Saturday, September 24, 2016

Early life of James Mark Nelson

EARLY LIFE OF JAMES MARK SR. Compiled by Lavita Nelson Bingham

In 1867 when James Mark was two years o1d, his father Price Wi1liarn who was living in Logan, Utah was called to help settle St. Thomas on the Muddy River in Nevada. Again when he was a litt1e past eight years of age, they were advised to go to a place called Glendale in Utah which had been vacated five years before on account of trouble with the Indians. It was a long hard journey which required six weeks. When they arrived, they were given the homes just as the people had left them plus a small farm in addition. Price Wi11iam, the father, went into the shingle business in the nearby mountains, taking the family with him. When deep snows came in the winter, they all moved back to the va1ley. Price William did fairly well in the business for several years. He took livestock in trade which netted him quite a herd of cattle. They stayed in Glendale for seven years. By this time, a large part of the family had married and left the family home. Many people were leaving to settle in Arizona, so father Price took his family to Moencopi, Arizona. They were among the first settle there. They stayed here for a while and then moved to Payson, Arizona for a short time, then on to Pine, Arizona. James Mark and his brother Hyrum helped their father build the first grist mi1l in the Payson- Pine district. The original split 1og house the boys helped their father build is sti11 standing and is stil1 occupied today, but it has been covered with lumber and roofing which was before 1970. The apple orchard planted at that time was bearing fruit up until 1970 when the farm was sold to a man who wanted to commercialize it, so he grubbed the poor o1d apple trees out. In February, 1887, the Nelson family decided to go to 01d Mexico. The government had issued grants of land to be colonized by the Mormon people. They were welcome to help develop their country. After leaving Pine and Payson with teams and wagons, they traveled through the Gila Va11ey by way of Safford and Thatcher. They started with quite a herd of cattle. When reaching San Simon, they decided to sel1 them. They had been warned to be careful as a plan was underway to get their money. Price William Senior, along with sons Mark and Hyrum took the money for the cattle and left at night in a light wagon or "rig" as they ca11ed it, drawn by a pair of sma1l mules ca11ed “rats” for they were very sma1l but traveled fast. The rest of the company followed in a few days and soon they were together again. Mark was now twenty-one years of age. The family decided to make their way into the well- timbered Sierra Madre Mountains of Chihuahua, Mexico. Building the road as they went was a hard and slow process, so it took them quite a long time to reach their destination. They finally reached Cave Valley named for the many caves and cliff dwellings. A man by the name of Campbell put up a sma1l saw-mill and Mark and Hyrum hauled logs from the mountains for him. They also freighted lumber to a railway station at Ascencion where it was shipped to other parts of the land. The Nelsons put up a grist mill, on which they ground corn for bread and also for corn meal mush which was the main diet of the people for some time after they settled there. They manufactured a turning lathe with which they made the legs and rounds for chairs and tables and other furniture using oak and maple from the nearby forests. They sold these products to others who came there to live. Colonla Diaz was the first colony settled by the Mormon people. Even before they came, there were large cattle ranches very near. The Diaz people added to the industry. That could be more enticing to a young man living in the mountains where opportunities were few, than to go to work on a large cattle ranch? That is what James Mark did. He got a job on the Henderson and Gruel Ranch. He was a good cowhand, but when round-up came no one was a better cook than James Mark, so he traded his saddle and bridle for the dutch ovens and the bean pots. His campfire biscuit baked in large dutch ovens left little to be desired when served with steak and brown gravy. It was here in Colonia Diaz near Christmas time In 1888, that he met Hannah Bothelda Mortensen. Mark fe11 in love with her right from the first. He asked for her company during the holidays, but waited until Hannah was sixteen the following August, before asking her father for her. To his request, Martin Peter Mortensen replied, ” I’m too poor to give a girl away”. But Karen Katrina, her mother, spoke up and said, “You’re poor now because you have so many girls.” Martin Peter gave his approval and consent, but said "Im afraid you will never give Hannah a home." These are almost the exact words that Lydia Ann’s father said to her when she was married to Mark’s father.