I was born on March 1, 1880, a son of David Harry and Martha Jane Davis Toyn.
Father and mother moved with others to Grouse Creek in 1877 with their children Molly, David and Francis. Times were hard for these early pioneers and under these circumstances I was born at what was known at that time as Cookesville where the settlers had moved in near each other for convenience for school, church and protection from the Indians, of whom there were many in and around Grouse Creek. These settlers mostly lived at what was known as the “Berg” and attended their farms, some being some distance from their living quarters. My earliest recollections are that we lived in a dugout, the first house built on fathers’ homestead. It was located midway between our present home and the end of the lane. The county road runs over the exact spot where this house stood. We lived there in the summer time and in a log house at the “Berg.”
During school time and winter when a boy five or six I remember that one of my jobs was to help herd off the range cattle from the crops as the fence covered only part of the field. At an early age I learned to care for the chores such as milking, feeding cows, pigs, chickens, etc. and other odd jobs.
I was baptized on October 14, 1888 by Henry Hales Sr. near his home on the West Fork of Grouse Creek, later known as Etna.
At these times and for years to come, times were hard, little money to be had, but I never remember when we went hungry, or lacked sufficient clothing for our comfort and welfare. Food consisted greatly of such as was produced on the farm, milk, eggs, butter, and meat, such as pork, beef, chicken, etc. Not much of a variety, but healthful and palatable. Wheat was hauled a long distance to be ground into flour for bread stuffs. Our nearest store and market was Terrace, on the railroad, about forty miles distant, so it was impossible to have everything at all times even if money had been plentiful.
Transportation and communication was slow, by team and wagon, horseback or on foot. The world as we kids knew it, was small. For years we little realized what lay beyond our little community.
During the years from 1890 on we, as boys, were pretty well engaged with the farm work and attending school. We lived entirely on the farm now, having abandoned the home located in the “Berg.” It was two and one half miles that we had to walk to school and back. This we didn’t mind too badly as our neighbors, the Kimbers, walked to school also. Much of our spare time was spent together, our joys and sorrows were mutual, enhanced somewhat by our other neighbors, the Indian boys and girls. Many is the time we met in one of the homes with a good number of Indians and joined in games of contest. I learned to love many of those Indian boys with whom I played, fought, wrestled, ran races and went swimming with.
It was about 1896 that I first began getting out and doing other work other than the farm work at home. I learned to shear sheep and followed it up each spring for a good many years. The summer of 1896 I spent in herding sheep for Ed Bonnemont on the head of Goose Creek. While on that job I became exposed to the measles and had a bad case of them. I was alone and for a few days I was so sick I could hardly get around sufficient to care for the sheep.
I quit the sheep herding in time to go to school in Oakley, Idaho. I attended the Cassia Stake Academy. Prof A.F.O. Neilson was the head of the school while I attended it. I was still quite busy on the ranch, also working with sheep in various capacities, shearing, herding, etc. During all this time we were attending to our various church duties. Under the leadership of father we were regular attendants at Sunday School, Sacrament Meeting, etc.
It was in 1898 that I received a call to fill a mission to the Southern States. I was released from my mission in December while laboring in Georgia. I arrived in Salt Lake where I spent Christmas and arrived home December 30, 1900.
I was soon back at work at the farm and it was in the summer of 1901 that I, together with my father and my three brothers, David, Tom and Al leased a band of sheep from D.P. Thomas.
It was also in the year of 1901 that I began courting one of my life long neighbor’s girls, Ellen Kimber. Her mother had died a few years prior to this and she made her home with her Aunt Lizzie and Uncle George Cook. We went to Oakley, Idaho, where we were married by the Stake President, William T. Jack, on September 4, 1901. Nell remained at Oakley during my trip to Albion, the County Seat, to get our marriage license. She supervised the making of her wedding dress during my absence. I was fortunate in getting a ride with the late Ben Howell, who was a lawyer and later a District Judge. We made the trip in a light buggy behind a fine team of horses.
We stayed at the home of J.Y. Haight the night we were married. We were there for a day or two and did some shopping for some of the necessary things to set up light housekeeping. We had a very limited supply of money but articles of this kind were much cheaper then than at the present time. Clarence Richins and my sister Lyle made the trip to Oakley with us and were witnesses at our wedding. We all returned home together, bringing our purchases with us.
I ordered furniture for our use from Boyle Furniture Co. at Ogden and lost no time in getting it hauled from Terrace. We cleaned and fixed up the house on the Kimber farm, adjoining Father’s farm. This house and farm were at that time owned by D.P. Thomas and were included in the lease with the sheep already mentioned, as also was the McLaws Ranch down near Red Butte Creek.
We were comfortable and happy, plenty to eat, but not much of a variety. Plenty of clothing, bedding, etc., but not much money. About all the ready cash we had came from my playing the violin for dances at Grouse Creek, Terrace and Tacoma. Our only means of transportation to and from dances, meetings, etc. was by means of a team of horses hitched to a dump cart made from the rear wheels of a wagon, with a box built of old lumber. The cart was often used in making trips to and from the sheep camp, still we were happy and got through the winter fine.
It was July 4, 1902 when our first baby came to town. Alfred was his name.
While living at that place we were able to buy a light four- wheeled buggy. This took the place of the dump cart and made our trips from place to place more comfortable and enjoyable.
I was appointed Deputy County Assessor and held that job for several years. I spent considerable time in the spring of the year on the sheep trail, assessing transient herds passing from winter to summer ranges.
We later moved down to the Wakefield home but were there but a short time. Also lived a short time on the late Bill Hadfield farm. We also went on contract jobs in putting up hay on some of the ranches in Western Nevada for the Sparks Herrald Co., Nell doing the cooking and I working in the field. While still living on the Hadfield place Cora was born on August 16, 1904.
About this time we bought forty acres of land which took in the Grouse Creek Cemetery. I went to Piney on the head of Goose Creek where I cut and hauled home logs and built a three-room house just East of the cemetery. We moved into this house in the spring of 1905. We were proud of our new home and were happy with our two children. Nell was busy at home caring for the children and I worked with the sheep and took on jobs on the side, such as shearing contracts, hay jobs, etc.
I went with my brother on the winter range and expected to spend most the winter away from home. We left home in the late fall and worked our way to the winter range, which extended South of Pilot Peak to as far South as Ibapah and King Hill. Dave did most of the herding and I moved the camp, did the cooking, cared for the horses, feeding them oats and melting snow for their drinking water. The winter slipped away fast but about February I received word that I was wanted to serve as Deputy Assessor, a job that I had been doing for the past few years. I sent word for Frank Kimber to come and take my place with the sheep. He came soon but it was three or four days before I got on my way home. He had rode a give-out horse and after he arrived I waited for the horse to rest up.
The day I left Dave and Frank the sun was shining bright high above the surrounding valleys. After an hour or two of riding I descended into a dense fog and it was so bad that my vision was limited to a few yards. I finally arrived at the old Johnny Erickson Ranch where I spent the night. The next morning I headed North along the main traveled road. Every bush or rock or any other object was so loaded with fog and frost that there was nothing that would tell me that I was on the right road or was going the right direction. I traveled all day, making as good time as possible with my tired horse, sometimes riding and again walking and leading the horse. It began to get darker and I knew the sun must be going down and I began to wonder how I would spend the night, as there was no wood to kindle a fire but shad scale, and occasionally a larger bush or two that were so laden with frost that making a fire would be out of the question. My heart began to pump at what I thought to be the faint tinkle of a bell. I would listen, then stop and listen for another sound. Another faint sound of a bell almost directly ahead of me to the North. As I slowly made my way, I at last made out the definite direction the bell sound came from. I knew that bell could not be very far away, but in order to get to it I had to leave the road. This I hated to do, but it was getting quite dark now and if that bell was on a sheep it would soon stop ringing, as the sheep usually bed down early for the night. I finally got to within about fifty yards of that bell when to my delight I saw several head of sheep between me and the bell. I knew I had found a herd of sheep. The next problem was to find the camp. I dared not leave the sheep so decided my only safe bet was to follow the sheep to their bed ground. I had been there but a short time when the herder and dogs came. It proved to be a Mexican man that was herding the sheep. I went with him to camp and what a joyous feeling to know that I had been rescued from spending the night in the cold and fog.
The next day was about the same, a give out horse and dense fog. I traveled until about mid-afternoon, when a faint break in the fog could be discerned overhead. I kept close watch of that parting in the mist and to my joy I saw the towering tip of Old Pilot Peak. My third day in the fog and the first object I had seen that looked natural. I arrived at the Pilot Ranch and spent the night.
The next day I reached Montello and was persuaded to stay over and play the violin for a dance that night. After the dance was over I saddled my horse and rode to Tacoma, and from there I made it home to find Nell, Alfred and Cora well. Glad to be home again, but only for a short time, as I was soon gone as Assessor.
It was about this time that I, with my father-in-law, Charles Kimber, Joseph B. Lee and Bill Cooke, built the new dance hall. This building was used for a few years for dancing, roller skating, etc. I played the violin for most all of the dances held in this building. The building was later sold to Isaac Jorgensen, who made it into a dwelling house and store and rooms for rent upstairs. While being used for this purpose, it was burned down.
About 1906 I located about 160 acres of land known as Twin Meadows and proved up on it under the “Desert Act.” During the spring and summer we spent considerable time at Twin Meadows, having built a cabin there. We had purchased a white top buggy and the problem of transportation had improved considerably.
Nell and I did considerable work in the ward in various organizations. Also we continued to work at home and I took outside jobs for ready money.
We bought the home ranch from father and moved onto the ranch on June 30, 1909. This was a very dry season and was followed by one of the severest winters we have had. Little hay was raised this year and to supplement feeding this hard winter we bought corn and other grains. When spring broke we had lost only one cow and one horse.
During the winter we were making plans to build a new home. I made trips to Tacoma with the sleigh and hauled lumber and materials home. In the spring I went into the pines on the head of Pine Creek and cut saw logs into suitable materials for the walls and partitions. J.B. Lee was operating a saw mill in the timber at that time. By early fall of 1910 the house was nearing completion.
Archie was born during this busy time on November 6, 1909. We moved into the house when he was just learning to walk about December 1910.
At the fall election of 1910 I was elected County Assessor, my name being presented at the Convention, at which I was not present but was put through by some of my friends. I left home the last of the year to take over the Assessors office on January 1, 1911. My brother Dave took me to Lucin in his Sears Roebuck automobile.
I took over the work in the office and was there quite steady for two or three months. I was fortunate in getting a talented and dependable Deputy in the office so a good part of my time could be spent at home.
During 1911‑1912 we dissolved partnership with horses and sheep. My brother, Tom, took over the sheep.
During 1912 two important events took place. Mildred was born on January 29, 1912 and our Ward Meeting House was built.
The year 1913 brought on an epidemic of smallpox. Most everyone in the community had them, some very severe cases. I had previously been vaccinated for smallpox while in the Southern States and I never took it. Nell and the children had it and were quite bad, especially Archie and Mildred. Nell was kept busy with the family and in preparing food for others who were unable to care for themselves. Men going to and from work would stop and get the prepared food and deliver it to designated homes. A short time after the smallpox, another epidemic in the form of measles swept over the community. During all the sickness, not a doctor was called. The simple home remedies were used and not a death resulted.
1915 saw us with our first automobile, a Model T Ford, which we bought from Jack Mortensen. We traded some mustang horses for it.
In 1916 we purchased 200 acres of land on Kimball Creek. We let the car go as part payment and then bought another car as soon as the trade could be made. We couldn’t think of going back to the team and buggy.
About October or November 1916 I got a call to go on a mission to Australia. We worked to that end during the fall months.
During my absence the farm and cattle were leased to Elmer Kimber. My call to the mission came shortly after the organization of the Raft River Stake, of which we were a part. I had not been home but a short time, or in the early part of 1919 I was made Supt. of the Grouse Creek Ward Sunday School, a position I held for nineteen years. I was released from the Sunday School in 1938 and put in as first counselor in the Bishopric to Bishop Elmer Kimber. Since the organization of the Raft River Stake, with headquarters at Almo, Idaho, we, in order to attend our conferences and stake meetings, were required to travel over the Junction Mountain, which with our roads at that time was a hard trip at best. With our cars at that time it was “get out and push” to get over.
In the fall of 1920 we moved to Tremonton for the winter where Alfred and I worked in the Sugar Factory at Garland and the children went to school. We returned home in the spring.
It was on December 3, 1922 that Effie Vilate came to our home. She was born on November 3, 1922 to E.O. and Amy Kimber. Her mother died and was buried the day we brought her home. She was like a poor little starved bird, and for the best of three months showed no sure sign of surviving.
In the year of 1934 we had no water at all for irrigation. Several other years water was short, especially the latter part of the season. The aftermath of the World War I was felt extensively over a period of a year. Beef prices were very low and other farm products were cheap. Money was hard to get but when spent would buy considerably more than at present.
We were now a portion of the North Weber Stake and Ogden was our Stake Headquarters. We were active in church, Nell being in the Presidency of the Relief Society and I in the Bishopric.
I had been suffering with kidney trouble and in 1943 I went to Salt Lake and had my kidney taken out. After my kidney operation the doctors ordered me to lay off the heavy work. I got a job from the government at Wendover Air Base. I was sent to Johnson’s Springs about forty miles west of Wendover, where Nell and I worked for about three and one half years. We quit the job in 1949 and returned home.
I had for many years been bothered with arthritis, sometimes being rendered completely helpless.
Nearly all the doctors have given me to understand I have a heart condition that cannot be overlooked.
In December 1951 we got electric power in the house. We’re glad to have electric lights, appliances, etc.
My health has been considerably improved and at present 1955, I am feeling excellent physically, but life is not just the same. It was in the latter part of 1954 that Nell began to show signs she was not well. On January 24 she had her operation. Her stomach was infested with cancer. She passed away on February 2, 1955.
After Nell’s death Charles kept house for himself between visits to his children’s homes. In the fall of 1956 he went to his daughter Mildred’s at Sparks Nevada with the intention of staying for the winter but he suffered a heart attack so returned to Utah. He visited a few days with Effie in Brigham then came to Archie’s where he stayed the remainder of his life.
On July 16, 1957 he had a serious heart attack and Archie and Rhea had him in the car ready to go to the doctor at Brigham when he passed away. He was buried on July 19, 1957 at Grouse Creek. It can be said he lived a useful and commendable life and kept and taught the commandments of God to the best of his ability.