boys very busy on the farm and at the Grist Mill at Morgan. Cattle of the beef type, Shorthorns, was both Father's and Grandfather's specialty. Father would say: "You can have your horses, but give me the cattle."
Standing six feet tall of large bony frame, long arms, high forehead, black curly hair, deep blue eyes, roman nose, wearing a heavy red beard and with a rather proud erect carriage, he made a lasting impression upon all. A man of few words, very serious, deep in meditation, stern in discipline, a great reader of good books, well trained in the Gospel, sound in judgment able to give good practical advise at anytime and himself a natural pioneer; saving of money, able to do without most things, with strong affection and sensitive disposition; very jealous of his rights, liberal in donations, close trader and buyer with a natural gift of accumulating lands and cattle with which he was very loath to part. It was natural for him to rise late, start for meetings late, start any work late and always to work on many hours after everybody else had quit for the night. Many times he traveled all night to be home; he loved home and family; no horseflesh was too valuable to travel on, if the animals could stand the strain.
A natural missionary, Father went on three missions and sent six sons on missions at his expense. He would be willing to mortgage his last bit of property to see a boy through his mission.
On his 80th birthday Father, on a mission in California, was given a great banquet at which President Heber J. Grant and wife attended and he had pictures with them. He and president Grant had known each other from young manhood when they played ball on opposing teams.
"I feel like I could live to be a hundred years old," he often said and worked all day on June 4, 1938 when after dark, while crossing a road in front of his home in Farmington and with a pair of doubletrees on his shoulders, two young boys at top speed on bicycles ran into him and knocked him onto the back of his head, rendering him unconscious. He lingered for four weeks and passed away at the Dee Hospital in Ogden July 2, 1938. Two of his missionary companions of his last mission and his son-in-law, Dr. E. E. Ericksen were the main speakers. The Dr. compared his life with that of Job in the Bible story; in many respects very similar. He had requested that his body be placed within a cement structure with the rough box and casket well protected. His wishes were carried out and a good flat stone marker has been placed at his grave like that of Mother and of Aunt Mary.
Some of the Highlights in Father's Life
About 1875, Father went on a mission to the Southern States in company with his Uncle Edward Stevenson who traveled extensively as a member of the First Council of Seventy of the Church. They visited David, one of the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon. He heard David Whitmer bear his testimony to the truthfulness of his and Oliver Cowdrey's and Martin Harris' testimonies as published in that book. Father was released on account of sickness-malaria fever, etc.
His cousin Will Stevenson was his room-mate and chum as a student at the University of Deseret about 1876. They had some fine text books together.
He did some R.R. (railroad) contract work in Juab or Sevier county and used the money buying calves as a start in cattle.
At Oakley, Idaho he was a counselor in the Bishopric to John L. Smith. In Auburn, Wyoming he was Supt. of Sunday School for 14 years and a counselor (First C.) to Bishop Heman Hyde for about ten years; 1894-1904 and then on the Stake High Council until 1910 during which time he acted as a member of the Stake Presidency in the absence of Wm. W. Burton who was feeble and spent his winters in warmer climates.
About 1898 Father was a County Commissioner in Uinta county being the first man from Star Valley ever elected to that office. He defended Bishop James Brown in his selection of help in his office as County Clerk on the matter of Principle above politics and pushed a man out of a room who came to offer him a big bribe for his vote. All the politicians learned that he would never take a drink of liquor and that he was a man of prayer.
At a big Valley Celebration of three days of Pioneer nature in July 1904 Father was Grand Marshall of the Day. He rode a beautiful high-spirited driving animal, Old Bell, with a new saddle and fancy Navajo blankets and as a tall stately man commanded respect from all and lead in all the parades.
As Chairman of the Finance Committee he directed collections of all means for the building and furnishing of the big Stake Tabernacle which was dedicated 1910 and was the finest building for religious worship in Wyoming. Needless to say he contributed more than any other individual. Also in the construction of a big new building for the Fielding Academy at Paris, Idaho he donated more means than any other man in Star Valley. Not the most wealthy but very liberal. As a member of the Auburn Bishopric he would make up any need to add to all donations in meeting the full assignment for the Ward.
Short-term mission January to June 1927 cut short by Mother's death.
Served over 26 months in the California Mission 1934-1936 being over 80 when released but even at that age no companion could out walk or out swim Father. He dreaded holding street meetings but did so anyway. Meeting some of the Inglewood Ward leaders in 1937 I was told: "Brother Clark, you will never live here long enough for people to love you as much as they love your Father." This was where he served on his last mission in California.
Temple work received its due attention and Father went often; he was a faithful Ward Teacher and took a leading part in Parents' Class in Sunday School.
More like his Father than any other of his 21 children, many people would say: Brother Ezra T. Clark will never be dead as long as his son Hyrum is alive. Of such men it has been said: "He was stronger than anything that could happen to him." Faithful always in holding his Family Prayers, he sought for daily guidance and protection. Two of his oft repeated sentences at prayer were: "Protect us from all evil both seen and unseen unto us. We acknowledge Thy hand in all things."
With kindest appreciations, I remain,
Sincerely your relative and friend always,
(signed) Heber D. Clark
Hyrum and Ann Eliza Clark's growing family is shown in this early photo. Eight of their eventual 13 children are shown in this photograph. Between his two wives, HyD was the father of 18 children.
LIFE SKETCH OF FATHER (HYRUM DON CARLOS CLARK)
by Heber D. Clark, May 26th, 1980
The year Father was born all the people in Utah were on food rations. His mother lacked enough food to properly nourish him. He did not have strength enough to sit up. He was carried about on a pillow. He was frail but grew tall. His father left for a mission to England and left in Parley P. Pratt's company Sept. 10th, 1856. His Mother had three cows. She desired to make a donation to help build the Salt Lake Temple. Her little boys drove one of the best ones out of the yard. She said: "Send that one." She wrote her husband of this. He replied that it was alright.
Johnston's Army invaded Utah in 1857. All the missionaries were released. He found his family living in a wagon box at Payson. He returned with them to Farmington July 9, 1858. Ezra T. Clark visited Alma Porter right after the death of his beloved wife Minerva A. Deuel who died at Porterville Feb. 10th, 1873. He took my future Mother on his knee and told her he would send one of his sons to get her as his wife when she was grown, Aunt Nancy Porter living at the old Clark home said to Father: "Hyrum, you should go to Porterville and get one of those lovely Porter girls for your wife.
Uncle Joseph & Aunt Maria took Father in a light rig to get Mother. Uncle Myron cried as she was leaving. They stopped near Morgan and got the signature of the Stake President on Mother's Temple Recommend. He said to Father: "Young man it seems to me that Brother Alma Porter needs a housekeeper worse than you need a wife." Father replied: "Let him rustle one."
Right after being married, Nov. 11th, 1880, they received their Patriarchal Blessings. Mother told me they were promised that their greatest joys would be in their children. In 1903 Mother took Claudie Lemmon to raise. He loved her dearly. I took him from a Temple session to see Mother when she was frail. He kissed her and called her "Mother".
Mother passed away June 12, 1927. Father was released from his California Mission. Soon after this he took Aunt Mary to the Logan Temple where she was sealed to him.
Mary Bennion often said: We were known as the family that never quarreled." Now I earnestly pray the Lord to abundantly bless Father's big and lovely Family.
Sincerely your brother and constant friend,
(signed) Heber Don Carlos Clark