David Ralph Tanner

I, David Ralph Tanner, was born on April 25, 1889 at West Fork of Grouse Creek, later called Etna, Box Elder County, Utah, son of Valison and Amanda Morgan Tanner. I was the oldest of three children, myself, Valison and Olive.

My first recollection of importance goes back to my school days and crossing the Lucas field to get to the old rock schoolhouse in Etna. The meadow was most generally covered with water, which made it difficult to get through.

There were about fifteen of us children going to school and we used to have a good time together and was just like one big family.

Etna School
Back Row: Warren Jones, Tom Warburton, Valison Tanner, Ralph Tanner, Mary Simpson, Edith Lucas, Henry Blackburn, Amy Warburton, Maude Lucas – Front Row: John (Jack) Jones, Hazel Jones, Emma Lucas, Jennie Douglas, Pauline Warburton, May Douglas, Mark Warburton

Marinda Freeburn was my first and second grade teacher at school. One day I remember Tom Warburton and myself was playing in school. Tom was tickling me and I was laughing. The teacher was going to hit me but I ducked and the teacher hit Tom and peeled the skin off his nose.

The next thing I remember was my eighth birthday. I received a new pair of shoes. Of course I was very proud of them, as children didn’t have as much in those days as now. It was my birthday present.

My Dad was planting trees that day and I went out to help him and to show him my new shoes, when somehow I stumbled over a tree and broke it off at the top of the ground. This nearly spoiled the day. I was scolded and this ended my tree planting for that day.

Well, we had a bunch of horses in a corral so I went and caught the bell mare and went for a ride, although I was still thinking of my new shoes and the scolding I got.

Olive, Ralph & Valison Tanner Jr

I was always a lover of good horses and took pride in taking care of them, and was happy when I could be around them.

My mother took as much pride in taking care of us boys as I did with horses, such as mending our clothes, seeing that we washed our hands and faces and combed our hair before we came to the table to eat.

Mending our clothes generally meant a big blue denim patch on the seat of our pants of which you could see at about a fourth of a mile away. We didn’t enjoy those patches. At the bottom of the field there was a hill with a granite slide, a perfect fit for our blue denims, so it didn’t take many slides down to do away with Mother’s hard work (her patches).

When I was eight years old, I was baptized on September 4, 1897 in the Etna reservoir where the water comes out, and confirmed at Grouse Creek on September 5, 1897.

I went to school at Etna until I completed the seventh grade. I helped with the work on the ranch in the summer while school was out. When I got out of school at Etna, I went to Grouse Creek and stayed with my sister, Emily, and went through the eighth grade. The teacher was James Porter.

I worked on the ranch and helped ride for cattle and horses for some time.

In late September 1906, a tragic event took place in my life. I was only seventeen years of age. My father met with an accident and had his neck broken. He fell from a load of hay. He was paralyzed from his neck down and was rendered helpless. He lived until November 13, 1906, then passed away.

Tanner Ranch – Death Valley

After Dad’s death myself and brother Val, with the help of my two older brothers, Joseph and Jesse Barlow took care of the ranch for about two years. Mother then leased the ranch to a son-in-law, Dell Hart.

When I was nineteen, Eddie Frost and I went to Park City, Utah to find work. Eddie came home but I stayed and went to work at the mines called the Daley West and the Daley Judd. I stayed in Park City about two years and while there I lived with Uncle David Morgan, and also with a family, Mary and Henry Hales.

While in Park City, I attended church regularly. I remember one time they asked me to talk in church. After the meeting several people came and asked when I had been on a mission. That made me feel good to think I had done that well.

After two years away I came back home and we took over the ranch again.

At one time I went to Idaho and worked and helped build the Milner Dam. I was there several months, then I returned home and continued working at the ranch, as we had some cattle and horses and I did most of the riding and taking care of the stock while my brother, Val, worked on the ranch.

On November 19, 1914, I was married to Edith Chloe Kimber in the Salt Lake Temple, by Adolph Madson. We lived at the ranch as Mother and Olive had moved into a new brick house at Grouse Creek in 1913.

The winter after we were married, we went to lots of dances that were held in the old rock schoolhouse. Folks would come from Grouse Creek, Montello, Nevada and Lucin. We would have some really lively dances and lots of fun.

We lived in the old log house that was mother’s until we built a new two-roomed house with a large basement, then we moved into it the later part of September and added another room later.

On October 19, 1915, our first child, a daughter, was born and we named her Therma. She was born at Etna, Utah.

Besides the ranch, we bought a large field known as Death Valley Field that required much fencing and clearing of the land, and there was a lot of meadow, so we stacked some hay every summer. One day when my brother-in-law, Raymond Kimber, and I were plowing and clearing ground, Ray was driving the team while I was broadcasting the seed grain by hand, a pet deer came near me and I spatted my hands to scare him away but he charged me and knocked me down, goring me in the side and tearing a gash in my groin. I grabbed his horns and held him until Ray could tie up the team and come to my assistance. Then Ray took me to the ranch. George Blanthorn, who was a trained nurse, came and dressed the wound each day until I was able to go to work again.

Our second child, another daughter, was born on July 31, 1918 and we named her Florence. She was born at Etna, Utah.
Thrashing Machine: George Paskett, Willington Richins, Newell Richins, Moroni Tanner, Uknown, Uknown, Orson Richins – Haystack: Unknown, Ralph Tanner, Valison Tanner Jr., Uknown, Sidney Paskett – Ground: Lorenzo Richins, Wilford Richins, Albert F. Richins and Phillip Paskett

At this time we had what was called the Joseph Barlow meadow leased and that meant more work stacking hay, building a reservoir for storing water for irrigation purposes. We later bought the meadow. With this meadow, the Death Valley field and ranch we raised enough feed to take care of our livestock through the winters.

Ralph & Chloe Tanner

Our next two children, both girls, were born, Edna on January 6, 1920 and Berniece, born on June 2, 1924. Both were born at Etna, Box Elder County, Utah. We now had four little girls and surely enjoyed them.

As the school had been discontinued at Etna at this time I moved the family to Grouse Creek so the older girls could go to school. They would stay during the winter and moved to the ranch for the summer work.

I must say that along with the ranch work there were wild horses to break and work, as we didn’t have tractors and such as they do today. Now to me, breaking horses was my pride and joy. I was really pleased to see a nice horse all saddled and bridled, ready to ride. It was not an easy task to ride those bucking broncos, but work that I surely enjoyed.

Our next two children were boys. Our first boy, Ralph Dean was born on August 19, 1928 at the Dee Hospital in Ogden, Utah. Our next boy was born on September 22, 1932 at the Dee Hospital, Ogden, Utah, Weber County. We named him Clarence DeLoy and that completed our family.

In October or November of 1932 Val and I bought about 1,200 head of cattle from Idaho that made it so we had to go over to Raft River country where we could get feed for the cattle. In August 1933, we moved to a ranch on the Raft River and in September I moved my family to Brigham City, Utah so the children could attend school. I stayed on at the ranch and fed the cattle all winter. In the spring of 1934 when school was out the family moved back out to the ranch. We did this for three of four years, moving in for school and out for the summer. Then we sold most of the cattle.

In late 1937 or early 1938 we leased the Morris place at Etna, Utah and I lived there for a year.

Some time later we bought what was the Hart place, a small homestead ranch that was near the Death Valley field south and west of Etna, Utah. We lived there in the summer and the family went to Brigham City for school in the winter.

One time I leased the place to my brother, Val, and went to Brigham City and worked at the Bushnell General Army Hospital. I was a caretaker for the grounds for some time, and at one time I was guard of the prisoners. I helped plant most of the shade trees that are on the grounds. I worked there a little more than two years.

I decided I had moved around enough in my years so I disposed of all my property at Grouse Creek and Etna and moved to Brigham City and bought a home so I could be with my family more.

After moving to Brigham City, where I could be closer to my church work, I became very active attending to my Priesthood duties. I was Treasurer of the High Priest Quorum for several years. I was a Home Teacher and I really enjoyed doing temple work and did a lot of work in the Temple as long as I was able to go.

In the winter of 1954 and 1955 I worked with Karl James, an experimental student for the Utah State Agricultural College of Logan, Utah. We were experimenting with different kinds of feed for cattle. We camped in a trailer house out on the Hogup Range in Western Box Elder County near the cattle. It was a very good experience and I enjoyed the work with the cattle very much. Some Professors from the college came out about once a week and checked the progress of how the experiment was working. They were well pleased with our work.

I worked for Brigham City for about two years, then I worked as City Water master for seven years, from 1957 to 1964, and made many friends while on that job.

(The rest of the history written by his wife, Chloe)

In 1959 while Ralph was water master, he was hit by a car and the city truck he was driving was flipped on its top. He was put in the Cooley Hospital for a few days, suffering bruises and shock.

About 1963 and 1964 Ralph had two major operations and never entirely recovered. From then on his health was failing until he became almost helpless and he had to have constant care, which made it so I had to be with him all the time. I was so thankful I was able to care for him when he needed me. He spent a lot of time working in his yard, and fixing his rose garden, of which he was so very proud. He helped his neighbors and children keep their yards cleaned and trimmed.

At one time in his later years Ralph became very interested in honey bees by going with his son-in-law, Bill Romer, to take care of his bees, and gather his honey.

There would be times when he would feel some better and would enjoy visiting with his friends, relatives and neighbors in the last years.

The last two or three months of his life, Ralph was really helpless but never complained and was very patient.

On November 9, 1967 with all his family at his bedside, David Ralph Tanner passed quietly away at the age of seventy-eight years, six months and fifteen days. Surviving him were his wife, six children, twenty-one grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, one brother and one sister, many friends and relatives.

A viewing was held at the Blaine Olsen Mortuary on Sunday evening, November 12, 1967 and 475 friends and relatives far and near signed the register. Many were there that failed to sign it.

The funeral was held in the Brigham City 8th ward chapel on November 13, 1967 and he was buried in the Brigham City Cemetery.