Shared by Neola Clark
AGNES DEAN was born December 13,1898, in Woodruff, Utah, the tenth daughter, and eleventh child of John Cope Dean and Elizabeth Howard.
When she was five years old, she and her mother, who had been in poor health for several years, came to Blackfoot to be with her older sisters, as the family felt the mother would be better in their care. She remembered arriving on the train in a very bad snow storm.
The family came the following year and settled in the McDonaldville area. She and her sisters were assigned the task of helping to get the sage brush off the farm. They would pile it in high stacks and then light it at night. The children would then play around the huge bon fire, which was a delight to them.
Her father raised beautiful, big watermelons. However, the jack rabbits took a liking to them and would eat through half a melon and then leave it. The neighbors and children would have jack rabbit drives because they were so destructive to all the crops. The rabbits would be driven into a pen made of chicken wire in the corner of a field, then clubbed to death. This seems cruel, but it was necessary. Some people took them home to eat.
When Agnes started school two of her sisters were teaching there. Her first grade teacher was her sister, Julia. It was a long walk for them, but they did it every day except for exceptionally cold or stormy weather, when their father took them. All grades were held in one room. The older boys would torment the younger kids and try to scare them. She had two close friends, Aurora Harrington and Dorothy Cobbley.
The family lived in Groveland from 1912 to 1916 when John decided that farming was not for him, and he moved his family to Blackfoot where he entered the real estate business. Their home was near the railroad track, and Elizabeth soon became aware of the men who rode the railroad cars as tramps. They were always hungry and she fed them. Sometimes it became quite a problem.
Agnes remembered the event of her baptism. She wrote: "I remember when I became eight years of age, my birthday being the 13th of December. My parents decided it was too cold for me to be baptized, as the only place to baptize me was in the canal, so the next May my father took me to the Peoples' Canal and took me into the water to baptize me, which was quite an event and one I'll never forget. As we started home again, Father was afraid he had said the wrong prayer, and so we promptly went back and he did it all over again, and the water had not warmed up a bit the second time.
When Agnes was fifteen the family moved back to Groveland and she rode her bicycle to Blackfoot to attend high school.
The family home still stands near the canal. The church used to be just across the canal, and her mother baked bread for the sacrament for many years. She was sure to see they had a years' supply of the finest flour available, stored in a large wooden bin lined with tin. It was painted blue and occupied one whole corner of the small kitchen.
The home is a cherished memory for the many grandchildren. Grandpa Dean's birthday was on New Years Day, and a celebration always accompanied that day. In fact, some of us were along in years before realizing that every one was not celebrating Grandpa's birthday.
The family would gather at the small home, and it would be filled to overflowing. The sisters would try to exceed each other in their culinary arts, resulting in a memorable feast. There were lots of hugs and kisses, games to play, stories to tell, trees to climb and ice skating on the big canal. What a thrill!
Grandpa and Grandma did not have a well on their place for quite sometime, so when we would visit Grandma would always give us a pail and tell us to "go fetch some water from Sister Yancey's well. We always liked to do that as it meant walking across the small foot bridge across the canal--a really daring thing to do. Sister Yancey lived in a large brick home and her well was in a small house nearby, She was always there to greet us.
The pride and joy of the Deans in their later years were their gorgeous peonies, the start of which came from Bountiful, Utah, carried by Elizabeth in a dampened towel. She also brought "starts" of a grapevine, violets, which lined her front walk, a hop vine, which she carefully tended by dipping buckets of water from the canal, and throwing it up on the vine, which covered the front porch. A very effective air conditioner. The Locust trees in their yard and around the perimeter of their place offered welcome shade during hot summer days.
They always raised a big garden,, and in the fall would gather the corn that had ripened and shell it. Then during the winter Grandpa would 'parch" it for us. This consisted of putting it in the frying pan with a little bacon fat, placing it over the fire, and stirring or shaking it until it was nicely browned, then lightly salting it. It was truly delicious, and we were always anxious for him to treat us.
Grandma had her own special treats--namely dried apples, service berries, cookies, and round, white peppermints, which she always carried in her apron pocket. She would gather apples from the orchard and bring them to the house in her huge apron, peel them and core them and string them on a string to hang up to dry. They were very tasty in the winter.
She was noted for her knitting. She didn't even have to look at it as her hands flew back and forth. Not only did she provide the family with woolen socks (an absolute necessity in her time) but she added the trimmings for the home as well with lace curtain, doilies. and lace trimmed pillow cases.
She was a kind person, and very conservative, always reminding us to finish our food, and not to throw away the crusts as "You don't know who might come knocking at your door". She also admonished us to "waste not--want not".
Grandpa had a 'last' which was a device for repairing shoes. He always kept a good supply of leather on hand, and was adept at replacing a worn out sole, heel, or even a patch on a shoe, which he did for family and friends and neighbors.
I had a part time job and had saved enough money to buy a pair of red shoes with an open toe--very fashionable at that time. One evening I had gone to take fresh milk to Grandpa and Grandma and he noticed my beautiful red shoes. He said, "Good thunder, child. I have worked all my life to see that my family's feet were shod, and here you come with a brand new pair of shoes and a hole already in the toe!"
They were frugal people, cautioning us to "take care of your pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves."
A grandson, Darrell Wilson, recalls a hunting story told by Grandpa Dean. The family was in need of meat, and so Grandpa set out to get an elk. He soon spotted a small herd at the top of a ridge. One elk, the leader, stood out in front. He took careful aim and shot it. The rest of the herd turned and with one leading out they ran the opposite direction. He again, shot the leading elk, again they turned, with one leading out. With this method he was able to obtain several elk.
Grandpa and Grandma always considered Groveland their home. They are buried in the Groveland Cemetery, overlooking the countryside they loved. Several of their daughters and their families are also buried there.
The following story is condensed from a story written by Peggy Clark Oliver(Granddaughter)
Upon graduating from high school, Agnes was employed as a bookkeeper at the Blackfoot Mercantile Company. While working here, Agnes became reacquainted with a fellow employee, Charles Clarence Cox. It was the beginning of a unique romance and on Oct. 2, 1918, these two young people married in the Salt Lake Temple.
Agnes Cox recorded the two most significant events in their lives with these words: 0ur very wonderful little daughter, Neola was born on Sept 3, 1919, and then, in 1923, December 28th, along came our wonderful son, Clarence Orson, and I felt my life was about as complete and happy as any one could ask for."
Not content with being in the employment of others, Clarence pursued his entrepreneurial ambitions with the help of Agnes. In January of 1920 the couple began a truck line to Pocatello. There were, of course, no paved roads and the road wound around the hills east of Fort Hall, where the trucks were often stuck in the sand. Agnes kept the books for the trucking company.
In 1925 Clarence and Agnes and their two children moved to Twin Falls where they managed a grocery store for about a Year. They then returned to Blackfoot and shortly thereafter purchased a school bus and contracted for the McDonaldville-Rose bus route. When they purchased a second bus and contracted an addition route, Agnes began her career as a driver.
At that time, the school bus, like the mailman, came regardless of sleet, rain or snow. If the bus couldn't get through, the route was covered through the use of a sled and horses.
From the trucking and bus business, Clarence and Agnes moved quite naturally to a third concern...the automobile' business. During the darkest hours of the depression, in 1932, Clarence purchased an automobile dealership, featuring Dodge automobiles. In 1935 they pioneered Diamond T trucks in the area. Agnes was an active participant in those business concerns, serving as bookkeeper, parts manager and often journeying to Detroit to drive new automobiles back to Idaho.
In conjunction with the automobile dealership, Clarence and Agnes also operated an Insurance and Loan business, and Agnes met the qualifications to be a licensed insurance agent.
In 1941, Clarence and Agnes, in partnership with five other individuals, founded the Idaho Potato Starch Company. In 1951, Clarence and Agnes sold the auto dealer ship and devoted their time to the Insurance and Loan agency. A few years later, Clarence launched yet another business, Safety Savings and Loan.
These years were not only years of business growth, but of family growth as well. Clarence and Agnes saw their family expand with the marriage of their daughter, Neola to Carl W. Clark,. They welcomed a second daughter into their household when Clarence Orson (Bud) married LaRue Fackrell.
Agnes was always active in church positions. She was the stake Relief Society Visiting Teacher and Magazine Coordinator, and functioned for many years as the Coordinator of the Jr. Sunday School program.
In the years that followed those marriages there were six grandchildren, myself, and my brother, Wade, and Bud and LaRue's children: CaRene, Kim, Jaqueline and Leisa. In time we reached maturity and began adding our own children to the growing list of progeny. There are now eighteen great-grandchildren.
On Feb. 6, 1972 Clarence Cox died, and Agnes went to live with her daughter and son-in-law, Neola and Carl Clark, where she has lived for the past sixteen years.
Those are the brief statistics of my Grandmother's life, but they are only statistics and not the essence of what she was and will always be to those of us who knew and loved her.
To capture the essence of her unique spirit we must move beyond the dates and places and into the memories we hold of our Mother and Grandmother and to the special lessons in living we learned from those memories.
From our Grandmother we learned about work and commitment.
In writing of his many business adventures, my Grandfather wrote: 'If I have been able to accomplish anything it is because I had a good helpmate. Agnes has been in everything I have been in. When I was in the trucking business, she hauled the cream cans back, when I hauled the cream down to Pocatello. She pumped the water for the cows in our dairy, and also learned to milk cows. She had been raised on a farm, but did not know how to milk cows until we were married. She surely did a hundred! She drove school bus, and when I got in the garage business she became our bookkeeper and parts woman. Sometimes she objected to some of the businesses I got into, but she was always backing me up and always at my side ready to take the disappointments as well as the success. She has her own insurance business, and her own office, but --- she collects rent from me. Ha Ha.'
Our grandmother saw work as a blessing. She taught us the value of service. There was never an honest task that could have been beneath her dignity to perform. I am confident that there are few living people with her astonishing work record. Since I have known her, our Grandmother has almost never missed a day of work at the office.
Our Grandmother taught us the value of making good decisions. Once we stood together at a deserted intersection waiting for a red light to change. I encouraged her to walk against the light. Even though we couldn't see anyone, Grandma refused. "What", she stated firmly, "if one little Jr. Sunday School child were watching? What kind of example would that be?"
Our Grandmother taught us about devotion to family. She was first, and always foremost devoted to our Grandfather, and together they wove a fabric of traditional events for all of us. I remember Memorial Day, up before sunrise, picking lilacs, peonies and tulips to place upon the headstones of deceased relatives we had never known in life, but knew vividly through the recollection of our Grandmother. I remember feet wet with May dew as we raced around to be the first family in town to honor our loved ones with floral offerings, and I remember the bacon and blueberry pancakes that followed our early trips to the cemetery.
We remember the 4th of July ... up early for breakfast, tiny silver dollar pancakes ... a whole day devoted to entertaining the grandchildren..riding our bikes on the tennis court...wading in the ditch ... playing hide and seek in the trees...dragging out the Monopoly game ... We remember hot dogs roasted over the fire and Grandma's homemade potato chips and cherry pie. We remember the lavish display of fireworks. Most of all we remember the reason...because this is the best country in the whole world.
There were Christmas mornings to share with a devoted grandmother. Thanksgiving dinner when we all crammed into their tiny house, and we grandchildren were treated to our very own table in the back bedroom, free to ignore table manners and discuss our own exciting lives without the boredom of adult conversation.
CaRene and I remember Grandma's closet. The thrill of dressing up in her beautiful shoes and dresses, wrapping her fox stole around our shoulders and festooning ourselves with her elegant jewelry. I often wonder at the patience she must have had as we descended on her closet and jewelry box, but in all honesty, I think she had as much fun as we did!
Last night CaRene said: "She was a fun Grandma." And indeed, she certainly was. She never lost that elusive wonder of a child. She delighted in the first snow fall, and the first apple blossom. A new-born puppy or cuddly kitten never lost their fascination. She brought us out to see stars and rainbows and the first peony bloom. She took us out to smell the rain on sprouting wheat fields and guided our small hands as we planted seeds in her big garden.
She was a doorway to adventure. She introduced us to worlds we did not know. She took us to Salt Lake City where we saw escalators and elevators and even a tiny box with moving black and white pictures that people called a television.
She was an example of elegance. She used matching glasses, cloth napkins and real silverware on her table...and luncheon always started with soup.
She was the epitome of patience. She endured...she endured!... time, pain, grief, suffering, loneliness, and catastrophe with a steady, patient smile.
She taught us to love. Her marriage was a example of mutual devotion and trust, unique among human relationships.
She taught us to live. I have often wondered at the longevity of my Grandmother's life. Though happy and content to live with my parents, rocking gently in her living room chair, doing the laundry and feeding the cats, she also missed our grandfather and longed to join him.
And yet she stayed with us for sixteen years... she stayed long enough to see great grandchildren reach maturity and touch their lives with memories and examples.
As we confront the middle and older phases of our lives, we realize that she stayed with us to show us the way to live those years with dignity and compassion and sensitivity.
She stayed with us long enough to permit my Dad and Mom and my Aunt and Uncle the special joy of honoring that important commandment to Honor thy Mother and thy Father that thy days may be long upon the earth, which the Lord, they God, has given thee.
She lived long enough to teach us of the serenity that can be gained through a long life of devotion and generosity. On Mother's Day she said to us, with that ever present twinkle in her eye, and the perpetual small smile on her face, 'I'm so lucky! Everyone loves me!" And indeed, everyone did love Grandma. Small children, stray dogs, homebound invalids, neighbors, distant relatives, sisters, children, in-laws, business partners and business competitors, famous people and common people, everyone loved Grandma.
But it wasn't love from luck ... it was a love earned from a life of perpetual service and devotion to others. She was the most selfless person I have ever known and she left this life with the most priceless of all gifts ... everyone loved her. How I would like to earn that gift for myself and pass on the secrets of such a life to my own children. She lived long enough to firmly implant the familial ties that link us from this world into the next.
We shall surely miss Grandma. We will look around the kitchen corner, where she always sat in the same chair, and she won't be there. People dropping by the office will look in her little corner, and she won't be there either. There will be one less chair at Sunday dinner ... and the jokes will never be quite so funny.
But, we would not be so selfish as to demand her back again. She filled her mission upon this earth. She taught us joy and patience and sensitivity. She taught us how to work and how to play and how to love one another. We are grateful for every day that the Lord permitted her to remain with us.
We have but one common prayer this day ... and that is the prayer that her life and the lessons of her life remain clear and strong within our hearts ... it is the prayer that we all will struggle harder, and with greater determination to emulate her life and her convictions. It is the prayer that through such action we might all join her in the eternal joy she is surely experiencing this day.
Peggy Clark Oliver
Agnes Dean & Clarence Cox
Agnes Dean & Clarence Cox
Agnes & Arlinda Dean
Clarence Orson " Bud" Cox
Neola Cox Clark
Dean Sisters (about 1963)
Left to Right - Arlinda Sorensen, Lucy Wilson, Agnes Cox, Julia Hale & Dorothy Yancey
Back Row - Emma Taylor, Dorothy Yancy, Arlinda Sorensen & Agnes Cox
Front Row - Jilia Hale, Mary Black & Janie Chapman
Left - Nephi & Harold Sorensen
Right - Front Row- Valene & Evelyn Sorensen
Right - Back Row - Arlinda Dean Sorensen, Agnes Dean Cox & Neola Cox Clark
Center - Charles Orson "Bud" Cox & dog Lindy