• “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. Dr. Suess

Friday, August 24, 2012


Born: 24 August 1879
Pine Valley, Washington, Utah, USA

I knew my father's father well. I visited in his homes many times and he lived in our home for many years when I was a teen. I mostly remember him busy at something or other. He seemed to have boundless energy. 
Father: George James Forsyth (1844-1927)
Son of  Thomas Forsyth (1813) and Isabella Donald

Mother: Sarah Sophronia Snow (1852-1927)
Daughter of William Snow and Sally Adams

An old picture shows his family.  circa 1890
My grandfather is in the middle of the picture framed all around by family.

He kept many handwritten and typed journals. They were compiled and arranged in 1996 by his daughter Ruth Forsyth Horne (Robert). We sincerely appreciate the work of all that contribute to such valuable records. As much as possible she retained his spelling and punctuation. This record may be accessed at the LDS Church History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. Aunt Ruth tells us that, 'At age 80 he bought a typewriter and taught himself to type because his handwriting was 'shaky'. The following narrative is Neil himself writing to us:
"I was born at Pine Valley, Washington, Utah on August 24, 1879. In 1880 my family moved to Loa, Piute, Utah, and this is where I grew up.

1880 US census for Pine Valley Utah shows Neil with his family
"When I was very young I loved to recite:
     'Little Tommy Tooster
      Looked like a rooster.
      He crawled under the bed
      To hear what was said –
      He jumped out the window,*
      And he broke his little finger –
      He ran down the lot
      As fast as he could trot –
      He jumped over the fence
      And they ain’t seen him since.'

"No one could understand me, but my brother George would interpret for me. My parents found that I was ‘tongue tied’ and even though I had my tongue clipped three times I did not talk plain until I was eight years old.

"[I was] Baptized in Spring Creek right in front of our house 
1 Sep 1887, by Ole Okerland and confirmed by my father at the same time and place.

"In the fall for 1888 I was hurding our cows along Spring Creek above our farm, some of the men in town were paying me 25 cents a head per week, to herd their cows along with ours, so I was making a little money. One evening I went swimming, and when I undressed for bed that night I found I had lost my purse and money. Mother told me that when I said my prayers I should ask the Lord to help me find it, so I did. In the night I dreamed that I saw my purse lying in some bean weeds along the creek, so the next morning when I got my cows feeding good, I went to the place where I had gone swimming. There I saw the bean weeds I had seen in my dream, and in them I found my purse and money.

Frank and Neil about 1890
picture printed on tin

"Father had a prosperous farm, a beautiful meadow of approximately 400 acres – with cows, horses, sheep, and pigs. We made lots of butter and cheese to sell. I learned to ride when I was 4 years old. I don’t remember when I learned to milk, but I milked 16 cows night and morning the summer I was 10 years old.

"I spent about 9 months of the next 6 years in the saddle, rounding up cattle or driving them to pasture, and 3 months of the years I went to school. I was a good student, especially in Math, Grammar, and Spelling.

"Every Fall, Father ‘peddled cheese’. Mother’s cheese had a good name for miles around. In the Fall of 1892, just after I turned 13, Father and I left with a 3 horse team, and a load of cheese, to go to the October Conference in Salt Lake. We left our outfit in Lehi with an uncle and took the train into Salt Lake. I had a new pair of size 2 cowboy boots on, and on the train I hid my feet under the seat for fear folks would see my small feet and think I was just a kid.

"When we arrived in Salt Lake, Uncle Alma Cunningham and Father took me to Cutler Bros. Store. I became separated from them and went looking for them. As I hurried down 1st south I saw a funny wagon with a big white team on it, run around the corner on State Street and into a bldg. I went over there and saw the wagon sitting there, the harness hanging above the tongue, and the horses in their stalls. Then a bell rang, the stall door flew open, the horses ran to the wagon, the harness dropped on them, two men fastened it on.  A man slid down a pole and strapped himself on the sea, 3 or 4 men climbed on the wagon and out they went again. I watched them and learned this was a fire drill.

"Father was well acquainted with Pres. Woodruff, so I got to meet him and shake his hand after conference. I have met and talked with every president since that, right down to Pres. David O. McKay. After conference we went back to Lehi and got our outfit and started for home. On the way home thru San Pete and Sevier counties we gathered up apples etc. that we had taken in exchange for cheese.

"In school I often took part in plays, gave speeches or recited. Our games at school were marbles, jacks, double duck, fox and geese, and ball games. At night in the wintertime we would go ice skating or play run sheepey run. Our indoor games were, button button, drop the handkerchief, and charades. We boys all liked to make horses and cattle with spools. We would carve out legs, ears and horns etc. on the spools, then from old shoes we would make saddles and have heavy cord strings for ropes. We gathered spools from the neighbors, so that we all had many horses and cattle.

"The Fall after I was 15 we moved back to the farm. Here I ‘broke’ horses to ride and to drive and became quite proficient, but I was know through the area for runaway teams. I had several injuries from my years of breaking horses, none serious thank goodness – but I enjoyed working with the animals.

Neil with a Gardner cousin about 1898; age 19

"In 1895 the Robbers Roost Gang was very active in that section, as their roost was not far from Loa. I got to know some of them quite well, ... During those days I always carried a 45 revolver while riding the range.

"In 1896 my oldest brother George went to 7 Mile Flat to cut a load of poles. He took his wife Lizy and baby with him and they were staying with her folks at the dairy. He became very ill with a cold and sore throat, so they sent for father to come and get him. They brought him home with his wife and baby, and on July 15th he passed away. Just a week later his wife’s 8 year old brother died, in about the same way. My sister Lucy was sick by then, as well as many others. On the 2nd of August Lucy died, by that time we knew it was something serious, so we got a doctor and found it was dyptheria. They restricted all public gatherings – all our family but Mary had it, and on the 9th of Aug. Donald our 16th month old boy passed away. That was 4 deaths in less than a month. Mary escaped the dyptheria but the next year had typhoid fever. Her hair all came out so that she was completely bald, but it soon came in again.

Belle (Sarah Isabella Forsyth an older sister ) and Neil Snow Forsyth

"I spent most of the winter of 1896-97 breaking broncos and riding the range between Rabbit Valley and Fish Lake.  In the spring of 1897 I worked for Albert Stephens for $1.00 a day and board.  I earned $10 enough to buy my first suit with a hat and suspenders.  When I dressed for the dance that night and walked into the dimly lit living room - my family didn't recognize me all dressed up.

"My church record to date is as follows:
     Ordained a deacon by Thos. Blackburn 12 Dec 1891
     Pres. Deacons Quorum Jan. 1893 til Nov 1896.
     Ordained a teacher by Michael Hansen 14 Nov 1896.

"Father and I went every month to gather fast offerings of grain, potatoes, eggs, cheese, butter, flour, or anything they wanted to give, then take it to the bishops storehouse.  In the spring the deacons would go to the tithing cellar and sprout the potatoes for market.

"In Oct 1897 my Uncle Robert Forsyth was going to Pine Valley by team and wagon and took me with him.  I stayed with my Grandmother Snow and worked for my board and room, while I attended school.  My Uncle William Snow was the teacher.  I passed eighth grade, and that got me into normal school at Cedar City four years later, without passing an (entrance) examination.
"In the fall of 1898 I worked for Uncle Joseph Burgess in Pine Valley.  He owned two saw mills.  One of his mills was in Water Canyon which came out of the Pine Valley Mt. into Grass Valley.  It was very steep and rocky, too rough to get in there with a wagon, so they only went there after the snow got deep enough for a bob sleigh.  They used a single bob sleigh and let one end of the lumber drag in the snow to hold the sleigh from crowding the horses.  I thought it a lot of fun sliding down that canyon with a thousand feet of lumber on a bob sleigh.  In the spring I hauled wood to Gunlock for the coke ovens.  Uncle Jode gave me half of what I sold.  Later in the summer R. M. Rogers and I built a store for Uncle Jode.  Rogers did the brick work and I did the carpenter work.  I worked the sawmill in Water Canyon again the winter of 1899 – 1900.

1900 US census shows Neil living with mother's sister's family
Joseph and Emma Burgess in Pine Valley
"In Feb 1901 was the Wayne stake qrtly conference.  Jed Grover was taking the conference visitors in his Democrat to Salina to catch the train to Salt Lake.  I decided I would go to Salt Lake and then on to the Big Horn.  I bid my folks farewell and left.  When we arrived in Salt Lake Jesse and I went to Farmington where his folks lived, who were going to the Big Horn, but they had decided not to go til spring.  Finding myself short of cash, I went to work for a Mr. McMullin a man I knew in Murray from Grass Valley.  I tended cattle for him for two months, then went home to help father in the spring.

"In 1901 I had five Gardner cousins attending normal school in Cedar City and they encouraged me to attend with them.  I did well in school with grades from 85 to 98 except English, it was 75.
The summer of 1902 I drove team for Len Conger from Garfield to Lemington, hauling water.  That Fall father took 42 head of cattle on the train to Canada.

"In the Fall I didn't have enough money to go back to normal school, but when I didn't show up, the principal wrote me because I had done so well the year before.  When I told him about my money problem, he said they would give me a scholarship if I would come.  The day after I got his letter Neil McMullin came to our place to buy cattle.  I told him about the letter and how bad I wanted to go.  He loaned me the $75 I needed and said I could pay him when I earned it after I finished school.  I found a ride to Cedar City and entered normal school Oct 8, 1902.  I took classes in Carpentry, Mechanical Drawing,  2nd year English and Algebra.  I was also in the debate club.  I did very well in school.

"In Sept 1903 I went back to Cedar City to school, but the state had appropriated $40,000. For a new school building and I got a job as a carpenter and took only one night class. 

 "Then I enrolled for a Draftsman course in the International Correspondence School in Scranton, Penn.

"I finished work in Cedar City April 15, 1904.  In Aug father told me he had bought a home in Canada and was taking his family to Canada.  Mary was attending BYU in Provo, Tom had a mail contract.  Tom and I made a deal with father to buy the farm and stock.  I started teaching school as principal of the Lyman School.  It was 3 miles to Lyman, and I rode a bronco to school all winter.  I had him well broke by spring!

"The next year the Loa school board came to me to be principal of the Loa school.  The teacher for 1, 2 and 3 from the previous year was staying on.   My sister Mary had her Certificate from BYU and would teach 4, 5, and 6 grades.  As principal I taught 7 and 8 grades.

"While going to school in Cedar City I had trouble with my stomach.  One time when I had a severe attach I went to Dr George Middleton.  He told me I had ulcers and should have them cut out, but I didn't have the money so I just carried on.  They were having a teachers convention in SLC, between Christmas and New Years.  The County Supt. wanted me and my assistants to go with him to the convention, so we went by sleigh and a four horse team and drove out to Sigard, and went by train to Salt Lake.  I stayed with Uncle Jed Wooley that night and was so bad all night that he took me to his Dr the next morning.  He said I had a very bad case of ulcers and gave me some medicine and ordered me to bed.  The next day I went to see him and he said he should treat me for six months to two years and insisted I come back the next day, which I did.  That was the last day of the convention, and I had not been to one meeting.

"We were starting for home the day after that, and I was under his care all the time.  I went back the next day and asked him how much I owed him as we were leaving the following day.  He said I was in no condition to make the trip, I told him I had to do it, as I had to start school the following Monday.  He shook his finger in my face and said “Young man, if you make that trip over those mountains and go into the school room Monday, you’ll be a dead man in less than six weeks.”  I paid him and walked out.

"When we got to Sigard that night, we ate supper, then they fixed a bed in the back of the sleigh and we started for home.  We traveled all night and got home just as Tom was ready to go to S. S. I told him to bring patriarch Blackburn with him after S. S. to administer to me, and then I went to bed.  Tom brought the patriarch and he asked me a few questions, one was if I could take olive oil and if we had any consecrated, and we did so Tom got it.  The patriarch asked him to bring a big spoon. And the patriarch gave me a spoonful of olive oil, then administered to me.  He told me to take a tablespoon of olive oil every morning til my ulcers were gone.  Monday I went to school and never missed a day the rest of the year.

"In the fall of 1904, when I was principal of the Lyman School I also served as YMMIA Pres. In Lyman.

"I was never ordained a priest and on the 4th Dec 1904 I was ordained an Elder by Joseph Eckersley.  I was sustained as 1st couns. in the Loa S. S.  In the spring of 1905.  I was also pres. of the Home Dramatic Co.  For the year and a half I was there.  I was ordained a Seventy 11 Feb 1906 by Moroni Lazenby.

"In Jan 1906 father wrote that a man in Can. Wanted to trade his place there for our place here.  I wasn't interested in any place in Canada but Tom was, so he paid me for my share, then worked out a deal that suited him for the place in Can.

"In April 1906 I came to Salt Lake on the train.  I did carpentry work on the Union Depot.  Helped build a house on Canyon Rd, then worked on the smelter in Garfield.  One day I was in Salt Lake and went past an employment office, a sign in the window said “Carpenter wanted in Ely Nev.”  I inquired about it and was told they paid $7.00 a day 7 days a week.  Wages in S.L. were 45 cents an hour.  I asked them how to get there, and they said if I paid them $3 they would give me a ticket to go there on Monday.  When I got there I found there were no rooms to rent in Ely, nearly everyone was living in tents, I found a large tent that had 60 single cots n it for 50 cents a night for one of them.  I started work the next morning and worked til the hotel was finished.

"Every Sat. night I drew $49 in gold, 2 $20 and a $10 and I would give them a silver dollar in change.  I never saw any greenbacks all the time I was in Ely.  You could go into any of those saloons and see thousands of dollars in gold stacked upon the gambling tables.  I knew of one old prospector there who sold a claim for $200,000 and two weeks later a bar tender gave him a book for one weeks meal tickets he was broke.
"When I finished on the hotel I went to Lund about 30 miles south to where my sister Belle Gardner lived. When I got there Bishop O.H. Snow was just starting a house. He offered me a job, so I stayed there til it was finished.

"Jan 1907 I decided to go visit my folks in Magrath. I traveled by train, there was a great deal of snow after we left Shelby, the snow was so bad they followed the snow plow into Milk River, then made it to Sterling. I stayed at the hotel in Sterling that night. The next morning the stationmaster told us there would be no train going west, but there would be a sleigh coming from Raymond for the mail so I could get to Raymond on their return. I phoned my folks in Magrath to see if they could meet me in Raymond. It was 20 below so the sleigh ride to Raymond was very cold. When I arrived there I went to the hotel for dinner. There was a pot bellied stove in the hotel, you could only warm one side then turn and warm the other. We went on to Magrath that afternoon. It had been an especially hard winter, the snow and cold started in November, and there had never been a break til after I got there in Feb. It had been as low as 56 below. One night in March, Frank bundled up good to go to his band practice. I was still up when he came home about 11 pm and he had his fur coat etc on his arm, and he said there was a Chinook. The next morning the snow and ice were gone and it was 60 above, where it had been 30 below that night.

"I soon had a carpenter job building a new school in Spring Coulee for a Mr. Wm. Thompson. When I finished around June 10, the school asked me to go to High River, a day’s ride by train, and build a set of buildings on his ranch there. His brother met me, we finalized the contract and with help from local men, Mark and Tommy Hall to haul gravel, a plasterer and a brick layer to lay the chimney, I finished the building by July 3rd. While there I met John Burgess, Tom Hatch, Mary Hatch and Celia Parker.

"I returned to Spring Coulee July 5th and Thompson had plans for me to build a store in Spring Coulee.

"While I was busy doing carpentry in the area, a letter came from the church headquarters in Salt Lake. It was a mission call to Great Britain. I wrote back, that if they would give me three months to finish the work I had on hand I would go. The answer came back that I should leave for my mission Nov 16, 1907. I worked up til the day before I had to leave for Salt Lake. George and Esther Coleman were in the horse buying business in Magrath and Esther gave me $300 for my driving team the week before I left for my mission.

"I reached Salt Lake Nov 17, 1907. Went thru the SL Temple Nov 22. Was set apart for my mission Nov 26. About 75 of us left Salt Lake for the British and European mission Nov 27th 1907. Fathers only instructions to me when I left Magrath, was “Be sure to be obedient to those in authority over you and you will get along all right.” … [Dec 7] We ate dinner on board the ship, Dominion, but didn’t leave the harbor til 3:30 pm. The sea is calm and the ship glides along much smoother than any train I was ever on. …

"There were 800 passengers on the 7000 ton vessel. … Tues Dec 17 we landed at Liverpool, then went to Pres. Penrose office and got out appointments. My brother Tom had been there on a mission a few years before and labored in the Birmingham Conference, and he suggested I ask to go there. When Pres. Penrose asked me if I had a preference I said, “No, send me any place you want to.” He said, “We will send you to Birmingham. … From there I was sent to Dudley to labor with Arthur L. Howard.  … I did my first tracting in the suburb of Nenthorn. … Aug 18th 1908 – Elder Russon and I were sent to Rugby …
Nov 10, 1908 – I was assigned to Coventry with a new companion, Elder Brown, to preside over the Branch which comprised, Nuneaton, Harts, Hill and Stoke.  …

"Dec 23, 1909  – I received notice of my release today. They held a farewell service for me at Nuneaton Dec 27th. I visited Worwick, Lemington and Coventry last week, and I have made out my last report. Dec 29, 1909 – I went to Birmingham and from there to Sheffield where I visited with the Forsyths and others Dec 30th. Dec 31, 1909 I went to Glasgow and looked up the missionaries there …
Jan 3, 1910 – I went to Edinburgh and visited the castle and several other places of interest, then visited with James Forsyths mother and her two daughters, and they gave me a nice lunch, but didn't want to talk about religion. I returned to Sheffield that night. …

"Jan 13, 1910 – 18 Elders and 34 Saints left the Lord Nelson Hotel at 12 noon to board the ship for America, we set sail at 3pm on a very rough sea. Most everyone was seasick most of the way home. [He traveled by train to Salt Lake] arriving 10:20 am Jan 29th. I visited with friends and relatives in Bountiful and Woods Cross. [February 3 – Mar 3 was spent visiting many friends and relatives in many areas including Marysville, Panquitch, Hatch, Alton, Parowan, Cedar City, Harmony, Pinto, Grass Valley, and Pine Valley. He was asked to speak and bless the sick, and in Alton met Clara Macallister, a school teacher.]  … I helped Uncle Jeter Snow ** load a load of wheat, and we started to St. George with it. We camped at the Chadburn Ranch that night and slept on the ground, my first time sleeping on the ground in 5 years!

"Mar 4, 1910 – We drove into St. George and I went right down where Mother and Father were living near the temple, as they were doing temple work. The next day was the St. George Stake Conference and I attended. In the evening I took my cousin Ethel Jarvis to a show. On March 6th at the Sunday evening service of the conference, I was sitting in the back of the tabernacle, thinking I was not even known, when Stake Pres. Snow got up and said, “If Neil S Forsyth is in the audience will he please come to the stand,” so I had t go up and I bore my testimony and told a little bit of my mission experience. I visited in St. George all that week. … Sat Mar 12th I rode one of Andrew Princes horses and took a band of horses up to Pine Valley for Bennett Bracken, I worked there for Uncle Jode til Father and Mother came. On Mar 31, we left to go to Salt Lake for General Conference. …

"April 7th – We left for Canada … April 8th – We went on to Magrath. Sun. April 10th I was asked to speak in Sunday School and was the main speaker in Sacrament Meeting that afternoon.

[In Canada Grandpa began to do carpenter work again. May 13th he traveled to Calgary and then on to High River by train May 20th, about some business dealings, staying in Brant at Mark Halls. The next day, Sunday, he borrowed Mark's horse and rode out and had dinner with his cousins Willard and Joe Snow. They lived just 6 miles from Brant. When he returned to Halls they were still at Sabbath meetings. While he awaited their return he began to write a letter to Clara.]

"… I heard them come in. Mark called for me to come go for a buggy ride with him, I said, “I’m busy”.  He said, “Come on, I want to take you and introduce you to your future wife.” I said, “I will be right out.” We drove down to his neighbors Tom Hatch. Bro. Hatch and some of the family came out, but the oldest girl was tending the baby and didn't come. Mark asked me to unhook the team and take them down to the well and water them, when I brought them back the other daughter, Chloe, was out and Mark introduced us. We visited a short while then returned to the Halls for the night. …"

Chloe Roseltha Hatch

[ Neil visited Magrath for Thanksgiving (mid October) and was with his parents for their 40th wedding anniversary October 31. He continued to work at various business dealings and carpentry until the weather was too cold to continue, about the end of November. In December he returned to Magrath and decided to go to Utah for the holidays. In Utah he visited many people again and dated a few times. Dec 23 Clara comes to Salt Lake from Toole. They ‘visited together’ until the 27th when she went to Ogden to spend New Years with her relatives there. Neil took Winnie Brewerton (an English convert) to a show that night and was telling her goodbye at the RR station when his mother and father came from Canada.  He also dated another English convert Eva Walker before going to Provo to spend New Years with His Uncle William Snow and family. He returned to Canada and - 42 degree weather in Sterling January 10th. By January 20th he was again carpentering in the Calgary area, and beginning a barn in High River, despite the cold.

January 22, 1911 (after attending church in Frankburg) Neil and a friend, Sanford, went to Brant and spent the evening at the Hatch home. It is the first time he has seen Chloe since they were introduced May 21, 2010 (8 months before). Sanford, Neil and others spent a lot of time at Hatches that January and February and Neil bet Steve Dudley, a friend and coworker, he could ‘take’ Chloe from others interested in her.  Neil continued to do some work as weather permitted. During a very cold spell the end of February they visited Magrath but returned to work at the barn in High River before month’s end.

The young people of the area congregated at the Hatch home regularly. Heber Frank told Neil that if he were out of the way that he, Heber, could win Chloe. Neil told him she wasn’t interested and arranged for Heber to meet another girl, Alice Phillips. March 19th Neil and Chloe prank some friends by taking their buggy. Neil asked her to a dance the next week and tells us, "We went steady from then on." May 19th Neil took Chloe to a Frankburg Ward picnic at Little Bow and they spent the day there. They dated through the summer and September 16 he mentioned that ‘after they became engaged’ he asked her about where to live and she chose Magrath over Calgary because there was not a branch of the church in Calgary at that time. They planned a December wedding that year. Neil traveled to Magrath the middle of September and arranged with his father to rent his place, farm and all, for a year. His parents had decided to go to St. George and work in the temple for the winter.

September 19th Neil returned north to work until mid October. At that time he began to help his father in Magrath with harvest and also did carpentry in the area for people he knew until he got a job building a hotel through the first part of December. He returned to Brant Dec 13. The Frankburg Ward held a shower for Chloe and Alice Phillips. Alice and Heber Frank went to Utah with Neil and Chloe to be married the same day, in the Salt Lake Temple. Dec 14th they all boarded the train and traveled to Magrath where they attended a Ward supper. The next day they left Magrath by train and arrived in Salt Lake December 17th at 12 noon. Two other couples from Canada traveled to Salt Lake on the same train for the same reason.

December19 they all cashed ‘drafts’ and got their licenses, rings and etc. and were married December 20, 1911 in the morning session at the temple. Neil tells us that '276 people went through that session and 47 couples were married.' 

Spouse: Chloe Roseltha Hatch
Married: 20 December 1911
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, USA

Died: 17 April 1977 Cardston, Alberta, Canada
Buried:20 April 1977 Cardston, Alberta, Canada

Additional information about the Forsyth's as they start their family is posted under the title 'Neil Snow and Chloe Roseltha Forsyth Magrath Years'. Other information may be found using the links within each post or using the 'search' option at the top left. Enter any name or term and click enter to be shown all posts containing the name or term. 

* It is believed that this poem may have spoken 'window' as 'winder', a common half joking way of speaking.

** This Uncle Jeter Snow is the son of Ann Rogers. His wife, Mary Alice Gardner is the daughter of Robert Gardner 1819 and Leonora Cannon. Their son, Mary's brother, married Neil's sister Sarah Isabella Forsyth.  Jeter and Mary's daughter, Leonora Snow 1888-1979, married Herbert Roy Bentley. Herbert and Leonora Bentley are the grandparent's of Jeffrey Roy Holland. Elder Holland's mother is their daughter Alice Bentley Holland.