History of William
History and Family Members Memories of William Nephi Lowe
The following histories of William Nephi Lowe and family are from various family members and others.
Articles below compiled by Lois Jean Lowe Bartholomew in 1999.
William Nephi Lowe
1869 – 1942
Arbor Day l988
By Jerry Reed Lowe
Sunshine and shadows – what an effect they have upon our lives. It is bright and warm in the sunshine. It is cool and quiet in the shadows. We work and play in the sunshine. We rest and meditate in the shade. We let the sunshine in to brighten our lives. We try to make our mark upon the land and cast a giant shadow. Sunshine is like our life, we live it and it is gone. Shadows are the heritage we leave behind when we go.
During certain hours of the day, the old English walnut tree on 7th South and Main casts its shadow upon a spot where a log cabin once stood. The year was 1869. There were no other houses on the block, no Jefferson School and no railroad overpasses. In fact, there was no block for the cabin stood where 7th South now is. The cabin was occupied by Richard and Ada Lowe.
Richard was a farmer by trade. He raised stock and kept bees. A small bag of wheat was found in a bag near Payson. Richard obtained a small amount of wheat and planted it year after year until he had enough to share with his friends and neighbors. It became known as “Dick Lowe Wheat” and, according to Earnest Boyer, was still popular in the mid 1960’s when Utah State College perfected a hardier strain.
On December 31, 1869, my grandfather, William Nephi Lowe, was born in that log cabin, the 7th of ten children. Nothing has been recorded about his childhood and early life except that he always lived in Springville on 7th South. Just when the log cabin was abandoned and the adobe house which still
stands, at 40 East 7th South, was built, I do not know, but these were the only two homes he ever knew.
William Nephi, “Billy”, to those who knew him, did not follow in his father’s footsteps. Instead, he became a carpenter. On January 24,
1896, at the age of 26, he married Mary Louise Powell.
After their marriage, they remained in the adobe house where they cared for his parents and raised a family of 12 children. Billy supported his family with his carpentry
skills. He worked at the sugar factory south of town, helped build the 2nd Ward Church and Art Gallery and many other buildings and houses in Springville. It is said that he helped repair or remodel almost every building in Springville during his life.
Billy never smoked or drank, but had a notorious reputation for cussing. He was short, mustached and, later, a bearded2 man, affectionately referred to by his daughter, Ada, as a feisty Englishman. He was a staunch democrat and loved an argument above all else. Ada also recalls that he was always there when needed – a non pretentious, faithful man whose word was his bond. Billy always kept a nice garden and I can recall hearing stories from my father of the kids snitching the goodies that grew abundantly. He made a salve from pine-gum and the recipe was passed down to each new generation. It is still the best dressing for any cut or scrape. His favorite foods were Buttermilk and oyster stew. He had a habit of eating oyster stew on his birthday,
December 31st. Even to this day, oyster stew on New Year’s Eve is a tradition in my home and many others in the family.
After his children were grown, he and his wife were able to venture into the world for the first time, visiting some of their children in Sacramento, California. While in California, he became ill and received adiagnosis of Cancer. After returning home, he suffered for 3 years before dying in the shadow of the old English Walnut Tree He himself had planted.
Billy was 36 years old when he planted the tree in 1905. The English walnut tree was grafted into a Black walnut tree. (The root system of the black walnut tree is stronger and does better in Utah.) The tree became a center of activity for his children and grandchildren. Many of us have climbed its many branches, rested in its shade and stained our hands with the shells of its nuts. The tree gave us a secure feeling when we returned home. We could see it from quite a distance and knew home was close.
My Grandfather Lowe died at the age of 72 on April 23, l942, just 4 months before I was born. Although I never knew him, I have always felt close to him. He lived and died within the perimeter that could be shaded by the tree planted during his lifetime. My father, who was also called “Billy”, was born within the same perimeter. On an early winter morning, that same tree can cast its shadow upon the place of my birth, a spot normally shaded by another Heritage tree – the horse chestnut planted by William Stewart.
While I did not feel the sunshine that was the life of William Nephi Lowe, the shadow of his heritage still effects my life. I am very proud that this tree, his mark upon the land, has been selected as a heritage tree. On behalf of Grandfather Lowe and his descendants, I want to express our deep appreciation for this honor.
The article “Arbor Day” was from the dedication of the Heritage tree planted by William Nephi Lowe in 1905
Lois Jean Lowe Bartholomew writes about an old news article
I was delighted when I found this little Gem. It helped to give Grandpa Lowe a dimension that had never occurred to me. One that I have never heard anyone ever mention or even allude to. What a treasure!
From the way Dad always talked, I have been under the impression that Grandpa never did attend church. Surprise!
Remembering peoples of other lands, the above ward members took part in a reunion entertainment about forty years ago in the second ward.
appearing in the picture as Dutchmen, Englishmen, Negroes, and what have-you are:
First row, seated —Billie Lowe, Mrs. Susannah Anthon, Reva Reid, Edith Wilmot, George Ed. Anderson.
Second Row–Mary Childs, Frank Bringhurst, Myron Crandall, Jane Stewart, Dora Crandall, Elliot Jordon, David Noakes.
Third Row–Bert Miner, Irene Cook, Irene Jensen, Dave Crandall, Elma Haymond, Elmo Coffman, Ann Robison in back.
Photos of William Nephi Lowe at work . . . . . . .
Dad used to tell a story about when he & Grandpa were working o the Springville Art Building. Seems Grandpa couldn’t find his hammer and threatened Dad if he couldn’t find it for him .
What he threatened Grandpa with was the hammer which he had in his hand. Dad told about that often and always with chuckle.
Photo appears to have been taken on railroad tracks in Springville. I (Lois) recognize the outline of the mountain between Springville & Provo. William Nephi is 3rd from the left.
Memories of William Nephi Lowe from his son Ray Clement Lowe
Transcribed by his son, Ray Clement Lowe from an Audio tape to his niece, Lois Jean, in 1992
I’d like to say a few words about my Dad too. Hope you don’t mind.
One of the earliest remembrances I can – that made me really start noticing my Dad more was – I must have been about 6-7 years old. (Couldn’t have been
much more because I started thinning beets and earning my own money when I was 9.) But anyway, it was 4th of July, and I was sitting under a big pear tree we had at the South side of the lawn that run from the west side of our house clear down to the street. I was sitting there – I don’t know if I was crying or just pouting, but it was the 4th of July, and I didn’t have any money to spend so I didn’t go to town to have fun with the rest of the kids. Dad came up to me and he said “Ray, I’m awfully sorry but here’s all the money I’ve been able to rake up and I really tried to get more.” He said, ” I want you to take it and go downtown and enjoy yourself as much as you can.” And he handed me 4 dimes. I tried not to take it, but he insisted that I take it and he had tears in his eyes and his voice was cracked. He sez, “Please! I want you to take it.” He sez. ” I want you to enjoy the 4th of July as much as possible.” He sez, “If I can rake up any more, I’ll give it to ya later ,but this is all I’ve been able to get” So, I took the money and at that time 4 dimes was quite a bit. You could buy a package of 50 of those little miniature fire crackers for, I don’t know , 5 or 10 cents. You could get a double deck ice cream cone for a nickel, hot dog for, I think it was a nickel, 10 cents to go to the matinee. So, it was equal to several dollars now a days.
And I think all my brothers and sisters (unless it got down to Paul and Lela,) thought Dad was awfully mean—beat on ’em too much, but he never used anything but little green willow switches that would sting real bad. Never caused ’em to have any bad bruises or broken bones or anything like that and, after that deal on the 4th of July, I guess I paid a little more attention and I think, anytime that I ever saw him punish me or one of the other kids we really deserved it. The idea in those days was spare the rod and spoil the child. I think if I had of tried to raise as many kids as he did and trying to earn a living the way he had to do it I’d probably have been meaner than he was. In those days they didn’t have radio and television with all the child experts and psychologists and family counseling programs and all that kind of stuff so what they had to do was just do the best they could with what they knew.
Dad was considered a pretty good carpenter. I guess he just learned that by doing, and I know that he built two-three houses, did a lot of repairing, remodeling, addition work like that. And he also did a lot of cement concrete work. In the wintertime he would butcher animals, pigs, calves like that for people who couldn’t do or didn’t want to do it for themselves. I know he always butchered for Uncle George Dallin.
I don’t think he charged uncle George because we always got our straw for our ticks (we called it our mattresses) on our beds from Uncle George’s hay field. We always gathered grained wheat from there to feed the chickens and the pigs so fer that reason I don’t think he charged Uncle George, but he did charge some of the other people. He also would pull teeth and cut hair for people who’d come around and ask him to once in a while. I don’t believe he ever charged for that except one time a guy by the name of Lou Whitney that lived about halfway between our place and the 2nd ward church. He was Forman on a road job down in southern Utah and he was quite a religious man. He always came home to go to church on Sundays, but this one time he didn’t get home in time to get in the barber shop to get a haircut. So, he came out to our place and had Dad cut his hair. When Dad got through, Lou handed him 50 cents. Dad didn’t want to take it. Lou said, “Go ahead and take it. It’s just as good a haircut as I would a’ got downtown and it itches twice as much.”
I remember when the kids was real small, Ada, Rose, Paul and Lela, in the winter time cold weather, Dad would even let us play hide-n-seek in the house and I have even seen Ada and Rose jump the rope in the house.
One of the things we used to do was to get in the doorway, mostly John and myself, some of our friends would come over. We’d get in to one of the doorways that go into one of the west rooms, have the door open.
We’d put our left hand and left foot on one side of the doorway and the right hand and right foot on the other side of the doorway, try to work our way up ‘til our head touched the top of the doorway. Another way we’d do it was put both feet on one side, sit down on the floor, put both feet on one side of the door frame, our back on the other side, hold with our hands and try to work ourselves up by moving our feet a little then our back ,then our feet, ’til we could touch our head to the top.
And we would sometimes take the old kitchen chairs. We would sit in the chair then lean over sideways. We could touch our hands to the rungs that went between the legs of the chairs use the back of the chair to hang on to try to crawl around the back of the chair make a complete circle around the back of the chair and back on to the chair without touching the floor with any part of our body (our hand or anything). He would tolerate things like that, and he would let us stand by the door frames and make marks on it to see how tall we were and come back later and see how much we’d grown and make another mark. Dad was very generous. I’ve seen many a time when Bums as we would refer to them came around wanting something to eat wanting a handout. Dad and Mother always gave them something to eat, usually pack a lunch for them or something like that.
I remember one time a covered wagon came onto the Jefferson school ground. They stayed there 2-3 days, I think. It was, I remember, a man his wife and a little girl that was about my age. I remember thinkin’ she
was kind a cute. We were pretty small at the time and evidently, they had been there before because Dad seemed to know them. They seemed to know Dad. But they stayed there 2-3days and Dad gave them lots of fruit and vegetables and I’m quite sure Mother baked a cake and some bread for them.
And another time some Indians came there. There was an old Indian Chief that had his head dress there, with all the feathers, and his squaw. Then there were two younger ones that were adults. I don’t know if they were son and daughter or son and his wife or something like that and there was a couple of little kids. And Dad fixed them up some fruit. And we had a big pear tree down on the lawn (that was the same on that I was sitting under when Dad gave me the 4 dimes.) It was a huge tree and the pears had on, even when they got ripe, they were real hard. The Indians saw these pears. The old Indian picked one up that looked ripe and he bit into it and he says, “Mmm, good! Hard like bullet!” We didn’t know the name of the pears, but after that we always called them Bullet pears, There was an old tom cat hangin’ around there . I don’t think we even claimed it as our cat, but this Indian Chief asked if he could have the cat . Dad said, ” Sure!” He gave him the cat. When they left, they started up east. Whitey Grosbeck was there with me. They went up to the west end of what we call the hollow (the dump part of the hollow), that lane that runs from 7th south, east of Dad and Mother’s place where Penny and Vie lived. Grosbecks used to live right there where Penny and Vies house was and on the east side of their lot was a little lane that run south back into the other properties, but the more east to 2nd east, the road was just a narrow dirt rode on the south side of 7th south there. The north side was part of the old creek bed. We called it The Hollow. People had been dumping rubbish in there that they didn’t want, old furniture and metal stuff they didn’t want, and these Indians stopped right at the west end of this hollow. Whitey Grosbeck and I, out of curiosity, went up to see what they were doing. They built a little fire, put up a tripod with some sticks on two sides of the fire, hit this cat’s head on a rock, killed it, rammed a big green stick through it without even takin’ the hair off or the insides out or anything. They rotated it over this fire ’til they cooked it and started to eat it and about made Whitey and I sick. We got out of there in a hurry.
One time, I think it was late spring or early summer, I remember the weather was nice we were sitting down to dinner. There was oh 8, 9, or10 of us at the big table in the kitchen. Had the door open on the south, the door open on the north. I don’t think there was any fire on the kitchen range that big stove that was 5 or 6 feet away from the kitchen table. A guy showed up. He’d come from the State Mental Hospital in Provo, ( away up the east side of Provo against the foothills there. At that time there was not too many houses or farms between Springville and Provo). I think he walked around the base of the hill ’til he got to Springville. Any way he came over to our place. Dad knew him. Evidently people had been cautioned not to feed people like that that came from the State Mental Hospital because they might
make a nuisance of themselves. He seemed to know Dad. He came in, standing with his back to the stove, kind a leaning up with his hips to the stove while we were eating and he sez, “Say, Billy I saw the strangest thing on the way over here today, that I’ve ever seen. ” Dad sez, ” What was that? ” He said, “I saw a cow with 5 calves.” Dad sez, ” Gee, that would be unusual! What were they doin?” The guy sez, “Well, four of the calves were nursing. ” Dad sez, what was the 5th one doing?” He said, He was standing out at the side lookin’ on like I’m doin’.”
Sons of William Nephi Lowe Taken about 1951
Front: Orval “Billy” and Ray
Left side: John
Right side: Paul
Back: Earl “Squirley”, Elden “Buck”, Glen “Penny”
We didn’t go visit our relatives very much when I was kid. I guess it’s because we always had too much to do at home, but we used to have a lot of relatives come to visit us. Relatives from Monroe and Richfield, Salina, Mammoth, Silver City and where ever they happened to live. Seemed like they would always come in the summer or fall and sometimes there’d be 5 or 6 of ’em in a group. Many times, 2 or 3 maybe 4 of us kids sleeping in the kitchen on the floor. Seemed that almost every time some of our relatives would come; my aunts, uncles, some of the older cousins; they would come to get a bunch of vegetables or fruit (wasn’t so plentiful up in their area, Mammoth or Silver City or down in Monroe or Richfield), so they come to Springville to get a lot of fruits or vegetables. They didn’t take it back home fresh. They always bottled it at our place. Sometimes they’d stay there 3 or 4 days just bottling fruit and vegetables.
During the 1st World War, there was a flu epidemic hit the whole country. It hit Springville
pretty hard too. I don’t know, but I think it must have been 30 or 40 people died there in Springville from it. The biggest part of the people came down with it. Buck was in Florida in the army, but I think most of the rest of our family was at home. Every one of our family was sick in bed except Dad. He took care of the whole bunch; fixed our food for us, gave us our medication, clean our clothes and bedding and everything. We were all in bed for, I guess at least a week maybe more, and none of us (unless it was Mother) had ever seen Dad without his mustache. He shaved his mustache off just about the time we were all getting out of bed and almost gave us all a relapse we laughed so much because he looked so funny to us. That was the only time we him without his mustache.
I don’t think Dad asked any of us to pay room and board when we were working and earning money. Whatever we earned was ours to do with as we pleased. But I know he always appreciated it if we’d buy food and something the family needed. When Buck got married, I’m quite sure Dad gave him that corner lot (the southwest corner where Ray lives now. Ray and Jerrie) and helped him build his house and I think he gave the North side to Billy and helped him with his house. Later Billy traded his to Groesbeck’s (who lived East of us) took their lot up there. I doubt if Dad got any money out of that. I don’t know. I don’t think so. Anyway, Penny built his house (took the old Grosbeck house), remodeled it, lived there. Then Squirley put a shack there in the corner, fixed up. And then Billy built one just south of Squirley’s in the southwest corner of the old Groesbeck place. And I never did hear of em ever paying Dad any money for any of those lots or helping them. But I know he helped ’em a lot in getting their homes ready. Dad and Mother made 2 or 3 quite lengthy visits with us here in Sacramento. I don’t ever remember Dad being grouchy or irritable. He always seemed to really enjoy himself down here. He loved to play horseshoes. So, Paul and I got some regulation horseshoes, stakes and set em up. We used to pitch horseshoe with Dad a quite a bit. He was a little better than either Paul or I and he sure
loved to play the game. The first time I noticed anything unusual about Dad was the last trip he was down here. After they’d been here a long time, we had all doors (nearly all doors) in homes have a strip running up one
side across the top and down the other, of a small board that the door fits against when the door is closed. We had one that was particularly bad about you could take ahold of the doorknob a certain way and when you’d close the door the back of your hand would hit this board. It happened to Dad one time. He just went and got a saw and cut about a 6-inch piece out of that board even with the doorknob. I knew that was real odd for him to do something like that. I began a worrying about him and a few days later he disappeared one day and we couldn’t find him and we hunted all over. We called the cops and got the cops looking for him. They finally
found him brought him home he was gone all day ‘til late in the evening. We found out a little later that he’d been to some of the big department stores downtown(I think Hales and Bruners ,Sears ,2 or 3 different ones),trying to buy gifts for all of us for quite expensive gifts and put’’em on charge account. Course we had to cancel all of those and after that we got him back to Utah as quick as we could. That was the last time I ever saw my Dad.
I think I had a real good Dad, a wonderful Mother, a lot of very good brothers and sisters, nephews, nieces, relatives. I think I’ve been pretty lucky to have been part of such a good family tree and I want you to know that I still love you and I hope this will compensate at least a little bit for all those letters I didn’t write in answer to your volumes that you wrote to me. I hope to see you at the next family reunion or possibly sooner. If I can possibly make it in the Springtime, I’ll do it.