William Charles Kimber

William Charles Kimber was born on April 8, 1890 and was the oldest of eight children, five brothers and three sisters. One of his sisters died in infancy.  He was born on the Kimber Ranch at Grouse Creek, Utah, in an old log cabin. The remains of that old cabin still remain today.

His father, William James Kimber, came directly from England at the age of twelve. He purchased land that became the Kimber Ranch from the railroad. He married Jemima Tanner who was from the Grouse Creek area and together they raised seven children. William (Bill), Thomas E. (Ted), Joseph A. (Joe), Alvin and Howard, Clara Ann and Bertha Caroline.

Bill, as he was called, helped his father build the main house at the Kimber Ranch in 1918.

First Grouse Creek Basketball Team – 1911
Front Row: Alma Toyn, Oren Wilson, George Paskett
Back Row: Glen Jorgenson, William C. Kimber, Clarence Richins, Leman Jorgensen

He was a geological surveyor in the Lake Tahoe area for the railroad and later used his knowledge  to set corner boundaries and find elevations for maps around the Grouse Creek area.

He and his brothers contracted for the railroad to haul lead/silver ore out of the Delno mine to the Crittendon Reservoir which was about twenty miles north of Montello, Nevada. He had his own team of horses and each winter they would haul the ore to the Crittendon Reservoir then haul water from there back to the mine in 55 gallon barrels. In the winter they would use a sleigh. At the half way point was Granite Creek, Bill and his brothers would stay all night then resume their journey the next day.

Bill married Bertha McCuistion in 1921 at the age of 30 in the Salt Lake Temple. This was considered rather old in those days, but Bill had served a mission in New Zealand for the LDS church where he also coached the champion football team. He also served in World War I.

He and Bertha were married for over 50 years and celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in Montello, Nevada. They raised five children, one daughter and four sons. Barbara, Kay, Jack, Bryce and Merrill.

William C. Kimber on a Grain Binder

Bill  purchased the ranch when his father died. None of the brothers or sisters wanted the ranch, so he bought their shares. While on the ranch, Bill and his family built a prosperous operation. They would plant two acres of potatoes that resulted in 40 to 50 ton of potatoes. He would sell them to the small communities in the area and always kept enough for themselves and seed for the next year.

After a hard freeze during the winter, Bill and his son, Merrill, would hitch up the horses to the wagon and make a trip to the reservoir that was behind the house and chip ice, load it in the wagon, then take it to a special house built to save ice. The ice was covered with sawdust to preserve it. The ice was used in the ice box in the summer because electricity and refrigerators were not available at that time. Since the Kimber boys did not like warm milk , they very often would put ice chips into their milk to keep it cold. This Kimber tradition is still in the family today. We still drink milk with ice in it so that it is good and cold.

Bertha & Bill Kimber

Bill was an accomplished carpenter and used his skills on many occasions during his life. He remodeled his home in Montello where he and Bertha lived after he retired from the ranch. He helped build several houses in the Grouse Creek area and also helped build the sandstone LDS church in Grouse Creek. When Bill died on March 15, 1983, at the age of 92, his was the last funeral to be held in the sandstone church. It was torn down and replaced by a new LDS church.

Bill was a poet. He wrote a poem called, “The Old Apple Tree” which is in memory of the apple tree planted by his mother next to the log cabin where he was born. It is still there and bears apples. He wrote in his diaries every evening for more than 40 years. All of the important events during his life are recorded.

He is loved by his family, friends, and the community. He and Bertha are buried together at the Grouse Creek Cemetery where many other family members rest.