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The Family File

Hyrum Don Carlos Clark

My Father, Hyrum D. Clark

by Owen Morrell Clark

When I was just a boy, my Mother told me that when my brother, Hyrum T. was just a boy, one day while he was with Father and was riding on a load of logs, as I recall, he fell off and a wheel of the wagon ran over him. Father naturally was in dismay. Hyrum T. could only whisper, but asked Father to administer to him, which he did. Hyrum T. got up, got on the wagon, and they drove home.

I was about ten years old and was with Father on our way from Star Valley to Farmington. We stopped at Bear Lake and Father took me for a boat ride on the lake. I thought that was great.

It was shortly after Christmas, I was about ten. Father took me with him on a load of hay to sell it in Salt Lake City. While there he purchased an excellent hand sled. It had the name Western on the middle top board. I asked him whose sled? "I guess you can have it," was about his reply. "Why, that's just like the DREADNOUGHT," I think I exclaimed. I cherished that sled and had it for many years.

I was along in my teens. One day in late spring Father and I were driving some cattle up Farmington canyon for summer grazing. Father rode slowly over to Big Creek and said about this: "Yes, it was bout here," and then related to me that as a boy, while herding some sheep in that vicinity, the sheep crossed the stream. Father did not want to get his shoes wet, so he took them off, threw them over the stream, then waded across. But one of the shoes he could not find again.

As a young man, Father played on a baseball team, and recalled playing against a team that included Heber J. Grant! (Both were born in 1856).

Some men have wondered at Father's successes and accomplishments; but as they so talked with him, he sometimes asked: "Would you want to follow my trail?"

Father worked very little for others for wages. One day - I suppose it was before he was married - he helped a man with his threshing. After the day's work, he carried home his day's pay, in grain, in a sack over his shoulder. He told me that while he was working, he was also working his head.

On one occasion, in traveling by train from Montpelier (?), Idaho to Farmington, Utah, Father had to change trains at McCammon (?), Idaho. The station agent there hesitated to accept his check. Father asked him to "wire" the station agent in Farmington, Heber Sessions, and ask if his check was good for a ticket to Farmington. Heber Sessions wired back "Yes, and around the world if he wants it."

Hyrum Don Carlos Clark is shown with his son-in-law, Ephraim Ericksen, and his grandson Stanford Ericksen in this photo.
I have heard Father say: "I've raised cattle on the hundred hills, but I've never sold radishes off the tail end of a wagon for five cents a bunch." Also I have heard him say: "Some men don't cut a very big swath."

One day, in Farmington, Father and his older brother Timothy were slowly walking eastward on the sidewalk, toward the Bamberger railroad. I was a young lad, slowly tagging behind. I overheard Father say to him, "Well, Timmy, I'd bury the hatchet. Yes, I'd bury the hatchet, Timmy."

As a youth I attended the L.D.S. Conference in Salt Lake City a time or so with Father. I recall that after one of the sessions we sauntered over to the monuments of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. My Father didn't say much, but he lingered at the monument of Hyrum Smith - for whom he was named.

As a boy, I asked Father to tell me some missionary stories. I had asked him before, with no response. Later on I asked him again, and after a pause, I asked him why he wouldn't tell me some missionary stories. With tears running down his face, he replied: "My mission was a disappointment to me." He related that while there he got malaria; and they were afraid they might lose him, and so released him and sent him home. But he stated that he had sent sons on missions, and hoped that someday he "could finish his mission." (Later on in life he filled two more missions.)

In 1965 my wife and I journeyed into Tennessee. I had a strong desire to visit the area where Father had labored as a missionary while in his youth. It was a most rewarding experience. I felt that my Father's spirit was with us while we were there.

A few months before Father got hurt and lost his life in 1938, one day while we were chatting, he mentioned that while enroute to his field of labor, on his first mission, he visited David Whitmer, in Richmond, Missouri. I asked what he said. He replied that it was about what is written in the fly-leaf of the Book of Mormon. Naturally, I was just thrilled.

A few years before he died, and while in Salt Lake City, Father was met by a man who asked if he belonged to the dominant church here, and then informed my Father that he was to make a monument of the Angel Moroni for the Hill Cumorah, and he asked Father if he would be his model. Father gladly accepted. How grateful he must have been for this great honor.

While Father was in the Dee Hospital in June, 1938, and until his passing, July 2, 1938, I visited him everyday. On one occasion he said about these words: "Well, I guess that to use your time and talents to the best advantage, should be your highest aim."

Morrell and Alpha are shown with their family in this 1963 photograph
A number of days after Father's funeral, Uncle Nathan and I were sitting on a log overlooking much of Farmington to the west, and enjoying the setting sun. Uncle Nathan mentioned that in years past, the children of Ezra T. Clark would occasionally meet and visit. On one such occasion, when it came Father's turn to make a comment, he said that he considered himself among the least; but the Lord had blessed him, and that he had as much of this world's goods as any normal man could ask for; but he would rather the Lord take it all away, if it would mean that his children would serve HIM better. Uncle Nathan told me, that to this, he said to himself: "The Lord will take you up on that."

It has seemed to some of us, that in the closing years of Father's life, he became more mellow, gentle, understanding, and appreciative. The gospel was his foundation; family, service, and Eternal Life, his goals. He was a stalwart. And ". . .having been born of goodly parents. . ." I am proud of him, I love him, and am honored to be his son.

Baby's Booties told to me by Alpha

A while after our daughter Carolyn was born, my Father called at Mother Dietz' home in Salt Lake City, and gave to our new little girl a pair of pink and white baby's booties. I was away, but Alpha, my wife was so pleased and delighted with such a thoughtful and nice gift. They enjoyed a pleasant visit and a luncheon together.

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