Saturday, February 7, 2009

Not Yet Under Orders To Be Poisoned

In his last letter to daughter Beatrice before Christmas 1900, Charles Logie made mention of a major irritation and concern to citizens in American Fork and across Utah in general. 

schoolclassThe government was trying to force students to be vaccinated against diphtheria and smallpox.  Almost all teachers were against it as were many parents.   Few trusted the vaccine to actually prevent the illnesses but rather thought it would induce them.

Charles was decidedly against the vaccinations.  Subsequent letters to Beatrice include his rapier like comments about the law and its implementation. 

He warned Beatrice that she had better follow the directive of her school board or she would probably loose her teaching position in Bingham Canyon, Utah. 

He provided Beatrice with an excuse to not get the shots herself when he mentioned that the teachers in American Fork were not yet under orders by local school administrators to be “poisoned”.

With wry fondness Charles conveyed news of the upcoming Christmas pageant at church where the young ‘Reptiles’ would be wearing their annual Christmas costumes. 


American Fork Dec 18/1900

Dear Beatriceshotneedle

We Recd your letter today are sorrey to hear that you are unwell. Mother thinks possibley you may be troubled with your throat.  Something like weather is sometimes & She advises you not to expose yourself to the cold air more than you can help. 

About that vaccination business - Mother thinks it is the best thing you can do under the circumstances as the School board might throw you out of your situation if you did not comply with their orders. 

The Teachers here hove not had any orders.  The teachers here have not had any orders yet to be poisoned but they are expecting to hear the joyfull news all most any time.

They are verry buisey geting ready for a grand show to be given in the theatre next Saturday.  Some of the Reptiles are to have wings & Silver Stars & the Lord knows what else. 

We are glad to hear that you went to see our Joe & that you had a good time together.

I am not writing for publication this time as we expect you will be home soon so I will come to a Sudden Stop hoping you are all OK by this time.

Your afct Father C. Logie

Friday, February 6, 2009

Little Ones Lost

I’d heard stories about my great grandparents, Robert and Rosa Logie Bennett homesteading a farm since I was very young and often wondered about them. Of the ten children in the Bennett family, three babies died either at birth or before they were three. All three were buried on the family farm in there in the bottom land of Fort Canyon, Alpine, Utah.

I missed living on the old homestead by a few months and never knew where the Bennett children, Beatrice, Pansy and a stillborn son were buried.

In 1983, I asked my family about them and my oldest brother could still remember where grandpa had buried them beside each other in a small area on the north end of a section of the orchard. Our grandmother and other family members had shown him the site many times when he was a young man.

Great grandpa Bennett had planted a large apple orchard on part of the 160 acre farm. When we went to look for the site, all of the trees were either dead or had been removed. I thought to myself, “This is going to be hopeless. He won’t be able to find the spot now that it looks so different than it did years ago.”

A few landmarks still existed, so I stood back while Bob looked around orienting himself. Within seconds, he knew exactly where we were standing in relation to the old orchard.

He looked at the ground, turned left and started to walk calling out what the topography should look like under our feet. Within five minutes we were at the five foot deep dip in the ground that he said we’d find. Looking left and then right, he said we should see a wide spot in the dip fairly near our location.

Again, he was right on. Less than twenty feet to the east the depression widened and we walked to it. Bob raised his arm and pointed to a spot just south of the bank and stated that the babies were buried ‘right there’. I asked if he was sure only to receive a look that answered the question better than words.

I made notes about the spot and then began stepping off the distance directly back to the road. Having designed thousands of miles of power lines over the years, tying down a location was simple business, especially since I had wandered the location repeatedly in my youth and was very familiar with the land.

I told Alpine City employees where the graves are located and have put a map of them on my family history website hoping to keep some focus on the tiny cemetery. I hope the babies won’t be disturbed by future building and growth in the canyon.

A new home was built just west of the graves and a road was constructed just to the north of them a few years ago. The babies were buried the same day they died, so I doubt if caskets were used. My ancestors probably buried them in blankets and over the 100+ years since, I doubt if any of the soft bones have survived. I’m not as sure about the two-and-a-half year old young daughter though.

Dick Eastman mentioned a webpage that identifies cemeteries in unusual locations in one of his posts recently. The page is well worth reading. It will make you wonder if you have ever unknowingly passed by similar sites. Click here to read it.

Do you know of any similar burial sites? If so, you’ll want to let as many folks know about them as possible including government officials if they haven’t been preserved already.

There must be tens of thousands of small burial grounds like these around the U.S. I wonder how many exist all over the world?

As for me and my wife, we long ago purchased burial lots in a well established city cemetery to receive our mortal remains. With any luck, the property won’t become so high in value that our graves also end up in a parking lot or under a multi-unit dwelling.

I included the video below in one of my postings about eighteen months ago. The efforts of the young Eagle Scout are so noteworthy, that you’ll be well rewarded by taking a few minutes to watch it. Hopefully, it will inspire you to protect the burial location of someone in your own realm of experience.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

All The Hair Oil We Want

Charles Logie’s letter of 12 Dec 1900 to his daughter Beatrice talked about the cold weather in American Fork, Utah at the time.

Logie Charles Joseph Gordon 1890s He frequently referred to his wife as ‘the dame’.  Charles was always loyal to the English Queen throughout his life even though he left England when in his early teens.  By calling his wife ‘the dame’, he wasn’t being derogatory, but rather used the title as an honorific as he was used to hearing it used in his native land.

They had butchered one of their pigs during the week and Rosa Clara Logie was rendering the fat into lard.  He teased that they now had all the ‘hair oil’ they wanted.

One of the ladies in town was offered a teaching position but the school trustees wanted to pay about 14 percent less than the normal salary.  That would put the widow in a bind since she was raising her children on her teaching salary.

The public telephone in town was moved from Becks store and put in the ‘whiskey shop’ on the corner.  As usual, Charles had nicknames for certain people and places that were descriptive of his feelings for them.  He again mentions ‘white liver’ in this note.  I have a fairly good suspicion of who he was talking about but won’t include the name in these narratives.

I have yet to discover who ‘Bro. Watkins’ was in reality but he regularly called Beatrice by that nickname when he closed his letters.  Knowing his dry sense of humor, I suspect he was someone that she didn’t like very well or had made an unwanted ‘pass’ on her and Charles used the name as a fatherly tease to his youngest daughter.

His purposeful misspellings continue in this letter.  The Annie and Walter mentioned in the letter were Beatrice’s siblings and Laura was her niece.


A.M. Phork 12/12/190000

To the Honorable Beatrice

Residing in Bingham as we got a letter from you the other day.  The dame ordered me to write you to say the box comed all safe with one of the bottles broked but it don't matter that was all right.  Any way we killed the big Pig yesterday.  Mother is makeing lard by the bucket full.  We can have all the Hair Oil we want now you bet.  Mother says it the Pig turned out verry fat & nice. 

Utah American Fork Cooperative Store Interior Oh yes Annie has got a fine new carpet.  A carpet 31-yds of it full 3 feet to the yard.  It is at our place awaiting transportation up to the mountains of Ephraim. 

Laura B. went to town in the afternoon Sunday the same that you shook the mud off your hoofs against our beautifull city.  We haint heared from Mrs Setson lately so be kind enough to call on her when you go to the capitol of the State.  The weather is unpleasantly cold out here.  My fingers are so numb that I cant write with any comfort & if I was not afraid of the dame I would go & stay over to Peats.  I wrote a letter to Walter the other day and told him how we were all getting along in this part of the Vinyard & all so inviteing him to come & visit us at Christmas time if he could manage it. 

Old Pegy Trantram is in a peck of trouble because they want her to teach in the Hall of Justice. but it seems to me that She wants to go.  She offered to go there if they would give her 60 dollars per month but it seems they want her to take her kids down there for the fifty dollars but the trustees are holding back & don't seem to know what to do. 

There is another Sale at White livers & they have Stole the Telephone from Becks & got it located in their Whiskey Shop at the corner. 

Well its dinner time so I will bid you adieu Bro Watkins and remane the Same old folks with Kind


Chas Logie