Joseph A. Kimber was born on April 10, 1893 at the Kimber Ranch, twelve miles south of Grouse Creek, Utah. He was the third child and son of William James Kimber and Jemima Mumford Tanner.
Little is known of Joseph’s early childhood, although he kept a journal from 1929 on, he never wrote his own personal history. His early childhood was spent on the ranch. Bill, his brother, said they had some schooling at the ranch with a “live-in” teacher. Later he went to the school in Grouse Creek, according to school records, completing the eighth grade. He was nicknamed “Joe” or “Joeby.”
Joe had five brothers and two sisters: William Charles, Thomas Edward, Bertha Caroline (who died at age five), Clara Ann, Lawrence J., Alvin, and Howard.
Joe learned to work, for they had many chores with cattle, sheep, horses, pigs, chickens, hay to harvest and irrigate, a good sized fruit orchard, and a garden.
Joe met and courted Bertha Taylor while attending church activities at the Stake Center in Almo, Idaho. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple on April 8, 1920.
Joe and Bertha lived with his mother and father on the ranch until September 1, 1920. The Kimber Brothers bought the Morris Ranch in Etna, so Joe and Bertha moved to that ranch.
Eula was born on January 2, 1921 and Viril J. was born on March 5, 1922, on this ranch. Lawrence, Joe’s brother, and his new bride, Nola Richins, came to live in part of the house in 1922.
In 1923 the brothers defaulted on a payment and they lost the Morris Ranch. Joe and Bertha moved back to Kimber ranch. Joe’s father and mother moved to their “town house,” a log home in Grouse Creek. Joe and Bertha shared the ranch house with Joe’s brother Ted and his wife, Emma Barlow. Ted and Emma had two rooms on the north, Joe and Bertha had the kitchen, front room and the back bedroom. The upstairs bedroom was kept for guests at the ranch and for Joe’s parents, when they came back to the ranch.
Bill, Joe’s older brother, built a railroad tie home north of the ranch house for him and his wife, Bertha McCuistion.
On Friday, August 8, 1924, Joe had a bad accident. He and his brothers were finishing the haying process and had just taken a load of hay off the slip when something spooked the team of horses and they started to run. Joe was closer to the horses so he reached to pick up the reins and the front end of the slip hit the gate post. The slip was thrown around and it hit Joe in the face, knocking out a front tooth, breaking his nose and his upper jaw. He was unconscious from Friday until Tuesday.
Joe was taken to Lucin, Utah to catch the train to Ogden, Utah, where he would be taken to the hospital. The train was late so they had to wait in Lucin until 4:00 a.m. Bertha had been in Almo, Idaho, visiting her parents. By the time she received word of Joe’s accident and arrived at the ranch, they had already left with Joe for Lucin. Dr. Parades, a railroad doctor from Montello, waited at the ranch to take Bertha to Lucin with him.
Joe’s sister, Clara, and her husband, George E. Ballingham, were managing the hotel in Lucin, so they provided a place for Bertha and Joe until the train came. Bertha said the bedbugs were so bad that she sat up all the time.
They arrived at the hospital just as the sun was coming up. Joe was in the hospital for thirteen days. He told Bertha later that he didn’t experience any pain. It was a miracle, as the jaw went back into place without the doctor setting it. Brother Blanthorn administered to him at the ranch and promised him that he would be well and that his jaw would go back into place properly. Joe had a bridge put in where he lost the front tooth. The dentist did a beautiful job, so much so that you would never know it wasn’t his own tooth.
In the fall of 1926 Bertha and Joe decided to leave the “Company” business, and they moved to Salt Lake City, Utah. They lived on 1717 Atkin Avenue. Joe was a salesman for a cosmetic company, then he worked for Utah Power and Light.
Joe’s mother died on March 6, 1927, in the Dee Hospital in Ogden, Utah, with cancer. Joe’s father persuaded Joe and Bertha to move back to Grouse Creek to live in the “town house” with him. Bertha’s health wasn’t good at this time and Joe wanted to get back to Grouse Creek.
Joe and Bertha, with children, Eula and Viril, moved back to Grouse Creek in November 1927. They moved into the front two rooms of the log house. Joe’s father lived in the back two rooms. Lela was born on May 7, 1928 in the log house.
Joe did many odd jobs, whatever was available. He went with hay crews into Nevada during the summer. He helped get wood for heat and then helped saw it into burnable pieces. He killed and skinned jackrabbits, sending the pelts to Ogden for sale. In his journal he recorded: Bill and Ted killed 390 jackrabbits with poison and Joe skinned sixty two rabbits that afternoon on January 9, 1929. On January 18, 1929, he received a check of $14.18 for 130 rabbit skins. He worked with sheep shearing crews. He worked on road crews. He was ward custodian for several years. Besides cleaning the building, he provided wood for eight stoves. He worked on the railroad for a while. He managed the Grouse Creek Co-op for eleven years.
On December 26, 1932, Irvin Gerald was born in Ogden, Utah.
Joe’s father died on November 24, 1935. After the funeral, Joe and Bertha had the log house to themselves and their four children, which gave them more space to live in.
In 1940 the Kimber Brothers decided to sell their shares in the Company Ranch to their brother Bill. Each took cash, except Joe and he took his shares and traded them for a house and the lot that Bill built and owned south of the Post Office. When Joe and Bertha moved into this home, the boys sold the log house to Bob Paskett. Later Joe bought a pasture field from Sidney Paskett, located across from the Herb Tanner home.
In 1950 Joe and Bertha went back to Detroit to get them a new Plymouth car. By going to pick up the car, the dealer was able to give them a rebate on the sale price of delivery. This rebate gave them enough to pay for the trip. Automobile manufacturers do not give these rebates anymore, in this form.
John Runyan, Lela’s husband, offered Joe a good job in Denver, Colorado, so he decided to retire from the Co-op. Bertha and Joe moved to Denver on March 5, 1956. Eula, Viril and Lela were married at his time. Irvin was going to college in New Mexico. Joe and Bertha rented their home to Hattie and Val Tanner.
In Denver, Joe and Bertha took care of twenty nine apartments. Joe managed a hardware store for John, also.
While in Denver, Joe and Bertha were called on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They were interviewed and set apart on October 14, 1956, by Elder Elray Christiansen. They entered the mission home on November 7, 1956, from the Denver 5th ward. John and Lela sponsored their mission. At the mission home in Salt Lake they were given a special blessing by Elder Mark E. Petersen. They drove their car to Scranton, Pennsylvania of the Eastern States Mission for the first part of their mission.
On April 1, 1957 they left Scranton to go to the Peter Whitmer Farm near Waterloo, New York, to be custodians and proselyting missionaries in that area. On June 1, 1957 they were asked to remain on the farm to be guides to visitors, telling them the history and origin of the farm. They had 1,400 visitors.
Joe became very ill. When he went to the doctor, it was decided that he should return home, however, Joe died there at the Peter Whitmer Farm on October 9, 1957. Bertha learned later from the doctor that Joe had cancer.
Bertha was released from their mission. A funeral was held in Palmyra for the Saints of that area before the body was shipped to Ogden. Felt Mortuary picked up the body and casket at the Ogden Depot and took it to Grouse Creek for burial. A funeral was held in the Grouse Creek Ward Chapel and Joe was buried in the Grouse Creek Cemetery on October 13, 1957.
Joe was an honest, upright man. He loved his church and family. He served the Grouse Creek Ward in several capacities, but he was known mostly for his service as Ward Clerk. He held this position for twenty-seven years from May 1, 1930 to November 4, 1957.