Ellen Kimber Toyn was born on November 10, 1881 at the Kimber ranch, which is located about fifteen miles south of the present site of Grouse Creek, Box Elder County, Utah. She is the daughter of Charles and Sarah Elizabeth Morgan Kimber and a twin sister of Elmer Kimber.
When Ellen was very small, approximately 1882, her parents traded their share in the Kimber ranch for a ranch at the north end of Grouse Creek, later known as the William Ballingham ranch. They lived there for eleven years. Their nearest neighbors were the members of the David Harry Toyn family, who lived about one-fourth mile to the north. They were life long friends.
Later on, as the children of the two families started school they walked together the two and one-half miles to the one room schoolhouse. This was a hard task, especially during the bad winter weather. On one occasion they found the home of a mother bobcat and carried one of the baby kittens home. This incident alone would probably have meant death or serious injury to one or more of the group, had the mother cat returned when they were there.
Ellen was baptized on July 15, 1891.
On October 26, 1891 the family left Grouse Creek to go south to Huntington in search of a new home. This trip, however, resulted in disappointment and loss. They returned one year later to Grouse Creek, financially broke and without a home. This, however, was only a minor misfortune. On October 26, 1892, just one year to the day from the time they started south in search of a new home, their mother, Sarah Elizabeth, died, leaving her husband, Charles, and nine children, ranging in age from one month to seventeen years. Ellen and Elmer were eleven years old at this time.
Ellen spent the next few years with her paternal grandparents, Charles and Caroline Sellwood Kimber Sr., and with her fathers’ sister, Elizabeth Kimber Cooke. Ellen worked at whatever she could find to do, and received about fifty cents a week for her labors.
In 1900 she attended the Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, for one quarter. She was financially assisted by her uncle, Frank Morgan, her mother’s brother. After her return to Grouse Creek she was appointed as a teacher in Sunday school, assisted by Eliza Richins Blackburn. James W. Betteridge was Sunday School Superintendent at that time.
About this time Ellen started keeping company with Charles C. Toyn, who had just returned from an LDS mission to the southern states on December 30, 1900.
On September 1, 1901, Charles and Ellen, accompanied by Clarence and Eliza Toyn Richins, left Grouse Creek for Oakley, Idaho, to be married, and to continue in Ellen’s own words, “I got my wedding dress made in Oakley while Charles went to Albion, Idaho, then the county seat, for our marriage license. We spent the night at the John Haynes home. On the evening of September 4,1901, we went to the home of the stake president William T. Jack and were married, with Eliza Toyn and Clarence Richins as witnesses. President Jack performed the ceremony. We later went to the dance in the old Lee hall. We spent the night at the home of Jode and Mollie Haight.”
The following day we went to the Peoples Union Store and bought our dishes and cooking utensils, also some groceries and a sewing machine, and started home.
Charl had ordered some furniture from Boyle’s furniture store in Ogden, so the day after we arrived home Charles left for Terrace, Utah to get our furniture. I stayed with Aunt Lizzie Cooke while he was gone. He was gone one night, for those were the days that teams did the work, and he arrived home after dark the next night. We stayed with Charls’ parents a few days while we were cleaning and fixing up the old Kimber house‑‑my old home‑‑then we moved in and started keeping house. The house in which we lived was a log house. We lived there that winter and until after our first baby, Alfred Charles was born on July 4, 1902.
In October we left for Salt Lake to attend general conference and on October 9, 1901 we went through the Salt Lake Temple and were sealed for time and all eternity. While in Salt Lake we stayed with my mother’s sister, Aunt “Mag” (Margaret) Harmon.
The Toyn brothers leased the Toyn ranch from their father and put up the hay, etc. There were a few sheep on the ranch also. In order to make a living for the family Charl went sheep shearing, played for dances or whatever work he could find, to make a little money.
In 1903 when Alfred was about a year old my sister, Annie Wakefield, and family moved to Huntington, Utah so we moved into their home until they returned. When they came home, we moved up to what was later known as the William Hadfield place. There was only one log room, but we moved in.
That summer we went down to the Gamble Ranch where Charl helped with the haying and I did the cooking.
The following year while Charl was at the Gamble ranch helping with the hay, Cora was born on August 26, 1904. Alfred and I were staying with Charl’s parents while he was gone.
We lived in that one-room house with our two babies, and during his spare time Charl hauled logs from Piney and built a three-room house across the road from the cemetery, and we were happy and proud in our new home, which we moved into in June 1905. I had sewed enough carpet to have them woven into carpet to cover two rooms. I was alone with the children a lot while Charl was away shearing, haying or whatever work he could get. He also played for dances for $2.00 a night. We didn’t have much in our early life.
The winter of 1906 Charl spent on the winter range with the sheep, which he, his father and brothers owned. He came home in February or March to accept the Box Elder County Assessors job. During the winter while Charl was gone Viola Dale spent a lot of evenings and nights with me, as she was alone also. My brothers, Frank and Oz, also my sister Louie spent a lot of evenings with me.
On June 30, 1909 we moved up to the Toyn ranch, having sold the little house to Charl’s parents, and bought the ranch. We had a hard winter with only two small stacks of hay. We fed some corn and managed to get by with only losing one old cow and horse.
We lived in the old log house on the ranch until Archie was born on November 6, 1909. About this time Charl sold his share of the sheep, which he had owned in connection with his father and brothers, and built a new five room home. We moved into it just before Archie started to walk and were very happy to have a farm and a new home of our own.
A few days later Charl was appointed county assessor and spent quite a lot of time in Brigham, Box Elder county seat. My brother, Elmer stayed with us one winter before his marriage to Annie Ballingham on December 15, 1911. On January 29, 1912 our fourth child, Mildred, was born.
In 1913 we had an epidemic of smallpox and most everyone on the creek had them. I didn’t have many spots but was very sick for a while. I was able to cook food and send to folks who were less fortunate than we were. Some families were very sick. My father’s family was one. While Josie (Josephine), my stepmother, was in bed with smallpox, a daughter Fern, was born on February 20, 1913. There were no casualties however.
In July 1916 we took the family, Alfred, Cora, Archie and Mildred on a trip up through Idaho to Portland, Oregon and on to the coast at Seaside, Oregon. We went in our Model T Ford car. We visited Charl’s brother and wife, Tom and Marie Toyn, in Portland, and had such a nice time and trip. We all went to Seaside for a few days and lived in rented tents on the beach. We returned home safely and soon afterwards Charl received a call to go on an LDS mission to Australia. We leased the ranch to Elmer Kimber that fall and they moved into the two rear rooms of our home.
On December 16, 1916 Alfred took Charl and me to Lucin, Utah where we took the train to Ogden and Salt Lake. Charl left for Australia for two years and I returned home to the children. We stayed on the ranch during theSummers and lived in two rooms of Charl’s parents home during the winters, which was near the school and church.
Charl returned home on December 20, 1916 in time for Christmas. We moved to the ranch a few days after Charl’s return home.
In 1916 I was sustained as a teacher in primary with Jane Ballingham. Lillian Richins was president at the time. Later I was sustained as second counselor to Pauline W. Hadfield in the MIA Mary Simpson was first counselor and Jennie Richins was secretary.
Later the bishopric released all in the ward who were holding more than one position. I was sustained as second counselor to Malinda Kimber in the Relief Society. Mary Douglas was first counselor and Elizabeth (Lizzie) Barlow was secretary. We served for some time then Mary Betteridge was sustained as President with Annie Wakefield and myself as counselors. After serving for some time Emma B. Kimber was sustained as President with Orita Lee and myself as counselors. In all I have served twenty years in the presidency of the Relief Society and as a visiting teacher for many years.”
Ellen was always interested in little outings or picnics with the family, and often close friends and relatives were invited to join the group whether it was fishing, picking choke cherries or service berries, summer just wasn’t summer without a picnic. In early years these jaunts were taken by team and wagon, but in later years by car or truck.
In the winter of 1920‑21 the family moved to Tremonton, Utah where Cora attended second year of high school, Archie and Mildred attended grade school and Charl and Alfred worked at the sugar factory.
Living neighbors to us was a man, W.A. Westmorland and his five children, three girls and two boys. The mother had passed away a short while before. These children spent a great deal of time in our home where Ellen read stories, baked cookies, etc., and tried to relieve the loneliness in their hearts. She held that love and respect of this family all her life.
On December 3, 1922 Charl and Ellen took into their home and hearts little Effie Vilate Kimber (one month old), at the request of her father, Evan O. Kimber. Her mother, Amy Warburton Kimber died on December 1, 1922, following Effie’s birth on November 3, 1922, from the after effects of childbirth, leaving six children. They took Effie home following the funeral where she was treated as one of the family all her life.
In 1940 Charles and Ellen went on a trip to San Francisco and Berkeley, California, in company with Elmer and Annie Kimber, Bill and Mary Betteridge: and Jesse and Annie Barlow as guests of the Federal Land Bank with all expenses paid. They attended the World’s Fair at Treasure Island.
A year later in 1941 Ellen, or Nell as she was affectionately called, started having trouble with her ear and face, following a case of severe flu. They were advised to go to a doctor at St. Anthony, Idaho where she was treated successfully for the removal of several small skin cancers from her face and ear.
Soon afterwards Ellen started having trouble with her eyes and in spite of glasses and medical care her sight continued to fail. It was discovered she had cataracts on both of her eyes. Several times while out of doors she became lost and had to be led back to the house. All sewing, etc., had to be forgotten and meal time was difficult as she couldn’t see what was on her plate. She was very brave about it and the only time I ever heard her break down was when her new grandchildren, Ellen Lind and Clay Toyn, were brought home and she was unable to see their features. She underwent surgery in Ogden on June 10, 1943 on her left eye but this operation was not successful and as a result her sight was gone permanently in that eye.
As the right eye became ready for surgery, they were in quite a dilemma as to what they should do after the failure of the other operation. They were advised to go to the west coast and have the surgery performed, so they went to the Presiding Bishop, LeGrande Richards, for advice. He advised them to go to Doctor Roland Merrill, a son of Apostle Merrill, at the LDS hospital in Salt Lake. They did this and on October 25, 1944 the operation was performed which was successful. The result was perfect sight in her right eye and she was eventually able to read, crochet, sew and all other things she had enjoyed doing before.
In the spring of 1945 she and Effie went to San Francisco to see her son, Alfred who was ill in the southern pacific hospital. He had been there for about six months. He died on May 15, 1945 and Rhea, his wife, Ellen and Effie accompanied the body to Grouse Creek where the funeral was held. The burial was in the Tremonton, Utah cemetery.
In November 1945 Charles and Ellen moved to the Johnson ranch in Nevada, between Wells and Montello, where Charles had secured a government job pumping water with large diesel motors, to the Wendover Air Force base‑‑a distance of forty miles. They spent three and one half years there with an occasional weekend visit home.
Late in 1954 Ellen began showing signs of not feeling well. She was losing weight and no longer enjoyed her meals. She went to Brigham and Ogden for examination and after X‑Rays were taken, it was found that her stomach was infested with cancer. The doctor didn’t hold too much hope for her recovery, so the family was called. On January 24, 1955 she underwent surgery at the Cooley hospital in Brigham, Utah with Doctor W. R. Merrill as surgeon. She was on the operating table for three and one-fourth hours, where a portion of her lower bowel was removed. She rallied for a while but in a couple of days began getting worse.
She died the night of January 28, 1955 with all her family present. The funeral was on February 2, 1955 in the Grouse Creek ward chapel and burial was in the Grouse Creek cemetery. There were many beautiful floral offerings. The day was terribly cold and windy with lots of snow. The Relief Society served hot food to a large group of family and friends at the family home following the services.
Ellen had a rare sense of humor and was known for her kindness, dependability, honesty, and many other qualities which endeared her to both young and old alike. God bless her memory. She was a wonderful mother.
By Cora Toyn Lind