William J. Flake, who founded Snowflake 135 years ago, believed a deal is a
deal. A handshake was as binding as a written contract.
In 1878, he bargained for the land and water rights of James Stinson
in the Silver Creek Valley. The purchase became the town site for
Snowflake. With a handshake, Flake agreed to deliver, over three years,
Utah grade cattle - 200 cows, 150 two-year olds and 200 yearlings. In
exchange, Stinson agreed to sell the land, the water rights, farm equipment
and six mules.
In 1881 when the last cattle were delivered, Stinson wanted to keep a
special saddle mule. Flake said, “No, the mules was in the trade and now
belongs to me.”
Stinson acknowledge that was right and invited Flake to cut five cows out of
the delivered herd so he could keep his special mule. Flake told him, “No, a
deal is a deal and the mule is mine. Pull off your saddle.” With tears in his
eyes, Stinson pulled off the saddle and bridle, patted the mule on the neck
and handed the end of the rope to Flake and walked away.
William J. Flake stopped him and said, “Stinson, we have done a lot
of business in the past three years. For a long time, I have wondered how I
could show you my appreciation. I want to present this mule to one of the
most honest men I have ever met.” Stinson saddled the mule and rode off
without a word.
Does our word or a handshake continue to be honored by each of us?