Chapter Twelve: Helping to found South Jordan, Utah
“1859 March 1 Alexander Beckstead and Isaac J. Wardle,
First Settlers of South Jordan.”
A Word To Saints Who are Gathering
by Eliza R. Snow
Think not, when you gather to Zion,
Your troubles and trials are through--
That nothing but comfort and pleasure
Are waiting in Zion for you.
No, no; 'tis design'd as a furnace;
All substance, all textures to try--
To consume all the "wood, hay and stubble,"
And the gold from the dross purify.
Think not, when you gather to Zion
That all will be holy and pure--
That deception, and falsehood are banish'd
And confidence wholly secure.
No, no, for the Lord our Redeemer
Has said that the tares from the wheat
Must grow; until the great day of burning
Shall render the harvest complete.
Think not, when you gather to Zion
The Saints here have nothing to do
But attend to your personal welfare,
And always be comforting you.
No, the Saints who are faithful are doing
What their hands find to do, with their might
To accomplish the gath'ring of Israel
They are toiling by day and by night.
Think not, when you gather to Zion,
The prize and the victory won--
Think not that the warfare is endend,
Or the work of salvation is done.
No, no; for the great Prince of Darkness
A tenfold exertion will make
When He sees you approaching the fountain
Where the truth you may freely partake. (LDS Women)
We Plow, We Sow
We plow, we sow and irrigate,
To raise the golden grain;
And diligently labor
To independence gain;
Some haul the wood from canyons wile,
Some tend the flocks and herd,
And all our moments are beguiled
By industry’s reward.
My Valley Home, my Mountain Home,
The dear and peaceful Valley.
(Arrington and Bitton p 142)
After the hostilities of the Utah War settled down, Isaac returned to work with the Beckstead family on their farm in West Jordan. Salt Lake City had been abandoned in 1858 as part of the Church’s response to the invading army. This likely included West Jordan. “The valley was abandoned and the troops set up Camp Floyd to the south in Utah County.” (Wikipedia Salt Lake County) Isaac and the Becksteads would have returned to their homes after the army marched through.
As early as 1855, the possibilities for the South West of Salt Lake Valley had been noted. Piercy referred to a report from Lieutenant Gunnison:
On the south of the lake, and above the alkaline barrens lie the more fertile valleys of the Jordan and Tuilla, separated by the Oquirrh Mountain. …Here is fine grazing during the entire year, and the east of the Jordan Valley is watered by bold streams that traverse a trip of alluvial 20 m long, by 8 in width, to the banks of the Jordan. …The chalky waters of the Jordan can be used for irrigating 80 additional square miles of the valley, and furnish water power very accessible, and to any required extent, for milling, machinery or manufactures. (Piercy p 95)
Johnston’s Army had marched through the area in 1858. “The earliest road in South Jordan followed the hill west of the Jordan River, according to one pioneer. In the Utah War of 1857 , Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston marched four thousand troops and three thousand suppliers through the city of Salt Lake, across the Jordan River, and south to Camp Floyd.” (Bateman p 39)
Isaac did not return to coal mining after arriving in Utah. Instead he turned to agriculture. The opportunities for Isaac to continue in his career of mining were very limited if he had wanted to do so. Between 1850 and 1869 at least 1200 miners sailed from Britain headed to Utah. As of 1870 there were only 170 miners in all of Utah. The Utah economy was based on agriculture rather than industry.
Isaac helped found South Jordan, Utah. “1859 March 1. Alexander Becksted and Isaac J. Wardle, first settlers of South Jordan. They hollowed dugouts in a bluff west of the Jordan River called “Signal Hill” (used for sending smoke signals) at 1050 West 11100 South.” (Bateman p 241) “In 1859, he went with Alexander Beckstead to homestead land, and he and Mr. Beckstead were the first to build homes there.” (ibid p 6) “In 1858  he and Alex Beckstead, Jr. took up homesteads in South Jordan where they together built a house for each other. These were the first homes built in South Jordan.” (Wardle, Orrin) “The rural community of South Jordan began in 1859 as part of a sparse string of settlements along the Jordan River plain from West Jordan on the north to the Point of the Mountain on the south. (Bateman p vii)
South Jordan is an area with vistas on all sides:
South Jordan City is located to the southwest corner of the Salt Lake Valley. The average elevation of South Jordan is about forty-five hundred feet. The Wasatch Mountain Range rises majestically to heights of more the eleven thousand feet only fifteen miles east. The mineral-rich Oquirrh Mountains flank the community on the west.
Utah Lake lies to the south, through the point of the Mountain pass. This freshwater lake empties into the Jordan River which flows northward until it reaches the shores of the Great Salt Lake, a dead sea. The combination of lakes, river, and mountains embraces South Jordan vistas.
(ibid p 216)
Alexander Beckstead and some of his family, including adult children, and Isaac came to South Jordan in March of 1859. Other families joined them in the fall. The land showed promise:
South Jordan was originally covered with foliage typical of arid desert land. Native vegetation abounded in an earlier era. Sagebrush, greasewood, and rabbit brush grew abundantly in the flat plain overlooking the Jordan River and extended to the foothills of the Oquirrhs. Along the river bottom wiregrasses and sedges flourished in combination with willows, cattail, and bulrush. Bluegrasses and dropseeds dominated the meadowlands. Tamaracks, box elder, and scrub oak are indigenous in gulleys and other scattered locations in the region.
The Jordan River marshlands provide a refuge for amphibians, reptiles, waterfowl, mammals, and fish.
A variety of fish lives in the waters of the Jordan River near South Jordan. …Carp, suckers, sunfish, bass, mountain sucker, dace, and redside skinner live in the water…
Seasonal waterfowl commonly use the river. Ducks, geese, blue heron, and coots can be found there. Game birds of the field, like quail and pheasant, are also found. Hawks, owls, and more rarely, eagles may be sighted in the area.
The waters of the river and nearby canals are attractive homes for garter and gopher snakes, frogs, toads, lizards, and horned toads. Mice, shrews, gophers, rock squirrels, bats and skunks are some of the native mammal species. Larger mammals such as bobcat, red fox, elk, and deer may be observed occasionally.
(ibid p 217)
South Jordan is an area with four seasons. The summers are hot, and the winters cold, with plenty of snow:
South Jordan experiences four distinct seasons yearly. The climate is semi-arid continental. Summers are hot and dry with little humidity. The nights are generally cool. July is the hottest month with temperature averages exceeding 90 degrees Fahrenheit. …Average winter temperatures are 30 degrees in daytime and 19 degrees for nighttime lows. …Snow continually covers the ground for an average of twenty-nine days per year. Spring and fall are usually moderate with less severe temperatures.
The nearby mountains affect the weather and climate of South Jordan. The Oquirrh Mountains protect the area from the force of southwesterly storms. Nevertheless, because much of South Jordan is located on a flat plain overlooking the Jordan River narrows, no natural features past the Oquirrhs protect against southwest prevailing winds. In fact, at one time, the interurban train stop at South Jordan and the community itself was officially called “Gale.” The winds are generally light, but high winds have been recorded during every month of the year.
…Snowfalls throughout the Salt Lake Valley, including South Jordan, tend to be greater than elsewhere in the intermountain area because of the Wasatch Mountains to the east and the Great Salt Lake to the northwest. Weather forecasters refer to the phenomenon as “the lake effect.” The average yearly snowfall is sixty inches… (ibid p 217)
In South Jordan Isaac raised an orchard. He had a few animals and eventually a flock of sheep. He helped to build the first saw mill in South Jordan as well as the Beckstead Ditch. He also helped build the road to Bingham Canyon.
Irrigation was vital to farming in the arid Utah desert country. Gustav Larson pointed out this could only be done in a cooperative fashion. The Utah economy, similar to that in England, was centered upon agriculture. However different than England, was the dependence of agriculture on irrigation:
One of the first tasks, when the Mormons arrived in Salt Lake in 1847, was developing irrigation. Plowing and planting commenced at once. Oxen strained at plows eager to break ground for seeds of the Kingdom. The ancient art of irrigation, all but lost in the Basin region, was reborn when mountain streams were lifted from their beds to flood the thirst lands with life and reproductive power. (Larson p 74)
The first lesson in cooperative action in the Basin involved utilization of land and water. It was an arid, forbidding region which the Mormons chose for their home... Nothing else so confirms their faith in supernatural guidance as the fact that they dared plant their families in the midst of such a barren wasteland… Small wonder that predictions of Mormon failure in the Basin were popular. Yet a decade of successful irrigation and hard work transformed the scene into fields of waving grain, flowering orchards and extensive gardens. (ibid p 282)
The Mormon people eventually won their battle against the desert. The barren soil yielded to their perseverance and industrious labors. Soon a network of canals carried life-giving water to the fields, and lands once covered with dry sage and June grass became green under the supervision of man.
It was largely through the pioneers’ development of irrigation that the pioneer crops prospered in the desert soil. When the first wagons arrived in Salt Lake Valley, men damned City Creek and diverted its flow onto the parched soil so that it would be easy to till. This was the birth of modern irrigation in America. As the late John A. Widstoe, an expert on irrigation in the West, put it:
“The ‘Mormon’ pioneers possess the honor of having founded modern irrigation in America, not because of the initial irrigation on July 24, 1847, but because the Mormon people continued the work, dug extensive canals, brought thousands of acres under irrigation, devised methods of irrigation, established laws, rules and usages for the government of populous settlements living ‘under the ditch,’-in short, because they developed permanent irrigation agriculture on a community scale… Irrigation knowledge and inspiration have been drawn by the whole world from the work of the first American irrigation pioneers” (Widstoe, pp 455-56)
Quoting John Widstoe, Gustive Larson continues, “The Mormon pioneers possess the honor of having founded modern irrigation in America, not because of the initial irrigation on July 24, 1847, but because the Mormon people continued the work, dug extensive canals, brought thousands of acres under irrigation, devised methods of irrigation, established laws, and rules for the government of populous settlements living ‘under the ditch’,--in short, because they developed permanent irrigation on a community scale. (Larson, p 282)
A peculiar part of Mormon farming was ownership of the land. Gustav Larson quotes Brigham Young, “No man should buy any land who came here—that he had none to sell; but every man should have his land measured out to him for city and farming purposes. He might till it as he pleased but he must be industrious and take care of it.” (Larson p 75)
I don’t know if it was a formality, but Ronald Bateman documented the purchase of the land in South Jordan. Alexander Beckstead, purchased the land where South Jordan was founded through a Spanish land grant:
In 1859, he moved his family to South Jordan. He settled on a tract of land that extended southward along the west side of the river bottoms from what is now 9400 South to 12500 South and west to about 1300 West. He purchased land form George A. Smith, who had obtained the land through a Mexican land grant. The land was sub-divided and sold to other settlers. Seven of Alexander’s sons helped begin the settlement of South Jordan: Henry, Thomas Wesley, Samuel Alexander, George Washington, John Alma, Joseph Alonzo, and Robert. The first homes were nothing more that holes dug into hillsides west of the river. Such available materials as willows, cane, and dirt were piled on top to form a roof. These were called dugouts. (Bateman p 8)
Isaac Wardle was the only person who also helped found South Jordan that was not a member of the Beckstead family. The pioneers in South Jordan, knowing the importance of water, took care of this need before focusing on housing. “The still-used Beckstead Ditch can be seen west of the Jordan River as it winds its way northward. It was once the lifeblood of the agricultural community. In fact, the pioneers dug the ditch before they built permanent homes.” (ibid p viii)
Isaac took a wife from the relatives of the Beckstead family the month following homesteading South Jordan. Martha Egbert was a cousin of Alex Beckstead Jr. He likely met her while he was living with, and working for the Beckstead family in West Jordan. “He [Isaac] married a young relative of the Becksteads, Martha A. Egbert, on 17  April 1859. The brides’s father had to loan the groom a white shirt for the wedding ceremony. He took his new bride to the home he had built on his homestead in South Jordan. She was just fifteen years old and Isaac was only twenty-two or twenty-three years old.” (Wardle, Orrin) However, he more likely took her to his temporary home of a dug-out, which was not located on his homestead, until he could build a more permanent home.
The original dugouts were located below the hill, just south of the current cemetery:
When pioneer families first settled South Jordan, they were obliged to dig shelters into the hillsides near the Jordan River bottoms, hence the term “under the hill.” Wood was scarce and had to be dragged long distances. The men spent much of the first year digging the Beckstead Ditch and probably grubbing the fields of brush so they could farm. Consequently, they built dugouts because they could be done relatively quickly with available material. Only later did people begin building higher up on the flatlands.
…William M. Hold gave a brief description of his family’s first home. He was only two years old at the time they lived in the dugout in the hillside. He gave the dimensions as fourteen feet square. The roof and floor were covered with dirt. Cooking and heating were furnished by a fireplace at one end of the room. (Bateman p 11)
Another description, of a more elaborate dugout home was provided by Oliver Stone:
The dugout was a good size room, the walls were of large sun-dried adobes. The back part went into the hill and the front faced the east. Adobes made the front wall. Large logs were laid across the top to form the roof. On these were laid cane taken from the marshes to make a thatch, then covered with mud and dry dirt. If the roof leaked, dirt was put on. This made a good protection when a huge log was burning in the spacious chimney. Quite often cattle and other animals would walk down the slopes of the hill and stop on the roof until driven off. Cattle driven by the storms would take shelter in front of the Dugout and their horns would knock upon the door as they chewed their cuds until driven away.
Often wolves would come and howl on the roof and sing their chorus to the sleepers underneath. The floor of this mansion was made of mud pounded down smooth and hard. The bedstead was made of adobes, covered with slabs and straw tick for a mattress. In the fall of the year and [with] the threshing done, the granary was open space under the bed. The windows were made of cloth or greased paper; the boxes or stools made of slabs with holes bored in to hold the legs. The table for a long time was one of their trunks that clothes were kept in. (ibid, pp11-12)
The general dugout was described in this manner:
Allen G. Noble states that the typical Mormon dugout was “a ‘nearly square room measuring somewhere between 12 and 18 feet and dug to about 3 or 4 feet below the surface.’ Sometimes the earth walls were lined with logs, and sometimes the upper walls were merely logs laid on top of the ground. The roof, composed of layers of light poled, willow branches and dirt, was not unlike that used in the Southwest. Roofs were mostly gable form, but shed roofs also have been reported for early dugouts. The entrance to the structure was in the gable wall. These dugouts had all the disadvantages common to sod dugouts elsewhere and were usually abandoned within a year or two.” (ibid p 262)
Isaac’s permanent homestead would be at about 10000 South; about at the end of the Beckstead Ditch. It would have been with some pride that the pioneers watched water flow through the ditch as a result of their efforts:
In 1859, Alexander Beckstead, Isaac Wardle, and others began work on another ditch to divert water from the Jordan River, two and a half miles south of the settlement. It began at the Draper Bridge (at 12600 South in modern-day Riverton) and traveled northwest to the community. The settlers used picks and spades to painstakingly etch out the ditch. A spirit level was used to survey and grade the entire ditch.
The man-made water channel became known as the Beckstead Ditch and was essential to the permanency of the population. With a sense of satisfaction, the ditch diggers allowed water to flow through the winding excavation about the first day of June 1859. They irrigated and raised a small grain crop and vegetable garden the first year of using the water course. The ditch still passes through the city today. Alexander, his family, and friends also dug wells by hand for drinking water. (ibid p 8)
Another early task was to prepare land for farming. “The silver sage that flourished along the flats above the Jordan River marshlands was tall enough for a man on horseback to ride through without being seen. When land was taken for cultivation, the sagebrush had to be laboriously grubbed away by hand.” (ibid p 12)
In addition to the Beckstead ditch of 1859, the South Jordan Canal, finished in 1876 (Bateman p 36) would provide water to the upper part of Isaac’s homestead property. “
Water was not the only challenge to farming:
…Early colonizers had to contend with grasshoppers or mountain crickets. At times the insects appeared as a thick carpet, completely covering the ground. The pioneers would plant tree seedlings, small potatoes, or grain only to see hordes of crickets descend from the mountains. The insects would eat every green leaf and stem in sight. Tens of thousands of tender fruit tree seedlings were eaten down to the ground. Attempts to kill, cut, or drive away the crickets with brush failed. Potato seedlings were covered with sheets and tablecloths, only to have the crickets eat holes in the cloth, leaving the “short, naked stem” of the potatoes remaining. The hope of raising a sufficient supply of grain to make bread expired as the families fought in vain to keep the crickets from climbing the stalks of wheat. The crickets would “cut it just below the head.” (ibid p 8)
Bishop Bills, in a letter to Isaac while Isaac was serving his mission, mentioned a couple more hazards:
We have had a very dry time in Jordan and in fact through the whole country. But it was so early that it did not injure crops to that extent that it would have done if it had been later. Lately we have had sufficient rain and more to answer very well for the present. But we have had a severe frost so much so that it has killed most all, if not quite all the fruit except currents. Even goose berries are killed, that is in this neighborhood. How extensive it is I am not prepared to say at present. (Bills)
This dry spell of 1879 is also mentioned in a letter from Henry Beckstead:
The weather is very warm and dry. We hant had no storms to amount to anything sense the last of February. The grass is all dry very near in valley. The hills are very poor. If it don’t rain soon there won’t be a half crop where there is small streams. We can go up to the big timber without any trouble so you can judge for the balance. Draper won’t have enough to water the old farms. Our garden looks very fair at present. (Beckstead, Henry)
Isaac improved himself, establishing a homestead with a small farm, animals and orchard. “He worked hard to improve and enlarge his farm and home. He prospered. He planted two large orchards. He built a larger home. He added various farm buildings.” (Wardle, Orrin) He was like many who came with the help of the PEF:
Morally and spiritually, as well as physically, the protégés of the Perpetual Emigrating Fund gain by being transferred to the Far West. Mormonism is emphatically the faith of the poor, and those acquainted with the wretched condition of the English mechanic, collier, and agricultural laborer, …must be of the same opinion. Physically speaking there is no comparison between the condition of the Saints and the class from which they are mostly taken. In point of mere morality the Mormon community is perhaps purer than any other of equal numbers. (Larson p 246 quoting R.F. Burton)
Leo Tolstoi told The U.S. ambassador “The Mormons teach people not only of heaven…but how to live so that their social and economic relations with each other are placed on a sound basis.” (Larson p 309) Larson further wrote, and I think this helps us understand the philosophy, and the ideals that Isaac had as he set out to establish himself:
So to survive and continue their assigned task [Build the Kingdom of God] they learned to work together. Through cooperation they overcame obstacles. They found individual salvation through group solidarity. They endured because they had something to endure for. The Kingdom depended upon their building. People with a purpose will not down…
So “the Kingdom found social and economic expression in the wilderness. The result was a widespread pattern of towns and villages representing a thriving cooperative brotherhood. (Larson p 310)
Thousands of converts from many lands converged upon the Great Basin to engage in a literal building of God’s Kingdom. The conviction that they were participating in the realization of this ideal was the source of their power and the key to their success. It gave impetus to thousands of missionaries who shared with the Church a deep sense of mission in the world. It gave hope to tens of thousands who “gathered to Zion.” It gave purpose to the labor of those who felt responsibility for the progress of the Kingdom. Their daily labors in factory and field assumed the nature of co-partnership with God. It was upon this religious basis that the Mormons built—and built successfully. (Larson p 318)
An obstacle to the life in the valleys of Utah was the lack of a plentiful wood supply in the valley. “There was virtually no timber in the valleys, although an occasional clump of cottonwood and box elder grew along the streams. Nearby canyons and mountains, however, provided supplies of softwoods, primarily pine and fir, adequate for initial development. Church leaders early recognized that timber, as well as water, had to be carefully husbanded to ensure a supply for future needs.” (Arrington and Bitton p 112) Isaac helped to establish the road up Bingham Canyon, where they went to obtain wood for their homes. (Wardle, Orrin)
The wind could also damage crops. The train station in South Jordan was called “Gale.” Bateman provides this description “The wind caused considerable trouble for the first farmers in South Jordan. Freshly cut hay was sometimes whisked away by powerful gusts of wind. In some areas ‘the sandy soil would blow, cutting off the new seedlings and leaving vast stretches of barren ground.’ (He quotes Theodore Hutchings, the history of Joseph Nephi Hutchings.) The sand drifted like snow, and newly planted areas had to be covered with manure or straw to hold them in place. (Bateman p 19)
Plentiful amount of coyotes could threaten the smaller farm animals:
Coyotes roamed the prairie in packs. In the evenings they would often serenade the settlers in South Jordan. If the coyotes got near homes and barnyards, the farmers would shoot into the air to scare them away. Sometimes the farmers shot the hungry coyotes outright, especially if they got near the chicken coops. (Bateman p 16)
Some of these issues, along with trouble with the Native population, would plague the settlers for several years. “Henry Byram Beckstead born 1850, came to S. Jordan with family 1861: He witnessed grasshopper invasions as thick as a carpet, completely obscuring the ground. He experienced the menace of horse thieves and invading Indians.” (Bateman p 56) “Gordan Silas Beckstead born July 13, 1854 came to S. Jordan 1861: After moving to South Jordan with his parents, he helped dig the Beckstead Ditch, fought the grasshopper invasions, and contended with roving bands of Indians.” (Bateman p 62)
Early in South Jordan’s history, the predominant crops were alfalfa hay and grain. At first haymen used hand scythes to harvest hay. Scythes were cutting tools with a bent wooden handle and a long, curving blade. The men swung the tool from side to side in a curving motion. (Bateman p 17)
Isaac's career, that of farming, corresponded with about seventy percent of the other settlers. (Embry p 90) Isaac primarily settled on sheep farming. In the South Salt Lake Valley, during this time there was plenty of rangeland on which to raise sheep. At the reunion in 2010, one of the speakers mentioned that the family ran sheep in the area where there are now three temples, South Jordan, Oquirrh Hills and Draper. Some of the tasks involved in raising sheep, included shearing, required a group effort. “Sheep shearing required strong backs and willing hands during the spring.” (Bateman p 17) Cooperation was important for sheep farming. Often sheepherders formed cooperatives and ran their sheep together. The Territorial Government came to the aid of the sheep industry by exempting all sheep from taxation: (See Larson p 254.)
The sheep industry was dependent on range land, which did not always accommodate the sheep in winter. The sheep industry received a big boost from alfalfa. “In 1857 a shipload of converts arrived from Australia and settled in the Mormon Colony of San Bernadino. At least one of the party brought with him a supply of alfalfa seed. After proving itself in southern California the seed appeared in various parts of Utah.” (Larson p 254)
The poem cited at the beginning of this chapter gives us some idea of Isaac’s struggles to find his place. It lists some of his activities, plowing, sowing, irrigating, raising grain, hauling wood, tending flocks. I see Isaac in several lines of this poem. He helped establish the road up Bingham Canyon to get wood. He also grazed sheep over a large expanse of the South Salt Lake Valley.
1867 proved to be a hard year for South Jordan farmers, particularly those closer to the river, “June 10: Much of the land and grain under water from Jordan River flooding.” (Bateman p 242) Isaac’s homestead was along the river, and likely his lower fields were flooded.
After being in Utah only a few short years, Isaac had the opportunity to bring his parents from England. His parents, as well as his younger brother James came in the Robinson Handcart Company of 1860. This was the second to the last of the handcart companies. The last handcart company also came in 1860. The church afterwards abandoned the handcart plan for the down and back plan in which wagon trains were sent from Utah to pick up the emigrants and then bring them back.
I do not know if Isaac met the handcart company in Salt Lake when his parent arrived. It was often that family members in Utah were alerted of the arrival of relatives, and meet them at the mouth of the canyon or in Salt Lake City. Had Isaac been given warning, he would have been there. Sir Richard Burton witnessed the arrival of this train and provided this description in “The City of the Saints” as quoted by P.A.M. Taylor:
[He saw] the snake-lie column which announced that the emigrants were crossing the bench-land; and people were hurrying from all sides to greet and to get news of friends. Presently the carts came. All the new arrivals were in clean clothes, the men washed and shaved, and the girls, who were singing hymns, habited in Sunday dresses. The company was sunburned, but looked well and thoroughly happy, and few, except the very young and very old, who suffer much on such journeys, troubled the wains. They marched through clouds of dust over the sandy road leading up the eastern of the town, accompanied by crowds, some on foot, others on horse-back, and a few in traps… When the train reached the public square…of the 8th ward, the wagons were ranged in line for the final ceremony…. On this occasion the place of President Young was taken by Presiding Bishop Hunter…. Preceded by a brass band; and companies, shook hand with them and proceeded forthwith to business. (Taylor, P.A.M. p 241-242)
Isaac married Martha Egbert, a cousin of the Becksteads, April 7. 1859. This was before any of his family had joined him in Utah. For this ceremony, Isaac’s father-in-law loaned him a white shirt, as he did not have one of his own. (Rupp) Martha was 15 when she married:
Twenty-four-year-old Isaac married fifteen-year-old Martha Ann Egbert on April 18, 1859, and took her to his new homestead in South Jordan. They were endowed in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City on April 12, 1862. They were the parents of ten children, Isaac John (married Alice Robinson), Samuel (died as infant), Crilla M. (married Zachariah Butterfield), Araminta (married Daniel Densley), Joseph S. (married Abina Ann Beckstead), Hyrum S. (died as infant), Silas D. (married Emeline Orgill), Junius F. (married Edna Vawdrey), and twins Edgar Ray (died as infant) and Ema May (married John Willie Palmer). (Bateman p 69)
Homesteading in South Jordan would not have been easy. There would always have been more work to do. Isaac would have been busy with the farm, clearing land, providing for shelter, putting in crops, keeping crops safe from grasshoppers, etc. Martha would also have been busy maintaining a home. It is not known when Isaac moved from the dugout home “under the hill” to a home on the bench farther north. Most of these homes were also made of adobe. Sometimes they were wood homes. “…Winters in South Jordan were cold, and it was necessary to stockpile fuel. If coal was unavailable due to lack of supply or money, people gathered wood from nearby canyons. Sage brush was another substitute fuel.” (Bateman p 13) For this reason Isaac had established the road up Bingham Canyon.
Bateman further gives this description of early pioneer life:
Many pioneer homes had bare wooden floors that were immaculately scrubbed. Some later home had linoleum over the wooden floors; others had carpets. The rugs were woven, braided, crocheted, or hooked. In some cases, people made their own. They used homegrown straw under the rugs for padding. Once a year, they took up the carpets, shook them outside, and pulled them over a nearby Lucerne patch to help remove the dust. They removed the old straw and put down new. Then they relayed and retacked the carpet in place.
Settlers fashioned homemade ticks (bed-sized bags made to hold straw) from flour sacks for use as mattresses. They filled the ticks with straw, which had to be replaced several times each year. They pulled fresh straw from the center of their stacks. Feathers of various fowl were another source of material for bedding. There were no bedsprings for support, just woven ropes in a crisscross pattern and knotted. … Two or three persons commonly slept on each bed.
Furniture was simple and frequently secondhand. A “Home Comfort” range was a necessity for cooking and warmth. … For the kitchen, a table, chairs and a cupboard for dishes were nice additions. In the bedroom, a dresser, mirror and steamer trunk were common furnishings. Curtains gave comfort and privacy to many homes.
The earliest homes in South Jordan were dugouts; later, log or adobe structures were built. Families often started with two rooms used as bedrooms. A lean-to would be added later and used as a kitchen, dining room and living room combined. As time went on and the family grew, more rooms were added or a larger home was built. Occasionally a porch was attached to the front of a home for shaded coolness.
Outdoor privies were the only sanitary facilities. Old catalogs served a dual purpose. They were scanned to find wished-for items, and then the least interesting pages were torn out and used as toilet paper.
Household water was obtained from hand-dug wells. …When it was time to wash clothes, water was heated in a boiler on the stove. …The women scrubbed clothes on a washboard in a round tub. First they boiled white clothes in the boiler and added handmade soap to get out the dirt. Subsequent batches were of progressively darker and dirtier clothing. The clean clothes were hung out to dry. In the winter, the clothes sometimes froze on the line and were brought into the kitchen to thaw. People wore their clothes longer between launderings because of the great effort involved in cleaning them.
Women heated sadirons (flatirons) on top of the wood-burning cookstove. They picked up a flatiron with a wooden handle and used it to press clothing until is cooled, put it back onto the stove to heat, and picked up another in its place.
Most families had large gardens and orchards from which they obtained most of their food. Such vegetables as corn were dried and later reconstituted with water. In season, water cress, sego lily bulbs, rhubarb, and pig weed supplemented fresh garden vegetables. Fowl in the garden kept insects under control and supplied eggs and meat.
Canning in glass jars was a necessity. Families typically canned upwards of three hundred quarts of peaches in addition to raspberries, strawberries, pears, and apricots. Currants, chokecherries, and elderberries were preserved as jellies. The bottles had glass or metal lids with a rubber seal to preserve the fruit. The fruit could be stored for several years by means of the bottling process.
…Farm families in South Jordan raised their own animals for meat, baked bread daily, churned their own butter, and curdled home-made cottage cheese. There was generally some sort of fragrance emanating from the kitchen, whether it was ham hocks and beans, simmering chili sauce, golden brown biscuits, and so on. Folks ate lots of handmade ice cream. They used hand-turned ice cream freezers with ice cut from the canal during the winter and preserved in sawdust.
Refrigeration was not available, but cool cellars housed potatoes, cabbage, carrots, squash, and apples. Cellars were generally holes in the ground with an entrance to walk through and a roof covered with timber, straw, and dirt.
When people butchered pigs, they cut up the meat and stored it in a barrel of salt brine. Sometimes a liquid smoke solution was basted onto the meat, after which it was wrapped in brown paper and stored underneath the wheat in a wheat bin. … Wild rabbits were slaughtered during winter community hunts undertaken on bob sleighs. The rabbits were hung on the side of the house or coal shed with the pelt left on until the meat was needed for eating. The rabbit meat was soaked in salt water with a little vinegar to take out the wild taste. Fried or baked, it was “as good as any chicken you ever ate.” Home-grown beef, sheep, and lamb were also sources of meat. If a large animal was slaughtered during the warm season, the meat was shared with neighbors to prevent spoiling. The neighbors often reciprocated. (Bateman pp 11-16)
As noted, Isaac planted a large orchard. He also had a large garden. Large gardens were common at this time, even for those who lived in more urban areas. "Even in these communities [urban areas], many of the residents were involved in agriculture in some way." (Embry p 39)
Isaac's choice of profession would have taken him away from home during extended periods while watching his sheep. However, as his children grew older they would have tgaken over much of this responsibility. Isaac ran sheep throughout the south part of Salt Lake Valley. There are now three temples which cover the expanse of his sheep running, Jordan River, Oquirh Mountain and Draper. (Isaac Wardle Reunion)
Isaac’s children would have been an important part of the daily operations, the boys helping their father with chores, and the young women helping their mothers. "Children were assigned specific tasks in both monogamous and polygamous homes. Daughters usually worked with their mothers and sons worked with their father, learning the roles that they would have as adults." (Embry p 99) "Men worked in the fields with their sons. . .and their sons helped with caring for the animals and crops; women and girls worked at home or around the house" (ibid p 103)
In early South Jordan shopping involved travel. “During the early years of South Jordan, stores were rare. Pioneers traveled to the ZCMI in Salt Lake or to West Jordan. (Bateman p 31)
Isaac became a father October 31, 1861 and gave his first son his own name; Isaac John Wardle Jr. (called John.) (Family History) “Isaac and Martha received their endowments at the endowment house in Salt Lake City 12 April 1862. They were the Parents of ten children.” (Wardle, Orrin) John would have to have been sealed to them. Isaac’s first daughter, Crilla Marie followed John four years later. She was born October 15, 1865.
Up until after 1864, all the homes in South Jordan were “below the hill.” It wasn’t until after this, that homes began to expand onto the bench and beyond. (See Bateman p 152.)
Mormon women had an important, although different role from that of others of the day, and women of today:
“The cult of true womanhood”—the standard nineteenth-century American assumption that woman’s essential role was to be pious, pure, submissive, and domestic—was understood in a different theological context by the Mormons. It belonged to a larger set of tacit assumptions about the nature of family life and the ideal goals that included marriage for romantic love, idealization of the wife and mother, warmth and affection in the family circle, games and conversation around the hearth, helpful participation of the children in family chores, and visits to relatives “over the river and through the woods.” This was the nineteenth-century family, not necessarily in actual experience but in the ideal… (Arrington and Bitton p 194)
A weekly family ritual would have been preparing for Sunday meetings:
Saturday night was set aside for bathes in preparation for Sunday. The water was drawn in a bucket from the canal or well and carried to the kitchen. The large copper boiled was filled and heated to the boiling point. A #3 tub was placed on the floor and everyone took turns bathing, starting with the youngest. The nearby oven door was opened to provide warmth. Hair was brushed until dry and then it was time to go to bed. In the meantime the father’s shoes were polished and Sunday clothes were laid out, ready to don for church the next morning. (Bateman p 160)
Isaac proved to be a good provider. He had always been a hard worker. He farmed, and planted a couple orchards. (Rupp)
Medical care was seriously lacking in this period of history. People more likely relied on home remedies and blessings rather than professional doctors. At times the cure was worse than the disease:
As in most pioneer settlements in the early days, there were few doctors in the area around South Jordan. Even when there were, people preferred such home remedies as herbs, hot baths, and cold packs to stimulate the body to rid itself of disease. Doctors were often poorly trained, and medical science was very new and untested. Some corrective measures worked surprisingly well; others were questionable. Doctors generally used bleeding to rid a person of impure blood. Doses of calomel, a combination of mercury and chlorine, were administered for many ailments. Both remedies of bleeding and calomel could be fatal. Consequently, many local pioneers relied on blessings by the laying on of hands in conjunction with home remedies and felt better served than if they had asked for a doctor. (Bateman p42)
A very serious situation in terms of medical services occurred in 1881. “1881: Diptheria epidemic in South Jordan.” (Bateman p 243) Diptheria was a very nasty disease.
Although Isaac would not have attended formal school, his children as they grew would have been involved. The school year was much shorter, as children were often needed on the farm:
Education was very important to the early pioneers and ward schools were set up almost immediately. The ward meetinghouse was usually also the community school. School was free to all and religion was a main subject taught along with reading, writing on slates, spelling, and arithmetic. In time, territorial common schools were created by law. They were the “officially recognized public school of the time.” They oftentimes were one and the same with the ward school, however. South Jordan was no different.
The progress of schools followed that of the churches, as the buildings were used for both. James Oliver was an early school teacher.
The first school in South Jordan was held in a small adobe building one-fourth mile south of the cemetery. It served a dual purpose for religious meetings as well. It was only fourteen by eighteen feet with two or three small windows. Candles were used to supplement the light form the windows. There was a small stove to furnish heat. The floor was wood and the roof consisted of sticks closely laid together and covered with dirt. The walls were adobe brick. A few years later, a granite and adobe building, more than double the size of the first school, was built on top of the hill at the northeast corner of the cemetery.
The first teachers were men. They were John Winward and James Oliver. …The teachers were sometimes paid with farm products such as butter, eggs, and meat in the early years.
John Winward brought a freshly cut bundle of 3-4 foot tall willows each morning for disciplining purposes. Sometimes a student was sent out to the ditch bank to get his own switch. A minor rule infraction such as whispering became grounds for a whipping. The willow bundle was always worn out by the end of the day. An alternative form of punishment consisted of standing on the “Dunce Stool” on one foot balancing a pile of books with outstretched hands. (Bateman p 113)
The students all met in the same room. When the new church building was finished in 1877, the school moved to this building:
Every Friday a program was presented. They enjoyed songs, recitation, dialogues and always ended with a spelling match…
The next school house was also used as a social hall and church meetinghouse. It was larger than the first school, measuring thirty by forty-six feet with two stories. It was erected in 1873-77 on the northeast corner of the cemetery…
To begin with, all the grades were housed and taught at the same time in the same room. … There were 125 students from ages six to sixteen years in one room. As the number of students increased, more rooms were needed. In one of the schools, four rooms were made out of one by hanging curtains across wire cable stretched crossway. Heat for each room was furnished by pot bellied stoves. The students took turns carrying in buckets of coal to use in the stoves. Light was furnished by candles at first. Kerosene lamps were later purchased and utilized.
School was held three or four months out of the year. The rest of the time, the students were needed on the farm to help with planting and harvesting…
Mothers made school clothing by hand. Most pupils had only one set of school clothes. Consequently, the clothes were washed at night while the children were sleeping. The boys wore their “Sunday best” pants called Knickerbockers that came up to their knees. Bib overalls were another common style for the boys. Long dresses made of gingham were the style for the girls. Shoes were hard to come by, so students often attended school barefoot. (Bateman pp169-70)
The school was outgrown again, and another school was made closer to the Isaac Wardle residence. “1892 Red brick school built 10390 South 1300 West.” (Bateman p 243)
Nauvoo Legion, Indian Relations
Bateman described some of the early interactions between the settlers of South Jordan and the Native American population:
Bands of Indians roamed the Salt Lake Valley long before white settlers came and were an integral part of the history of the early settlement of the area. The culture of the Indian was completely different from that of the pioneers, so both newcomers and natives had to learn to exist side by side. … By the time South Jordan was settled in the 1860s, the Indians were often stealing food to stay alive.
In the early days of white settlement and before, the Shoshone and Ute Indians wore breech clothes, moccasins, and feathers. Chiefs were more ornately attired, wearing feather headdresses and beautiful multicolored beads. Their clothing was fashioned from buffalo skins. Buffalo provided them with meat, which they said was very delicious. Teepees were designed from buffalo skins. The hides were tough and provided warm protection from the cold.
The Goshute Indians frequented the South Jordan area, also. They ate fish, plants, and insects. Few, if any, possessed horses with which to hunt deer or buffalo. The sole taste of meat for them might be an occasional ground squirrel, dug from its burrow with sticks. … The Indian tribes of Utah Valley traveled north to hunt buffalo or gather salt and followed the Jordan River when they were in its vicinity. They often camped in Beckstead’s lower fields, where the Midas creek empties into the Jordan River because they could obtain fresh water there. The Indians usually camped there for several days.
A large group of Indians lived near the future site of South Jordan. They were friendly to the white settlers of the area. When one of the Indian men became very sick, Mrs. Alexander Beckstead and others prepared chicken soup and other food to help the man regain his health. Several days later, the band of Indians approached the white settlement, the lifeless body of the man thrown over a horse.
They dug a shallow grave only three feet long. “The Indian then removed the body from the horse, folded his legs and arms to his body, bound it tight with rope, and placed it in the grave. They placed the food, which the settlers had earlier offered, around the body. When asked why they had not given it to the sick Indian they said they knew that he was going to die, anyway. They did not cover his grave but mounted their horses and rode away. A few days later they all came back with more food and looked at the grave. They said the Indian had gone to the ‘Happy Hunting Ground,’ so they covered the grave and rode away.”
That spot became the site of the West Jordan cemetery. (Bateman, pp49-51)
“Many Indians,….regarded the Mormons as natural kinsmen, for both Saints and Indians sought to manage certain property interests collectively, practiced cooperative herding, and shared with the poor. (Arrington and Bitton p 156)
The Mormons had to cohabitate with the Native Americans who were already on the land. The Salt Lake Valley, for the most part, was between the territories of the Shoshone and the Ute. However this does not mean that there was no interaction. In 1865, the Uintah reservation in eastern Utah was established, and “Utah chieftans conveyed to the United States title to the land in the settled areas of the territory… The treaty settlement, in which the Mormons were active participants, was a necessity for both Indians and Saints. The actual removal of most of the Indians from Mormon neighborhoods roughly coincided with the 1869 adoption of President Ulysses S. Grant’s “Quaker” policy of making the Indians wards of the nation.” (Arrington and Bitton p 156)
The Saints faced the most serious Indian uprising in 1865, when a minority of Indian militants rejected the reservation solution and began guerrilla warfare. A young Indian outlaw by the name of Black Hawk, with a hard core of perhaps thirty leaders and two or three hundred warriors, conducted a four-year campaign against the Mormons that resulted in the death of seventy white men, the loss of two thousand head of horses and cattle, and the abandonment of twenty-five settlements. Despite requests by Mormon officials and Indian agents, the federal army units in Utah refused to intervene or to provide protection for the white settlers, the entire responsibility for defense was placed on the Nauvoo Legion. Four years after the war began, the Saints of Fillmore, Utah, were assembled for their regular Sunday services when Black Hawk and his militants walked in. Surprisingly contrite, Black [Hawk[ said they came to prove to the whites “that their hearts were good, and that they desired a lasting peace.” The following September Black Hawk became ill and died. He was buried in a special religious ceremonies near Spring Lake where he was born. In a funeral sermon Brigham Young said, he was the most formidable foe… that the Saints have had to encounter for many years. (Arrington and Bitton p 156-7)
It is unlikely Isaac had an active role in fighting the Indians, but he was a member of the local militia of West Jordan. He served until he was 35. “Steel sword and scabbard: Owned by Isaac John Wardle… Used in Utah militia as member of the John T. Hill Company D Battalion 2nd Regiment, West Jordan Military District, mustered out in 1870.” (DUP Museum case, 4791)
Community celebrations were frequent in South Jordan, and provided a break from regular activities. Some took place annually:
One of the first recorded celebrations in South Jordan was reported in the Deseret News on 24 July 1867. A salute to the Stars and Stripes was held at sunrise. At ten o’clock that morning a meeting commenced under “a comfortable bowery provided for the occasion.” A choir provided music. “Chaplain WM. A. Bills” offered a prayer. Isaac Harrison delivered an oration on the exodus of the Saints from Nauvoo and the new wilderness home “where we can dwell in peace.” Thomas Allsop and Henry “Bexsted” also gave speeches, which were interspersed with salutes and singing. “A social dance was held in the after part of the day, when all went off very pleasantly.” Thomas W. “Bexsted” was the marshal of the day. (Bateman p28)
Activities were often sponsored by the church:
People had to create their own amusement in the early days and much of it was associated with the local ward. Priesthood meeting was held on Monday night, Mutual on Tuesday, and Choir on Thursday. The children had Primary one day each week and the ladies had Relief Society another day during the week. Mutual focused on various activities for the youth. Sometimes during Mutual, plays were written, directed, and produced. (Bateman p 161)
Dances were a source of entertainment. “Another entertainment was dancing. At first, homes or the basement of the ‘old Mud Temple’ were used for dances. The community held dances in the top of the Jordan Merc.” (Bateman pp 29-30) “Admittance to dances was whatever the settlers had on hand such as a squash, a bag of potatoes, or a basket of corn. …Besides dancing, the people of South Jordan Ward enjoyed public speaking, one-act plays, and operettas. The ward had a lot of musical talent.” (ibid p 163) “South Jordan settlers particularly enjoyed participating in melodramas. Complete costumes were generally part of each production. “Bluebeard” was a favorite wintertime melodrama.” (ibid p 153)
No community is complete without a brass band, as mentioned by Bishop Bills in a letter to Isaac:
I have succeeded in organizing a brass band of thirteen. We have got their instruments and they had sufficient practice so that the Tunes they play, one would think they were old hands. It begins to seem like a town when the Band plays. The rapid progress they have made is wonderful. Joseph Orgal is principle. It is our intention to have a music box made for the twenty fourth of July and if possible uniform them and the Relief Society will present them a nice flag as we are called on to go to the City for a grand Jubilee. We have been spoken of very highly in the Priesthood meeting in the City that there was one band at least that would play without whiskey and respect the Priesthood and President Taylor wants more of the same kind and has made arrangement to that effect. (Bills)
Henry Beckstead also played a part in putting the band together. He named the band members:
I have taken lead and got a brass band started here since you left. I sent back east and got the instruments. We can play 2 tunes. We are going to play next Saturday night—down to the Bishop’s. There is 12 in the Band. Our teacher for the Band and their names H.B. Beckstead, Nephi Orgal, Wm. A Beckstead, Gordon G. Beckstead, Samuel H. Beckstead, Edward Orgal, Brigham Sellers, Gordon G. Bills, John Winward, John Hold, William Goff, Lemus Peterson. Teacher for the band Joseph Orgal. We will give you a cheer when you come home again if nothing happens. (Beckstead, Henry)
The brass band was organized while Isaac was on his mission. Sophia made this comment about the band. “Well it is a beautiful improving to the Ward. (Wardle, Sophia, letter August 6, 1879)
The ward also sponsored bazaars:
Ward Bazaars in South Jordan were significant events. Members of all ages participated in the three-day events. Individuals placed bids on goods, livestock, and local produce which were to be auctioned. Dances were held the first evening and local talent produced a play or program for the second night of entertainment. South Jordan residents were excellent musicians and had a knack for performing as actors, singers, and orators. (Bateman p 163)
Annually there was a great celebration for Pioneer Day:
July 24, 1847, was the date Mormon pioneers first entered the Salt Lake Valley. Thereafter, it became traditional to celebrate the anniversary date as a holiday. In South Jordan, work began on the local celebration at least a month ahead of time. A parade, games, and a program were usually planned. The festivities were designed to take up the whole day.
There were no stores to buy lots of fancy items to decorate for the parade. Floats were wagons draped with red, white, and blue bunting and adorned with small flags. Music for the parade and subsequent activities was furnished by a band made up of Moroni Oliver and his sons.
The raising of the United States flag was the first event. The flag was put into place by a young man of the ward who climbed the flag pole and tied the flag to the top. He also retired the flag in the evening. H. Byram Beckstead traditionally blew the bugle early in the morning, presumably at the flag raising.
The parade would start at 9:00 a.m. and follow a route from the meeting house “around the block.” …The parade participants included the decorated wagons pulled by work horses, the playing band, followed by buggies and surreys. They would end at the ball diamond where the formed a circle and began a short program.
Following the program were games: Baseball, pony rides, races, and a tug-of-war for the men. …A show was held on the stage in the afternoon for the children in the west end of the meetinghouse. In the evening, all the benches were moved outside so a dance could be held. After the dance, everyone stayed to help carry the benches back inside. (ibid p 164)
I am not sure when baseball games were introduced to South Jordan. Bishop Bills wrote to Isaac in 1879, “Our school seems all right. There was a short time it stopped on account of Walter’s ankle being sprained in playing ball in the City.” (Bills) South Jordan had a regular baseball team by 1886, The Red Gales. Baseball competitions would take place between communities, and sometimes for special holidays. (ibid p 27)
Wintertime afforded its own particular type of entertainment. In addition to dances, hay rides on a big Bob sled were common occurrences. Sometimes these rides would involve visiting and singing or caroling. Ice skating on the canals was also a favorite activity. (See ibid pp 29-30)
Those who became members of the Church put themselves under obligation to participate in the building of the Kingdom. “Mormons were under an obligation to fit themselves to take part in building the Kingdom. Not only were the requited to be loyal in obedience to the “counsel” of the priesthood: they were to impose on themselves training and discipline. They were to seek all forms of knowledge. They were to enjoy wholesome recreation.” (Taylor, P.A.M. p 6)
Isaac took this message to heart, and worked to better himself. He was always trying to improve himself as he had the opportunity, and when older he taught himself to read and write. (Rupp) “Isaac would study at night reading all the books he could get and he would practice writing using a shovel for his slate and charcoal for his pencil, lying in from of the fire place of his small home for light. He is reported always to have had a very strong desire to gain knowledge...” (Wardle, Orrin)
Isaac worked at self-improvement. “Isaac Wardle studied books at night by the light of the fire and practiced writing on a shovel with a piece of charcoal. He was eager to gain knowledge and to improve his home and farm. His farm prospered with two large orchards, two homes, and many outbuildings on his land. It was located at approximately 10015 South, West of the Beckstead Ditch and east of 1000 West. His orchards were east of the irrigation ditch. (Bateman p 70)
Isaac, as well as his neighbors, were church going people, from as early as they had settled in South Jordan and before:
The Becksteads, Wardles, Soffes, Olivers, Winwards, Shields, and Holts were some of the first families in South Jordan, … Each of these families were of the Mormon faith and actively gathered together on Sundays to worship. The population growth in the vicinity necessitated the need to organize a South Jordan Branch of the West Jordan Ward. This organization occurred in 1863.
Minutes of the South Jordan Ward indicate that meetings of the branch commenced in private houses in 1861. The meetings were held under the direction of G. Nimrod Soffe, and teacher in the West Jordan Ward. Later, Gordon S. Beckstead took charge of the meetings. A number of meetings were held in the home of Isaac J. Wardle. Those who had the best accommodations took turns hosting. (Bateman, p 151)
Isaac and Martha must have had one of the nicer homes in town to have been selected on multiple occasions to host the Sunday school. The branch of the church was formally organized in South Jordan in 1863. “South Jordan was differentiated as a distinct settlement in 1863 when a branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was established there.” (ibid p vii) James Wood was the first branch president. (ibid p 82)
The first chapel was built in 1864:
“In 1864, a tiny adobe chapel was built in South Jordan. It measured fourteen feet by eighteen feet. The chapel was also used as the local school. It stood one-fourth mile south and east of the cemetery and was located at the south end of a mall hollow under the hill. It was the first public building in South Jordan.
…The Branch was known as the “Upper Branch” and covered the territory from South Jordan southward to the point of the mountain. … There were a total of nine families living in South Jordan when the building was constructed.
…The official organization of the branch took place in 1863 and James Wood was the first ranch president. He served for four years, at which time William A. Bills was made branch president. (ibid pp 151-152)
The branch would have had a shock, and perhaps a struggle because their branch president chose to leave the church. “James Wood: He was called as the first branch president of the South Jordan Branch of the LDS church in 1863 and served until 1866. He left the church at that time and moved to Missouri. James’s son, John, and his family, who lived next door to his father, followed him to Missouri. (ibid p 82)
“As early as 1849 some wards experimented with Sunday Schools for children. Like those in nineteenth-century England, they gave practical and moral training as well as classes on church history and theology. In 1867 the General Sunday School Union was founded to coordinate the work in the wards. In 1877 Brigham Young directed the bishops to include the sacrament in the Sunday school exercises, since few children attended the afternoon sacrament meeting with their parents. (Arrington and Bitton p 214)
The South Jordan Sunday School was organized in 1866, and Sunday school meetings began to be held in 1968. (See Bateman p 152)
At this time, Sunday meetings had two separate sessions. On the Sabbath, Sunday school lasted two hours as did sacrament meeting, so most of Sunday was spent in church. Alma Holt remembered hearing the old timers speak in church of spiritual experiences and of hard times witnessed while crossing the plains as well as during the early years of settlement.” (Bateman p 159) Sunday school was held in the morning. It would have included the administration of the sacrament. Sacrament meeting was held in the evenings, and in addition to the sacrament, would have included speakers from the congregation. Isaac likely had more than his share of turns at speaking, as the bishop called people to talk about pioneers episodes. “Notes: Sunday in Lonnie Holt and Annette Holt “South Jordan Heritage,” typescript stated that the bishop called the speakers who related stories about the handcart companies crossing the plains and Indian troubles. People also gave individual ideas and views of religion, he said.” (bid, p 273)
Isaac was not the only handcart pioneer living in South Jordan. James Oliver had been in the Willie Company. (ibid p 71) Frederic Cooper came in the Martin Company with Isaac. (ibid. p 73) Additionally William O. Newbold had worked in the Whitwick mines, where Isaac had worked as a young child. He like Isaac was self-educated. (ibid p 130)
The Relief Society in South Jordan was organized in 1969. “1869 Ann Hold called as first Relief Society President.” (Bateman p 242)
1874 saw the organization of the Young Men’s program. “1874 November 29. Young Men’s Institute and Benevolent Society was organized. (Bateman p 243) The Young Woman’s program followed a few years later. “1878 Young women’s organized.” (ibid)
With growth in the area, the branch outgrew the small building:
…A larger building measuring thirty feet by forty-six feet was constructed on top of the hill at the northeast corner of the cemetery. …
Granite rocks and adobe bricks were used in the construction. Adobe bricks were fired in a kiln owned by John W. Winward at his nearby farm. Split log benches were situated on three sides of the one-room building. The new building later became known as the “Old Mud Temple.” …
This two-story structure was built out of rocks and adobe in 1873. On November 25, 1877, the “Upper Room” of the South Jordan meetinghouse was dedicated and opened for use. The meetinghouse was built at a cost of $3,000. It was located at the northeast corner of the cemetery. Both school and church functions were carried on in the building.
The main doors of the church faced south. Inside, rounding stairs on each side led up to the chapel. The relief Society “mad rag carpets to cover the steps, pulpit and choir stand.” Dances, melodramas, and socials were staged in the basement recreation room. (ibid p 153)
The Branch was formally organized as a ward in 1877 with William Bills continuing as bishop. “Brother Bills became the bishop of South Jordan when the branch became a ward on June 17, 1877.” (Bateman p 130) “1877 June 17. South Jordan Ward organized: Wm A. Bills as bishop and Ensign I. Stocking and Henry Beckstead as counselors.” (ibid p 243)
Church duties included visiting the members as is done now. “There were also ward teaching and visiting teaching in the homes of all members. This was done on a monthly basis by the priesthood holders and sisters, respectively. Such visits were for the purpose of teaching the gospel to each family and to check on their welfare on a regular basis. (Bateman p 160)
A ward choir was organized shortly after the ward was organized. “…James Oliver organized the first choir in the ward. He was set apart as ward “singing master” and music teacher on September 16, 1877. He led the choir by playing the melody on his violin. After an organ was purchased later on, he played musical parts on it, using one finger of each hand. (Bateman p 153)
Tithing was another obligation of church members:
A system of tithing storehouses was established by the LDS church in the 1850s to handle cooperative savings, investments, and surpluses. Laborers on church and public projects were compensated from the tithing offices in the form of food, clothing, and tools. The poor were also cared for using the same resources. The General Tithing Office and Bishop’s Central Storehouse behave operation in Salt Lake City in 1850 to serve the church as a whole. Regional and local community facilities followed, including church farms. Tithing was paid in the form of livestock, labor on church and public projects, yields from farms or mines or households, coin & currency, and levies on profits from stores and factories. Tithing was not compulsory, but a very high percentage of church members paid a full tithing, which amounted to a tenth of their income.
The tithing yard in South Jordan was located “a little west of the flour mill and below the (Oscar) Johnson Place.” The farmers of South Jordan brought a tenth of their alfalfa, horses, eggs, pigs, cattle, or other produce to the tithing yard. There was a large haystack to deposit the hay. There were holding pens for the farm animals until the Bishop could market them for the best price. North of Leo Palmer’s was “a red brick building they called the church granary and wheat was stored there.” (ibid pp 161-162)
Isaac was called on a mission in 1879. While he was away, Bishop Bills described a sacrament meeting. “We have peace and good meetings. The Choir sang your hymn and Joseph read the circumstances of the Ordinance of Baptism you attended.” (Bills) So even while away, Isaac’s words were part of sacrament meetings. When Bishop Bills says “your hymn” I assume he means a hymn that was particular to Isaac.
The primary was officially organized while Isaac was away on his mission. Sophia, his third wife was a counselor. “…The organizing of the Primary, an organization for children, followed on October 10, 1879. Melissa Jenkins served as first president of the South Jordan primary. Norma V. Oliver and Sophia M. Wardle were counselors and Lucy A. Winward was secretary. (ibid p 153)
After returning from his mission Isaac served in the Sunday school. “Isaac was superintendent of the LDS South Jordan Sunday School for nineteen years. He served as president of the seventies quorum and went on a nine-month mission to England in 1879.” (ibid p 70) “Isaac was an active church member and citizen. He was superintendent of his ward Sunday school for some nineteen years. He was president of his Seventy’s Quorum. He served as a home missionary for a number of years and was ordained a High Priest.” (Wardle, Orrin) As he returned from England the end of 1879, and moved to Idaho in 1900, her served in this capacity most of the time he lived in the South Jordan Ward after returning home.
I am not sure of the occasion, perhaps some ward party, but Isaac purchased candy and nuts for the Sunday school. “Jordan Mercantile Ledger: Sold I.J. Wardle fr Sunday School Candy .25 lbs 2.12 20 lbs mixed nuts 3.00.” (Bateman p 249)
The ward saw an influx of members in 1881 as another boom to South Jordan with the completion of the upper canal. “1881: Utah and Salt Lake Canal used for first time.” (Bateman p 243) This canal made it so the bench area could be farmed.
The South County area was formed into a stake, at about the same time Isaac was leaving the area. “1900 LDS Jordan Stake of Zion organized.” (ibid p 243) Until this time South Jordan had been part of the Salt lake Stake.