of John Moss (1820-1884)
and his son Joseph Moss (1850-1934)
Had you been born as late as the
year 1900, even, you could have walked down the lane which runs between what is
now the Larrence Parkin home and his cabinet shop in Woods Cross, Utah, to the
top of a slight bluff and a little to your left would have been able to see what
remained of the "dug-out" in which your grandfather, Joseph Moss, was
In the story of the life of great
grandmother, Mary Elisabeth Snyder Wood, I have told you how the John Moss
family came along to Utah with the Daniel Wood Fancily and that they remained in
Salt Lake, City until after the death of their third child, Elizabeth, occurred
on 19th of July 1849. As soon as John and Rebecca Moss decided to make their
home in the North Canyon Ward, or Sessions Settlement, they squatted on a
portion of land just south and a little to the west of Daniel Wood. Since it
required time to get logs out of the canyon for a more permanent abode, and
since John needed to plant what crops he could for food, he made a temporary
shelter in the brow of the hill at the location previously described. John lined
the dug-out with split rock. These rock were not laid in cement as we do now
days, but held together fairly well witty a mud mortar. With the sides and back
rocked up, poles could be laid across from wall to wall and then willows and
branches covered over the poles. Earth was shoveled on top of the willows to a
depth of about one foot or more. The floor remained treaded earth and a blanket
or wagon cover served as a door. Joseph's mother, Rebecca, was happy to make her
bed in this shelter. It was indeed better than the wagon box which had served as
"home" for so long. John hurried to complete this shelter for Rebecca
by the time son Joseph was born, l0 August 1850. He is said to be the second
white child born in this locality.
Moss & Rebecca Wood
Joseph's father, John, had learned from
his father-in-law, Daniel Wood, the value of fertile earth and so was happy with
his homestead. Rebecca made no complaint as to the facilities granted her; but
assisted in every way to help establish a home. John got out the firewood and
logs from the canyon as soon as possible and built a small log home on top of
the rise in the ground. Many things happened in this little log cabin that would
have been of interest to us; but other than the birth of other members of the
family we haven't much of a record. The fireplace at one end served for warmth
and cooking as well as light by night. Rebecca did not complain because the
floor was of the good earth for quite a while before John hard time to lay a
floor of split timber.
At this time of the history of Utah,
Indians traveled back and forth as they hunted and fished. They soon learned
that they would be given food if they asked for, or sometimes demanded it. One
day when John and Rebecca went into Salt Lake to take care of some business they
left Joseph at home with his sister Mary. For reasons which we are unable to
understand, Indians were very desirous of owning a white child. It didn't take
the Indians who called at John Moss home that day„ long to realize that the
children were at home alone. They asked for food and then decided they would the
little Joseph. Away ran Mary to the neighbors to get some help. By the time the
neighbors arrived the Indians were gone, leaving Joseph crying for his sister.
We have been told that John Moss,
brought livestock to Utah with him but there in no record of the exact number.
However, we know that he appreciated their value and took care of their
increase. As soon ate: Joseph and his brother Daniel here old enough to help
with the care of the animals they were assigned this responsibility. Many of the
neighbor had brought stock with them. also, and so the boys of the different
families were given turns at the herding. In the spring they found forage on the
hills south of the settlement but in the fall the cattle were taken to the
Jordan River Bottom land. Joseph's scholastic training suffered because of these
assignments. Sometimes he didn't, attend at all. Although he received but little
school room training he became a good reader and could figure the answer to a
problem in his head as fast as most could by writing it out. He always realized
that this, part of his education was not on a par with others, so made no
attempt to display what he did know.
The family food and clothing depended
mostly on products from the livestock and Joseph realized his responsibility in
helping. The boys had fun at their herding. They found nestings of the birds,
played games, learned to swim as well as to ride their ponies. There were
seasons when the crops failed that they were hungry enough to dig roots and pick
wild berries to satisfy their hunger. Food wasn't purchased at a corner grocery
store in those days.
At first grandfather John used these
public domains for the forage of his stock. Joseph assisted in getting out the
logs and poles with which they enclosed a space for corralling at time of
branding and searing. A log house was built at this enclosure which was located
on the property where the Orchard Ward Chaple, South Davis, Stake, now stands.
After the shearing the wool was taken to Beck's Hot Springs where it was washed
in the warm water. But the time cane later on when it became necessary to
purchase this property, due to the increase in population in the vicinity. On
Page 786 of Davis County Deeds you will find that on 24 January 1880 John Moss
bought forty acres of land from the Union Pacific Railroad Company. The corral
and house previously mentioned were located on this forty acres which had been
granted to the Railroad Company as is customary in laying railroads.
The Lord blessed the John Moss Family
in more ways than one. By 1857 three more sons had been born, namely, John Hugh
born in 1852, William born 1855 and Moroni born 1857. John knew that his family
needed a lager home, so this time he built a two story brick edifice. Just what
year he completed it we have no record, but feel quite certain that at least
Rebecca Jane born 1860, Ellen born l862, and Nephi born 1863 must have first
seen the light of day in this structure.
John Moss continued to do his part for
the upbuilding of the community. The first little combination school and church
house used by the South District of the North Canyon Ward was used by his family
on various occasions. He helped construct the second community hall and as his
boys grew they learned to assist with community projects. They held membership
in the North Canyon Ward but were given responsibilities in the South District.
Grandfather John was set apart as Presiding Elder of the South District but we
do not have the date of this ordination. There were at least three others who
preceded him in this office. We are sure that Joseph witnessed the burial of
several members of the North Canyon Ward in the little cemetery just across the
street south of the present South Bountiful Chapel. It has been established as
the second burial plot in the State of Utah. In it were laid to rest not only
church members but members of parties traveling to the North West Territory.
On 25 March John Moss took unto himself
another wife. He and Rebecca had spent many hours making this decision; but,
Rebecca gave her consent in order that John could be the recipient, of the
blessing's promised those who entered this covenant, Emma Alexander, a lovely
English convert, was the lady of his choice. Together, the two families lived in
the read brick house in peace and harmony. On 26 November 1866 Rebecca gave
birth to a daughter who they named Alice and on 8 January 1867 Emma was granted
her first child, a son, who she named Davis.
From time to time members of the
various settlements were called on to send wagons and provisions to the Platte
River to sustain and assist those who were poorly equipped for their westward
journey to Utah. In the summer of 1867 a group of wagons were outfitted from the
Sessions Settlement, or Bountiful as it is now called. Joseph went along with
this group, driving the team of oxen which drew the wagon of supplies
contributed by his father and some other of his, neighbors.
Very early in the livestock raising
business John Moss and his next door neighbor, Orin Hatch, found it to their
advantage to combine their herds, thus forming the Moss and Hatch Company. It
was not long until others recognized the benefit of the combination and appealed
to John and Orin to be permitted to Join them. Of a consequence the "Big
T" Livestock Company was organized. Now the boys were given real
assignments in managing the stock, both sheep and cattle. Handling live stock is
strenuous work and calls for ability and strength. Much of the time Joseph and
his brothers were extremely weary after their work of the day or week. The
cattle of most of the families in the community were generally cared for apart
from the sheep and eventually the dairy stock was separated from the beef
cattle. In 1869 John Benson, Joseph Moss., John E. Hatch, and William Moss drove
the first herd of beef cattle to Skull Valley to range. With the increase of the
herds; came the necessity of finding forage. Having investigated the advantages
of such a move, the dairy herds ware driven to silver Creek and Parley's Park
for the summer and returned to the homes in the fall. The Atkinson, Pace, Moss,
Hatch, Brown families were quick to recognize the [value] of this move and filed
on and bought land in this locality for a permanent location for grazing. Each
of these families, erected a mill, log building with corrals and other necessary
outbuildings for their project. The homes were put in a group close to each
other. The little log hut in which Joseph spent many a day and night as he
helped with this part of the family work is still standing (1952). It is encased
in a larger frame structure on the same location. Here at
Silver'Creek the families made butter
and cheese to exchange for clothing or farm equipment as was needed by them so
that the wives and daughters came in for their share of there, also.
The road through Weber Canyon was in
constant need of repair. Joseph was sometimes sent to help with his father's,
assignment in its maintenance. When President Young learned that it Was up to
him to build the branch railroad from Salt Lake to Ogden in 1869 he proceeded in
his systematic way to have the survey made and the construction put under way.
John Moss much concerned, as were other members of this; community, to learn
that their farms would be included in the line of survey. At this time Joseph
was about nineteen years old, and had had many experiences; but to witness the
first train making its initial run from Ogden to Salt Lake as he stood in his
own door yard was something new and interesting to him.
In February 1871 Joseph's brother,
Daniel, had married and was very happy in his own home. It wasn't long until
Joseph decided that he, too, should take this step. Daniel and Melvina Rushton
and Joseph and Sarah Phoebe Sessions were very closely associated and had much
in common as young folk together. So it was decided that 18 December 1871 should
be the wedding date. Joseph had been baptized 4 June 1859 and was faithful in
his, Priesthood assignments from then on. He and Sarah were ready to receive
their endowments and were married in the House of the Lord.
Moss & Sarah Phoebe Sessions
Now, Joseph was quite proud of the lady
of his choice. Her parents, David and Phoebe Foss Sessions were both well
educated and were first settlers in the Bountiful settlement. Sarah's education
had not been neglected since her mother was one of the first school teachers of
Sessions Settlement. From her mother she had learned many home making skills and
from her father, who had received a partial medical education before coming to
Utah, she learned much that was useful in the care of her children.
Joseph purchased a bit of ground, part
of which was in the school section. It was located on the main Woods Cross road
about a mile south of the South Bountiful Center. While he was erecting a sill
adobe home on the property he and Sarah lived in, part of Daniel's home. The
house was not completed when they moved into it. It was here that all of their
family from Phoebe to Ellen were born. Of course, by the time the twins came,
more rooms had been added. Joseph was very, busy fencing his land, digging a
well, working at the brickyard for extra cash and helping with the Moss brothers
live stock projects. At first he obtained firewood from the canyons but later he
hauled coal from Coalville. It was a happy home although there were few
luxuries. Joseph and Sarah were good managers and met their obligations as they
There was much to laugh at and
sometimes things to cry about in this family which consisted of Sarah Phoebe, 28
March 1873; Mary Rebecca, 9 August 1875; Joseph William, 15 Dec. 1877; Olive
Cerdenia, 25 Aug. 1881; Cora and Carrie, 8 Sept. 1884; Calvin W., 31 Dec. 1886;
David Sessions, 4 May 1889; and Ellen, 11 Jan. 1892.
At a special meeting held in the North
Canyon Ward, Wednesday 20 June 1877 the Ward was divided into three separate
Wards, namely ; East, West and South Bountiful. William Brown was sustained as
Bishop of the South Bountiful Ward. The people of South District were happy,
with this transaction. No longer would they need to walk or go. by team the long
distance to their meetings in Bountiful. But it would also mean a greater number
of responsibilities, and assignments for the members. In the early part of 1878
the First Presidency of the Church sent out a request to the Wards to send to
them & representative woman who could comprehend the importance of the
construction of the robes worn by the Priesthood in their Prayer Circle. Since
Sarah had had much experience in helping her mother to make the burial clothing
for the dead of the North Canyon Ward, it was she whom Bishop Brown chose for
this calling. Now, son William was but a baby at this time but she responded to
the calling and on the appointed day went to home of Precinda Kimball in Salt
Lake where she saw and examined the original patterns which were designed by the
Prophet Joseph Smith. After receiving instructions as to the purpose of the
articles each representative was given a pattern cut from the original. Sarah
cherished these patterns and in turn helped cut, construct and sew mostly by
hand, the first twenty four suits used by the South Bountiful Melchizedek
Priesthood in their prayer circle. Joseph assisted his wife by baby tending and
furnishing the transportation to the several homes while the construction was
going on. Since he was one of those chosen for this circle he left what he was
doing each Thursday, to attend to the ecclesiastical duties of the time. It was
at these meetings that problems of the community were discussed and divine
guidance was sought in their solution.
Joseph and Sarah were greatly concerned
when the Diphtheria epidemic came in 1878 but fortunately their children
survived. Sarah was called to assist in many homes not so fortunate, however.
She helped prepare bodies for burial and made clothing for the occasion for
several children. Joseph was pleased that his wife could be of assistance to
others in time of need. Often he helped her with the making of home made
remedies for the ailments of the family. He learned what herbs to bring in from
the fields for her teas and poultices. You see, there just wasn't any drug store
from which to purchase these things.
On 25 July 1878 Sarah was chosen to act
as Secretary for the first Retrenchment Association organized in the South Ward.
This organization was the forerunner of the present Young Ladies Mutual
Improvement Association. And Joseph was called to help with the Sunday School
and the Young Men's Literary Association and his Priesthood assignments; so that
each helped the other as the callings came.
In March 1882 Joseph was saddened by
the death of his mother and in August of 1884 his father passed away. At this
time Joseph in his turn was given a blessing by his father as well as. his
portion of the estate.
The arrival of twin daughters at the
home of Joseph and Sarah Moss created much comment in the community on 8
September 1884. They were christened Cora and Carrie. It become Phoebes
responsibility to care for Carrie while Mary tended Cora. Many times Sarah took
the twins with her as she visited her Relief Society district. She had no twin
baby buggy, so her companion carried one child as Sarah carried the other.
About, the time son David was born, 4
Mar 1889 the heads of several of the families in the community met to discuss
the project of combining all of the community herds of livestock. It was not
until 1891 that the necessary steps hand been taken to complete this
organization which was registered as the Deseret Live Stock Company, with
Joseph's brother John Hugh, as President. Joseph entered his, holdings into the
company and thus became a Stockholder. For many years, he and his best friend,
John E. Hatch, transferred supplied to the Skull Valley and Wasatch Ranges for
the ranches established there.
Once Grandmother Sarah described the
lunch which Joseph and John carried in a strong sack and a tin pail. There was
home made bread, cheese, and butter, dried fruit, wild berry jams, home cured
meat and sometimes eggs. Sometimes the food froze solid on the way. Grandfather
Joseph was considerate of his horses on these cold winter trips. He warmed the
shoulder pads and bits before placing them on the horses.
But now the time arrived for the
breaking of the family. Just home from a mission was Jonathan H. Hale as he
claimed Mary for his Wife, 28 April 1897. Two years later found Phoebe married
to Edwin Porter 1 Feb. 1899. Although Olive was but seventeen when she married
Ancel Clark Hatch, 13 Aug. 1899, she had much experience in the art of home
making by her work at home.
Shortly after Olive's marriage,
Joseph's brother, William, purchased a farm in West Bountiful, built a large
home and offered his residence in South Bountiful to Joseph. After due
consideration Joseph and Sarah bought this property where stood a lovely two
story home of seven rooms located just south and adjoining the present South
Bountiful School house. Here the family enjoyed themselves with the extra living
quarters as well as the addition of a culinary water system which Joseph and her
brother David built. But the excitement and joy of the new home turned to
anxiety when word was received that the oldest son and brother William, had met
with an accident at the Robert Moss saw mill on Hillyard Flat (Wasatch). Joseph
and Sarah were deeply concerned when it became necessary for the amputation of
his foot. But William had lived a clean life and it soon mended so that on 13
Aug, 1902 he and his sweetheart,
Lillian Aretta Porter were married. They made their home at Joseph's first
Then on 27 Mary 1908 Sylvanus Nelson
claimed daughter Cora for his bride. After a short residence in Bountiful they
left to make their home in Gunnison, Utah. But sorrow, came to them by the death
of their two oldest daughters from Diptheria and due to crop failures they
returned to South Bountiful to make a permanent home.
About the time than Cora was married a
call came for Calvin to act as a missionary. Joseph had not been privileged to
go on a mission, so was happy to assist his son in this calling. Calvin was
assigned to the Southern States, received his endowments 9 Oct . 1908, and
departed shortly thereafter. Shortly after his return he married Olive Pearl
Boulton, 9 Oct, 1912.
Daughter Ellen had just finished her
high school work in 1908, also, and was desirous of continuing her education.
With the extra expense of Calvin's mission and Cora's wedding outfit, Joseph
could not see his way to grant Ellen her wish at this time. The year 1908 seems
to have been the one of the most changes in this. family since at this time
daughter Carrie placed her application for training to become a nurse. During
her training she was at home part of the time but the big house was taking on an
air of desertion. No more the rooms rang with laugher as the children played
together. No more were they bringing their playmates home or getting ready for
parties:. Son David was employed by the Deseret Livestock Company, so was away
from home most of the time. A quietness settled on the home which was not to the
liking of Joseph and Sarah.
Then in 1909 David decided to homestead
in the Dry Land section of
southeastern Idaho so air he went with old Nell and Lady pulling a few
necessities for the adventure. The counsel and advice of his mother and father
returned to him constantly as he wrapped himself in the good outing flannel
quilts his mother had made for him. Then on Nov. 5, 1913 he and his wife to be
went to the House of the Lord and were married. He had
chosen Nins Folsom of Salt Lake City to
share his life with him. One week later daughter Ellen followed suit and was
married 12 Nov. 1913 to Orin Theo Cook.
At intervals Carrie was at home as she
continued with her work as a nurse but Joseph was not a young man by now. He was
nearing the three score and ten year mark. His health was waning and
consequently son Calvin and his family came to care for the farm and made their
home in the south portion of the big house.
On 26 Feb. 1919 Carrie closed her
nursing career as she married Ezra Thurgood and went to her future home in
Much time was spent by Joseph and Sarah
from now on in welcoming their grandchildren as they came to visit. They scolded
one another and laughed at the proceeding. Joseph continued with his Church
assignments. We can almost hear Grandmother asking him if he had a clean
handkerchief as she tied his tie as he made ready for his visiting teaching
work. He only asked for release from this responsibility after 55 years. of
faithful service. Aside from his work in the Sunday School, M.I.A., and Ward
Teaching Group, he also had given time to Home Mission and Elders Quorum
responsibilities. He was a High Priest for many years before his death.
The first death in the family came at
the passing of daughter Olive, 13 Oct. 1922, but was met with faith and courage
by Joseph and Sarah.
Plans for celebrating the fiftieth
anniversary of the marriage of this couple were disrupted by the serious illness
of Joseph. He regained his health, however, and lived to witness the sixtieth
anniversary of this date. It did not take place in the large home, however,
since fire in July 1931 destroyed the home. A
small house was erected of the remains of the former one. Joseph and
Sarah never seemed content in this new home. It was strange to them.
Then Sarah lay helpless in the old
fashioned bed with its high head board. Joseph either sat by her side and held
her hand or wandered aimlessly about the farm. She closed her eyes in sleep 4
Aug. 1933. How patiently Joseph waited for the day that he might join her.
Daughter Phoebe came to care for him. To him 31 Dec. 1934 was a joyous day.
Again he was with his sweetheart of many years. Side by side they rest in the
Bountiful City Cemetery, And thus came to a close the useful life of one of
God's chosen men. May his children and their posterity ever conduct themselves
in a manner which will bring honor to the good which he made every effort to
Written by Aunt Nina F. Moss
Family Picture - not all persons identified
Front left appears to be Sarah Phoebe Sessions,
Front center apperas to be her mother: Phoebe Carter Foss.
Can anyone identify others?
Thought to be photos of Hugh Moss and
Elizabeth Rushton of England
Parents of John Moss.